Adventures in Branterra

Session 7

A Narrow Escape

Lock, Selene, Suzanna, Khara, and Ayc in his Orkish form stood together on the docks with the forty other passengers from the barge. Guards surrounded the large group of people, and refused to let anyone pass.

The guards were arranged in a half circle around the throng of frantic commoners; at the center of the semi-circle stood a soldier who seemed to be in charge. He was speaking with the only surviving soldier from the ship, who was blatantly pointing toward Loch while they spoke.

“I don’t like the looks of this,” Loch said under his breath as three of the soldiers gathered and strode toward Loch and his companions.

“We didn’t do anything wrong, so there’s no reason to worry,” Khara replied confidently.

The soldiers approached Loch warily and stopped a few feet away. Each had their hand near their blade hilts and distrust in their eyes. “This man says you and your kind attacked the ship with a large beast. Is this true?” He stared hard at Loch.

“That is absurd!” Loch retorted. “Yes it is true people of my race attacked us, but I helped defend the ship and sent away the Kraken.” He turned toward the cowering soldier who had survived the attack, slightly cowering behind the soldiers. “I even saved this one’s life when he was stuck in the sea.”

The soldier in charge turned to the man, whose face had quickly turned from confident anger to meek embarrassment. “You failed to mention this Private Castor,” he said in a very stern voice. “I told me this Aquan Elf was a spy and helped plan the attack on the ship.”

Loch rolled his eyes as Private Castor stuttered and fumbled for words.

“Well yes he pulled me out of the water, but I figured that was just to trick me into trusting him…” He trailed off as he realized how paranoid his thoughts sounded.

“This man is with us, and we will vouch for him,” Khara chimed in.

“And who are you?” the soldier in charge asked.

“We are the ones who saved these people from the attack. We’re the only reason everyone is still alive, so I suggest you let us be on our way,” Khara replied.

“You truly have my thanks for helping our people. That was kind of you,” he hesitated, “however I can’t let you leave. The order still stands to keep everyone here until the Magikai arrive. They will have questions for you, but once you answer them, they should leave you alone. They are terrifying, but if you are innocent, they forget you exist.”

“It sounds like you don’t like the Magikai being here,” Khara said.

“It’s not the biggest secret that I don’t like the Magikai. They don’t care about anyone but themselves, and they think they are better than everyone. Do yourselves a favor, and never wrong any of them in any way. They act as judge, jury, and executioner on the spot.” He paused for a moment, “and there isn’t anything we can do about it. Our laws don’t even apply to them.”

The group stood silently for a moment, mulling over his words, when from atop the barge, a female soldier yelled down to them, “Captain! I need to tell you something!” A tall Human woman ran down the gangplank and quickly made her way to them.

“Sir! There are signs of necromancy on the ship!” she said in a hushed whisper, so as not to create panic among the commoners still milling about, waiting to be set free.

The Captain stopped her, and pulled her to the side, glancing at the companions suspiciously. They continued to whisper between them, and Ayc became nervous on the inside. He knew it would be hard to explain his actions during the battle, and the last thing he wanted was to be caught by the Magikai again.

Khara slowly walked to a small group of people sitting on crates near the soldiers guarding the docks. “Well I didn’t find anything out from the Captain,” he said with a fake furrow and frown.

“That’s a shame,” replied a short Dwarven man, holding his wife’s hand and cradling his sleeping child. “I wish we could leave. We need to feed our son, and gold only comes while your working. This is a waste of time.”

“I agree. Time is money and this is definitely a waste of time,” Khara said with a feigned glance of scorn toward the guards. Khara continued to make small talk with the Dwarven family while he strategically placed himself further from the Captain and his compatriots.

The Captain returned from his private meeting with the female soldier. “Which one of you was casting necromancy?” he asked.

The party exchanged glances and shrugs. “We have all known each other for a while now, and we don’t cast necromancy,” he looked slowly toward the Ork among them. “He, however, we have not known very long at all.”

Ayc looked at Loch in bewilderment until he realized he was the Ork they were referring to. “Ork!” the Captain barked. “Did you cast some sort of evil spell upon our ship?”

“No,” Ayc lied. His eyes shifted from his companions, who offered no aid, to the guards in front of him. They were tensed, and didn’t seem to believe his response.

