Tyros walked a long, winding road down from his home on the Hill of Kings. Morning rounds, he called it, taking each new morning to trek the trails around his homeland to assure it remained safe. In a world filled with impending adventure, one could never be too careful, for one never knew when 'destruction of property' would decide to be the start of a new adventure. His current house was actually the Tyros Household Mk. IV, the house being absolutely obliterated three adventures before. Ever since the second time, Tyros had started his rounds.
Today presented itself as an amazing day, not even a cloud in the sky. Tyros almost felt like nothing could go wrong. Almost, except it was extremely rare for a day to go by without some kind of intense event. Sure enough, as he walked up the Hill of Kings, on its crest, the shape of a four-legged creature appeared, silhouetted in the rising sun. Its tail stood stiff at attention as it watched Tyros approach. Something felt off, Tyros noted. On the Hill of Kings, many residents owned dogs, but few allowed them to roam. In the past, the few that did happen to roam demonstrated immediate friendly actions. This one, however, was thus far neutral. A hand rested on his blade as he continued his walk, determined to finish undeterred.
Reaching the top of the hill, he let go of a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. It was just a normal dog, probably escaped from someone's back yard. He let his hands drop again to his sides and continued walking. It let out a loud bark and started running at him.
"Oh, great." It wasn't exactly friendly. Tyros stood his ground, puffing his chest and stomping a foot before him. The dog stopped in its tracks, "Yeah. That's what I thought." Tyros stared it down a moment before turning away again to continue his walk. It was nothing more than an annoying distraction from patrol. It's not that bad, he told himself as he turned his gaze up to flawless blue skies. A hawk flew over, and he raised his brow as a serene kind of amazement came over him at the rare sight and the impressive wingspan. Closing his eyes a moment, he drew in a deep breath and was greeted by autumn's unique scent. Late-blooming flowers, the smoky scent of a fire burning leaves and sticks, the cool scent of the air itself, and... Heated sulfur?
"Wait, what?" His eyes snapped open. The same amazing scenery from before filled his field of vision, and yet the smell persisted. Turning on his heels, he scanned the area behind him and found... Absolutely nothing. Well, except that the dog from before had apparently decided to follow him. It started as Tyros turned and stepped back a stride, apparently intimidated from the previous display, but curious enough to follow. Tyros scratched his head, then noticed the smell had vanished.
"Must be my imagination..." Tyros shrugged and turned to continue his walk. The instant he took his first step, the scent of hot sulfur assaulted his senses again. This time, it even pervaded and irritated his eyes. He whirled, frustration written on his face. Still, his gaze fell on nothing but the dog, though it was much closer this time. It gave a short howl before retreating a few steps once again, "It's not you, is it?" Tyros joked. The dog tilted its head, "Of course it's not you. That's just ridiculous." Defeated, he turned back and continued walking.
This time, not only did the smell come back stronger than ever, something hot and wet dripped onto his shoulder. "Okay, that's it!" He yelled, turning and unsheathing his blade with more force than was necessary, all in the same instant. Looking upward from where the drip surely had to have come from, he found... Absolutely nothing. "Ugh!" He yelled, and from by his feet came another yelp as the dog, close enough to be right at his heels this time, scurried away. Turning with forceful purpose, Tyros stomped onward, only to realize he had just reached the end of this particular part of the Hill of Kings.
Of course, the scent had come into existence once again, but he was fed up at this point. He turned to come back the way he came, the sun now at his back. Of course the scent vanished once again, and of course the dog yelped and scurried off. Donning a sour expression, he continued his march, leaving the dog behind him. That's when he noticed the shadow.
With the sun now behind him, all shadows were cast the same direction he was walking. As such, he found sudden confirmation that something was indeed following him. As the heated sulfur smell rose around him again, he noticed a shadow first starting behind his feet, but then growing bigger. Before long, it stretched far in front of him and engulfed him entirely. Its top jumped and shifted in the wispy effect normally found in a shadow cast by fire. Tyros stopped, his heart hammering and tightened his hand around his still-drawn blade. He spun on his heel, stamping his other foot down against the ground, drawing the blade up in a fighting position. He focused a fierce glare above him and found, staring down at him, the open, blue sky.
Fighting the urge to tear out his hair, he lowered his blade and his gaze. His eyes stopped on the dog at his feet, the same one that had been following him the entire time. It looked up at him and tilted its head before letting its tongue fall out of its mouth. Tyros' eyebrow raised and the hair on the back of his neck stood up as something clicked.
"No way... It couldn't be. Could it...?" He muttered to himself and turned in place, watching the ground at his feet. Again, the shadow began to grow. This time he payed attention to the particularly dog-shaped aspect of the mutating shadow, "It... Is." Tyros said as he turned again to find the dog looking up at him again. He set his jaw and sheathed his blade. This was a problem.
"I can't just slay you like any other monster, you belong to someone..." He said as he squatted to the dog's level. It startled and retreated a few feet, "And yet you're a monster when my back is turn. Probably when anyone's back is turned. What would happen if someone left you unattended?" The dog watched, curious, but obviously unable to answer, "And there's no way you've been this way forever. I need to figure out what did this to you. And yet, I can't leave you." The dog walked closer and Tyros held out a hand. One sniff later, the dog relaxed significantly and trotted up to Tyros' side. Tyros was sure to keep an eye on it the entire time he considered the problem.
