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Post  Kraus on Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:50 pm


There's no topic for the 3rd ed D&D campaign yet? Very Happy No worries, I'll post one! It's not like I'll get much sleep anyways, so what the hell.

I rolled up a character out of the blue, arriving to see what the guys were up to an hour or so late, and stuff, which was supposed to be for laughs at first, but what became a real character in a real campaign. And stuff. Basically all Mer'Krause, the emo-going dwarf and his trusted, and a bit veggy, pony Trunk did was hide behind the guys who actually know how to fight.

I was supposed to follow you guys just up until the crossroads up North so I could take the relatively safe road East for another town, but we encountered a contact of mine at the crossroads, and it seems that way's shut off for me. Yay for that. Shit. Mer's totally in a pitch now, forced to sign up a contract to go even deeper into the wilds on a wild goose chase, as there's definitely no going back alone through that wilderness. Giving a grim and deadly look at his contact going off on his horse he eventually joins the party on their quest for some meteors or whatnot, and tries to not get himself killed.

Up until now he's doing well with that - less much so with the killing. But what the hell do you think I can do about some freaking Manticores in an open field?!

Fun times! Very Happy Next time Thursday?

Krausedit\\ So cool:


Fun with Dick, Dungeons and Dragons! Mermo
Mer'Krause, "Mer", Level 4 Dwarf Rogue

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Post  Kraus on Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:32 am

Krausedit\\ See next post.

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Post  Kraus on Sat May 07, 2011 10:53 pm

After the storm of, well, mixed feelings of last night, I'm still going to post in all it's entirety everything I've written myself about Mer'Krause. We start off by what happened just before the first session I attended, followed by what I wrote after the first session, and finally the conclusion for the second. I will write something about the last one, as soon as I figure out how to cram in what... It was a failure in many respects, but I refuse to believe it was unneccessary. Not only through enjoyment can people find something to learn from. I guess that has to account into writing too.

I hope you aren't too fed up with this all to skip the text. It's a bit of a wall, and... yeah, from my character's perspective. There's a high chance it will not clear the air, but I don't want to not post it.

Also, before we start: I'll try to also write something about the session and the campaign, critical and evaluative, but not in this post. I just want to, personally, have the last gloatings of feeling before giving it a rest. All I'll say: Don't bitter up, don't blame on a single source, and don't force yourself into falsely believing you might've after all enjoyed it if you didn't. Be true, and let the others know. I'm sure people want to have the discussion. And there might be a mighty lot to discuss.

Anyways, that's for a later date. Now, for those who're not hating the whole fuck(er) too much, a wee wall of text. The conclusion is coming, in a week's time I hope.

The Burn
by Petrus Makkonen

= = =

”How was town?”
”The same.”
”You're getting used to it?”
There was a clattering sound. That's the one when a purse of coins hits a wooden table. A damp sound, no echo.
”Oh dear. That's not much.”
”Don't you get started with me. You know better than that. It ain't much of a town. I said I'm getting used to it, and that includes realizing what a shit hole it is.”
”You've done better, Mer.”
”I'm not a common thief, unlike others. I don't touch money that can be traced. At least I've got quality.”
”You go on telling yourself that.”
Steps. Not many of them.
”The money, you're not taking them?”
”Right. Yeah.”
”Hey! What do you think I am, stupid?”
”Yeah, sure, sorry.”
The coins rolled on the table. Kind of a dumb screeching sound when they were moved on the rough surface.
”I'll be taking three fifths. 'T was a rough night. People keep on asking about the Fingers. They just won't take 'no' for an answer.”
”You should really think about it, you know.”
”I've given it plenty of thought before, I have. You know what I think.”
”But for real. With this income you won't be leaving the town in some time. You're just harming yourself by not accepting their offer. Also, they don't like people messing around with their field too much. Why don't you take their deal?”
”Why in blazes do you bring this up now? Haven't we talked about it before? Wait. What's wrong?”
”Nothing's wrong, Mer. But I'm waiting for someone.”
”Why the hell didn't you tell me?”
”Calm down. You know I wouldn't sell you out or anything. You know it. Nothing's wrong. Besides, it's not just Fingers business. They're here for a job.”
”Don't know more about it. Stick around, he'll be here soon I think.”
”This better not be about the talk among the Fingers, about the 'stranger' lurking about, asking questions and spilling whatever. They know it's me, and I know it's me, and I think we both think it's alright. If it's about some kind of a misunderstanding among the peddlers, it's an utter waste of time.”
”Just stick around.”
A bunk screeched.
”Also, I want to ask you something afterwards.”

