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Night Terrors, Part II

The barrows, a place she knew well but she wasn’t sure why, she moved her way down the hall, metal boots clanking on the granite, scraping as she did not lift her foot quite enough. She was worried, every movement down the hall took them to freedom, yet who knew what demons remained within.

As much as the bear wanted to be sneaky, he was too exhausted. His paws seemed to fall with all the weight of the world, his ears perking to listen for signs of danger, though the sound of his own heavy breathing seemed to echo. Something was scratching through the alcoves, crawling … or so he thought. He couldn’t be too certain of his senses, but just in case, he issued a quiet grunt to warn the stalwart woman of incoming danger.

Slowing at his warning, a decision had to be made. Looking back at him, exhausted yet still carrying more than his share of the load. She pointed up the hall out, then she put her side to the rock. Slowly moving across the hall she paused at the alcoves a step before exposing herself, she leaned her head out to see if she could see anything.

Lurking in the darkness, a half dozen pairs of red eyes gleamed back at the defender. The hideous hissing cackle of imps rose just before a fireball narrowly missed Chayce’s helmet, singing the cavern behind her.

“Feh…” Chayce backed up quickly. “Imps get back,” She hissed, dropping lower she slid the body off her shoulder onto the floor. Getting a strong grasp on her weapon, holding it in front of her, fingers roll from one to another down the hilt and back to the top.

The imps would have to advance to get to them, and they would never go one at a time and Chayce had an answer. Timing her movements she waited then as they rushed out she leapt forward, her feet impacting the ground surprising the imps and before they could react she began windmilling her blade and spinning. Her momentum carried her forward into the demons, killing some but sending the others scrambling.

An old bear still has excellent hearing, and the screams of the imps sounded real to him. He seemed close to the surface now, but how could he leave his savior to fend off the demons alone? The druid didn’t want to risk his brethren either, so he made his decision, turning around to hurry back to where the woman fought. When he got closer, he judged a safe distance away to lower his head and shoulders, letting his slumbering comrades slide off of him before joining the fray. She’d wanted him to go ahead, he knew, but he couldn’t leave her.

He mustered up all the strength and speed he possessed to charge into the scrambling imps, trampling the demons Chayce had already felled under massive paws. The warrior definitely didn’t require his help, but he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself if something befell her after she’d put herself in danger for his kin. After issuing a fearsome roar he brought his claws down in an arc, hoping he’d be enough of a distraction for Chayce to make quick work of the fiends.

It was actually perfect timing on his part, the imps turned to see the new threat, which allowed Chayce to strike. Her blade moved like a blur and she pirouetted and danced in the alcove. A grace of thousands of years training in the sword dance she had mastered. Slicing through with an upswing, the back and down across, her foot picking up off the rocky ground ready to be placed down the instant her weight shifted to realign her attack.

In a few moments the imps had been felled and she turned to the druid, “You should have ran, but I appreciate you staying. Let us get your friends out.”

A new wave of exhaustion poured over the bear as the last imp fell and he huffed, grumbling his appreciation to the woman. Without her deadly blade dance, he would’ve been doomed … coming back for her was the least he could do. His head bowed in agreement and he returned to where his sleeping brethren rested, blissfully unaware against the natural stone path. Again he carefully guided them onto his back, the task seeming to take ages, but he couldn’t rest now. Knowing the warrior was close by, he started back up the winding path to the entrance.

Chayce followed him, picking up the druid she had left carefully, and slipping the unconscious kaldorei over her shoulder, then walking behind the laden bear. Flashes of her past turned the corrupted tunnel to a place that had been alive and thriving, so she had to stare ahead to not get taken by the pieces of memory banging on the door Ambika and her had worked multiple times to open, to no avail.

Despite an intense sense of paranoia, the bear ignored the way the walls seemed to shrink around him, a distant scraping sound, and the occasional poisonous bloom that burst open on the wall beside him. He caught himself grimacing or growling quietly at the specters … the valiant woman who’d come to his aid must’ve thought him entirely addled. Nevertheless he pressed on, knowing he certainly didn’t have another fight in him, and only after he carefully crawled through the vines Chayce had slashed apart over the entrance did he finally heave a relieved sigh.

“Take care going out, the area is not cleansed,” Chayce spoke quietly, not wanting to startle him as he moved through the vines. “We are not far from help though, at least better help than I am.” Once he was out Chayce followed, looking around for the signs of the corrupt flowers that tended to pop up in these areas. “We will rest for a moment, then we need to push on to the town. Your friends are going to happy to see you, they thought the barrow, and all within, lost.”

