literature

Morgan's Melker

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The fire grew. Its flaming tongues spread, formed tentacles, then solidified into legs. The ground hissed and blackened when the burning beast touched it. A big, snarling mouth emerged, filled with smoke and teeth of heat.

Xe recognised it. The element might be different, but the creature was the same. Xe pushed xer back against the wall.

Not again, please. Let it go away...


Morgan stared, shaking, as the beast morphed. Fear drove through her heart and rooted her in place.

Where had Orion gone?

Selanji and Lienne stood nearby, supper burning and forgotten, staring in horror at the creature that had risen out of their campfire. Selanji had her hand clapped over Lienne’s mouth to prevent another scream.

But the monster wasn’t interested in them.

It was facing Morgan.

She couldn’t remember the name. Her mind was drawing blanks even as she remembered that traumatic night in the darkness, almost like this one. But there had been no fire then. Only darkness. She couldn’t remember how to fight it, or even if it would work this time.

She had to tell the girls to run. Her lips formed the words, but her voice didn’t come with them. She didn’t dare look away from the beast that dominated their humble fire. She wasn’t sure she’d ever be brave enough to start a fire ever again.

Morgan licked her lips, swallowed, inhaled, and shouted, “Run!”

Selanji glared. “Not without you, stupid! Come on!”

“It’s going to chase us if I run,” Morgan said. “Just go! Find Orion and tell him! I’ll–”

The monster roared, cutting her off. Morgan recoiled, pressing her back harder against the wall of the tiny shack they had found to stay out of the rain.

“GO!”

The monsters lunged for Morgan. Selanji hauled Lienne to the door, and Morgan dove to the side, just barely avoiding the hot jaws of the beast. It crashed into the wall, catching the dry interior of the wood on fire as Morgan scrambled to her feet and rushed outside after the girls.

The monster followed. It roared angrily as steam hissed off its fiery hide, rain pelting it but not doing enough to extinguish it. Morgan tripped and crashed into the muddied field. She twisted around as the monster raced toward her. She heard Lienne scream.

Then a boy shot forward from the side, swinging a long, straight staff right into the monster’s jaws and sending up sparks. The beast recoiled, snarling and disoriented. The boy stood between it and Morgan. He swung his staff and smacked it down on the ground with a solid thump. A challenge. The beast snarled at him and lunged, unafraid.

“Moor!” Selanji screamed, but Morgan couldn’t move. The boy didn’t jump out of the way of the oncoming monster. He held his ground and spun, driving the metal-tipped end of his staff into the monster’s shoulder at the last second, knocking it aside. He shuffled to keep himself between it and Morgan. Lightning arced nearby, followed by heavy thunder.

The monster roared. It was a sound she had heard before, and it was just as terrifying.

A melker. That’s what it was. It was following her.

But why? How?

The melker roared again, spitting hot sparks at the boy with the staff. It lunged again, and the boy ducked, swinging his staff low, tripping up the melker and sending it crashing into the damp earth. Steam hissed, but still not enough to douse the thing.

“Morgan!” A voice she didn’t know hollered at her. Morgan twisted as the boy fought off the melker. A second boy stood beside Selanji and Lienne, waving his hand. Her eyes involuntarily dragged down to his left arm, or what remained of it. He was missing his left arm from the elbow down.

“Get your butt over here!” Selanji ordered.

Morgan’s body began to reorient itself. Run, it said. Get away from that… thing. She rolled over, pushed to her feet, and rushed to the trio. The melker’s angry roar made her jump, and she tripped. Selanji and the other boy caught her.

“Go!” The boy pointed across the field. His brown hair was plastered to his neck and face by the rain. “Now! Tal will hold it off as long as he can!”

Morgan looked back, where the first boy now circled with the melker. The monster’s focus was now fully on him. Morgan, for the time being, had been forgotten.

“Come on, Morgan!” Selanji grabbed her hand and started to run. Morgan let her pull her along, with Lienne and the strange boy bringing up the rear.

