Meeting with the Snerk …
There was more snapping and cracking of branches. The tree creaked and the log sections below the erfin moved as a large weight shifted onto the platform. Mirrortac froze to the spot, unable to contemplate the size of what was out there. There was a loud and deafening roar, the noise of timber smashing as a bower collapsed. A chill gripped the erfin. He tensed and his heart thudded hard within his chest. His breath came out in sharp pants and his blood raced. The chilling howls of dying bat-beings erupted out of a bower beyond the wall and the tree shook with their struggles.
Regaining his senses, he leapt to his feet and withdrew his sword. He watched the opening of the bower for a few moments, taking quick breaths. The howls died away and the weight of the monster shifted. He forced himself to move nearer the opening, intent on identifying the foe at sight. The sound of crashing bowers and cracking timber resumed as the monster moved from bower to bower, devouring all in its passage. Another bower collapsed, and sucking in a deep breath, he stole a look outside.
A litter of thatch and timber was spread all about. Skeletal frames of bowers hung at untidy angles, supporting only strands of leaf thatch. Occupying the space where the bowers used to be was the body of a giant serpent, its length easily extended over the full semi-circle of the platform. Its leathery hide was a smoky blue underneath, merging into the green scales of its back where the debris of many bowers rested. The huge body rippled with contractions and disappeared behind the far corner of the platform where a few bowers remained intact, their occupants waiting helplessly for the monster to crash through and engulf them. Suddenly, another bower collapsed and the howls of bat-beings rose up before been cut short. Then without warning, the massive head of the serpent appeared from out of the rubble, its glassy eyes searching the tree for its next victims.
Alarmed, Mirrortac stumbled back and the sword flicked out of his hand and onto the platform decking. The serpent’s head hovered, its long moist tongue flicking in and out of its mouth, tasting the air. Dark eyes caught the movement and fixed upon the erfin. Its jaws yawned open and a terrible rattle rolled up from deep within its throat. Mirrortac tried to catch his breath as his heart threatened to leap out of him. The serpent snarled at him; the fresh blood of its victims seeping out of its mouth and dripping down onto the platform. Mirrortac peered back into the ribbed dark tunnel of its throat and gagged as the rush of its warm putrid breath wafted into the opening of the bower.