Arcanis: Gonnes, Sons, and Treasure Runs (COMPLETED) - Page 21
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    Death in Freeport - Part 4c: The Bloody Vengeance

    Kham padded into the officer’s quarters. He had already searched aft castle, only to discover the crew slept there instead of the captain. Being in the front of the boat, even a galleon, meant it would rock like crazy during choppy waters. Not usually the place the Captain of a ship would choose to sleep. Kham attributed the strange bedding arrangements to orcs being complete morons.

    The cabin beneath the forecastle was small and cramped. There were two beds, a table, and a chest large enough to hold a person. In one of the beds, covered by a sheet, was a very large figure. His chest rose rhtymically to titanic snoring. Two massive orc feet protruded from the edge of the bed, tipped with ugly yellow toenails.

    “I hope you’re not in there, Lucius,” thought Kham to himself. “Because that means you’re probably dead.”

    He leaned close to the chest to listen to it. It was covered with sea charts and navigational equipment. A large iron lock was clearly visible.

    Kham pulled his trusty dagger from his jacket. With a twist, he turned the hilt and lock picks sprung out. After feeling each of the picks, Kham decided on one and inserted it into the lock.

    There was a soft click. “Piece of cake,” Kham though to himself.

    Then his left arm went numb. Something had pinched the top of his hand while he was fiddling with the lock.

    Poison! Kham knew he had to work fast. He put the dagger back in his overcoat and slowly lifted the lid. It was heavy, heavy enough that he had to strain to keep it from slamming open and dumping everything on top of it to the floor.

    There was a low, rolling sound. An Altherian compass, undoubtedly taken off the body of an Altherian captain, wobbled its way across the lid…

    Kham snapped his right hand out to catch the compass just as it would have hit the deck. His left arm was still tingling.

    There was a five-foot long staff inside. It lay atop a pile of Imperials. Keeping the chest propped open with his shoulder, Kham reached in and gently pulled it out.

    The staff was carved with a scale motif. Kham didn’t take time to inspect it. It looked important, and that was enough for him.

    He made his way to the porthole and slowly, carefully opened it. Amazingly, it didn’t squeak.

    Kham paused. Leaving the chest unlocked would definitely arouse suspicion. He wanted to be long gone by the time the orcs figured out they had lost the staff.

    We padded back to the chest. Checking himself, he carefully placed the compass back on the lid. He turned away…

    And turned back. They would surely notice the padlock unlocked. But his arm was tingling worse than before. The sensation had traveled all the way up to his shoulder.

    It was simple. He could do it easily with his right hand. All he had to do was lock the padlock back together.

    “Piece of…”

    CLICK.

    The figure under the covers sat bolt upright. “RUH?!”

    Kham threw the staff through the porthole.

    The gigantic orc’s bleary eyes focused on Kham. “What the…?”

    “Guess the potion wore off,” said Kham. He kept his head tucked tightly between his extended arms and dove out the porthole.

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    Death in Freeport - Part 4d: The Bloody Vengeance

    Inside the Rusty Hook, the orcs kept singing. Scarbelly was leading the chorus.

    “Got dis staff from Kenzil, we’re keepin' 't safe!
    Yo, ho, he pays really well!
    I’m wearin' nay loincloth an' these britches chafe!
    Yo, ho, he does really smell!
    We tookst up this freak an' pillaged some towns!
    Yo, ho, he pays really well!
    Four voyages later an' he’s still around!
    Yo, ho, he’s really nay well!
    He asked me some questions an' I told 'im nay lies!
    Yo, ho, he’s really nay well!
    But th' fool saw 't all wi' his own bloody eyes!
    Yo, ho, he can go t' hell!”

    The pirates erupted into drunken cheers. Vlad made it a point of buying them a steady supply of drinks. Whenever the orcs’ interest seemed to lag, Ilmarė would whip them up into a frenzy. She hopped from table to table, sloshed ale around in mugs, and occasionally winked at Scarbelly.

    She was…acting like a pirate wench. Vlad was agog.

    Then a huge, muscular orc ran in. He was wearing a chain shirt and little else.

