The succubus steps aside with a smile and a wave of her hand and I leap past to strike Ef Utan across the chest with my claws in glee. Seeing his blood on my claws is so beautiful… I hope she likes it…wait… it’s Ef Utan! Come on, Kenari!
I shake the strange thoughts out of my head and refocus on the deeds that my mistress commands of me. These people are a danger to my mistress! But the white haired one… she is the one my mistress hates the most. “I will make you happy, mistress,” I cry out as I roll and slash my way past the others towards the offending cleric, “If I have to kill everyone here to do it!”
“Of course you will,” she replies with a sly smile and disappears in a puff of brimstone.
Word teleports again down the stairs and I can hear him yelling that my mistress hasn’t gone far as he proceeds to attack the two other men who had shown up down the stairs. Good… I don’t know what I’d do if she left me!
Suddenly there’s a scream as the tips of fingers go flying by. Apparently Word struck true with his halbred. I just hope they weren’t friends of my mistress… because I might have to make him pay next.
Strange… either that man was hurt more than I thought, or there’s something weird going on as the screams haven’t stopped.
In fact, the screams of the man Word attacked begin to change from screams… into roars as I look over my shoulder to witness the beginnings of a frightning transformation. Mistress protect me… is he… a dragon?
Ripping fabric is soon followed by exploding brickwork as the force of the wizard’s transformation proceeds to blow out the walls of the stairway in a massive BOOM! Friend and foe alike drop to the ground as shards of stone fly through the air. When the dust settles, there is now a massive blue dragon hovering over the stairs of what used to be a hallway.
I think….I think that’s the Patchwork Lord? Doesn’t matter now though… as I must kill the cleric! I seize my opportunity while the cleric is still shaken from the explosion and pounce, knocking her to the ground for the killing blow. I thrust my claw towards her exposed neck, but she manages to twist in my grasp and the claw merely scratches the side. The site of blood on the Aasimar’s neck, while what my mistress wants…. but a voice in my head gives me pause. This is the woman who has helped me so many times… I’d be dead without her… and now I’m trying to kill her? This isn’t right! I shouldn’t be doing this… I shouldn’t….can’t….I won’t…
I grab my head in pain and growl before reaching to my sash for my healing wand. “I’m so sorry, Lenata! Please forgive me…I couldn’t help myself! It’s not my fault!” With shaking hands and a few muttered words of activation I’m able to heal the wound to her neck as Lenata smiles in relief.
“Thank Celestian you’re back to normal, Kenari…. now look out!”
There’s a giant WOOSH of air as the dragon beats his wings, knocking Ef Utan off his feet towards us. I dodge the flying warrior with the thanks of Lenata’s warning, but Lenata is not as fortunate since she was already knocked prone. She’s sent flying by the weight of Ef Utan’s armor and falls off the edge of the stairs with a scream into the now open air below.
“NO!” I scream in fear and look around frantically for something I can do. It’s then that I catch the flash of the glimmering stones of the Psiforged’s body and I get an idea. He can fly! I quickly focus my thoughts on Word, as well as a few prayers that I might do this in time… when with a pop of air and a THUMP, the cleric lands on the remnants of the stairs behind the dragon and Word of Wisdom, I hope, is flying somewhere below us.
Fire launches all around me as Ef Utan regains his feet and launches his attack with Flametongue, followed by an enraged Vedis with her energy attack. The dragon, nonplussed at this feeble resistance, shows his disdain by breathing lightning down upon us. I just manage to roll down the stairs under it as the lightning once again strikes Ef Utan. I swear, if we survive this, we’ve got to get him some protection towards that.
Suddenly amidst the fire and lightning, I just manage to pick out a strange thing… I think… it’s a flute? As I look past Ef Utan and Vedis I can just make out the red skinned woman at the top of the stairs wearing a white feathered mask with a flute to her lips. Well that’s a relief… if we survive this maybe we can finally talk!
There’s another smaller explosion, then I hear a Scro scream behind me and turn just in time to witness its doom as it falls off the stairs by Lenata. The flutter of a cape zooms by me towards the dragon as Word charges the monster… only to be slapped back through the air by it’s tail.
