One Hundred Minus One
The full moon shone brightly over the earth, filling the sky with its ethereal light. The stars glinted in the sky, little pinpricks of light, forming the constellations of the heavens. All was peace and tranquility under that heavenly beacon. Below the moon, a hundred throats lifted their voices in song, weaving a melody of beauty and wonder. The Elorí watched the moon as they sang their song, wondering at its light and majesty; reveling in the touch of its glow.
But the light was suddenly dimmed, for a shadow passed over the moon, obstructing the glowing disk. Like a great storm of darkness the shadow approached, foul vapors roiling off its body, obscuring its form. It passed overhead, sending the Elorí scurrying for cover. A chilling, nightmarish screech rent the night, causing hearts to quiver in fear, and limbs to shake uncontrollably. The shadow circled around, another screech erupting from its tortured throat. It fell from the sky, its long, barbed tail lashing out, ripping leaves and branches from the trees, leaving oozing black acid to eat away at the foliage. Arrows passed through the cloud of vapor it exuded, only to come bouncing out, tips eaten away by acid. The Elorí scattered, giving up the fight. Masters of the dark, dense places, they soon disappeared from human sight. But they could not hide from the sight of those lidless, green eyes that penetrated the very souls of all living things. The creature rose, and with it, the cloud of vapor. It screeched once more, deafening all those nearby. It dove back into the forest, landing with a terrible shudder upon the ground. Dark, glistening claws appeared from within the cloud, and they began to tear apart the forest, looking for victims. The Elorí evaded it as best they could, but there were always the unlucky ones. A terrified shriek blended with the triumphant screeching of the horror as it tore apart a hiding place and lifted its victim with its deadly claws. Lifting its head, the creature rose from the cloud of vapor. Needle-like teeth filled its immense mouth, and behind them, knife-like blades of bone sat, ready to shred the unfortunate prey. The shrieks of the doomed were suddenly cut off, and blood spattered the vegetation, blending with the poison, forming sickening green goo.
Sated at last, the creature rose up on its massive wings. It launched itself into the sky, leaving great marks in the earth beneath it. As it flew away, the vapor cloud dissipated, the poisoned claws retracted, and the black, dull scales of the creature were revealed. They reflected no light, and hid the creature from view. Below, the Elorí gathered together again. They lifted their voices again, one hundred minus one, in mourning for their lost comrade. When the dawn was upon them, they disguised the destruction the creature had left. Any wayfarer who happened upon that place would know nothing of the inhabitants of that forest, nor the horror that plagued them.