Monday, May 1, 2017

Wrath of the Righteous, episode 14: Return to the Gray Garrison

April 29, 2017

I've noticed a tendency in my previous posts to detail out the combats, but without much personal information about the characters. I'm making a change to the style of these posts that I hope will make them more entertaining to read. I'll be focusing on the viewpoint of my character, Asami the wizard. Sometimes Asami won't be able to see what's happening to the other player-characters. I hope this won't make it seem like no one else is doing anything. That certainly isn't true.
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From her vantage on the stairs Asami could only see a small portion of what was happening in the room at the top. Irabeth was standing in front of her near the head of the staircase. She could glimpse a little of Jiro and several of the mongrelfolk who had accompanied them, and she could see Runa’s head above the heads of the cultists who had emerged from side rooms to attack her. Of Aegron and Zosta she could see nothing at all.

Suddenly more people entered the main room from side doors, and Asami saw Runa fall, vanishing behind the swarm of cultists. Asami raised her wand, directing two missiles from it at one cultist near where Runa had fallen, and a third missile at another figure standing near her first target. A wave of energy spread from where Jiro stood, which Asami recognized as his healing hex. Then a figure appeared in the midst of the cultists, standing over what Asami assumed must be Runa’s prone form. It was a white-furred creature that looked like Jiro’s spirit animal Bohgong, but it was much larger than the diminutive monkey. The unusually large monkey also appeared blurred. Asami saw the giant-sized Bohgong lift Runa off the floor and then leap out of sight toward another room that lay above the stairs and behind Asami’s current location.

Relieved that Runa had been taken to a safer place, Asami sent more missiles from her wand at a cultist who stood directly in front of Jiro. Just after she did this another figure appeared between Jiro and the cultist. It was a ghostly form dressed in the style of apparel common in Tian Xia, which led her to assume that Jiro must have summoned it – or perhaps Bohgong had, as Asami suspected there was more to the white monkey than a mere spirit animal. This spirit guardian standing before Jiro did not bear any offensive weapon, but used its staff to block attacks by the cultists that were aimed at Jiro.

Asami did not know what was happening to most of her comrades at this point, as she could only see Jiro and several of the mongrelfolk. Irabeth had run up the stairs and disappeared into the other room. Asami climbed up to the top of the staircase but still could not see anyone else. The rest of her friends were behind her on the other side of a wall as best she could surmise. Because Jiro and his spirit guardian were facing a large number of cultists, Asami pointed her wooden sword at several cultists in the corner of the room she faced and a wave of energy in the colors of autumn leaves spread out from the sword’s point. She had targeted four enemies, but the magic affected only one, the other three managing to resist its power. The fourth cultist’s eyes rolled up and he slumped to the floor.

Asami heard Irabeth shouting fiercely from the other room in the language of the orcs, which Asami was not able to translate. She shifted around the corner behind Jiro to see what was happening in the next room. Her gaze immediately fell on Runa, who was on her feet but did not look well. Runa appeared to have withdrawn from the demonic goat-horned creatures that Irabeth was fighting in order to heal herself. Asami stepped up behind Runa, laying her hand on Runa’s shoulder, and said in a low voice, “Accept the magic,” into Runa’s ear. Runa nodded slightly in acknowledgement. Asami held the flat of her wooden blade toward Runa and moved it from Runa’s head to her feet as she murmured the words of the spell. An insubstantial shape of green energy formed around Runa, surrounding her completely at a foot’s length from her body. The energy took the shape of a sturdy tree. It would protect her from the attacks of evil creatures, and creatures summoned to this place by magic would not be able to approach her. When the spell was complete, Asami took a potion vial from her pouch and handed it to Runa, telling her, “Drink this.” It was the strongest curative potion she had in her possession, and Runa needed it far more than she did.

Now that she had entered the second room, Asami could see that Aegron and Zosta were also there, at the opposite end of the chamber. She watched over Runa’s shoulder as Zosta tripped one of the goat-horned beings and knocked it to the floor. A moment later the creature got back on its feet and stepped backward through another doorway. Zosta followed it and it attempted to gore her with its horns. A second creature of the same kind was engaged with Irabeth and Aegron, who was using his ranseur to fight it. Runa and Irabeth both turned to look toward the wall to Asami’s left. Asami sensed that they had seen something, but before she could get a glimpse of it, the entire room was plunged into impenetrable blackness. Asami heard the sound of bowstrings twanging, and something wet spattered the floor nearby and Runa made a small exclamation of disgust. Then there was the sound of a door closing from the opposite end of the room where Zosta and her opponent had been. Kirara could see no more in the darkness than Asami could, but the cat poked her head out of Asami's pack and whispered in Asami's ear, "Smell no enemies near."