He stuck around. It surely wasn't long before a man knocked on the window, and slid inside the dark room after whispered greetings to make sure they knew eachother. A curtain was drawn in front of the room, and a candle lit.
”Dregar, how have you been! Sit down, you old fox! How're the streets treating you?”
”Fine, all fine. Not that much of streets anymore, however. The last stop by duke Brightblade's son-in-law's mansion ought to keep me paid for the time being. You surely heard of it, did you not?”
”Rumours, friend! I heard the truce between the Brightblades and Rosenthorns was suddenly cut rather short! I bet you that had nothing to do with our lovely duke's suddenly shortened gem stash?”
”I call this one.”
”Ah, our ever vigilant sell-sword. How is life, Mer?”
”Doing alright.”
”Why would you say those gems haven't anything to do with our little miniature war going on? You're not putting off our good friend Dregar's work here, are you?”
”No, I'm not. But it's not the gems that make the difference.”
There was a brief silence.
”What then?” This was Dregar.
”I think it is our friend Korash in the dark here.”
”You know something we don't?”
”I know something you don't.”
”I should've guessed, shouldn't I?” Korash forced out a half-hearted laughter. ”That is what he says he does the best, anyways. And I suspect he would ask me for me share of tonight for the information. That's what he does. It was one hell of a work, Dregar. Congratulations. Guild ought to be happy.”
”Keeps me fed, it does,” Dregar said and leaned back in his chair. ”But I've got something for you.”

”Do you remember the ruckus a fortnight back? That was, in fact, a night when the sky rained fire and brimstone. Blame the Gods or whatever, people have their opinions. Now, people gained interest in them, certain people here and there. The wizards' guild thinks they are filled with valuable alloys, and took measures to retrieve them. Guess if they were the only ones interested, especially when the news leaked of their interest.”
”The Fingers?”
”Obviously us, we're interested in everything. But there's more. You've most likely heard of the Coven. 'Strangle Ivy Coven' they are called. Powerful mages and witches, and it seems they and our trusted neighborhood wizards have a score, or twelve, to settle. Who knows how long back those grudges go. Anyways, the Coven asked us for help.”
”I'm not battling wizards.”
”Whoa, Dregar, slow down. Really, facing the wizards' guild?”
”Blazes no. That's exactly the thing. The guild is hiring as we speak. Adventurers, mercenaries. Their deal is to do the dirty work, actually get through the wilderness up north to the Ruins where the stones supposedly fell. Not a single wizard of the guild is put into danger. And that's how we want it to be. The Coven needs more information, and time is running short, theirs and ours. What needs to be done, is getting the meteors not to the wizards, but to the Coven.”
There was silence.
”That's one hell of a deal, Dregar.”
”I'm not offering it to you, Korash.”
”You expect me to go?”
”I'm asking if you're interested.”
”With seasoned adventurers, strolling through wilderness for a fortnight, taking the chance of getting killed at every single turn? That is your guild business.”
”We can fix you in.”
”Hell no, and you know that.”
”I was asked to ask you. We think you are the most suitable for the job.”
”I'm in no way suitable for this job.”
”Look, I don't know why you're here, and I don't know your deal. But I do know that you're up for something – you have a goal. You're not going to get to it the way you're living, trading a sentence for a nickle, whoring your tongue. I have an offer here, and you better think about it.”
”What's in it for me?”
”A free passage up to the coast.”
”Why would I want that, now?”
”A hunch someone had.”
”Think the offer through on your part. You know that I know it's a suicide. You won't get me into it cheap. You're better off getting some cat to do it for a night's worth of drinking and whores. That's what half of your guild initiates would settle for anyways. No harm done if you lose a pair of hands, aye?”
”You've keen eyes and a sharp tongue, Mer'Krause. I also know that you are a careful person. Don't let your judgement slip. That would do no good. None at all.”
He left.

