A heavy blanket of snow covered the grounds of this large farm, which now laid in ruins. The main building was still smouldering, the outhouse, the barn we’re in no better shape. Rantilous looked around, his Elvish vision easily penetrating the darkness.
The tracks, he had been following for days, had led him to this God-forsaken place, and now they had all disappeared, leaving him abandoned, cold and quite frankly miserable. Three feelings, which didn’t sit well with him. The main building had to do, most of its roof was still standing, so he moved as quickly and quietly possible.
The main building, originally was a two story building with a layout common to this part. Kitchen on the lower levels, dinning hall and reading room to the left and right of the main door on the ground floor, a grand staircase would lead upward to first floor which housed the master bedroom and all other living quarters.
This ruined place was no different, apart from the fact that the main door had completely burned and hung by a thread to the wooden charred frame, the grand staircase had collapsed within itself, making accessing the first floor almost impossible. Broken furniture with assistance from collapsed ceiling cluttered the floor, the room to the left of the main entrance, which most probably served as a Dining room would require few hours of hard labour to clear a path to enter.
The reading room had not fared better, but at least there was enough coverage in the corner of the room, to build a small fire and a camp for the night. Rantilous just did that. It was not the first night he had to sleep rough, and will not be his last. In short space of time, he bad managed to clear himself enough room to lay down his bedroom by the small fire he had managed to build. The warmth was pleasant and drained the chill from his slender figure.
Outside the weather still raged, the noise of the wind, cracking of the fire made it difficult to distinguish between the cacophony of noises bombarding your senses, but Rantilous ears we’re not normal. As matter of fact, nothing about him could be or should ever be considered normal. His ear picked it up, a low buzzing sound, faint but close enough to warrant caution.
His hands slowly moved towards the hilt of his sword. A curved scimitar, with a gold handle. He slowly drew it out of it’s scabbard and stood up. There it was, at the edge of the door, kneeling down and looking at him. It’s the long spikey tail, floating back and forth, his gaze, fixated on every move Rantilous made.
It was a large beast, it easily stood fifteen feet long and 6 feet tall. Its leonine torso was covered with brown.tawny hide. Its head resembled that of a human, with long lion manes braided on the back of its head. The small bat-like wings were folded neatly on it’s back.
Neither participant of this cat and mouse game wanted to be the first person to make the move. Rantilous, waited, with his back to the wall, he felt little bit safer. The Manticore, on other hand had a different idea.
The flick of the Manticores tail nearly caught Rantilous off guard, he darted to the left as a hail of spikes, each sharp as a knife hit the nearby wall. The beast gave a loud roar, and charged.
Rantilous rolled to his feet, sword in hand, muttering under his breath, “Null, it is I, your victim. A feast, I lay before there.”
The sword in his hand started to glow, faint black glow, started spreading across the shaft of the blade. It consumed the blade within a heartbeat, and then it sang it’s song, “BEHOLD, FOR I am Null the Slayer, the greatest runesword ever made.”
Everything the song touched died, the Manticore recoiled in horror, but it was too late. Rantilous swang the black sword expertly and found soft flesh. It was all Null needed. Rantilous looked away, he had seen the horror Null inflicts on her victim too often.
It was over quickly, the black glow receded quickly as soon as Nulls appetite was satisfied, leaving behind a dried out shell. The howl of the wind returned proclaiming, the storm which raged outside.