Taraga and her hunting band were having no luck. The herd had started moving before dawn and even the elderly were not straying. As the sun rose and the temperatures climbed, the half-saurian beasts finally came to a stop in the ruins of town long lost to time. The island of Mana Tan scraped the ruddy red sky on the horizon, its fractured buildings like great jaws. She and her team of three hunkered down in the ruins of a Dubba Wa. Jeriann and Sadoni took up ambush positions. Korthen knocked a whistling arrow and let it fly into the herd closest to their hiding place.
Caribou bolted in all directions, spouting fire as they bayed in terror. Jeriann and Sadoni fired at the beasts’ knees and one not fast enough to dodge stumbled as metal penetrated muscle. The hunting party fanned out as the wounded creature shot fire at them, but finally, Korthen snuck close enough to slit its throat.
As they got down to the business of making cuts of meat, there was a sudden boom to the north. A cloud of gecko-crows took flight, bringing night for a moment as they passed overhead. The sound of rolling thunder moved in their direction.
“Run for cover!”
The stampede was nearly on them before they got inside. All the while, the booming grew louder and it got darker. Something big enough to block out the sun was coming.
A boom so loud the thing had to be on top of them knocked the quartet to the floor. There was a crunching noise as part of the building collapsed under the weight of the creature. A giant three-toed foot with wicked looking claws settled into the rubble. Above, there was a sound of sniffing and ruffling feathers. Darkness grew absolute as a wide snout covered in glistening white scales appeared outside the window.
“It’s an eagle-drake,” Sadoni whispered. “I thought they had all been hunted down by the Sphere…”
A golden glowing eye lowered into view and the hunting party froze. Had it seen them? A pair of long curved claws dug through the roof. There were screams and then darkness as the ground opened up and Taraga plunged down.
She landed in something wet. There was a hiss and her skin began to burn. She tried to scramble back, but the unstable ground below her crumbled away until she was plunged into the burning liquid.
Gasping in reflex at the sudden pain, Tagara swallowed the thick fluid as darkness close in around her. At the edge of consciousness, her whole body was throbbing. Her feet touched something solid and the huntress hoped it was stable. She pushed with all her power and rose towards the surface. Only, her feet were still touching the ground as she ascended. Her knees brushed past something, her elbows did as well. All of a sudden, her back broke through the hole she had fallen into and then she could see over the roof of the Dubba Wa. She looked down at herself and found herself marveling at her enlarged and improved physique. Her body bristled with power like a drawn bow.
The eagle-drake was tearing up another building. She saw her warriors running through a hallway a few floors up. She ripped her hands up through the ground and pushed down on the rubble-strewn street to climb out of the pit of filled with the same mutagen which had created the creatures of this ruined world. As Taraga got to her feet, she was surprised to find she stood at eye level with the colossal saurian. She had to be more than fifteen-feet tall!
The monster turned to face her, letting out a roar and flaring black feathered wings that had to be twenty feet wide. It charged at her but she pivoted at the last second and forced it to slam into another ruined high rise.
A kick to its side sent the creature reeling as it struggled to stay on its feet. Another roar. Another charge. This time, she punched as it drew close. Her clenched fist hit the beast squarely in its glowing eye. It recoiled from the blow and then collapsed, yowling in pain. She took the opportunity to move past it, scoop up her party, and make a retreat to somewhere to ride out the peak of the day’s heat. She would figure out what to do about being so big later...