Thursday, August 17, 2017
   
Text Size
image
Welcome to the home of House Ancora! House Ancora (HA) is a fellowship of online gamers dedicated to promoting cooperation, role-playing, and merriment in company with one another across the varied landscapes of today’s online gaming environment. We firmly believe that friendship transcends any gaming environment and is independent of any specific style, genre, server, or realm.

Book Three Pt 2 - The Reckoning

Written by - Ardwen Page 34 Book 3

Ardwen turned around when he heard the ship's captain and her armed guards running onto the boat. The Elven beserker had been starring out across the harbor, not truly watching what was going on, his thoughts and mind had been far removed from the present. The sound of drawn steel and hurried footsteps, however, forced the warrior's attention back onto the present. Ardwen saw a silver-haired female Elf holding a rapier and shouting orders. Ardwen did not move to interfere, it seemed that Kaya was intent on speaking with the captain.

Shaking his head slightly Ardwen positioned himself near the entrance to the deck below, and thus to the corridor that lead to the captain's cabin and Ariana. Ardwen continued to watch the exchange between the unnamed captain and Kaya, seemingly lethargic and uncaring of what was happening around him. Finally though, something happened that broke the Elf's torpor - Turin ran onto the deck with another figure Ardwen recognized, a soldier by the name of Lienad. The Elf wondered where Turin had acquired his companion, the last time he had seen Lienad had been at the Citadel, and then only briefly.

The Elven swordsman watched as Turin exchanged words with the captain. Ardwen took a few halting half-steps away from the door, and then Turin began walking toward him. The beserker glanced back at the entrance to the decks below once, almost fitfully, and then returned his focus to his Priest of Battle, waiting to see what his next move or order would be.

Written by - Rikshanthas

The captain was about to make a sharp retort to the other elf when a warrior in full crusader's regalia all but flew up the gangplank to stand right in front of her. She seemed to try to say something as the crusader swiftly explained their presence aboard her ship, but he was gone again so swiftly she was left still with one finger raised, her mouth working soundlessly at the abruptness of it all. Several seconds passed before she lowered her hand, closing her mouth and shaking her head slowly. What irritated her the most was the man was right. They needed to get out in open water before they were crushed amid the escalating battle in and around the harbor. She resheathed her rapier and dismissed Kaya and the lad who'd been helping her with a wave. "Go ahead and get the flag up," she said as she turned toward the ship's wheel. "Was going to do it myself anyway," she muttered. Glowering at the crew who'd been watching the exchange, she shouted, "well what are you louts standing around for?! Get this ship going!" Shooing them all to their duties, she then busied herself with the task of getting the Fair Sea's Call away from the dock as quickly as possible, making a mental note to ask once they were underway, what the Desert Wolf was doing in the human capital.

****

Boarding the ship barely a stride behind Turin, Lienad didn't even stop on the deck, heading instead toward the crew cabins and brushing by a familiar-looking black-clad elven warrior with barely a nod of acknowledgement. The world could go to hell, he had to be sure Shara was alright. Then he could go topside to help the crew. He started checking every cabin: the crew would all be topside anyway, so he had no worries about disturbing anyone's privacy. He realized his mistake when he opened the door to what must have been the captain's cabin, to find a dwarven healer tending to the human woman they had rescued from execution - a decidedly naked woman. His sense of decency arose swiftly, and with a cough and a quick "sorry, wrong room," he shut the door just as quickly, his cheeks turning a deep red. He thanked whatever gods might be listening that the hallway was empty, then resumed his search.

Naturally, the object of his search was in the last cabin he could check. He nearly collided with Jak as the latter was exiting the small cabin. "She's still out," the half-elf said by way of explanation. "Set 'er up best I could, so she'll be about as comfy as a ship's bunk can afford 'till she wakes. Y' ask me she'd be th' better if'n she sleeps this whole mess through. Less stress fer the lady," he finished with a wry grin. "Check on 'er if'n it'll ease yer mind, but doan be long - cap' needs all the help she can get," he added as he climbed the ladder to the upper deck. Lienad edged the door open enough to see the bundle tucked cozily in the lower bunk and assure himself she was fine, then he headed topside as well.

