Barrett kept his eyes on the trees. With the exaggerated size of the trees, it wasn’t easy for animals to hide- at least not close to the ground. However, there were giant vines that grew on some of the trees. There wasn’t anything wrong with those… the problem was the green snakes that looked similar to those same vines. They had discovered that when one of them suddenly fell down on top of Brody.
It had quickly coiled around him, and though it could have crushed him to death, it would take more than just a few moments. During that time, it was easy enough for the others to chop into its mostly immobile body.
They still had to watch out for them, because if one of them were caught away from the group or during a battle with another creature it could be deadly. A giant panther wouldn’t care too much if it only got to eat four people instead of five, and the constrictor would likely get away with a free lunch. It was even more important to look carefully now, since it was raining.
Some creatures didn’t have any sort of subtlety about them. This was especially the case with giant boars. Everyone could hear the grunting from a long way away. Though it was a heavy, they were still able to see the figure of the three meter tall giant boar from a long way off.
When it charged, it was easy enough for them to dodge behind a tree. The boar ran into the tree with a colossal thud… but didn’t seem fazed. It immediately took a step back and started moving around the tree, swiping out with its many tusks. This particular boar had tusks immediately next to its snout as well as at the edges of its mouth.
Barrett was so focused on avoiding all of those that he didn’t even hear the second boar coming until it was too late. All he managed to do was turn and move so that only its snout impacted him and not a tusk.
He found himself flying through the air for what felt like an eternity… and then he was tumbling and sliding down a hill. Nothing he did would slow him, and he ran into several trees on the way down. Sadly, not at the right angle to stop him.
He wasn’t sure how long it took him to come to a halt. He might even have blacked out for a time. Barrett felt his body. It felt like metal. Unfortunately, it still hurt. It took him some time to pry off the mangled breastplate, but it had prevented him from taking worse wounds. He looked down at it. It was crushed and split at various points. Some of that was from the boar, but he’d taken some hits from other fights as well. Even so, much of the damage was new.
He could barely have imagined what could have caused that sort of damage so quickly… except that he had seen very well what it was. A giant, charging boar. It was actually a good thing he hadn’t braced himself against it, or he might have broken his legs instead of just being sent flying.
Other than cracked ribs, Barrett only discovered numerous bruises. Perhaps the boar also had trouble with footing in the mud. He could definitely imagine worse wounds.
Barrett looked down at his breastplate. It was useless now, but he still had padded armor underneath. That should function for some time- though he would have to be more cautious about what he fought.
Barrett looked around himself. He had his pack still somehow… but didn’t see his axe anywhere, He was pretty sure he had dropped it right when he got hit, and if not he probably let go somewhere near the top of the hill. The rain had erased most of the traces of his path, which made him think he’d been unconscious for at least a few minutes. He was just about to start heading directly back up the slope when he heard something.
It was hard to hear with the sound of the heavy rain, but he thought he heard the sound of rustling leaves. It was the rhythmic nature of it that made him turn to look toward it. Then he saw a ghostly figure with long flowing sleeves and long robes. It was approaching him at a rapid pace, floating above the ground. “Run, fool!”
Barrett hadn’t expected to be admonished by a ghost… but now that the figure was closer he could see it wasn’t a ghost at all. It was a woman, and she seemed to be floating because her feet barely touched the ground at all as she ran.
Barrett started running in the same direction as her. His feet made a much louder crunching sound as he stepped on leaves- and sometimes brittle sticks that were almost the size of logs.”What are we running from?” Barrett had to speak loudly for his voice to travel through the rain.
“Assassins.” Though she merely whispered the word, it carried perfectly well to Barrett’s ears.
“Where did assassins come from?” The woman was fast, and Barrett had needed to speed up to a sprint to keep their relative distances the same. That required using some berserk energy to be sent into the ground to help him keep his balance. Barrett didn’t want to stay around to see assassins. He did consider that she might be one herself, but he recognized her from their training group. She had a veil over half of her face, so she had stood out… but he couldn’t remember what school she was from.
“How should I know? They appeared shortly after the rain. Maybe they were waiting for it. I think I noticed some emergency signals… but it was hard to tell.”
“Can we fight them?”
She shook her head, “I would not. There are many of them, and they seem to be around second tier… I just happened to be fast enough to escape encirclement.”
Barrett had more questions to ask, but he had to leave them for later. He slid to a halt just before running over a cliff. He looked down and frowned, “Do you have a rapid descent technique?”