The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

1Aug/12Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0005

“Skreeee!”

“What is that?” Kava asked.

The creature erupted into the empty sky, summoned by the Tarvoni mage. It did not look like it should have been able to fly. It was too powerfully built. Muscles rippled under its tawny hide. Giant feathery wings held it aloft. A terrifyingly sharp beak sat upon its nose. The creature seemed to be built like a feline but with the features of a predatory bird.

“Skreeee!” It screeched again as it swooped towards the group.

Eurysa took careful aim with her bow and fired a single arrow. The arrow struck true on the creature's wing and it plummeted to the ground. It stood up however and shook off its fall. The creature was obviously extremely tough to survive that, though Ritter judged that it was wounded. However, that only seemed to make it mad.

Reaching for another arrow Eurysa merely hissed out, “Griffin.”

The Rock Giant bounded across the plain, a fierce determination was found in its sunken eyes. The female lizardfolk came at a more cautious pace. She held a massive spear that had an odd head on it. The tip of the spear seemed to be black and looked as smooth as glass. On her side she wore a knife of Hirkan make. Most would call the saw toothed blade a sword, but the Hirkans considered it merely a knife. The immense size of the lizardfolk warrior made it seem much more like a knife. Of course, on the giant it would have barely been a dagger.

“Hmm, obsidian spearhead,” Kava said, “The troglodytes love that stuff. Nasty sharp, though it is a bit brittle. This should be exciting. I've always wanted to fight one of their females.”

The enemy lycanthrope bounded forward. It was every bit as large as Mayitso, but its fur was pitch black. Much like Mayitso it had icy blue eyes. Its gaze met Mayitso's own. The two enormous wolves began to circle each other. Ritter wondered where to start his fight and thought about aiding the lycanthrope but he heard Eurysa hiss.

“Leave him,” she said, “He may learn something. Their culture is different about combat and challenges.”

The Tarvoni slowly walked forward, though he seemed to falter as Laerdik strode forward confidently. The Agonish Magehunter seemed to show no fear at all. The summoner quickly began to weave another powerful spell. Eurysa quickly took aim and fired off a shot. Her arrow arced beautifully through the air, directly on target. Then as it neared the mage it suddenly began to lose momentum, stopping dead in the air in front of the mage, then dropping straight to the ground. The Tarvoni merely grinned as he continued to summon another creature to aid his cause.

Aldebaran charged forward towards the Griffin. The Minotaur knew that Eurysa would be choosing targets of opportunity as needed. If he could end the creature while it was on the ground, that was one less foe she had to worry about. As he neared the beast, it snapped at him with its deadly beak. Ritter hustled forward, setting his eyes on the giant. He had fought them before, though usually only when he had a serious strategic advantage. As he closed in on his chosen foe, he noticed the ground in front of the Magehunter suddenly move.

A creature erupted from the ground out of nothingness as the mage finished his spell. Watching something physical erupt out of nothingness made the dwarf's brain scream about impossibilities. The thing that formed out of shapelessness was unusual to say the least. The dwarf saw fire mixing with ice and lightning as the creature thrummed with a terrible indescribable sound. The Tarvoni seemed quite proud of whatever it was he had summoned.

The mage yelled out something in Agonori as he laughed. Laerdik seemed grim about whatever news had been delivered. Now all the mercenaries were engaged with foes. Something needed to give in order for this battle to be won. Ritter adjusted his grip on his warhammer and charged his foe with a mighty yell. The giant seemed more amused than anything and slammed his club down in the path of the Halz. Ritter knew it was coming and spun to his right out of the way of the crashing weapon. The mighty club shook the ground as it struck and the dwarf dashed past it. His hammer whistled through the air and slammed deep into the side of the Rock Giant. It felt like he had hit solid stone.

The giant chuckled as he spoke in the Halz's native tongue, “Nice move little one, but you will have to do better than that. I'll enjoy adding you to those I have slain. At least you were almost a challenge.”

The giant lifted his club from the small crater it had created with uncanny ease. The bulky humanoid swept his club just over the ground at Ritter. The dwarf brought his shield up to help but it did little to aid him. The hit slammed into him hard and nearly knocked the wind from his lungs. The mighty clang that the club made against his armor resounded across the plains and the badlands. The world spun around the dwarf. He was not even sure how he was still on his feet. His mind was freed from its daze as the air filled with the crackle of lightning.

Laerdik rolled as the amorphous creature in front of him unleashed pseudopods of pure electricity, flailing wildly. The Magehunter avoided them though the electricity in the air caused hair to stand up on end for the few mercenaries that had it. Ritter saw that Aldebaran was standing on top of his slain foe while Mayitso was wrestling for dominance with his. Kava's foe had lost her spear in the first round of the battle with the vodyanoi, but now had the brutal Hirkan knife readied. The giant made another sweep of his club at the Halz, but Ritter was far enough back from the last swipe to avoid the blow.

