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
Korin found a maul among the slain Redcap guards. It had a wooden handle with an iron head; he plainly liked the weight of it in his hand. He turned and bounded toward the massive rock giant, swinging the maul with all his strength into the elemental’s knee … to no discernible effect other than to gain the giant’s attention. The vibration of the contact of two solid objects rattled violently up his arm, threatening to shake the maul from his grip. He switched it to his right hand and struck again. And again. Still no damage to the elemental.
Elijah used the opportunity to climb up onto the stone giant’s back.
Casey moved swiftly to the intersection of gantry and catwalk, extending the crystalline blade of her sword. ** Try and lure that giant a little closer to the main catwalk. ** She sent the thought to both Korin and Elijah. ** I’m going to see if I can drop the gantry from this end– **
:: Drop the gantry?!? :: Elijah sounded shocked.
** –So you guys be ready to leap clear right before it goes. Elijah,** she added, a little surprised by his reaction, ** If you think this is a bad idea, I’m listening. **
:: No, no … It’s just, you know, I’m on the gantry! ::
She turned a perplexed look at him over her shoulder. ** Hence my suggestion to move closer to the catwalk and be ready to leap clear. ** Fortunately leaping was something they were both good at, and with the elemental on this end of the gantry it wouldn’t be able to grab onto the Machine to keep from falling. ** Not TOO close though; keep it far enough from the intersection to make sure it falls when the gantry does.** Casey eyed the four supporting cables, sizing them up.
^^ Not too close, not too far, do it now but don’t hurry … You want fries with that? ^^ Korin sounded grouchy.
:: Kinda bossy :: Elijah grumped.
Casey was tired enough to be mildly annoyed by that. Dropping the gantry had been Korin’s suggestion, and it was a good one. Maybe they would have preferred for her to just cut the bridge loose and let them fall with it? What was so bossy about wanting them to be close enough to the catwalk to be able to jump to safety when the gantry fell? And hell, Alseyne had been snapping orders all night long and no one had groused about that.
But on the heels of her irritation came the quiet recognition that all of them were tired; they were bound to get a little cranky. She shrugged it off, quirking a crooked smile as she examined a massive, thick knotted length of steel cable. ** You were planning on going down with the ship, perhaps? I can appreciate a good heroic death as much as the next person, but we’re already outnumbered about a gazillion to fifteen right now and half the folks our side aren’t sure which end of the sword goes into the goblin. Seems like a waste to throw away one of our best fighters this early in the game. **
Tumbling backward Korin headed toward Casey’s end of the gantry, backing away slowly, his eyes never leaving the walking mound of earth. His muscles were tense as he glanced over the side of the gantry into the blackness below, his most likely destination if anything went awry.
Casey turned to see Elijah riding the elemental’s back, and remembered Pip taking out one of the last stone giants from that position. What weapon had the satyr used … just his staff? She couldn’t recall. Hopefully the vampire had some stone-breaking tricks of his own. ** Pana, we need to consolidate our forces. Bring all the dogs up to this level, you come too, and we’ll make a stand up here. **
:: Coming…! ::
Korin smirked up at Elijah, “How’s the view?”
“Nice, but…Awp!” The back of the elemental opened and engulfed Elijah, swallowing him whole.
Korin’s mouth fell open as Elijah disappeared. “Holy Shi….” He continued to back toward Casey, dodging and weaving to avoid contact with the elemental.
Casey blinked. Then shook her head. Elijah was dead or he wasn’t; she couldn’t help him now. He’d already been swallowed by one earth elemental tonight and come through it no worse for wear — one had to appreciate the durability of vampires.
** I’m going to try and drop the gantry, ** she sent to Percyndi this time. ** Could you let Alseyne and the others know to stay clear of it? **
:: Consider it done… Watch your six. I’ll alert the others. ::
Casey hauled back, swinging at the first support. The adamas blade sliced easily through the inches-thick cable. The gantry groaned as the cable snapped up above, swinging loose. The bridge listed just a bit, the other load-bearing supports protesting the additional burden. The elemental stumbled a bit..Korin kept his footing.
Piece of cake. Truly a lovely sword, she mused. ‘Prism’ might be a good name; she liked the way the blade caught the light. She moved to the other side. **Alright Korin,** she called. ** Get ready, this should do it! **
^^ Get ready to catch me. ^^ His mental ‘voice’ somehow managed to convey a wink.
