Pelenhar the Damned

Chapter 10: The city of the dead.

A lengthy debate ensued but it was cut short by Lakota noticing that in the distance, a sizable group was pursuing you. You couldn’t be sure but you strongly suspected that it lizardmen. You were sure that their numbers were fat greater than yours and if they caught you, it would go poorly for your party. You needed to escape them and failing that, to reduce their numbers.

The plan was as bold as it was foolhardy. Enter Ascril, traveling as fast as discretion would allow, hoping that you could avoid the undead that roamed the city. The lizardmen’s larger number wouldn’t allow them to escape unnoticed. Then you could either make for the library (a structure that you could see was still partially intact) or proceed through the city and exit from the southern gate.

No one was happy with the plan but desperate times call for desperate measures. You trekked through the fallen snow as quickly as possible and as the entered the outskirts of the city, you began to avoid the undead. When necessary, you took down undead quickly as possible, followed by a quick departure. Unfortunately as the sun began to sink, the undead’s numbers increased and it became harder and harder to avoid them and your armed encounters became more frequent.

Blow by blow, fight by fight, clash by clash the party was becoming more and more exhausted as the the sustained action began to take it’s toll. The undead were tireless and as the sky darkened you found yourselves driven into the confines of a ruined building. Sand and cobwebs the cramped space that had once been the oil merchant’s business. Almost all of the containers were broken and the oil had long since soaked into the earth but in the remains of the second floor lay under what shelter what remained of the roof, you found a half dozen sealed barrels.

You knew that the light and the smoke would help the lizardmen find you but by the early predawn light you had no choice but to risk unleash flaming destruction upon the hoards of undead who were besieging you. Fleeing the smoke and flames you retreated to upper level and from there continued to hold your foes at bay. It was from that vantage that Zhenais spotted the approaching reptiles.

Like a scaled tide they moved through the ruins, carving their way amongst the zombies and skeletons. In the early morning light the white haired sorcerer spotted a smaller, albino pale lizard and recognized the troglodyte Shaman Syrzach. She carefully aimed her crossbow, aimed center mass and pulled the trigger. The bolt shot through the air like an eagle to it’s prey.

At the last moment a large blue scaled lizardman through himself in front of bolt, shield first. The quarrel punched through the leather covered barrier and slammed into his chest, knocking him back and out of sight.

Syrzach pulled out a obsidian edged knife an tossed it into the air. He muttered ancient words of power that no human mouth could pronounce and the blade started to glow with a green white flame. With a flick of his wrist, he directed it to fly through the air at his attacker.

Zhenais scrambled backward as the blade struck at her again and again. Wylie stepped up and engaged the dancing blade, his sword weaving a web of defiance. Lakota drove the remaining undead back into the flames and Mako focused the last of his mystical energies to feed the flames. An inferno of pure light that cracked stone lit up the floor of the building, setting flame to everything it touched, covered the floor of the building.

The party retreated from the scalding heat to the upper level. The magically animated blade finally fell mutely to the ground with a hollow. Over the battle cries of the lizardmen Mako’s keen elvish hearing caught the sound of chanting. His face turned pale as he recognized the cadence and the rhythm of the spell that Syrzach had been chanting. “An earthquake. He’s summoning an earthquake.”

Suddenly the drain of his efforts washed over him. He dropped to his knees and if Wylie hadn’t pulled him back, he’d have fallen int the inferno below.

Lakota readied one of her remaining arrows. It was a shot she had to make. If she failed they would die. Zhenais held up her crossbow. He’s got guards, they’ll take an arrow for him, we should both shoot. The ranger nodded, “On three”.

As the chanting seemed to approaching it’s crescendo she slowly counted to three. On the mark Zhenais rose and fired. LaKota paused a moment before she did the same.

As before one of the burly lizardmen leapt forward to intercepted the sorceress’s crossbow bolt. Even as he started to pull his shield back LaKota’s arrow slammed into the Troglidyte clerics shoulder, He screamed in agony and fell backwards. The power he had been summoning spilled forth, uncontrolled, unleashing tremors in all directions. It wasn’t the focused earthquake he had planned for leveling the building his prey was hiding in but it’s effects were substantial.

The building trembled as it’s flagstone floor shattered, spilling the mystically enhanced flames into the long forgotten basement that lie beneath. The flames set alight the shattered support beams that held the ceiling together, transforming them into burning spikes that fell, hammerlike upon the unremembered, undiscovered reserves of that long forgotten oil merchant, shattering the ancient tuns that held that precious commodity for almost a century. A credit to the elvish cooper who had constructed them, the tuns had kept the oil as fresh as the day it had been put in but the heat of the flames was causing them to bow. When the support beams collapsed they pierced the pressurized cask and the flames met the volatile liquid.

The conflagration that followed was unlike anything anyone had seen. Stone, wood, bodies and earth scattered in all direction. Zhenais and LaKota were hurled high into the air onto the roof of a nearby building. Wylie was still holding Mako as the explosion threw them high into the air and then back into the flaming basement.

Rolling to their feet, Zhenais and LaKota looked at the carnage where they had been. Lizardmen were scattered in all directions, slowly getting to their feet. The remaining undead were recovering more quickly and will a single-minded focus, falling upon the stunned warriors.

Where once there had been a building, now there was a crater. Smoke, dust and flame swirled amongst the ruins. Form their vantage point, LaKota and Zhenais could see Mako rising to his feet and looking about. His eyes locked on those of his allies and the same realization struck all of them. They were too far apart, they couldn’t be of aid to one another and they both needed to get out.

Mako moved to Wylie’s side and helped him to his feet. As the tried to get their bearings they noticed a collapse in the in the wall. Glancing inside they realized it was an ancient sewer tunnel. They didn’t know where it would lead but it was their only chance. They gave a quick glance to their friends who watched helplessly from the rooftop and then they stepped into the darkness.

Then, they were gone.

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