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
“Ok, let me try my spell again that was interrupted…” Alseyne muttered. “If it works then at least Korin will be able to breathe.” She started singing to the tune of ‘I’m a little teapot.’ “We’re all O2 Armatures, we make air. Under the water, we can breathe there….”
Casey looked mildly perplexed. “I don’t think they’re in the water anymore, look…” With her free hand she indicated the empty pool beneath them. “I think they’re buried under the stone.”
As the water began to effervesce Alseyne mused, “I wonder if they’d fight the opposing elemental if we released them? Nah…it’s probably not worth the risk.” She peered down into the water, apparently looking for signs of life at the bottom of the chamber.
Casey didn’t follow the Sidhe’s gaze; her perceptions had already told her there was no one down there but Pip. At least not on this side of Sanctuary’s strangely impenetrable stone. “If we released the other elementals, you mean?” She shivered, then frowned thoughtfully. “Maybe as a last resort. I told Elijah I wanted to bring this place down around our enemies’ ears — and that might just be the way to do it. We most likely wouldn’t survive it … but then, our odds of survival really aren’t that great anyway.”
“True, but a pyrrhic victory never appealed to me,” Alseyne responded. “Plus Pip and I need to stay alive to retrieve Percyndi, so I don’t want to pull a Samson if there’s any other way out of this.”
Casey smiled wanly. “I didn’t mean right now. To be honest, I don’t think they mean to kill us just yet. Those black phantoms were in capture mode; they wanted to take me to some Master of theirs. I think this,” she waved her free hand vaguely to encompass the flooded room, “is probably meant to weaken us, so we’ll be easier to subdue. Tell you what, it’s weakened the crap out of me.” Her smile was humorless, determined. “But those green sconces might not be just in here. Remember the Ogre’s Amulet? There might be a lot of elementals contained down here, one way and another. If things get really bad that might be worth keeping in mind.”
“They may not want to kill YOU, Casey, but they were calling for the rest of us to be killed when they took off with you earlier,” Alseyne reminded her.
“Were they?” Casey tried to remember. “Once they grabbed me, I kind of lost track of what-all was happening.” She shivered again at the memory, although a fair amount of the moisture on her face was sweat now. Looking around the sweltering chamber she wondered aloud, “I wonder how badly they want me alive. Or if it’d be all the same to them to kill me here.”
The arctic chill began to fade from the chamber as green flame continued to jet from the ceiling.
“But yes, it is definitely something to keep in mind,” Alseyne added.
Casey nodded agreement. “If it comes to that.”
The Sidhe looked around vaguely. “Casey…where’s Pana?”
Casey blinked. Alseyne actually felt herself start to sink as the girl’s attention involuntarily leaped off in another direction. The Fae shrieked involuntarily.
She was caught up again an instant later, but Casey still looked distracted and alarmed. “I … I don’t know. I haven’t seen her since the fight with the stone giants.” She sounded stunned, almost panicky. ** Pana?? **
She pulled back a big nothing. No hint of her dog’s presence.
Alseyne gulped in huge gusts of air as she attempted to force her fear back down. Once she was calmer she continued, “I don’t remember seeing her come into the room with us when we charged in, actually. She probably got closed out back in the corridor when the door sealed. Since we took care of all of the nasties back there before we left I’m sure she’s fine. Can you sense her through the door?”
Casey’s eyes took on a rather unfocused look, though Alseyne remained securely supported this time. She frowned in concern, then returned her focus to her surroundings. “No. Nothing. Maybe you’re right, maybe she just didn’t come in with us.” The words would have sounded more convincing if Casey’s voice hadn’t thrummed with such obvious worry.
Claws exploded to the surface just beyond the two women. He huffed a spray of water, then grumbled: “I have just about had it with this room…”
Alseyne nodded. “You aren’t the only one.” Pause. “Claws, can you do something for me please? I cast a spell that should make it possible to breathe underwater but it’s not something I am capable of testing myself due to my fear of water. See the bubbles? You should just be able to stick your head into the water and try to breathe as if you were breathing air.”
It took Claws a few moments to evaluate exactly what she was asking him to do, and all the potential consequences thereof. His eye finally went wide. “You want me to do WHAT?!?”
Pip splashed to the surface between the two women and Claws. The satyr brushed water from his face. “There’s nobody else down there!”
“They’re buried in the stone,” Casey insisted, a thread of bright panic creeping into her voice. Sweet Shuji, Korin must be dead by now, and maybe Elijah too.
She’d killed them, just to buy herself a few more minutes of life.
The water grew choppier, wind picking up. The heat was once again growing unbearable.
“We gotta do something,” Pip said, looking at the platform from whence the winds rage and above where the flames are, “and fast.”
Alseyne followed his gaze and then looked back at Casey. Her voice was a bit higher and tighter than usual as she said, “Casey, you had a shield up before. Could you cover the four of us so the fire and wind can’t hurt us if we get up on the ledge?”
Casey didn’t seem to hear Alseyne at first; she was staring wide-eyed into the empty pool beneath them, an expression of raw horror on her white face.
