Friday 17 July 2015

Dungeon Crawl - Part 18

Orwin's eye's flickered open as he felt himself lowered to the ground. Brief glimpses of a red figure that tended to his wounds greeted him as he struggled with his vision. It muttered to itself as it worked, 'I am the vessel, the word-bearer. I am the bloody handed reaper and the collector of skulls.' Orwin winced as the bandage around his leg was tightened. He watched the figure stand and walk away before the dark of unconsciousness consumed him once again.

'I am ruin, I am death, look upon me and despair'

The goblins hit with such force that the defenders front line bowed under the pressure of their advance. Scores of the foul green skins ploughed into the defenders and where possible scrambled over the front ranks. Borengar was swinging his mighty axe for all he was worth and cutting down foes with every swing but it became apparent that the goblins were less interested in fighting the defenders and more interested in trying to get passed them. The front rank of the defenders line was made up of eight troops with Lisandra and the dwarf at it's centre, no more than this could fit across the corridor but troops were packed in behind them to bolster their strength. Missner's troops were slashing and hacking at the goblins with little or no response and soon the ground was slick with black blood, entrails and dying green skins. 

A shout from within the ranks of the goblins put and end to their desperate flight and saw them finally turn their rusted weapons on the defenders. A figure Borengar recognised was hoisted up onto the shoulders of its fellows; Ush'gar glared at the defenders. He raised his arms and started a foul incantation but his words were cut short as he was jostled and turned around by his bearers. A noise the like of which Borengar had never heard filled the passage and managed to drown out the din of battle. The fighting ceased as humans and goblins alike turned to see what approached. A blue haze appeared in the gloom at the far end of the corridor. It grew closer as the noise did. Lisandra got two of her men to lift her over the crowd so that she might see better. Past the hundreds of goblins that spread out in front of the ranks of defenders the blue light surged forward. The source of the light horrified Lisandra. An innumerable skeleton horde surged down the passage way. The blue light seeping from their very bones as the feet tapped along the stone floor. 'Gods, save us' she said as despair filled her. She was lowered to the ground as the rear ranks of the goblins erupted into screams.

'I am wrath. You will fall to your knee's'

The skeletons attacks were cumbersome at first but as the fighting became more intense the magical constructs movements became more fluid and they scythed through the goblins with ease. The pressure on the human troops was immense as the green skins pressed their ranks in a desperate attempt to escape the undead. Goblin lives were being snuffed out at an amazing rate, too scared to defend themselves they fled into the waiting blades of Missner's troops. The undead seemed to awaken an irrational primal instinct in them which was to flee at any cost. The green skins pushed over and through the human defenders, some even getting as far as Krassner's magical barrier before they were cut down by blades or magical blasts of fire care of Master Missner.

The old man was desperately trying to find the right spell to counter Krassner's ward but had been unsuccessful so far. He knew that the number of foes were too many for the small band of humans to overcome and that their salvation lay with the destruction of the wizard in the room behind them. The arrival of the skeletal horrors had awoken something in Krassner. His body had starting twitching since their arrival and as they drew closer his movements became more erratic and violent as life seemed to course back into his limbs. 

'I am the vessel. Your judgement is at hand'

The undead horde crashed into the human defenders and smashed through their ranks. The troops either side of Borengar and Lisandra were swept aside as the horde rushed through. Agrippa surged toward the duo with his remaining mercenaries and together they formed a column that fought back to back against goblin and skeleton alike. Borengar parried the weak blows of the constructs aside but it wasn't a contest of strength. The skeletons were many and attacked with one mind it made it impossible to stop every blow they dealt and all the warriors that stood against them had fresh injuries as testament to this. Borengar could see Ush'gar was still alive. He and some of his brawnier underlings were battling for their lives but the dwarf could see it was in vain. Every few seconds another goblin would fall and before long the green skin shaman stood alone. He smashed skeletons to smithereens with his magical power an for a moment seemed to halt the advance of the undead horde but the respite was a brief one. A towering monstrosity pushed through the skeletal warriors. It was a mountain of bone, a deathless ogre of immense proportions. Putrefied flesh still clung to it's bones and searing blue light burned in its eyes. Tatters of armour hung about the things bones and it wielded a huge granite club in one hand and a murderous looking hook in the other. Ush'gar bellowed as he released a blot of fire into the ogre's chest but the spell dissipated as it struck a golden amulet that hung about the creatures bony neck. The ogre responded by taking a swift step forward and bring the full weight of his club to bare on Ush'gar. The shaman raised his hands to parry the blow but it was a futile effort. The club landed with such force that it pulped the goblins body into mush, black blood spraying everywhere as there was too little left of the goblins body to contain it. The ogre carried on his advance and lumbered toward the beleaguered human defenders.