More roars bellowed through the rain to them. Morgan whirled, expecting the melker to be hot on their heels, but it was worse.

A lot worse.

Three more of the creatures had emerged from their traitorous fire inside the shack, which was now trying to burn the whole building like a beacon. The boy with the staff, Tal, was surrounded by them now.

Morgan!” Selanji’s voice was irritated now, laced with fear.

“He won’t survive them all,” Morgan gasped.

But the second boy was already running back, a knife in hand. Tal spotted him and shouted at him before spinning around and slamming his staff into an advancing melker.

But the one-armed boy didn’t stop. He lunged right at the nearest melker, driving his dagger into its flaming hide. The beast snarled and whipped around, its jaws clamping down on the boy’s maimed arm. He screamed. Tal roared in a fury, lunging and smacking the melker’s head, making it release the other boy and whip around.

“We have to help them.” Morgan looked at Selanji. “What do we have?!”

“Uh, nothing?” Selanji pointed to the shack. “All of our stuff was in there!”

Morgan was pretty sure a curse word passed her lips, but she didn’t notice which one. The one-armed boy was on the ground, while Tal was struggling to fend off four very angry beasties.

Morgan started moving. Selanji screamed her name, and Lienne begged her to come back, but she didn’t. She didn’t quite know why. But she did know she couldn’t leave these boys to this fate. Not because of her.

Tal ducked as a melker leapt at him. The monster overshot and stumbled to a stop, but then it spied Morgan.

“No!” Tal shouted, blocked off by the other three melker. “Run!”

The one-armed boy was struggling to rise. Morgan backpedaled as the melker advanced, its eyes glowing with a hungry lust. Steam still rose off its hide, but it didn’t seem to bother the creature.

The melker roared and charged.

Tal and Selanji yelled at her in a panic to run.

Morgan’s feet couldn’t move. All she saw was that first night, when a melker of darkness had found her.

It would kill her this time.

She could feel its heat, but seconds before the burning maw could touch her throat, the one-armed boy slammed into her from the side, knocking her down and letting the melker leap past them harmlessly. Morgan wheezed, blinking up at the rain as the boy rolled off of her.
Before the melker could whip around and charge back, a huge man rushed it, his sword, swinging. The melker roared angrily, struck, and retreated a few paces. Morgan stared, chest heaving for air.

Orion!

His sword looked odd, but Morgan soon realized why. Each strike landed on the melker hissed and steamed. The man was using water magic. Concentrated into his sword to do real damage.

Tal spared no glance for Orion, struggling with the other three melker. But Orion finished off the fourth easily and went to join Tal. Morgan twisted, watching as Orion’s sword sliced through the air and then through fire with equal ease, the water magic destroying the monster.

The last melker had managed to back Tal toward the burning shack. His motions were slowing down, exhaustion seeping in. To Morgan’s horror, she saw the burning shack take on the shapes of a few more melker, ready to spring on Tal from behind.

“Orion!” she screamed.

The man whirled. Hardly missing a beat, the sorcerer rushed for the last melker and drove his sword through it from behind. The beast roared as Orion shoved it aside and grabbed Tal by his shirt collar, hauling him away from the shack before a torrent of water gushed toward the flames. The wind and rain manipulated by the tall man, cocooning the shack within, and the newly-morphed melker. Morgan shuddered at the screams, wincing was the wind and rain drove harder. She curled up, her eyes squeezed shut.

Then Orion released the magic, and the rain and wind resumed their usual descent as if nothing had ever happened. Morgan peeked up. The shack was strewn all over in blackened piles, the fire gone.

“Morgan!”

The sentrin twisted around just in time to receive Lienne’s hug, nearly bowling her over. Lienne clung to her tight. Selanji hurried over.

“Are you hurt?!” she demanded, dropping to her knees by Morgan.

