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
Kendall Nye………………Joseph McAdoo……………………..Ronin Garou
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
Casey’s blistering rage — and the cresting surge of adrenaline that came with it — were receding now, making the agony in her scorched shoulder harder to ignore. The amulet hovered in mid-air a few inches from her chest: she was reluctant to touch it, afraid to destroy it here in this crowded place, and unwilling to set it down. Panting slightly with the effort of focusing past her pain, she stared at the glowing green stone and wondered what in the world to do with it now that she had it.
“Die,” McAdoo muttered as he raised his gauntleted fist and pointed at Mardmor. Blue lightning thundered forth from Mac’s gauntlet, striking the Goblin King in the center of the chest.
“Arr!” Mardmor stumbled back, swearing, and Yggthor charged in. Axe flashing, he hewed a massive chunk from the Goblin King’s side.
Casey hung back, taking a moment to assess the damage to her shoulder. The thick leather of her jacket was burned away, the flesh beneath hideously seared. It hurt like hell. She needed to heal it, but that would have to wait.
The sorcerer shoved Korin aside and quickly came to a knee. “The flavor of this arrangement is no longer to my taste,” he said to the ailing Goblin King. “αντίο!”
The staff-wielder dissolved into the air.
McAdoo pulled himself to his feet and limped forward, sniffing the air.
“Sorcerers,” Yggthor growled down at the Goblin King, “A famously disloyal lot.”
“Don’t talk, Yggthor! KILL!” Alseyne cried out to the tall troll. “Or at least knock him unconscious!”
“Bar’thlur!” Mardmor trilled the word.
The troll’s head snapped toward Alseyne as he swung the mighty axe. Catching the sidhe noble completely by surprise, the weapon chewed hard into her side. Alseyne gasped, knocked to her knees — blood spilling out in a hot gush.
“Yggthor?” she panted in surprise and pain. “What…?”
“You *DIE* today, Mardmor!” Yggthor boomed at her, stomping forth.
“Alseyne?” Pip asked, his agony having abated when the sorcerer vanished. His eyes widened, “Alseyne!” The satyr charged at Yggthor.
Casey stared in horror at this highly unexpected turn of events. If Mardmor turned them against one another ….
Stonewing made a beeline for the Goblin King, maul in a high guard. As he approached, he swung down with all his strength, striking Mardmor in his upraised arm.
“Arrrr!” His eyes narrowed at Bran. “Vulthelu.” He used the maul’s hated name from his own tongue. “A thousand curses on you Stonewing. A thousand curses on you and your hammer!”
“Yggthor, ” Alseyne moaned through her pain. “It’s me!”
“Do not speak my name, villain!”
“He’s confused your senses! Remember how I made you call your wife today to make sure she was safe?”
“My wife?!?!” Yggthor’s eyes widened. “I’LL KILLLLL YOUUUU!” Standing over her, he hacked downward with the axe.
Pip slammed into him, sending the blow wide of Alseyne. Sparks flew as blade struck decking. “Dammit, blue!” the satyr groaned as he struggled with the troll. “You’re seeing things!”
Pip was a strong fellow … but Yggthor was a whole ‘nother kind of strong. He hurled Pip aside. “Away from me! I will kill him!”
Alseyne backed away from Yggthor, trying to look as unthreatening as possible without actually dropping her sword. “I surrender! I yield to you! You have conquered and defeated me!”
An instant shift to galbro, McAdoo slid with rage-born speed to intervene between the sidhe noble and the maddened troll, shoving Yggthor away. The troll swung his axe across the garou’s chest. A grazing, minor wound. “Grrrr…” Yggthor growled.
Casey abruptly came to a decision. Mardmor might still be drawing power from the amulet; it needed to be destroyed. She moved away from the melée, to the Machine’s control console … a little shaky now, fighting off shock. Arrayed before her was a series of long lever switches and toggles. Meters and pressure gages were situated on the highest row. All of them were twitching far to the right and were approaching the marked red-zone. To the left were five valve wheels. She found nothing that looked like an off-switch.
She set the stone down on the console. Drawing her weapon awkwardly with her left hand, she extended the blade.
If there was an elemental contained within the amulet, the control station would likely be destroyed. That would probably be a good thing.
But if it was some kind of receptacle for glamour … a balefire-in-a-bottle … who knew what might happen? Could be enough in there to top off the tank.
Her shoulder hurt like all nine circles of hell. It was getting hard to think straight.
Clumsily she picked up the amulet in her right hand, then with her left she brought the Adamas blade to bear on the console itself….
*** CASEY ***
Casey was snapped from her action by Alseyne’s telepathic plea.
*** You’ve got to keep an eye on Mardmor! He’s got to be stopped before he gets away! Or can you maybe fix Yggthor?*** There’s a hint of panic in the sidhe’s ‘voice’.
Casey turned to look at the Goblin King, who at the moment was reduced to hurling nothing stronger than angry curses at the troll who stood over him brandishing a heavy maul. Then she looked over at Yggthor, who was still raging about Alseyne being Mardmor and how thoroughly he was going to kill her. Then she looked back down at the dials and levers on the Machine’s console, there within her grasp.
Sighing, she turned back to Yggthor, Mardmor’s amulet still clutched in her hand. Reached out to touch his mind —
It was a punch in the nose. Yggthor was consumed with hate and rage. She attempted to instill a bit of clarity there: help him to see Alseyne properly, as she truly was.
The Troll growled. Shaking his head, he glared at Alseyne, looking away — for a moment — from McAdoo.
“Get her safe,” The werewolf barked and then with gauntlet open handed to the tall troll, ” y’Thor.. friend.”
Ignoring the hand the troll backhanded Mac, sending him flipping over the edge of the rail and tumbling down to the deck far below.
” Yowpippp! ” the werewolf yipped.