** I’ve seen you jump. ** Korin could hear the humor in her tone. ** You won’t need me to catch you … but I’ll be ready just in case. ** Her sword sliced through the second cable and it snapped with a wild recoil.
The gantry groaned, buckling slightly in the center beginning to dip under the elemental.
Casey sank her blade deep into the bridgeworks and began hacking … just a short little bit at first, but it slowly peeled away.
Korin danced around the feet of the earth elemental as a massive stone-fleshed troll complete with wings came up over the rail and touched down with a THUMP.
And that was all it took. The gantry collapsed, the bridge peeled away like tissue.
Prepared for it, hearing the screech of metal separating from metal, Korin leaped for the catwalk.
The elemental fell, tumbling into the winged stone troll. Both of them plummeted to the deck below with the bodies of the Redcaps killed by Elijah.
Korin landed on the balls of his feet beside Casey, safely on the catwalk.
Down below, the elemental and the troll crashed into the ground — the elemental shattering into dirt and stone.
** Nice. ** Casey grinned at the Mangoose. ** Unless those Redcaps can fly, or they have another door, we should be safe now for a little while. That was a good idea. **
^^ No sweat!…Its amazing the good ideas a parent funded college education can give you. ^^ He moved over to the edge to see if Elijah somehow survived the fall. “ELIJAH?! YOU ALIVE?”
“Not in the strictest definition of the word,” Elijah called back in response, “No!”
“Don’t be a smart ass … you know what I mean.”
Casey’s gaze swept through the chamber, trying to get a rough estimate of how many armed goblins they were still up against. There were only three left on this catwalk, but she could see another two dozen moving their direction from the level above. “…Of course, ‘safe’ is a somewhat relative term,” she murmured aloud, moving to join Alseyne and the others. “What’s the plan? Should we try to get the prisoners out before we tackle the Machine? Or split up and try to both at once?”
Korin shrugged, joining them. “I’m the idea guy, not the decision maker. I’ll follow whatever you guys decide, but I think maybe getting Elijah back up here would be wise.”
Casey nodded. “Agreed.”
“We don’t know how many guards are not in this area,” Alseyne pointed out. “We saw at least three garou earlier but now I’m seeing only Kithain guards in here. There are a number of players unaccounted for in this little game and I hesitate to split us up without knowing where they are located. Kilarothes, the Red Talons and the vampires are all unaccounted for right now so I say we stay together.”
“Makes sense,” Casey agreed.
“He doesn’t allow them down here,” Percyndi offered. “I’ve never seen the wolves or the vampires in the machine room.”
Casey looked at Percyndi, surprised. “You’ve been in here before?”
“How many times? Why did they bring you?”
“Maybe a half-dozen times?” She considered. “It got fuzzy… the collar. I don’t know why. They wanted to look at the Machine. And … appreciate it.”
The burly guy nodded, “Exactly.”
Casey lifted an eyebrow. What could Mardmor have gained from trotting out his captives and making them stare at his Machine in all its dread-inspiring glory? Might be a glamour thing, but she wasn’t knowledgeable enough in Fae matters to even hazard a guess.
One of the freed prisoners, a burly Nocker, added, “No vampires or wolves ever. Only in the upper levels. Not even in the dungeon.”
“Interesting…” Alseyne said thoughtfully.
“Korin and Elijah were in the dungeon,” Casey observed. “A vampire and a were.”
“Weren’t they in Owen’s dungeons though? Just under Sanctuary? We had gone some distance before we were captured — could be they have separate dungeons for non-Kithain.”
“Why capture them at all, though? What use could he have had for them?”
“For his allies?” Alseyne shrugged. “We may never know. For now let’s just be glad they are here to help us.”
Casey turned the puzzle over in her head, but too many pieces were still missing. She addressed her next question to the whole group of abductees: “How much of this compound have you guys seen since you were taken? Do any of you know exactly how long you’ve been here?”
“The dungeon to here.” Burly man said. The others agreed. None of them knew how long they’d been there.
Alseyne looked at the former prisoners and then up toward the control area again before looking back at Casey. “The safety of the prisoners is important … but so is stopping Mardmor. I think we should take the battle to him.”
Casey nodded again, more slowly this time. She knew Alseyne was right — it was a waste of resources to stand here battling wave after wave of Mardmor’s goblins when the real enemy was the King himself. And it wasn’t like he was going to get any weaker or less scary the longer they put off confronting him. “Alright.” Casey hated the tight, strained note of fear that had crept into her voice; she’d wanted to be braver than this when the time came to turn and face her demon. “Let’s take the battle to him.”