CAST OF PLAYERS:
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Jera Morrison……………….Alseyne Aulaudin…………………Sidhe Changeling
Jeremy Whitener…………Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
The burly Redcap guard gripped Casey’s sword hand, forced her back painfully against the railing. He eyed her hungrily, drooling.
Casey hooked a leg around her attacker’s, shoving his head and upper body away from her telekinetically, trying to make him lose his balance. He toppled back, but didn’t release his grip on her wrist. Falling back, he hauled her down with him. Struggling, she couldn’t free her sword hand. Landing heavily on the Redcap’s chest, she stabbed viciously at his eyes with the thumb and middle finger of her free hand.
“ARRR!” He growled as she thumbed him … but failed to damage his eyes.
Further up, several of the Redcaps broke off and ran for the door — throwing themselves into the emerald furnace!
“Stop them!” Casey cried breathlessly. “Elijah, don’t let anyone else into the Machine, block the door!”
“Right!” The vampire launched himself back towards the Machine door, putting himself between it and an onrushing Redcap.
Casey’s opponent, using his superior size and weight, rolled atop her.
Pinned! Cursing under her breath, she brought a knee up hard into his groin. Her knee was met with a dull thud. He was wearing some kind of protection.
Casey’s temper blazed hot: her instinctive, primal reaction to being restrained by force. She wanted to disembowel this guy.
But in the heat of fury a cooler voice spoke up in the back of her mind. It wasn’t her temper that had gotten her out of Mardmor’s ‘workshop,’ or won her weapon and her life from Yrinith. She needed to keep her wits about her tonight.
Her body relaxed beneath the guard’s, no longer resisting his weight or the grasp of his hand on her sword arm. The weapon itself returned to its inert state, a simple cylindrical hilt. She looked up to meet the Redcap’s gaze, no trace of threat or hostility in her own expression. “Let go of me,” she said quietly. “Let me up.”
Leaned back and helped her to her feet as if she were the finest lady.
Casey didn’t look or feel much like a fine lady at the moment — most of her leather garb was either stiff with dried blood or slick with fresh blood, and her face was spattered with still more blood, old and new, from various Redcaps and her own nosebleeds. She was deathly weary and chilled to the bone from a night spent struggling through this cold, cursed dungeon. Her own personal vision of Heaven consisted of a hot shower, a warm meal and a soft bed in some peaceful, sun-drenched room.
She accepted the guard’s help though, and wondered what on earth to do with him. She couldn’t very well kill him while he just stood there looking at her. “Thank you,” she said, stalling for time while her tired brain cast about for a solution.
“We’re not your enemies,” she told him with another solid mental push.
His face darkened.
“You need to go kill him.”
Murder boiled in his eyes, as he looked up to where the Goblin King was holding court.
“And, um, tell your friends.”
“Oh yeah…” He turned, heading for the ladder.
Casey had no confidence that the Redcap would have any success against the Goblin King, but hopefully this would at least make him someone else’s problem instead of hers.
Her eyes turned upward to see an all too familiar quarterstaff spinning in the air tumbling down from the upper levels. A few steps away Alseyne stretched, leaning out over the rail, and snatched the falling quarterstaff from the air! They couldn’t see Pip, but they did note a swirling commotion up there.
The Redcap guard strode past Alseyne. *** Casey, should I kill him? *** The sidhe held her sword in one hand and Pip’s quarterstaff in the other.
** Let him go; hopefully he’s headed up to attack Mardmor with a few of his friends. **
As the Redcap headed off, Alyseyne approached Casey, “Casey, can you ‘see’ Pip and get his weapon back to him? He apparently had it knocked away and throwing it up there blindly would be useless since I can’t even see him.”
“I’ve never tried anything like–”
“Oh, and after you do that, you might want to consider seeing what all of these Redcaps are wearing that is common. Mardmor must have some sort of charm on them controlling their actions. We might weaken his attack force if you can find and start destroying those. If I can identify what it is myself, I’ll give you a head’s up.”
Casey pondered that. Her chat with the enthusiastic sidhe Burton had led her to suspect that it was probably idealistic zeal, not magical control, that was driving Mardmor’s Redcap followers to their ‘meaningful sacrifice’ within the Machine’s flames. Still, if Alseyne was right it would certainly simply things. “I’ll see if I can pinpoint anything.”
The freed prisoners and Percyndi had been engaged by a six-pack of Redcaps, but they were giving them hell alongside five burly dogs. Handing the staff to Casey, Alseyne moved to join the fight.
Casey took the staff, wondering perplexedly if she should attempt to ‘visualize’ Pip’s location, or just save time and fly it up to him.
