Monthly Archives: August 2007

Statue Be Damned

The swordswoman crouched, breathing heavily. She stood ready to slice the Rahib if he started to get away from his two pursuers.

“Why are mages so hard to kill?” muttered Nicolai. “There really is no need for this, if they’d just go easily.”

Still swinging his scimitar energetically, the Siswa persisted in his attempt to speak with his wordless opponent. “Release the Siswa from their trance, and take me to Elrond! If you do this, and my village is intact, I will let you leave in peace.”

“This one won’t let them go, and even if he did, he’d be back. He’s sold his soul to the dark ones.”

Confirming Nicolai’s predictions, the Rahib continued his attack, growing more fervent and aggressive as his wounds became more severe. Finally, Saeth struck the death blow with her enchanted sword, bringing the confrontaion to an end.

* * * * *

With the second of the panthers laying dead at his feet, the dwarf turned to the sound of battle that came from the area behind the alter. Feldard scowled up towards the statue and then strode towards the alter. Statue be damned, he was going after the Rahib!

As soon as Feldard got near the altar, the bone golem once again came to life and started marching toward the dwarf, it’s six skeletal arms bearing the scimitars still stained with the blood of their last battle.

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Putting Down the Panther

Maruc pressed his attack hoping to keep the cat off balance. But he was conscious not to over expose himself as the blood flowed freely from the nasty gash in his side. Couching his wound he flung his shield arm out hoping to confuse it and spun on his heal in a 360 degree swing he endeavoured to put his whole bodyweight and inertia behind a finishing blow. This fight had to stop now or its mate would take the dwarf off guard.

Miklos danced wildly about hopping from foot-to-foot in a wild panicky display trying to distract the black panther fending it off both hands clasped at the end of the staff mimicking the dwarfs sure footed combat as best he could.

Grimacing at his newest wound, Feldard turned next to the last panther, whose attack he braced for even as he saw the cleric round on it with intent to kill. He risked a glance away, looking towards that damnable statue but as yet it wasn’t moving. Thankfully, thus far it was not.

“Miklos, follow Nicolai and Saeth. We need to ensure that the Rahib doesn’t escape this time. Maruc and I will follow once the cat is dealt with.”

* * * * *

In close quarters with the other combatants now, the Siswa’s purpose was clear. The scimitar sprayed toward the Rahib repeatedly, displaying greater purpose than skill.

“Where… is… Elrond?” the elf gasped out between his frantic slashing.

Seeing this unexpected face engaging the Rahib, Saeth backed up, interposing herself between her foe and the trapdoor. She had a suspicion that the Rahib was not truly a wizard, that the disappearing act earlier was an elaborate sleight-of-hand.

Once firmly ensconced in the doorway, she surveyed the melee. It would be fruitless to try to bring another blade to bear in these close quarters. Whispering quiet words in Elven, Saeth watched the room vigilantly. A bright beam of energy formed above her. She pointed her arm toward her target and the magic missile launched itself at the Rahib. It crackled as it bore into his side.

* * * * *

The combined attacks of the dwarf and cleric finally overcame the last of the Rahib’s pet panthers. The sounds of combat continued to come forth from the area behind the altar.

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A New Ally?

Dodging Saeth’s dagger, the Rahib struck the elf with his mace, knocking her backwards. Despite being caught off guard and now facing two opponents, the Ylari did not seem to be intimidated in the least.

Suddenly, a dark-hooded head poked up from the small stairway leading to the tiny room up the stairs. Eyes widening, the Siswa emerged and swiftly drew his scimitar. Closing the gap between himself and the combatants with startlingly speed. Silently, ferociously, he raised his sword and lashed out.

He swung at the Rahib!

Saeth stepped forward to grapple the spellcaster again, but stepped back as the new combatant entered the fray. Her eyes opened wide as she realized his target; who’s side was he on? She threw the dagger she drew her blade, ready to fend off either or both of them as necessary.