    “Intruder!” he shouted. “What’s wrong wi’ ye! I`ve been shoutin' t' th' rooftops!”

    The singing stopped. Ilmarė hopped down from the table.

    “What th' hell be wrong wi' YOU?” shouted Scarbelly. “We be jus' havin' some fun wi' that juicy morsel o'er there,” said the captain. His tongue licked one of his protruding fangs as he looked Ilmarė up and down.

    “Thar be an intruder in me room!” shouted Aggro, the first mate. “I saw th' lad wi' me own eyes!”

    “This better nay be another one o' yer bad dreams,” said Scarbelly.

    “Shut up! 't wasn’t about seagulls!” shouted Aggro, who towered over Scarbelly.

    Scarbelly took up his axe. “Fine, we’ll check 't ou'. You,” he pointed at Ilmarė. “Ye wait right here. I’ll be back fer ye.”

    Ilmarė blanched, but nodded.

    The orcs stumbled out of the Rusty Hook. Vlad watched them make their way to the Bloody Vengeance.

    “Should we help Kham?”

    “At this point,” said Ilmarė, “I think we need to help ourselves.”

    A few seconds later a bell rang loudly from the Bloody Vengeance.

    “Time to go!” said Ilmarė. She skidded to the front door. An archer from the crow’s nest of the ship drew a bead on her.

    Ilmarė ducked as an arrow shivered in the Rusty Hook’s door, where her head had been. She dashed off down the docks, clearing a shipping crate with one leap.

    Vlad, in full plate armor, struggled to do the same. Ilmarė turned as he scrabbled over the crate like a crab.

    “Stupid human,” she yanked Vlad over the top of the crate. He fell on the other side as arrows thudded around them. “When are you going to learn to stop wearing such heavy armor?”

    An arrow KA-TANGED off of his armor.

    “When people stop shooting things at me,” said Vlad. Then they took off into the heart of Freeport.

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    Death in Freeport - Part 5: The Temple

    They stood in front of an impressive structure, with a vaulted frame that soared up over a hundred feet. Large bronze doors stood open, revealing a tiled atrium. Statues of the god indicated that the chamber was the center of worship, but balconies line with books reached all the way to the frescoed ceiling. It was much library as temple; rows of silent scholars working in the balconies attested to its importance as both.

    “I don’t get it,” said Vlad. “What’s the staff got to do with Lucius?”

    “I’m not sure,” said Kham. “I’ve left it in safe hands for now. But if we’re going to get questions answered, I figure we should go to the source.” He nodded in the direction of the Temple of Althares.

    “If I heard the orcs correctly,” said Ilmarė, “Scarbelly and his crew were responsible for ferrying Lucius around during his ‘manic’ period. Perhaps Egil can shed more light on his friend’s behavior.”

    They had left Dril to watch the Bloody Vengeance in case anyone came calling for the staff or Lucius showed up there.

    Kham strode up to the young man standing at the front door. He exchanged words with the temple novice, who disappeared to fetch someone else.

    A few minutes later, a slight man with pince-nez huffed up to Kham. “I’m afraid you cannot thee Brother Egil,” he said with a strong lisp. “He’th buthy. I’m Miloth. If you have quethtionth for him, you can talk to me.”

    Kham looked back at Ilmarė as if to ask, “Is this guy for real?” Then he turned back to Milos. “Okay, Miloth—“

    “Miloth,” said Milos.

    “That’s what I said,” said Kham. “Miloth.”

    “No, MiloTH,” said Milos.

    “Look, whatever your name is. We had some questions for Egil regarding Lucius. You remember Lucius, right?”

    “Why yeth, yeth I do. Brother Lucthiuth was an exthellent librarian. Unfortunately, he made theveral poor choiceth during his thtay. He wath away from the temple until rethently. Brother Lucthiuth hath not been here in a couple of dayth. I have no idea where he ith.”

    “Was he acting strangely before he left?” asked Dril.

    Milos adjusted his pince-nez. “He appeared increathingly haggard over the patht theveral monthth. He altho began athking some very thrange quethionth. The high prietht himthelf had a talk with him.”

