Bink saw the fire light flickering in the near distance. He'd found the camp, but so had the shadows.
Kerli saw a shadow in the corner of her eye and without a split second, her arrow was stuck in a tree. This time she found the shadow and her eyes locked on. Again her arrow was let loose. It went right through the shadow and into the tree behind it. The thing turned to her. For the first time in her life, she was terrified and helpless.
Edron's sleep was halted by the sound of a hound barking relentlessly. He grumbled, rose from his bedroll, and exited the tent, immediately approaching Kerli.
"What's going on?" He asked sternly. And that was when he noticed the shadows lurking around the campsite.
Epoline watched Kerli as an arrow whizzed past her face. Knife in her right hand, Epoline stood up. What had Kerli been aiming at? A shadow? What possible threat could a shadow propose to this large a group? Epoline walked to the edge of the camp, not wanting to get too close in case this shadow thing was dangerous. She glanced back at Kerli, waiting to see what she'd do next.
Procutteus slowly walked out of his tent, crouching and pulling back on an arrow as he peeked behind the tent. He didn't see anything, but he couldn't be sure. "Who... Anyone there?" He asked quietly. No answer, except for more crackling. "Stop bein a coward! Show yourself!" He said more firmly, but not loud enough to wake anyone.
The shadow swooped towards Kerli. She didn't know what to do and her arms worked on their own. She held her bow like a sword in both her hands and swung fiercely. Her bow broke in two, but it appeared the shadow had been winded. With the sharp edge of her broken bow, she stabbed, but it went right through the shadow. She had a sudden feeling in her gut. "We are surrounded!" she cried out waking everyone, "Hit from the side, nothing can hit then straight on!" As she said her last word, the shadow attacked. She screamed fighting for her life, but inside the shadow she began coughing violently and gasping for air.
Procutteus lunged out of the way as a shadow rushed towards him, then evaporated into the air behind him. He looked back and pulled out another arrow, this time holding it in his hand as he stood ready to attempt to stab the shadow. It came for him again, but he barely managed to escape its attack.
* * *
As Kerli coughed, Edron looked around, surprised. He hadn't seen anything like this before. He'd heard of the ghosts of ancient civilizations, but he'd never encountered them in person. Suddenly, one came at him from behind. He shivered at the cold rush, then collapsed to his knees, coughing. His mind raced frantically, and suddenly, a thought came to him.
"Fire!" He said inbetween coughs. "They don't like fire..." Suddenly, another came at him from behind, and knocked him to his side.
Kerli was inside the thing. It strangled her, squeezing the life out of her. It didn't take long for her to stop coughing, because there was no air in her lungs to cough with. Her eyes were wide open with fear, and she struggled to stay alive though she didn't -- she couldn't physically move anymore.
Bink was closer to Edron and he leapt out into the open and swung his wooden spear. It hit the ghost in the side, accidently scraping Edron. The wood broke, but the ghost had been smacked away from Edron so he could gather himself. Bink threw his broken spear into the fire and grabbed another piece of firewood from the flames and and began fighting away the other ghosts from the other people struggling. He gave a few people their own fire, to fight, but he forgot about Kerli who was lying almost lifeless on the ground inside a ghost.
Procutteus saw the ghost choking Kerli, so he knew he had to make this count. He quickly pulled back on an arrow and fired, hitting the ghost in the side and knocking it away from Kerli just as his pursuer attacked him. He was knocked to the ground, and the ghost that had previously been choking Kerli now came for him. His plan was crumbling around him.
* * *
Edron couldn't believe it. The prisoner was helping. He almost smiled, but a ghost begged for his attention, and he simply couldn't turn it down. He swung his torch and the ghost screeched, looming away.
"We're stopping them!" He cheered.
Anoye ran around the camp with a piece of burning wood and tried her best to heal the badly wounded and keep the strange shadows back from hurting her or her patient. She ran up to a man waving his piece of fire in the air, clearly signaling her assistance. "What is it?" Anoye asked, noticing the man's tear streaked face.
"It's my brother... One of those things were on top of him and now he's not breathing," the man said grabbing Anoye's wrist and dragged her to where his brother was.
"Anoye is sorry, but if the man is not breathing, Anoye can't do anything," she replied sadly, staring at the man's brother. It was clear that he was dead.
"He's not dead!" The man protested. "Please, heal him."
Anoye tried to shake her head but the man begged her. "Anoye will try then," she said quietly and went to work.
Mathias tried to keep his dogs close but it was sort of difficult when one wanted to run straight into battle and the other wanted to runaway from it. "Akane! Don't go to far!" He commanded as he guided Zero with his torch.
Akane was on a biting rampage. Some bites made contact but most of them went right through the shadows. She tried not to go against her master's wishes and just decided to attack those around him and Zero. Every now and then, the cowering Zero would nip at a few that got to close.
