Monday, November 24, 2014

11-24-14 Writing Warm-up
1:00 PM

11-24-14 Writing Warm-up

11-24-14 Writing Warm-up
Artwork © Grosnez, All Rights Reserved -
Story and Characters © Brannon Hollingsworth, All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

Hóng yī padded as quietly as he could through the Bramblewood. His red-and-white furred face pinched into a grimace. The boots stifled him, confining his lower paws, often causing him to stumble and misstep. He was not used to them, but he could not deny their usefulness. They masked his scent and left absolutely no trace of his passing. For them, and for the Sect of Seven, who had given him these wonderful gifts, he was eternally thankful.

It was now his job to use these gifts and the gifts the Crafter had instilled within him to rid this tangled forest of the plague which had befallen it. Hóng yī did not enjoy the taking of life. He was shēnghuó ménjiàng in his native tongue. The closest he could make it into the harsh-sounding language of his fellow Sect-members was: life keeper. But now, he had little choice. The Fallen had begun infecting and infesting the natural creatures of the forests of the Bramblewood. The creatures were no longer well, suffering from horrible diseases and mutations: massive pus-filled boils, horrible deformities, twisted growths of horn and bone jutting forth from their bodies, and more. These poor creatures had to be put down. They had to be culled from the Bramblewood's lines and herds, so that which was within them could no longer spread.

They had to be culled. Before it was too late.

Hóng yī spotted his quarry and froze like a statue before the Emerald Gate. It was as he'd suspected. The beast was large, with fearsome back-swept horns and deep, shaggy russet fur. Possibly a mutation of the Saola, what many of the Bolikhamxa natives in the near-by mountains still referred to as a 'unicorn'. Hóng yī grimaced for the second time this hunt: perverting and twisting a unicorn was by far and away a thing that would interest the Fallen. The poor thing barely resembled the creature that it once was.

The fire of vengeance burned in Hóng yī's furry belly. He wanted to make Them pay for what they had done to this fair creature. He wanted to make Them scream and beg for mercy. He wanted to twist Their forms and cause them pain and agony, just like what this poor creature was feeling now. Deft paws of white-tipped-red flew, and in the span of half-a-heartbeat, one of Hóng yī's red-fletched arrows (Roksana had called them cardinals) cut through the frosty air and slammed into the twisted creature's neck.

The beast turned towards Hóng yī and roared. It was the sound of a lion, out of the mouth of a lamb! Hóng yī's amber eyes widened with horror and realization. His haste--his lust for revenge--had made him hasty. He had missed! Now, the massive, enraged, and demonically-empowered beast was bearing down on him with murder in it's all-too-intelligent eyes.

Hóng yī slung his bow over his head and quickly scampered up one of the ubiquitous tangles of roots and branches all around him. His booted foot hit a well-worn spot (likely from the rubbing of the Saola) and shot out from under him. The Life Keeper felt his claws reflexively extend within his boot, but to no avail--he was falling!

With a tiny, but fierce, growl, Hóng yī slammed his front, right paw into the branch upon which he'd just been climbing. A thunderous roar and a titanic shudder wracked the entire tree and he nearly fell, again--

Right into the awaiting, needle-filled maw of the possessed unicorn beneath him. The creature howled again, the reverberating bellow rattling snow from the trees all around, and pounded it's horned head into the trunk of the tree again. It was trying to knock the Life Keeper from his precarious perch!

Hóng yī had to do something, and quickly. He could not hold on forever. Then, a light dawned behind his amber eyes. Pulling with one paw, he strained, trying to gain purchase with the other. No sooner had his ebony claws sunk into the wood than the Fallen-infused Saola slammed into the tree's trunk again, breaking his hold. Dangling by one paw, the small Xióngmāo gritted his pointy teeth and began kicking off his boots.

Sensing that something was afoot, the foul beast beneath him howled again, ramming its thick, antlered skull against the tree over and over again.

'Like a thing possessed,' thought Hóng yī.

Each shuddering blow, however, only helped the tiny Life Keeper with his task: removing those constraining boots! If he could just hold on for a few more moments...


Suddenly, off came the first boot, and Hóng yī chittered - a sound of joy and excitement. It elicited an enraged howl from the Fallen creature below. Using his prehensile toes, the red-and-white-furred member of the Sect of Seven quickly removed the other. Then using his free left paw, Hóng yī unslung his bow (oh thank the Maker it was over his left arm) and dropped it, catching it with his left, now un-booted paw.


The entire forest seemed to be vibrating now. Snow was falling in cascading sheets from the trees. Hóng yī's small black claws were slipping...

Out came a red-tipped cardinal and using his front paw and two now-no-longer-booted rear paws, Hóng yī nocked and fired his bow...

A scream that flattened the Life Keeper's fuzzy tufted ears ripped through the Bramblewood. The red arrow had found it's mark. Hóng yī dropped to the ground, adrenaline pulsing through his tiny frame like the massive beat of a war drum. He replaced his boots, praying a silent prayer of thanks and realizing the massive truth found in the Crafter's words: "Vengeance is mine..."

Hóng yī prayed that he would not forget again.


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