Ties That Bind (chapter nine)

by Len

The Jaguar

Ties That Bind

Chapter Nine

The Jaguar

The blood monkeys were easy to locate. Bynn, Vaidon and Batoonsta could hear their screaming from the distance. Bynn quickly surmised that they must have been hunting something; the way they were plunging so loudly through the forest.

“Sounds like the monkeys are herding,” Vaidon too had figured out the scheme.

“Let’s go see what they got.”

The trio sprinted to the area in front of the monkeys. The elves almost ran into a group of monkeys that were positioned in the trees. If the simian beasts had not been focused on dropping a net on their prey, they would have noticed the elves. Bynn motioned for Vaidon and Batoonsta to hide on the ground, and he made his way up a tree.

Bynn saw the underbrush rustling. Whatever was coming was large, and was approaching quickly. The monkeys readied their net, and Bynn drew back his new magical bow. He targeted one of the monkeys, and it almost seemed like the beast was right in front of him. Bynn knew he was going to enjoy his new bow.

The blood monkeys dropped the net as a giant jaguar sprang from the brush. The mighty cat stumbled and crashed in a heap as the tangle of ropes ensnared it. Bynn dropped the monkey he had been targeting. Vaidon immediately felt sorry for the jaguar as it thrashed about. Bynn and Batoonsta were caught in an odd sort of awe induced fear.

“Save the cat,” Vaidon called. Bynn took out two more of the net throwers with arrows to the chest, but the last one managed to leap away. Vaidon and Batoonsta slowly approached the giant cat. It must have been twelve feet in length, and weigh nearly eight hundred pounds. Yet, it was beautiful. As Bynn studied the jaguar, he agreed that it should not fall victim to blood monkeys.

However, the elf could see the monkeys that had been giving chase and they would be on the group in a moment. “Quickly, love.” Bynn shouted down as he brought monkey after monkey with precision arrow shots. There were too many, he dropped down too help Vaidon and Batoonsta.

*****

Tira Al Lung walked casually across a bridge which connected the meeting house to her new home. As always, Munkus followed silently behind. She stopped and looked out over Silkwood, the city of the elves. The same elves had killed her mother; now she would lord over them. Instictively, her hand caressed the Heart of Carinth. Tira had the stone fitted upon a staff, which she carried at all times.

The elves had taken to Tira’s charm and leadership skills. The ones that did not immediately side with her had eventually come around. Some had been seduced, while it took more genius designs to convince others. One by one, the elves of Silkwood had been placed under the spell of Tira Al Lung.

Only one elf seemed to see through her motives. As if her thoughts made him tangible, Kaa stepped out onto the bridge with Tira. She had tried nearly everything to persuade the former hunter that her intentions were honorable, but he was ever distrustful. Kaa had openly defied her too many times; so she did not feel comfortable killing him. It would raise too many suspicions. Also, the man was so highly revered for his past exploits; his death would be explored. Tira admired and hated the elf.

“So what is the play, Tira Al Lung?” Kaa’s words were laced with bitter contempt. “What do you want with us?”

Tira was tired of saying and doing all the right things. The dragon inside longed to be free. “I will dominate you. Your children will worship me or die. Then when you cease to amuse me, I will slaughter every elf on this island.”

“I thought so.”

“Yes, but you have gone against me too many times.” Tira smiled. “Now anything you say about me will fall on deaf ears.” Tira laughed. “You are all alone.”

It was Kaa’s turn to laugh. “You are forgetting about my daughter and Bynn.”

*****

Bynn waited for the monkeys to surge into the small group, but there was only silence. Vaidon finally sliced the net and freed the giant jaguar. The great beast sped off into the forest. Vaidon spun and readied her sword.

What are they waiting for? Bynn wondered.

The answer came in the form of a spider monkey with eyes like pools of blood.

Bynn took aim and let an arrow fly; he missed. The missile passed harmlessly over the shoulder of the monkey. Bynn shot again and once again the arrow did not find flesh.

The spider monkey raised his hand and pointed at the elves and minotaur. His eyes sent fear into the core of those in his gaze; it promised a slow and tortuous death. Then he flashed his sharp teeth and shouted, “More blood for the monkey god!” With those words the horde of blood monkeys erupted from the forest and closed on the group. Vaidon started twirling her two handed sword, gaining momentum and rhythm. Batoonsta stepped in front and swept six monkeys to their death with one swing of his hammer. Vaidon followed his lead and easily cleaved several minions. Bynn was masterful with his two blades, and the monkeys began to pile at their feet.

Still they pressed, clawing and clambering over their dead. The words, “More blood for the monkey god,” driving them to their demise. Suddenly, they stopped. “More blood for the…”

Qari ran across the limbs of a thick tree. With Calidorn’s cloak billowing out behind and the terror skull helm, he looked like an undead demon bird. The monkeys feared him; and they were paralyzed by it. The paranoia only heightened as the ground began to shake. Qari yelled and ran down the trunk of the tree; meeting in stride with Calidorn, who was at his full size.

The monkeys closest to the duo met quick deaths, while the others retreated.

“There are too many,” Bynn said to Vaidon and Batoonsta. They both nodded in agreement and ran into the forest. Bynn sheathed his swords and once again pulled out his bow. He killed several of the retreating monkeys, and a path opened up between him and Qari and Calidorn.

“Too many,” he shouted. “This way.”

Qari continued to stab the monkeys with his spear, blinded by his hatred. The others had not seen the evil the monkeys were capable of. They could know that every one of these beasts deserved the swiftest of deaths. However, Calidorn knew that the elf spoke true. The giant elephant snatched the tiny man in his thick arms and pulled him along.  Qari threw his spear at a the back of a monkey, not caring that it left him no weapons.

“More blood for the monkey god,” shouted the demon monkey lord. The monkeys feared their master far more than they feared the birdman and elephant. Soon, they were giving chase through the forest.

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