Florida escapes but the Sun Beast will feast again someday

Al Messerschmidt

Don't wake the nightmare or it will demand sacrifice. Florida almost learned that lesson the hard way against Louisiana-Lafayette.

It opens its eyes. It has been sleeping for eons, but the noise from the village below of thousands collectively celebrating the return of a battling tribe was too much. It blinks, unfeeling. Once. Twice. With a groan, it shifts, startling the earth in the cave from which it calls home.

The Sun Beast roars, and the cave quakes.

"What's that?" an orange-clad warrior asks, draining the stein of mystery liquid in his grasp.

"I don't know," William Muschamp, son of Zoal said. "The Gods must be shouting a hoorah to our night of joy."

The beast looked out over the swamp. No one awakes the Sun Beast without repercussion. In an instant it had stretched to a full standing position, bigger than any monster out of stories from the old country. The tribe had heard tales of a crimson mist that engulfed entire villages in flame, but even those nightmares were nothing compared to the full glory of the Sun Beast's wingspan.

It roared again.

"That's no God," Brantley The Swift proclaimed. "It's a terror."

Muschamp grabbed his hilt, covered in drawings of busty prior conquests. The look in his eye was one of a person whose wits were knocked loose long ago. There was only wildness behind his beady gaze.

Another roar shook boulders from the mountaintop, raining on the villagers who were having some kind of Dionysus festival. Many fell in the first rumble. They will not be forgotten.

The beast was hungry. Sleep had taken its toll. Over the hills it flew, inching closer to the swamp below. Using a jetstream, it picked up speed before plunging headfirst into a crowd, swallowing dozens in one scoop like a pelican using his beak to gather unsuspecting fish.

The Son of Zoal reached for his blade and stood tall. He would make his family proud. His name would be spoken in legends as the one who finally felled the beast.

The Sun Beast laughed. A madman is far from a tasty sacrifice.

It flew away, looking back at the village, smoldering and smoking below. It would feast another day.

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