In the small underground chamber violet orbs met dark, beady eyes. The latter flashed with curiosity and hunger, but seemed so unthreatening that Aelistae’s mouth curled in mirth. ’Jora’ she thought, an image of the small, furry creatures that fed on the scraps of Skullport flashing in her mind. As a younger woman she had viewed them with disgust, even fear, so different were their emaciated, hairy bodies from the graceful spiders that lived among Lolth’s Drow. But then she realized how little harm they could do to her, and she begun to fancy that the creatures were more afraid of her than she was of them.
It turned out she was wrong.
An instant after the pairs of eyes had met, the chamber was awash with the filthy, chittering bodies of thousands – tens of thousands – of rats. The creatures were everywhere. They bit and scratched the uncovered flesh between where the skirts of her armour and the leather underneath ended on her thigh and her boots began. The rodents tried to burrow through her torso, held at bay only by the mithril strands of her armour. And they pulled and tore at the corneres of her eyes and mouth. It was all Aelistae could do to keep her feet and stop herself from huddling over into a blubbering, weeping mess.
“Jallil, sslig'ne ilta,” she thought more than spoke, reaching through the mass of writhing bodies to where Linnix had been. A small, frightful whimper was the only sound that her friend – her sister – had heard her, and that the spell woven into the words had had its effect.
A few second later, Aelistae was gone.
Only to reappear a second later beside Dylan and Talus.
“I’ve decided I hate rats,” she murmured with cold humour, as she plucked a hissing rat from out of her long hair, threw it to the ground, and stamped on its brittle neck.
Bards and Rats don’t mix, except when low funds provide for strange bedfellows.
All hope of pretending that the earlier thundering walls were nothing serious were dashed as the sound once again reverberated through the mines, louder than before. Dylan pivoted frantically on the spot, casting his small haven of light around in a stalwart attempt not to be caught from behind, though what he achieved was the less flattering appearance of panicking. Of course, the latter was more likely true anyway.
As the ungodly sound died into black silence for yet a second time, a sudden and revealing piece of sagely insight occurred to Dylan: Miners are all bat-s*** insane.
He was about to share his newfound insight with his travelling companions when he was most rudely interrupted by another sound from the darkness. A sound both simple yet holding such deep meaning; the near-complete silence of the lobby amplified the diminutive utterance by contrast: this sound from beyond the realm of safety and brightness was almost simultaneously comedic as it was terrifying. This sound was the unmistakable wail of the hunger and filth that lives in the dark corners and sates its appetite on the crushed spirits of the misfortunate and the poor. This sound was that of a rat.
The one simple sound triggered a third and most foreboding cacophony as the darkness was filled with the sounds of hundreds of tiny furry bodies forming a roiling mass of grasping claws and plague-infested mouths. This time, though, the sounds would not be going away so mysteriously. Scant seconds after the clamour arose, the horrible wave had crested full into the area of illumination provided by Dylan’s spell, previously only hairy shapes in the dim extremities of visibility.
Dylan’s immediate reaction led him stumbling back out of the lobby’s entrance in a failed reflex to remove himself from the hungry tides. Let it not be said that the musical Geiling was a coward, however, for despite his natural inclination toward self-preservation, he levelled his head and focused. Against a swarm of this many bodies, a rapier would be of little service, he decided. He grasped his violin bow with his free left hand, but did not draw it to perform, instead drawing to his mind a less subtle form of musical magic.
In all honesty, it seemed like a very good idea at the time, discounting any trivial concerns about the integrity of the mine or alerting the sentience denizens therein. He roared a short crescendo of syllabic notes as he lifted his hand from his bow. His voice was barely audible above the commotion in the lobby, but the tremendous thundering vibrations the resulted, dwarfed the clamour and rattled the skeletons of everyone within and out of the spell’s area, and might even have made its way down to the Underdark before it finally ceased echoing through the bowels of the Earth.
(Glee and Sound Bursts abound for 50% extra damage (not that that is saying much though, but I might get a few swarms at once) Dylan would be aiming for somewhere in rat territory relatively close to the entrance, so as not to tear poor Linnix apart with sheer sonic force)
The vile vermin poured into the room, raining from the ceiling and flooding through the walls and floor to swarm over the explorers. Web covered rats rushed into the room, quickly amassing into a formidable wave of rodents.
Talus lost track of Aelistae for a moment as a wave of squirming rodents broke over her and Linnix. Then, suddenly, the priestess was standing right beside him, drawing her sword and hacking wildly at the oncoming swarm. Dylan, likewise, was defending himself from the onslaught. With one quick spell and a deafening boom, like that of summer storm's thunderclap, he sent the life flying from dozens of the furry critters.