"I need some help on this one. I need to go to the Bank of Dreams." A serene river alongside a sandy, rocky bank formed as an image in his mind. Tyros stood, "I hate to do this... But I can't just leave you." He kept an eye on the dog as he began to stretch, preparing for a lengthy run. Satisfied, he turned his back and took a breath, nodding as sulfur filled the air again. A low growl from behind caused his entire body to vibrate. The sound was his starting gun. He dashed forward, running back along the Hill of Kings. An unearthly howl pierced his ears for just a moment before he felt huge, shuddering, running footfalls shaking the ground behind him. It was a race, but Tyros knew still that he faced no true danger. Any instant the demon dog pulled too close, a simple glance behind him would turn it again to the friendlier normal dog for just enough time for him to pull ahead once more. He knew he would make it until he turned a corner for the path to forest which led to the Bank of Dreams. Two more dogs, both much smaller than the normal form of the monster behind him, watched his approach.
Oh, please don't be... He thought as he ran. They turned and ran too, terrified of the monster behind him. However, they didn't continue running in the same direction as him, and turned down a different path. As he ran past them, he shivered mid-stride as two more ear-wrenching howls split the air. Of course they are. Now running from three beasts instead of one, Tyros reflected on his overall lack of luck. This kind of thing just didn't seem to happen quite as often to his friends.
In the corners of his eyes, he noticed movement on two sides. Glancing to the right, the huge shape was suddenly just one of the small dogs, which stopped for a moment, looking around in confusion before Tyros turned his head to the other side. There, he saw the other smaller dog, but knew the one on his right had shifted again. Oh good, now I can't look at all three at once. Tyros stared forward grimly, continuing his dash for the forest, which he could see a couple hundred yards ahead. Once he made it there, the dogs could not follow him through the tightly-packed trees. His legs and lungs burned with exertion, and he could tell the dog behind him was getting closer. The other two, meanwhile, inched sideways with each stride, drawing closer and closer to him.
Gritting his teeth, Tyros redoubled the effort he was pumping through his legs, his breathing ragged. Each step pounding against the pavement sent uncomfortable shocks through his body. Hot breath beat down his neck, and he turned his head, simultaneously glimpsing the dog on his right and the one behind him, buying him precious few seconds before returning his attention to the forest's opening. It was closer than before, but it didn't feel like enough.
Regardless, before he could feel the hot breath and slathering drool on his back again, he reached the entrance, diving into it. He felt a shock as three sets of huge paws kicked off the ground after him, leaping into the air. Landing on the ground, he scrambled back to his feet and kept running. He quashed an urge to turn his neck and look behind him, but that would shrink the dogs again, allowing them to walk through the cage-like trees currently blocking their approach. He hoped the dogs would remain at the forest's entrance, trying to reach him, instead of turning around to wreak havoc in the Hill of Kings. Even if they didn't turn right away, they would grow tired of waiting quickly enough. He knew he had to hurry.
Before long, he arrived at the stream. As he slid down the small hill to the sandy bank, he took note that the stream flowed exactly as he remembered. It filled him with a sense of peace despite the crisis. He had visited here many times before to help with past issues. Closing his eyes, he sat on the sand, and allowed the voice of the stream fill his mind.
They are mutations, which you cannot set eyes upon.
I know that. Why?
A rift leading down to a fiery abyss has opened directly below your manor. It leaks more than just the unnatural heat you feel in your home. It leaks radiation. It affects the wildlife around your house. Tyros' heart skipped a beat. That was a shocker. A portal to hell generating heat under his house was something he always joked about because of strangely high temperatures, but nothing he ever believed was real.
How do I stop it?
It must be plugged. It is a large hole, and it needs something of equal size to-
Tyros opened his eyes, lids lowering in an annoyed expression cast nowhere in particular, "... Really?" He sighed and stood up. He had a plan, though he didn't much enjoy it.
Before long, he stood in front of his house again, eying it through half-lidded eyes. His annoyance was evident all over his face. Behind him, the dogs were once again demons, and likely about to attack, but he was having a hard time bringing himself to care. Blade ready in his hand, he took a deep breath before jumping up high. He knew exactly where the rift was through visions set in his mind by the stream. He knew exactly where to slice. Channeling energy into his blade, he extended it to the length of his house before holding it out and coming down. It sliced through like butter, and with a shuddering crash, the cut piece fell into a massive hole in the ground, plugging it. Instantly, the smell of sulfur vanished from the air as the dogs returned to normal even without his gaze.
Sheathing his blade, Tyros grumbled something about going home to the dogs as he sat down to plan the Tyros Household Mk. V. The dogs surrounded him and licked him in cheerful contrast to Tyros' sour mood.
So, yeah. Those dogs when I'm out on those morning walks. They're quite the pain. : I That's really most of what inspired this one, sooo... Short description this time! And not too much to add on the stuff I posted in my journal yesterday. Hope you enjoyed this!