Borengar, Lisandra, Agrippa and the last of the defenders had fought there way back to the barrier and now formed a semi-circle around Master Missner who struck out with his magic. Borengar who remained at the centre of the line braced himself for the ogres attack. Missner hurled bolts of lightning at the monster but the amulet continued to cancel out the spells. Borengar dived aside as the monster smashed down with his club. The stone floor of the corridor shattered under the impact and the ogre followed up with a raking swing of his hook. Lisandra weaved out of the way of the blow but the hook still caught her a glancing blow on the shoulder spinning her to the ground and knocking the wind from her lungs. Borengar regained his feet and swung at the monstrosity, chipping the bone of its hip with his axe. The monster backhanded him with its hook wielding hand and followed up with an over hand swing of its massive club. The dwarf just managed to roll aside but sharp shards of stone cut into him as the floor shattered again under the ogre's impacts. Missner watched as the semi-circle of warriors around him shrank. He looked back into the warded room and was taken aback to find Krassner standing on the other side of the magical shield. His face was withered and he looked more like one of his skeletal minions than the man that had entered the dungeon. Krassner smiled as he reached out and swept his hand across the ward which flickered out of existence at his touch. The lack of the blue light was enough to distract Borengar from his desperate battle with the ogre who landed a sideways swipe that knocked the dwarf across the corridor. He crashed against the wall of the passage way, his pelvis shattered by the ogres blow. He fell to the floor in a heap and the morale of the defenders slipped further to see the warrior laid low. 

A calm descended over the battlefield as Krassner moved out into the troops. At some silent command the undead horde ceased its attack. The battered human defenders banded together, glad of the break in fighting and cowed by the presence of the necromancer. As he walked a blue haze appeared around him. He stood next to the ogre beast and turned to face the remnants of the Mercenaries and Missner's troops. He smiled as he addressed them, 'I found that which I sort. Power!' He cackled as blue flames of magical energy formed around him. 'This army is bound for greater things that the likes of you so I'm going to introduce you to some old friends. They are here to finish you.' His laughter boomed down the corridor as tendrils of power reached out around him. Every dead man they touched started to twitch and then struggle back to their feet. The newly risen dead sported the ghastly wounds that ended their lives and what was left of Missner's troops and Agrippa's mercenaries recoiled at the site of their former comrades. The dead advanced on the living to the sound of Krassner's cackling.

'I am ruin, I am death. Look upon me and despair' the words boomed down the corridor rendering all silent. Even Krassner's laugh faded as he turned to see the source of the godlike voice. All he could see was a shower of shattered bones as as a red glow suffused the corridor at the rear off his undead horde. With a flick of his hands the necromancer commanded his horde to stand aside and they obeyed immediately. They created a slim passage of bone through which Krassner saw his end stalking toward him. Reven was covered head to toe in bright red blood. A red glow emanated from his body as he swept past the parade of bone. 'I am judgement, the collector of skulls' he boomed as he came on.

Reven's mind was ablaze with anger. His blood ran so fast and so hot it burned his veins. He was a juggernaut, he had no fear, he was death incarnate and focus of his anger cowered before him. The skeletons crashed in either side of him trying to impede his process but he smashed them aside with blade and fist, their shattered bones lay in smoking piles in his wake. Agrippa watched wide eyed as Reven approached. He saw Krassner drawing power into himself but it faltered as his horde was destroyed before him, his power ebbing as he constructs fell.

Reven stood before the fallen wizard who visibly withered in his presence. Reven looked about him and took in the carnage that had been wrought by the fighting. He looked at his friend Borengar as he laid a hand his hand on Krassner's head. The necromancer beat his fists on Reven ineffectually, falling to his knees in supplication. The dwarf raised his head and looked straight at the evil wizard. Borengar smiled as he drank in the scene and simply said to Krassner, 'You're buggered now'. With that Reven roared and closed his hand, the pressure so great that Krassner's skull exploded in a shower of skull and brain. The wizards body flopped to the floor and the last of the skeletal horde fell.

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