    “Questions?” asked Ilmarė. “What kind of questions?”

    “He theemed to have forgotten why he was exthpelled from the temple. As if he weren’t there himthelf! No one neeth to be reminded that Luthiuth violated the thanctum.”

    In the background, Kham could see Egil. He was doing his best to pretend he didn’t know them.

    “What exactly is involved in violating a sanctum?” asked Kham aloud.

    “Look, I’m thure you have thomething better to do with your time. I’m thorry your friend ith mithing. We don’t have the rethourceth to mount a thearch partieth for every librarian who failth to come to work. In any cathe, there’th no evidenthe of foul play. I’m sure Luthiuth ith jutht thleeping off a hangover thomewhere. Good day.”

    He spun on his heel and left in a huff.

    “Well fine!” said Kham to Milos’ back. “Be sure to tell Egil that it’s over between us!”

    They all looked at him in shock.

    “What was that all about?” asked Vlad.

    “Nothing, I just didn’t want to get Egil in trouble for asking all of those questions. He’s obviously being watched.”

    “And THAT made it MUCH better,” said Ilmarė.

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    Death in Freeport - Part 6: Yellow Shields at Sunset

    The sun was setting in the west, silhouetting the Lighthouse of Drac beautifully with its dying rays.

    “They call that Milton’s folly,” said Kham, staring upwards at the lighthouse. Just three months to go, but it took ten years to build.”

    There was the unmistakable THWACK! of crossbows discharging. As bolts flew through the air, a group of warriors carrying yellow shields burst out of a nearby alley, swords drawn.

    The leader, accoutered in black studded leather, stepped forward with two thugs.

    “You’ve got a nice bounty on your head, Cam,” said the leader. “We’re here to collect. And we’ll take that staff back too.”

    “Great,” said Kham. “The Yellow Shield gang.”

    “You know these guys?” asked Vlad.

    “Yeah, that leader’s Rittoro,” said Kham. He pulled two pistols from his overcoat.

    Ilmarė spun on her heel. “We’ve got more company.”

    A bald sorcerer with eyebrows dyed bright red stepped into the alley with another mercenary.

    “That’d be Belko, the sorcerer,” said Kham. “Now that we’re all acquainted, let me introduce you to the ladies!”

    Vlad roared a challenge and slammed into the yellow shield of the leader. Rittoro grunted in surprise from the force of the blow and than retaliated by hacking at Vlad’s head. Shield met axe and sword met shield as the two clashed again and again.

    Ilmarė drew her elven thinblade in a flash, just in time to parry a Yellow Shield’s short sword.

    Belko stepped towards them. “Enough of this: Incensio terum!

    A fan of flames arced from his extended fingertips. Kham dove forward and rolled underneath the fire even as the flames washed over Vlad’s armor.

    Kham rolled to his feet behind Belko. Belko looked over his shoulder in surprise. “Oh sh—“

    BLAM! BLAM!

    Two gaping holes appeared in the sorcerer’s chest. He fell to the ground, dead.

    Kham rolled to the side just as a blade sliced at his head. He hopped up to his feet and pulled a scimitar and Flesh Ripper from their sheaths.

    “If I were you,” said Kham. “I’d leave. The bounty on my head just isn’t worth it.”

    Ilmarė dodged to the right as the mercenary’s shorter blade slashed forward. She flicked her blade and drew blood.

    There was a SPTANG! as a crossbow bolt bounced off of Vlad’s helmet. “Someone take care of the sniper!” he shouted.

    “I can’t!” said Ilmarė, skipping backwards from a clumsy swipe.

    Rittoro took advantage of the distraction and smashed Vlad sideways with his axe. The big man went down in a clatter of plate armor.

    Kham dodged another sword strike and came in low. Then Kham crossed his arms and, with one smooth scissor motion, used his two blades to cut the mercenary’s legs out from under him. He slid backwards into the alley wall in a smear of blood.

    Up on the rooftop, the Yellow Shield sniper struggled with his crossbow.

    “Let me help you with that.”

    The mercenary looked up just in time to see Dril’s scimitar and dagger stab into his chest. He fell backward off the roof, tumbling into the alley.