Surrounded on all sides, the Rahib’s eyes glistened with madness as he continued to fight.

* * * * *

The pain the gouge didn’t register to the young priest as a mixture of adrenalin and endorphines dampened the effects. His silent yelp lost in the aura of silence that encircled him. He wildly wanked his shield round trying to compensate for the beasts unexpected speed and furiosity. It was proving difficult to get a clear blow in and he was considering backing toward the door to get a better defensive position when the pressure on his shield ceased. He lowed his shield a fraction and saw Feldard had come to aid him.

Maruc nodded his thanks and taking the opportunity as the panther turned away to swing his flail round in a low arc toward its flank. His attack succeeded in drawing its attention back away from the dwarf, saving him from being attacked by both of the vicious animals.

Feldard being watchful, kept his attention moving… injured cat, pouncing cat, statue… He swung his axe up and around to meet the charge of the attacking uninjured cat. Hopefully, the hindquarter injury would slow up the other cat enough that Maruc could better deal with it. The ferocity of the cats attack was impressive as was it’s speed and the dwarf was hard pressed to hold his own. His armor protected him from the beast’s sharp claws, and he was able to strike a wicked axe-blow on the thing.

The enraged, wounded panther leapt at him, sinking its teeth partially into the dwarf’s shoulder. Feldard pulled back and spun, bringing the axe in a swift arc directly into the cat’s head, chopping it apart. Looking up, Feldard noticed the mage, who had been bravely, if ineffectively, poking his staff toward the panther trying to aid the warrior as best he could.

Meanwhile, Maruc continued to engage the other panther in a one-on-one defensive struggle. The panther had been getting increasingly frustrated as his claws and teeth kept being deflected by Maruc’s steely defensive.

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Battle in the Temple

‘What luck’ thought the Elf, who had never expected the sorceror to be so close. She grabbed the Rahib with her free hand, attempting to restrain him before he cast a spell. “Not a word!” she practically yelled, shoving her dagger towards his face.

Back up in the temple, the fight against the Rahib’s panthers continued.

“Are you some sort of artilleryman all of a sudden? Dice it with your axe!” Maruc chirped wildly behind the dwarf, with all of his panic reverbrating in his words.

The cleric grimmaced as the beast swung on his shield, he offered a swift prayer of thanks to Halav and brought his flail down in a stunning blow toward its head.

At the urging of the mage, Feldard grimaced but the human was right, who was he fooling—he wasn’t made for long distance battle. He passed back his crossbow to Miklos and pulled his axe free and strode into the room looking meet the large cat, yet still part of his attention kept watching the statue. “Rogue, leave the cat to me.. follow the Elf!”

The panther’s claws scratched into the cleric, striking with blinding speed past Maruc’s shield. He could get in little offense against the thing as he tried to keep his shield in between himself and the black beast. With its attention focused on Maruc, the dwarf was able to catch the panther off guard, sinking his axe into the thing’s hindquarters. It let out a painful yelp which caused its companion to raise its head from his feasting on the unfortunate Siswa who had been torn into pieces. It then remembered its masters order. KILL! So, putting an end to elvish snack time, the panther charged across the room to begin a delectable dwarven dinner.

The Rahib quickly recovered his balance and dodged her attack. From his black Siswa robes, his hand emerged, brandishing an impressive-looking mace. Saeth could also see that the man was wearing chain mail beneath the elven cloth. Not at all the equipment customarily carried by a mage.

Nicolai followed Saeth as quickly as he could. As was his modus operandi, he attempted move behind the Rahib, but in the close quarters beneath the trap door hatch, there was little room to maneuver. It appeared the two were in for a straight-up melee with their chief adversary.

 

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Face To Face With The Rahib

Praying to Halav that his armour would be proof against the creature’s claws, Maruc punched his shield out and leant his weight into the charging creature hoping to stun it and maintain his balance. He tried to wind the creature with his flail as they collided. He wondered if the sudden silence would confuse it long enough for the priest to incapacitate it.

