CAST OF PLAYERS:
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Jera Morrison……………….Alseyne Aulaudin…………………Sidhe Changeling
Jeremy Whitener…………Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Rob Bennett……………..General Branford Stonewing………..Troll Changeling
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
Alseyne reached the catwalk at Mardmor’s level and hauled herself up. The walk hugged the wall of the cavern before her, leading to the control station platform and continuing on beyond, circling around behind the Machine and back behind Alseyne. *** Casey, once all the dogs are up, focus on that field and maybe see if you can extend it beyond the catwalk so they don’t swarm around the edge of it. I’d like to get all of the prisoners up here and then you and then pop the ladder loose and have you fly Korin and Elijah up here as you drop the field. That way the ‘caps will have to find another way up. **
Casey scooted up the ladder behind her dog. ** Elijah and Korin can jump up there, they won’t need my help. I’m with you on the rest of it though. **
Percyndi emerged behind Alseyne and set to assisting the other Changelings as they rose. On the heels of the freed prisoners came the dogs, managing the ladders with surprising dexterity, followed by Korin and Elijah. Casey and Pana brought up the rear.
Between them and the control station, there were bodies everywhere.
Thick, inky smoke spun like oily threads up into the air from under a dark blanket. There was a body under there, a big one. Wynne was patting at it furiously. Beyond, General Stonewing lay in a tangle with Yggthor on the deck. The two struggled to separate from one another. Stonewing seemed … smaller than before.
A bit farther up the catwalk was Pip. Bloodied and battered, he was in battle stance, his quarter-staff spinning in his right hand, his left hand before him sighting the enemy: the mage with the staff. Pip looked elegant, beautiful. He moved like a dancer and was as deadly as a viper.
Two balls of blue lightning hovered in the air beside the mage. Out beyond, floating in the air was Andali. Her arms seemed pressed to her sides, her feet heel-to-heel.
Casey gestured to the ex-prisoners to group up a few feet farther down the catwalk, placing herself and the other fighters between them and the control platform. She set ten dogs to guard them, and called the other eighteen dogs to come up and join the sortie. Pana heeled in beside her as the canines spread out. Casey moved up beside Alsyene, her gaze searching apprehensively along the crowded catwalk.
There. At the control station.
The Goblin King turned, regarding those on the platform and locked eyes with Alseyne. “…And all the pieces are in place…” The familiar voice cut effortlessly through the noise of the chamber, sending a cold chill through Casey.
She kept her own expression as masklike as she could make it. Last time they’d faced off she’d cowered in near-mindless terror of him; she was determined not to let her courage fail her again. It helped that she wasn’t bound and nearly helpless this time, though she was under no delusions that her power was a match for his.
She curled her hands into fists to conceal the trembling in her fingers, and faced the enemy with cool ice in her gaze.
His eyes, blazing emerald embers, bored into her. “Casey…”
She twitched involuntarily when he spoke her name, but met the cold fire of his gaze steadily. “Careless of you to leave me *and* my weapon so poorly guarded.” She was pleased to hear the clear note of casual bravado in her voice; she’d feared that it might come out shaky. So far so good. “Burton should be fine once he wakes up, but I’m afraid your squid’s rather the worse for wear.”
“Yrinith?” Mardmor cocked his head. “If you’ve hurt him, his brothers will be rather cross with you.”
For all Casey’s lack of faith in anything Mardmor might say, that comment actually lightened her mood a bit. She’d been half expecting Yrinith to make a sudden sneering reappearance in response to her naive boast. “Lucky for me I gave him such a nice quick death then,” she smiled. “Probably didn’t hurt him a bit.” Not strictly true; squid-guy’s dying scream had in fact been rather gratifying. Still, one does what one can for grieving siblings.
Never taking her eyes from Mardmor, Alseyne snapped at the others, “Casey, take down that ladder NOW and try to bring something down to block off the catwalk behind us. Percyndi — you and the other prisoners see if you can find some range weapons to use on these two and try to stay under cover.”
