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The hoof-steps echoed from a distance. Raising a snout to the air, the reptilian scales shifted around the beast's nose as the scent of human reached it. Another adventuring party approached. It could smell horse. It could smell elf. It could smell human. No aroma of sweaty metal yet, so likely a group of casters or thieves. Many had come previously to the beast's territory by the river, but none had left.
 
The hoof-steps approached slowly. The intruders were taking their time down the forest path that skirted the banks of the beast's river lair. The smells wafted closer, and a second snout licked at the air once with a large forked tongue. The heads conferred briefly on the blended smell. Something seemed off.
 
The hoof-steps approached slowly, and at last rounded the last bend before the river bank. The girl whistled a merry tune as she rode along. The handmaid was on her way to the river to wash some laundry for her lady when a blast of ice froze the road in front of her. A jet of flame from somewhere in the treetops lit a line of brush behind her, and the horse reared in a panic, tossing the poor girl unceremoniously to the ground.
 
The hoof-steps retreated quickly. The lass got to her feet, cursing in a few languages as her horse and laundry both vanished down the path, and then she looked up to where the elemental bursts had come from. A trio of enormous reptilian heads stared at her. Long snaky necks vanished into the shadows of the trees along the river bank. The heads conferred briefly on her blended smell. Human. Elf. Half-elf?
 
The hoof-steps were out of earshot. The girl let out a scream as the heads came to a conclusion, which promptly led to an argument. The two side heads had each snapped towards the girl at the same time, and the loud *crack* of them colliding with each other momentarily deafened the poor handmaid. The center head was somewhat more accurate in its movement however. A large maw promptly closed over her, and the handmaid vanished along the snaky neck with an audible gulp. The less accurate heads glared at the center head and let their annoyance and displeasure be known. That the trio shared a stomach was completely beside the point.
 
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The wailing echoed from a distance. Raising a snout to the air, the central head of the beast smelled human. No horse. No elf. A hint of dwarf. Perhaps a group of well-armed traders? No, mostly just human. A few more sniffs. The left head hissed its displeasure as the thought of a necromancer was conferred. That would explain the wailing. Could you even smell a ghost? How many ghosts might there be?
 
The wailing got closer. Something was being hit. Many things were being hit. It sounded like a horrible battle of human smell vs nature. The right head opened its maw slightly, letting a hint of frosty breath leak from between its fangs. The left head licked at the air. The human smell was getting closer.
 
The wailing belonged to the human. She was making an awful racket. The three heads looked at each other. Perhaps she was haunted? Or possessed? There was no smell of demon. The left head grinned a serpentine grin, recalling the spicy flavor of a tiefling from months past.
 
The wailing coalesced into words. "He was supposed to marry me and he's an idiot and he was talking to all these whores that he met via some magical paper at the tavern and I just know he's been with the entire town and he's..." The central head reared back in worry. A male? Where was this 'he'? It could only see this female! The right head quickly looked about, and with an ominous creak, a tree branch began to bend over the lady's head.
 
The wailing stopped. "Is someone there?" The left head tried to swat the right head for being too noisy and threw the trio off balance. A massive sound silenced the forest as many tons of hydra crashed to the ground next to the lady. Three panicked heads darted in every which way, trying to locate this unknown male that might threaten their river.
 
The wailing began again. The right head coughed a small blob of frosty hydra saliva at the woman's face, which promptly silenced her. The left head dove into the river to escape the mysterious invisible male. They all hated spellcasters who could turn invisible like this. The lady managed to get the semi-frozen blob of spit off her face.
 
The wailing began again. The central head realized that if left unchecked, the unknown male would take this meal. The right head realized that if the central head came to this conclusion, the central head would try to take HIS meal. With a quick snap of fangs, the woman was entirely contained within a rather chilly maw. The left head was hiding in the river. The central head hissed at the right head to be careful, there was still a caster in the area. The right head nodded silently in agreement. The three would need to be cautious. A noisy swallow and a lump moving along a serpentine throat signalled the end of the wailing. The rest of the hydra followed the left head into the river. They would be safe there, and could watch for the ripples of that invisible caster. Once they found those ripples, that would tell th SALMON! A WHOLE SCHOOL OF SALMON!
 
The wailing was long gone. There was only a frenzy of splashing as fish after fish vanished from the river.
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The splashing was playful. It had been a long day, and the elven girls were relaxing after their scout training had come to an end. Two piles of gear lay on the bank of the river, a few stains from the mud blemishing the tunics and boots. A yelp and a giggle as the blond elf swiveled towards the red-haired elf, throwing up a cascade of water as she turned.
 
