WARNING: Other players should not read this until Chapter 1 is complete.
[Skill check: Will 10, rolled 12.]
Evaluating the creature swiftly approaching her with no small amount of fear, Toria decided that running wasn’t an option. Even if she managed to run away, she would just be leaving the poisonous cave crawler to possibly surprise someone else, which was unacceptable to her. She let out a sharp breath and in one motion, unhooked the ever-present satchel with the care package inside, dropping it to the ground.
Toria unsheathed the knife at her belt and dropped down in a crouch, tracking the crawler while moving as little as possible. She hadn’t had many lessons with Kebrin yet, but one thing he emphasized was economy of movement – don’t move if you don’t have to. The creature was upon her before she knew it and the time to think was over.
[Skill check: Knife (default DX-3) 8, rolled 12.]
Deciding to aim for the center of mass rather than its head, Toria attempted to plunge her knife into the crawler’s middle. It dodged her attack, hissing angrily as it bit down on the arm holding the knife, which was near its sharp teeth. They pierced the flesh of her arm almost deep enough to hit bone. Crying out in surprise and pain, Toria tried to pull away, but the creature had a firm grip and only bit down harder. Fighting back on the panic she felt welling up in her, she grabbed the knife with her free hand and again made to stab at the crawler’s midsection.
[Skill check: Knife (DX due to proximity) 11, rolled 11.]
Her aim slightly off while using her non-dominant hand, she nonetheless managed to injure the creature enough to cause it to release her from its grasp when it screeched in anger. Wincing in pain, she transferred the knife back to her right hand, adrenaline flooding her body, and moved back a few steps and as it darted towards her. She once again brought Kebrin’s lessons lessons to mind as she snapped her booted foot forward.
[Skill check: DX-2 (9), rolled 16.]
She realized very quickly that cave crawlers did not stun, when her foot kicked at its neck, doing nothing but causing it to snap its jaws as it kept coming at her. Toria stumbled back, gripping her knife tightly as she braced for another attack. She yelled loudly and lunged to the side, away from its nightmarish mouth, aiming for whatever she could hit. If she could make it bleed enough, either by stabbing or slicing, the blood loss would make it uncoordinated.
What followed was a series of attacks and a retreat to get some space between her and the cave crawler, which hissed and snapped but hadn’t managed to bite her again by some miracle. The bite on her arm was trying its best to distract her with sharp pains and throbbing, but she willed it to the back of her mind. She could not take her attention off the beast for one moment.
After an eternity and one good slash near its spine, the cave crawler finally stumbled, collapsing to the cave floor with a pitiful noise escaping its maw. Toria stayed crouched in front of it, her breath heaving, not willing to let down her guard. Once she was relatively certain it was not going to be an immediate danger, she cautiously approached it and placed her foot on top of its jaw, stabbing firmly down into the crawlers head.
One step back, then another, and suddenly Toria was on the ground staring blankly at the creature she had killed, her knife still embedded in its head. She ran a shaky hand over her head, brushing back the hair that had gotten in her face, and heaved a sigh that ended in a brief sob. She stayed that way for a moment, processing what just happened.
With mechanical motions, she went to her pack and got out her first aid kit, cleaning and dressing the wound as best she could, not having anything to treat the poison she assumed was in her system. She took out her care package and left it in the usual spot while retrieving the agate egg and note. She placed both in her satchel and shouldered it.
Finally turning back to the dead cave crawler, Toria removed her knife from its head and wiped it off as best she could on her already bloodied shirt. She slowly dragged it towards the entrance of the cave by its tail and used her foot to turn it on its back so anybody coming in wouldn’t mistake it for a live one. Already concocting a story in her head, she decided that being attacked by a cave crawler while looking to harvest herbs was plausible enough.
Wasting no more time, she stepped out of the cave and into the light, wincing after having adjusted to the darkness. Toria swayed on her feet, but whether it was due to the sudden loss of adrenaline or the bite on her arm, she couldn’t say. Knowing she had to make it back to Healer Hall as soon as possible to properly treat her wound, she told herself, “Alright, nothing for it, one step at a time girl… let’s go.” and started walking.