“I’m fine.” Morgan’s voice shook. “I’m alright.” She looked at the one-armed boy beside her, but his attention was on Orion and Tal. He stood and rushed over, and there he caught Tal before the boy crumpled. Orion watched them, then approached the girls.

“What happened?” he asked, his voice firm, despite the flicker of concern in his eyes.

“I– I don’t know.” Morgan shook her head, gently prying Lienne off. “We were in the shack by the fire, and those… things appeared. And then those boys came and tried to save us.” She looked at the two. Tal was leaning heavily on his staff now, talking the other boy.

“And where were you?” Selanji demanded of Orion. “You just disappeared!”

“I went to figure out where we are,” Orion said. “Since someone lost the map when she said she would take care of it.”

“That wasn’t my fault!”

Morgan opened her mouth to quell the fight, but turned as the two boys approached. Tal looked at her.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.” She nodded. “Are you?” She looked at the other boy. “You are bitten.”

The one-armed boy shrugged, holding his maimed and now burned arm. He winced with the movement. “It’s not so bad. The rain helps.”

“Who are you?” Orion looked at them both suspiciously. Morgan huffed.

“I think they’re two people who just saved our lives.”

“I killed the melker,” Orion pointed out.

Morgan pointed at Tal. “If he hadn’t shown up, I would be dead.”

Tal looked mildly uncomfortable. “We were just passing by when we saw them burst out of the shack.”

Orion considered them both. Morgan stood shakily and tried to brush the mud off of her pants. “Well, thank you. That’s some impressive skill you have, with that staff.”

“Years of practice defending flocks. I’m just glad we were nearby.” Tal cast a glance at Orion. “Thanks for the assist.”

The man only nodded. “You’re not from here.”

“Orion!” Morgan huffed. Honestly what did it take for the man to show a bit of politeness?

“We’re not.” Tal shrugged. “We’re just passing through.”

“Well, you might as well stay with us,” Morgan said. “We don’t have much, but it’ll be better than spending a night in the rain, since our previous shelter is now… gone.”

Tal smiled, sagging on his staff a little more. He looked like he might refuse, but then he glanced at his friend, and nodded. “Thank you. We could use a rest to patch ourselves up.”

“Who’s your friend?” Selanji asked, sizing up the other boy. Tal didn’t seem to hear, or ignored her. He was busy sizing up Orion.

“I’m Ferret,” the boy supplied. “Are the rest of you alright?”

“Just shaken up,” Selanji said. “Your arm looks pretty bad.”

“We’ll tend to it when we reach better shelter,” Orion cut in. Tal jumped, looking between the girls and Ferret like he’d missed something. Ferret whispered to him as Orion went on. “I found a village ahead. We’ll find shelter there and make sure we all don’t bleed out before the night is over.”

“You mean we have to walk in the rain?” Selanji whined. “My skirt will be ruined!”

Tal smirked. Morgan thought it looked like a kind of smirk that would attract a girl like Sel. “That’s why you wear trousers. Your pretty skirts will be saved for better uses.”

Selanji glared at him before Orion herded them all across the field.
My first entry for queenofeagles' 777 contest (fav.me/dar4qh3)! She gave us seven different prompts, and we had to pick on (or two or however many you want) and use that prompt in some fashion, be it art or writing.

I picked the first prompt (which you see at the very beginning of my entry). I thought it would be a lot of fun to throw in some of my OCs from my Wattpad story The Empire Thief. And I had a lot of fun writing them all! :3 Hopefully I did Morgan and the others justice!

Orion, Morgan, Lienne, Selanji, and the melker all belong to queenofeagles
Talyx and Ferret belong to me (You can find them here! www.wattpad.com/story/41359830… )
© 2017 - 2022 Dragonrider-Storm
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queenofeagles's avatar
This was such a joy to read! I loved it :D You got so many details about them and their world right. Tal and Ferret sound so awesome too, I'm glad I got to meet them. Thank you for your entry!