****

Ankhara followed the others up the gangplank at a slightly less reckless pace, then stopped and looked about, unsure how to proceed. She wanted to help - given their lives were at stake, she'd do just about anything - but she was completely helpless when it came to naval matters, this being the first time she'd ever set foot aboard a ship, to say nothing of sailing. As the thought occurred to her, she felt a wave of nervousness, which she quickly suppressed with a silent prayer to her patron deity, that the chaos in the harbor work in her favor, as it so often did. Deciding that there was little she could do at the moment, as the crew seemed to have things well in hand, she took up a position at the ship's bow, looking about the harbor for anything particularly noteworthy.

A high shriek pierced through the cacophony of the battle to reach her ears, startling her with the realization she'd completely forgotten about her companion. As if on cue, the hawk swooped in to perch on the rail right next to her, chirping impatiently. Ankhara held out a gloved hand, and the bird hopped to the new perch with an imperious chitter. "All right, what did you find out?" she asked, stroking the hawk's feathers. The bird responded with a twittering that no listener would have been able to follow, but the half elf nodded as if she had understood every note. It then chirped a querying note. "Well, I guess we can pass the report on, for all the good it will do," she replied, standing and turning toward the aft quarter, the hawk taking wing to alight on the rail of the crow's nest.

Written by - Turin Wallace

As Turin walked away from the captain, and summarily not hearing any return argument, he could assume she was going to get this blasted ship moving. Looking around a brief second, he found Ardwen standing at the entrance to the lower deck. With a brisk step, he was soon standing with him, saying,

"Good work back there, Ardwen. Now, tell me, how is she? How bad had she been mistreated?"

Peering into the dimly lit lower deck, Turin focused back on Ardwen and listened to his response.

Written by - Ardwen

"Good work back there, Ardwen. Now, tell me, how is she? How bad had she been mistreated?" Turin Wallace asked.

Ardwen looked at Turin. The Elf's gaze wavered, glancing first at the crusader's face, and then at the deck below. Ardwen cleared his throat softly before looking at his commander again. "Ariana," he said, "is . . . hurt, badly. Her body has been tortured: cuts, bruises, lack of food and water. The wounds are infected. But Turin--"

Ardwen paused here before spitting everything out at once, "It's her soul and mind. She does not recognize me, did not recognize any of us! She has not spoken a word, she has not understood a single word, nothing." Ardwen leaned against the wall behind him, the motion pushed one of his sheathes forward. Ardwen idly pressed against the handguard of his blade with his thumb, pushing the blade up from the scabbard's throat, then he pushed it back down, again and again.

Ardwen shook his head, ceased fiddling with his sheath, and said, "I don't know how to help her. I hope you've got some ideas commander."

Written by - Turin Wallace

Turin listened intently and saw the concern on his friends face. The news was worse than even he expected, but drawing in an audible breath, he puts on a smile and says,

"All things can be mended, even the mind. We should focus on healing what we can, I assume Dorve has been been tending her wounds? If so, it's a start, but we need to get her in a place better suited for her care."

Turin looked about the ship as he saw they were preparing to get under way and make their break free of the port. Looking at Ardwen, he says,

"The sooner we are out of harm's way, the better. Which reminds me..."

It is now Turin begins to remove parts of the armor he was wearing, until only his red gambeson remained. Finishing his sentence, he says,

"...we best not take any chances. If we get hit, and pray to the All-Father it doesn't, we'll need to get off this ship with Ariana. If we get free, all the better. In either case, armor makes no difference now Ardwen. Lay it aside until we are safe and docked."

Smiling, Turin wraps his armor into a bundle and places it into one of a few empty crates on deck. Sighing, he places the top onto the crate and hopes that the sea salt doesn't do too much damage to the steel before they reach port. Of course, if they sink, it won't matter too much.

Steeling himself, as his fate is out of his hands, he descends into the lower deck to check on Ariana himself.

Written by - Ardwen

"All things can be mended, even the mind. We should focus on healing what we can, I assume Dorve has been tending her wounds? If so, it's a start, but we need to get her in a place better suited for her care." Ardwen watched as Turin looked about and spoke. The crusader turned to face the Elf and said, "The sooner we are out of harm's way, the better. Which reminds me..." Ardwen raised an eyebrow as Turin removed his armor and finished his speech with, "We best not take any chances. If we get hit, and pray to the All-Father it doesn't, well need to get off this ship with Ariana. If we get free, all the better. In either case, armor makes no difference now Ardwen. Lay it aside until we are safe and docked."

