The Third Tower

April 26th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

NOTE: This was not written by me, but by our wonderful DM.

Wex’s boots made a thump-thump-thump sound as he pounded across the open bridgeway, though it was only the competing rhythm of his heart that he heard. Focusing on the torchlight beyond the open doors before him, the warrior took the last few, squishy steps across the grease-soaked tapestry at a full run, leaping at the last moment, into the air on the far side of the rug, to clear more of the smeared viscous sludge inside the room. His momentum carried him headlong into the desiccated Beholder trophy against the back wall, which gave an audible sigh as it expelled a cloud of dust and dried skin. Wex coughed around his arm and moved away, his eyes scanning the dim room, he gave the  heavy crossbar on the ground near the door a measuring glance. “C’mon…c’mon…c’mon!” he muttered between breaths he had not quite caught as he slipped his bow off his shoulder.

Across the stone expanse, the figures of his allies shifted and stumbled. Everyone looking to be in about as bad a shape as he was, if not worse – a few gathered in the gateway in front of him, glancing back with the uncertainty that usually precedes panic. Uther continued to fling bolts of energy into the doorway, the sharp snap of their impact carrying thinly into the great cavern. Wex drew an arrow and nocked it, drawing back against his cheek as he forced his breathing to calm as he scanned for a target to show itself in the far doorway.

Things seemed to have been almost under control for a bit there. The Dark Dwarves were tough opponents, but they had been outnumbered, even with their disturbing flatbow toys. Jaren was already down when Wex entered the room, but it looked certain the last guard was defeated… just before that other door opened and pain came out. The first blast had taken everyone off their feet, even before Wex had an idea where it came from. Erron had leapt toward the new threat, Wex was sure he caught sight of another Dwarf leveling a staff of some kind before his vision went away in a vicious, choking cloud. Swinging wildly he remembered bashing the walking bow in front of him to pieces before he heard the Dwarven shouts from across the room where Aeongaard and Cyrpis were.

Aeongaard slashed hard into the Dwarf, spraying blood. The guard finally fell forward just beyond the large double-doors he had opened. The reinforced doors led into a wide hallway, to another set of doors, and then into a darkened room beyond. As Wex took a few steps toward them, Cypris and the Elf spoke urgently, Cypris standing near the first set of doors, back to the wall, her armor splashed with blood, some of it her own as it ran from cuts at her shoulder and side. Aeongaard stood in the middle of the hallway, over the dying Dwarf, looking into the darkness of the other room. His stance changed, crouching.

A heartbeat later there was a rumbling growl that carried into the room.

Cypris and Aeongaard exchanged looks and sharp words. Wex became aware of more fighting nearby as Erron and Reld tangled with the Dwarf mage nearby. Dolf leaned heavily against another door nearby, intent on keeping it closed while a squeaking voice on the other side tried to push it open. But everyone paused a moment at the noise.

Cypris started waving her arm. “Back!” And that was all the encouragement Wex needed. He headed out across the bridgeway.

***

Something dark moved in the torchlight in the far room. Something big. And it was not alone.

“Back!” Cypris hissed, sweeping her arm toward the gate they had entered only a few minutes before. She got looks she took for acknowledgement from a few faces. The Dwarven spellcaster was either dead or driven off – she could not concern herself with that now. She stepped quickly over to Jaren and flooded him with healing energy. Jaren’s eyes blinked open slowly.

She glanced back at Aeongaard, not registering for a moment what she was seeing. The elf was moving away from her, toward the far set of doors! Had he not understood her command?

Aeongaard slipped up to the far set of doors and pulled them shut. He was glancing around for a way to secure them – not finding anything handy – when he became aware that Cypris was doing everything but shouting at him. He turned and moved back toward the second doors, she was already closing one of them. Instead of stepping out with her, however, the elf pushed the door closed with himself still on the inside. “Get them out of here,” he said as the door closed.

Cypris blinked. She turned her head to see if Aeongaard was talking to someone else, but all she saw was the unconscious form of Jaren nearby. The rest of the group was involved with something across the room.

The cracking, wrenching sound of doors being forced open the wrong direction suddenly filled the room as the far set of doors Aeongaard had closed were broken in. It was a noisy metal-scraping-stone, punctuated by the splitting of wood much too thick to suffer such humiliation.
Cypris pushed the door next to her open enough to see a pale, yet determined, Aeongaard facing something dreadful she couldn’t even see. His scimitar was on defensive guard and shimmering with a red glow, but the elf attached did not seem to have his heart in the moment as he stared toward something that stomped and growled closer.

Grabbing a handful of Aeongaard, Cyrpis yanked the elf back into the room and shoved him. “Don’t be a fool! Get OUT of here!” She pulled the door closed again as Aeongaard stumbled back, almost toppling over a waking Jaren. The two of them began moving back with most of the others, all making for the main entrance and the bridgeway back to the other tower.

The second set of doors cracked and were wrenched backward by massive hands. Filling the double doorway almost completely, and ducking into the room was a great goblin monster of veined muscle and broken teeth. The muscles on the creature seemed too large for its frame, with long arms that ended in clawed fists. Mismatched armor covered several places, but the thick reddish hide of the creature seemed tough enough to serve. It rolled bulging, mad eyes around the room and let loose a bellow of fetid rage. As it took a step into the room, an Orc stepped in as well – a few others also crowded eagerly behind the big ogre, throwing spears.

Erron dashed out onto the bridge, suggesting that others would be wise to join him in a charge back to the other tower. Nearly all others present tended to agree, each making a parting shot as they fought their way back to the bridge.

Dolf decided, instead, that he should open the door he had been keeping closed. He flung it aside to reveal none other than the same Dwarf spellcaster that Erron had driven back into the other room. His surprise was short-lived, however, as his discovery was rewarded by a fiery blast that knocked him unconscious and dying beside the door.

Aeongaard traded a couple of cuts with the Orc nearest him before falling back to the bridge, but Cypris remained the last, standing her ground against the Ogre as best she could. As the Dwarf mage moved into the room from the far door with a devious grin, things seems grim, indeed.

Glancing back to make sure everyone else was clear, Cypris suddenly whirled and ducked away from the Ogre. His great club smashed into the wall near where she had been standing. The paladin moved quickly toward the doorway, throwing out her glowing hand and channeling healing energy toward the fallen Dolf. As she cleared the door and turned back to face the enemy, Dolf’s eyes flickered open. He lay on the ground behind the Dwarven mage, with an open door between him and escape. Quickly the man scampered to his feet, stumbling in his disorientation, and ran at best speed through the adjoining room and out onto the smaller bridgeway.

The Dwarf mage, hearing the noise, turned to see Dolf escape, and shouted angrily in disbelief.

***

Across the way, Wex looked on down the arrow in his bow, waiting. Most of the group –including Jaren, he was happy to see – was bunched near the far end of the bridge, a fighting retreat from something… big and noisy. He gritted his teeth as the cluster shuffles back. Uther and Erron closest to him, encouraging  the others to pull back into the safety of the first tower.  “C’mon… c’mon…!

***

And somewhere else in the first tower, sitting hunched against a wall next to a smoking, extinguished torch, Lawn scribbled her final, unintelligible words onto a page as the Rainbow Snake’s call grew stronger and stronger….

 

Where am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for April, 2011 at Drinking & Dragons.