The warlock knew that he didn't have anything as effective as that concussive blast to send against the rodents, but Linnix was veritably buried and Talus refused to be helpless here. Taking aim at a part of the writhing mass a safe distance away from his friends, he let loose an arc of eldritch energy. He wanted these rats dead and gone before they could do any real damage to any of them. He had already kicked two of the disgusting creatures away when they tried to gnaw through his boots and he thought of what they might be doing to Linnix if one caught her hair as it fell and swung 'round to her face and a desperate rage swelled within him. Talus channeled his burning anger into the eldritch blast and when it struck the rats, there was a small puff of flame and the rats scampered away from the point of impact to avoid catching fire.
The ability to incinerate with his eldritch power was nice and all, but it didn't seem to do anything against these rats. There were just too many of them to target in a way that would cause any noticeable damage. So, he drew his dagger and prepared for a less elegant fight against the rodents.
((Casting Brimstone Blast))
Posted on 2009-05-03 at 12:34:54.
Edited on 2009-05-03 at 22:01:43 by Deucalion
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
Bronwyn smiles and gives a curtsey to Lord Bart. "I have brought you Sir Roderick, a warrior of Helm, who has just arrived."
"I do not want to interrupt you any more, The plans expansion of the keep are a very good thing. I will leave him with you and prepare for dinner as the gong has already sounded."
Bronwyn showed herself out and went to her room to wash and change for dinner. She donned her one decent mage robe that Magda had given her years ago. It had been one of Magda's court mage robes, not fancy but beautiful material that Bronwyn had been able to alter with her Grandmother's help.
In the dark, hearing and feeling the rumbling within the walls and ceiling, Linnix would've attributed it to an earthquake, were it not for the lack of motion of the earth around her.
She couldn't see what was happening, or the rodents swarming her, but she definitely felt them. The urge to scream was only quelled by the fear that if she opened her mouth, one of the filthy rodents would get into it.
Linnix nearly lost the capacity to think, to be paralysed by both fear and disgust, but somehow, she retained enough of her composure to take action. Relying on memory alone, Linnix dove and tumbled or stumbled back, towards the door where she came in, hoping to loose some of the creatures on her along the way.
The tall, armor-clad man gave a half-bow to the lord of the keep. He tilted his head upwards, eyes casting over the room for a brief moment. His gaze settled on Bart and he stepped forward, hand resting comfortably on the hilt of his bastard sword.
"Lord Bartholomew? I am Rodderick Hughes, a warrior of helm as the miss who just left told you. I've been sent here from the temple of Helmites to pledge my aid to the defense of this fort."
He paused, giving the boy at his side a glance, unsure of his presence.
"Whatever you need from a warrior of Helm isn't too much to ask."
With that, he clasped his hands behind his back and awaited the lords response.
Xaris trained hard with the soldiers, and when this private Rook threw his sword down in disgust, he was appalled. He really thought he was getting through to the men, breaking through the yolks of average citizenship and dipping into their warrior instinct. He was thrown into an even deeper anger as he disrespected the orders his superior had given to him. He himself might not of been the best at taking orders but he knew who should of been, and it was Rook. Xaris hurried over to the man before he could get far, and stood in front of him.
" Where do you think you are going." Before he could answer, Xaris was already speaking again.
" It doesn't matter, because your going to be back there and pick up your sword, and ask your superior if you can take leave. Do you know what will happen to this place if even one person is let go with an attitude like yours? This whole place, where I almost died for, where my friends almost died, where you will protect your family and friends, will be burnt to the ground by goblins because people like you don't give two damns about anything but themselves! Have you even looked at yourself? You think a goblin will be a push over in your condition? You will be skewered like the pigs we eat for dinner and then your family will die. Now, be a good soldier, and train as hard as you can so we don't all make this place your grave. And I swear, if you continue walking in that direction I'll have to put you in your place. This is no time for people to act like children!"
In the limited illumination of Dylan's light, the swarms of rodents moved en mass over Aelistae and Linnix, sweeping over them like the tide trying to overtake the shore. Linnix was almost instantly covered in clawing biting filth ridden vermin, a cry for aid only met with a rat trying to escape down the dark passage of her throat. It was all the woman could do but stumble and amble hopefully closer to Aelistae or the others, but the priestess had her own share of 4-legged pestilence to deal with.(Linnix-4hp)
Aelistae wanted to help her companion, wanted nothing more than to utter some lost word of power and vanquish the unending foe with the wrath of her goddess, but fate was not so kind. Regrouping, perhaps even retreating was all that was possible at the moment, and as rat after rat clawed and bit desperate to find flesh beneath armor or cloth, Aelistae's arm reached out and met Linnix's for but a moment...
