This is for a Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig over on his blog.
The challenge: Go to Who The Fuck Is My D&D Character, get a neat one, and write +- 1000 words.
FEARLESS HALF-ELF DRUID FROM A SUNKEN CITY WHO WAS APPRENTICED TO A FAILED ALCHEMIST
Perfect hit with the spore bomb.
Kyreana might have been really fucking careless when it came to researching dragonfire, but she’d known how to make bombs. And before the explosion turned her into a rather oddly shaped shadow on the wall, she’d taught everything she knew to her only apprentice.
Ja’ash leaps from the vine, to the tree trunk, and scuttles up for a better view. Claws. Times like this, she always loves her claws. She looks down through the jungle foliage.
The goblins are staggering around, all feral menace lost in the spore effects. Some are giggling, some are puking, some are staring at their fingers. Harmless now. Or are they? She’s got to check them carefully. If they’ve gotten too close to the infection…
The quarantine duties have been running her ragged. Patrolling around the borders and checking anything that might have gotten too close while at the same time gathering weapons and supplies to move against the infection. Perched there on the branch, Ja’ash yawns and shakes her head. Digs into a pouch, comes out with her favorite pick-me-up. Thumb flicks the top off the giant acorn, revealing the powder inside. Big snort up each nostril.
Everything gets really bright for a second while her heart tries to break out of her chest. Then everything subsides to a nice fizzing along her nerves. No longer tired. Fresh and sharp. Moving as fast as her lizard parent, as quietly as her elf parent, she skitters, leaps, falls down to the clearing. A falling leaf would make more noise.
Stepping carefully, silently around the oblivious goblins, Ja’ash looks closely at each of them. Clean. Clean. Cl-. No. The eyes. The eyes are filled with tendrils. At times like this, she really hates her claws. A quick slash across the goblin’s throat and the eyes grow dim in time with the blood pouring down its, her, Ja’ash notices, down her chest.
Can’t even allow the corpse to return to the dirt, it and what it’s carrying inside has to be taken out of the cycle completely. She pulls the reinforced clay container of her pack. Pours very carefully, makes equally sure that the goblin corpse is completely cover and that she doesn’t get any on her feet. The corpse sizzles and dissolves. The acid, taken from the stomach of a giant fly trap, does its work.
Ja’ash isn’t around to watch. She’s already moving fast through the forest. On the ground, in the trees, whichever is faster. She drops into the Second Meditation. Breath comes slow and steady. Eyesight becomes acute. Personality drops away. Instinct takes over. Ja’ash the Gardener speeds to her weeding job. Behind her, the forest ripples and breathes in, preparing.
The forest had changed when the moon was moving into first crescent. The changes were subtle at first. Animals gone missing and she had thought that they were just dead, that the cycle was moving in its pattern. But then the flights of birds changed. The birds started to avoid the gullies that the bears called Giant Fingers. They stopped flying over that part of the forest. Then she’d found the porcupine. It had laid down roots. And was still alive. But no longer a porcupine. She’d tracked it back towards Giant Fingers. She hadn’t gotten close. The forest was too changed. Too dangerous. Misshapen trees. Deformed animals. All infected with some sort of fungus.
She called in a favor, baited the favor with rabbit kidneys and heart, and borrowed a hawk’s eyes to get an idea of what she was up against. From high in the air, the infection was spreading. Its center obvious. Its center growing. Her duty was clear.
No sleep for a week. Planning. Testing. Preparing. Making allegiances. Making promises.
Third Meditation. Senses unfold. Leap. Spin. Lands on the branch and feels the infection under her fingers. Looks back. Second eyelids flicker and she sees without eyes. The first part of the plan had worked.
The Parliament had ruled in her favor. The power is a green and gold wave. Even the Spider Conclave, its Matriarchs with their strange intelligence, even they’ve given their power to Ja’ash.
She’s humbled. She’s honored. But the one thing the Gardener doesn’t feel, even when she looks towards the infection and sees it, really sees it, she doesn’t feel fear. She knows the probably ending of this mission, seeing how huge the infection is, seeing now, for the first time, how deep its roots go into the UnderDark. But no fear. She tilts her head to get a better look. Bares her teeth.