Turin placed his armor in a bundled and then laid it inside a chest on the deck. Turin tossed a wane smile at the beserker before heading below deck. Ardwen had moved away from the wall slightly, but still had one hand on it. The bladeweaver took his other hand and moved it to his forehead and muttered, "This is just stupid." Ardwen walked over to the crate where Turin had paced his armor and rapped his fingers on it, the Elf contorted his face in thought and consternation. Ardwen walked to the entrance to the decks below and passed down the narrow flight of stairs. The warrior sighed and muttered as he began to fumble with his armor, "Freakin' ship goes down and he expects me to swim back to the Citadel with Ariana. First my sword, then my armor, there'd better be some damn fine 'heavenly rewards' in the hereafter for this! Stupid oaths of stupid loyalty from stupid fuc--"

Ardwen's voice was cut off as he removed the chestplate of his armor. Every section he removed brought pain, literally, as the armor could no longer keep his body numb. Finally the warrior undid his metal leggings and boots. Ardwen then gathered the armor together and arrayed it as if it were on a stand: the greaves and pauldrons all arranged to appear as if they were on display. Ardwen let out another sigh as he bent his back backwards and then doubled over to touch his fingers to the floor, trying to stretch his back and legs. The motion caused a stab of hot pain to shoot up his side and he reflexively grasped the spot, his hand came away red, looking down he saw the spot where he had taken a blow protecting Ariana in their dash to the harbor.

The warrior's clothes were the colors of Avari, a deep blue shirt with long loose sleeves and black pants, well made, but frayed at the bottom of the legs. The right sleeve was threadbare around the warrior's elbow, it looked as if holes had been poked through it all around. Grunting Ardwen ripped the sleeve off and tossed it on the floor. Ardwen placed the smaller blade through the sash that ran about his waist. Keeping his other blade in his right hand he went back onto the top deck and leaned against the wall near the entrance, his eyes narrowed and his mouth in a sullen downturn as he looked around.

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya listened to the interchange between Turin and the captain, then figured she was no longer needed. She turned and left the cabin boy and the captain to get along with their business. She knew little about ships, but she did enjoy being on them. Well, except the last one, that prison ship was no barrel of laughs. She thought of going downstairs to see how Dorve was doing, but figured the druid knew her business and would call her if she was needed. Besides, I would rather take my chances up here during battle than be caught inside in a small, enclosed area. She watched Turin speak with Ardwen, then remove his armor. Figuring that was a good idea, she removed her own, not that she wore a lot. Then she watched Ardwen remove his and could see he was injured. Kaya made her way over to the warrior. "Looks like you took a pretty good hit there. I'm no healer but I know a bit about tending wounds so they don't get worse. I could take a look at it if you wanted; I think Dorve has her hands full with your queen."

Written by - Vylia

Keeryn was absorbed in her own thoughts as they left Teran and Mavigan behind to descend another staircase and find a way around. 'Why does she keep leaving me behind? Does she not want me around? Did I do something to get her angry? She seemed happy enough to have me along at the start, what changed?" She was so absorbed she almost didn't see Sabbatine stop, and ended up stopping herself less than a foot in front of the creature as she turned around with a huge grin on her face. "Sooo um... K-Keeryn?" She shuddered visibly.

"I think not, I have a better idea. Since Teran, in his eternal wisdom, seems to think you won't trigger the trap since you're made up of a lot of different people, I suggest we just walk right next to each other. This hallway is more than wide enough for all 3 of us to stand shoulder to shoulder. If you wouldn't set it off by yourself then with Jasmine and I next to you the effect should be the same." With that she she moved to the left side of the hall to stand right next to Sabbatine, though facing forward rather than the way they had come, ignoring the look of disappointment on the creature's face.

Written by - Vylia

Vylia turned to leave as the door opened for just a moment, a human man walked in, and his face turned beet red as he mumbled, "Sorry, wrong room," before he ducked back out, shutting the door behind him. She waited a moment to allow the man time to gather his wits before she walked outside to lean against the wall next to the door. He was searching for someone, but it wasn't her place to ask questions, and he didn't seem a threat to anyone after his last entrance. Vylia watched as he spoke to another man who had walked out of the furthest room, looked inside a moment, and then headed back in her direction, heading topside. Vylia nodded at him as he passed, a knowing smile on her face.