“Someone did, and from what it sounds like, you have no one to vouch for you. That makes you my first suspect. What happened on that deck?” he asked impatiently.

“They attacked. We attacked back.” Ayc noticed the guards moving into an offensive formation around him.

“That’s vague. I’m sure the Magikai will find better answers when they question you. I…” the Captain stopped short as Ayc shimmered a sickly reflective black. Instantly, the Ork standing before them disappeared, leaving behind a small wisp of black smoke.

“What just happened?” the captain roared as he stepped forward to where Ayc once stood. The soldiers began scrambling in different directions, searching for the dark magic wielding Ork.

Ayc reveled in the consumption of the soul inside him as he burned it and forced his body to travel through the Ethereal Realm. He suddenly found himself falling into the ocean, through the docks which now only existed in the material world. He forced himself back into the world of the living once he was fully submerged. He swam down a few meters, then transformed his body into a large barracuda. The sickly pops and clicks from his body morphing were dulled under the water. Once he fully transformed, Ayc swam quickly away from the docks, not wanting to be around for whatever he had just left behind.

Loch, Selene, and Suzanna all searched the docks with the soldiers, trying to find the Ork who had just eluded them. The Dwarven family which Khara was speaking with turned their attention to the sudden commotion near the barge. Khara saw his chance, and activated his Ring of Blink. His body was instantly ripped from the physical world, and he fell through the docks into the ocean underneath.

He was unable to fall far enough to be fully submerged when the magic of the ring ended, and he landed with a splash. A soldier on the ship pointed down below the docks and cried out, “under you! I see someone!”

The soldiers ran to the edge of the dock, swords drawn and eyes scanning the ocean surface. Khara kept his body down, and swam into the dark depths of the sea. His breath was running out, and the pressure was increasing as he swam deeper. Using his shape changing ability, Khara became a Sharkfolk. He was unable to breathe underwater, but his webbed hands and feet allowed him to swim much quicker. He darted sideways and put as much distance as he could between the soldiers on the docks and himself. He came up for air cautiously, but couldn’t stop himself from gasping once his head was above the water. Luckily, he was far enough away that no one saw him. He took a deep breath and dove again, swimming even further from the danger on the docks.

Selene realized her friends were escaping, and intended to do the same. She ran toward the docks’ edge, pulling Suzanna along with her by the arm. She intentionally tripped herself and pulled Suzanna with her as she fell into the ocean. “Oh my!” she cried out as they fell, in order to make it more believable. She planned on pulling Suzanna down, and swimming away from this mess.

Suddenly, Loch appeared underwater next to Selene, and pulled her up to the surface. “You must be more careful,” he said in a stern voice. “The waters can be very dangerous.”

Selene shot Loch a hot and angry glare as he helped her back up onto the docks. After a moment, Loch realized that Suzanna had not returned to the surface. He dove down, and grabbed her, pulling her heavy, armored body back to the docks. She coughed and sputtered as she was hauled up onto land.

“You must be even more careful,” Loch said as he breathed heavily. “All that armor and you will sink like a rock.”

As they regained their senses, Selene looked around to find another way to escape the situation. It was then that she saw a blue robed figure striding confidently through the scene. He had an obstinate air about him as he looked down his nose at all those around him. People cowered and shied away as he passed them, even when he paid them no mind.

The Captain which the group had been speaking with quickly greeted the blue robed figure. “Lord Taygon. We discovered necromancy on the ship, but our suspect used dark magic to escape,” he said. He winced with every word of his poor report.

“Of course he did. Your level of incompetence contains no maximum height, does it Captain?” he asked with no emotion on his face.

“No sir. Sorry my lord,” the Captain muttered through gritted teeth.

“I heard the Seafolk attacked, and yet I see one here with no shackles.” the Magikai gestured toward Loch, still kneeling near Selene and Suzanna.

“Yes but he didn’t have anything to do with…” the Captain was cut off by a quick gesture from the mage.

“I will speak with him myself Captain. Your reports are less than valuable,” Taygon said as he beckoned toward Loch. “Come,” he commanded simply.

Loch frowned as he was being spoken to like a common pet, but stood and walked to the mage. “Yes?” Loch asked as he stood before the robed Human.

“Your kind attacked. Why is this?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I haven’t had any time to find any answers,” Loch replied. He didn’t feel the need to divulge that he knew the name behind the attack, for the Magikai didn’t seem especially trustworthy.