Over her shoulder as she went to help Percyndi and the prisoners, Alseyne added, “If nothing else, see if you can yank some of those green stones off the machine or destroy them with your sword. They’re obviously needed for some purpose — whether it is to control his guards or help the machine work. If we can get rid of them then we’ll help our cause in some way.”
Percyndi nodded, “On it!” and dashed past the combatants.
Casey’s baffled gaze shifted from the quarterstaff to Alseyne. She’d thought the green stones must be more elementals, helping to power the Machine in some way. If that was the case then destroying them would certainly bring down the house — literally — but she’d rather hoped to get the captured Fae out safely before fulfilling her resolution to bring the dungeon tumbling down around their enemies’ ears.
She turned her focus to one of the green stones on the skin of the Machine, searching for the wild, alien presence of an elemental, and felt the familiar immense power and alien intelligence within. “Percyndi — wait — ”
Green sparks flew as the Princess struck it once … twice ….
…The third time the stone exploded in a burst of green light! Percyndi was thrown back, struck the rail — WHAM! She flipped over, flailing into the air beyond some thirty-six feet above the deck below.
“No!” Alseyne cried, reaching her empty hand out in a useless attempt to stop the deadly fall.
A swirling storm of boulders and earth formed into a massive giant on the gantry.
“Oh crap!” Elijah exclaimed, gazing up at the giant. He narrowly leaped out of the way as the monster smashed down at him — and continued bouncing away as the creature continued lashing out.
Casey sprang to the rail, gesturing swiftly toward the plummeting princess with a ‘catching’ motion, arresting her fall and levitating her back to the relative safety of the catwalk she’d fallen from.
Alseyne sighed in relief as she saw the girl safely returned to the gantry.
Percyndi’s eyes were wide as she comes back to the rail. “Th-thanks!” She nodded appreciation at Casey. “‘ppreciate that!”
Casey felt a bit shaken herself by the close call as she helped the princess back onto the catwalk. “Glad I could help, your…ah…highness? I’m sorry, I don’t know what I should call you.”
“Percyndi’s fine,” she smiled, regaining her composure. “Um … Casey, right?”
“Right.” Casey returned the smile, but her attention was already turning back to the battle. “It’s … well … it would have been lovely to meet you under better circumstances.”
“Tell me about it,” The girl agreed. “I’d kill for a hot bath. With bubbles. And a glass of wine.”
The thought of soaking the chill from her bones in a steaming-hot bubble bath was so appealing that Casey nearly groaned aloud as she moved to assist Elijah. The vampire was bouncing away from the elemental as it struck at him. “Stay with the others, there’s safety in numbers,” she called back to Percyndi.
“You could probably use some help,” The Princess fell in beside her. “Despite what you just saw, I can take care of myself.”
Casey accepted that, glancing closely at Percyndi’s weapon as they came up alongside Elijah. If one of the Redcaps had been carrying an enchanted blade, maybe some of the others had too — hopefully the princess had grabbed something capable of damaging stone. But no, she sensed no magic on Percyndi’s sword.
Seeing Elijah, Casey and Percyndi moving to follow the elemental, Alseyne turned back to take on the Redcaps attacking the prisoners.
Up above, Casey and the others heard the ear-piercing groan of metal tearing as a huge form like a trollish stone gargoyle — some seven feet tall — with stone wings toppled over the edge and plummeted to the deck below.
“…the hell?!” Percyndi gazed as the troll fell.
“Wow,” Casey marveled appreciatively as the enormous figure tumbled through the air. “Pip’s kicking some serious butt up there!”
“Wow! He’s a big ‘un!”
Nodding, Casey turned back toward the giant — and suddenly remembered that she was supposed to be returning Pip’s quarterstaff to him. In all the drama with Percyndi’s fall and the elemental it had slipped her mind completely.
She stopped, grimacing. She could fly up there and hand it to him in person … but Mardmor was up there, and the mere thought of facing the Goblin King again tied her stomach in knots. She’d probably end up taking him on eventually, but she wasn’t ready to think about that just yet.
She reached out with her mind to the platform above, seeking out Pip’s familiar presence. There were a lot of folks up there and she quickly shied away from Mardmor’s dark intelligence… Yggthor! Close to death. In shock….
…and near him, Pip’s mind.
LOCKED! She opened her hand and the quarterstaff rocketed above and over the rail.
“Grrrrreat, these guys are loads of fun.” Korin sounded exhausted as he faced the elemental, then looked amongst the bodies for a weapon to lay claim to. ^^ Casey?! Can we drop this catwalk … I mean literally can we cut it and drop it? Will your sword cut the railings and flooring? ^^
Casey turned at that, her eyes sweeping across the gantry, railings, and supporting cables. Her expression brightened. ** Korin, you’re a genius! They can’t feed anyone else into the Machine if they can’t reach the door! **