Monday, 4 September 2017

Abnormaliroll - Fighter Part 2

As they slowly limped & hobbled their way back towards Greenest, Reezka's mind was running over the events of the evening. The meeting with Governor Nighthill had gone well once Asla had managed to convince him they were here to help. He'd asked them to go and see what was the cause of the flames at the town watermill and to save the grain that the population would need in the coming months. Reezka had wanted to go right away - she knew the long hours and toil that would be required even to attempt to replace the lost supplies. But with the howling mob of kobolds outside the keep and the ever circling dragon above them, how could they get there?!
It was Nighthill who had had the idea - an old,disused passage that led from the keep & out to the stream. From there they would be able to follow the stream all the way to the mill. The only problem though was that no-one knew where the tunnel was. Except....maybe Escobert the Red, the dwarf archivist who knew more about the keep than any other inhabitant of the town.
As they made their way down the stairs to look for Escobert, there was a ringing shout from somewhere above them. Reezka looked up to see a hero, clad in shining armour, standing on the battlements taunting the dragon. In the blink of an eye the dragon dived low and let out an intense cone of heat and flashing breath. The hero didn't even have time to scream before he was completely annihilated. Reezka insitnctively flung up her shield but as quickly as it had come, the dragon flapped it's mighty wings and soared off again into the night sky.

The group was silent as they tried to make their way through the press of panicked townsfolk. After a few moments of trying to shove their way through to where they would find Escobert, Reezka was fed up. Letting out a deep bass growl she stamped forwards menacingly, only to find Asla glowering alongside her. Between her scarred visage and Reezka's furious expression, they soon had a clear path into Escobert's chambers.
Excobert had presented them with an old rusted key and told them that the entrance to the passage was hidden under a pile of barrels and boxes in the courtyard. As she, Stei and Asla worked to clear them, Machi and Badger entertained the curious children with music. Reezka had little time for music but she smiled to herself to see the children forget their fears for the time being.
The tunnel itself was dank, narrow and very low. Sandwiched in the middle of the party with Stei taking the lead, Reezka was bent almost double. There was certainly no room to swing her axe here, a fact that became troublesome with the appearance of half a dozen large black rats. With her axe & shield out of commission, Reezka did the only thing she could think of. She let out another loud & sudden growl. Several of the vermin fled squeaking but the rest continued towards them. Thankfully they had little trouble dispatching a few and Reezka was surprised to see Verina use her magic to make one of the creatures explode into little more than a few sodden scraps. Perhaps the warlock was more powerful than she seemed.
There were no more problems with the rest of the tunnel, although Reezka wondered if any of the others had noticed the druid stowing a couple of the dead rats away in his pack. Whether he intended to eat them or use in some sort of ritual she didn't know and she didn't care. Certainly there'd been times when she'd been hungry & after all meat was meat.
The tunnel came out on the banks of the stream.On first glance all appeared quiet but quickly her eyes picked up movement on the opposite shore; 3 cultists moving with purpose towards the distant lights of the burning mill. Before she could even whisper a warning, Stei & Hesh had seen the danger and were across the river like silent shadows. The cultists were dispatched quickly and with barely a pause the group rushed towards the smoke and flames.

