The ghastly one-eyed beast, towering at the height of ten average adventurers, charged toward me with a deafening roar. Teeth-baring in fury, its viscous saliva rained over the bodies of my deceased allies. And as the only remaining fighter, dashing for the exit of the grotto as the earth trembled beneath my feet, I wondered—how did we travel this far, only to meet an early demise? Would it matter if I defeated the colossal Brobdingnagian, now fueled with godlike wrath from its second wind? Was it even possible… to survive?
We should have stayed at Donjon, where the only battles were with crudely armoured bandits and the occasional city guards. But, Gwendolyn insisted we travelled through the black hole—‘a magical artifact that could raise the dead’ was her promise of the beyond. Unfortunately, she had been pulled apart by those monstrous hands, before she could even lay her starry eyes on the prized item.
“Take on a giant, they said. It will be fun, they said,” I muttered under my breath. “We are too weak for this.” I skidded to a halt at the mouth of the cave, where a cliff presented the longest fall to one’s death. “Stupid. Idea. Stupid. Stupid. Idea,” I cursed in between breaths.
“Stupid indeed,” an echoing voice, from within the depths of the cave, replied. “Are you going to jump?” The voice sniggered.
“No, I’m not crazy,” I snapped.
“This wasn’t my idea,” I said, glancing at the lifeless dismembered figures strewn inside the behemoth’s lair. “I don’t want to die. Not yet.”
“Well… if you stand there, you will.”
The voice was right—the cold-blooded devil now stood ten feet away. Reaching for me, I slid from its crushing grasp with a forward roll before pulling an enchanted arrow from my quiver. Lining it up on my bow, I aimed for the single green eye on the giant’s malformed face. I knew I had to make the shot—it was all I had left.
“Are you sure about this?” the voice asked, almost patronising in tone.
“Yes. Just…” I steadied my hand. “You…” I inhaled a deep breath. “Wait.” I released my one and only shot.
As the arrow whizzed through the air, I could almost envision the perfect bullseyes. Oh, how epic it would be when my arrow ruptures the enormous cornea. Alas, instead of piercing the menacing eye, my arrow struck the brute on its forehead. As anti-climatic as that was, the dead would have turned in their graves at the mere inch of inaccuracy… if not for the grasping brambles that burst forth from the bleeding wound. The prickly stems wrapped themselves around the monster’s head with its magical might, injecting potent purple poison deep into the skull of my foe.
Instinctively, the beast reached for the scrambling shrub in attempts to free itself from the coils of death. But no, escaping magic wasn’t easy. Its fate was now up to luck—the luck… of a dice roll. After all, the slaughter of my entire party was at the hands of fate—even if they, themselves, were the ones to toss the dice poorly.
“A strength check, right?” the voice asked.
“And your DC?” the voice prompted.
“Just roll,” I said with a smug grin.
The dice rattled in the silence as an anticipation settled in the air. And in that split moment, I wondered if I had been overly confident. Did I make the right decision? Should I have used a different arrow? Still, it was fate that decided the outcome of the battle.
“Doesn’t matter what your DC is,” the voice stated. Then, with a chuckle, it added, “Natural one.”
The Brobdingnagian’s head began to enlarge, ballooning as the poison pulsed through its veins. And just as the giant took its last choking breath, its head exploded from the inward force of magic. Thick wine-red blood splattered in all cardinal directions, coating my armour in the remains of the once unbeatable enemy.
“That would smell for a few days,” the voice stated.
“I don’t care,” I replied. “Now, I need to revive my friends.”
“Revive your friends?” the voice asked.
“Yes, the magical artifact that raises the dead?” I prompted.
“Ah, that…” the voice paused.
“Please tell me it exists,” I said with bated breath.
“It exists,” the voice replied, after what felt like a moment of hesitation. “And, since you miraculously killed the giant, I’ll make it easier for you.”
“Cool, hand it over.” I could almost sense the eagerness of my fallen comrades—all ready to return to the living. Yet, I had an inkling there was more.
“No can do,” the voice said. “The artifact is inside the Brobdingnagian’s heart.”
“You’ll have to dig it out.”
“Great.” What was a little extra blood? At the very least, it wasn’t the end of our adventure… yet.
Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)