”They want me out.”
”Don't be silly.”
”Don't be blind. They want me out, one way or another.”
”I think you should join the guild.”
”I'm not joining.”
”I wanted to ask you.”
”What's the deal?”
”What the hell is your deal, Mer? I think I deserve to know. I'm not that stupid, you know. You're arrogant like that so often. When people are better with their fingers or their hands quick with a dagger, you think they're instantly inferior. You really know me better than that. It's about time I knew you better than this.”
There was a silence in the room.
”They're asking me questions. They don't like me and my acquittances. Some don't.”
”You spill and you're dead.”
”If I don't know what to look out for, I might just as well end up dead.”
”It was twelve years ago. We were interested in everything. The three of us eventually knew the tiniest secrets within the clan, no matter how trivial the detail. Obviously we didn't know everything, just some trivia. Who had cut from the payment of a mining deal, where the old lady stashed her muffins, what was the secret meeting place of which pair of lovers – you name it. We were curious like that.

This one time, we didn't know what we were looking for. We had just overheard the priests going on about a meeting or whatnot. We knew vaguely of the place they were talking about. It had been off limits, off the record really, for a couple of years. No one went there, and kids were told to keep out. No reason, but also no questions. It was a far end of an abandoned cavern. Dark as hell itself. There were books and half burnt candles and torches everywhere on the site. The walls were pitch black. One of us lit the torch, which made the wall attempt escape through the rock behind it. The liquid darkness got nowhere. We talked, and did something – I don't know, what kids do. Next thing I remember is my mates in five pieces on the floor, myself in scars and the wall withdrawing. It took them four days to find me. The caverns were caved in, and I'll never forget the blackness.

I was off. They said I wasn't welcome anymore. Tainted, they said. Black, they said. Everyone knew I didn't kill my mates. I think I was the only one strong enough to withhold the thing.

I learned later, when talking to people, of a breach in reality or whatnot back in the days. It had happened all around. I don't think I was the only one who had the treatment. Sure as hell I hadn't asked for it, but then there it was – 'a sentient being from the Shadow plane coexisting with my soul' was the explanation that cost me four hundred coins.”

A chitter of a bird outside the window.

”It's... still there?”
The sound of clothing. An awkward sound. Makes you flinch, bite your lip, look away.

”What's the name of --”
”Don't push your luck.”
”Why are you on the run?”
”It's on the run. It's been ever since it came to this world. It's a refugee. It's hunted. I don’t know, guess it's kind of a war they're waging, how should I know. It dies, I die. I die, it dies. I'm not taking a chance to try out.”
”They have long range teleportation scrolls.”
”I can't use them.”
”I guess they take you closer to the planes, or whatever. I tried it once. I will never do it again. Short's bearable.”

”You talk and you're dead.”
”I know you won't sell me out.”
”I won't”
”Korash. You won't sell me out, you hear?”
”I think you should join the guild, Mer.”
”I'm not messing around with you.”
”Yeah. Sure. I won't.”
”I'm leaving.”
”Go get some sleep.”

The eye stretched open all of the sudden without any kind of warning. It stared straight into his soul with it's blackness. The overflowing void surrounded it all and filled everything and everywhere was all. Mer woke up gasping for air. Sunshine swindled through the gap of window covers. It made a static, silent ray across the small attic room. Dusty and dirty, never meant as a permanent accommodation.

”You son of a bitch.” he said. ”Son of a bitch.”

The Fingers' agent found Mer before the evening. It was a deal.

= = =

There was a groaning sensation going through his spine. That had nothing to do with the freezing wind of the plains, still sharp even though they were enclosed by woods, formed by loosely growing trees and vegetation, neither had it anything to do with the setting sun, drawing crimson rays across the red and blue sky, darkening into pitch black, and making the all-the-clearer edges of clouds burn. It was positively burning, not glistening nor glimmering as some bards tell you. To Mer’Krause the clouds were burning.

