Sini

Glad you could join us for the next underground episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot 215
Photo credit: Thomas Shahan

I should’ve left his damned wings behind. Sini kicked herself for giving in to that moment of triumph, that thrilling instant of complete domination. It isn’t like he could’ve put ’em back on. Yet ripping them off hadn’t been enough; she had to take them as a trophy. But I can’t leave ’em right here for those bastards to find.

Pulling the brush back to expose the tunnel mouth, she shuddered — not only to rid herself of the lingering sensations of grasping claws and strangulation, but also to steel herself for what she was about to do.

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Pango

Glad you could join us for the next armored episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot 207
Photo credit: Nigel J. Dennis

Sirehta’s brothers had spread the word among The Arids’ disaffected residents of a meeting that might save their futures. Now the meeting place was crammed with silent creatures. Cahret rose from his coil to face those who had answered the call.

“You are here because you hate tyranny, yet you do not know how to stop a tyrant. Alone, you hide in your own defense, but you believe you are too weak and helpless to protect anyone else.”

Shifting beneath a hard skin of shining scalloped scales, a pointy-faced insectivore lumbered to her feet. “Each of us grows to become our own protector. We can’t be responsible for anyone else.”

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I’ve Been Through the Desert

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Elliot 204
Photo credit: 3DRivers
“Man, maybe we should give Sam and her mom some privacy to work out their feelings. What about those snake guys King Arnie sent to The Arids on a secret mission? How’s that going?” You might be thinking.
“All righty, then. Meanwhile, out in The Arids…” Me, accommodating as ever.

~~~

“I hear you’ve been looking for me.” Girdliz’s soft, fuzzy voice drifted down from the boulder through heat-shimmered air onto Sirehta’s back as he slithered past over the relentless dust of The Arids.

Raising his head… his neck… his body to cock an eye at the stony little lizard, the viper nodded like a drowsy sunflower in a summer breeze. “Yes. I understand you are no friend of the General.”

Scrunching his forehead to scrape its scales together, Girdliz jittered from foot to foot. “He’s scary,” he confided. “Scary and mean.”

“And your fear makes you helpless?” Sirehta asked.

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Drago Galadeen

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Elliot 183
Photo credit: Igor Siwnowicz

“If you know who I am,” Sirehta replied bringing his face close to the speaking crack in the wall, “you have the advantage. Come out and let yourself be seen. You will come to no harm.”

Two twitching antennae and a round little head poked out from the crevice. Locking eyes with the viper, the oversized hopper scaled the wall to rest on a protruding stone at the top, facing the snake full on.

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Choices

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Elliot 180
Photo credit: Graeme Skinner

While inky night trickled over the Arids, Sirehta and his brothers wound their way toward the enemy’s base. Wary of night fliers, they had watched the skies and seen only one owl who must already have eaten or had no stomach to fight a writhing nest of vipers-on-the-move for a tasty dinner.

The Brothers numbered 17. None had remained behind. All were proud to repay the King of Bog for his kindness and for the damage they’d caused before they learned the truth about the Rebels.

“Sirehta,” Brother Cahret began, “is this to be our life now, spying for a King preparing to go to war?”

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Answering the Call

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Elliot 179
Photo credit: Calum Williams

“Thank you for coming, my friend,” King Arnie the Former welcomed Sirehta, the former Marauder.

Sirehta, Bringer of Death, answered the King of Bog’s summons without hesitation. This King’s honor had saved him and his brothers from enslavement at the hands of the Evil Ones to the north. King Arnie had shown the vipers compassion and mercy; he had offered them residence in the Kingdom of Bog. In return, they had fought beside the Knights, ensuring victory. The leader of Bog had earned Sirehta’s respect.

That respect only grew when the monarch invited him to sun himself as they spoke while the King chose to sit in the nearby shade.

“How may I be of service to you, Sir?”

“We’ve learned the identity of the Assassin, and we know where he is.”

“Do you wish me to slay him?”

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Forced Retirement

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Elliot 175
Photo credit: D.Parer & E. Parer-Cook

Anthony must have told him what really happened in the Freelands. Lucy’s options were few. Tensed for flight, she continued to watch alongside the General as the stingers in the hollow cleared away rubble. She took the only chance she saw. “What happened here?” she ventured.

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