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"First Encounter of the Lizard Kind"

”We’re not supposed to remember” my brother kept muttering to himself.

"First Encounter of the Lizard Kind"

”We’re not supposed to remember” my brother kept muttering to himself. He and three others had just resurrected after going on a short expedition east of Aftermath. I came in as the last person resurrected. All four were in a shocked state of mind. My brother Floki was not responding to anyone or anything, he just kept muttering to himself over and over again. One of the men was hiding under a bed. As I approached him he retreated further under the bed and whispered "Pippen!” I stooped down and crawled closer to him. ”Pippen, hide!” I looked into his eyes, and they were vibrating out of fear. "What happened out there?” I asked him with a soothing voice. He stared at me for a long time, almost like he was trying to get his memories in order. ”We went to the swamps to see why the Blight was so concentrated in that area.”

He paused to try to get his voice under control. Taking a slow breath, he continued. ”We were prepared for the Blight, but something else was in there with us. It tore us apart.” He started to sob. I grabbed the back of his head and put my forehead against his. ”You are safe now.”, I told him. ”What attacked you and the others?”, I asked. He got his sobbing under control enough to say ”It was a bi-pedal humanoid lizard creature. It wore clothes like a man and had a gator style tail.” He stopped as if he was remembering.

His breathing became rapid. ”Its claws were black. Its skin was scaly and different colors. Please help me forget this!” I nodded in understanding, then crawled out. ”Guild Mistress, can we get a necro here and Fugue them? What kind of creature has the power to force you to remember being killed?” The guild mistress’s expression appeared deep in thought. Raising an eyebrow and pursing her lips she replied, ”None that I have encountered.” I let a sigh out before I spoke again. ”Should I go warn people about the swamp?” She nodded in agreement as she called out to someone to fugue the four men.

I made my way out the guildhall and to the tavern where most townsfolk would be during this time of day. As I opened the door, I was met by some of the heroes that called themselves town guards. ”Ah, just the fellows I was looking for. We have a report of a dangerous lizard creature near the town. From what was reported it may be too much for just you lot. We may need to get the town together to keep them safe.” The men laughed me off in their drunken state. I rolled my eyes and mouthed ‘worthless’ with my lips. I entered the tavern and saw a group of pirates and brothel workers sitting at a table drinking and talking about something I probably needed to hear the beginning of to understand. I greeted them with a wave and a smile, then turned to the barkeep. ”Hey, got some news the Healers Guild needs spread,” I told him everything then asked him to tell them to stay in big groups until we can handle the situation. He nodded and asked what have I eaten for the day. After answering ‘nothing’ he scolded me and gave me some rat meat on a stick and some watered-down wine.

After a few minutes of sitting with the barkeep, my brother came in and sat next to me. ”So I hear the whole expedition got killed and gave us some pretty bad rez sickness.” I laughed at the rez sickness remark then replied, ”Had to crawl under a bed to find one of y’all. But with all joking aside we need to prepare. We are not too well known and people don’t trust us enough to let us walk around with them.”

He nodded and gave me a look that said, ‘no it’s you that don’t trust people enough’. I knew the look well. Before we came here we were living in Blight safe areas and always on the move. He was small, ten years my younger. He didn’t remember the hardships we faced, the people that used us, and robbed us. I had been seeing that very look more than normal after he joined the expedition group. He liked being part of the pack; I was a bit of a lone wolf.

Later that day just before dusk I started to help the Healers Guild with fortifying their hall. We boarded the windows as we’d been doing every night since more deadly creatures had been coming to town at night. I kept telling the overseer it had to be the lights that were attracting the monsters. According to him, it was the absence of Blight that drew them to town, and the nocturnal creatures were always stronger. We barred the door with a six by six beam. It was pretty heavy, so it took two strong guys to lift it. It did its job very well; they said the guildhall had never been attacked. Only members could sleep there and, well, I was not a member.

So I made my way out and to the barracks where us nobodies lived. I armed myself with a large boat oar I brought from my home village. It was covered in symbols I burned into it. Even the city’s symbol. I was sitting on my bunk as my brother and the others came in. They all armed and armored themselves. ”New armor?” I asked them. My brother turned to look at me as he buckled up the leather armor. ”Yeah, the Armorsmiths Guild gave us all new gear. It’s not much but we are quickly becoming known around town.” The one guy I talked to under the bed looked over to me ”Yeah Pip, you should join us. We want to form our own guild.” My brother looked at him smiling, giving him a wink. ”He’ll join.” The group all started to bother at me with friendly remarks. Then all at once the fires throughout the city magically, alchemically, or naturally died out. The town went into a panic. Even the moon’s light that was normally produced was not giving us light even though we could see it in the sky. We all headed outside to see what all the commotion was all about.

Very little could be seen outside, even less indoors. We all waited, thinking our eyes would adjust but they never did. My brother spoke to the groups. ”We need to keep an eye ou…” Something interrupted him as he saw something coming from around the barracks. We all turned to look at what caused him to pause. The creature stepped onto the concrete pathway between the barracks and the wood line. It moved slowly, with heavy steps and sporadic movements. It paused by the door facing us. We couldn’t get a look at its face, but we could tell it had multiple colored scale patches all through its face.