What also was burning, was the ring in his palm. He played with it with his fingers, not daring to touch the golden surface for too long a time, since the ring was stinging his fingertips. He might be imagining it, but who knows - imagination reflects one’s mind, and what was in Mer’s mind, was the image of burning. An image of himself burning at the stake. It was not a pleasant image.

The groaning sensation was all the more familiar. He knew the thing inside him told him to hurry up. Or, more like he knew it was time to hurry up, because it got restless. That was the groaning, the ring was the burning.

He was far enough from the camp now. He loathed the wilderness, and today was once again a reason to add to the list: an angry ent, two owlbears and their babysitter - or, babyspitter even. Mer wasn’t sure if it actually had acid for spit, or something, but it was too much for him anyways. He was not for the wilds. He hated the wilds. Give a dark alley, a corner on the balcony, a secret meeting and a kid to bully. It’s a wonder what people are willing to do for you when you dig up a couple of skeletons from closets of their past. Mer listened a lot, and he listened well. A slight delay in speech might tip one off for lying, or reveal a weak spot to pursue later. As said, secrets were people’s worst enemy. And the enemies of people pay well for a detail or two if it means it’ll be of profit. Secrets are always of profit.

He sat on a trunk of a dead tree. A wee smile he had on his face, when thinking of it - he, sitting on a trunk, while his Trunk, a pony by that name, was back in the camp. It was a grim smile, sad even. With that smile fading Mer’Krause lifted the ring close to his mouth, and uttered the secret word.

“It’s Mer. I will keep this short. I hope someone is listening. That would obviously mean this thing is working.” He paused for a second.
“They are a group of seven. The mage is the leader, a black skinned man. Sharp lad, do not underestimate him. Powerful, I reckon. Count the balls of flames he spits - I saw three today, and he claimed to pack up one still before resting. Two of ‘em are halflings, lasses both. Other’s a priest, and knows what she’s doing. Do not go easy on her. The other packs a range of gear, magical by the glitter, I say. She and the pointy ears fancy the bushes, and are sharp a shots. You better take them on the open. They hug the tall grass whenever possible. Three, a kinsmen of mine and two men, are mad, and mad with their weapons. They fancy it up and close, but humans are bound to fall by night. Constrict them, pick off the robed ones and the rest scatter like wild animals.”
He gave himself a couple of seconds of time to think.
“Meet me at High Point Crossing’s crossroads. Make up a story to prevent me from going East. Take the North road, and ride by night. We should not be able to see you. Bless you.”

Mer lowered the ring, and let the magic fade away. He sat in the falling darkness for minutes, with an empty mind. The burning, uneasy feeling had gotten better. He was sure he was not overheard. Also no one seemed to suspect anything, save for the black man. He had wits enough, he did. Mer shuddered.

An eye opened inside the whirling tempest within his chest, blinked, and closed again. Mer grunted in agony, and found himself grabbing his chest and gasping for breath. Stay still. Stay put in there. He wanted to get moving as bad as the thing inside him. They would be coming. Probably they would not find him in the wilderness right now. His scent would be tarnished by the others.

He spat to the ground, now angry by the memory of the stone halls and hills, now getting dark and twisted in his memories. He never did good, did he - he never looked good in the thane’s eyes. And he most certainly did not ask for what had happened. But whaddaya know; you’re young, aren’t you, when you’re young. And the world holds secrets, no matter what, and it does not care if you’re ready for it or not.

Mer rose and started heading back to camp. He had been slightly too long off anyways. Hopefully they would not care for him, as they had not until now. The dwarf was as thick headed as he looked. A slavering monster with a blade, the lunatic must be, but thankfully all the less interested in others. Him asking one question would ruin it all: “What’s yer clan’s name?”

He just could not answer truthfully: that there was none anymore. There had not been one for a decade. Mer was able to lie about almost anything, and was actually very good at it. He had to be to keep going, and to survive. That was the only question he would not be able to lie about. The law went too deep.

He was greeted by the last glow of the fire, and with ignorance shown towards him by the party lying down to rest. This time he was very, very thankful of that.

