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
“Let’s see if we can work our way over to Alseyne first.” Casey’s crystalline blade reflected swarms of black evil in all directions as she slashed at the closing wraiths.
Claws seemed to become aware for the first time of the dark shadows milling around them. Moving closer to Korin and Casey, he growled at the phantoms, “They are MINE!!!” He took a few swipes at the nearest ones, but his hakkars passed right through them.
Transforming back into his Sabre-toothed form, he started to pace, to circle the group, his huge paws lashing out at any phantoms who got too close.
Korin’s bloodlust faded as he came slowly back to reality…or at least what little bit of reality he still clung to. ^^Tonight has changed me, more than a geneticist’s mistake ever could.^^ The thought wasn’t directed at Casey; he was still unknowingly broadcasting. When he replied to her it was aloud. “I’m far from a tactician but the sooner the better! The longer we are separated the weaker we become!” Something scratched at the back of his mind…an idea maybe. “Is there a leader? Maybe if we kick its ass the rest would leave!!”
Casey turned toward the sound of Alseyne’s voice…
…and the screaming abruptly stopped.
She sought to find the rhythm of her sword again in an effort to clear a slow path through the creatures, relying on Korin and Claws to cover her back, but the phantoms weren’t yielding as they had previously. In fact, they were pressing … continuing to close the circle … every moment the three gave up another precious inch.
“I’m not sure,” she said in response to Korin’s question. “I know they have a Master somewhere, but I don’t think he’s here.” The ogre’s blood and brains dripped down her face, obscuring her vision, but she couldn’t spare the time to wipe it out of her eyes. The slightest falter, the briefest slip, and that horde of black malice would swarm over her like a cold wave. She would have loved to spread a little fire through their ranks, but she couldn’t risk the possibility of Alsyene or Pip or Elijah getting caught in the flames. “If there’s a leader in this bunch I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, they all look alike to me.”
Hacking and slashing in rhythm to Casey’s attacks, Korin figured between the three of them they might make a good showing. “Elijahs still free?!! Is he even still here?”
“He was okay a minute ago….” She glanced quickly around for the vampire, most of her attention still on the red-eyed demons.
“There was a grey-looking dude down the hallway that I found your dog…he’s the one that shoved me back into this hellhall!! Could that be their Master?”
“Could be. We’ll have to go back that way anyway to find the rest of the prisoners, so I guess we’ll find out.” Almost unconsciously she added the now-familiar phrase, “If we live that long.”
A bolt of black energy arced forth from the surging phantoms, striking Casey square between the shoulders! She pitched forward, momentarily stunned. As she fell to the floor, the phantoms rushed the three comrades.
Casey’s head hit the pavestones with a dull thud, but she barely felt that. She struggled dazedly to collect her wits, to call up a defense against the creatures before they swarmed over her, but all her senses felt blurred and disjointed.
Something seized the neck of her jacket, hauled her roughly off the floor. The attack wrenched her mind back to near-clarity as power surged up to her command. But…this wasn’t cold evil that held her. She found herself slung against soft fur, felt hard muscles sliding beneath a warm pelt. Ferocity and rage rolled off him in waves, but they weren’t directed at her. This was Claws in battle mode.
She heard Korin nearby: “You wanna move fast Cyclops, I’m all for it.”
Rather than distract them from whatever they were doing, Casey simply raised her head and looked around, trying to get a sense of what was happening and where everyone was from her new, higher vantage point.
And at that moment, the shadows overwhelmed them! At once, they were awash a sea of razor-sharp night things. A symphony of screams — their own — filled their ears. How did you fight a thing that could pass through you with the sense of a white hot blade? Casey shrieked as the things tore at her and pulled at her.
Pana barked and growled, snapping and clawing…to no measurable effect.
Korin was bounced, torn from his mates, carried away from them….
Claws roared and roared, while his flesh was sheared away, carved as if by some gruesome butcher. Casey was pulled from his back.
WE HAVE HER!
WE HAVE HER!
WE HAVE HER!
KILL THE OTHERS!
LEAVE NO MEAT ALIVE!
Casey felt herself carried away, afloat in the black tide. She struggled to rally her power, but the icy grip of a dozen creatures and the pain of her wounds scattered her focus. Besides, she was out of ideas. She’d lost her sword, she couldn’t burn her captors without risking incineration herself, and mind tricks didn’t work on the phantoms. It was too late for a shield; their clutches were tight upon her. She had nothing left.
Suddenly, brilliant silvered light EXPLODED in the center of the massive maelstrom of malevolence. Cries and hellish shrieks blared through the corridor as Korin and Claws were revealed in the illuminated center while the dark agents about them dissolved under the Sidhe’s spell.
Not wasting a moment, Casey’s malamute raced after her!
As the silver flash parted the sea of pain Korin staggered to his feet, trying hopelessly to renew the warmth the creatures had stolen from him. “After Casey! We have to get her back! Come on Claws…or whoever you are, she needs us!!” He sprang forth again, plowing into one of the shadows, knocking the dark agent to the floor. Solid! He was solid and had remained so! “Solid…the bastard’s solid!” he growled the words even as his clawed hand ripped at the shadowed being’s throat. His breathing came in quick short pants, his strength and stamina pushed to the very brink of failure. His jaw hurt, his pride hurt, every muscle he didn’t even know was there hurt, but the girl who’d saved him was in trouble and he had to try and get her back.
