Another page of writing. More rewrites for it in the future. I'm not sure if I want to have a tense conflict with an unknown charcater in this. It feels like I included some vague drama just for the hell of it. I wanted to use Qarim better than this, too.
Hannibal and the bipedal bird-lizard travel down an unlit trail towards the forest that rings the south of Ember City.
The woman greets him at the forest line. Her gaze is stern and unwelcoming. “I’m sorry I’m putting you off by doing this.”, he says to her.
She replies, “Once you were an ill omen. Then you were a very sad burden. Now you’re a pathetic beggar. Why do you seek to return to this ancient wood, Hannibal?”
He explains, “I know there are things in there that move between the forest and the city. I need to speak to one of them.”
She answers, “Officially, I am the intermediary between the woods and the civilization of man.”
“You are the gatekeeper and my curious companion is the key master, Qarim.” Hannibal points to the creature beside him. “It saw something assist a man in attacking one of the city’s museums. I’ve been told it is darkness, and spreads darkness. If you cannot call it to me, I will go in there and find it.”
The native woman Qarim throws open her arms as a symbol of blocking Hannibal’s path. “You gave up your right of passage when you decided to make your destiny in the world of the engineers and architects. You seek the Shade but you won’t be able to find it this time of night.”
Hannibal mutters, “Qarim, I’m sorry for what I’m about to do to your pride.” The lizard-bird dissolves into bones and falls to the ground. A commotion arises inside the trees. A roar is uttered and Qarim looks back bewildered at what has occurred. Hannibal explains, “I know, too, of the ancient things buried in those woods. They were once alive and now dead. My friend has resurrected one of them. It returns to destroy the balance of your natural society. It invites me into those woods Qarim. It predates any pacts you or those things that go bump in the night may have agreed upon.”
The darkness of the woods begins to recede imperceptibly. However, Hannibal’s magic sense picks up on the movement. A sabre-toothed cat pokes its head out from the dark interior of the woods. Its eyes glow with the reflection f the moon’s light. Hannibal runs to the tree line, to bypass Qarim. “I’ve found you hiding in the night, Shade! You can’t hide your nature from me.”
Qarim tries to tackle Hannibal but is jumped by the large cat. Into the woods Hannibal goes and it is as if the forest of trees moaned in unison. Hannibal unconsciously begins to drain the magic form the woods. He feels charged and more alive than before. His energy rockets through the roof and he pushes that energy into his extremities and his senses. He knows he can’t stay in the wood too long, but he needs to find the Shade to cripple it with his power as quickly as possible.
A patch of darkness tries to retreat further into the forest, but the vigor form the ambient magic of the wood gives Hannibal the speed he needs to catch the fleeing darkness. Once his outstretched hands touches the Shade, the night creature screams in pain. Its body begins to be dragged onto Hannibal’s. He starts absorbing the ethereal being. Now h turns, and races out of the wood as fast as possible. Once he is clear of the treeline and snaps his arms and throws the Shade to the ground, save a small sliver of it still attached to this right index finger.