    Rittoro and the remaining mercenary had enough. They took off in opposite directions.

    “Oh, no you don’t,” said Dril. He took careful aim with his dagger. Rittoro huffed down the street.

    Ten paces.

    Twenty paces.

    Thirty paces.

    The blade went whistling through the air, end over end. It skewered the Rittoro in the back, stopping him in his tracks. He spun, one hand struggling to remove the blade, and fell flat on his face.

    “Nice shot,” said Kham. He stepped over to Rittoro. “Now, where were we. Oh yeah, you were going to tell us who hired you.”

    Dril hopped down from the rooftop into the alley. Rittoro looked groggily up at Kham. “Who didn’t?”

    Kham put one foot on Rittoro’s head. “Elaborate.”

    “Well, words out about that bounty on your head at the Rusty Hook. And then there’s Scarbelly. And Enzo.”

    “Nice plan,” said Ilmarė to Kham. “Who’s Enzo?”

    “Enzo. Little weasel. I’m supposed to meet him at the Black Gull tavern in an hour with proof of completing the mission.”

    Dril leaned down to snap a pouch off of Rittoro’s neck. He emptied its contents on top of Rittoro’s back, then took out a crumpled piece of paper and read it.

    “Directions. Good. So,” he yanked the dagger out of Rittoro’s back. The mercenary leader grunted in pain. “I recommend you leave before our friend here,” he nodded over at Vlad, “gets up and remembers what happened.”

    Rittoro got to his knees. “Forget this town, I quit.” He pushed his yellow shield away. “Hey Cam, no hard feelings.”

    Kham twitched. “It’s pronounced KAI-YEM!”

    The last thing Rittoro saw was Kham’s boot in his face.
    Last edited by talien; Monday, 28th July, 2008 at 09:15 PM.

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    Death in Freeport - Part 7: The Bricked-Up House

    Somewhere in the Eastern District of Freeport, a man with hands bound and a hood over his head ran willy-nilly down the street.

    “You think he’s going to survive Freeport like that?” asked Vlad.

    “His odds are considerably better than with the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign,” said Ilmarė. “He’s lucky we didn’t kill him outright.”

    “The elf’s right,” said Kham. “Enzo was an errand boy. You don’t send a tailor as your go-between for a hit unless he’s expendable.”

    “Fortunately, he’s quite talkative,” said Dril, returning his knife to its sheath beneath his full-body cloak. He nodded towards a bricked up house. “This is it.”

    The house was nondescript, which made it the perfect hideout. The dilapidated exterior was made of wood, but the windows were all bricked up. Two steps led up to a stout-looking wooden door.

    Dril tried the door. “Locked,” he said.

    Kham stepped up to the task. A moment later, it sprung open.

    Inside, the place was a wreck. There were piles of masonry and garbage everywhere. It was impossible to tell how many rooms the place may have once had.

    “There’s a trapdoor,” said Ilmarė. “There.” She pointed at a wooden trapdoor in the floor.

    Vlad led the way down the trapdoor to an old wine cellar. The walls were lined with nine large casks made of oak, each about six-feet tall and nearly eight-feet long.

    “No dust,” said Kham, wiping one finger along the top of one of the barrels. He rapped on one of the casks with his knuckles. It sounded hollow. “This is the entrance. Vlad, wanna knock?”

    Vlad stepped up to the barrel. “My pleasure.” It took only two hacks before the wood splintered, revealing a stone passage and more stairs leading down.

    “Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the cult headquarters first?” asked Kham.

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    Death in Freeport - Part 8a: Intersection

    “Well,” said Ilmarė, staring down at Vlad flat on his back in a pit. “There goes our element of surprise.”

    Dril and Kham dropped a rope down to help Vlad out of the pit trap. The two men strained as Vlad took hold and began pulling himself up.

    “Althares!” cursed Kham. “You must weigh another 50 pounds because of that armor!”

    They were at a T-shaped intersection, with a door before them and another to their right.

    “Which way?” asked Dril.

    “Forward,” said Vlad, climbing out of the pit. “I’m really in the mood to hit something right now.”