= = =

The eye stayed shut for the time being.

Mer’s eyes did not, however. He was quiet aware of his eyes scanning the ruined city for any sort of movement, even so suspiciously that the rest of the group might start to think something. They might develop doubts sooner or later. Later, Mer hoped, however, because he would not be there soon. It would be the last he saw of the rigid and rugged band of adventurers, so high and mighty, trustworthy and chivalrous. The idea was so ridiculous that Mer didn’t smile even deep within. They were mercenaries, and cared for no one else but themselves. The petty halfling thief; their leader, holder of their contracts, Vladigar, the ‘black man’; the elf - name any one of them.

“Hold!” a command came from ahead.
“What is it?” The black man stepped closer to the front of the column.
“I think I saw something.”
“Lamia?” The dwarf said, half worried, and half excited. Mer knew of his type, he did. Violent, reckless and dumb creature. He wanted nothing with him, no social interaction, and definitely nothing physical. Mer decided right there that after a day or two he would see none of them again. A feeling of disgust.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Look at that building over there,” the priest joined the discussion. They had all noticed it by now. A hulking structure, painted reddish by the setting rays of sun, glimmering like the whole desolate, sad city. It was majestic compared to all of the other buildings around - a lonesome, old creature in the midst of his fellow kin, already ancient and fallen into decline. Powerful in contrast, sad in comparison.
“That would be a nice place to camp out for the night,” the mage said, his voice decisive as ever.
“Hold, I said,” the monk repeated. “It was the structure you see, that I mentioned. There is something weird about it.”
“Obviously!” Grunted the dwarf. “What would you expect by now? Come, lads, let us take care of it once we’re at it.”
“No,” decided the black man. He in his robes was tall and awesome. Mer turned his gaze away to hide his frown. This man was not to be trifled with. His plan clashed with Mer’s, at every single turn. “Scouts, we need more information of the building. I doubt it will be the lamia, but we have seen other things here even more worrying. Go.”

The halfling took off, the monk closely following her. Like insects they crawled within the beasts shell from the cracks of old age - the hulk standing still, sleeping. The city was silent, save for the lonely bird giving out sharp shriek in the sky, scouring the ruins for food. Wind kept them company, surprisingly cold. He had not eaten well, he thought by himself, if the wind bit his bones even through his warm, heavy cloak. Trunk shook his mane. Mer looked at him, and gave him a pat. Trunk had been there for so long, since the day he was forced to leave. Mer could take care of himself, he could, but without Trunk to help in that task, he wondered if he would be standing there today. It was more of a mental thing. For the first half-a-year, he would have gone crazy, he would, without someone to sleep next to, keeping watch after the fire had gone out, without a mane against which to cry in secret when not even the spirits of the earth would watch and listen.

