By Brian Flood
Chapter 12 - Battle in the Storm
Along the Uldoon Trail
Within the Reaching Woods, The Sunset Vale
Midnight, 23rd Day of Eleint, Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)
Cyzicus and Soft-Fang assume guarded crouches as they observe the second creature (‘M2’) for any signs of movement.
“What in Umberlee’s bosom ARE these things!?!” Kryian asks, as he gazes at the suddenly revived body of the first creature. The mariner releases his hold on Alric’s motionless form and adjusts his grip on his glowing saber as he prepares to resume his attack.
Keeping her position, Slyvia scans the surroundings forest for any more of these horrifying monsters. She mutters something to herself under her breath and then yells, “Fire! Someone start a fire, we need to burn the bodies!”
“I’ve got some oil in me backpack!” Dolak bellows over his shoulder. “Someone bring it and fire quick, or the trolls will be moving again! There is still a fight here!” The dwarf raises his huge axe over his head, preparing to attack the reviving intruder.
Zell leans back from the sputtering coals and places her fingers in the corners of her mouth. A piercing whistle rises over the din of the storm.
“We need a cleric over here!” Kjira yells over the din of the combat waging around here. “Alani and Alric are seriously injured!” Leaving Alani in Darius’ capable hands, Kjira quickly surveys the situation.
Darius crouches over Alani’s torn body and places his hands on elf’s terrible head wound. The druid begins to pray softly to Silvanus.
As Kryian and Dolak prepare to engage the reviving creature, the large hunting cat suddenly turns on its heels and bounds off into the woods, heading south. The two warriors take little notice of the cat’s departure as they concentrate their efforts on the reviving foe.
Kryian’s saber flashes down at the regenerating creature. The saber slices the creature’s flailing leg, leaving a wound that spurts green ichor onto the forest floor. The foe howls in rage and pain as it spasms in agony.
Lucas, heeding Dolak’s instructions, turns and moves toward the smith’s shelter. He crawls under the crude structure and searches for Dolak’s backpack.
Meanwhile, Darius completes his spell casting. A soft glow surrounds Alani’s head for a moment before the elf’s eyes blink open. She blinks rapidly and tries to sit up but quickly collapses back to the forest floor in exhaustion.
Kjira, noting Zell’s inability to restart the fire, shouts “Stop dawdling with the fire! It's no use! These beasts regenerate, help fight!”
Dolak’s axe descends on the shuddering form of the first creature. The powerful blow cleaves through the creature’s chest, leaving a huge chasm of torn flesh. The monster’s struggles abruptly cease.
Slyvia nocks another arrow to her deadly bow and watches the continuing melee from her position.
Zell stands up from the fire and looks for a position to move to in order to assist with the downed monsters. She frowns at the apparent lack of a vantage point from which to aid the others.
“Rain will wash the oil from the bodies,” Kryian cries, “We need something that will absorb the oil!” He reaches up with his left hand to grasp the open collar of his shirt. His right hand spins his saber about in his wrist and slams it back into his scabbard. Immediately thereafter, the light from the weapon is extinguished and the melee area returns to darkness lit only by the occasional flash of lightning.
Lucas, on his knees within Dolak’s lean-to, rummages through the dwarf’s backpack. After a few frantic seconds of digging, he shouts triumphantly and produces two small, metal flasks of lamp oil.
Meanwhile, Kjira -- illuminated by the faint halo of light provided by her quarterstaff -- moves toward Slyvia’s shelter. Reaching the structure, she drops to her knees to crawl under the roof of vines and branches.
“Lay here, do not move! Soft-Fang will guard you!” Darius says to Alani and then raises his head to look for Soft-Fang. Seeing the wolf – highlighted in the glow of Kjira’s staff -- still guarding the still form of the second intruder, Darius emits a short series of yip and growls in his companion’s direction.
A cry of “Hurry with the oil!” comes from Dolak’s throat. The nearby light from Kjira’s staff sheds a dim light on the dwarf as he buries his axe in the head of the second creature’s motionless body.
The light from Kjira’s staff soon leaves the dwarf as the lady mage crawls from Slyvia’s shelter and heads into the thick clump of trees to its south. A faint cry of annoyance emanates from the mage’s lips as she pushes her way through several yards of thick brush, heading south.
Soft-Fang moves to Darius and nudges the druid, announcing his presence. Darius growls softly and then moves carefully toward his last sighting of Alric’s body. He moves slowly so as not to slip in the darkness. Soft-Fang stays at Alani’s side, guarding the critically wounded scout.
Darius’ voice rings out in a short prayer to his deity, and then a bright light suddenly fills the clearing, centered on Darius. The druid stands near Alric’s body and frowns as he notices Dolak standing over the still form of the paladin. “I cannot reach Alric from here!” the druid cries. “Dolak needs to move or I will need help dragging him free!”
With a sharp downward tug, Kryian rips his shirt from his body. The tightly formed muscles on the mariner’s chest glisten in the steady downpour. “Soak this, wrap it around a body, and then light it with fire or magic!” he cries, presenting the shirt to Dolak.
Lucas bursts from Dolak’s shelter, clutching the oil flasks. He slips past Soft-Fang and Alani and skids to a halt at Dolak’s side. He meets Dolak’s eyes and shows the dwarf the oil flasks.
Kjira continues her trek around the flank of the perimeter. She moves around Cyzicus’ crouched form and finally arrives at a position to the south of the monsters’ bodies.
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