The druid rumbled appreciatively, looking to Chayce to let her know that he was listening. Seeing the grove he’d loved so dearly reduced to this was almost too much, especially after losing the barrow and so many friends along with it. He moved warily towards a patch of grass that didn’t seem to be corrupted, looking to the warrior to make certain his eyes weren’t deceiving him, before sitting to rest. Soon they’d be in town … soon it’d be over.

Chayce did not want to spook him, so she chose to kneel down where she was. Through her helm she watched the druid carefully, “We will move slow, the roads are patrolled but I do not want to take a chance.” Pulling some leathered meat from her bag, “Hungry? I have some dried fish, it isn’t much though.”

The bear nodded slowly, sniffing towards the bag without moving his head too much. Now that he was at rest, he felt as if he was putting down roots.

Reaching into her bag she pulled out some of the dried herring and tossed right in front of him so he did not have to move. The red cast from the sky had her feeling uncomfortable but she didn’t want to push him too much.

Again the bear gratefully grumbled, leaning down to eat the jerky, the taste of meat awakening the clawing pains of hunger in his belly. The impromptu meal was gone in an instant and the bear licked his chops, slowly pushing himself upright. He looked over at Chayce with a tilt of his head, silently wondering if she was going to partake as well.

Chayce threw some more fish over to him, then picked up some dried nuts and berries and began to eat them. She was sure he needed the protein more, and he was carrying a heavier load.

Her generous offer was accepted, the famished ursine eagerly devouring the fish. He sniffed at the grass, then waited for the warrior to finish her snack, remaining on his feet just so he wouldn’t be tempted to pass out.

“Ready, my furry friend?” Chayce asked, her smile clear from under her helm.

The bear nodded, huffing out an agreement.

“I will be with you every step,” the warrior said, her smile still set upon him. “Not far now.” She rose gracefully picking up the druid she had been carrying again. “Out through this thicket then to the road.”

The druid certainly admired the woman’s natural agility. He hoped he’d be able to thank her after he’d had some time to recover, but she likely had her own life to return to. He got lost in his own thoughts for a moment, wondering about the warrior who’d saved what remained of his den, but nodded in acknowledgement after a pause. Once she took the lead, he was quick - relatively speaking - to follow.

Chayce kept her pace with his, near to his shoulder but far enough out to have room in case of attack. She led them out of the thicket that was pulsing with the red corruption, “There are some places here still beautiful, I promise.”

This caused the bear to sigh in relief. At least some of it could be salvaged. He followed as closely as he could manage, eager to be out of the tainted grove. If the land was this corrupted, how badly had he been impacted? His brethren? The mere thought caused the fur at the nape of his neck to bristle.

True to her word, out of the corruption the land around was tense with the feeling of something coming, but it was free of corruption and they met the road. “Almost home, Brother,” Chayce said softly. Relaxing her grip on her sword and in effect it was like ripple of tension cascaded down her body, making her steps softer on the pathway. Leading them around a bend where water trickled musically by, then down a hill, the sight of the homes surrounding Lorlathil peeked through the trees and Chayce sighed, like the weight of the world released from her lungs.

As the fear and paranoia slowly loosed its grip on the bear, his paws fell languidly along the path, his eyelids drooping until the trip down to Lorlathil became a stop motion segment as his eyes closed for several seconds before being willed open again. The kind words of his companion and the returning sense of security was better than a warm blanket and he rumbled a warm, grateful sound as he came to a stop at the outskirts of town, sinking down into the grass as he fell into a deep slumber.

Chayce slid to her knees next to him, supporting the druids he carried as she called out. The others came running over taking the druids they both carried, refusing to leave his side until she was assured by Sylvia Hartshorn that he was fine, just recovering from being awoken as he was and healing. Sylvia thanked her for her service, then led her away to take care of the payment for what she had done. Chayce felt almost bad about taking it, seeing what the druid she had helped out had done, but she made Sylvia promise to contact her as soon as he was awake. She would make sure he got his share.
Topics: nightmare, druids
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Ghyslain Greyhawk
(( Thanks to the wonderful for being so patient with me! heart ))
  • April 24, 2017
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Chayce
(( heart Always a joy))
  • April 24, 2017
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Chayce
((Also, I should have had you help edit me... I typed sward in one of those paragraphs))
  • April 26, 2017
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Ghyslain Greyhawk
(( Found it and fixed it Wink ))
  • April 26, 2017
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Chayce
(( heart ))
  • April 26, 2017
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