    “Okay, great,” said Kham. “So you go be angry in the lead. I’m going to hang back a bit, just in case we get ambushed.”

    “That’s a relief,” said Ilmarė. “I feel much safer now.”

    Vlad kicked the door. It slammed opened and nearly closed again from the force.

    Dril pushed the door open. A long corridor with doors on either side veered off in the distance.

    “Strange,” said Dril, “if this is a Pit, I would expect to encountered resistance by now.”

    “What do you mean by Pit?” asked Ilmarė, looking at him sideways.

    Dril didn’t answer her. He walked over to the left door and listened to it. “I don’t hear anything.”

    Vlad blinked. “I don’t either. Speaking of which…why is Kham so quiet?”

    They turned to look.

    Behind them, framed in the open doorway, Kham stood frozen in profile. His expression was blank, his eyes wide.

    “Kham?” asked Ilmarė.

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    Death in Freeport - Part 8b: Intersection

    Vlad leaped through the doorway in front of Kham, only to be yanked out of sight of the doorway. Dril followed fast behind him with scimitar and dagger at the ready. Ilmarė drew her bow and peered around the doorway.

    Two snake-like creatures with humanoid arms hacked and hissed at Vlad and Dril. Their heads were triangular and snake-like, reminiscent of that of a massive viper. Their bodies glistened, reflecting a myriad of fine scales that covered their forms. Their eyes, like golden orbs, glowed in the ambient light.

    Each snake person wielded a scimitar in one hand and a wooden shield in the other. They darted, as fast as any serpent, bobbing their heads and coiling their bodies around the slower humans.

    “Ssanu!” shouted Ilmarė.

    “Don’t look at their eyes!” said Dril. He kept his gaze focused on the creature’s torso as he parried a scimitar strike and retaliated with his dagger.

    Frustrated and unable to get a clear shot, Ilmarė turned to focus on Kham instead.

    Kham continued to stare off into space, his eyes glazed over. The look of surprise when the ssanu entered from the secret door was still etched on his face.

    She slapped him. Hard.

    Kham nearly spun around from the blow. “Ow,” he said.

    Vlad hacked at the head of one of the ssanu, dropping it. The other had its coils around Dril. It sank its teeth into his right forearm.

    Dril grunted and stabbed the ssanu through its lower jaw with his dagger. It silently expired, slumping off of the Altherian.

    “You handle yourself well,” said Vlad, kicking the corpse of the ssanu away from him.

    “Not that well,” said Dril. His arm already looked purplish. It hung limply at his side. “If you don’t mind,” he said, pulling his cloak back with one hand, “could you grab the fifth potion from the right out of its holster and put it in my left hand?”

    Vlad hesitated, but did as he was told. Dril wore a bandolier across one shoulder filled with vials of potions of a variety of colors. He popped the cork with his mouth and smeared the viscous liquid on the wound. Dril hissed in pain as pus oozed out of the two puncture marks.

    “You’ve fought these things before?” asked Vlad.

    “I have,” said Dril. “I’ve been on the trail of one of the ssanu from Altheria.”

    Ilmarė examined the corpses. “These ssanu are young. But they have no business being here, this deep in human lands. I fear the worst.”

    Kham rubbed his cheek. “It can get worse?”

    “Are you all right?” Vlad wiped his sword on one of the dead ssanu. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

    “I have,” said Ilmarė. “Creatures like these created my race.”

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    Death in Freeport - Part 9: Treasury

    “Now what?” said Kham, his features concealed in shadow by the flickering torchlight. “We just keep walking until something kills us?”

    “This is clearly a passageway the ssanu use to move from place to place,” said Dril. “If we follow it, we may be able to find the heart of the Pit.”

    “I’m not so sure I WANT to find the heart of this Pit,” said Kham. “There’s just four of us, remember?”

    “Speak for yourself,” said Vlad. “I’ll take on whatever these snakes can dish out.”

    Ilmarė agreed with him. “If the ssanu are here in Freeport, then they are more powerful than we imagined. If we don’t stop them here, they may spread.”

    “Better to cut off the head of the viper in its lair,” said Dril.