Then she blinked. “What?” She dragged her shocked gaze up to the Sidhe, then farther up to the windswept platform. “I … I can cover us, but I’m afraid the shield might just create more wind resistance. Like a sail.” The confidence had left her voice; she sounded stunned, shaken to the core. “I could try to levitate myself up and open the door. I’m the smallest one here, I’d present the least amount of resistance. Want me to to try?”
Alseyne looked at her blankly for a moment. “No…I meant angle the shield’s edge so it’s like a wedge pointed towards the direction of the wind.” She put her hands palms together and then opened them like she was holding a book, keeping the “spine” portion together. “The wind hits the corner and passes by on each side — less resistance.”
“I’m not sure. I’ve never tried anything that complicated…” Casey thought about how she might construct such a shield, but it felt like designing a wedge-shaped soap bubble. “I guess I could try … Pip, can you take Alseyne?”
“Yes, absolutely.” Pip glided over and drew Alseyne into his arms. The Fae went to him gratefully.
Casey turned her focus to trying to create a shield shaped like a partially-opened book between the door and her small group. She strained, jaws clenching… but the structure was too big. She couldn’t manage it.
Shaking her head, she set her mind to levitation.
The sodden girl rose from the water and into the torrential winds. She was buffeted and pushed … knocked backwards… It was a struggle to push forward…
Alseyne watched anxiously as Casey rose out of the water.
Gritting her teeth, Casey turned sideways to present a thinner profile to the wind and focused on forcing her way through the howling gale. By inches, she pressed forward.
Columns of fire erupted from the ceiling narrowly missing Casey! She yelped, falling back. ** Mardmor! Is there any way for you or I to put out this damnable fire?**
:: Perhaps the water? ::
** But…it’s too big…. ** The amount of water needed to put out a fire that size must be many times too heavy for her to lift.
On the other hand, if she could soak the ceiling one section at a time…it might possibly work.
She hung indecisively in the tempest a few moments longer…
And then crashed back into the water.
“Crap!” Pip exclaimed.
She resurfaced almost at once, her expression a mask of intense concentration.
Alseyne gasped in shock at the near miss. As Casey landed back in the water with a splash and resurfaced, the Fae suddenly dug into the purse that hung at her side, trying to locate those last few drops that she had stuck in there before they entered this room. Her hands, shaking from the fear, fumbled the lemonheads and they scattered to the depths below.
“Casey?” Pip called over the churning water, “You alright?”
It was unclear at first what Casey was trying to do. The water percolated around them, and a giant ball of it rose above their heads teetering and sloshing. Then, like a rocket, it was hurled to the blazing ceiling above.
Like water on a grease fire, the flames doubled and spread.
“DOWN!” Pip pulled Alseyne below the water with him as a tremendous ball of fire descended on them!
Claws eyes widened again just before he took a deep breath, dived down, and kicked his powerful legs, propelling himself under the water.
Water effervesced about all of them, providing air to breathe thanks to Alseyne’s spell.
Beneath the surface again, Casey’s mind was racing. Mardmor must have known that water would only spread the flame. Maybe he wasn’t the ally she’d hoped he’d be.
And that made perfect sense, of course. Why would he want to help her defeat his masters? This was his home — one of his homes — after all. He’d warned her not to release the elementals because they were a threat to him and the other residents of Sanctuary, not because they were a threat to her and her little raiding party.
Note to self: stop asking Mardmor for advice.
Addendum to self: come up with a better plan for getting the hell out of here.
Time to start thinking bigger. She pictured the upper part of the room in her mind; could she create a plain flat shield big enough to span the entire ceiling and suffocate the flames? No…the pressure of the flames was too great and the span too wide.
The fire had *shed* the water like an oil slick. No help there.
A new image formed in her mind. It could work. Just maybe.
Gesturing in underwater slow-motion, she gathered the water around her again. Not into a ball this time, but literally around herself, so that she was in the center of a swirling vortex. Rising out of the water, she drew it with her, leaving herself space to breath but completely shielding herself from the flames.
She rose from the water, passing Pip, Alseyne, and Claws.
The water stormed about her just inches from her flesh. Wind tore at her watery gyre while flame licked at its edges. Already she was heating up.
Now the hard part … keeping it intact while she pressed through the howling winds. She was focused on several complex actions at one time: levitating, maintaining the vortex without drowning herself, and keeping the entire thing from falling apart under the assaults of both wind and fire. Gasping with heat and effort, she attempted to push through the gale to the door.
Several long, agonizing moments passed before she was able to manage upward motion – but at last she did.
Slow and steady…
The vortex reached the landing and moved ever so slowly to the door.
She was vaguely aware that she had lost water-mass from both the wind and the flames; much longer and she’d be bare-skinned to the elements. She also dimly registered from the iron taste on her lips that her nose was bleeding steadily.
At last she reached the door — not a moment too soon as the vortex was now only swirling mist. Throwing herself against it, the door opened and she toppled through it crashing to the cool, dry stone floor beyond.
At once, the wind and fire ceased back in the chamber.