flASH fiction: Volume 4: Open the Breach (34)

Open the Breach
By
Jason Pere

After nearly a fortnight of bloody combat a black plume of smoke rose up above the top of Rayward’s seal wall. From where it watched among the tree line of the woodland surrounding the great city, Koin’s gruesome maw curled into a wicked sneer. The chimera overlord let out the breath that is had seemingly been holding for several anticipation filled days. The smoke was the sign that it had been waiting for. Knowing that part of Rayward had been put to flames was just the offering that Koin needed in order to settle an impatient mind.

Koin had been forced to send more of it’s lesser creatures up the seaside channel to Rayward’s aqueduct than it had wanted. The chimera overlord had first considered sending only a marginal force to infiltrate the city but had ultimately decided against that course of action. While Koin had a large number of waterborne creatures among the number of it’s horde, it was loath to commit any heavy measure of bodies to the cause. A few robust juggernauts of scales and muscle would have been enough to steal into the city and fight their way to the inside of the gates. The humans of Rayward could not stand against it’s kin in close quarters, even with the advantage of their home terrain. It was not the warriors of Rayward who had dissuaded Koin for sending a large number of chimera into the aqueduct but the perils of the Bone Sea, itself. The riptides and jagged rocks along the coast would be enough to end all but the strongest swimmers. In it’s better judgment, Koin knew that it was a heavy cost to pay in fighting resources but the investment was starting to pay dividends as smoke streaked the sky.

“Marx,” Koin said with a bestial hunger dripping from it’s voice. Long globs of spittle and saliva poured from it’s mouth as it spoke. The creature chewed on it’s speech and breath like it was a starving thing, being fed after a long stretch of neglect.

“Yes, my master?” Marx said as he hobbled up and presented himself before Koin with fearful deference. He flung himself to the ground, quaking and trembling. A few new cuts and gashes marring the skin on his arms and hands caused the broken man some evident discomfort but he dutifully placed himself at Koin’s minimal supply of mercy.

“It will not be long now. Fetch me my eldest cousins. I would commune with them before I claim my city.” Koin said. It snarled through clenched teeth as it spoke. The promise of blood and death looming in the near future had brought out the baser feral side of the great chimera.

“At once, I will summon them,” Marx said, raising up on unsteady legs. It was clear that the man was struggling to become reacquainted with his crippled body after his dalliance in Rayward, posing as a man of means and refinement.

“Be swift about it. I have waited longer than I care to. I will not suffer my city resting in the miserable hands of your kind a moment more than need be,” Koin said with rancor. The beast growled and twisted its horned head at a sharp angle, conjuring up several earsplitting snaps and cracks as it’s bones ground together.

Marx offered a terrified gulp as he bowed and lowed his eyes. The man proceeded to scurry off as fast as his broken body would allow. He moved much quicker than anyone in his condition should have been able to. He was obviously a man who was motivated purely by the fear of a painful death and the desire to keep his heart beating and blood pumping.

Koin watched with disgust as Marx departed. The massive chimera found itself ruminating on its time reining over the marked human dregs who followed at its hooves. Seeing Marx being such a manifestation of weakness and humiliation reignited a disdainful spark that Koin had almost forgotten with itself. For a time it had grown marginally indifferent towards the ones who worshiped it. Koin remembered that it hated all humans. It hated the branded herd of men and women that followed even more because they were all too terrified and desperate to see that they were ultimately bound for extinction. The praise and adulation that it’s followers showered upon Koin were empty offerings. The hulking nightmare snarled and spat as it wallowed in the detestation of beings without worth. Praise from the weak was a hollow thing. Koin would see all humans spill their blood dry in tribute. For Kion that was the only way a human could possibly make a meaningful gesture of servitude.

The chimera overlord managed to quell it’s rising temper before it’s animalistic rage boiled over into a chaotic outburst. Koin took some solace in the thoughts of how it would erase mankind form the face of existence. It needed the likes of Marx and his breed for precious little time. Once the great cities of Argaia had begun to fall, Koin would be free to cull the meek human doters who sniveled at it’s hooves. The notion of slaughtering the miserable wretches who following in the wake of his fighting host, brought a malevolent delight to the chimera. Koin’s dark black eyes twinkled and sparkled with a murderous wonderment as it fell down a long and twisted path of sinister imagination and fantasy.

Koin was retrieved from it’s macabre daydreaming by the sound of several of it’s oldest and most elite warriors tromping through the woodland underbrush. Koin griped it’s claws greedily as if to grasp at fistfuls of jewels and treasures while it watched the terrible image of armored monsters emerging from the shadows of the trees. This frightening assembly of nature perverted would be the harbingers that delivered Koin to it’s most coveted plunder yet. The days of waiting and lurking in the woods outside of Rayward were drawing to a close. The respite of bloody conquest was close at hand. Koin could smell the savory fragrance of fire wafting in the air and taste the sweet nectar of human blood carried on the wind. The only thing Koin needed before it gave the final order to press the attack on Rayward’s Gate was to hear the perfect sound of humans screaming as they were torn apart. Once the death cries of the people behind the city’s seal wall were loud enough to be heard from the outside, Koin knew deep down in its black heart of hearts and the very core of it’s bones that there was no force in all of existence that could save Rayward from total destruction.