Without thinking Casey let go of everything she was powering — shield, weapon, mindlink with Yggthor — and made a telekinetic grab for the falling garou, hauling him back up onto the deck.
Then, too tired and in too much pain to think past the immediate need to shut down the Machine, Casey turned her attention back to the console.
Throwing levers and toggles was risky. Messing with the controls at all was risky, considering that she had no idea what any of them did.
The burning pain in her shoulder was making her cranky and impatient. The worst she could do was blow up the chamber, right?
Well, no. The worst she could do was throw the Machine into full-active mode. Best not to think too much about that.
With a wry hope that even chaos-loving psychotic goblins adhered to the universal law of righty-tighty-lefty-loosey, Casey moved over to the five valve wheels, intending to spin them all to the tightly-closed position. She touched the first valve wheel … and cried out, pulling her seared hand back, palm throbbing.
Freaking perfect. She blew lightly on the burned hand, and saw blisters rising. She attempted to remove her jacket ….
Too much. Too much pain to shrug off anymore. She closed her eyes, sank within herself, searched out the damaged tissues of hand and shoulder, and set her mind to the task of healing.
The burned hand was mended at once … but the shoulder … she cried out just at the effort. There was a barrier, an alien force at work that resisted her efforts to heal the shoulder wound.
Well, crap. The hope that she’d be able to heal that wound when she chose to had made the pain marginally more bearable. Realizing she was stuck with it for the foreseeable future nearly made her whimper aloud in weary frustration.
Slowly, painfully, she worked her way out of her jacket. Then she wrapped it around her left hand and attempted to close the valves. She grit her teeth and cranked with all her might, but it wouldn’t budge.
Hunh. Maybe the goblins *were* savages. She tried turning it the other way.
No love. She went back to turning it clockwise, this time adding a hard telekinetic push.
Nothing. Not a wiggle.
***Casey!*** Alseyne’s mental ‘voice.’ *** Head’s up! Company! Do whatever you can to that machine quickly. We’re going to need you since we don’t seem to be able to cast any spells here. ***
Casey looked up from her total immersion in the station console and saw two large groups of advancing guards. About thirty-five off to the left of the platform coming along the catwalk; to the right were another twenty or twenty-five. And dropping from cables above were nine more.
She wished she hadn’t taken her jacket off. It had offered a bit of protection, but there was no time to struggle back into it now. Her gaze swept across the tableau on the platform, pain and exhaustion adding a touch of surrealism to the gruesome scene. Alseyne looked to be bleeding out. Pip, Wynne and McAdoo had their hands full keeping Yggthor from finishing the job. Elijah was still down too. Their odds of success seemed to be getting crappier by the minute.
It wasn’t over yet, though. If Stonewing took Mardmor out, the goblin army might fall apart for lack of a leader.
Korin bounced in. Fangs flashing, he crouched between Yggthor and Alseyne. Pip was riding the troll’s back, his quarterstaff under Yggthor’s chin, pulled back hard against the warrior’s throat.
Casey abandoned her fruitless efforts at the console and went over to Alseyne, as the first tremors of accumulated pain, shock and weariness began to ripple through her. “Maybe I can help with that,” she nodded toward the Sidhe’s wound. She reached out to touch the injury, attempting to knit it back to wholeness.
Alseyne nodded wearily, “Wynne gave me something but it’s not helping yet and I’m getting a bit light-headed from blood loss.” She nodded towards McAdoo while Casey worked, “Good save there. Nice work. Now if we can just get Yggthor’s mind cleared up we’ll be in business again.”
McAdoo wuffed, ” Huh. ”
“I tried to get into his head right before the garou fell,” Casey commented, “but it didn’t seem to help much.” As she extended her awareness into the sidhe’s wound, she felt a tickle of glamour and saw that it was rapidly healing. Her mind touched along the deep tissue already knitting; it took only a small push to finish the job. Within a moment Alseyne was fully healed. The sidhe sighed with relief.
“C’mon, Blue!” Wynne danced about Yggthor’s feet, “See the pretty colors…” A spray of stars flowed from her hands, while Pip continued to pull hard on the quarterstaff beneath the troll’s chin.
Yggthor screamed, “GET OUT OF MY MIND!” He reached up from behind seizing Pip by the hair …
“Don’t touch the hair!”
… and SLAMMED him into Wynne.
“Enough!” Yggthor turned, barking at Alseyne, “You die! Now!”
The sidhe brought her sword up to guard as he charged, swinging brutally with his axe.
McAdoo tried to trip him but Yggthor barreled right on by, ignoring the wolf-man.
Casey turned swiftly, raising a heavy shield between Yggthor and where she and Alseyne stood.
At that moment Bran fell before Mardmor, green flames engulfing his head. Casey caught the motion from the corner of her eye; her head jerked around to see the Goblin King standing in triumph over his would-be slayer.
Alseyne began to scold Yggthor as if their battle were a simple training exercise, “What are you thinking rushing me like that? I could spit you in a second. You’re leaving yourself wide open to a counterattack!”
Mardmor turned his gaze to Casey, pointing at her with his smoldering hand: “Enough of this.”
Casey couldn’t agree more. But as badly as she wanted to take him on in earnest, she was stuck squarely in the middle of another little melodrama at the moment. With a low curse she extended her shield around to cover herself and Alseyne from whatever he was about to send their way.
Suddenly a woman materialized out of thin air onto the control platform: a Redcap, dressed in warrior’s garb and carrying a heavy, vicious-looking spear. Snarling, she lunged at the Goblin King, her weapon stabbing for his heart.
Despite the surprise, Mardmor wrenched the spear from her hands, tossing it to the deck. He clutched her by the throat and sniffed.
“You’ll do nicely,” he said to her as the two fell over the rail.