Thinking quickly, I grab the Tyrant card from my sash and pray as I concentrate over it… hoping in my heart that whatever power that’s in these cards might help us in our darkest hour. A ball of light shoots from the card, hovering in front of me as it grows in size and then shoots towards the dragon’s chest. There’s a blinding flash of light as it strikes… but as I clear my vision I see that it didn’t harm it, per se… but it definitely changed it. The blue dragon is replaced by a sewn together golem that reminds me of the ones we saw on the Demiplane of Dread when this crazy adventure first started so long ago… but that’s as much a I can describe as it’s now falling towards the castle below.
“What in all the spheres just happened?” asks Vedis incredulously.
“I swear he was wearing the clothes of The Fated!” exclaims Ef Utan in doubt as he looks over the edge of the stairs.
Word of Wisdom returns through the air and lands next to us on the stairs. “I saw him teleport about half way down… I did my best to trace it, and believe he is in the bottom of the tower over there.”
Multiple shots ring out and we all turn in surprise to see Melchior at the top of the stairs with gun in hand as he takes out more Scro snipers. “The battle is still going, people!”
There’s a whiff of brimstone in the air and I turn back in fear to see that the succubus has returned with a wide grin behind Lenata. “My mind is my own, you undead skank!” I back peddle as fast as I can up the stairs to join Melchior and the red-skinned bard to try and help from a distance as Lenata dodges the monster’s now clawed fingers. I can’t help but grin in satisfaction as the air pops around her and suddenly Ef Utan is in her place with sword in hand. He swings it towards her midsection… but at the last minute turns it to the flat of the blade and launches her through the air towards the castle below like a ball and bat.
“Let’s see if you can fly, bitch!” He yells down.
Word’s eyes glow for a moment. “No… but she can teleport. I believe she is now in the same area where the golem retreated.”
“Well here’s hoping we don’t have to go there, because we’ve got other fish to fry right now,” Vedis replies sarcastically as she shoots an energy attack towards more Scro filling the other turrets. “By the way… there’s a Reigar in the courtyard holding an unconscious Melchot captive… just in case you all might want to know.”
There’s a groan from the red-skinned woman as she collapses and her legs go out from under her. Lenata quickly wraps her arm around her shoulders to hold her up. “Come on, let’s try and at least get some cover from these gunshots,” she says as we return to the ruins of the room of cells to take cover behind a remanant of the wall.
“So… what is she?” Vedis asks curiously as Lenata tends to the unconscious woman. “I thought she was a Tiefling… but… she looks different.”
“She’s not a Tiefling… but she’s definitely been touched by them,” Lenata offers.
“She’s a Hellbred,” answers Ef Utan with a shrug of indifference. “Repentant evil souls trying to be good supposedly getting another chance, if you believe in that kind of thing.”
“As a matter of fact I do,” Lenata replies with a pleased smile.
Suddenly there is a great tearing sound as a chunk of the staircase we were on crumbles to the ground far below. “Great…anybody got another rope?” says Vedis in frustration.
“No need… looks like Kenari’s is still here,” Ef Utan calls out as he returns from the other balcony with rope and grappling hook in hand. He and I then return to the stairs to scope out the damage as the others discuss transporting the red-skinned woman. With a grunt and a heave the grappling hook soars through the air to catch on a large piece of rubble on the other side.
Once it’s pulled taught and secured, I give it a test and with a wild grin run across the line with claws outstretched. With a leap and a roar I pounce on one of the hapless orcs and plunge my claws through his spleen with a satisfying crunch.
“What the hell,” I hear Ef Utan say before he runs after me along the rope and follows with his own attack as he bull rushes one of the other Scro into falling off of the side of the tower.
The remaining Scro lunges at me with the bayonette on his now empty rifle, but I manage to twist to the side and avoid it as it chinks into the stone behind me. “One blade? Hah, I’ve got six!” I taunt as I flaunt them in front of my face. I am denied the satisfaction of seeing the Scro’s response, however, as he’s more occupied with the bullet that just appeared in his forehead.
“Dang it, Mel… that was a good taunt wasted!” I tease as the gunslinger and the others make it over the rope to join us with an out-of-breath Vedis bringing up the rear as she carries the unconscious Hellbred.
“Stow it, Kenari… we’ve got more coming!” warns Ef Utan as he kneels down to check the trap door to the balcony. Lenata quickly pulls a Tanglefoot bag and thunderstone from her pack and nods to Ef Utan, who opens the trap door just enough for her to toss them in and then closes it.
“Ummmn…. my head… where am I?”
All heads turn from the sounds of Scro below as we realize… the Hellbred woman is finally awake.