RATHEGALIA: ENDOWMENT OF BLOOD
Book 1, Page 3
“That’s new.” Belmont’s voice was carried on heavy exhalations into the night sky. The dual moons above him shone brightly over the rocky cliff he was savagely battling on. The air was crisp and clean, an aspect of venturing deep into the far, unsettled lands of Friki the king loved. Exploring was in his DNA. He relished traversing rough, uninhabitable terrains and uncovering all the wonders his home world had to offer. Illuminated by the moonlight before him was one of those wonders, as well; a massive beast known as a megathirio – a monster whose anatomy resembled the combination of a snake and an elephant. It stood about 11 feet tall and weighed almost 9,000 pounds of dense muscle. It moved on four legs with great agility for being so gigantic. Skin as dense and hard as metal covered its body. Tusks protruded from its mandible to accompany a mouth full of razor-edge teeth and fangs. Yet, Belmont had never experienced a megathirio spit venom before.
As the king circled cautiously with the megathirio while it hissed and bellowed in anger, he examined the venom on his shield. “Of course,” he said with exasperation rubbing it between his thumb, index, and middle fingers. A mysterious liquid Belmont recently noticed in the remote area of Friki he was searching led him to believe it could possibly be aima. Upon battling the megathirio, though, he discovered it was merely the venom from the monster, a seemingly new evolutionary trait of the Frikian species.
“I guess it was too much to hope that aima would be here,” Belmont expressed. The megathirio roared mightily, as if it were replying to the king. Then, it darted forward. Belmont moved skillfully under the tusks while raising his shield to block the downpour of venom spewed by the monster. Upon exiting to the creature’s rear, he turned and swiped his sword with full strength. The clash of his blade against the beast’s hide rang throughout the night sky. Sliced but unphased, the megathirio turned sharply whipping its tail. Belmont ducked again.
Claws. Tusks. Venom.
Shield. Dodge. Shield.
Belmont swiftly avoided and defended the megathirio’s onslaught. Then, the king stood at the ready. “Just one glimpse,” he whispered to himself. Belmont was waiting for the exact moment to strike.
The megathirio lunged forward head and tusks first. Its movement was unnaturally swift and caught the king off-guard! Providentially, Belmont was able to absorb the charge with his shield and stand his ground; an attribute afforded to him by his supernatural strength. He then attempted to lift his arm, exerting extreme effort. “Aaaargh!” The megathirio was not displaced, though. The king’s muscles were bulging beneath his armor, burning with fire from being pressed to their absolute limit. Belmont was struggling unlike ever before. Thus, he mustered every ounce of energy and strength inside. Yet, he still was unable to move the monster!
Belmont’s knees began to buckle under the unrelenting pressure of the megathirio. Slowly, his body was being lowered to the ground as the monster snarled loudly. If he did not find a way to escape, he knew he would certainly be crushed and devoured. However, Belmont’s body simply could not respond to the power of the megathirio. His vision became clouded as it faded to black; the king was overextending his body in defense against being slowly crushed. His breathing became rapid and shallow as he struggled to get air. Every fiber of muscle in his anatomy began to deflate slowly. Then, as Belmont could see venom pouring along the sides of his shield over his head in between blackouts, a cold, stark reality settled in. The king’s end was at hand.
CRACK! Thunder boomed in the sky above Belmont. FLASH! Lightning ripped apart the canopy of darkness above. Torrential rain poured down as Friki seemingly erupted in sorrow at the demise of its ruler. Suddenly, though, Belmont felt a surge of power from deep inside him. He sensed magic encompass his surroundings, and a colossal energy emerged from within. The king burgeoned with an animalistic fury, and in an instant, he rose from the ground with god-like power!
The megathirio’s head was launched upward. In one fluid motion, Belmont also rolled to the side, and as he did, he lacerated the blade of his weapon mightily over the barely exposed flesh-vulnerability from beneath the megathirio’s armored neck region. A deafening shriek left the throat chamber of the monster. A death blow had been landed!
The megathirio slammed into the rock beneath them, catapulting dirt into the air around it. Black blood saturated the cliff, spewing rapidly from the fatal gash Belmont inflicted. He breathed heavily, taken aback by the unrecognizable sensation of power he just experienced, but still prepared to engage in the off chance the monster’s survival instincts had one more desperate attempt left to fight back. Alas, it was fading rapidly. Lifeless, the megathirio’s four glassy eyes stared into oblivion while reflecting light from the moons as raindrops pounded onto its scaly hide. The battle was finally over.
Belmont looked at his arms and body in a manner of disbelief for a moment. Then, he questioned himself. “What was that?” The moment was fleeting, though, for another inquiry quickly took over his mind. “How was it I missed signs of this being her nesting ground?”
Megathirios are normally hyper-aggressive. Their viciousness escalates when a being enters the area where they have laid their eggs, though, as the king just experienced. Nevertheless, Belmont did not see a nest anywhere. “It has to be here… an egg or something,” he contemplated as he forged on searching to ensure he was not mistaken. That is when, upon closer examination, he found something inside a shallow cave opening some yards away from the edge of the cliff. It was aima!
“It can’t be,” Belmont silently exclaimed as he knelt to the ground. “The megathirio found a small aima spring. No wonder it possessed mutated qualities. The substance must have enhanced its anatomy and physiology. The legends are true.” Looking back at the beast’s carcass, he continued, “You were guarding your source of newfound power and sustenance. Clever girl.”
Belmont studied the tiny puddle from the moist hole in the ground. The small amount of liquid present perfectly matched the description of aima in the ancient Frikian documents he reviewed. “Damn it. Completely tapped.” The megathirio had dried out the spring, though, making it impossible for Belmont to collect a viable sample. However, the king knew he was close. After dozens of years searching, aima’s discovery was finally within reach. However, his joyful contemplation was suddenly interrupted.
“A caravan? This far out with no settlement for at least a six days ride?” Belmont witnessed a small group of travelers in the far distance with his vampire vision. A single carriage was being driven into a dense forest from a clearing, and surrounding it were human captives chained and bound together. Staying low to the ground as to remain inconspicuous, the king studied them and quickly noticed an unfamiliar vampire clan sigil on their attire. Belmont racked his brain to recall the crest, for he knew it was no ordinary clan symbol. Deep inside his spirit he felt the ominous aura the sigil represented. Alas, his memory failed him. His senses did not, though. The king recognized malevolence exuding from the vampires in the caravan. “I need answers,” Belmont said to himself. With that, he gathered his things and departed for Vrykolakas to research the sigil. He would need more information before he could investigate the caravan further.