Taygon’s face didn’t change as he watched Loch with cold eyes. “And what is happening over there?” he asked as he pointed toward Selene and Suzanna.

“There was a bit…” Loch was interrupted by Taygon.

“I will question them myself. Secondhand accounts from detainees are for the Captain and his men. I only deal with firsthand information,” he said which caused angry looks from the soldiers on the dock.

Taygon strode to the downed women. “Well?” he said as he stood above them.

Selene stood. “We fell into the water, but our friend helped us,” she replied as she nodded toward Loch.

Suzanna attempted to stand, seeing her mistress being challenged by the condescending mage. As she stepped forward, to stand at Selene’s side, she stumbled, still lightheaded from her near drowning. Selene reached out to catch her, suddenly found her body unresponsive.

Taygon held his hand out toward Selene, and she glowed a soft blue. Her body wouldn’t move, and she watched helplessly as Suzanna toppled into the water again. Loch moved quickly, and ran toward the dock’s edge, but suddenly he hit the ground hard. His body couldn’t move and it felt like each muscle weighed hundreds of pounds.

Loch managed to turn his head toward Taygon, who was holding a wand with an embroidered M on it. He was pointing it toward Loch while holding Selene still with his spell from his other hand. They both tensed and fought the magic in vain as the bubbles slowed from where Suzanna had fallen in.

“Why are you doing this?” the Captain asked from behind as the Magikai showed his first emotion; a cruel smile.

“The Magikai are the nature of magic. Nature is cruel and takes lives if it’s time. We shall see if it is her time,” Taygon replied, almost in a daze.

Loch and Selene continued to struggle against their magical restraints, but they were unable to overcome the Magikai’s power. The bubbles at the surface had stopped, and there was no sign of Suzanna.

Just when it seemed there was no hope, an unarmored Suzanna erupted from the inky depths of the ocean. She gasped desperately for air and flailed as she barely grabbed the side of the docks. She weakly climbed back onto land once again.

“It seems it’s not her time. How unfortunate.” Taygon turned toward the guards. “Put the three of them in shackles and lock them in a cell. I will question them after I’ve inspected more of this ship.” He turned toward the ship and began looking it over from the docks, completely uninterested in Loch, Selene, and Suzanna. Once he turned his attention to the ship, Loch and Selene felt their bodies ease and were able to move their limbs.

Selene acted quicker than the guards, and grabbed Suzanna’s arm. “Run!” she commanded quickly and she bolted away from the scene. The guards were still somewhat shocked at the Magikai’s behavior, and the two women easily broke through the barricade. They sprinted away from the crazed mage and none of the soldiers followed.

“Why are you just standing?” Taygon said without taking his gaze from the ship. “Chase them.”

The Captain was obviously morally torn, and he turned to his men. “Go ahead and chase them,” he said halfheartedly. Three soldiers nodded, and ran after the women.

Loch stood with his trident held up defensively. “I do not wish to fight the king’s guards, but that man is a monster and will never hurt my friends,” he said angrily, his eyes locked on Taygon.

“Then just come with us,” the Captain pleaded. “If you try to run, he’ll just find you and make your life hell.”

“I cannot,” Loch replied. He glanced back and saw Selene and Suzanna dart into an alleyway, followed by the soldiers. He figured they were safe and now was his chance. He ran toward the water, but was quickly struck with that same heaviness in his body.

Taygon stood holding his wand toward Loch. “Now shackle him. I’m tired of your mistakes costing us interrogations,” he said to the Captain with disdain in his voice.

Loch used all of his strength to force his body to move, even under the immense power of the mage’s wand. The soldiers stepped toward him, shackles in hand, when Loch pushed his body to its very limit, and jumped into the water. He hit the surface hard, and sank fast. Relief and anger washed over him as he realized he’d escaped, but he couldn’t forget the cruelty of the Magikai mage.

He swam away from the scene, intending to meet with Torrik, then perhaps find his companions.

Ayc swam near the surface of the water in his barracuda form. He bobbed up and down, surveying the scene as it unfolded. He watched as Khara transported under the docks, and swam to safety.

Swim to the next town and meet me at the inn, Khara heard in his head as he swam down the coastline.

Which inn, cam a reply in Ayc’s mind.

