Session 1 Fiction Recap
The afternoon sun broke through the leaves above, leaving dappled shadows on the place beneath. Four figures stand next to a break in the trees, on the right side of a well-worn path heading to the Adharc Moutains.
“Here.” Martin announced, his eyes fixed on the tree break. “This is where the Dwarves said they were attacked.”
Rajula eyed the path and the surrounding forest. Something seemed off – she couldn’t put a name to exactly what it was, but the overwhelming feeling of being watched, honed by time spent traveling in hostile lands, would not leave her alone. Cautiously, she began to advance.
Mordai idly plucked a string on his lute, his rakish smile never wavering. Ever since the group had paid a visit to Tired Winter, the old Ahlak living on the outskirts of Souspierre, he had been working on a wicked tune about cowardly bird-men and bulls to old to back up their bluster. He was just about to give voice to the first verse when the still air was shattered by the eerie sounds of a baby crying.
Ser Jareth, who had barely spared his companions a word, spoke softly. “That’s not a true human child screaming.”
No one in the group questioned his certainty…
The ground erupted at Martin’s feet, roots breaking through the old mosiac tiles he had been standing on near the ancient well, surrounded by worn statues. Vines and creepers reached up to grasp at him, under the command of the strange bird-man wizard who stood thirty paces away. Martin freed his axe and began hewing at the ensorcelled plants, fighting his way free. He could hear the sounds of combat to his right, Ser Jareth going blade-to-blade with one of the creatures as he rushed from cover.
Suddenly, two of the creatures rushed Martin and his world became one of singing steel as he fended of his attackers with his shield and axe.
Mordai, hidden behind a statue and rough brush, suddenly sprang into view, rushing headlong into the middle of the field. Calling on his arcane knowledge, he cried out “Sleep!’, his voice cascading over the bird-man wizard and his accomplice who had turn to flee towards the looming, broken temple on the hill to the north. His voice echoed with the words of the First Tongue and both bird-men slumped to the ground, overwhelmed by his command.
Ser Jareth took the measure of his opponent, closing the distance quickly. It appeared the strange creature before him looked clumsy and unsure and he decided to end the fight quickly, perhaps leaving his opponent alive so they could find out what was going on, and who the strange, unconscious human woman he had found while silently maneuvering through the ruins was. Jareth aimed a kick at the bird-man’s knee, striking at his sword at the same time, attempting to disarm his foe. However, his opponent was quicker than he had given him credit for and the riposte he received slipped past his guard but was defeated by his mail. Feeling the breath leave his lungs as his vision swam, he briefly wondered if he had a broken rib, and gathered himself for another pass at this suddenly dangerous foe.
Martin found himself hard-pressed battling two foes, thankful his strong steel shield stood between them. He kept one to his left, on his shielded side. Suddenly finding an opening, his axe bit deep between neck and shoulder of one of the creatures, which let out a gurgled, croaking gasp as he wrenched his axe free, turning to face his remaining foe.
Rajula strode out of cover, the elemental magic she had been trained in swirling through her form. She could feel the elemental balance around her, the vibrancy of the plants, the strength of the stone, the age of the hills – but none of these was what she wanted. She drew deep within herself, held out her right hand, and spoke. Instantly, a swirling vortex of flame swirled from her palm, catching the bird-man fighting Martin. He was engulfed instantly, howling as the flames burned feathers, armor, flesh. Rajula’s expression changed as she suddenly became aware of the intense suffering she had caused, suffering mercifully brought to an end by Martin’s axe as it cleaved the head of the bird-man, silencing his cries. Rajula and Martin looked to each other, their eyes meeting for a moment. Slowly, Martin nodded.
Ser Jareth pressed the attack, and as steel rang against steel, he could not help but find himself enjoying it. Despite the penance, despite the guilt, despite the knowledge, he could not deny that here, facing another living being in mortal combat, was where he felt the most alive. He almost felt torn in two – a compassionate and logical mind that found violence abhorrent and wished for a clean end and a maniacal butcher who delighted in the fight. Suddenly, there it was, an opening. The world slowed for Jareth, just for a moment, just long to savor the motions. Right hand close to the hilt. Left palm on the pommel, prepared to push. Hips sink. Feet lining up, his powerful legs braced for the the thrust – and then the thrust itself, right into that opening, clean – elegant – pure. His blade pierced the armor the creature was wearing and powered by his perfect position, great strength and deep training, did not stop until it pierced his opponent cleanly, running him through. The bird-man dropped without a sound, his red blood dying the grass. In the back of his mind, Ser Jareth heard his own voice, chased with anger, a lingering memory. “.. another falls.