CAST OF PLAYERS:
Jeremy Whitener…………Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Jera Morrison……………….Alseyne Aulaudin…………………Sidhe Changeling
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
“Pip,” Casey breathed gratefully. There was a rough hole in the corridor’s ceiling above Claws and the huge blue creature; that must be where they’d all come from. “I think I might know where Percyndi is…or at the very least I think I can take you to the ones who had her…”
“Excellent!” He smiled wide. “That’s terrific news!”
“…If we live that long.”
“There is that,” The satyr conceded.
Elijah offered, “Thanks for the save, man, but they’re not down — just surprised. And if possible, more pissed than before.”
Pip nodded. “What are they?”
The darkness swelled, their number growing.
“Evil,” Casey answered bluntly. “They seem interested in me particularly…they want to take me to some Master of theirs. Gotta tell you, I’d just as soon not meet him.”
“I think I know the answer,” Pip groaned. “But which direction is Percyndi?”
“If she’s still down here, she’s that way.” Casey nodded down the corridor in the direction Korin had taken earlier.
“Oh bother,” he complained. “Right. I have to go that way, Casey. But you don’t. If these things have a taste for you, that’s probably a cue for you to get out of here…” He cast a glance back to Claws and saw Alseyne leap down through the hole. “Hey, look! My girlfriend’s here!”
Elijah looked back in the sidhe’s direction. “Damn! Her legs go all the way up!”
“And she’s worth the climb,” Pip agreed.
Casey looked around, barely hearing the banter. ** Pana? **
:: H-Here… :: Her “voice” was weak. And frightened. She felt far away… not just in physical distance, but as if she were fading. Casey sensed that the Malamute was on the other side of the gathering host.
“Nice,” Elijah’s head bobbed in approval of Alseyne’s charms. He then looked back down the corridor from whence they came and regarded Casey, “Whatcha gonna do, blondie?”
She turned back to Pip and Elijah. “Pana…my dog. She’s down there somewhere too. I have to find her.” ** Hang on, I’m coming back for you. You’re going to be fine. ** Casey had no idea whether Pana was going to be fine or not, but she poured all the warm reassurance she could summon into the thought.
She was going to be fine. She had to be fine.
Or someone was going to pay.
:: No… I’ll come to you… don’t… don’t risk yourself. ::
She could sense Pana’s panic at the notion of Casey placing herself in any additional danger.
** Screw that, ** Casey returned inelegantly. **Don’t move. How bad are you hurt?**
:: Ribs broken… hard to breathe… hip broken, too. ::
**Just stay put. I’ll get you out of here. It’s going to be okay.**
Pana didn’t respond with a coherent thought, but Casey’s connection to the Malamute was such that she could feel her emotions distinctly. The dog was overwhelmed with concern for the young telepath.
** Alseyne and Pip and Claws are with me now, I’ve got plenty of help. Just hang in there, Pana, we’ll be there as soon as we can. **
:: I’ll be here… ::
Pip looked back to the swarm. “Well then… I guess we know where we’re headed.”
“She’s…I think Pana’s hurt, she was attacked by the black things. I need to get to her.”
Another look to the fight going on between the Ogre and Claws. Pip winced as the Bastet lost an eye. “Ohmigod! That’s gonna leave a mark!”
Casey followed Pip’s stare, her eyes widening in horror as she saw Claws’ broken arm and ruined eye. Her gaze cut up to the ogre, standing over the Tiger and laughing cruelly.
Guess that settled that. The big blue guy was not of the good.
Pana’s life might depend on how quickly this was dealt with. Casey turned swiftly and headed toward the ogre, letting her crystalline blade flow back into its hilt. He was too big, his reach was too long; she’d never get near enough for effective swordplay anyway.
Elijah fell in beside her.
“Hey, don’t mind me!” Pip called back. “I’ll hold back the murderous throng all on my own. No problems here. Really. I got it. No worries…”
Rechannelling her power, Casey lifted a hand toward the blue behemoth — and then aborted the gesture in midair as Alseyne stepped forward into her line of focus.
“Casey – CONTACT me NOW!”
Casey kept moving, trying to get an open view of her target. ** I almost just did. ** She came up beside Alseyne, gesturing smoothly toward the ogre as soon as she gained a clear path.
** Casey, it is IMPERATIVE that you get into Claws’ mind and calm him down! See if you can get him to step back and let Pip heal him! He’s likely to attack anything that moves right now and he’s the only one of us big enough to be a physical threat to this ogre. **
Just then Claws retreated on his own towards Casey and Alseyne. Both he and the Sidhe sensed a terrific wave of unseen heat bolt past them. Suddenly, the Ogre’s arm burst into flame…!
The monster grunted, but seemed to pay the flames little notice. His eyes narrowed, setting on the two women and the Tiger. He stomped toward them, his flaming arm lighting the way.
“Well.” Casey frowned. “I really thought he’d, you know, notice that more.” As the ogre approached, his blazing arm started looking less and less like a potential injury and more like one more weapon for the blue guy. Her frown deepening to a scowl, she waved abruptly toward the flames, extinguishing them.
To the rear, Pip spun his staff furiously dancing back and forth across the width of the corridor holding the dark army at bay.
