December 12, 2008

Bar Fight

"Wait!" the boy shrieked in his voice like charcoal. The boy laced a spell into the word, freezing them all in their tracks, all motor control abandoning them. "Now, before any of you do anything rash, I want you to know exactly what it is that I am."

The boy closed his eyes, lifting his right hand and holding it to the light. The confused men stared at his hand as his fingernails extended to sharp points an inch long. With a tug from his left hand, the boy ripped off his tunic to reveal hard rippling muscles. As the stunned tavern goers watched, his skin turned gray and as the boy stretched from side to side, scales and spikes erupted over his shoulders. His arms lengthened, as did his legs, though his torso remained slightly smaller giving him a stretched appearance. The boy grunted and closed his eyes, tossing his head side to side as two curving horns started to emerge from the sides of his head. His eyes angled sharply and his jaw elongated into a snout, serrated teeth inches long protruding from it. When the transformation was finished, the boy no longer even remotely resembled a human. When he opened his eye lids, there were no eyes. Black voids where no light was reflected. The gray-scaled creature before could have been the hound of Lord Death himself.

"Now, you may fight me." Silence pervaded the tavern. "What? No one wishes to fight me?" the broken voice mocked. "Well, perhaps you all are smarter than you look." With a laugh, he kicked open the door and strolled out into the night, his gray scales glinting wickedly in the pale moonlight. His eyes, smug, glowing red lanterns lit the darkness in front of him. He took a few steps before contemplating his wings. Roc wings would get him away fastest but the pain would be exquisite. Phoenix would be too slow. Deciding on a half-gargoyle shift, he closed his eyes and started rubbing his shoulders. Wings hurt. A lot.

The boy braced himself for the shift, windmilling his arms. He gathered the magic in his shoulders but just before he could release it, he felt a sharp pain in his lower rib cage. He looked and saw an arrow shaft protruding from his chest. With a snarl, he watched as his skin pushed the arrow out of his chest and the hole pinked over. With a crazed laugh, he turned around, expecting some eager vigilante trying to score a head for his wall. What he saw made him balk in astonishment.

Three hunters. All wore black leather jerkins and leggings. The one in the middle held an ash bow. The one on the right had a silver long knife in his hand and the last held a thick, serrated blade strapped to his knuckles that curved along his right forearm and ended at the elbow. It was called a Kukiro, one obviously meant for extremely close combat. It was an aggressive weapon. A dangerous weapon.

The one with the bow grabbed an arrow and knocked it. He called out, "Come on. You know you can't outrun us and we've learned some good tricks in your pursuit." The head of the arrow started glowing, a blue light cast over the right side of the hunters face. With a twang, the arrow hurtled into the bow, piercing straight through the boy's chest and out the other side. The boy gasped and fell, his vision flickering as he watched the long knife whistle through the air at his head. The boy's hand flicked up to catch it and the blade sank sickeningly between the tendons in his hand, the tip coming out the other side. With a scream, the boy leaped to his feet, ready for the fight of his life. He was shocked when he looked up to see them standing stock still, staring expectantly at him.

The boy paused, glancing down at his chest to see what they were looking at. All that remained of the hole where the arrow had gone through was pink flesh. It darkened rapidly to match the color and texture of the surrounding skin. He glanced at his hand, only then remembering the blade protruding from it. He yanked it out with his left, and watched as the skin crawled back together, the flesh knitting and the tendons twitching and contracting as the pain and tingling abruptly ceased. His hand was as it was before. He looked up, again wondering to himself why they weren't attacking him.

The assailant with the bow was still looking at him with an odd look of curiosity in his eyes. The one who thrown the knife looked agitated. The hunter with the kukiro merely looked bored. Definitely not an expression the boy wanted to see. Fear gripped the boy's innards slowly.

"Let's do this," said the man with the bow, knocking another arrow. Before he had time to draw it back to his ear, the boy was on him, a glowing hand crushing the throat of the archer, the energy flying out of him. He let the man's ashen corpse fall to the ground in a cloud of black dust.

With a scream, the man who had held the knife hurtled towards him, a dagger in each hand. The boy caught the man by the head and headbutted him with enough force to demolish a wall. The man crumpled and fell.

Even as the body fell, the boy's shoulders erupted in pain. Twisting, he felt the kukiro break a bone and shred the muscles in his right shoulder as it was torn away. Knowing he was crippled momentarily, the boy leaped straight into the air. He had only just landed in a tree when he felt a sharp sting in his good arm. He glanced at his left to see a hooked dart protruding from the crook in his shoulder between the spike on his shoulder. The shot was incredibly lucky. It hit possibly the only spot where a dart that small could penetrate his scaly skin. He ripped the dart out of his shoulder, a look of rage on his face, his eyes red and wheeling. Dizziness racked him and his clawed feet lost their traction. He slipped off the branch and into blackness, a cold weight pressing down on his consciousness. The glow in his eyes flickered and went out as he fell to the ground.