A flicker of hope rose in Casey’s heart. Someone back there was putting up a good fight…maybe it wasn’t over yet. Her chance might still come to strike a blow or two; she needed to conserve her resources for that moment.
To all appearances, Casey seemed to simply give up. She slumped limply into the cold mass of black evil, offering no resistance to their grasping claws. She allowed herself one contribution to her own immediate survival: a low hum of warmth to help drive the bitter chill from her body and soul. Lost in the frigid sea of malice, she quietly warmed herself and awaited her moment.
Someone leaped from the shadows, bounding through the air. The bare-chested figure flew over Casey, hauling her up as he flipped over the top of the shadows, the two tumbling to the far wall.
Elijah grunted, “Owed you a save there, darlin’!”
Pana darted in between the dark ones and emerged at Casey’s side.
Primed for the chance she’d just been granted, Casey responded without hesitation. Sliding in close to Elijah, pulling Pana tight against her with one arm, she made a quick, sweeping gesture across the three of them. This time the shield enclosed them against the wall, sealing flush against the bricks and pavingstones. “Thanks,” she replied breathlessly to the vampire. “I don’t suppose you saw which way my sword went?”
“Naw,” he breathed, pleased for the respite. “Sure didn’t.”
Pana looked meaningfully back to the right, pointing in the traditional manner of the Pointer breed. Following her indication, Casey saw the pommel of her weapon on the floor some thirty feet away.
She looked longingly at the hilt, so close and so far away. Experimentally, she let go of Pana and used that hand to try and tug the weapon to herself telekinetically without letting go of the shield. It twitched, then began to slide rather slowly across the stones.
Not far away, Alseyne and Pip were making short work of the advancing shadows while to the rear Korin shredded them. At last, the final phantom fell. Pip braced himself on his quarterstaff, its glow dimming. Sweat dripped from his face, a weary smile greeted the battered and soul-sore Sidhe. “You’re moon spell really did the trick, Als. Not bad. Not bad at all.”
Spent, Korin fell to his knees, chest heaving for air.
Alseyne leaned in and placed an exultant kiss upon Pip’s lips. They lingered there in a quiet moment of shared celebration. He whispered something and she brushed a hand down his face in a caress. “Thanks to your knowledge of what they were to begin with…and your damned drops.”
Pip arched an eyebrow at that.
“You heard me. You know I am not wild about those super-sour things.”
“Carp, carp, carp…” He rolled his eyes, “You’d complain if you were dipped in boiling extra virgin olive oil!”
She raised her brows. “I’m not even going to ask how that particular example came to mind. Remove the ‘boiling’ and add yourself into that mix and I might consider it without the complaints though.”
Alseyne wiped the sweat off her brow with her arm as she looked around to take stock of everyone’s condition. She glanced back at Pip. “As much as I hate the taste of those things, I think I need a recharge if you can spare a few more of them. We may need to use more magic before we get out of here.”
He tossed her a box of Lemonheads. “Help yourself.”
She sheathed her sword and then pulled several of them out of the box, popping two into her mouth and bracing herself for the horribly sour taste that twisted her face into a warped rictus.
“Nice face,” he grinned, crossing to Casey. “How are ya’?”
Casey had let her shield dissipate and drawn her weapon easily to her hand. She left the blade sheathed as she rose slowly to her feet. “Still in one piece, more or less. Could use a bandaid or twelve.”
Elijah stepped forward, his dark eyes searching about them.
Looking around the dark corridor, Casey’s eyes gleamed with mingled relief, disbelief and admiration. “You guys actually killed all those things?”
“Don’t get Alseyne ticked off,” Pip nodded. “She gets her blood up, it’s all over.”
“Freaking unbelievable. Where’s Claws?” She looked around for the big Tiger.
The sabre tooth paced at the rear, sniffing the air.
“Moonlight,” Alseyne rasped out as she finally recovered the use of her vocal chords after the spasm of bitterness. “Pip thought he knew what they were and we figured if sunlight hurt them, moonlight might destroy them.”
“Good to know. Thanks for the save.” Casey turned a faint but sincere smile to Elijah. “You too. Thanks again.”
Elijah flashed a smile that must have gotten any number of girls into trouble over the years. “Happy to return the favor.”
Alseyne looked around. “We’ve got people unaccounted for. Where are Wynne and Tim?”
“Good questions,” Pip nodded. “Wynne was last with Claws … and Tim was with you.” He looked to Casey.
“No…” Casey trailed off, thinking back. “I mean, yes….” When had she lost Tim, exactly? Oh… “We got separated at the entrance, and never quite found each other again. Pana picked up Percyndi’s scent, and we ended up down here.”
“Some nose she’s got,” Pip smiled down to the Malamute, “I mean if she picked up Percyndi’s scent and Claws didn’t.”
“Yeah, she’s very focused,” Casey said appreciatively. “Give her a job to do and nothing distracts her till it’s done.”
Pip glanced back over his shoulder to Alseyne and then to Claws, “So we have Tim unaccounted for. What about Wynne? Claws?”