The scouts came back.
“We found it,” the halfling lass said, positively beaming. “We found a meteor.”
The atmosphere launched into the orbit. The silent gasps were rid of anxiety, and replaced by pure joy and enthusiasm. The warriors stomped the ground, the dwarf almost giving out a wild howl, a storm of whispered questions and shared beams stormed the alley like a tempest of happiness.
“What was it like?” The black man asked eventually.
“Awesome!” The halfling replied, jumping up and down.
“Stop it,” Vladigar said, dragging back the reality. But not even he could blow away the general easiness that had relaxed the whole group. “I mean the interiors. Anyone there, anything in? Is it safe for us to make camp?”
“Make camp?” Mer interrupted. Vladigar turned sharply, his form high and mighty, eyes sharp and eagle like with disgust and annoyance. “We were supposed to return to the promenade! What’s with this high and cramped building in the middle of nowhere? We will have no view, no place to escape to if they come!”
“Who are to come, now, anyways?” The man enquired. His tone was final, as it always was. “We have no time to return before dark, and this is a reinforced fortress compared to the shambling figures of the promenade. I don’t want to be seen.”
“But it was decided already, was it not?”
“No.” Vladigar replied, and turned away. “Now, about this meteor –“
“There was a nest of a kind we found under the planks. The hole was not man made, it wasn’t, that much I can tell. Also, the meteor had not done it. It was weird, how it had gotten inside the building. If it had fallen from the sky, I’d figure the whole thing would’ve come crashing down. There’s definitely something weird in there.”
“A nest?”
“Aye, a nest,” that was the monk. “Dug straight into the rock. You do remember the creature burrowing from underneath us two nights back?”
“Yes. The only thing we need to do, is take the stake into the stone, see what happens and get out. You two know of the interiors the best. Could you get inside, close enough to the meteor and out before whatever is living there comes back?”
“He could, I reckon,” replied the rogue. The lass was right. She would not be able to climb up and down fast enough, and hit the stake in solid stone. It was quickly decided that the monk would have the honour.
“Hold on!” Mer shouted, anxiously. Everyone’s eyes were now fixed upon him. He was not taken aback, however. This was not going well, and he had to do something before it was too late. “It is getting late, and what if the creature proves better than us lot? If we do not leave right now for the promenade, we will not make it before dark. There is no guarantee that building is safe. Furthermore, I cannot understand your quick need to get to these stones. I think us lot have not enough knowledge of the city, and it is folly to rush into the dark just because you want the task be done as fast as possible. The risk is too high. Let us memorize this place and head back for now.”
“Why? What is it that scares you so here? The nest is problematic, and we do not yet know what lives in there, but there has been nothing here that we have not had the wits and strength to deal with yet. You are paranoid, dwarf. It is final. We go, deal with this rock, and decide afterwards if we house ourselves here or head back.” Vladigar made an argument, and there was no way anyone from the group would argue back. He was their leader, in ups and downs, and - Mer’Krause had to admit - he had not yet let them down. They had no reason not to follow him. The monk took off, the others following, ready to help him during his descent, and Mer knew he had lost it. He could not do anything. He had been inches away from shouting and volunteering to go himself, in attempt to force his own stake into the stone, to risk his own life so that the wizards would not have a clue the adventurers were this far, but there were problems: First of all his stake was in Trunk’s bags. He could not tell if he could bluff that black man into believing he had given him one, as he did not know who in the group held them. They would not believe him - this one was lost. There was nothing Mer could do now. Filled with frustration and the painful feeling of failure he picked up a pebble and tossed it furiously at the side of the nearest ruin. The stone flew, hit the wall and without a sound or any effect bounced off and was lost into the rubble. Mer stood alone for a second or two, taken aback by the futility of him, glanced Trunk in hopes of aid, took his leash and followed the lot towards the ruins.

The pit was deep indeed, and seemed unnatural in all respects. The meteor, filled with veins of awe inspiring materials and an aura of otherworldliness, was just adding to the feeling of a forged design, that was a mixture of manmade crafts of construction, dust and age, nature’s work, the narrowly decisive work of a huge, subterranean creature, by how it seemed, when one is building a nest, and a presence of objects clearly not belonging in there. The vastness of different arts and natural phenomena mixed and mashed together in so unbelievable harmony took everyone aback. It was not supposed to be, but still was, and it was meant to be by someone, or something - all too alien for people immersed by society. The monk started climbing down, and everyone scouted for anything extraordinary. He got to the bottom without incident.

“Just hammer it in?” He asked from his friends above him, and got an affirmative reply. Mer was deep into his thoughts, and paid little attention to their work, the monk giving the stake a good hammering, and the mage having a discussion with him about what was supposed to happen. Nothing did, however. Vladigar was thinking for a few seconds, and ordered the monk to step away. He did a spell, Mer knew not what, and everyone witnessed the stake dig deep into the stone as if hit by a hundred pound steel sledge. Vladigar smiled when the huge meteor started shaking violently, took a shade of lime green, and burst into a blinding light of white and marine before vanishing into midair. The building was filled with cheers and joy of accomplishment. They had reached the first meteor! Their work had just begun, but was well on way.

