I hear them before I see them.
The rustling of plants, the whisper of the the wind, the chirps of birds and the scurrying of animals. These are the ordinary sounds of nature; they are the background behind all else.
When an stone-heart approaches, everything grows silent, as if nature itself fears the white abominations. That suffocating silence is the sound I’m hearing right now.
“Call it,” Marcus whispers. “My money’s on Horsemen.”
“Reapers,” I say. We do this often, my partner and I. Betting helps pass the time between fights. Marcus already owes me three disks from today alone.
The silence grows more oppressive. Whatever it is is almost here. Marcus and I draw our swords and stand back to back.
“Reapers to my right!” he shouts. They glide over the top of the hill, glaring at us.
We break apart, causing the pair two pause. Except for Crawlers, stone-hearts always travel and fight in pairs. Most of their tactics are tag-team, so having to either split up or focus on one target drives them crazy.
They look like typical Reapers: marble white skin, glowing red eyes, humanoid figure, massive head crest. Their arms end in these big sleeve-cuff shapes that hide their mouths. Instead of legs, they have this robe thing. Oh, and their bodies are rock hard unless your weapon happens to be made of carolium. Oh, hey, lucky me. It’s like I fight these things for a living. Weird, right?
In unison, they bend forward at the waist and flare their fanged mouths. Like the rest of their bodies, the lining of their mouth is bone white.
They apparently decide to split up. I let the one coming my way get close. Right as is shoots its arms at my face, I jump. Reapers are about seven feet tall, but I can pass that height easily.
Before the living statue figures out where I am, I shove my rapier through it’s crest. Unfortunately, I miss it’s skull, so instead of a dead stone-heart, I just have a really pissed-off stone-heart. Life’s like that sometimes.
Little Mr. Happy spins around and actually manages to get a swing at me. The mouth clamps around my sword. You can imagine what biting down as hard as you possibly can on a blade does to the Reaper’s mouth.
Now he’s really grumpy. His hand/mouth is laying on the ground, and his arm-stump is dripping white liquid all over the grass. Before he gets any more bad ideas, I decapitate him. His eyes fade from red to pink. Then white. In a few hours, the Reaper will dissolve into chalk dust.
I turn to look how Marcus is doing. His sword is laying toward the bottom of the hill, and he is underneath the second Reaper up toward the top. He’s holding its arms back so it can’t eat his face, but he’s pretty much pinned. One jump gets me half way there. The second gets my sword through the creature’s chest.
“Thanks,” he mutters, walking over to grab his sword.
“What was that?” I say. “Did I hear ‘Endon is my hero?'”
“Don’t push it, Jester. If anyone else finds out what you really are, you’re dead.”
“Eh, what happen will happen,” I laugh. “You owe me four disks.”
Until next time, I am: Endon Deckard
Word of the Day: stone-heart- n.-
A creature similar on body construction to a living statue. All have white skin and red eyes. Four types are known: Reapers, Horsemen, Tower Worms, and Crawlers.