John play: Hero for hire

JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 39
“THE ORIEN STATION OF METROL”

Vult 11 996

“Unbelievable. How could this happen to something as large as Metrol?” asks Play to no one in particular.

John Play is standing on the exposed platform on the back of a car. He is taking in everything. He looks to the sky, a constant greyish-pink color with thick dark clouds. The buildings are rearranged and often relocated. This will make things hard to find. There are no people or any animals. The last time he was in Metrol it was a busy war-time city with people everywhere. The palaces even have a different look about them. Play smiles to himself. This will be a good adventure.

“When are we stopping?” asks the dwarf named Drumark.

“When we locate the rail station I believe. It used to be back there near the river. It was an incredible station. It had means to go to the water and the air ship towers were close to there also. Generally- all transportation came through there.”

Drumark looks out to the skyline. “Do you miss it? The spying? The war?”

Play turns to face him and crosses his arms. “Nope.”

“Most of us on this operation were never in the war. We were House Kundarak. We were not allowed to go to war. We guarded the house’s interests in our mountains and in Karrnath. Some of us came to Cyre also- like Veit and his brother Heit.”

“Sounds like you felt cheated. Trust me- war is not fun.”

“Hum. Explain that to Morrikane. He likes war and was one of the few that saw any action.”

Play is distracted. He sees a ball of bright pink colored energy moving slowly on a street about 60ft away. “Living spell?”

“Aye. The land and buildings are not the only thing changed here. Magic is different also. Divine magic especially. But arcane magic in some instances have taken on a life of its own.”

“We’re slowing down. The station must be in view.”

“Or there is trouble ahead.”

The electric rail craft slows down due to a tunnel coming up. There is some rubble close to the entrance, as if recently moved off of the tracks. The Orien house member fears an ambush. Everyone readies themselves for this possibility. The engine enters the tunnel and as it goes in everything goes dark. Play and Drumark hold their ground as mists swirl after the craft. Vaguely humanoid from the waist up. They do not attack or even follow. Not that this makes either one of them any more comfortable.

The craft exits the tunnel at the same cautious and slow pace. Gong’ d’Orien spots the flags that sit on the station. The flags have all the twelve houses represented and against the wishes of the Cyre people, the five nations also are represented. The building is huge and still tiled with emerald crystalline shingles. Even in the dull light of late morning sun, it glitters some.

Entering the station, Gong’ is happy to see the turn table is set to turn them into the middle of the dead nation. She stops the engine and sets the brake.

The seven dwarves, Snow white and Play meet on the platform of the station. This was once the pride and joy of the electric rails run by Orien. Now the quiet and gentle breeze only unnerves them. But not as much as the howl that then comes from somewhere within the city.

“So- where to?” asks Play.

“Just go. We need to find the Kundarak bank.”
 

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JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 40
“UNDEAD OF METROL”

Vult 11 996

John Play’s senses are at full. The howling has stopped. He knows this to be bad. That suggests they were alerting others that there are visitors to the city. Once the call went out, it’s all about stealth and they are being at best watched, but more likely hunted. But by what? Being the Mournlands… undead and very dangerous. The dwarves know it also. Perhaps that is why Vondal yelps quietly as they turn the first corner.

A long iron gate about waist high with a few twists and bends is here. On the fence are dozens of tiny birds. If Play remembers them correctly they are Corollax, tiny magical song birds once common in Cyre. The current problem with these are they appear transparent….. ghost like. “They may mean no harm. Let’s leave them be.” Play suggests. The dwarves agree and give them a wide berth. Drumark studies them briefly but decides Play is correct. They are ghosts. The wonders of the Mournlands never end.

As quietly as full plate dwarves can, the nine of them reach the end of an alley and peer out. The buildings here are strange to look at. One, the door and windows have shifted in a way to resemble a demon’s open mouth. Another, possibly once a watchtower that would belong on the outer edges is instead build onto a square stone block of a building with no windows….. Perhaps a crypt. Not a good idea in a land known for it’s undead. Near the limits of their vision, there appears to be the remains of a temple to the Sovereign Host. It and the building next to it seem to have annexes that reach out like arms or tentacles. The other building has many sculptures and reliefs of dragons.