The nicest inn, was all Khara heard in response as he swam away.

Ayc stayed and watched as a blue robed figure appeared on the docks. He watched as each of his companions escaped the dock and followed Loch once he’d made it to the water. He swam behind Loch, and did not go unnoticed by the skilled Aquan Elf warrior. Loch saw no threat, so he continued to a different part of the docks, where no one seemed to be near. He climbed out and began making his way through the city to find Torrik, his strongest ally in Torruga.

Ayc watched as Loch disappeared into the darkness of the city, and then swam toward the same direction of Khara. He knew he had to find a way to reunite the group, but he didn’t know how to find his friends in Dromduur, especially with a mage chasing them.

Selene and Suzanna laid flat under a pile of discarded cloths as they listened to the sound of their pursuers come and go. They had managed to be unseen throughout most of the night, and felt it was safe to leave this city. In the morning hours, in a cramped alleyway, Selene rubbed charcoal and makeup on Suzanna, making her appear older and sickly. Selene then used her magic to alter herself. With a soft green flash, Selene suddenly appeared to be a Half Dwarf.

They left the alley, and walked through the streets toward the nearest exit, which was the western gate. Selene and Suzanna walked casually toward the guards at the gate. They looked the two women over, one Dwarf openly leering at Selene.

“What takes you out of Dromduur?” one of the guards asked.

“I have business in the next town and I am bringing my servant,” she replied quickly.

“You mean Forgeton or Kosk?” the soldier asked.

“Forgeton,” Selene said. “And quite frankly I am in a hurry to arrive.”

The soldiers glanced at each other, then shrugged. Selene and Suzanna passed through without incident, and traveled along the road toward Forgeton, wanting to be as far from Dromduur as possible.

Ayc grotesquely morphed from a barracuda to a human, and exited the water a few miles outside of the city. He walked to the nearest road and traveled toward Dromduur, thinking no one would expect anything if he walked in through the gates. He happened upon two women walking away from the city. At first, he didn’t pay much attention to them, but then he realized who one of them was.

“Suzanna?” he asked incredulously.

“Yes it’s us,” said Selene. “Where have you been?” she asked. It was now her turn to be befuddled.

“I had some business to take care of,” Ayc lied quickly. “I’m just glad I found you. Where is Loch?” he asked.

“I don’t know. We ran while he stayed behind. I think he was caught,” she said with sincere worry in her voice.

“He wasn’t caught,” Ayc said.

“How do you know?” Selene asked. Her tone quickly changed to suspicious as she wearily eyed Ayc.

“I just do. I spoke with Khara, and he’s meeting us in the nicest inn in the next town,” Ayc said, ignoring the inquisitive looks from Selene.

“You mean Forgeton?” Selene asked, still squinting her eyes behind her darkened spectacles in distrust.

“I suppose. Just the next town on the coast. You go there too, and we’ll meet up after I find Loch.” Ayc already began walking toward Dromduur.

“You haven’t answered any of my questions,” Selene said angrily as Ayc headed out.

“In time,” Ayc said slyly.

Ayc traveled to the western gates of Dromduur, where he was met by the town guard.

“What is your business in Dromduur?” asked one of the soldiers as he raised his hand to stop Ayc.

“I have business in town.” Ayc remembered Loch mentioning a man by the name of Torrik, so he elaborated his lie. “A merchant by the name of Torrik.”

One of the guards perked up at the name. “Oh I know of Torrik. He’s not in Dromduur though.”

“I know. I am here to see his associates.” Ayc hoped his story was believable. He watched as they nodded in acceptance and opened the gates. “Thank you very much,” Ayc said as he entered Dromduur. The morning light was bringing the large city to life, and people were beginning to go about their daily lives. Ayc asked a passerby if they knew of Torrik, and they pointed him in the direction of the merchants quarter.

Ayc followed the directions, and found Torrik’s Shipping. A man was sweeping the walkway outside.

“Excuse me, I’m looking for an Aquan Elf. He’s blue and has two tridents,” Ayc said.

The man looked up from his chore. “I know of whom you speak. He was here only moments ago,” he replied.

“Do you know where he went?” Ayc asked.

“He said he was looking for Torrik, which means he’s going to Jettex,” the man said.

“Which direction is Jettex?” Ayc asked.

“To the north,” the man said, somewhat irritated by all the questions.