    “Oh, very symbolic,” said Kham. He leaned on part of the tunnel. “You guys go ahead and kill yourselves. Let me know how it works ouAAAAH!”

    A piece of the tunnel slid away behind Kham, opening into another room. Kham fell into a garish purple curtain and promptly found himself wrapped up in it.

    Kham felt blindly in front of him. His fingers touched cold metal. “That’s a chest!” he shouted. “This is their treasure room!”

    “Whoa,” said Vlad behind him, peering into the room. “Good job.”

    The sound of clattering of bones surrounded Kham. He stretched out his fingers again. This time he felt something cold and rough.

    “You may want to move back, Kham,” said Ilmarė.

    Kham tugged the cloth from his face, just in time to see a bastard sword swing down at his head.

    He ducked and rolled, coming up next to a chest. There were four skeletal corpses, all armed with swords and shields. They turned to advance on the others.

    Kham whipped his dagger out…

    …and immediately set to using the lockpicks hidden in the pommel to pick the lock of one of the chests.

    “Kham, what are you doing?” asked Ilmarė as she ducked a clumsy swing. “Shoot them!”

    “You guys can handle those things,” said Kham. There was a gratifying click as he twisted the dagger in the lock. “I’ll take care of the chests.”

    “We’ve been broke for awhile,” said Vlad. He blocked a sword blow with his shield. “He spent it all on potions. And alcohol.”

    “Remind me to hurt him later,” said Ilmarė.

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    Death in Freeport - Part 10: Cave of the Degenerates

    Kham struggled behind everyone else, dragging two chests as he walked. They made a horrible screeching noise with each step.

    “If we ever had any hope of the element of surprise, it’s long gone now,” said Dril ruefully.

    “Well,” said Vlad, admiring his new shield, “the shield is nice.” It had an image of a serpent upon it, with arrows flying towards it.

    They were in a large, irregular cavern. It was different from the other rooms in that it was both older and more primitive. The cave was scattered with bones, refuse, and filth. The lapping of a dark pool echoed from one corner.

    “That leads to the ocean,” said Ilmarė. “It has a current.”

    “You know, all this water makes me have to pee.” Kham wiped his forehead. “Can we go now?”

    “No,” said Ilmarė. She walked up to a part of the cavern wall and pressed on it. “The ssanu must be eliminated. Every last one.”

    The wall popped open into a much larger room lit by blazing torches. They had reached the heart of the Pit.

    It was a large chamber flanked with pillars. Each pillar had a giant stone snake coiled around it and the motif continued on frescoes along the walls and floor. The room was large enough to house another structure, a grandiose hall, within it.

    Kham dropped both of the chests. He turned to look at Dril. “They’ve been here for awhile, huh?”

    Dril nodded, muted by the spectacle. The craftsmanship involved would have taken decades.

    “Well,” said Kham, “we may as well see if anyone’s home.” He drew two of his pistols and jogged up the steps to the front of the hall. Dril and Vlad followed close behind.

    Kham peered around the corner into the room. An altar of black basalt stood at the far end of the hall and a strange yellow symbol was inscribed on the wall behind it. There was a statue of a tentacled horror in front of it.

    Two figures in robes lurked behind the far pillars, loaded crossbows at the ready. Behind the pillar stood a small man wearing red and black robes with a full hood. A skull-shaped mask covered his face.

    “You are the firth outthiders to ever reach the Temple of the Unthpeakable One,” said the unmistakable voice. “Your achievement detherveth congratulationth. It ith altho your doom!”

    “Is that who I think it is?” asked Vlad.

    “Althares help us,” said Kham. “It’s Milos.”
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    Death in Freeport - Part 11: Temple of the Unspeakable Oath

    “You mutht learn rethopect!” shouted Milos.

    “How can anyone possibly respect you when you talk like that?” Kham shouted back, pistols cocked.

    BLAM! BLAM!

    Both shots ricocheted off an invisible shield that surrounded Milos.

    “Damn,” muttered Kham.

    Milos pointed at Kham with his staff. An expression of horror crept over Kham’s face. Then he turned and fled through double doors at the other end of the hall.

