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Across the Dunes

The first day of your trek to the Scorpion People encampment is very uneventful. You find that sleeping during the scorching day and traveling at night is much more comfortable. Also, at night, your antenna seem much keener at picking up the slightest movement in your environment Loki was right. Those lizards do taste good. Using your antenna you find where they are burrowed, sleeping in the stand. Thrusting one of your claws into the dune you bring it out. Brutally awakened from a sound sleep, the creature is squealing and struggling as the sharp teeth on your pincer easily cut through its scaly skin.

Letting instinct take over, in your hunger you realize that Scorpion men eat their prey while it is still alive. There is no need to immobilize the lizard with your stinger, you just seize it in your mandibles and inject it full of digestive juices. Within a few minutes, the lizard’s struggling is reduced to a subtle twitching. Then you suck its yummy insides out. Almost like a milkshake. After a finding a few more, you settle down for a nap before your evening trek.

Waking up at dusk you stand up to admire the setting sun. Suddenly, your antenna start telling you “DANGER!” You spin around to here a whooshing noise and here a chink as you feel something hit your bicep. Looking down at your clawed feet you see an arrow and looking up you see to humans on horseback galloping toward you.

You dive behind a dune as you hear two more arrows sail over your head. Then you think to yourself, “Wait a minute. I have armor.” Your antennae sense the location of the horse riders; almost like radar on your old world. Peeking above the dune, you see the horsemen sling their bows over their shoulders and draw wicked looking curved scimitars.

Staring at your four pincers you realize that you are not without your own defenses. Using your antenna you position yourself a little to the lead horseman’s left. At the right moment, you reveal yourself, dodge to the right and jab the stinger in your tail into the horse’s flank. The horse brays in pain as it gallops forward. Both horsemen gallop forward another fifteen yards, but one you stung staggers a bit, then collapses throwing its rider into the sand.

The other horseman wheels his mount around and points his scimitar straight at you. Letting out a wild war cry he digs his heels into his beast and charges at you. You stand there waiting until just the right moment, then you dodge to the right, dragging one pincer like a talon down the side of the horse, opening it up and seizing the rider’s leg with the other. Both horse and rider bellow in agony as you drag the rider to the ground. Your antennae again warn you of danger and you sidestep the upraised sword of the other rider. The man’s sword glances of the chitinous armor of your arm. You swing your tail around, impaling him in the back. Unlike the horse, the man drops immediately.

Quickly turning around you bring your attention back to your other foe. Your claw had bit into his leg all the way down to the bone. He is screaming and writhing in agony and desperately flailing at you with his sword, but his attacks are weakening and uncoordinated. You grab the wrist of his sword arm with a pincer and hold his arm in place. Mastering your pincers, you manage to get hold of him with all four claws. You squeeze them just enough to not do any real damage, but cause enough pain to keep the man from thinking about escaping.

Staring into the man’s bearded, leathery face, you see tears of abject terror. “Drop your sword!” you order him. The man doesn’t comply and you are under the impression he cannot understand you. You order him again to drop his sword and accompany the order with a little more pincer squeeze. The scimitar falls in the sand.

Written by J.M.

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