Aelistae invoked a sanctuary upon Linnix, who gripped her arm for all her might, but there was no slipping, no loss of strength in her fingers to account for her friends sudden disappearance; she was simply.. Gone.
What a shock it was when the once nearly buried priestess appeared suddenly aside dylan and talus, sword drawn, and lingering rat promptly discarded.
There was little time however for cheerful reunions, as Linnix was far from free of danger. While the sanctuary spell provided a modicum of defence against the hundreds of rats surrounding her, those already occupying the same space as she, those buried beneath her cloak, and tearing nip after bite through her clothes were still doing their damnedest to feast upon young, succulent flesh.
Talus too wished he possessed the means to incinerate the enemy, to tap into some inner strength, to put his often thought accursed bloodline to something good.. But he was left with little options, and little hope it seemed. Aside him Dylan struck a sharp note as bow crossed string with a hiss, a sonic blast emanating before him in a cone, decemating a score and more of the creatures, opening room for Talus to take aim.
Releasing his brimstone blast, a single swarm burst into flames, the scurrying rodents clamoring over one another in their death throes, spreading the fires amongst a few more unfortunate swarms too close, before the sheer number of bodies extinguished the flame as a blanket suffocates a spark..
It should be noted however that between sonic and brimstone blasts, their is a momentary, visible lull in the advance of the creatures, as the entire body seemed to recoil for an instant, before pressing on again.
Rolling forward like an unstoppable force, the swarms overtook the defender's positions. Talus, Dylan, and Aelistae were once more put on the defensive as dozens of the enemy clung to their legs and thighs trying to claw up their bodies.. Talus' inherant resiiliency, and Aelistae's magical accessory helped to thwart much of their damage, but Dylan had no such added defences, and bite and claw after claw tore into the minstrel like a dozen papercuts all at once.. Something had to be done, and done soon, for if they were all consumed entirely by these swarms, none would see the light of day again.
The night air was crisp and cool upon Elendil's skin as she let her steed graze during their respite on the way home. Stopping now they would reach the elven enclave in the early hours of morning. Nothing wrong with arriving rested and refreshed Elendil thought. As she set to bed for a few hours, the sounds of the Wealdath lulled her off to a peaceful sleep.
While Elendil 'slept', really a form of deep meditation, the forest around her was far from still. From outside the small clearing where the elf and her companions had chosen to stop a pair of eyes leered from the darkness.
Elendil's flying cohort cocked its head at a rustling in the foliage, but as its keen eyes scanned the surroundings, it could make out nary but field mice and a small hare scurrying to and fro.. Finding nothing amiss or of danger, it too soon fell fast asleep..
(Will continue into morning when other timelines move ahead some)
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
Bronwyn arrives down for dinner as cleaned up as possible and her best robe on. It was not much It was one of Madga;s that her grandnother had cut down for her. WIth the arrival of the knight to the castle she thought it proper to look her best. She knotted back her air in to a twist and fastened it down with a few pins. She bit her lips and pinched her cheeks for color and descended the stairs to the hall where dinners were served.
Bronwyn missed Elendil's comforting presence. The elven ranger seemed comfortable wherever she went--Bronwyn was not like that. She wanted to be. The smells of cooking increase the higher she ascended form her basement quarters. Not much but they were her own space.
She thought about what she might be able to purchase to make it more livable. A waredrobe would be nice and a real bed, but if this were not a permanent place for her then she would have to leave those thing behind. A small chest might do a better job for her. Two matching ones for her Alchemical lab and another for her personal possessions might eeven do better. She thought about how much those might cost and what she could make and sell to earn the funds.
The gold that the others had given to her for her part in the fight was as unexpected windfall, and she planned to keep it a nest egg for her own place and any components she might need to created magic items. She might go ahead and make some alchemical silver for weapons or maybe alchemical fire, though she didn't know if there would be much call for those items. That was her big concern--selling what she could make.
In the dark of the cave she ought to have been perfectly at home. Her clothing, her mannerisms, her very being were forged in a world where light was a terror to drill fear into the hearts of drowlings, and darkness was a comfort. But there, in that cave, Aelistae felt no peace.