“Any of these your bank?” Play says with a smirk.

“You alright there Vondal?” asks Adrik.

“Yes. Just… preoccupied I guess.”

“Best to snap out of it. Need to be alert now.” Adds Balderk.

“And quiet.” Finishes Play as he decides to step out of the alley into the open streets. Silence. There is a shift of air- hardly enough to call a breeze. That is all.

They stick close to the buildings and move through the streets quickly. As they near the large temple Drumark spots something in the building across the street. He gives a short sound to alert the others. They stop to see where he is looking. Skeletons. Their uniform suggests members of the Cyrian army.

“Quiet. They have not seen us. They appear to be guarding that building.” Play recommends.

They do move quietly when suddenly Vondal gulps his breath and tries to hold it. His face changes color and even as Veit reaches over to quell it- Vondal sneezes only as a dwarf can. The skeletons turn and point. “Oh that’s just great- perfect.” Growls Play.

Play moves out as he tries to position the large water fountain between him and the rushing forward skeletons. Balderk runs as quickly as he can with Play and pulls out his Holy Symbol. Drumark follows quickly. Veit pulls out a stick and moves to the edge of the building. What spell to conjure? Drumark’s husky dog rushes up to be with its master. Adrik moves up waving his sword- a fight! Finally! The skeletons rush forward to defend the city from scouts of Karrnath (at least in their minds). Vondal pulls out his warhammer that is magically tuned to harm undead and rushes forward 9who wants to be last?). Karson savors the moment for a bit then charges forward with a war cry. Morrikane concentrates for a moment then pursues his brothers and family into battle.

Play takes down one skeleton as Balderk begins to call out in a commanding voice that seems to rise above all other sound. Two skeletons stop and move away from the dwarf as he steps up to the fountain. Drumark attacks with his short sword. He does a great deal of damage to the skeletal warrior. Veit screams out some very colorful obscenities about undead and releases a fireball. The green bead of energy fires from is stick and arches behind the skeletal crowd then explodes. Play, Drumark and Snow White are showered by flaming pieces of armor and bone. Most of the undead are destroyed in that one blast. Snow White tries to attack one of the two remaining skeletons but misses. Adrik rushes up and shatters a skeleton leaving just one. This lone undead strikes Adrik solidly as he is destroying the prior skeleton. Vondal rushes up but misses as Karson wildly and recklessly charges and his axe breaks off chunks of his rib cage and an arm. Morrikane, a heavy combat tank, nearly reaches the battle. Play moves in behind and attacks to finish off the skeleton.

“By the beard of my Great Ancestors was that about?” exclaims Morrikane to Vondal.

“I don’t know. My nose itched!” His nose does indeed look red and irritated.

“We need to move on or at least get off the streets after that. That explosion from the fireball spell may have attracted nearly anything.”

“Let’s try the Church.” Suggests Balderk. “We should look at Adrik’s wound.”

Play sprints up the stairs to the columns on the front of the massive building. He stops and listens and looks beyond the dwarves below him. He goes in.

Vondal checks on Adrik’s wound. It is not deep but the very air here can be disease ridden and healing is challenging at best.

Drumark and Snow White watch the entrance to the church as the others check their gear waiting for Vondal to finish. Balderk eyes him carefully. He seems to have a stuffy nose which is odd.

“Are you sick?”

“No. But it reminds me of my allergies. “

“You are allergic to something common?” asks Play half amused.

“The Cryan Pink Daisy. But it only blooms in the late winter to early spring. We should be fine. It’s something else.”

Balderk scowls thinking otherwise. “Are we ready?”
 

JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 41
“THE TROUBLE WITH METROL”

Vult 11 996

“AAAAAAAAH-CHO!!!!!!!!!!!! Blasts Vondal.

Play is not impressed anymore. The cleric has been sneezing very regularly for the past five minutes. Between that and Morrikane’s armor, they will not move quietly through town.

Play begins down the stairs and looks to the rooftops. “Was the bank very tall? Could we see its rooftop?”