Casey reached back toward the ladder without comment, telekinetically tearing it from its bolts and dropping it to the chamber floor. The catwalk was a bit more complicated. She could throw up another barrier, but that would seriously hamper her ability to focus on what was going on around her. After a moment’s thought she sent to Alseyne, ** I could place a few dogs down there to ward it. **
** That should work. And please tell Korin and Elijah to work their way around the catwalk to the other side of the machine — see if we can’t flank these two. And Casey — I know you’re scared but *I* believe you can take him. I think he’s worried about your potential. **
Casey’s mouth twisted wryly at Alseyne’s choice of words. Everyone from Falco to Yrinith had commented on her untapped potential; even the Vampire Prince had apparently deemed it worrisome enough to send a couple of his thugs out to nip the bud before it could bloom. From her own point of view, though, the key word was ‘untapped.’ Her potential made people she’d never met want to kill her while her skills were still in their fledgeling state, while she was still weaker than they were, and her lack of expertise left her too vulnerable to ever feel particularly secure. So far she’d been lucky, but how long could that last?
She gave the Sidhe a strained smile. ** Thanks. I’m sure going to give it my best shot.* * Casey’s mental voice was tense, anxious, but her sincere appreciation of Alseyne’s support came through clearly. ** And hey, we’ve definitely got them outnumbered … that’s got to count for something, right? ** She glanced through the pack of dogs milling around her, and asked six of them to go down past the ex-captives and block the catwalk from a rear assault. Then she scanned the entire catwalk, estimating its total length. ** I wonder if it would be quicker for Korin and Elijah to hop down one level, go under the control station to the other side, and jump back up? Maybe less chance they’d be seen that way, too. **
*** Either one is fine with me. I just want to try to flank them. Suggest both ideas to them, *** Alseyne’s ‘tone’ was somewhat distracted as most of her focus was on the mage and Mardmor.
** Okay. **
*** Oh, and ask Percyndi to please be careful. Tell her I said she wasn’t rescued just so we could lose her in this battle. ***
Casey started to say something, hesitated, then only nodded. To Korin and Elijah she sent, **Alseyne wants you two to get around the control station and flank Mardmor and the Staff Guy from the other side. You can follow this catwalk around the Machine, or jump up or down one level and sneak past them; just be stealthy, the idea is to take them by surprise if possible. **
:: Screw that! :: Elijah’s “voice” was bloody rage and nearly overwhelmed Casey. She blinked, one hand jerking up to her temple. Elijah’s fury felt like a swarm of enraged bees in her head. :: I’m taking this bastard apart…! ::
** That works too, ** she returned, struggling to raise her mental shields against the vampire’s wrath. ** Lots of little pieces would be good. **
To the Fae Princess she sent a gentler message. “Alseyne is very concerned for your safety. I know you want to strike a hard blow tonight, for…for everything that’s happened to you in this place … but for her sake maybe you could avoid taking any unnecessary risks. Not saying don’t fight, just don’t get, you know, reckless about it. Your survival is of utmost importance to her. **
Percyndi glanced back to Casey, then to Alseyne. :: Yeah… I get that. But she knows better. ::
Casey smiled faintly, though her ears were still ringing from the intensity of Elijah’s lust for vengeance. ** She’s just very invested in getting you home safely. She’s been really worried about you. ** On impulse Casey singled out two more dogs and asked them partner up with Percyndi in particular. She tried to impress upon them that they shouldn’t block the girl from combat, only see to her defense and watch her back. She knew that if she were in Percyndi’s place nothing would keep her from extracting whatever retribution she could for the horrors she’d endured here, but Casey couldn’t see any harm in stacking the odds a bit in the Princess’ favor.
Two of them padded to Percyndi’s side.
Alseyne straightened to her full height and clenched her sword in her hand as she stepped past Stonewing and Yggthor, past Wynne, past the litter of bodies to just behind Pip, moving lightly on the balls of her feet. “Ill met again, sirrah.”
“The Lady Jasmine has come to join us,” Mardmor smiled. “Her presence makes springtime in winter. Wouldn’t you say, Sir Norfolk?”
Pip twitched, staff still twirling, focus remaining on the sorcerer. The question went unanswered, all his attention on the attack that was sure to come.
Alseyne moved slowly and deliberately, keeping the two of them in her sights as she circled around somewhat to approach them from a slightly different direction. “Too bad I can’t say the same, but the stink coming from your general vicinity reeks like pig slop.” Her voice was pleasant and even-toned as she delivered the insult.
A smile. “You are charming, milady. I can see why Sir Norfolk is so taken with you.”