As soon as they arrived at the source of the flames Reezka could see that their inital thoughts had been wrong; the mill itself wasn't on fire but there was a large bonfire in front of it, around which a few more cultists were dancing and chanting. Thinking only of stopping the flames before they could reach the wooden structure, Reezka let out a roar of rage and charged the nearest cultist, Stei, Asla and Hesh alongside her. Hesh killed a cultist quickly while Reezka was able to inflict a severe injury on the one facing her. Then above his screams and the noise of the fire she heard a loud rhythmic chanting. Risking a quick glance behind her, she saw Machi standing with his arms raised to the sky, eyes closed and chanting something in a language Reezka didn't understand. She shook her head in frustration; what was he doing?! Couldn't he see they were in the middle of a fight? It became clear shortly afterwards though as she felt the cool drops of water falling on her skin. The druid had made it rain! And rain hard enough to douse the flames! Reezka was impressed. Clearly, while the druid may not be skilled in combat, he had powers that were beyond her experiences.
Once the cultists had been dealt with (with one being left alive on Stei's advice to try and question) they quickly came up with a plan. Badger & Verina would go around the back of the building, Stei and Hesh would sneak up the stairs at the side that led to the office/hayloft area and Asla would take Machi and enter through the front of the building to deal with any fire inside. Usually Reekza would have rushed with the to put out the flames but, with the rage of battle still rushing through her system, she indicated that she would stay with with unconscious cultist to see if she could get any information out of him. Truthfully she was quite looking forward to venting some of her fury on this worthless creature who tried to destroy with fire.
After that everything happened very quickly. Asla seemed to lose her head and crashed loudly through the front door while Hesh and Stei slipped into the office. Next thing Reezka knew there was a loud shout from Asla who had been dragged, bleeding from several spear wounds, out of the mill by Machi who also appeared to be injured. Then there was a sudden flash of flame followed by loud thuds and yells from the top floor of the building. She didn't see Stei or Hesh come out of the building, which was now full of a thick fog that she hadn't noticed before, but she did see the line of guards barrelling one at a time out of the small door to the office and down the stairs, heading right towards her. Some of them seemed to be badly burned but it wasn't stopping them from rushing down the stairs in her direction.
Without even a chance to think what she was doing, Reezka leapt up the bank of the stream with one hand around the neck of her prisoner. Letting out another loud roar she bellowed at the oncoming guards "Stay where you are! Or I snap his neck like a twig!" From the looks on the faces of the guards they didn't give a damn if she killled the cultist or not, but they DID stop momentarily. It was enough of a pause for Reezka to throw down her captive in the water, unstrap her axe from her back, scoop her shield from the floor and charge, roaring with fury, at the guards.
All hell seemed to break loose, she could hear loud yells coming from inside the mill, it seemed as if Stei & Hesh were proving hard for the enemy to find amidst all the fog, and then there were loud screams from Machi as at least one guard had found him across the stream. Where was Asla? Why wasn't she helping him? Was she wounded? What had happened to Badger & Verina? Reezka had no time to ponder these questions - there were three guards in front of her, infuriating her by dodging and ducking under the wide arc of her axe. Suddenly there was a sharp pain in her flank, another two guards had rushed her from behind and one had stabbed her with his short sword. While it was not a fatal wound for a half orc, she could feel her strength draining from her. All at once Stei was beside her, clearly wounded but fighting nonetheless. He fought bravely until the effort proved too much with his injuries and he slumped senseless to the ground.
Standing over the body of her companion, Reezka fought on. She was able to kill two more of the guards but there were still two left. She wasn't sure how much more she could take, the world was beginning to swim out of focus. Suddenly there was a hiss of air past her ear and one of the remaining guards toppled over, an arrow shaft sticking out of his heart. Gathering all her strength for one last effort, Reezka made a clumsy swing at the last guard, only to see him step quickly out of the way. His cry of triumph turned into one of pain however as he was ended by another arrow. Reezka looked past him to see Hesh calmly standing by the open front doors of the mill, another arrow already notched to his string, Sinking to the floor beside Stei, Reezka grudgingly admitted to herself that the Dragonborn had saved her life.
And with that the fighting was done. A troop of soldiers from the keep arrived, too late to do anything of use, while the rest of the party set about tending to the worst of their wounds. It turned out that Asla had very nearly succumbed to her spear wounds while Machi had done his best to hold off the guard attacking him until Badger & Verina had dispatched the guard with Verina's magic & Badger's crossbow. After that there was nothing else to do except head back to the keep where Governor Nighthall was waiting to speak with them. Reezka hoped there would be time to rest before anything else happened but with the way their luck had gone recently she wasn't going to hold out much hope of that. Still, at least they'd be back in the keep and somewhat safe......

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