“Not very tall but it flies the flag of Kundarak.”

“It’s a start. Maybe if I climb up a building I can spot it.” Play goes across the street to a merchant’s building that looks semi-melted at the base. He cannot help himself as he pushes stiffly against the building to be sure it is stable. He steps onto a rail and reaches the porch roof and hauls himself up. He looks into a window and is startled briefly. A person is sitting in a chair looking his way. They appear like they are sleeping. He then remembers how not only was there reports of people dying where they stood or sat but that the bodies are not decaying either.

He finds a water drainage pipe and grapples it and climbs to the roof that is three stories up. He sees many flags and some movement. He can just see the rail station. He thinks he sees the flag several blocks over. He motions to the dwarves the direction of the possible building before climbing back down.

Adrik’s steel tooth shines as he says a happy thought he has. “The House Tharashk folks would get lost here.” He alone laughs at his joke. Play just wants to find the key at the bank and be on their way.

One block over Play halts the group. A thick white fog is escaping from a partially closed door to a building. It hovers in the direction they wish to go.

“What is it?” asks Veit with wide eyes.

“Ghost.” Says Karson twisting his hands on the handle of his great axe.

“I’ve read in the Korranberg Chronicles that some spells take on a life of their own and escape the magic items that held them. This could be one.”

“Living Spell. I think you are correct Vondal.” Agrees Play but no one hears him as Vondal sneezes again.

Everyone turns and glares at the cleric.

They turn back to the Living spell and find it is moving towards them.

“Here we go again.”

“Can we outrun it?” asks Balderk.

“For a while but it’ll find us again Doc. Thanks to Sneezy here.” Grumbles Play.

Play studies the ball of arcane energy and notes how the stones in the streets glisten as it passes over them. “Ice. It’s a spell involving cold. Fire it up again Veit.”

The artificer steps up and channels magic once more through his wand. Fire erupts on the thick white mist. A hiss that ends with a howl erupts. It moves directly to them now.

Play pulls out a wand that he has been holding off to use, a powerful wand of fireball. He points and mumbles before saying “Zap”. The magical ooze screams and hisses as the flames erupt and roll over it. Karson d’Kundarak charges up to the steaming ooze and with a war cry swings his axe. A burst like wind swept snow follows his axe as it goes through it. Drumark’s dog knows better and growls at it from a safe distance. Morrikane powers up and rushes forward. Adrik runs up and swings with his magical war hammer. Drumark moves up and takes Snow’s lead. Veit fires off a fireball but the arcane creature ignores the spell effect this time. Balderk also pulls out a wand and releases its magical effects. The lightning bolt streaks into the ooze and shatters it with a loud crack.

They reach the building Play thought was the Kundarak bank. Sculptures of dwarves and magical beasts stand guard at the steep steps leading up. “That is not our flag.”

“It’s a manticore. That’s your flag.” Insists Play.

“Wrong colors and design.”

“What if these were changes like that of the city layout?”

Balderk stares hard at the building then at Play. “Very well.”
 
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JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 42
“ON THE STEPS OF THE KUNDARAK BANK”

Vult 11 996

The wide stone steps do not concern Play but the two large stone sculptures at the top of dwarves in plate armor do. As Play nears them he notes a crack in the stone he didn’t see before. He motions for everyone to stop which they do. Then Vondal sneezes loudly again and more cracks spread. Pieces of stone fall away and reveals a slightly rotted fleshy body under that resembles Flesh Golems.

Adrik moves up the stairs. “Is nothing sacred?” He smacks the flesh and stone pieces creature with his warhammer. Play, with his clubs of demolition, attacks next. Play seems to dance to the mockery of dwarven construction as he dips, dodges, spins and twirls under its reaching arms and strikes repeatedly at it thigh and mid-section. Chunks of rotted flesh and stone chip and rip off. Veit thinks up what to do and calls for Morrikane to step up to receive a gift. As the warrior begins to move up the stairs, Balderk agrees for Morrikane to hurry up. Morrikane moves up and his weapon to be touched by Viet and Balderk touches his shoulder. However, in his hurry up the steps he misses striking the statue / flesh golem creature. Karson goes berserk and charges up the stairs. His reckless actions allow the creature to strike him. His axe grazes across the thigh. Drumark and his dog rush up following the battlerager’s wake and get a small hit as they position themselves behind the creature. Karson is struck again who answers with a grunt. Play dodges both of the attacks from the other monstrosity. Vondal calls up a spiritual weapon shaped like a war hammer.

