Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Last Few Sessions, Part Two

Quickly, Charles and Marko fell back out of the cave,pulling Aleena to safety and unlimbering their crossbows. Cain and Hren stayed by the mouth of the cave, ready to cover a retreat. With a terrible battle cry, Meggan withdrew her spiked chains and advanced eagerly on the trio of vicious beasts. Meadwad advanced behind her, carefully sizing up the opposition for weaknesses. No member of the group had ever seen such vicious creatures up close before, and he wanted every tactical advantage.

Hinda, Alaric, and Wahleed remained at the rear, close to the mouth of the cave as well. Hinda saw no reason to clutter the narrower defile of the cave, where a wild swing could be more dangerous than any number of owlbear claws. Alaric remained close to his scroll case, having expended his spells for the day on mundane matters. The Shi'ar, on the other hand, wanted room to cast. Already, the fires of magic coursed through him and he began to recite the ancient commands reported to his by his genie servant, bending and shaping the arcane energies to take the form his will demanded.

As the owlbears rushed forward to repel the intruders from their cave, the first arrows from the sentries at the entrance flew. Seconds later, a fiery explosion errupted among the beasts, scorching their fur and feathers. The monsters roared in confusion, drawing up onto their hind legs and raising their massive paws in fury. One creature, wounded and uncomprehending, fled back into the darkness of the cave. Without hesitation, Meggan leaped into battle, with Meatwad close behind. The two managed to land significant blows on the remaining beasts in the initial confusion, but when the owlbears recovered, the counter-attack was fierce. Huge claws raked against Meggan's side, while another creature bit into Meatwad's arm, numbing it immediately.

As more arrows and crossbow bolts found their mark, Meggan drew back several paces and fixed her eye on the strange beast before her, using the ancient ways of her people to lay a curse on the beast that dare hurt her. Although the creature could have had no way of understanding what was being done, a chill raced up its spine and into the primitive recesses of its brain, causing it to stumble fearfully, giving Meatwad the opening he needed. Using the left blade of his double-sword to keep his own creature at bay, the fighter quickly sank the other half of his weapon into the owlbear's exposed flank. The creature screamed, a horrible combination of an bear's roar and the screech of a barn owl, and turned its attention on Meatwad. Meggan used that moment to swing the barbed tips of her spiked chain into the creature's back.

At that instant, a perfect sphere of magical flame materialized in the midst of the owlbears, even as they were turning their combined attentions on Meatwad. The ball of fire rolled through the two monsters, burning them further and inciting them into greater rage. From his vantage point in the rear, Wahleed mentally commanded the fiery sphere to stay among the beasts, spreading further panic and pain as they attempted both to avoid the flame and battle Meggan and the fighter.

Meggan leapt into action, encouraged by the magical assistance. Her chains swept into the closest beast, wounding it terribly. Unfortunately, the attack placed her too close to the owlbear's claws, and it left terrible wounds upon her as the barbs from her weapon sank deeper into its flesh. Meatwad fared little better against the other animal - after striking it in the face with the haft of his weapon to stun it and gain some room to maneuver, he was taken by surprise when the creature advanced suddenly, raking its claws across his face and chest. The world began to swim before him, and Meatwad sank to his knees, his weapon slipping from his numbed hands. His vision would clear in a moment, but the monster needed less time than that to eviscerate him, He had one chance remaining - the holdout dagger he kept in his boot. If he could just get to it, he could plunge it into the creature's neck as it closed. Groggily, Meatwad fumbled at his boot for the dagger. The owlbear closed in, its claws extended...

...and exploded in a shower of gore and bone as a bolt of lightning struck it squarely in the chest. Alaric smiled with satisfaction, withdrawing another scroll from his case. If there was to be glory from this fight, the magic-user wanted his share.

The final owlbear, outnumbered, wreathed in flame, and entangled in Meggan's spiked chain, went down as bravely as such a creature could. Its claws slashed at the satyxsis that tormented it, at the arrows as they slammed into its sides, even at the weird dancing shadows cast across the cave wall by the flickering magical flames that seared its skin... but to no avail. Meggan finally closed upon it and dealt a killing blow to its skull, ending the foul beast's life. As the monster's final breath left it, the party stood in the entrance to the cave, wondering if it was safe to remain there, fearful of what might lie within.