Ngulu the Broken was upset. No-one understood him. Granted, his urges made it hard for him to be loved, but he found that people judged him only by his appearance. He could not remember how he had arrived on this strange planet, nor did he know how the magic worked, which moved him between places. It always seemed to happen when he was hungry, and that was the problem.
Food meant battle; he needed fresh meat and it just seemed to be there, waiting for him. More recently, he felt persecuted, especially by the strange detachable creatures with shiny skins. They were fragile, yet persistent. Now he was in pain, his mouth held rigidly open and feeding was not an option.
His hand burned, breaking into his simple reverie and he dropped the small warrior to the ground, shuffling round on his injured legs to stare curiously at the strange little man. The tiny winged animal clung ever tighter, seemingly intent on doing Ngulu’s work for him.
He started back as flames burst from the head of the red-haired human, grunting in surprise. Totally engrossed in the scene being played out before him, he forgot about Sir Frederic, who was pulling himself to his feet with the aid of his now recovered sword.
Cornelius was in a world of pain, his neck and face on fire. No longer did he rationalise, instead he existed. Where Clari touched him, nerve endings protested vehemently. His mouth opened, a scream trying to break free, but nothing came out. Head flung back, arms raised in supplication, Cornelius suffered.
Clari knew that her time had come. She felt bones become fluid, skin translucent and she surrendered to her purpose, pouring her essence into the process, sacrificing her existence for the one she loved.
Sir Frederic saw the monster leaning over his erstwhile saviour. The wounds on the creature’s legs had ceased to weep and he watched in horror as flesh began to reknit. There was little time; he needed to act now. Cursing, he clanked his way forward, certain that the thing would notice him at any moment. Sword raised he threw all of his training and muscles into one all-powerful blow.
Child-like, Ngulu the Broken centred all of his concentration on the transformation before him. The flesh on Cornelius’ face melted, becoming one with the body of the winged creature, whose hold did not lessen as it consumed itself. Red skin arched upwards, struggling to meld the two forms together, ridging where there was union. Flames licked along Cornelius’ shoulder, neck and cheek, where a small head nestled in an ultimate caress. Ngulu saw the moment when Clari died, when her form became no more than an intricate tattoo which added to those already on Cornelius’ body. This was brighter though, a brilliant red tracing a line from Cornelius’ neck, wrapping round his throat and terminating at his eye.
As the human fell to the ground, Ngulu reached forward reverently. It was then that he heard the stamp of feet and the swish of a weapon. Rolling quickly, he tried to avoid the blade, which even now smashed downwards.
Guest post with D.P. Prior
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