Adrik swings low. His first blow shakes the creature’s sense of balance but the second one takes it down. Play spins low then leaps high and strikes the creature on the upper chest. A solid crunch of bones and bits of stone are heard breaking. Balderk encourages everyone to hit it hard and steps back a dwarven banker leader would  . Veit figures this construct is doomed and begins to move up to the closed doors. Morrikane (buffed up by Veit, Balderk and his own kai) strikes very hard. His three harsh strikes takes it down.

Veit searches the doors for arcane traps. Kundarak has many security systems and who knows what the magics of the Mournlands have done to them. “Men! Quiet I think there is a….aw…. AW! By the lower beard of Madame Sune! Energy crackles by his hand. While looking for a magical trap he trips one. The stone blocks under his feet vibrate then push up and away as a large earth elemental rises. Its hands become mallets of stone and prepare to strike the artificer.

“Earth Elemental!” yells Play as he turns and leaps onto the rising creature. He begins to pound on the head and shoulders of the elemental. The elemental slams down at Snow white the dog as she rushes around it to flank it. Drumark takes this opportunity to strike. His one connecting strike does little to it. Morrikane still empowered, turns to attack also. He strikes it three times. Each strikes splatters earth, stone and debris onto the others. Veit, embarrassed by his setting off the trap, steps back quickly to allow the fighters access to the base of this elemental. Adrik takes a shot at it. Vondal reaches the top of the stone stairs and strikes a minor blow. Balderk continues to encourage the fighters while looking around for any other dangers from the streets. He fears the noise of these last few encounters will attract the undead and other creatures. Karson knocks a loose stone off of the hip of the elemental. Karson is struck solidly for the effort. Karson clearly felt that series of attacks as he is driven to his knee.

Play continues to pound at the upper region of the creature and suddenly it lunges then topples down into a dirt and stone pile.

Vondal sneezes loudly then moves over to Karson. “Can you move your arm?”

“Arrrrgh. I’ll remove yours if you touch it!” Snarls the dwarf.

Morrikane looks at the doors and kicks it in. The door is ajar but with Play they push it open.

A howl echoes in the background outside. “In and close the door.” Commands Balderk.
 


JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 43
“EVIL WITHIN THE KUNDARAK BANK”

Vult 11 996

None of the dwarves are ready for what they see as they enter the bank. Even Play is speechless.

Bodies.

Most of the bodies seem to have just collapsed and lay there as if asleep. Even the guards with magical armor and enchantments designed to block sleep effects are down. Dwarves, humans, half-elves and even the elves are down. Most are dressed in fine clothes. These were merchants, nobles and other types of businessman. One group of three humans appear to be adventuring types with bundles to place in the magical bank vaults.

Play is tempted to take a peek. In his earliest adventuring days he would have.

Except for Karson, all the dwarves avoid the bodies. Karson nudges them with his foot as if to be sure they are dead and not just in a deep sleep. “dead. All dead.” He mumbles under his breath.

Twisting their house rings to show the emblem of the Manticore clearly, Veit, Balderk and Vondal work their way to the doorway that leads to the back. They are headed to the vaults. When Play starts to follow Drumark places his hand on Play’s. “Only Kundarak family members may go there.”

Disappointed that he will not get bragging rights to being a non-dwarf within the area he carefully lifts a dwarven employee from a chair and puts him on the floor sitting upright and takes the seat. “Ugh. It’s not even warm.” He comments quietly to himself with disgust.

The three dwarves go to the vault area. The vaults of ALL banks are linked. So there no items within the general vaults that cannot be gotten from Sharn, Fairhaven or even Korth. But there are special “old-fashion” vaults here that are not inter-linked. The can only be accessed from here. Within one of these vaults is the back-up key to the cash car of Kundarak.

