Session 1 Part 9
They had made it halfway around the central area when a small figure appeared at the front entrance. It was hard to make out much detail in the dim lighting but everyone could see that it was a halfling dressed in leather armor. He had a dagger in each hand.
“That must be Oscar,” Kang whispered to Xious. The Avenger just nodded, not agreeing but acknowledging that he had heard the barbarian. At hearing Kang speak the halfling took a step forward and called out to the party.
“You are not welcome here. Be gone all of you,” he called out.
“Just a minute Oscar,” Adran called out hoping taking a chance that the Halfling was indeed the one they were looking for, “we just want a chance to talk things out. I’m sure that we can come to some sort of agreement.” The halfling smiled a wicked grin.
“I can agree that you will all be dead if you don’t leave this place immediately,” the halfling exclaimed angrily.
“We shall see,” Adran said signaling the battle to begin.
But Oscar was ready for them. With lightning quick reflexes the halfling threw one of his daggers at Kang. The glint of silver sliced through the air and stabbed Kang in the shoulder. With a roar of pain Kang charged ahead and threw a dagger of his own catching the laughing Halfling in the thigh. Oscar’s laughter turned into a curse. He whistled and a pair of guard drakes burst from the side doors and a trio of Spiraltop imps soared down from the rafters overhead. The guard drakes were big, almost the size of a small pony. They weren’t covered in spikes or horns like normal drakes but where covered in the same thick scaly hide and had a mouth of razor sharp teeth. The spiraltop imps were smaller, almost as big as Oscar, but deformed looking with pointy facial features and thick bat like wings. All of their faces were twisted into a scowl as they gibbered and squeaked evil. Each of fingers ending in jagged and dirty fingernails that looked more than capable of rending flesh. As the large green lizards charge ahead the party moved to intercept them but the drakes were quick. Unnaturally quick. Before the rest of his companions could move up an aid Kang, the huge barbarian was surrounded by a guard drake and two flying imps. Each one took the opportunity to lash out at the goliath hitting him repeatedly, quickly knocking him to the floor and rendering him unconscious.
On the north side of the temple the other guard drake and imp quickly charged Rip’s group. Keothi had just enough time to throw a dagger at the drake as it bounded toward them. His aim was true and the dagger caught the drake in the shoulder joint where it sank in deeply. The lizard roared in pain and faltered in its charge. Looking through a break in the jumbled stonework Tihee saw Kang go down under the onslaught of the triple attack. Now that the barbarian was knocked unconscious and unable to defend himself, Tihee knew that the guard drake would short order of him. The sorceress would not be able to reach Kang in time so a melee attack was out of the question, so she launched her explosive power at the gathered monsters. A small orb of fiery force flew quickly through the jumbled stonework and hovered directly over the monster’s heads. With a deafening blast the orb exploded into a thousand tiny fragments of arcane energy that covered each monsters in a fiery concussive blast scorching all of them. The imps squeal in pain as their wings are shredded by the force of the blast. Tihee pointed a finger at the guard drake who was trying to paw at its burnt and blistered head and began to chant. A ray of dazzling light sprang forth from her finger and cascades across the gap between them. The giant lizard was bathed in the shimmering light and was further scorched by its arcane power. Small wounds open up where ever the light had touched the drake, peeling open skin to reveal pink muscle beneath, each one pumping forth a flow of crimson red blood.
With the attackers distracted, Adran ran up to Kang and began to sing a rousing tale about a courageous knight and his valor in battle. The majestic words of the song were powerful enough to bring Kang back to consciousness. The barbarian stood on unease legs and shook his head. The magic within Adran’s words quickly filled him with strength. Renewed with energy Kang roared a battle cry and swung his great axe in a powerful arc over his head and cleaved the guard drake between the shoulder blades. The beast’s life ended with a massive spray of blood. Using the barbarian as cover Xious snuck around behind the imps and slashed one of them along the spine drawing blood a line of blood. The avenger ducked as Kang spun around, succumbing to battle lust, and chopped the wounded imp in half with his great axe. Both halves fell to the floor with a wet plop.
One the other side of the temple Keothi targeted the imp that was flying around Rip’s head trying to distract him. He swung repeatedly at the imp but failed to cut the little beast. It was quicker than Keothi thought, its large bat wings allowing it to quickly dodge any attack the rogue made. As Keothi continued to dispatch the imp two bandits repelled from the ceiling on long thin ropes. They dropped to the floor on either side of Oscar flanking him and effectively guarding him from side attacks. Seeing the reinforcement appear Rip grew angry, his feral side bubbling to the surface. With a deep breath Rip closed his eyes and transforms himself into his Panther form. His body quickly melted down tot he floor to form the shape of a large cat. Where the shifter once stood the shimmering form of a translucent blue panther now stood. The sudden transformation of its prey took the guard drake by surprise and it paused for a fraction of a second. Rip-panther took advantage of the beast’s confusion and ranked it across its side with two mystical claws. Seeing its partner in trouble the imp turned away from Keothi and tried to claw the panther, but in his new form Rip-panther was even more agile and easily dodged the attack. But not having to defend himself against attacks Keothi was allowed a clear shot at the bandits who had just arrived. With a great heave the rogue was able to throw a dagger at the nearest bandit stabbing him in the eye. With its brain punctured the bandit died instantly and fell to the floor in heap. Also unhindered by any opponents and now having a clear path to Oscar, Tihee charged the halfling and unleashed a belch of fire from her maw. Expecting Oscar to be burned Tihee was startled when the breath weapon had no effect on the halfling. Oscar countered the attack with a swipe of his dagger and slashed Tihee along the arm. The sorceress flung an acid orb at Oscar but the halfling was too quick. He skillfully dodged out of the way allowing the orb to shatter against the wall behind him. The stonework sizzled as the caustic acids eat away at it. Suddenly two more bandits charged from the door to the south drawing Tihee’s attention. Seeing her distraction Oscar’s other bodyguard stabbed the dragonborn in the leg. Tihee slowly limped backward away from Oscar and his bodyguard but was too slow to avoid another dagger attack from the halfling. Oscar flung a dagger at the retreating sorceress and slashed her in the side. Behind the sorceress the guard drake was finally able to successfully attack Rip-panther savagely tearing into the panther’s haunches.
