Ties That Bind
“You didn’t see what I saw,” Qari screamed as Calidorn carried him through the forest. “I will kill them all.”
Calidorn tried to calm the man down, but Qari was having no part of it. He had seen the vile and nefarious manner in which the monkeys were feeding on the blood of humans. The mere thought caused him to once again fight back the urge to vomit.
Bynn appreciated the man’s enthusiasm for killing the monkeys, but realized that it was not the right time to make a stand. Silkwood was close enough that the elf believed the group stood a good chance of making it before the monkeys completely washed over them. Bynn threw the magical trident to Qari when he had finally calmed down enough to be put down by Calidorn. “I promise, you will get your chance at revenge,” Bynn offered, “But not now.”
Calidorn and Batoonsta never slowed in their dash for safety. The elephant man and the minotaur were far slower than the elves and Qari, and they had no intention of being overtaken by the blood monkeys. Vaidon stayed with Bynn and Qari as they argued.
Finally, Qari conceded that the fight would come another day. However, that notion was abandoned as the man saw Rolo getting chased by three wild monkeys. The anteater would be killed if no one intervened. Bynn let loose two quick arrows, and two of the creatures fell. The last monkey grabbed Rolo’s tail and set his feet against the pulling anteater. Qari drove his new trident through the creature’s chest, and urged Rolo to safety. Rolo followed Calidorn and Batoonsta.
The salvation of Rolo had cost Qari and elves their advantage. The blood monkeys were closing in on the group. “Vaidon, go with the others and send help as quickly as possible.” The female elf hesitated and almost argued, but something told her that Bynn was right. They would need help. She sprinted straight for Silkwood, but the monkeys cut her off. A half dozen of the creatures darted between her and the path to the elven city. Vaidon never slowed as she continued to run directly at the beasts. She cut down two with one mighty swing of her sword; however, the others clawed and scratched at her as she passed. The wounds were not nearly fatal, but they were certainly painful. They also slowed her down, which allowed more monkeys to get in front of her.
The demon monkey led the charge on Bynn and Qari. Bynn knew that the great monkey was somehow protected from his arrows, so he continued to launch arrows into the horde of blood monkeys that followed their master. Qari ran right at the demon monkey as the elf’s arrows thinned the troops.
“More blood for the monkey god,” the demon shouted as he leveled a stone club at the charging human. Qari lowered his spear in the hopes of skewering the beast. The demon monkey easily parried the attack, but it did not account for the magic of the trident. Qari wretched the stone club from the demon’s clutches. Instinctively, the man pulled the club free and swung it at the face of his foe.
There was a sickening crack as the club hit the monkey in the left eye. Blood poured from the shattered socket where an eye was resided. The demon monkey dropped to his knees and clutched his bleeding face. The blood monkeys hesitated; their lord had just been defeated. Qari aimed another strike, but before he could attack the monkey disappeared in an eruption of blood.
Bynn grabbed Qari and took advantage of the blood monkeys’ confusion. They may make it to Silkwood after all.
The monkeys in Vaidon’s path were too far away to know about the defeat of the demon, so they continued form in front of the elf. Vaidon was injured; every step sent waves of pain through her legs. The monkeys in front of her would kill her if she continued; however, the monkeys behind her would kill her if she stopped. Vaidon had no choice but to press forward. Suddenly, the jaguar appeared and slaughtered the monkeys in the elf’s way. Vaidon stumbled and the great cat leaped over her and killed the monkeys behind her. Then the jaguar took her collar in its mouth and carried her off as if she were one of its cubs.
Bynn and Qari quickly followed on the same path the jaguar had opened for them. As the duo neared Silkwood, they noticed volleys of arrows raining down behind them. The elves were driving the monkeys away from the city. Batoonsta and Calidorn were already resting when Qari found them. Rolo was curled into a tight ball next to the elephant, and Qari jumped on him and buried him in a hug. Bynn found Vaidon sitting with her back against the giant jaguar as the beast lay on the ground. The jaguar gave a low growl as Bynn approached the wounded female, but Vaidon gave him a soothing pat to show that it was alright. The good news was that everyone was safe. The bad news was that Tira Al Lung had been right about the monkeys.