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Saturday, 3 March 2012

Mark's Journal #10: Battle on all fronts...

 Mark’s Journal 12/05/09
Almost unconscious, blind, transformed almost into a wolf, and horror-stricken, I continued fighting, in a literal blind frenzy, slashing at anything foolish enough to get close. Still bleeding from the eyes, my strength was waning.
Staggering to my feet, I wiped some of the blood off my face. I remember being completely confused. I mean here I was, blind, bleeding from my eyes, in the midst of battle. Calling out to Leviss and some of the Red Cloaks around me, I was able to assess the situation. We were holding our own, but our numbers were dwindling. I couldn’t see anything, but my nose was working, and working well. Goblins, in case you were wondering, smell foul. They smell like rotting corpses, mixed with fresh meat, and the stench of a swamp. With that in mind, you might imagine that I could pick them out of a crowd or, in this case, pick out a crowd of them.
When the battle was at its most dire, two loud cracks were heard on either side of me. I was told later that two giant tree creatures, hidden in statues, climbed out and helped attack the goblins. The battle ended quickly. Tori seemed right at home with these tree creatures, and I could hear her talking to them like they were old friends, even though I had never heard her so talkative, especially in a language I could only guess was tree-ish. We were informed that the General Wizardry Tower was in need of help, and we answered the call. Leaving Tori seemed like a good idea at the time, as she could be protected by those tree things, and the hospital still needed to be defended.
Making our way there was terribly hard work for me. Normally able to outpace the rest of the pack, my blood, my hope, and my strength were draining fast. With Avaron and Leviss supporting me, we made our way to the walls. Having to throw my pack aside so as to actually keep moving, we made our way up the wall. Once inside the tower, I could hear children crying. Using Avaron and Leviss as my eyes, we made our way more and more into the tower. There, in one room, was a hobgoblin, I could tell by the stench, torturing a child. Leviss told me later that he had a boy on a hook and was harvesting him, slowly.
Defeating him was easier than leading the children out. What a sight we must have been. While a kobold would have been natural enough in Aristaal, Leviss, with his drake helmet, stands out. And me, well, I was a 6 foot wolf, blind, bleeding from the eyes, carrying a sword and shield, I’m sure I must have been just as terrifying as the torturer. The funny thing about the whole experience was that Avaron, probably the most taciturn of our group, now was in charge of leading children around. Not that I had much time to think about that. Carrying the tortured child, I did everything I could to not collapse on the stone floor.
We made it down to the ground, I remember that. Caught in the housing sector of the city, we were surrounded on all sides by fire. Goblins! As if taking the town wasn’t bad enough, they had to burn everything. I’m sure if we were observing from the outside Avaron might have something to say about the waste of resources, or Tori would complain about the not-so-cosmic way nature was being exploited. As it was, we weren’t on the outside; we were about to be up in flames, carrying and leading kids, with a blind wolf ready to pass out.
Busting through fences, and through backyards, we could see the energy gate far ahead. That’s when I fell. I told them to go, get the kids through the gate. Avaron got them out, but Leviss stayed, and came for me. He told me about some of it later, with his usual zest and energy. There I was, he said, lying on the ground, and behind me, a dozen goblins on my tail. Leviss loosed some energy arrows over my head killing two goblins cold. I crawled to my feet, barely swaying. I’ve said it before, I was raised to be religious, but had never really expressed my belief. Well, I was damned close to meeting Erathis face-to-face that day, and with desperation, comes motivation. With my medallion in one hand, and my shield in another, I knocked the closest goblins back, in a wide sweep. Remembering my early teachings, and the forms that I practiced almost daily, I took a wide stance. Leviss said it was pretty amazing. With him running back as fast as he could, firing arrows to knock out some goblins from the back, I cleared out a five foot space all around me, ringing shield off armour, and swinging sword through flesh. I fell, I know that. I also prayed. I prayed to Erathis, asking Her to get my friends, and everyone else, to safety. I was done, I knew it, my friends had left, doing their job, and I was going to take down every disgusting goblin that I could before the end. With a missed sweep, I realized that there were only two left beside me. I smiled. They had me, or at least they thought they did.
Shield smash to the one on the left, stabbing my sword through the one on the right. Spinning on the balls of my feet, smashing my shield into the already dead on the right, I brought my sword through the one on the left. They were gone. I was alone, for now. And that’s when I passed out.
Leviss, arriving at the scene, pulled my body free of goblins, and started dragging me back, toward the gate. But not fast enough. With goblins upon goblins coming from out of the flames, Leviss made the choice to toss my shield and sword aside and drag my nigh-carcass out of there.

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