Ayc walked away, leaving the man slightly confused, but overall uninterested. He grumbled as he continued sweeping.

Ayc hurried through the streets toward the north, hoping to catch up to Loch before anything bad could happen.

Loch made his way to the north from Torrik’s Shipping. He had found out that Torrik was in Jettex and intended to seek him out. As he walked, he was approached by two guards.

“Hey! You!” one of the guards yelled. “Stop there. We need to speak with you.”

“What is this about?” Loch asked. He felt tense, for he was unaccustomed to being on the wrong side of the law.

“There’s been instructions to apprehend all Aquan Elves in the city. We need to take you in,” the guard said as they advanced cautiously toward Loch.

“I’m sure there is some sort of misunderstanding. Please go get your Captain. He will know what I am talking about,” Loch said. He kept his demeanor calm, but knew he may need to defend himself. “I would of course compensate you for your understanding,” Loch said as the soldiers hesitated.

“Compensation?” one of the soldiers asked, raising one eyebrow. “Jason go get the captain,” he said to his partner.

“Seriously?” Jason replied skeptically. The other soldier nodded, and Jason started off down the street. “I get half,” he said under his breath as he walked away.

“How much are you willing to compensate me for my troubles?” the guard asked.

Before Loch could answer Ayc appeared from behind him. “Sir I believe you dropped this gold back there. I retrieved it for you, so we’ll be on our way,” Ayc said quickly, dropping a few coins into the hand of the bewildered soldier.

“Oh thank you,” he stammered. Then his eyes narrowed and he said to Loch, “just because your friend here found my gold, doesn’t mean I don’t want that compensation.” He greedily smiled as he held out his hand.

Loch shook his head slightly and pulled five gold from his pouch. “Here. I apologize for causing you trouble.” Loch’s morality burned as he took part in this corruption, but he knew it was for the greater good after meeting the Magikai on the docks.

Ayc and Loch walked further north, then ducked into an alleyway. “We need to disguise you,” Ayc said as he rummaged through his pack. “Here we go. This paint will change your skin tone at least.” Ayc pulled out a small disguise kit and mixed together some pale cream. he applied it to Loch’s skin, and it changed from a teal-blue to a more pale green.

“Now you look like a regular Elf instead of an Aquan Elf. That should be good enough to get us out of the city,” Ayc said as he admired his handiwork.

“Thank you. I appreciate your skills.” He paused a moment. “Where have you been?”

“I had business to take care of so I came here early. I heard about everything that happened so I found you so I could take you to safety. The others are in a town called Forgeton. It’s the next town to the east,” Ayc explained.

“I must go to Jettex,” Loch replied. “I have a friend who is like an uncle to me there and I must find him. He will be able to help with all of this.”

“We can do that later. We need to regroup first.” Ayc looked up and down the street as they exited the alley. “Actually we need to get out of the city first. Just be inconspicuous.”

“I will try,” Loch replied. They headed west toward the western gate so they could leave to Forgeton. When they reached the gate, new guards were on duty, and they were accompanied by a man in red robes.

“Halt!” a soldier yelled as he stepped toward Loch and Ayc. “What business do you have outside the city?”

“We are meeting our friends in Forgeton,” Loch replied honestly. Ayc’s eyes widened as he realized Loch had no intention of lying to these soldiers.

The man in red robes stepped forward and looked intently at the pair. “What business did you have in Dromduur?” he asked.

“We’re just travelling through to Forgeton,” Ayc said quickly.

“Where did you travel from?” the robed man asked.

“We are traveling to find the Heart of Chymaron. We have been charged by King Weston so we must meet our friends,” Loch said in all honesty. Ayc once again couldn’t believe the Elf’s ability to ruin any chance of lying.

“Interesting,” the mage replied.

“Should we detain them lord Zilliat?” a soldier asked, readying his weapon.

“No that won’t be necessary.” The robed mage, Zilliat stepped forward, and placed his hand in the air between himself and Loch. A small white and blue pulse burst forth, then vanished as quickly as it had come. “Be on your way,” Zilliat said as he motioned toward the gates.

Loch and Ayc exchanged quizzical glances, then walked out the gate as the soldiers opened it before them.

“Thank you,” Loch said as they passed through. They walked for a moment, then Ayce stopped them.

“What did he do to you?” he asked Loch.

