“Aye!” Stephan shouted as he hear the dwarf sound an alarm, “we are attacked!”
He was ready, however, having not really slept a wink, resting with his sword arm free and even one arm strapped in his shield—something he learned during the Folcaan Campaign in the Soderfjord Jarlands.
Stephan was on his feet before the first peel of screeching monkey repeated itself via echo off the dense surrounding rock. The clear night and waxing moon afforded some level of sight allowing Stephan to meet a leaping simian in mid flight. His sword flashed and the possessed beast fell upon it—impaled through the chest. And yet it fought, grasping and biting Stephan’s sword arm even as it give the final twitch of death.
“By the Gates of Glastri!”, Stephan bellowed in pain while quickly extracting his blade from the ape. Greasy blood splattered about and he wheeled to avoid another flying ape. Impacting it with his shield, the creature fell to the rock smacking its head with a sickening crunch. The blow, however, did not slow it down and it leaped again with an incredible arc.
Standing near the rock edge with his back to the gully, Stephan ducked under his shield but sprang with it to propel the flying monkey over the edge. Its bestial screech echoed up the rocks as it fell some sixty feet to jagged bottom.
Feldard, mid-way into his watch, had turned at the screeching and opened his mouth to give warning but Stephan was quicker. The dwarf hefted his weapon and moved to greet the attacking apes with the bite of his axe blade.
He grunted in annoyance as all the screaming was sure to alert any patrols to their presence. So much for having the benefit of surprise. Speaking of which.. how had these apes snuck up on their position without his seeing them? His infravision had only provided him just enough time to alert the other prior to the attack.. damn boulders and cover.
Miklos rose as quickly as Stephan, having felt no weariness–only unease–after the haunting trip through the moors. He sighted the attacking primates and quickly gathered the magical energies at his power. “Shhhhazaaam,” the magician intoned as he cast the familiar sleep incantation. After the practice of recent days, his casting of the spell was fluid and swift—in ways perhaps unmatched in western Karameikos. three of the attacking apes fell incapacitated.
Hasan woke more groggy and more slowly than Miklos, but he drew his sword as the apes careened down the slight slope. “Ai!” the elf screamed, throwing an unarmored arm up to protect his even more vulnerable face. A claw raked across his arm. He swung away with the other arm and landed a slashing hook to the beasts side. The ape howled his anger and bounded away to safer distance. from there, he took up a small rock that he pegged back at the companions before bounding away.
Feldard struck down one as the mage’s magic took hold. Only one beast remained and it quickly retreated. It wasn’t worth the time and effort to load his crossbow and fire off a bolt – the beastie would be long gone before then.
Feldard turned his glance to the tower and the ruins below —had the noise of the scuffle been enough to alert any sentries?
Ludo rolled quickly to the side at the first sound of the apes, but even his normally quick reactions were not quick enough, the sleep spell did its work. He too was worried, had the apes attacked alerted anyone else?
“I think we should move and quickly he whispered, I suspect a patrol will be sent to investigate. Hasan, your vision is better than mine, can you lead us away from here”?
Hasan nodded at the thief. Pausing only to pull the heavily studded leather armlets that completed his armor and gather his bow and quiver, the elf slipped silently over the hillock, following the path of the retreating ape.
Stephan was not adept at reading dwarven faces but he could see that Feldard was concerned, as he himself was, about what the ruckus may bring. He quickly gathered his things — easy enough to roll up the bed and don his pack — and followed Hasan’s lead as quietly as possible. The bright moon was a blessing and curse. It allowed him to easily follow the elf’s lead but he couldn’t help but feel it shown on him like lanterns on a bard in a traveling show.
It was a struggle to keep up with the elf and maintain some level of stealth but Stephan and the other somehow managed it.
Hasan followed the ape as it headed toward the ruined settlement. It headed to the westernmost route leading into the floor of the gulley and the ancient ruined streets. The elf lost sight of it as it disappeared behind a bend.