Vondal looks over the twelve special localized vaults. “I thought these required a Kundarak dwarf with a house ring and a specific arcane charged ring by the box owner. How will we open these?”

“Our ancestors have thought of nearly all precautions Vondal. This is why Warden Disney gave you a ring recently.” Balderk answers, “In the case the ring is lost or somehow dispelled, three separate House rings and dwarves can override it. One dwarf with a bad idea is unlikely, three at once is highly unlikely… near impossible” …. But tricked is possible he thinks to himself.

They open each vault box and begin to check them. Balderk doesn’t close the one door all of the way. He turns away from it as Vondal is happy to find the key with the twin symbols of Orien and Kundarak on it. Veit and Vondal start out and once out of the room Balderk says he will lock everything quickly and be out.

Balderk looks to the door to verify the others are not returning. He goes to the vault he left open and pushes the money, gems and wands to the side. He drags out an old tome with black and red small scaled skin-hide. The skin seems to move as if breathing. Balderk feels sick holding it. He quickly stuffs it into a bag then into his main pack. He notes that his skin is goose-bumped and the hair on edge. There has to be easier ways of earning 100,000 Gold pieces.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

While the three dwarves are inside the vault area Drumark asks to look at Karson’s arm. After complaining about the lack of space he agrees. The ranger looks it over. “Badly bruised… maybe broken.”

“Yeah well ask again how the earth creature is doing.” He smiles and grumbles.

Play overhears the conversation and offers help.

“Magic healing doesn’t work here.”

“Ah- but I bought these….,” He fishes around in his pack and pulls out some fruit. “Like good berries but bigger and better.”

“They look like they are rotting…. Just like food does here.”

Play looks at the apples. They do look bruised even though he packed them in a way they wouldn’t get crushed or bruised. “Your call.”

Play puts away two and slowly motions with the third apple. With a loud grunt the dwarf grabs the apple and puts half of it into his mouth at once. His eyes get wide and he spits it out. He stares at it intently.

“Worm?” asks Play a bit alarmed and wondering about his purchase.

“Rotted from the inside out…” He shows the rogue the remaining piece of apple. Instead of white with a green skin it is greyish-brown with green skin.

“Where’s a goblin when I want one? I haven’t pegged in the back in the head in months.”

The dwarves chuckle (except for Morrikane) at the joke made at a goblin’s expense.

“We found it. Hey what is so funny?” asks Vondal as he comes out with Veit.

“Nothing. Let’s go.”

“Wait for Balderk. He is locking up the vaults.”

Drumark’s thick eyebrow rises at that.
 


JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 44
“DIRE WOLVES OF METROL”

Vult 11 996

“Comon- the light is starting to go.” Says Play as he moves forward through the quiet city. Well- quiet until Vondal sneezes abruptly. And again. And again.

“WHAT is it with that sneezing dwarf?!?” grumbles Play. “Stop being so sneezy!”

“But I only sneeze like this when the month of…. Orlune…. Comes.” Stumbles Vondal. He looks down at a flower pot. He points at it and sneezes. “sniff…. How?”

“I have an idea,” says John Play as he checks down an alley, “This would preserves the dead perfectly. As if the day of Mourning had just happened.”

“Yes. I agree.” Says Balderk in a questioning voice.

“So EVERYDAY is Orlune 20th…. When that damned flower blooms.”

“O doe.” Says the sniffling dwarf.

“It could be worse.”

“No. Loow there.” He says pointing.

Play and the others look. Snow growls. Red eyes in the dark. Then a growl. A big boney dark colored dire wolf steps out of the darkness.

“Look sharp guys. They generally travel in packs.”

And on cue many Dire Wolves come out of the shadows and form a pack. The biggest one howls to the dark gray clouds and sky above then stares down the human and dwarves.

“Sigh. Not worth running. They’ll just chase you down.”

The lead wolf growls at a different rate and the others return the growl.

“Here. We. Go……” Play says as he reapplies his grip on his clubs.