“Look out!” A shout bounced from the bottom of the pit, and cleaved the atmosphere into pieces. They were not done yet. They all glanced down, and saw the muscular man taking his exotic fighting stance. Behind the meteor there had appeared a deep, wide tunnel, more than six feet in diameter, and from its depths they all now heard a crawling, huffing and puffing sound, which got closer every half-a-second. A hulking beast appeared, its carapace glimmering smooth and hard, brownish and jade, its long, apelike limbs ending in immense claws and head deep in its belly, covered by its natural armour. With astounding speed the beast seemed to roll uphill as naturally as a stone would pick up speed coming down a slope. They were in the midst of a battle once again, facing a giant beast in his own lair - something of a man defending himself when his home is invaded by no reason whatsoever, but thrice the size and eight times the weight of a farmer man - and ten times more dangerous.

“An umberhulk!” Vladigar shouted. “Close your ears, and step back! I’m going to cast a spell!”
The monk leaped backwards as Vladigar’s voice boomed in the enclosed space, and sparks, conjured midair, gathered between his hands, forming a fiery, whirling ball, which after a few precious seconds took off by his command down the pit, straight into the tunnel, and exploded with a magnitude of an earthquake. The tunnel sprouted flame and brimstone, and the foundations of the building shook. For a brief second everything was quite, everyone holding their breaths, but then from the midst of the pit, made into a hellish furnace, leaped the umberhulk more vicious than ever. He was on the monk, limbs flailing with unnatural speed. He dodged the claws, but barely made it, and was taken into a deadly dance of dodges and leaps away from the hulking beast. The next moment the warriors had unsheathed their weapons, and leapt into the fray, their chests booming with warcrys. The pit was now an arena of death and survival, four men from the races of humans and dwarven kind against a child of mother earth. All civility lost, just instinct and the primal as their best weapons.

“Will they be alright?” Mer asked, stepping a bit closer to the edge of the bit.
“They might if we do something about it!” Vladigar shouted, and readied his light crossbow. The halflings followed his example. Their ranger, the elf, was still not in a condition to fight. The lamian spell was still under him, and he was tied down and half unconscious. For his own best, they were sure. The three took careful aim with their bows, and begun their accurate-as-ever supporting fire.
“No. What if they will not be,” Mer mumbled to himself and took a step back. He could see already the hulk ripping the warriors into pieces, and then chasing the mages into a corner coming up the slope, feeding on their flesh, nurturing its charred shell with the iron in their blood, and finally approaching him, breathing its foul breath into his face before surging its claw into his stomach. It would be the end. He was not ready to die. He was not up for this. A man, Mer in the dark corner behind him, that he could do. A dagger in the kidney to inflict maximum pain, a kick to the back of his knee and a quick swipe across his throat. That he could do. There was nothing Mer could do against the animosity and viciousness of such a primal beast.

“Close your ears! Do not listen! Don’t look at it!” Vladigar screamed at the top of his lungs just before a screeching wail made the building vibrate. Mer felt nauseous. The vibrating sound made his insides shake and twist, and his step faltered. He could not see right, or think right. It was like his brain was replaced by a pillow, full of stinging hay, forming a cobble web of pain around his consciousness. He fell into the ground and concentrated on his heart pumping and beating. He was close to vomiting.