Kerli lay unmoving where she'd fallen. She felt as if she was still alive, yet she couldn't make herself breathe despite the fact that the choking was gone and the air around her was lighter. She couldn't move. She didn't have the strength to move let alone breathe and all she could think of was the disappointment in herself for not even making it to the jungle. Failing this early on was a travesty (sp?) to her, but there was nothing she could do without help but let her eyes blur out until she was in eternal rest. Bink was going around swinging his torch trying to rescue others who were being strangled by ghosts. They were almost gone. Only two or three remained and Bink was working on one that was squeezing the life out of a thin old man with a long silver beard.
It was as if they were draining the life out of Procutteus. He choked as the two ghosts smothered him, unwilling to go away. He slowly lost energy and now he could no longer move a muscle.
He started to close his eyes when a dog rampaged towards him. At first he thought it was going to finish him, but instead, it bit the first ghost on the side, and the ghost twisted away back into the trees. The second stayed with Procutteus, but its persistence was short lived when two men with torches forced it away as well. Procutteus lay there, on the borderline of death.
* * *
Edron assisted Bink with the final ghosts, waving his torch like a crazed person. One of the phantoms fled, but another came to replace him just then. Edron waved again, but the ghost stayed. The old man was dying. You could tell. At this point, Edron didn't know what to do.
"We need some help over here!" He demanded.
Anoye sadly left the man weeping near his dead brother as she heard cries for help all over the campsite. Several people were down and all of them were having trouble breathing. She couldn't handle this on her own. She could probably rescue three people max but the rest would have died because of time restraints. Not wishing for that to happen, Anoye searched her bag for a quick cure to cheat death. Her hand wrapped around a bundle of sweet scented sticks as she pulled them out and stared at them. Incense! Of course! A small sniff of this sweet fragrance should open their airways and calm their mind. Anoye held on to them and ran to the campfire to burn them. "Everyone who can move! Please take one of these and gently swipe it underneath a person who is out of breath nose," she instructed, holding up the incense by the campfire. "Please only do it once or sniff one yourself because the aroma is really strong and it could make a person delusional. If nothing happens after a single swipe or if the person is injured anywhere on their body, please come get Anoye!" She gave a few people the incense and ran off to the closest person that was down which was Kerli. "Please work," Anoye mumbled to herself as she gently swiped the fragance under Kerli's nose.
Kerli, barely alive, felt her body lurch back to life when the incense was rubbed on her nose. Her lungs felt like they were being ripped apart with every breath she took, but she savored the chill in her chest. It was a feeling she'd never forget. She was still too weak to move' so she was lying on the ground.
Bink grabbed an incense and began trying to revive people. He failed to revive an older man, about sixty years old, but managed to save another young man by the name of Ludwig. He spotted Procuttus and rubbed the incense on his nose. He looked down at the man hoping he'd gotten there in time.
Procutteus coughed loudly numerous times, then leaned forward a bit, but when his lungs stung, he fell back onto his back. At least he was breathing again. He took a few slow deep breaths and tilted his head to the side. The shadows were gone, and it seemed that they hadn't done much damage, but two or three limp bodies were being carried off. Procutteus assumed the worst, and slowly stood up. He glanced at Kerli, thanking himself that the arrow had saved her. Now hopeful she would realize that he could be an archer worth teaching. Procutteus then slipped back into his tent, making sure everything was in order.
"Is Kerli okay?" Anoye asked and saw how it looked difficult to move she instructed on how to answer. "Please blink once if 'yes' or twice for 'no'."
Mathias was helping a man to his tent when he heard both of his dogs whimpering. "What?" He asked and looked over to see them rubbing their nose into the ground. Mathias laughed, "It's not that bad guys", referring to the aroma that floated in the air. "Go see if anyone needs help," he ordered the two canines and Akane walked off with Zero behind her.
Edron smiled a bit. Things were getting better around the camp. The aroma of the incense was working. He approached Anoye and stood by as she helped Kerli. "Where do you get this?" He asked, motioning to the incense. "If we encounter more of these... Things, we may need more."
Kerli blinked once indicating that she was okay. Slowly she pushed herself into the seated position. "I -- should have warned sooner -- before attacking by -- myself," she whispered out of breath. There was a piece of wood by her foot that caught her eye. She leaned forward slightly to grab it and pulled it to her. Attatched to the wood was a string that tugged on the other half. "My bow," she whimpered.
"Are you allright?" Bink asked Procutteus. All but five people survived. The group was now down to fifteen.
Anoye sighed in relief then looked at Edron. "Anoye made it," she replied smiling holding onto the incense. "Well some of them. Anoye's mentor made most of them when he was teaching her how to make them. Anoye has the ingredients to make the fragance but not the stick to hold it in place." She glanced at Kerli's bow, "Is it broken?"