They seemed to bleed out of the stark white space that surrounded them. Small, tar-black bodies wormed their way out from unseen cracks in the ether, molding themselves features as they twisted and writhed with all the skill of a clumsy child; Long, tube-like arms that ended in vicious talons; Chunky, clawed feet that pooled below their wiry legs and dripping potbellied bodies. Their faces though, took up most of their form as well as Arthur’s attention; misshapen, bulbous visages that melted and drooped to reveal large frenzied eyes and rows of craggy, mismatched teeth. Twin mounds balled from the inky substance that made them would have made for comical ears, if not for what they were attached to.
Arthur’s fingers gingerly drifted to Excalibur’s grip as he did his best to carefully scrutinize these creatures, trying desperately to find some vestige of intellect or reason.
“Your desire for diplomacy is admirable but misplaced,” i cooly said, “There is no reasoning with creatures such as these.”
The boy gulped, even with these feral imps poised to strike, i still managed to be the most unnerving thing in the room. “What are they?”
“Stains part of a greater Blot, extensions of the fatal mistake that has sullied Wasteland for decades,” i explained, its words stilted but dripping with contempt. “Even weakened as it is, it can muster up the strength to send such agents through this grand space to steal riches of other worlds.” it stole a glance at the enchanted blade at Arthur’s side, “Or weapons to aid in its savage bid for power. I thought you to be one such creature when I attacked you.”
By now the blotlings had noticed Excalibur as well, causing Arthur’s hold on it to tighten even more. “I look nothing like them.” he shot back.
i set its strange key-shaped weapon on the ground, lacing its fingers atop the handle. “Their ilk has become more sophisticated as of late. Some are so cleverly disguised that you would not realize their true nature until they are close enough to slit your throat.”
The decidedly not disguised wretches shrieked in a savage rage before charging at the former combatants; some sprouting wings to haphazardly fly whilst others sprinted toward them with inhuman speed. The gnashing of fangs and the wet splattering of tar or ink or whatever infernal mixture they had been concocted in, echoed throughout the empty realm.
Excalibur was unsheathed now, the tentative grip turned iron as Arthur readied himself to receive this new threat, a desperate plan formulating in his head amidst techniques and strategies that could slay these abominable foes.
He looked sideways at i, its eyes (did it even have eyes?) still concealed by its hood. “If I help you defeat these…things, will you let me pass?”
Barely a second passed before i gave a sudden, frosty chortle.
“You assume,” its voice settling back into its passive tone, “That I require your assistance.”