Hollow's Last Hope

A Harrowing Memory

S piders. Kieyanna shivered as she walked, lost in thought, though she did hope neither of her companions had noticed. She HATED spiders, and already there had been two encounters in her time adventuring with Zandu and Dhohar. First there was the huge spider in the tower outside of the Dwarven monastery…and now the rather large (but not as large as the first) spider and all of its evil spawn at the ruins of the halfway house. She shuddered again.

When she’d gotten the report that there were hundreds of spider babies pouring out of the dead body in the basement, she’d forced herself to at least try to go down and help her companions. She’d made it only most of the way down the ladder before being paralyzed with fear and memories. Thankfully her companions decided a retreat was in order so she was able to rush up the stairs and escape the situation. She was so glad Zandu had brought oil with him and they were able to burn the little evil beings to nothing.

There wasn’t much that could shake Kieyanna as much as spiders. As they walked on in search of the children, she hung back behind the others, letting Rumble track while not paying much attention to her surroundings. She became lost in thought…

It hadn’t been long since The Incident, as she referred to her mother’s kidnapping and murder in her head, but she’d established a name for herself as a fierce fighter and sword for hire. She might have also gotten into a bar brawl or two, but really, she thought, who could blame her for wanting to forget the circumstances of her life?

She was tasked with going out to a sea cave on the outskirts of a nearby township to clear out the monsters that had been maiming and killing the locals. Why they continued to go out to the dangerous locale she’d never understand…she was told it was near the best fishing they could find, which was apparently more desirable to them than staying safe. At any rate, it was a paying job, so she figured she shouldn’t question the townspeople’s intelligence level too much. She had thought it would be an easy job, but that was not the case.

As she entered the cave at low tide, wading through the wash of sea foam left in the mouth of the cave, she made sure to light a torch, the better to see her enemies. She ventured along, torch in one hand, sword drawn and ready in the other. Her very first leather armor was on her body, crudely made but more effective than nothing at all. She encountered a few monsters on her way through the cave, dispatching them quickly. This would be easy money.

She was nearly to the back of the cave and ready to turn to head back out when it got the drop on her. The giant spider had been hiding on the ceiling, possibly following her the whole time. It literally fell from the ceiling onto her, causing her to fall on her stomach and to drop her torch and sword. Its pincers ripped at the leather on her back as she struggled frantically to move. She couldn’t reach her sword, but managed to grab the torch and throw it at the beast. The torch grazed the side of the spider, but it reared back in pain as the legs on the left side of its body were burned.

Kieyanna barely had time to flip herself over onto her back before it came crashing back down on top of her, wildly trying its best to end her life. She was able to disconnect a dagger from her belt and jab at the spider, wounding it little by little. The spider made some direct hits on her as well, opening a gash in her right bicep and nearly smashing in her head. In the end, Kieyanna heard her mother’s voice telling her to fight, fight! and she was able to stretch out over her head, grab her longsword, and split the spider’s head in two. It was her worst battle ever, and she was sorely wounded.

She managed to get the spider off of her after a time, and stumbled about halfway back to the entrance of the cave before she collapsed. She awoke in a clean room in town with a bandage on her arm and bruises all over her body. A young woman in a healer’s outfit came in to check on her. Kieyanna was told that some fishermen had seen her get washed out of the cave, along with the bodies of the monsters she had vanquished. They hauled her into their boat and got her back to town as quickly as possible. In the cave and water, she’d lost all of the weapons she’d brought with her, but had somehow stayed alive. She briefly looked up and thanked her mother for watching over her and giving her the strength she needed to overcome the odds.

She stayed a few days in the healer’s house until the healer was sure she would be alright then headed back off towards home. Her ego was bruised, but she was still paid her fee, and so was able to hire a horse so she wouldn’t have to walk the whole way. When she got back home, she used the rest of her fee to purchase a starknife—she figured why not? It had four times as many blades as a regular dagger and could be more deadly when thrown or wielded regularly—and a new longsword. Her leather armor was in tatters, and she would have to find another well-paying job to afford new. Ever since then, she’d had extreme issues with spiders…

Kieyanna came out of her reverie when her half-elf hearing caught the sounds of someone quietly moving through the woods. The others seemed to have noticed as well, and all three stopped, listening…

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