Seeing an opportunity from the long arc of the blow, Ritter dashed in and slammed his hammer into the giant's knee with bone shattering force. He felt the impact through the hammer's handle and heard the terrible cracking sound followed by the giant's roar of pain. The immense creature faltered and could not use the one maimed leg to stand. The stumble brought the giant to his knees and more in line with the dwarf's range. Another swing of the hammer shattered a wrist and the mighty club hit the ground. The other hand flew through the air and grabbed Ritter.

“You were a worthy foe,” the giant said, “But no more. Now I end this. I am almost sorry.”

The Halz was surprised by this gambit. He was lifted off the ground with ease but then the dwarf heard an odd sound from the giant. He looked down as saw the feathering of an arrow protruding from his eye. The Rock Giant was slain and Ritter quickly assessed the situation. The griffin was down, as was the lizardfolk warrior. Aldebaran seemed to be keeping the chaotic elemental creature busy while the Magehunter was standing over the defeated mage. Another creature of some sort lay slain near Eurysa, likely something else the mage had summoned. However, Ritter did not immediately see Kava.

The summoned creatures wavered in the Halz's sight then vanished, including the elemental spirit. Ritter began to look around for the missing vodyanoi as Eurysa and Aldebaran regrouped with him. Mayitso seemed to have won his battle, thought the other lycanthrope seemed unharmed. The two wolves sat off to the side of the battlefield and Ritter imagined they were having a discussion.

***

The griffin reared up and clawed at Aldebaran. The minotaur kept his sword at the ready and avoided the deadly looking talons. As the griffin landed his blade slashed at the beast's neck. It was a quick and clean kill. He heard Eurysa hiss and looked her direction. She had just fired an arrow and slain an unusual creature. It looked like some sort of amorphous blob of flesh. He could hear the Agonori mage taunting the group, though he did not know the language. He certainly could understand the tone.

“Go distract that elemental!” Eurysa hissed at him, “The magehunter needs to get to the mage. I'll see if I can stop him from casting any more spells.”

Eurysa looked towards the Tarvoni and yelled out in Agonori, “Mage!”

“Ah,” he said, “You excel at killing the flesh and blood. But I see my elemental confounds you as much as the magehunter. I should have guessed he would travel with mundanes. So I shall summon another and watch you suffer and die. You cannot harm me now!”

“No, perhaps not,” the gorgon replied, “But I wager your protections have a limit. And it will be much easier to test that if you don't move.”

Her gaze pierced the battlefield and the Tarvoni felt his muscles lock up. His mind struggled against her magic, he was trained to resist such things. However, he felt his will bend then finally break. His training had not been enough to resist her. As the minotaur gave the elemental a new target, Laerdik rolled away and made a mad dash for the mage. His blade slammed against the protective field around the mage. He took a deep breath and stabbed at the porcelain skinned Tarvoni with all his might.

The blade pierced the magical protection and the life faded from the man's eyes. As he died, the Gorgon's magic had no more sway over his mind and the mage collapsed. His magics quickly started to unravel as his life force disappeared. Aldebaran swung again and again at the elemental. His blade passed through the creature harmlessly. He could certainly feel some resistance as his blade passed through, but it was like slicing water. One could not harm it, but it could certainly strike with physical force.

Without the power of the mage, the elemental no longer attacked and began to fade. Eurysa sighed with relief and turned her attention to the other side of the field. She saw the lizardfolk warrior was down and saw Ritter had brought the giant down to size. She was as surprised as the dwarf when the giant grabbed him. One quick arrow took care of that problem.

***

“What did I miss?” Ritter asked.

“I had to paralyze the mage,” Eurysa said, “He just kept summoning monsters faster than we could kill them. Worse, he realized we had little to defend ourselves against magical creatures like his elemental if we were traveling with a Magehunter. He was bragging that his next summon was going to be another elemental. Being that busy, I had little time to assist you until the end, but you seem to be doing well.”

Ritter nodded, “Yes, your timing was excellent. Now where did Kava get off to?”

“Good question,” Aldebaran grumbled in his gravelly voice, “I expected her to be bouncing around after slaying one of her troglodyte women.”

The group trudged over to the slain lizardfolk warrior. She was laying at the edge of one of the patches of tall plains grass that survived in the transition area between the Disputed Lands and Feergrus. The warrior had one of her hands clutching at her belly. It was obvious that Kava had landed a vicious blow. The warrior had been disemboweled. As Ritter circled past the warrior, he saw something sticking out of the grass.

Moving closer, he saw fingers sticking out of the grass. It was definitely the hand of a vodyanoi. She was hidden in the tall grass it seemed. He reached down and grabbed Kava's cold, clammy hand and went to pull her out of the grass. However, all that happened was that he pulled out her hand and part of the forearm. A jagged wound had severed the arm.

“This is not a good sign,” Ritter said.

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