Still inspired by Adran’s song Kang slashed at the last imp that was slowly buzzing around his head. The little creature was moving slowly, its wings in tatters from Tihee’s earlier magical strike. It is no match for a vicious chop from Kang’s axe which opens a grievous wound across its abdomen. Xious lunges forward and chops it diagonally in half with his broadsword. As the last imp went down under the combined attacks of Kang and Xious, two more bandits repel from the ceiling to aid Oscar taking the place of their fallen comrade. Kang, growing frustrated at the steady stream of reinforcements, and the fact that he was the first to fall in battle, roars in anger. His bloodcurdling cry splits the battleground and announces the arrival of his rage. With his growing anger Kang changes across the battle field and to Oscar pushing his way through the approaching bandits. At the end of his charge Kang delivered a mighty blow to Oscar and cleaves the across his left arm mangling it badly. The halfling stumbles backward a step under the onslaught of the mighty blow cursing at the barbarian.
Blocking a blow from the guard drake, Rip-panther and Keothi charged ahead to help Tihee escape from the bandit bodyguards that was stalking her. With his mace held high Keothi bashed the first bandit repeatedly until the man was nothing but a blood pulp allowing Tihee to retreat away from the melee. Rip-panther ran past Keothi and around the back side of the battle to strike at Oscar’s unprotected back but the halfling, as wounded as he was, was still able to dodge the attack leaving Rip-panther to claw at thin air. Oscar laughed at the warden taunting him. Tihee had successfully backed away from the main fight but found herself confronted by the guard drake that had been left alone. Instinctively blasted it with her acid orbs covering the drake’s face with corrosive acids. But it was not enough to stop the giant lizard who proceeded to slash her with its razor sharp claws. Blood oozing from the new wounds Tihee stumbled backwards to lean against the temple wall. She barely had the strength to raise her staff in front of her to protect herself. The guard drake, who was frenzied from the smell of fresh blood, moved in for the kill but was suddenly seized by a pair of arcane hands that pulled it away from the dragonborn. Tihee looked up to see Rip-panther across the way guiding the hands that had saved her.
Two of Oscar’s body guards charge ahead the first one attacking Xious. The elven avenger dodged the attack and returned it with a successful chop of his broadsword. The other bandit engaged Keothi smashing the rogue in the ribcage with its mace. Skillfully spinning around the bandit, Keothi returned the favor by coming up behind his opponent and smashed him across the side of the head with his own mace. With its head crushed the bandit fell to the ground dead. Keothi’s daring move left him wide open for an attack by Oscar who jumped up and stabbed the rogue in the back with a dagger. Keothi, bleeding profusely fell to the ground unconscious. Trying to even the numbers Rip-panther waved his paws in the air in front of him, growling a few syllables in his feline language, and caused the ground beneath two of the bandits to suddenly split open into a giant gash that looked like a toothy maw made out of stone and earth. Greedily the hungry earth gobbled up both screaming bandits. The mouth clamped onto their legs and slurped them into itself, the bandits quickly disappearing into the ground. Satisfied the mouth slammed shut and disappeared as if it never was. With his attention elsewhere the warden’s grasp on the guard drake was released, the mystical hands dissipating into nothingness. Released from its bindings the guard drake immediately charged its original target, Tihee. Desperately the sorceress launched a pair of acid orbs at the guard drake. Both of them splashed the drake’s face covering it with corrosive acids once again. With its head already weakened the acids were able to flow into the creature burning its brain killing it. With a howl the beast fell to the ground mere inches from Tihee’s bloodied form.
Finally making it into the fray Adran slashed at the last bandit guarding Oscar and killed him. Without any back up Oscar tried to defend himself against four opposing attacks but Rip-panther was able to get behind him and deliver the killing blow by sinking his arcane claws into the halfling’s flesh.
As the halfling slid off Rip-panther’s claws and to the ground he gurgled, “you will never defeat the Mask.”
The last bandit, seeing his boss slain, dropped his weapon and surrendered to Xious. The bandit slowly walked toward Xious with arms raised in the air and begging for mercy. The avenger promptly ran the bandit through with his broadsword. “May the queen have mercy on your soul,” he muttered to the dying man.