The reactions from the others were varied, to say the least. Mor, in his simple, ingnorant bliss, smiled widely, stowing his weapon without a second thought to the chief’s grin. Knicks and Cairne, however, both recognised that grin all too well. The Chief, in the near-masochistic bravado that seemed to be part of the job description, had a tendency to completely blindside the members of the gang who were already expecting the worst-case scenario with something equally terrible but even more unexpected. And he delighted in it. “What in Tiamat’s name-” Cairne started, cut off with a thud to the jaw from Galliwig’s hammer. “Don’t utter her name, fool! Not today!”
“Lucky every one of us is a trained thief,” Knicks said sarcastically,
eyeing Mor, who was trying to climb the front of the spider-woman, but
having difficulty due to avoiding using the ‘breasts’ as handholds or
footing. “At least the priest has a sense of subtlety,” Barna
The statue they were trespassing on top of wasn’t just Drow art – it was the image of their dark goddess. They were in trouble.
“Just a little closer,” they all thought as the menacing forms shifted closer to them along the rocks. They hadn’t seen them yet, but there was no doubt that they were right on their patrol route. Cairne exhaled – He was about to jump. Barna and the chief pulled their arrows back as he disappeared off the ledge – as the bows stretched back they made cracking sounds, almost masking the tap of Mor’s foot against the rock – he’d made quite a far leap. Two swishing sounds told Barna that Cairne’s axes had met flesh. It was that exact moment that the chief let his arrow loose, and Mor roared as he brought his axe down.
That’s when he saw it.
The chief’s arrow had hit the third soldier, and Mor had the second on the back foot with his vicious assault, but the first… the flesh that Cairne’s axes had met was his own – the bastard had somehow turned his attack back onto Cairne. The blades lay deep in his hips, and he wasn’t moving. Blood was pooling around him.
The chief was on the attack, blade swinging with wild precision as the dark elf scrambled to parry each blow, stroke, thrust and swing that the chief was determined to land on him. They had hoped to face the woman four-on one, but there he stood, alone, as the voluptuous, sinister woman walked closer.
It wasn’t murder in her eyes. No, murder had passion behind it. This was cold disdain. She didn’t consider what she was planning to do to him as killing so much as disposing of a rodent. Her revealing armour, the talons adorning her fingers that exuded far more danger than any sword could, the domineering confidence – this woman was a priestess alright.
A beacon of cold evil, the perfect embodiment of the reason drow women were feared by every person ever to meet one. She looked into his eyes as though she were surprised he wasn’t kneeling. Damn nobles. Barna took a deep breath, secured his grip of his sword, and lunged. She almost effortlessly caught the blade an inch from her cheek, the blade almost touching her fingertips where it caught against her talons. “Great,” Barna thought. “I’m going to get killed by jewellery.” He turned his blade, and cut downwards. The woman moved her hand, pushing the stroke away from her body, but not quickly enough to avoid having blood drawn from her hand. She shrieked, not in pain, but indignation.
“You dare!” She spewed. Despite himself, the rogue grinned and interrupted her. “I dare sully my blade on your cheap claws? I got time to wash the blade later.” That was the end of the woman’s composure. Barna had a bad habit of enraging his opponents. Sometimes it gave him an edge, more often it got him further out of his depths. The woman’s eyes flared a violet light, and he prayed this wasn’t one of those times as darkness shrouded around them both.
In this darkness, trying to see was useless anyway. Even she couldn’t see through that haze. He heard Mor roaring in time with the clashing of steel – he was winning his fight, but he wouldn’t be any help any time soon. If only he’d fired that arrow before Mor had jumped.
The chief wasn’t doing as well. He was fighting angry – that drow soldier would never beat him on his own, but he was probably smart enough to know that he could survive fighting defensively until one of his friends joined the fight – until the priestess had finished him off.
He heard movement, and swung at it. He felt the woman’s claw push his blade to one side. He swung again, against her parry, but hit only air. A moment of horrifying silence later, he felt cold on the nape of his neck. Cold and wet. Her tongue. He turned and swung his blade at her only to have his chest slashed by her claw. He heard his blood dripping more than he felt it – all he could feel was the lingering cold on his neck. He’d seen it before – the mark – a ritual sacrifice or something.
Their god fed off of fear, and right now, this priest was serving that deity well. Barna had to admit, he was terrified. He tried to focus, to listen. A new sound – Gallywig. Patching up Cairne, no doubt. But also chanting. Chanting angrily. He ducked, not a moment too soon, as a wreath of green flames cut through the darkness. Green? His magic is usually golden-blue – his magic shouldn’t even work nearby. Unless he was damaging his soul. Gallywig was burning his soul as fuel for the fire. “No, Gal! Leave me!”
A blade of green flame cut down through the darkness, heralding the fierce charge of the small cleric. He was unrelenting, his eyes burning as hot as the swaths of fire emerging from his fingers as he charged into the darkness. The priestess was knocked back, but as the green light subsided and the dark clouds swirled back into place, a cold grin exposed her pointed teeth as she raised two fingers. A purple flame burst out at the pyromantic priest like a cloud. Barna heard the thud of his friend’s tome hitting the rock. He was down. Hopefully not for good. He turned to where he last saw the drow and brought his blade down, and gasped as his wrists were caught in her hands. The cuts on his chest burned with a cold he had never felt before as she licked one of the wounds, his scream interrupted by a slash across his cheek with her claw. He hadn’t even felt her move her hand off his wrist.
Snapping out of his terror, Barna found his sense of humour. “Did she taste good?” Knicks punched his arm. Hard. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to hold a blade again.
Barna fell to his back laughing. Mor and the Chief both limped toward the area under the spider carving where they’d collapsed.