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 swung onto the ladder and made her way up, sword in hand.
Elijah leaped up to the next level and crouched defensively, covering the party as they came up. “Got your six, sister. Keep goin’,” he nodded to Alseyne as she emerged. His fingers were extended and flexed into fearsome claws.
The hard sound of many Redcap boots pounded against the catwalk, rushing toward them.
“Nobody better look up my shirt.” Korin flexed his fingers and jumped, casually, grabbing the ladder to finish the climb. Reaching the landing behind Alseyne he saw Elijah already in place keeping an eye on things, awaiting the imminent Redcaps. “Show off.” Screams from above drew his attention. “That’s where we are heading? Sounds … fun.”
The freed changeling prisoners started up the ladder. Pana nuzzled Casey’s hand as the other dogs peered about, eyes bright with attention.
Bran readied his maul in one hand, Wynne in the other. “And now we HOP! SKIP! JUMP!” He plowed the maul into the ground, punctuating his speech and rocketing into the air. He and the sluagh soared past their allies, making the ascent and landing on the platform several levels above.
Casey gauged the distance between the Redcaps and her ascending allies. Judging by the rate of the party’s ascent and the speed at which the Redcaps were advancing, they would intercept her people before half of them have fully made it off the above level. Maybe she could slow the guards down a bit. She’d never tried an attack from this distance before, but now seemed like a good time to test her limits. Gesturing up toward one of the leading Redcaps, she attempted to set his head on fire.
There were some wisping puffs of smoke… but nothing else.
Hmmmm. Probably too far away, and too complex to overcome the dampening effect this chamber had on her psionics. She drew her gaze closer, focusing on a section of catwalk between the attackers and the climbers, about ten feet beyond where Elijah had made his defensive stand. Concentrating, she shaped her power into a telekinetic shield, sealing off the catwalk.
Alseyne continued her climb to the next level, checking over her shoulder at her group’s progress. *** Casey, if you can hear this, do you think you might be able to levitate some of the dogs up to this level? Maybe try to put a sort of invisible ‘floor’ under their feet so they don’t go nuts when you levitate them? ***
** I can try. I’ve got a shield up across the catwalk to try and block the Redcaps. Once they reach it I’ll have to focus on that, but I might be able to get a few dogs up before then. ** She reached a hand toward a pair of dogs, then made a lifting gesture.
“Arp!” “Yipe!” The two dogs begin to rise, both of them a bit startled. Casey could feel her barrier weaken just a bit.
Korin moved to Elijah’s side, glancing twice at the vampire’s splayed talons. “I take it you’ve had enough of the playing around then?”
“You got that right, chico.” Elijah scowled as the Redcaps boiled up from on down the catwalk. “These boys are going down.”
As the last Changeling moved up the ladder, Pana marshaled her charges. Casey marveled, watching the thumbs appear. There was something very disturbing about it.
Pana watched as the dogs began bounding upward. :: You okay? Anything I can do? ::
Casey nodded, returning her focus to the shield. ** I’m going to try to hold the guards back with a barrier. Once they reach it it might take all my attention to keep it in place. I need you to stay close, don’t let anything sneak up on me. ** She smiled, ** And let me know when it’s my turn to go up the ladder; I might not notice. **
:: I can do that. :: Pause. :: Good to be working with you again, ma’am. ::
** It’s good to have you back, Pana. But please, just call me Casey — Ma’am is my mother. **
:: Yes, m’… Casey. ::
Casey felt a familiar tickle at her mind. It was Falco.
His tone was strained. He’d been injured. She could feel him struggling to keep the pain from transmitting downlink to her. :: Been a bit delayed. This place is lousy with vampires and werewolves. How’re things faring there? ::
Casey’s sense of wandering through a dream grew stronger. If Percyndi and the others were right about vampires and weres not being permitted on these lower levels, then Falco must still be a lot farther away than she’d hoped. Assuming it really was Falco she was talking with. It was difficult to imagine her infinitely powerful mentor being seriously threatened by common vampires and garou, even in large numbers. Or not being able to heal himself with a casual thought.
** I found the Machine, ** she replied cautiously. ** The missing Fae are here. And Pana — and a bunch of her friends. Most of the group I came with are here too … except Claws, I hear he was killed by the guy with the scary-looking staff.
:: Sorry to hear that. ::
** Yeah, we really could’ve used his muscle. ** She paused, wondering if that had sounded unfeeling. ** Did you know him well? **
:: No. I barely knew him at all. ::
**Yeah, me too. And last but not least … Mardmor’s here. So I guess this is where we’re going to make our stand, to try and end this thing once and for all. **
:: Good luck. I am coming as quickly as a I can. Three of the vampires… were unexpected. Thaumaturgists. Magic. I really hate magic. ::
** You’re going to love Staff Guy then. I can’t really see what’s going on up where he is, but it feels like lots of unfriendly magic. **
:: Lovely. ::
** Truth be told, I think we’re pretty heavily overmatched down here … I’ll feel a lot better once you get here. **
:: I’m coming. I will be there. I promise. ::
** You can’t miss it … three hundred feet of cast iron powered by Fae magic and covered with elementals. I was thinking maybe we could, you know, toss a firecracker into it — that always works great for Bugs Bunny. **
:: You have to be careful about that kind of thing. Don’t want to be the Coyote instead. ::
** Yeah, gotta be sure not to order the firecracker from Acme. That never ends well. Although, ** she sighed, ** I’ve been told that there are no vampires or wolves permitted on the levels surrounding the Machine, so you might have a ways to go yet. **
:: Hrmmm … I’ll see about finding a short cut. One of these creatures must know something. ::
** Try cutting their fingers off, ** she suggested helpfully. ** Bound to get you some answers. Maybe they know where the laundry chute is. **
:: That sounds a bit gruesome. ::
** Does it? I’ve just spent the past half-hour decapitating Redcaps, so I may have a slightly skewed perspective on what constitutes necessary force. I suppose you could try just asking nicely. ** She hesitated, wariness and skepticism warring with concern. ** How badly are you hurt? **
She sensed a sudden stiffness in him suggesting he wasn’t aware that his discomfort was coming through. He gathered himself and when he spoke again, his voice was as strong as it was the previous afternoon. :: I’m fine. No worries. And you? ::
** Still in sound working order. I don’t think I was really cut out for this hero business, though … is it wrong that I’m starting to care more about a hot bath and a good meal than about saving the world from a psychopathic anarchist and his army of goblins? **
She sensed laughter from Falco. :: Not at all. I’ve half a mind to trade our future for a hot shower myself. Tell you what… when we get out of here, I know a terrific masseuse who makes house calls. ::
That image was rather distracting. ** I’ve never had a massage. But if I survive this night, I think I’ll give it a try. After the bath and the meal and about ten hours’ sleep. **
:: Deal. I’m on my way, Casey. ::
** We’ll leave the light on. **
At that moment the Redcaps slammed into Casey’s invisible barrier.
Elijah laughed at the sight of broken noses as the guardsmen met the unexpected rampart. “Whats-a-matter ya’ mokes? Come and get me! Come and get me!”
The Redcaps snarled and growled as a few of them prodded at the wall of force.
Elijah turned, dropping his pants. “Whattya think a’that, huh?”
Korin smirked. “Well brother I hope that’s the last time I see you show your ass … figuratively or literally.”
Elijah laughed, buckling his pants.
Laughing, Casey returned her full attention to the barrier as the last of the dogs, other than Pana, made it up the ladder and onto the next level. The Malamute looked to Casey for direction.
“Up you go, girl. I’m right behind you.”