Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 34

Syncopated Winning Entry

The day seemed to erupt in his head like a supernova, blinding pain accompanying the sudden intrusion of impossibly bright light within his returning consciousness. His throat was dry and sore, his lips cracked and dehydrated, and every inch of his scalp seemed to be consumed by fire.

What a way to greet the day.

Dreading what may lay in wait beyond his closed eyelids, the Lirionox blinked slowly, allowing himself to adjust to the light that greeted him. Funny, wasn’t it dark only a short while ago? The last instance he could remember it had been well past nightfall, the full moon shining down on him as he traveled cautiously over rocky, charred terrain. How could it be past noon already? Eyes flicking to both sides, he soon found his answer.

All around him sat a menagerie of barbarically dressed creatures, feathers and bones of various unidentifiable animals accenting the brightly colored tattoos that each and every creature in the crowd seemed to share. Over every face the top half of a grinning, sun-bleached skull sat, a macabre mask leaving no question as to the group of canines’ species. One crouched nearby, larger and more gaudily decorated than the rest, his presence radiating a sense of authority, and the traveling Lirionox was certain that this was their leader.

Noticing the Traveler’s stirring, the chieftain stood and approached the still sprawled and vulnerable form of the captive creature before him.

“Who you, eh? Why come here? Not read sign?” The Obsideon laughed gruffly, the rest of the tribe joining obediently. The Lirionox would have found his broken manner of speech quite funny under different circumstances.

Needless to say, the Strange Traveler hadn’t expected to be put into this situation when he had arrived at the outskirts of the barren land known only as Dire Morana. Of course, the very sign the Obsideon had spoken of had stood as a grim warning, but he had dismissed it. Sitting up slowly, he wasn’t surprised to notice that his pack was now nothing more than a crumpled piece of burlap and that his hat was missing. He gritted his teeth. Now things were serious. No one touched his hat without his permission.

“I’m only a traveler, sir. I would greatly appreciate it if you would return my things and let me go.”

“Hehe. Liri’ox t’ink we ‘sirs.’ Tell yew wot, Liri’ox, yew give more goodstuff like was in da bag, we letcha go, eh?”

The Traveler rummaged through the bag frantically, smiling as his paw clamped down on one forgotten object. Tossing the crumpled brown sack into the crowd, he watched as bedlam erupted, each tribe member attempting to wrestle the others for a share of the Traveler’s famous Sack Lunch.

Taking advantage of the chaos, the Traveler made a beeline for a nearby dune, pausing only to retrieve the signature floppy brown hat from the head of an Obsideon putting one of her friends in a lethal looking sleeper hold.

Ha, and to think, Volcan’s pants never saved anyone!