Running out of time. Pip wouldn’t be able to hold them back forever. The thought of that black tide of malice engulfing her in its gelid grip again sent chills through Casey. She needed to deal with this ogre thing fast.
Alseyne smiled grimly and thought at Casey, ** Good…now that Claws has backed off…think you can do something mentally to the ogre? Try to knock him out from inside his own head or something? Or can you link me mentally to him without him knowing so I can anticipate his attacks? **
**I’ll see what I can do. I’ll try the ogre first.**
The Ogre stepped in, swinging his massive club. Alseyne dodged away, but shrieked as her right leg was raked by the weapon’s barbs. She tumbled to the pavestones, but used the momentum of her roll to get back on her feet outside of his sphere of attack.
“Als!” Pip called back over his shoulder. He couldn’t afford a look back. “You alright? Talk to me!”
“I’m fine, love!” she called out, trying to keep the pain out of her voice. “You doing ok there?”
“Oh yeah,” he shouted back. “I mean it’s four thousand to one over here, but I like those odds. Watch yourself!”
“You’ve handled worse, love. I know you can do it!” She addressed Elijah. “You — Kindred — can you help him out while we focus on this guy?”
The bare-chested vampire shook his head. “The goat’s gotta put down his glow-stick if he wants my help.”
“Fine, can you help me with the blue guy then?”
“That I can do!”
Casey’s gaze lifted from the Ogre’s arm to his face, as she considered and discarded possible attacks.
He’d just *shrugged off* being set on fire….
The telekinetic bolt of power that had taken out the vampire last night would probably just bounce right off of this monster. She needed something less physical, more personal. Try to make him afraid? No…frightened things could be even more dangerous than angry things if you got them cornered. Blunt his attack somehow?
Start simple. See if she could even reach his mind at all.
An idea formed, and felt right: blind him. If he couldn’t see them he couldn’t effectively direct his assault. Her mind delicately brushed the Ogre’s…and then pushed the illusion.
The Ogre staggered. “Rnt?”
Alseyne kept her feet and dodged a subsequent blow. “Claws, get those wounds bound or healed and then get back in here with your WEAPONS – not your claws!”
Standing straighter, the were-tiger drew forth the blades of battle, the sliver hakarrs.
** Casey, ** Alseyne added, ** let me know if you can do anything about the ogre. If possible, I’d like you to either relay commands from me to the others mentally or link us so we can fight without having to give away what our tactics are going to be. **
Casey stood stock still, her eyes narrowing as she scrutinized the disoriented Ogre. Unable to see, the Ogre menaced the warriors with wild swings.
Alseyne stayed back as he started to swing wildly, watching for an opening.
The telepath strained to visualize the construct of the ogre’s optic nerve and brain. Sweat beaded on her brow, blood ran from her nose…and she pushed!
The ogre’s eyes EXPLODED out of his head!
“AAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHH!” He dropped his club and staggered backwards, reeling from the excruciation.
Casey stumbled back, wiping blood from her face with one trembling hand.
Alseyne moved in towards the ogre, circling to one side to get a clean shot at his neck in an attempt to take his head off before he could recover.
Claws watched the sight in morbid fascination. As he saw Alseyne circling the Ogre, he realized that she was moving in for the killing blow. He gripped the hakarrs tighter and snarled at her… “He is MINE!”
For a long moment, Casey let down her guard completely. Trusting Pip to keep the black shadows at bay, trusting Alseyne and Claws to handle the blinded ogre, even trusting Elijah to take care of anything that might get past the others, she sagged weakly against the cold wall of the corridor, shuddering helplessly.
It was one thing to want the monster dead…but it was something else entirely to *feel* the way his eyeballs had burst from their sockets under the pressure of her mind’s force. She hadn’t meant to do that….
No, she should at least be honest with herself. She’d meant to do even worse if she could; she’d meant to paralyze or kill him if the blinding had worked. But those had been abstract ideas; the actual experience of maiming him had been so gruesomely real. His howls of agony rang deafeningly in her ears; she kept her eyes on the stone floor, away from his ruined face.
What am I becoming? she wondered despairingly. When did I turn into someone who does things like that?
I told you I wasn’t ready for this much power. Did you create a monster?
But Falco wasn’t here to see the results of his decision. She was on her own now, for better or worse.
Shivering violently, hugging herself for warmth, she straightened and turned to look at the embattled ogre. Alseyne was wounded, but not too badly, and amazingly Claws’ broken arm seemed to be nearly sound again. They should be able to take him down pretty quickly. Funny, the thought of *them* killing the ogre didn’t bother her one bit. So why did the thought of doing it herself make her stomach churn now?
Pana. Focus on that: Pana was out there somewhere, injured and alone. Plenty of time to agonize over her choices later, once her dog was safe. And Korin, and Percyndi, and all the other captives. As Elijah had said earlier, this was only gonna get nastier. She couldn’t afford to get squeamish now.
Tightening her grasp on her weapon, she extended the crystalline blade and moved abruptly to go help Pip with the dark phantoms.
“Glad to see you,” huffed the dancing, whirling satyr. “They’re gathering up… about to strike I think.”
Casey balanced lightly on the balls of her feet, sword at the ready. “Try not to let them get behind us…as long as they’re all on one side we might have a chance.”
Suddenly, Korin stumbled into view from the shadows. Pana was in his arms.