From the escapement of the tower, Utenar could see the winged flurry haunting at the distance edge of Drezen proper. The protective shroud provided by the Sword of Valor kept the abyssal armies at bay for now. It was in short order that the perimeter patrols began reporting in random sightings of demons en mass, teleporting to the outer edge of the banner’s protection. In the span of a few hours, the Marshal had ordered the outermost units to return back if they could or make for the Fallen Fane or Chapel if not. The demon’s retribution was finally here, something he had been preparing for since the citadel’s capture.
– demon pinup
The Dwarven General turned his attention to the stairs where Aron could be heard scurrying. “Fresh report Sir, it is a marililth and a demon army but not Aponavicius,” saluting as he delivered the news. “It is as we thought, Sir.” Both anxious and uncertain, Aron could not restrain his emotions. The plans Utenar and he drew up to protect the city left natural choke points and gutted full avenues into thick wall barriers. Everyone a soldier was drilled into those permanent residents, adding threefold to the armies present. Provisions had been rationed from day one and the stores beneath the castle would last them a year, at least, with their magic wards. Water was not a concern because of the decanter. The inclusion of siege weapons and anti-air batteries would top off their plans. They could hold so long as the banner flew.
Utenar was especially worried though because of the rumors he heard to the south. It was said that the Queen had been taken ill, wounded in battle, or worse. The communications had been sporadic but now silent more so. His orders remained, to hold Drezen long enough for his friends to find out what the demon’s were plotting. Still, with his brother running after ghosts, his once stalwart companion in faith, chasing his dreams, and the rest… what progress were they making tracking down the redeemed succubus and source of the elixirs?
Sturn sat at the fire, slowly cleaning his blade in the heat. Around him the ground breathed and heaved, pulsating at the veins of some arboreal made flesh root system. His stead, something of a prize, stood nearby. It was once a horse but has long since become something else with the abyssal energies. Nostrils exhaling a dull mist that fell to the ground. Pooling around the fire, lifelike, the mist was attracted to the heat of the ground and flame. This made visibility even worst in the dark skies of Yathscar. Sturn eyed the beast he procured from a hag sometime back, noticing his skills on horseback had not been lost since his youth. He still had the dream. It was a taunting him more than calling now. As if he was not meant to reach it. He only smiled as he continued to clean his blade. He knelt with nothing amiss although he knew he was being followed, slowly turning his head during his evening ritual, scanning the firelight edge for movement of any kind.
– warped one
He heard a splash, spinning out of the darkness, a creature ran towards the paladin. “Help me Stern!” shouted the halfling Nurah. The knight was surprised to see a familiar face but held his instinctual reflex and prepared to strike hard on the creature following behind the scared hafling. The visage was of an insane, twisted, humanoid-shaped tangle of limbs and gnashing teeth thrashing and howling, all too eager to wreak havoc. Sturn could feel the creature trying to tear him apart, even though it stood across the fire. Steadfast in mind, the paladin let lose a holy smite to split the fiend into two. Shuddering in pain as its mass split into two, the warped one let loose a flurry of claws, each one rending more steel than flesh on Sturn. Quickly, the paladin raised his sword, only to feel his feet give way. The beast of chaos somehow rendered his bones lucid and watery. A strange nauseating sensation filled his body as it slid inside his armor. The creature continued to pelt his flesh with slam attacks, breaking bone where there was no more bone. Just as quickly as the sickness had come over him, Sturn was once more made whole. Turning one last time, Sturn leveled his sword and swung in fashion befitting a beheading. The amorphous mass wiggled and writhed in death throes until no more. Breathing heavy, and taking into account his manhood. Sturn bowed his blade and looked perplex and angry at the Halfling. “That is just bloody mad jumping out of nowhere! Just how long have you been following me Nurah?” He paused to recollect before she could answer. “It is good to see you.” He smiled.
Sosiel pondered on the still water, talking to the drawf of few words. “My brother lies somewhere out here as well. He was part of a patrol, on a mission similar you heroes. He felt he was prepared to fight anything the hoard had ready once he slew his first vrock,” the cleric waited for some reflection in Gnarls eyes. Only the dull flame lingered in the warrior’s pupils, peering in the vast nothingness of the see. Joran acknowledged Sosiel’s conversation, “Did he let it go to his head like mine?” Sosiel leaned over the fire, poking aimlessly with a stick, “No, I do not think. He thought more of the crusade than himself.” “Then,” the draweven blacksmith chimed, “you do not have to worry about his death. The gods willing he found good graces with Pharasma. Unlike my Staunton, the dumb… “ Joran felt for the feeling to express, something other than anger, it had been that and greed he and his brother shared. With a wiff of tear, Joran gritted through his teeth. “Bastard!” Sosiel let the silence permeate. It seemed the talk of brotherhood was not one to be had at this moment. Turning the topic, the cleric geastured towards Gnarl asking Joran, “Is he asleep, I have not seen him move since supper.” Joran, bemused by the question, forgot his pain and laughed. “You have not heard him snore yet then no, young human.” Gnarl just continued to stare affix to the sea, waiting for a ripple. He winked but once and then nostrils flaring, “There! To arms all!” Sprung the armored drawf with inpossible speed. “First the ripple then we battle!” Shouted the deranged hero running toward the sea. As he was first to meet the horror that was Staunton Vahne, now a shadow of flesh twisted into a grave knight…
– because black is how I feel on the inside