Shedding its heavy slumber like an old skin, the massive coils of the Onyx Python began to move. Muscles rippled beneath black and silver scales as coils the size of tree trunks unwound themselves. Despite the weight of the massive serpent, its body moved with grace and speed, a testament to the strength seated in every muscle of its sinuous form.
Sabit held her ground as the serpent unwound itself. Her wicker shield covered her from brow to ankle. Her sturdy spear rested snugly on the putrid ground below, its iron tip thirsty for blood.
Ascending from the heap of coils like an emperor rising from his couch, the head of the Onyx Python came into view. Black scales glittered as dappled sunlight slid across the massive head shaped like the head of a spear. The beast’s head was the size of a man’s chest, crowned by a pair of black, lidless eyes that shone with a merciless intelligence. A forked tongue, as pink and soft as a newborn’s arm, flicked from between the lipless jaws.
Sabit held the serpent’s hungry gaze. In ten thousand hunts, the Onyx Python had feasted ten thousand times. In a hundred battles, Sabit had … survived. She could conjure no memories of those fights,* only the unwavering resolve that with her weapons in hand and her troops by her side, she was ready for this battle.
The serpent held its head high, looming among the branches of the forest. Far out of range of Sabit’s weapon, the beast worked its neck to and fro seeking for a way around her shield and past her iron-tipped spear. Sabit matched every movement, careful to show no opening—
—until some bit of forest detritus grazed her ankle. Sabit toppled, sprawling onto the gore-encrusted floor of the ravine and rolling into the underbrush.
In that instant, the Onyx Python struck.
*-Sabit’s memory loss is detailed in The Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe
Wayfarings of Sabit: Bandit Queen is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon, https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller, or at http://ipressgames.com/fiction/.