“I’m not sure. I feel strange, like I’m being watched by someone. I can’t explain it,” he replied, shaking his head.

“May I try something?” Ayc asked. “I believe I can dispel any enchantments he put on you.”

“Yes of course,” Loch said.

Ayc raised his hand, and pulled the energy from one his souls, and let out a dark pulse from his hand. Loch was enveloped in blackness, then it dissipated.

“I can feel that it’s gone,” Loch said. He shuddered slightly as the magic left his body. “I didn’t know you could do that. It was much appreciated.”

“I can do many things. Maybe one day you’ll see all the things I can do,” Ayc said with a smile. “For now let’s just travel to Forgeton so we can figure out how to get to Jettex.”

Loch paused for a moment, but didn’t press the issue. He followed Ayc, and they traveled to Forgeton to join their companions.

Loch and Ayc arrived in Forgeton, a small town with no walls. Wisps of smoke rose from the many blacksmiths which gave Forgeton its name.

“Where is the nicest inn in town?” Ayc asked a local guard.

“Depends on your meaning of nicest,” the guard replied, chuckling. “There are two inns in Forgeton; one on each side of town. Digger’s in is great for making some coin if you’re a gambler. Goldenrod Inn is more expensive but it usually has a much more mellow crowd.”

“Many thanks,” Ayc said as he and Loch walked toward the Goldenrod Inn. Ayc knew Khara and Selene would have chosen it even though the Digger’s Inn sounded better to him.

They walked into the inn, and instantly saw Khara’s familiar cat form sitting with the now normal Selene and Suzanna.

“I see you made it,” Khara said with a smile. “Loch why do you look so pale?”

“It’s makeup. With everything you guys did on the docks, we had to hide his identity,” Ayc replied. Khara gave him a strange look, but didn’t question his words.

“The plan we’ve come up with is to stay the night here, then go to Jettex in the morning,” Khara said after a moment.

“I agree with this plan,” Loch said quickly. “We need to get to Jettex as soon as possible. I may have an ally there and he could help us.”

“Good,” replied Khara.

The group headed to their rooms which Khara had procured, and slept. Ayc left and headed to the Digger’s Inn where he set up a card gambling table. He enjoyed watching as the drunken patrons emptied their pockets trying to beat him.

During the middle of the night, inside the Goldenrod Inn, Zilliat stepped through the doors and slowly gazed over the mostly empty tavern. Three heavily armored soldiers with the symbol of the Magikai emblazoned on their breastplates followed behind.

“Hello lord Magikai,” the barkeeper quickly said, bowing as he approached the robed figure. “What brings you here to our humble establishment? Anything you want is on the house,” he said frantically.

“I am seeking an Elf and a Human who met with friends,” Zilliat replied with a piercing gaze.

“Y.. Y.. Yes they came here,” the barkeeper stuttered. “Just upstairs in the first three rooms.”

“Get out and make sure no one touches my cart,” Zilliat said sternly.

The barkeeper quickly complied and ran outside to watch the mage’s cart. The few patrons remaining in the tavern sheepishly found their way out of the inn as well. Zilliat and his retinue went upstairs, and with a flow of magical energy, melted the handle of the first door they came to.

Suzanna was sleeping at the base of the door, and was startled when it suddenly opened.

“Mistress!” she cried out as she jumped to her feet to defend the now awake Selene.

“What is the meaning of this?” Selene yelled angrily.

“I am Zilliat of the Magikai. You will respect that. Did you meet an Elf and a Human here in town?” he said impatiently.

“No! Now leave my room. This is highly intrusive,” she said, playing her best prudish noble lady.

Zilliat didn’t waste any time. He walked from Selene’s room to the next one, and repeated the process. He melted the handle on the door, and pushed it open. Loch was perched in the window, ready to jump. He had heard the commotion, and wasn’t going to be caught by the Magikai after what he’d witnessed.

Loch dropped the twenty feet to the ground, and ran toward the nearest alley he could see. From the window Zilliat raised a wand with an M inscribed on it toward Loch, and with a jolt, Loch hit the ground. The all too familiar feeling of his body being pressed into the ground by an unseen force overtook him and he struggled to move.

“Go retrieve him,” Zilliat said to his guards, and two of them jumped from the window. They stood above Loch, straining against the power of the mage’s power.