    Vlad and Dril stood on opposite sides of the temple’s opening. They watched Kham run screaming past them.

    “Our turn,” said Dril. “Keep your eyes down.”

    With a shout, Vlad and Dril charged forward into the temple. A huge pool was at its center, surrounded by tiles patterned in the form of coiled serpents.

    One of the temple attendants pointed at Vlad with his mace. The warrior froze in mid-step.

    Dril kept coming. The other attendant pointed at him, but the Altherian was unaffected. His scimitar sliced through the unarmored attendant’s torso and jutted out of his back.

    Ilmarė fired an arrow at the other attendant, who was forced to duck behind one of the pillars. A crossbow bolt answered her attack but went wide.

    “Vlad!” shouted Ilmarė. “Snap out of it!”

    Vlad stood, dazed. He was oblivious to the combat that raged around him.

    Suddenly, Ilmarė’s clear voice pierced the din of battle. “Cuiva Vlad!” she sang, demanding him to awaken.

    Dril pointed his dagger at Milos. “I’m coming for you next!”

    Tira nottolya,” sang Ilmarė. She asked them to face their foes.

    “Oh, really?” asked Milos. He pointed with his spear at Dril. “Kneel before your mathter.

    Tulta tuolya,” sang Ilmarė. She asked her allies to summon forth their strength.

    Sweat broke out on Dril’s brow, as the magic forced his knees buckle. He fell to one knee. Then his other slowly bent until both knees touched the ground. Dril’s neck was on fire; he fought it with all his might, but the magic was too powerful for him to resist. He bowed his head in supplication before Milos.

    An mauya mahtie,” sang Ilmarė. They had to fight!

    Dril was at war with his own body. “Where…” he grunted, “is Lucius?”

    “Why you are tho interethted in that librarian, I’ll never know,” said Milos. He sauntered down the steps from the altar to where Dril was kneeling.

    Ter oiomornie,” sang Ilmarė. They would battle through endless darkness.

    “He ith inthignificant in the thcheme of thingth,” said Milos, “but you are welcome to die for him.”

    Ter ondicilyar,” sang Ilmarė. They would battle through chasms of stone.

    Vlad shook his head, clearing the cobwebs. He raised his shield just in time to block another shot from a crossbow. The bolt hovered before the serpent shield as if caught in a net. Then it dropped to the ground.

    “Whoa,” said Vlad, staring down at his shield.

    Mettanna!” sang Ilmarė. They would fight to the end.

    Vlad bellowed a charge and, filled with the hope and glory of Ilmarė’s song, slammed into the attendant in a rage. The man was unprepared for the full force of a fully armed warrior. He went down with little resistance.

    Milos raised his spear, ensuring he would inflict a killing blow on Dril.

    Nurunna!” sang Ilmarė. They would fight to the death!

    The music sliced through the haze that had taken control of Dril’s body. Dril rolled to the side as the spear came down where his head would be.

    Milos looked up as Vlad stalked towards him from one side and Dril rose to his feet on the other. He ran back to the center of the altar.

    With arms outstretched, he shouted, “By the Yellow Thign, we will rule!”

    Then an arrow shivered at the center of his forehead. Milos turned and fell forward from the raised altar into the serpent pool with a splash.

    “Remind me not to make you angry,” said Dril over his shoulder to his Elorii companion.

    As the cultist’s eyes glazed over in death, a terrible transformation took place. His skin and bones rearranged themselves in a most unnatural way. His human visage was gone. Milos lay revealed as a monstrous creature, a serpent man with scaly skin and forked tongue.

    “Another ssanu,” said Ilmarė. “I wonder how long he carried on this deception.”

    “More importantly,” said Dril, “are there others like him in Freeport? We’ve only encountered three ssanu. There would be many more in a Pit of this size.”

    Vlad climbed back down the dias with an unconscious Lucius in his arms. “It looks like he’s hurt, but I think he’ll survive.”

    Dril blinked. “Speaking of survivors…where’s Kham?”
    Attached Files Attached Files  
    Last edited by talien; Monday, 28th July, 2008 at 09:18 PM.

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