Tomas, pt. 16

He approached cautiously, keeping to the shadows. He could hear a group that had gathered ahead. Through the quiet, they chittered to one another. Peering around the edge of the rock wall he saw them. The tentacles that hung from their faces twitched nervously. They sensed him, he was sure. He repeated the words to himself, locking them out of his mind. He would not be turned away again. He would not fall for their tricks.

Pulling back, he checked over his supplies. Several traps to choose from, simple or deadly, but the bottles of fire called to him most. He had vials of holy water, to consecrate the bodies and keep them from rising again. He would need to be quick. If one got away, if one was not taken by surprise…

Not trusting his own perceived skill, he swallowed a potion and watched as his own hands disappeared. He crept forward quickly; setting the triggers at the entrance… none would escape him.

Shadow to shadow, he moved and watched. The flayers shifted, growing uneasy. They chittered back and forth. He felt their tension as surely as they felt his mind, but his walls remained. They started to group, their chittering hushed… and he felt the world shift. One rose, staring at him in surprise. He was discovered! The face changed before him, but he closed his eyes against it. The flayers would not fool him again. A knife flew from his hand and was followed by a gurgling scream. Eyes now open, his head was clear. The flayers took a step back, tentacles darting this way and that, as if they could escape on their own. When one reached a hand out to another, he screamed. “This ends, now!” and charged. Two fell to his blade as the others scattered. Another fell, knife in its back… and a blinding flare at the entrance where one was turned to ash. He prowled, dispatching them one or two at a time until only one remained, covering in the corner. It chittered as it looked about, desperate, eyes focused on him as the world started to shift again.

“Please…” the words layered in fear. “Take anything you want… my shop has little…” it squirmed back, trying to sink into the wall.

“I only require one more thing…” his steps were steady as he shook away the vision. “… your life.”

He left the bodies where they had fallen, taking nothing. With the vials, he cleansed the area, splattering the dead on head and hands, circling the bodies and marking the walls. He was no cleric, but he was sure it would do.

He wiped the remains of the holy water on his forehead and under his eyes.

At last… his mind was clean.

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