Her eyes were fixed upon the image reflected in the blade of her sword: a calm, refined face, barely reflecting a trace of emotion. But it was all a façade. Deep within her hear pounded in fear and sudden guilt. Her eyes focused beyond her narrow blade towards the sea of rats, and she felt it again. Fear that Linnix was already lost in its midst, and guilt that she had led her to this fate.
”Jallil, sslig’ne ilta,” she murmured once more, and exploded into sudden action. Her blade arced, dove and bit into body after body of foul rodent. “Usstan orn elgg mina uss a natha draeval ka Usstan inbal ulu.”
OOC: “Lady, protect her,” and “I will kill them one at a time if I have to.”
The first step when separated is to pinpoint one's location...
The sound of rodents filled Linnix's ears. They were everywhere, and they hurt. It wasn't just the rats, but the thoughts and feelings caused by them. The rats simply disgusted her, she instinctively didn't want to be anywhere near them, and Linnix felt her stomach lurching. She forced herself to calm down, at least to think straight.
What did she have? She had her sword... as good as that would be against this army of rodents, and she couldn't even see. Sight. That's what she needed. Roughly shaking herself, trying to dislodge enough rats off of her to reach her pack, Linnix reached into her belt pouch, throwing away the rat that had taken up residence there. She reached in a bit, until she found it. The cool feeling of glass. Raising it out of her pouch, the light within it flickered, providing just enough light for Linnix to clearly see her predicament.
Subconsciously, she thought about getting to higher ground. She cast about for a moment, before spotting the desk not far from her.
Well, might as well give it a try, Linnix thought.
Only by trying would she survive. That was instinct for any living creature. So she carefully waded through the thick of rats, before trying to clamber on top of the desk, in an effort to get away from them.
Panic gripped the warlock as he watched the rats virtually ignore his blast and continue to swarm toward, and then over, him and his friends. He couldn't think of anything other than getting them off, getting away.
So, scrambling back toward the nearest corner, Talus let loose another brimstone blast at the nearest cluster of rats and hoped this time, maybe, the fire might catch.
Of course, war maiden would never apply to her either.
Aelistae hacked into the thick mass of warm, biting bodies like some crack-nobbed war maiden a short distance from him, while Talus headed for a clearer corner to attack from. Being no war maiden himself, Dylan preferred the plans of the latter. He kicked furiously at the rats threatening to immobilize him by sheer mass and peered into the dark, looking for the fourth member of the impromptu miners. In the depths of the room, a small light sprung up from a tiny ball held aloft by Linnix as she desperately fought for the high ground of the table. Another good idea.
Dylan gripped the handle of his bow a second time, thinking of the effect it had the first time on the resident rodent population, and focused his mind to cast another ball of destructive magical sound waves into the centre of the room (of course allowing for not hitting an ally in the tiny burst).
Once the thunderous roaring was on its way, it was no difficult decision whether or not to retreat to safer ground, namely, the previously checked-out and safety-certified tunnel they just descended. He swung his rapier futilely, hoping to at least discourage the vermin from giving chase to him and batted away one bastard attempting to scale his cloak, and then turned to flee to a portion of the caves not presently inhabited.
(This is assuming Dylan saves against distraction and isn’t too nauseated to try to bring the tunnels down on our heads with his spell- if he is, just let him run past the edge of the swarms as per the second part.)
“Does anybody have any oil to light? Alchemist’s fire!?” Dylan shouted over the din. “Lanterns! Were there lanterns in there!?”
The bard’s mind frantically searched for some answer that hadn’t been thought of, some action he could take to make everything right—something to do other than panic would be nice. To anyone less steeped in the lifestyle of a travelling singer and player it might have seemed odd to start belting out the tune to a rhythmic chant as a response to danger, but as such an individual, it seemed only the most natural thing to do. The verse he sang was the type of working song with a strong beat and a minor turn that would have sounded melancholic at a slower tempo, but upbeat, could provoke bouts of dancing or speed the workday along.
(Future action subject to change based on unforeseen circumstances. Also, fascinate looked promising save for the line about the distractions of nearby combat negating the ability—which means we’ll have to first convince our target to listen to a quick song before implanting suggestions into their brains [of course, noticing that our lowest charisma score of the current group is 15, this task shouldn’t be met with much difficulty when presented with a negotiable target ^^].)
EDIT for clarification: Inspiring Courage
Posted on 2009-08-12 at 06:14:56.
Edited on 2009-12-03 at 03:55:40 by Sibelius Eos Owm