Episode 2 - part 4
Dorn, having punched the ancient weapon and sending it flying away, turned his attention to the undead soldier. The being had been unaffected by the weapon, and was dressed head to toe in black steel. His helmet had two horn protruding and his armour was decorated with furs. Dorn charged this creature, which in turn face down the barbarian. The ghostly warrior drew its sword and made to chop off Dorn's head. However, the weapon barely bit into the barbarian's flesh, so suffused with essence that it was. Dorn reached out and gripped the warrior in a bear hug. His great armoured gloves crushing the soldier against his cruel razor harness. Dorn did not stop moving though. He lifted the soldier up off his feet and continued onwards, his intent to drive the ghost through the wall of the nearest building.
At the docks Red Echo faced down the horde of zombies. HIs great sword swung in large, cleaving arcs, rending apart the shambling dead. Before him was the ship from where they had come, which was now illuminated by the flames that were engulfing the deck. He could just about make out the glow auras of the combatants on board. One was surrounded by a gold and purple corona, darting about so fast that he left a visible, shimmering blur. The other was surrounded by a miasma of blood which rippled and formed screaming ancient runes.
On deck, dodging flaming debris and the undead crew, Rain, armed with his twin swords, shot forward again and leapt up to deal a devastating blow the death knight. The master of the dead moved with inhuman grace, his figure becoming nothing but a cloud of bats. But Rain hit his mark and cut in at a weak point in the death knight's soul forged armour. In retaliation the death knight unleashed his buzz saw chakram. If flew through the air at Rain, slicing through zombies that stood in the way, with Rain using one zombie as a shield. High in the rigging of the ship, Kheralin readied her bow and aimed at the death knight, unleashing a number of arrows. They thudded into his figure leaving the death knight to stumble back as Rain once more renewed his assault. The twin swords of Rain cut deep, and the death knight staggered back, clutching at his wounds.
'This fight is not over Rain!', the wound necromancer cried, before turning tail and running to the edge of the ship and jumping over board.
Rain ran after and looked out onto the river. In the night and the river it would be impossible to find the man.
Meanwhile, in the town, Light slew scores of zombies, leaping forward with his spear and impaling the dead upon it. With all his skill Light defended the town’s folk against the dead.
Aisha clambered out of the river in time to see Dorn charge through a building with the ghostly warrior in his grip. She pulled from her cloak the yellow Yasal crystal and ran forward, dodging through the crowd of zombies and towns folk fighting. She caught up with the barbarian and his victim and leapt forward, touching the Yasal crystal to the head of the ghost. As Dorn ran on the armour in his grip came apart as the occupant was captured. The ghostly essence was sucked from the armour and into the crystal.
With death knight and ghost now defeated, the zombies lost their will o move and fight, and soon were eventually all destroyed. Many of the villagers looked on at Rain and Dorn and the others, as essence use had resulted in them showing their true form. However, this did not stop the circle's attempts to bring calm to the town. Light set about tending to the injured, with Aisha aiding with the disposal of the zombies and the dead. Kheralin and Echo worked to organize the town militia and ensure that there were no other threats to deal with. Meanwhile, Dorn and Rain rode out of town to the hillside where the weapon had exploded, almost 2 miles away.
At the impact site, the one side of the hill had been melted away and turned into a crater of cooling stone, not unlike marble. There at the heart of the crater were the remains of the weapon, now a number of pieces of warped metal and shattered crystal. Rain moved quickly over the still molten rock to the weapon and checked that it was out of action, removing many parts that were of value.
Looking out over the city of Thorns, the Mask of Winters looked on. Cold breath billowed from the silver, snarling mask that he used, while the golden, laughing face looked on from the back
of his head. He knew that a death knight kneeled to his side awaiting his instruction, but he would make them wait a little longer.
'So?', asked the Deathlord.
'Master. We have found them.'
'At last. Send the whore to observe them. We are in no rush to recover them. Is there any news of the Locusts?'
'Master, there have been a number of sightings of their fortress. They have attacked a number of places across the River Provinces. They are clearly looking for something.'
'Good. Keep me informed. When the time is right you will face your cousins in battle.'
'I look forward to it master.'
Episode 3 - The Lair of the Tiger
The circle has chartered a boat to leave the town, and after a day on the river they had disembarked, returning to the road. Rain was hoping that this would allow them to shake anyone who was following them. Fortunately, Aisha had bound the captain to their cause and he was pledged never to reveal them.
The road to Khacin now was getting busy. The main road that they followed wound through the outer farm land of the city state, leading to the looming spires of Khacin. The spires were a remnant of the First Age, and about the lighting crackled constantly. There were 5 in total, and one of their number was shorter, having been broken in half. They were of the same dark metal that was mined in Wai'hl, and was also the same material that the Khacin arena, the Circle of Blood, was made from.
Under foot the road had changed colour. It was now made up of cobalt blue stones. Rain knew that this was the famous Blue Road that led out of Khacin, and south towards the greater roads to Nexus. But within this patch of the Hundred Kingdoms, the Blue Road was a major trade route. The road was busy with merchants and travellers. The upcoming tournament was a major event in the city state, and many would travel to see the event and receive the blessing of the Grey Tiger.
It was while riding down this road that the circle was approached by an old, wizened man, dressed in worn blue robes, and with equally blue eyes. He used a long staff to help his walking. Rain instantly knew who was talking to them. It was the god of the road, Crescendo of Jagged Stone.
The god talked to the group, making it known that he was aware of the change in fate that they had received. But he also emphasised that it was important that they live in the now, and not fear the future, or mourn the past, for those things were gone, or uncertain. For once the circle seemed impressed by a god, especially since this one showed true concern and insight.
PREPARE TO POWER UP! COMBAT BEGINS!