This is a continuation of the Mortis Custos Part 37 by @lex-zaiya.
To start at the beginning of the story please see the links provided at the end of this post!
Viewer discretion is advised due to gory violence! Undead! Swords! Death! Beware!
They did not rest long. The days and night's of this plane was strange. Mortis trudged along after Adiran. The mage was in a foul mood. The old man had insisted that these Temple initiates travel with them, even though they distrusted Mortis.
Mortis was inclined to feel the same way about them. Temples of Kai? There was no such thing when I was alive!
Adiran had to lead the way. Mortis carried Magna on his back. The mage had put some sort of binding spell between them and had assured that some of Magna's life force would return to her. The girl seemed to be in a sort of a coma. Mortis could do nothing about the worry that he felt. I know he would let no harm come to her. I have to trust that the Blood is still strong and that they will stand together... As they have done before...
Behind them, splitting Mortis from the Initiates of the Temples of Kai came Derric and Helga. The Harpy rode the werebeast gingerly at first, not used to riding any mount, but soon grew fond of the wolf.
At the back of the group came Kern, then Noxus and finally Gorox. The three had put away the weapons that they carried, but Mortis knew how soon they could become armed. That Mortis cared for and carried Magna seemed to confuse the Initiates.
There was no time for talk. Adiran rushed as he walked. They had gotten away from the sandy hillsides and were walking into a brighter part of this plane. None of the crystals were littered on the ground and soon green and yellow grasses covered the ground. Mortis remembered the creatures that he had tried to catch and kill to replenish his magic, they were far away still.
The Mage did not slow down as the terrain changed as though their surroundings meant very little to the status of their safety.
"Why are we travelling at this pace?" Mortis finally asked.
Adiran seemed fit to burst with anger. "I told you! More walking, less talking! We are in terrible danger!"
"From the tentacles?"
"Gallopods are carnivorous and scavengers, they will likely flock to the body of the creature that you slayed. I can hope that the one you destroyed bore the young Initiate but I know there is no real hope of that."
"But how could you know that?" Mortis asked.
"Because I have seen it happen before!" Adiran screamed. The old man had turned around, furious, his face like a storm. The mage turned away and Mortis glimpsed the sight of tears streaming freely down the mage's face.
Mortis decided not to ask any further questions.
Not far enough away in a shadowy valley, the crystal studded hillside began to shiver.
The crisped, charcoal tentacles that were burned by the intruder were falling and crumbling to dust on the valley floor. The body of the massive beast was coming out of the ground, the parts that had not been scorched by the magical blasts and fire.
Tentacles appeared on the sides of the Gallopod, pushing and pushing until the massive thick body was completely free of the earth. The body rolled to a rest and sagged as the tentacles let go of the body. These tentacles did not belong to the Gallopod that had been slain.
To the onlooker, if they were human, would be challenged to attempt to perceive the size of the being they would see. The Gallopod do not like hunting with the bulk of their bodies or tentacles exposed to the air. What was still left of the dead creature defied the size capacity of anything living on the mortal plane.
All around the body tentacles broke through the surface of the earth. There were five eye-stalk tentacles and these surrounded the still body. The eye stalks peered at one another as though discussing the body. Perhaps they were discussing revenge of the murder, perhaps they were negotiating. An observer would not be able to fathom what it was that these beings were doing for no sound nor sight gave any evidence that they could communicate.
The scene was sombre, as though it was a funeral.
Then, as one, the five eye-stalks were surrounded by more tentacles and they began lashing down at the dead body. Nutrients were not to be wasted and the Gallopods ripped large chunks out of the body, depositing the pieces into their own bodies.
When a tentacle would stray too close to another, two Gallopods would endure a tug of war over scraps of food, or even attempting to pull the other towards their bodies. A weak monstrosity would be consumed by a stronger creature.
There rose another of their kind, it towered over the others as they feasted.
Those that became aware of its arrival shied away until reluctantly leaving the side of the massive carcass. This caused a chain reaction as Gallopods were willing to push against the others in order to get away from the new arrival. After a violent response the pushed Gallopod would become aware of the reason they were being pushed.
Soon the other five had moved away and even left the side of the carcass completely. There was more than half on the carcass still left over. This Gallopod had far more tentacles, it was bloated as though it was already full t the bursting and yet is shot forth its tentacles and began devouring what was left of the body.
The others observed it a while before leaving the scene, each one going a different way. Finally the lone Gallopod was done with its gruesome feast. A large tentacles was bloated and almost bulbous, arched forward and jabbed itself into the stone and seemingly regurgitated a massive chunk of flesh.
As it let go of this chunk, a light glowed from within, illuminating a humanoid figure.
The figure stirred inside.
It was alive!
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