After a few minutes Turin came walking down the stairs, and it was all she could do to stop from crying at the sight of him. "I thought you might not make it, I'd have returned but for Ariana's presence. You can't go in just yet, she isn't dressed, the dwarf is still looking over her physical wounds. As much as I respect you, I'll have to protect Ariana's propriety since she cannot do so herself. I know you are worried, but we've waited this long, a few minutes more will not hurt." Then she noticed a cut on his neck, "You should do something about that neck wound, looks like someone tried to get you with an arrow and nicked you. How are things topside? I heard a good number of footsteps up there."

Written by - Ardwen

Ardwen gazed at the wooden deck beneath him as he sought to lose himself in thought. Suddenly, he saw the lower part of Kaya's legs in front of him and then heard the female warrior say, "Looks like you took a pretty good hit there. I'm no healer but I know a bit about tending wounds so they don't get worse. I could take a look at it if you wanted; I think Dorve has her hands full with your queen."

For several moments Ardwen said nothing. Finally the Elf slowly raised his head, but he did not look levelly at Kaya. "My, my," Ardwen said, "so much noise over nothing. You shouldn't worry about me." Ardwen lowered his eyes back to the deck and finished, "Besides, shouldn't you save that concern for yourself? I've got this feeling . . . something is about to give. I'm not just speaking of our attempt to escape Westgale, I think this is only the start of something much larger. But then again . . ." Ardwen never finished his sentence; he seemed content to stare at the ship's planks and let his thoughts wander.

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya sighed, "There is bound to be more, I can feel something more too. so it will help to have everyone up to par. My wounds are very minor, but that one looks like it might need sewing and I have had my hand at sewing up a few wounds. Now, if you would like to wait for Dorve and forgo a scar, then so be it." Kaya saw the cabin boy walk by and motioned him over, asking him to bring a wound kit over. "Now, Ardwen, I can be as stubborn as you, the wound is still bleeding, I see the fresh blood. Please, humor me and let me help." The cabin boy rushed back with wound kit in hand and gave it to Kaya. "See, I am all ready."

Written by - Ardwen

Ardwen raised his head and looked directly into Kaya's eyes. "You're irritating me," he began, "you don't know what I'm capable of withstanding and what I'm not. I'm not made of glass like some of you seem to be. I'm giving you one warning, don't even try it." Ardwen started to rest against the wall again when he suddenly stood erect and let out a "tch" of frustration. The warrior walked to the side of the ship near the below deck entrance.

Ardwen tried to gaze into the sea, but the view over the harbor was far from peaceful by now. "Ruined my chain of thoughts." Ardwen muttered gruffly to the air.

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya sighed. "Fine my friend, I was only offering to help. Go ahead, be macho, see if I care." Kaya stood up and went back to see how Dorve was doing. She brushed her way past Turin and Vylia and enterened the room.

"Good, someone to help me dress her." Dorve said. SHe held up a dressing gown and motioned for Kaya to lift the unconsious woman so that she could slip it on over her. It did not take long to get the her decent and settled onto the cot. "YOu two out in the hall, you can come in." She looked at Turin and Vylia, then back at the woman and sighed. She has a lot of deep muscle and bone wounds, nothing broken, but a lot of bruising. I did what I could for the minor cuts and abbrasions, but there is more to her injuries than meets the eyes. There is sometiung I am not equipped to deal with. WHenever I try to probe deeper, and a bit clumsily I admit, she starts to writhe and cry out in pain and anguish. She needs something I cannot give her, and for that, I am sorry."

Written by - Teran

Mavigan's triumph was short lived. When she turned to where the assassin had been there was no one. He had simply vanished.

Teran crept swiftly down the passages now out of sight of Mavigan. He had not anticipated her getting through his shield. He smirked at the thought, there were no other traps like that in this place, that was a trap of his own creation though it had failed him. He could not have anticipated enough of his blood entering her body to allow her to fool the trap into thinking she was him. She had perhaps signed her own death note he brooded, there were dangers ahead he could not protect himself from much less her... things he had not anticipated. Every step he took deeper into the labyrinth his sense of what truly waited for them got sharper and his reservations grew.

