[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 34 – Mind Tricks!
Thorgaut and Svart scrambled backward. He tried to get as far away from this giant spider that had dropped in front of them. Thorgaut looked around for a rock, but there weren’t any close at hand.
“You sneaky little human! You set a trap for me in cahoots with Happy Feet.” she hissed. “I didn’t think you had it in you. And I never would have expected a sneak attack like that from Happy Feet.”
Thorgaut noticed a small pile rocks a short distance from him and kept backing up towards it. He let her keep on talking.
Abyss Snarer tapped two front feet together in mock applause. “Bravo! Bravo! Well-played. Unfortunately for you though, your plan didn’t go as expected.”
“There was no plan,” he fired back. “Happy Feet was afraid for her babies.”
Thorgaut streamed an image of the location he had left Happy Feet to the hatchlings. He wanted them to look for their mother. Maybe they could find her and get her to help. Most of the cluster continued running up the tunnel in the direction he sent them to see what had happened to her. A few of the hatchlings stayed behind. They turned their attention to Thorgaut and Abyss Snarer.
Meantime, Thorgaut had arrived at the pile of rocks and picked one up. He held it awkwardly in front of him. He didn’t know what to do with it now that he had it. He didn’t expect it would do much damage to the spider even if he did throw it. It would most likely bounce off her.
He could throw it at her eye, but she had several. So, even if he did manage to blind one, she would still be able to see him with the others. It wasn’t like one rock would do much to keep her away from him.
Thorgaut noticed several of the little spiders continued scampering over in his direction. They sent out feelers and fed it back into the group. The rest of the cluster had disappeared up the tunnel to find their mother.
Abyss Snarer laughed out loud. “Do you think that rock will protect you? I could pounce on you before you even raise it over your head.”
Thorgaut knew it was true. He had seen how fast the spiders were when they started to fight.
Abyss Snarer twitched at him like she was going to jump. Thorgaut held his ground firmly. He didn’t flinch or back up. He yelled back at her angrily with ferocious Viking war cry that made her recoil.
The little spiders who had come running towards him shouted out, “Mommy! Mommy!”
A few of the others broke off from the cluster and turned back thinking this was Happy Feet.
More of the little hatchlings came racing towards Abyss Snarer who ignored them. She was inching her way closer to Thorgaut. She completely ignored the baby spiders and prepared to jump.
Thorgaut could see that this was the end. He read into her mind to see what she was planning. She intended to string him up in her web and save him for a later snack. She considered Svart to be a younger, tenderer morsel. She planned to eat the boy first. She attacked Thorgaut first because he was taller and stronger. He knew that he was more of a threat than Svart.
Suddenly, a thought flashed through his mind. He remembered Abyss Snarer’s concern about the threat of the NightWalkers. She seemed pretty worked up about it during her conversation with Happy Feet. He grinned wickedly at the idea that had just popped up.
Thorgaut pushed images from his fight with the shufflers into her mind. She hissed and gave a short jump back. Her head and front legs were down low with her back legs and abdomen raised to attack.
He continued to feed her images of shufflers spitting and vomiting. He used his imagination to create visions of shufflers transforming other people into shufflers. Then he imagined those shufflers attacking spiders. Thorgaut shoved those images into her head. He enjoyed showing her how slow and strange a shuffler spider would look.
“That’s so evil,” Abyss Snarer hissed in fear.
“Happy Feet tried to warn you,” he said.
“I’m not referring to the coming war,” she said and then paused for effect.
Thorgaut realized she was referring to his mind-reading skills. He wanted to smile at her surprise but held himself in check.
“How long have you been in my head,” she demanded.
This time he did laugh. A loud, ironic laugh to mock Abyss Snarer.
“You’re the one who opened the connection in my head. You taught me how to read minds, you eight-legged goofball.”
He sensed the rage emanating from her at feeling like she had been played. She twitched uncontrollably and her feet tapped rapidly as she moved around him. He backed away from the pile of rocks, and she climbed up onto them.
Thorgaut tapped into cluster web for a second to see what was going on with the hatchlings. He saw that the first of the baby spiders had already reached their mother. She was lying unmoving and still.
They surrounded her and called it to her. It was heart-wrenching. The sight of what Abyss Snarer had done to their mother infuriated him.
Thorgaut turned his attention back to Abyss Snarer. He popped an image of him spitting on her as she slowly transformed into a shuffler spider. She leaped back off the pile of rocks.
“That’s what will happen to you when the shufflers and NightWalkers start the war. It’s what Happy Feet was referring to earlier,” he said.
Thorgaut had no idea what Happy Feet had actually seen. She hadn’t shown him any images, but Abyss Snarer didn’t know that. He was going to milk this for all it was worth.
He kept walking forward and forcing her to back up. The thought went through his head that he might be revealing too much of his hand. She could use it against him somehow, but it was too late to back down now. He had to see this through to the end.
Abyss Snarer kept backing up and ended up tripping over one of the little hatchlings. It tried to move out of the way but got caught under her legs. Abyss Snarer broke off her connection with Thorgaut in frustration.
She turned and reached down to deal with the baby spider. She grabbed it with her two front feet and raised up towards her face. She bit its little head off and chewed it up. Then she swallowed it.
Thorgaut was shocked and horrified. He sensed the hatchling’s connection to the network of spider minds blink out. None of its other siblings seemed to know why. So, he projected the image of what Abyss Snarer had done back out into the group.
A sense of horror and rage rippled throughout the hatchlings. Thorgaut could sense the entire cluster of little spiders racing back his way. This was it. Time for action. Either they all united against Abyss Snarer and took her out, or she would pick them off one by one.
Abyss Snarer was busy shaking a couple of the little hatchlings off her leg.
“Get off me, you little brats,” she screamed at them. “What did I ever do to you? Leave me alone. Didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners.”
She kept trying to shake them off until one of the hatchlings managed to sink its fangs into her. Abyss Snare screamed and yanked it off of her. She raised it high above her head and smashed it down into the rocks. It didn’t die immediately. The little spider lay there squealing pitifully. It flailed the three remaining legs that Abyss Snarer hadn’t broken off of her body.
Fury flowed through Thorgaut. He wanted to see Abyss Snarer suffer a slow and painful death. He wished he could rip the legs off her body one by one. Then leave her there for other cave creatures to eat up little by little, just like she wanted to do with them.
Thorgaut projected images of the baby spider’s broken body into the collective mind. As he did, the rest of the cluster came racing around the bend. They screamed in fury and picked up speed when they saw the scene for themselves. The spiders clambered over each other trying to get ahead of each other in the crowded tunnel.
Thorgaut sensed that some of the hatchlings were still confused. They didn’t understand why they were attacking this giant spider. They felt it was a suicide mission and wasn’t worth the effort.
“Chickens!” he screamed in their direction.
The angry Viking wanted to show them once and for all who this wretched spider was. So, he reached past Abyss Snarer’s surface thoughts and dug deeper into her memories. He extracted the firsthand view of her fight with Happy Feet from her head.
Thorgaut found the memories of the old spider biting into their mother’s neck. He sifted through and included the one of her injecting Happy Feet with poison. He projected them to the cluster, and the hatchlings went berserk.
The horde of little spiders rushed at Abyss Snarer without holding back. There was no longer any question in their minds. This spider was the enemy, and they wanted to avenge their mother.
Thorgaut didn’t know if these new hatchlings could take on the giant spider. She was wise and had plenty of fighting experience. And on top of all that she was a master of deceitful strategies.