Play rushes up and thumps the lead wolf on the snout. Drumark and Snow White follow him. The wolves begin their attacks. The bite and snap at Play but do not get him. But their size concerns him. They are like horses and box him in, they restrict his agile movement. Adrik rushes up but like the other remaining dwarves; they are too far away to safely rush against the wolves. That said, the spell casters begin to attack. Vondal looks to strike them down with a Flame Strike. The wolves feel the air open up above them and begin to leap aside as the portal blasts out magical flame. The flames nearly strike Play. Karson uses the flames at a spot to attack. His barbarian nature allows him to meet the wolves quickly. Balderk calls up searing light. The combined powers of holy flame and burning light take one animal down. Morrikane does a full run. He is only nearing the wolves while in his heavy full plate. Veit pulls out his wand and begins to blast away at the pack. The fireball erupts within the center of the pack striking all but one dire wolf but the creatures are quick to move with the blast and little harm is done.

Play spins and twirls and strikes the leader in the head many times. Bloody drool seeps from its snout but with a dull growl it drops. Drumark stabs the wolves repeatedly. The wolves bit and growl but none harm the dwarves and human. Adrik strikes the wolf in the shoulder then spins in the reverse direction and strikes the neck (crit!) and drops the large animal. He howls a primal howl that unnerves Play a little. Vondal strikes again with a pillar of magical flame. With the animals starting to thin out only two are struck this time and with additional space they avoid the worst of it. Karson charges a living wolf and uses the body of a dead burning one for height-he buries his war axe deep between the shoulder blades. Balderk changes tactics thinking he may want the Searing Light spells for any undead that come so he pulls out his wand and goes to aim. Morrikane misses as his cumbersome armor makes it hard to move up and around the dead bodies of other wolves. The artificer uses another fireball. It strikes all of the wolves and even kills the one Karson squarely struck.

Play swings and strikes the head so hard the neck refuses to support it and it goes down. Drumark and his animal companion follow-up and strike at another large boney wolf. Adrik rushes up again and hits again. His steel tooth shines in the dim light through his smile. Vondal moves up both to support and get cover from the wolves and any new dangers. Karson rushes up (ignoring the pain in his shoulder and upper arm) and attacks. His efforts takes down a wounded wolf. Balderk releases a Lightning bolt from his wand. The wolf’s fur rises on end but little else. Morrikane misses as more bodies hinder his actions.
Veit burns up more wolves.

Play senses a change in the animal’s stance. They are going to leave. “boo!” Drumark also sees the change and goes full defensive as the four dogs (one actively still burning) turn and run away howling and whining.

With the wolves either dead or running, they make way to the Rail Station as quickly as Morrikane can.
 

JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 45
“ESCAPE FROM METROL”

Vult 11 996- NIGHT FALL-

They reach the Rail car and board it quickly. The car moves outside of the city with bursts of color as many flocks of ghostly Corollax fly up as the rail passes them. The Electric Rail picks up speed and Gong’ d’Orien wills the elemental to push harder.

“Uh-Oh” she murmurs as she looks further up the rail. One of the arcane triangle shaped conductor pieces has gone dark- shorted out. At this speed it could be a rough crossing. She wishes she could warn the passengers but cannot. Worst- there is a bridge about 100ft further down. It crosses over her. Possibly the Bridge of Generals based on the sculptures she can see in the twilight. She wills it to now slow down greatly and she hits the gap. It makes the craft jump and bump about. But it rides true. Her concentration is so pure and dedicated that she doesn’t hear the other thumps….. The ones on the rooftops of the cars behind her.

Only the two engine cars and the car they are meeting in are lit. The dwarves (with darkvision) insist saying the lights will attract creatures of the night otherwise. Goin’ and Gong’ stay within their cars taking turns resting and operating the electric rail. John Play, though comfortable in the dark, is the only one left over so they agree on one other car to be lit. It is here the seven dwarves and the ex- dark Lantern has a meeting.

The subject- healing.

The dwarven barbarian has a possible broken bone from the elemental attack. Adrik, still smiling, has a minor injury as compared to his friend Karson.