Moving like a ghost he murdered a dozen patrolling guards. Despite the breach in security it appeared that they did not believe anyone would make it past their abomination and thus were far more relaxed than they should have been. After many curves and turns and forks he found himself in a long passage with a bright light at the end. There was nowhere for him to hide in this passage so he boldy strode forward. He sensed that he was being watched, how could they not be watching him so close to their lair.

The assassin felt the trap closing in around him. He felt his doom approaching, he tensed getting ready to move swiftly. Suddenly the spider web shape became visible to him and he attempted to defend against the attack. The floor, ceiling, and walls exploded inward at him. He raised his blade in defense but it was too late. He felt stinging in his left hand as the bladed webbing cut through two of his fingers leaving them on the floor. He saved himself from being decapitated only by sacrificing his blade to the much more powerfully enchanted weapon that now had him trapped. An inhuman roar escaped from his mouth, rattling the tunnels all the way back up to where Mavigan was, even to where Sabbatine and the rest of the party were.

The webbing had him imobilized. It had all but shredded his flesh and clothing and armor with such force that his blood had splashed the walls and floor leaving designs on it eerily similar in shape to what now ensared him. It all happened to rapidly the Assassin had to catalogue in his mind what exactly had occured. He stood awkwardly, contorted to the shape of the bladed webbing, pulling him in different directions completely immobilizing him. Blood seemed to pour out of his body, but the assassin was not worried. As powerful as this weapon was, it had not killed him yet and more importantly it had not been able to cut through his bones. Pain clowded his thoughts but he did not lose his senses. The "webbing" that had trapped him was a very fine metal he guessed. It was so fine he had difficulty actually seeing it anywhere his blood was not coating it. It was sharp and well crafted. He still clutched his dagger in his right hand, protecting his neck with it. The blade had stopped the strange weapon but it had been damaged beyond repair in the process.

He saw the silhouette of his attacker further along the passage. Though he could not make out the details do to the backlight, this person was vaguely humanoid, wearing a long robe and hooded cloak, had armored gauntlets that seemed to be manipulating the webbing as though it were a net of some sort. As the creature came closer Teran could see that it was wearing a mask crafted into the visage of a skull. He guessed his attacked was female based on the way she walked and the vague shape of her body though there was no way to tell for certain short of undressing his attacker or taking off her mask.

She stopped just out of arm's reach of him examining her trapped opponent through the darkened eye sockets of her mask. Teran calmly peered back through the bladed webbing, regarding her as though she were something to study, not an opponent that had bested him. She pulled on the webbing and it tightened but it did not even scratch one of his bones. More blood poured onto the ground but despite such great loss he seemed unfazed by it. She examined the growing pool on the floor and noted that whatever she had caught was, it was not human. Without another word she turned and pulled the assassin off of his feet, dragging him along the ground unceremoniously towards the light of the final chamber. Teran hoped that with him caught they would not reset the trap and snare Mavigan, he doubted she could survive such an attack.

Behind Teran the fingers that had been cut from his hand seemed to grow and harden into something different but similar. The material was blackened, hard, and smoldering with heat, each one resembling a talon or claw or the tip of one at least. When Mavigan came upon the scene she would find the claws, the strange pattern of blood on the walls that had been burned about a quarter inch deep do too the acidity of his blood and the massive pool of his blood on the floor and the smears of blood he left as he was dragged towards the light.

****

Sabbatine glared at Keeryn and tensed up before leaping forward intending to set off the trap Teran had described before the delicious smelling beast had a chance to set it off herself. Sabbatine cheered in victory as she leapt forward but nothing happened. She narrowed her eyes and jumped forward another few steps and seemed really dissapointed that once again nothing happened. She narrowed her eyes and glared at Keeryn.

"Cheater!" she growled, and she turned and walked into the passage that lay ahead of them.

A few seconds Teran's cry reached them and Sabbatine's eyes grew huge and she trembled in fear. Though she did not recognize the cry as Teran's she recognized the cry as belonging to a monster.

"There are monsters in here." she whispered fearfully.

Written by - Vylia

"There are monsters in here," Sabbatine whispered fearfully.

Keeryn's gazed narrowed to the thinnest of slits as she responded after the bone jarring scream, "Yes, there are. And at least one is untrustworthy." She shoved her way past the abomination, walking to the next set of stairs, she turned before descending, "Come on, we need to catch up to Mavigan. If there is something dangerous enough to make a scream like that running loose I don't want her left alone."

Restore Default Settings