Behind Asami, Jiro said, “I’ll try to dispel the darkness.” She waited as he recited the words of the spell, but when he finished nothing happened. Asami felt slightly foolish that she hadn’t thought to do so first. She spoke the spell herself, gesturing with her sword to encompass the room that she couldn’t see. As she pronounced the last syllable, the darkness vanished and the room was visible once more. But she hardly had time to draw a breath before the room went black a second time! She heard a sound like something spitting and felt the burn of acid on her exposed skin. A large shape approached, causing Kirara to hiss fearfully, and then something bit her painfully in the arm.

Asami heard the sound something being dropped on the floor followed by the metallic grating of a sword being drawn from its sheath and guessed that it must be Runa, as Irabeth was already wielding her longsword and Aegron did not customarily use a sword. Behind her there was a rustling as Jiro moved, and she heard him murmuring. Light suffused the room, driving away the unnatural darkness. Jiro held up his lantern on the end of its pole. The lantern’s magical, never-ending illumination had overcome the darkness. In its glow Asami could see that in the room with her and her companions were two creatures that resembled flies but were as large as men and wore man-like faces. Asami raised her wand. Three missiles from the wand slew one of the fly-like monsters. Aegron killed the second one. But there was a third fly-creature in a narrow hallway that led off from the left side of the room, and this spat on Irabeth, Runa, and Aegron. One of the goat-horned creatures was also still in the room, and it used its halberd to slash past Irabeth, aiming at Aegron. Irabeth thrust her sword into the creature and it dropped.

Jiro called out to Bohgong to seek Zosta, who was nowhere in sight. Asami moved to the end of the small corridor and stroked her sword, drawing green lightning from the wooden blade. The lightning shot down the hallway at the third fly-monster and another of the horned demons that stood behind it. But to her disappointment both creatures appeared unaffected by the lightning. Runa put a hand on Irabeth, who seemed unsteady, and murmured a prayer to Iomedae to heal the paladin’s wounds. Irabeth was still weak and withdrew from the area where she might be threatened by the demonic creatures’ attacks. Runa handed her a potion and Jiro used one of his hexes to provide her further relief from her injuries. Asami pointed her wand at one of the demons that remained in the room, but the tiny missiles of magical force bounced off its hide.

Zosta emerged from a room at the far end of the chamber, tripped another horned demon, then slashed it with her bladed gauntlets. Several of the mongrelfolk archers, who had been busy eliminating the last of the cultists in the other room, now aimed their bows at the fly-thing and brought it down. Aegron charged past where it had hovered to get to the demon in the hallway. It was close enough to where Asami stood that she could stab at it with her spear, but her blow failed to connect. Then Aegron broght his greataxe down on it and nearly cleaved it in two. After it died it vanished in the manner of a creature that had been summoned from another plane. There were no other cultists or creatures sharing the space with the attacking force from the Eagle's Watch.

But there were still side rooms that they had yet to explore, and they had not located the Wardstone fragment. Runa and Irabeth both looked weary and were still wounded. Asami assessed the spells she still had in her mind. Her ability to hurl lightning at her foes or dispel magic they cast were gone, and she could not grant anyone else the same protection against evil creatures that she had placed on Runa. That magic would last a little longer, but how much was left of the Gray Garrison to examine? Would they need to leave it and replenish themselves a second time? She had a magic pearl in her pouch that would let her recover one spent spell, but it could not be used to recover the lightning spell or the spell to dispel other magic. As she thought of this Asami could feel the weight of the enchanted rod Quednys had given her, pressing against her back. The stone must be destroyed before the demon lords could use it to fully open the Worldwound. Thinking of the Worldwound made the peculiar Seeker’s Spiral birthmark on the back of her neck tingle and raised memories of her lost parents. She and her friends must prevent the Worldwound from being opened further, no matter what the cost.

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