Feldard grumbled as his shot missed, and spent precious time reloading his crossbow. He snorted at the mage’s arrival and moved in front of Miklos preventing any panther from thinking making a lunch of the scrawny mage. They would need to go through him first.

Secure behind the Dwarf, Miklos brandished his staff in an attempt to stop either of the Panthers from outflanking him.

Nicolai launched an arrow into the panther that was attempting to chew past Maruc’s shield, but the beast barely seemed to notice the wound as he was entirely focused on the priest.

 

“Thief! This way!” Saeth was loath to use Nicolai’s real name in earshot of this ‘Rahib’. She ducked through the trapdoor, releasing her blade to draw a throwing dagger as she did. The door dropped her down into a tiny cavern. She collided with someone that had been on the other side of the door. The speed of her movement pushed the man backwards, catching him off balance. From the looks of him, it was none other than the Rahib himself!

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Another Battle in The Temple

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From their rear vantage point, Nicolai and Saeth clearly saw that the panthers did not materialize from thin air into the room, but rather emerged from a hidden trap door behind the altar. Hearing the Ylari words of the Rahib, Nicolai aimed at the hatch, hoping the mysterious man would emerge. Saeth circled behind the altar, pulling her blade clear of its sheath, and prepared to strike anything that came within reach. They could both see that the hatch was cracked open slightly.

Feldard couldn’t get a good view of where the cats came from, but that one was about to jump the Siswa left him little choice. He fired off his bolt, hoping no one would step into his line of fire.

Not wishing to waste the wands precious charge Miklos with no offensive magic left had no choice but to run. He ran toward the transient safety of the Dwarf hoping that the creatures doubt would buy him the precious moments to spare his life.

The eerie silence surrounding the priest lent an unreal quality to the surprise menace of the black panthers. He felt strangely divorced from the scene, as if it were some kind of lucid vision. As Miklos turned to flee, the cleric ran to position himself between the his young friend and the cats to protect his back.

 

As the first panther was trying to make a meal out of the Siswa, the other black beast’s head spun toward the movement of the mage. It leapt forward with great speed, but Maruc bravely managed to intercept the creature’s charge.

All the while, the boned guardian of the chamber stood silently, not making a move to interfere in the battle that raged before it.

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The Rahib’s Pets

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Maruc, hearing nothing of the Siswa words cloaked in the aura of silence summoned around the coin he held in his hands waited patiently scanning the room awaiting the Rahib.

He idly envisioned casting stones across the still lake outside his old cloister imagining them skip across the surface. Subconsciously spooned the coin in his hand then traced a good arc of fire in his mind that would land the coin at the base of the dais. Then again at either door. Satisfied he had guaged the distances properly he waited patiently for the Rahib to appear.

The Mage nervously fumbled the wand in his hands hoping to put an end to the mess sooner rather than later. The Siswa’s unbending confidence even under the influence of the charm was frightening, Perhaps a disenchantment might work? It would need some studying but it was theoretically possible.

Feldard’s glance swept the room. He really had no problem tricking the Siswa this way. Better this than needed to kill the poor elf outright. He listened for movement down the hall behind him as his eyes continued roving the room, his crossbow primed and ready.

Nicolai moves to one side, and attempted to hide in whatever shadows may be around.

Saeth mirrored the cleric’s placement, tensed to move on the Rahib when he comes through. She hoped the young wizard would have the presence of mind to keep his ‘new friend’ from harm’s way once the wizard had been summoned.

Many moments passed, and the Siswa repeated his request for the Rahib to come forth. The group anxiously eyed the altar arrear where they expected their enemy to appear at any moment. Beads of sweat began to accumulate upon their brows.

Then, in quick succession, they heard the sound of a hatch being opened, a man yelling something in the Ylari tongue and then the growling of animals.

Two large, exotic black panthers leapt forth from behind the altar. One launched itself at the Siswa, who even in his trance state let out a terrified scream. The other aggressively looked about the room deciding who would be its prey.

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