The lizardman lunged at the group, attacking us. The first person he went for was one of our monks. He fended the creature off decently but still took a hit. And one hit was enough. The monk’s arm was shredded from the elbow to the wrist. He retreated as the rest of us began to attack the creature. We surrounded it, and two of us at a time would strike from opposite sides. This only worked once as the second time we tried it, he grabbed a sword that was thrust into him. He pulled in his attacker by the sword and forced him to the ground. We all took advantage of this and began to attack it again.

The attacks did not seem to faze him as he dug into his victim like a dog would dig a hole. He ripped out everything from the lungs to the groin. We all backed off as we all noticed our friend laid in a bloody mess. The creature was solid red now, covered in blood. It stood as it looked for its next target. We all watched in terror as the creature’s wounds healed before our eyes. Each one of the guys started to run, realizing we would need help. The creature got another one of us as we started to run. Only three of us were left, we ran towards the guild halls.

There was a group of people outside the guildhall trying to get the lamps relit with no success. We ran past them yelling at them. ”Go inside!” They noticed our panic but did not react fast enough. The creature stalked forward, causing everyone outside to scream and run. Blood and body parts went flying everywhere. Only a few got away from the creature’s onslaught. The guildhalls were next. The creature tore through the door like it was wet paper. As this was going on, the remaining members of the group and I got into our barracks.

I looked to the group ”Open the back door, then hide inside.” My brother looked to me. ”when it gets through the door, I’ll run out the back leading it back out to the swamps. I’m fast, it won’t catch me.” I nodded in agreement and then got under my bunk. The other guy got on his bunk with a shield and short sword. The creature took its time getting to our barracks, and once it got inside it spotted my brother and stalked him outside. Not long after it left it returned with my brother’s corpse. I could hear bones snapping and flesh-tearing. Then my heart sank as I heard my brother moan.

I knew we could resurrect but we know we can only do it so many times before we are gone forever. This would be his fourth time resurrecting in two months. Knowing he may not come back I jumped up screaming and started throwing things at the creature. It stopped eating and smiled at me. Its face was the most terrifying thing I had ever seen. Its teeth were short and razor-sharp; its scales were purple, yellow, red, and dripping with blood. Its claws were two to three inches long, black, and curved. It was wearing tattered clothes like it was once more than just a killing machine.

I grabbed my boat oar and cracked it over the head of the creature. It went down from the blow. I cried out, hoping to get someone’s attention ”Help, we got some hurt in here! I think the creature is dead.” Some members of the healers guild ran in after a few minutes and managed to heal my brother… and then the creature started to laugh. I grabbed my brother’s hand and ran. The other member of our group that were left came with us. As soon as we got behind the barracks we could hear the creature killing the few members of the healers guild that came to our rescue. We could see our other members that had gotten separated sneaking between the barracks and the guild halls.

My brother threw one of his daggers at their feet. Seeing the dagger, they ran to us, staying in the shadows. Then together we fled into the forest thinking we would have a better chance of surviving there. ”We need to come up with a plan.” the monk said as he looked around, arm limp at his side. ”A trap?” I asked. My brother started grabbing long thick sticks. ”I think we would have a better chance of killing it if we can keep it out of range.” he said. The others agreed and started making wooden spears. It did not take long to make them and after a few minutes we had made two apiece. We left the spears scattered around where we planned on fighting the creature. Then two of us left to find the creature.

My brother and I made our way back to where we saw it last. Inside the guild halls was a gory mess, blood coated the entire inside of the building. Body parts were everywhere. We continued looking for the creature and finally found it in the tavern. We beat on the windows to get its attention then ran to the wood line. It followed us, almost getting to us before we got to our place where we had planned the attack. I slowed down and grabbed the spear, planting the flat side in the ground. As soon as I got it planted it found its mark. Right in the stomach of the creature. Its momentum forced the spear to go through the creature. The creature tried the break the spear but the others started to attack it as well until it was restrained. The creature seemed to be lifeless as we studied it. ”It looks like a lizardfolk but with more scales.”, the monk said. I looked at it, nodding ”what should we do now?” My brother started to gather firewood and pine needles. ”Burn it”, he said. We all helped gather firewood then we lit it up. It started and we watched him burn. After a while, he dissipated. We saw the lights of the town come back to life. We sat for a while, watching the fire. All feeling proud of saving the city. We all laughed and started to brighten, having a good time. Then we all headed back to the city as it got close to dawn.

But as we were walking, we were ambushed yet again by the creature. It was alive. It killed my brother and the monk right away, crushing their heads together. Brain matter and blood flew through the air. I sank to the ground at the sight, watching as the creature ripped the two apart limb by limb. I found myself petrified. I couldn't move. The creature stalked over to me and kneeled on me, knee pressed into my chest. I asked it, ”What are you!?”

It sneered at me, and then roared its response ”SEVER!” as it plunged its clawed hand into my gut and tore out my intestines. He made a slipknot out of them and then wrapped it around my neck. Gagging and coughing as I started to fade, I could feel him hoist me up a tree by my innards. Everything went silent as my vision finally faded.

My brother never resurrected.

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