The splashing was continuing. The blond sat in the shallow part of the water, feeling the fish nibbling at her toes as the redhead paddled lazily a bit deeper in. "I'm going to take a nap!" the enchanting voice called from the bank to the deeper water. "Ok!" the redhead called back in acknowledgement.
 
The splashing was brief. The redhead kicked her feet a few more times, propelling her body further under water. A sudden warmth and darkness as something fleshy closed around her, and then an unbearable heat as she was forced down a long tube, finally falling into a sweltering cavern with a splash. A rain of fish and river water landed on her head. She spat out a minnow and attempted to get to her feet. She was unsuccessful due to the movements of the cavern around her.
 
The splashing was immense. Three reptilian heads stared at the pale thing on their bank. It looked like that fish the central head had eaten a moment ago, but smelled like an elf. Where were the elf's skin and range-claws? The left head realized immediately. This was some sort of unformed elf. Like an elf egg, it had not yet hatched into a full elf that might threaten the banks. Did elf eggs taste the same as elves? The right head turned to the central head in curiosity. The central head knew what elf eggs tasted like, as they had just eaten one. This one would taste like river water as well, surmised the central head. The left head liked river water. The left head licked the elf egg. The blond elf woke to a strange forked tongue dragging itself across her body. She began to scream. The right head began to scream as well. The left head disagreed. Elf eggs tasted more like elves than river water. The central head licked the elf egg. The two conferred briefly. Perhaps it was the river water they had consumed that tasted like river water. The blond stopped screaming to wipe hydra spit off her upper half. The right head stopped screaming to take a breath. The left head ate the elf egg. The central head awaited an opinion from the left head. The right head belched, and then saw a pile of elf skin on the bank. Elves were in the area. They couldn't be seen or smelled? MORE CASTERS! BE SNEAKY!
 
The splashing was minimal. The three slunk back into the river cautiously. A bird landed on the pile of clothing and began pecking at one of the boots.
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The moaning woke them from a nap. There was a loud noise and a few tree branches fell as three reptilian heads all poked out from amid the leaves. Some beast was on their river bank. It had the flesh look and smell of human, but there were more arms and legs than normal. It kept rolling about and making noise. The left head sneezed, a wisp of smoke curling from its maw. The right head watched a bird vanish in a crispy burst of feathers. The central head narrowed its eyes, watching the strangely gyrating human-smell mutant.
 
The moaning got louder. The right head bit at the left head. They had known that bird. It was the noisy one that woke them up in the mornings! Wait, they didn't like that bird. The right head licked at the left head's bite-marked face in apology. The central head moved closer, recognizing that one portion of this human-smell mutant was quite certainly a head. It had all the snack-feathering on its head as was normal... but it had another head with snack-feathering as well. This mutant had two heads? What sort of horrible beast had multiple heads on one body? The central head retreated to confer with the others. Mutual agreement was had that the bird had been a jerk. No loss there. The central head moved forward once more and sniffed mightily at one of the sets of snack-feathering on the human-smell mutant. Definetly human-smell snack-feathering.
 
The moaning peaked. One of the mutant's heads tilted, and two of its eyes met with the central head's much, much larger eyes. The mutant's head began to scream, and then the lower half of the mutant broke apart and began to flee, their snack-featherings pointing in every which direction. The right head pointed out that the reduction in limbs made the mutant seem much more like a normal human-smell snack. The left head, maw already full of one half of the mutant, swallowed and nodded in agreement. The second half of the mutant was still running away. Would it retrieve adventurers? Would it grow another half to replace the half that the left head had consumed? The central head wanted to study this new species, and promptly set off in pursuit. A moment later, the right head and the left head conferred and agreed that this mutant had tasted much like the species that its smell reminded them of. The central head narrowed its eyes at the right head. It would have liked to grow some more human-smell mutants. Selfish right head.
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Hail Hydra By ouphe -- Report

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Four very short stories about the beast by the river.

Silly crap, told mostly in a triple-narrative viewpoint thanks to the hydra.

Enjoy it. Hate it. Whatever. It's silly shit!

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Nalzindar

Posted by Nalzindar 4 years ago Report

A funny story about the hydra, having three heads with independent thoughts are bound to be hilarious confusing at some point. I also like the way you describe the situation as seen through their eyes^^
For a future story, or even better, a new story with your funny tripletts, you can add a little from the victims point of view before and after they arrive in the joint stomach. From this story it seems like at least a few of the people are will meet in the stomach. And maybe one of the heads will eat the entire "human mutation" the next time in one gulp.