Another shriek bounced up the walls of the pit, now powerless and wailing. There was a thump, and silence. No one spoke, no one screamed for a while. Then:
“Is it dead?”
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“Oy, are you alright – dear gods, restrain him!”
“He didn’t shut his ears, he was too close to the hulk! For planes’ sake, get away from him! Everyone get out from the pit!”
“Snap out of it, please!”
The hulk was dead for sure, but his last attack had taken the better of the dwarf, who was now standing with empty glare in his eyes in the middle of the pit, holding his huge hammer with a firm grip, panting and wheezing like a raging bull. He let out a disoriented growl, and a cry, and howling, tears in his eyes stomped across the pit, wailing hammered the side of the pit with no clue of who he was anymore. Then Mer, having crawled to the edge of the pit to see what had happened, noticed the monk lying against the wall of the pit next to the bloodied and fallen umberhulk, his other leg broken and panting in horror, unable to move. No one knew what to do. The umberhulk’s spell had gotten the better of him. He had no idea what or who he was, tormented by unbearable pain and images of horror inspired by the hulk’s toxic wail. The warrior, reduced to a state of a beast, lurched around and leapt against the umberhulk’s corpse, smashing it into smaller and smaller pieces. After seconds, he stopped and noticed the monk, trembling. Everyone fell silent, now knowing exactly what would happen, what idea had occurred in his bestial mind, and saw the unrestrained horror and powerlessness in the monks eyes. With a gasp everyone skimmed through all the ideas they had, for any way to prevent what was bound to happen, but it was inevitable. Before the dwarf rose his maul into the air, the halfling priest shouted in despair a prayer to her god, to shield the poor man, and just in time for the hammer to crush his legs. She prayed and prayed for her god to spare his life, to help, to aid, but there was nothing to be done. She fell to her knees, tears running down her cheeks, her hands crossed and in front of her mouth, whispering a prayer for an intervention, anything, but was forced to watch the man beaten by the hammer again, and again, and again. After what felt like an eternity the dwarf stopped smashing the stones underneath what had once been a muscular, tall man of fighting skills and heart without equal. The pain in his tormented mind made way, and the bloodlust and red haze lifted. Shaking, he fell to the ground, much like the halfling lass had, turning away and vomiting in front of the sight of his deed. And it ended.

Mer had had a fight with Vladigar about them making camp in the upper level of the building. They had covered the remains of the monk. Their priest was in a shock. She would bless his body in the morning. The dwarf had taken off into the night to take his time. No one blamed him for this. About succumbing to the hulk’s wail, Mer knew not, but for trying to cope with it for the night - it was expected. Mer did not like the building. It had a bad aura now. Firstly, there was the aura that made him nauseous, and secondly he had failed. This place was way too hidden, littered with dark corridors and there was no chance the coven could take engage them how Mer had told them to. Vladigar’s fireballs would be devastating in there, they couldn’t possibly restrict the warriors and their movement, there were too many hiding places for the rogue and the wizard. The only positive thing about it was their anguish they were experiencing. That did not make Mer feel good at all, however.

He had not wanted this to happen. He was not supposed to see them fail, and suffer. By the time of their demise he would’ve teleported far away, he and Trunk, away from consequences, away from responsibility - away from guilt. He would be far away from here, receiving his ticket further away so that the shades would not find him, or the Guild of Redemption. Oh how he did not miss home anymore. They had banished him, they had rid him of a place to call home - effectively they had destroyed his yearning of it. He was not welcome anymore, and he wanted not to be after the label they had put on him.

Mer wanted nothing to do with the coven. He was just a contact, who had a contact between the Fingers and the coven - he had nothing to do with them. He had once seen a member of them, a half-a-year back, when he still wanted so anxiously know what he housed inside his soul, but their price was ridiculous. And there was a chance they could not help him in the end. It was not worth the risk. The coven had their shady business. Mer had his own. He did not want those to intervene.

He took the ring from his pocket, touched it, uttered the secret word, and with a sigh reported. They would know soon of the whereabouts of the adventurers. The one meteor already sent to the mages would make things much more complicated between the mages and the coven, because the mages now knew that their employees had made it there, and succeeded, but were interrupted. And that was a problem. Thankfully, not a problem for Mer for long.

There was a slight, fleeting moment of pity, and he prayed for forgiveness.

But people have their work to do. And Mer had chosen his path. It was one of the only ones for him. A quick escape, endless loneliness, and a never ending quest to learn what had happened to him then, twelve years ago.

The eye vibrated ever so slightly, but Mer shushed and lulled it into sleep. They were safe for the time being, he lied to himself, and tried to believe it. The ring was sharp and edged in his hand. It hurt, and through those wounds he left off all the anxiety. Those drops fell to the ground, and he sighed with temporary, false relief, and witnessed the eye go to sleep again.

Hell would break loose soon.

= = =

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Post  Martin22 on Sun May 08, 2011 12:01 pm

Anyone want to PM me to let me know what happened?

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Post  Kraus on Sun May 08, 2011 12:08 pm

Martin22 wrote:Anyone want to PM me to let me know what happened?
Does Stuart want to take the honour? I could write a half a page synopsis too.

You were gravely missed by all, however. (: You should've been there.

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