Play’s enchanted fruits of healing have all rotted into mush. Veit says he has an idea but it is uncertain if it will work. The dwarven artificer rummages through his pack and pulls out a large folded up bag. “A body bag? We’re getting ahead of ourselves are we not?” jokes Play.

“This is no normal bag. It is commonly known as a Bag of Holding. Inside is a space outside of time and space. Another dimension or plane if you wish.” Play sees where this is going and hopes he never needs healing. “In theory… if a healer and an injured person were both placed within the bag they have left the Mournlands and thus the healing will work.” None of the dwarves look eager to crawl into the bag.

“Getting out is like pulling an object out…. The name / description of the dwarf are thought and thus they appear?” asks Balderk.

“Will I have to hold my breath?” asks Karson knowing he will be the first in.

“Don’t mind me but…. Why wasn’t this tested before?” asks Play fearing he knows why.

Uncertain if he wants to answer truthfully…… “Some teleportation spells work funny here within the Mournlands. As a dimensional device… we are not sure if it will be affected.” Answers Veit meekly.

Karson is not sure about this but steps up to Vondal. Vondal eyes him. After all- Balderk can heal also.

Having the advantage of height, Play picks up the bag and looks into it. Shifting shades of black and gray appear. It reminds him of his brief time at Mabar. Not a pleasant memory.

“Okay- here he goes. I’ll bag Karson first and if you could Vondal- prepare your spells of healing now.”

Karson is bagged. Then Play quickly moves to Vondal. His armor will make this harder to do but it’s too late now. He tucks and pulls the bag over him until it reaches his feet. “How long?”

“Give them a count of 30 to do the spells. That should be enough yet will not be an issue with holding their breath.” Suggests Veit.

At this point, a door opens. A pale skinned creature looks in.

“Undead!” screams Veit in near terror.

Play instinctively drops the bag and charges the undead. As he feared- there are several of them but by moving up quickly maybe they can bottle-neck the creatures. Drawing out his dagger he strikes. Little damage is done. It hisses showing its fangs. Vampires! Or at least the spawn. Balderk unleashes a Ray of searing light into the undead. The undead bursts into flaming cinders but reveals there are more to everyone else. Adrik rushes up with a happy grin. His strike makes the creature curse at him with a hiss. The creature tries to swat the fighter but he easily dodges it. Veit alters the magic of Morrikane’s weapon. It now is a bane to undead weapon. Knowing what he did Morrikane rushes up while employing his Kai energy. His axe cleaves the creature in two and another burst of embers fall to the floor. Drumark and Snow White move up to support. He looks around for the bag where Vondal and Karson are.

The dwarves and Play hold back. To enter the doorway will mean THEY will be bottlenecked so they wait for the creatures to move. They do but as expected. One rush forward but the others take to the ceiling! Drumark and Veit are surprised as two vampire Spawns drop from the ceiling and attack them. Both are struck. The one in the doorway tries for Play but misses. Play . Balderk fries the undead attacking Veit. Adrik smashes at the undead. Veit back peddles from the remaining undead. Morrikane attacks the remaining vampire before it can escape. The ashes are following to the floor still when Drumark spots the bag on the floor and rushes to it.

Play is not nice about it. He tips the over and wills them to fall out. When they do not fall out, Adrik is quick to reach under and pulls out Vondal first (in case of more undead) and finally Karson. Karson looks a little green. Being outside of time and space seems not to agree with the barbarian. He easily pushes himself up with his arms. The healing has worked!

“Let’s not do that again anytime soon.” Grumbles Vondal whom then notes the last of the floating embers. “What did we miss?”
 

JOHN PLAY
“02 PLAY FOR THE MONEY”
SEGMENT 46
“ESCAPE FROM METROL II”

Vult 11 996- NIGHT FALL-

“We have missed them. I am truly sorry Warlord Greesha ir’Fracture.” Says the bowing Emerald Claw member.

“Play still has all of the luck of Olladra.” The Bone Knight surmises.

“How far can they go? The tracks is destroyed somewhere between here and Breland.”

“And as such they will need to return here. We wait. Sweett- location a defensible area near to the tracks. We will wait for him to return. Then he will be ours…. He will be mine.”
 

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