“Go to hell,” Loch managed to say as one of the soldiers used the hilt of his sword to knock Loch out cold.

Zilliat continued to watch from the window to ensure his prize had indeed been captured. His third guard walked out into the hallway and was met by a raging Suzanna, mace in hand. He deflected the first mace blow, but then felt a blade sink into his rib-cage from behind. He turned his head to see a flurry of fur as Khara stepped around him and stabbed him again in the side.

Suzanna’s mace found its mark, and sunk deep into the guard’s head. His limp body slumped to the floor. Khara quickly tossed one of his inebriroot smoke bombs into the room with Zilliat. He slammed the door as an explosion erupted with intoxicating smoke blowing outward. Zilliat coughed and gagged as the fumes seeped into his lungs. His mind slowed and he felt and exhilarating physical surge. He felt that he could take on the world with his own fists.

Zilliat easily jumped from the window onto the ground next to his guards, who had grabbed Loch’s body by the arms and legs. He grabbed Loch with one arm and slung him over his shoulder. His guards looked at him curiously, but did not question his actions.

Khara activated his Ring of Blinking, and teleported through the floor to the kitchens of the tavern. He saw Loch’s body over the shoulder of the red robed mage, and took action. He let loose his phantasmal dagger, and it hit Zilliat in the shoulder. Khara ducked down after his attack, and when Zilliat looked toward the window, he saw nothing. His intoxicated mind jumped to the only conclusion it could.

“The windows are attacking,” he said to his guards who were defensively watching the windows. “Break them now!”

The guards looked at each other, then at Zilliat. “Lord Zilliat, are you feeling ok?” one of them asked.

“I’m fine. Just watch the windows!” he said angrily. He began marching around the side of the building with Loch in tow.

Ayc was making his way back to the Goldenrod Inn when he saw a commotion outside the inn.

“You can’t go in there. The Magikai are here so it’s best you find something to do for a bit,” the barkeeper said as Ayc approached.

Ayc ignored him completely and dashed into the inn. He ran to the back of the inn and saw through the window as Loch was being carried around the side. Loch closed his eyes, and focused on the souls coruscating through his very being. He consumed their energy and harnessed it to create a rift in reality, just in front of the Magikai and his guards. The rift extended and expanded to create a doorway to the Abyssal Realm. Screams of agony and malice could be heard through the door and eight demons erupted forth from the doorway. Each was covered in bumps and warts with patches of hair clumped in random places about their bodies. Putrid mucus membranes protruded out from their backs and small swarms of flies flurried around their faces and gaping mouths.

Each of the creatures rushed Zilliat and his guards. They yelled out as they rushed the onslaught of demonic pestilence, however they were quickly cut down. The guards’ swords glowed with an electric energy as they drew them and slammed them down on the oncoming creatures. Each blow spilled greenish black ichor onto the ground, but the creatures were relentless in their assault. Claws and teeth ripped portions of the guards off their bodies, and they were slowly dismembered and tossed aside like broken rag-dolls.

Zilliat threw Loch’s limp body to the side, and roared in rage. Magical energy flowed from his body and engulfed him as he charged the eight demons. Their claws and teeth couldn’t break through the magical barrier he had created, however he used his wand as a baton instead of using his spells. His mind was in a gleeful euphoria as blow after blow landed on the sulfurous creatures. His muscles strained as he continued to fight the beasts with his fists.

Eventually, the demons overtook Zilliat, and fatigue caused his body to fall to the ground. His spells ended, and the demons entered into a frenzy, eviscerating Zilliat’s lifeless body, reveling in the death and gore.

“Go now. Keep people away,” Ayc commanded. The beasts stopped their blood orgy, and fanned out into the darkness to do their master’s bidding. Ayc climbed out of the window, and began disintegrating the bodies, covering them in a magically created fungus and withering them down to patches of nothing.

Khara looted the bodies, and took all he could in the short time he had. He made sure to take the soldier’s swords, along with Zilliat’s wand, staff, cloak, and belt pouch.

Selene ran around the corner of the inn with Suzanna closely behind. “We need to leave,” she said hurriedly. “There are demons attacking and the guards are coming fast!”

“Seriously?” Khara said incredulously, staring at Ayc.

Ayc shook his head. He should have know better than to trust demons to keep people away quietly.

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Sade12

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