Friday, 24 April 2015

Dungeon Crawl - Part 12

Reven sailed through the air toward the floor. A large rock span into view as he descended. He hit the top, half sliding, half rolling and skidded down the sloped surface of the stone before coming to a rough stop at its base. Borengar wasn't so lucky and was thrown against the hard surface just below where the rock sloped away. He hit it with a crunch and a howl of pain and then fell to the ground in silence, landing in a heap on the opposite side to where Reven was now scrambling to his feet.

Reven raced round the base of the rock, trying not to slip on the moist stone and moss of the cavern's floor. The dwarf was unconscious when he found him. His leg still bled heavily and a bone protruded from the flesh of his left forearm. The howls of the approaching goblins filled Reven's ears and red rage boiled through his veins. He still gripped Blood Thirster in his hand. Standing over his prone friend he made his stand as the green tide attempted to wash over them. Slashing and stabbing with the blade he danced through the goblins with reckless abandon. He was death incarnate, arms, heads and torso were cleaved and rent as he wove a web of death around him. He screamed his war cries so loudly that the gods themselves could have heard him. He hacked to the left taking a leg off at the knee, then spun to the right warding off a blow with the back plate of his armour before decapitating the goblin that landed it. He thrust forward gutting another and then kicked to the side sending another foe reeling back. He caused pain and injury with every deadly blow, his anger boiled over as he whirled through the goblins amassed in front of him.

Ush'gar watched the human decimate the front ranks of his horde with despair. He could hear the bound human wizard calling to him but paid him no heed. If magic, iron and gravity could not stop this man thing then Ush'gar may have to honour the long held goblin tradition of 'doin' a runner!' The captive wizard was shrieking even louder in his ear to be released. Ush'gar turned to him, 'S'pose you want men released too' indicating to the mercenaries bound either side of Krassner. 'No, you may keep them great Shaman. Do with them as you will.' The men around Krassner growled and grumbled at this but if it surprised Ush'gar it didn't show. The goblin shaman made his way over to one of his personal guard who were stationed in the shadows around the stone he was stood upon. After a short exchange he disappeared into the shadows himself and didn't reappear. The guard strode toward Krassner with a sneer on his face and drew a blade as he closed with him. He placed the point against the wizards cheek as he fumbled with the magical bonds that held Krassner in place. A flick of the wrist released the shackles which fell to the ground and were hastily retrieved by the shamans guard. He backed away from the wizard, blade outstretched toward him then disappeared into the shadows after his master. Krassner undid the ropes at his ankle and made his way to the edge of the stone to better see how Reven faired. 

The goblins retreated as one. It was as if a silent command had been given somewhere. Reven stood alone, surrounded by the broken bodies of his foes. His skin was slick with dark blood that was slowly being consumed by his vampiric blade. The battle over weariness took him, his whole body shaking as his muscles began to relax and fatigue set in. He turned to face the stone where the shaman had been and was surprised to see a different wielder of magic facing him from across the cavern. Krassner glared at him from the edge of the huge stone alter. His mercenaries called out to him to be released but he paid them no heed. 'I didn't think I would be seeing you again' he called out to Reven. 'Why you have followed me here is a mystery but your intervention couldn't have been more timely.'Reven's ire grew as he now faced his quarry at last. 'I did not follow you here to bandy words with you wizard. I'm here to end you but I will learn your secrets before I crush the life from you. No amount of deception will save you now wretch.' Krassner smiled mockingly, 'You will not be ending anything whelp. Your strength is spent. I'm glad my men didn't kill you. Glad they didn't rob me of that pleasure.' With that Krassner spread his arms wide and brought a ball of bale fire into existence. He said nothing more before launching it at Reven, the speed of the casting catching him unaware he barely had time to pull his sword up in defence. The ball of fire struck hard but not on Reven who watched in disbelief as a golden shield of light manifested itself in front of him halting and dissipating Krassner's spell. He stared at his sword in amazement and then to the wizard and then he realised it was not his sword that had saved him. Krassner was staring open mouthed at the top of the stone stairway. 

'We've come for our book Arnold' said a beautiful brunette from the top of the stairs. An elderly man stood to her right, his hands still glowing with golden light. Crowded at her back stood men dressed for war, all of them looking in wonder at the carnage that had been wrought on the cavern's floor. Reven recognised this beauty as the woman he had taken the book from that had started this ill fated adventure. Krassner recoiled away from this new threat, 'The book is mine harlot' he snapped at the woman. He turned his gaze toward the old man, 'Letting your granddaughter do your talking now Missner?' he asked. The old man who Krassner had identified as Missner didn't respond with words at first. Instead he unleashed a beam of golden light from his outstretched hands that struck Krassner, throwing him from his feet, sending him to the floor. 'Like the youth said', Missner indicated Reven, 'We're not here to bandy words with you. The book!' 

Missner's men had started making their way down the battered stone stairs. Reven could no longer see Krassner from where he was and he made to move toward the stone stage. 'Hold' the woman's voice called out commandingly. 'He is ours'. Reven was too tired to argue and made his way to Borengar instead, slumping next to his friend and cradling the dwarfs head in his lap.

The flesh of Krassner's chest was still smoking where the beam had struck him. He hadn't been prepared for this. He stayed still as Missner and his granddaughter made their way down the stairs and then dropped out of view. Krassner forced his aching body to move and he pulled himself along the floor into the shadows. If these fools thought the tricks of old Master Missner would be enough to end him they had another thing coming. Arnold Krassner was not done yet, not by a long way.




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