D&D: The Eighth One – Session 7 – Part 2

Written by: GM           Played on: 27 Apr 2011
PREVIOUS: The Eighth One – Session 7 – Part 1
NEXT: The Eighth One – Translation 3

Without hesitating, Rock dashed forward towards the massive, shadowy creature. It took two great strides forward as the shifter bounded towards it. Keeping forward, Rock dug his long claws into the beast and scrambled up it’s leg. The beast snaked its long neck around, snapping at him and spraying acid from it’s teeth, but the shifter was too quick. As he reached it’s back, he drew his sword and dug it deep into the creature. It reared back with a screech. With a flap of it’s wings, the creature lifted off the ground with Rock on it’s back.

The next few rounds involved Rock being lifted further and further off the ground. Every turn, the creature would initiate an attempt to throw him from its back while rising higher and higher. The goal was to throw him and let him fall to the ground. At the beginning the impact would have done a sizable amount of damage and, by the end, it would have killed him outright. Despite all odds, the creature never managed to throw Rock and he rode it up hundreds of feet into the air until the end of combat, effectively taking the creature completely out of combat single handed.

The winged beast twisted and clawed, trying to dislodge Rock, but the shifter kept his grip, repeatedly stabbing his sword into the creatures hide. Below them, the others continued to battle the tide of creatures. In the distance, though much closer this time, another roar shook the island. A dark silhouette on the horizon soared closer, still too far to make out.

Bharash ordered his men to form a perimeter, trying to stem the tide of creatures. The Divine Guard at the other gates were falling against the onslaught. The voice of the Divine Hualpa came to them again. Hold strong, guardians of this world. The ritual is nearly complete. Soon we will sever your world from ours. Malak Al-Maut will threaten you no longer.

The players had put together the avatar’s plan by this point. As mentioned in the Divine Texts they had translated, the seven Divine Beings and Mulak Al-Maut were actually beings of another plane of existence and the great dragons, the avatars, were their physical manifestations in the world. The Divine Beings were seeking to cut their world of the mortal races off from the plane of the Divine Beings. This would prevent Mulak Al-Maut from impacting the world and interacting with his avatar, but it would also cut the Divine Beings themselves off from the world and the mortal races.

Looking up, Bharash could see a winged dragon, larger than all the avatars of the southern kingdom. It’s form blocked out the sun and cast a shadow over the battle below. For just a moment, the battle abated long enough for both sides to gaze up at the awesome sight above them.

As quickly as the moment came, it ended. The swords flashed and the battle renewed. On the ground, Bharash and his men were slowly pressed back by the creatures, falling into a unified rank against their attacks. Rock, still astride the winged beasts back, continued to rise higher and higher into the air.

The voice of the Divine came to them again, though it felt somehow weak and faint, Heroes, the ritual is complete. It has been our greatest honor to serve you… The voice disappeared, leaving an emptiness behind.

The great, black winged dragon, swooping down towards the temple, suddenly let out a terrible cry and twisted through the air. It’s massive form crashed into the marble temple full speed. The wall fell under it’s massive, thrashing weight. From inside the temple, a chorus of panicked roars and cries. The great black dragon lashed out, collapsing more of the structures roof and walls as it pulled it’s hulking form out of the temple.

The ground shook under his crashing steps, staggering the remaining Divine Guard. From the ruins of the temple and the rising dust cloud, the scales of the other avatars flashed in the sun as they scrambled over one another and the debris. The great, blue scaled dragon of the Northern Kingdom was the first to break free, flapping his great wings to lift his body into the air. The leviathan, the great sea serpent, crashed through one of the standing gates towards the ocean.

Finally, the green, feathered serpent of the Southern Kingdom staggered from the debris. Her wings, bloodied and torn, still glittered in the sun. As the black dragon lifted off into the air, Hualpa’s face, visibly dazed and confused, surveyed the area before her. “Hualpa!” Bharash called out to the avatar. “Hualpa, we are here!” The dragon did not even pause as she took three staggering steps forward before launching into the air. “Hualpa! Hualpa!” Bharash’s cries went unanswered as the avatars each flapped away from the ruined temple.

Far above, the shadowy winged creature Rock sat astride twisted and screamed in unison with the black dragon as it crashed into the temple. As the dragon’s power waned, the creature dissolved and Rock suddenly found himself plummeting towards the ground below.

Below, the creatures of chaos seemed momentarily disoriented as the portals around the island snapped shut. Gathering their wits, the Divine Guard struck out at the nearest creatures and creating a cleared around around them. Hearing Rock’s cries above, Scith jumped upwards, her body transforming into a large eagle once again. Flapping furiously, she rose towards the falling figure.

As Rock reached her, Scith’s talons reached out and grabbed for him. Her sharp talons dug into his arm and she was wrenched downward through the air. Quickly, however, she stabilized their fall and glided down to the ground below, safely depositing the shifter with the others and reverting to her regular form.

Once again, the players thwart my best attempt to kill them!

Though the portals allowing the creatures of chaos onto the island had closed, there were already hundreds of the creatures on the island. As they recovered, they turned their blood red eyes back on the party. Looking around, the party could see little of the other Divine Guard which had stood with them in defense of the temple. Those who still stood were quickly overrun and cut down by the creatures that still swarmed the island. Twisting his head in every direction, Bharash’s eyes finally came to rest on the boat still moored at the nearby docks, the standard of the Ocean Kingdom drifting in the wind from its masts. “To the boat!” Bharash ordered.

We had been playing for an awfully long time by this point, but we were close enough to the end that I preferred to play it through to the end. The party had a long battle to the boat, so I reduced it to a series of rolls meant to quickly simulate a long, drawn out combat and skill challenge. The players were told to make a series of attack and skill rolls against a moderate level Difficulty Check. At the end, they totaled up all of their failures and suffered 10 damage points for each failure. At the end of the rolling, any player that still had hit points left over, was determined to have survived the movement to the ship and escaped to safety. Anyone who did not died in a suitably heroic fashion.

The party moved forward as a group. Cael, Inara and Sir Henry carved a path with their devastating spells and a flurry of arrows. Margoloth led the charge, the spear tip of the party’s movement. As they broke through the bulk of the forces and entered open territory, quickly making for the boat, Bharash came to a stop. The dragonborne knew the ship would have to be unmoored, its sails unfurled and the boat prepared for sailing. Even at their fastest and in the best of conditions, it would take the party several minutes to ready the ship for travel, time they did not have.

Turning away from the ship, Bharash faced the horde of creatures that followed them. As the others ran for the ship, Bharash raised his sword to meet the onslaught and to buy them the time they would need to escape. To his left and his right, Sir Henry Longthorn, Scith and Aunwynne appear at his side. He turns sternly towards each, but his words die on his lips as they meet his gaze proudly. The four turn to face the tide of creatures and rush forward as it washes over them.

On board the ship, Cael, Margoloth, Rock and Inara, unaware of the others actions on land, cut the ships moors and prepare to set out. As the sails unfurl, the ship began to move in the water, drifting slowly away from the island. Finally, the four look up, prepared for a wave of creatures to try to board the ship that do not come.

Cael leaps to the bow of the ship as it begins to pull away. He reaches his vantage point just in time to witness Sir Henry, spraying fire at the creatures that buried him in a sea of bodies. Scith pulls Bharash and Aunwynne back towards the docks, hoping they might still make for the ship, before taking a spear through the chest as she pulled Bharash out of the way. The dragonborne and half elf stood back to back, their swords cutting and slicing everything around them just short of the docks as the creatures surround them

Arrow after arrow snaps from Cael’s bow, each finding a mark in the horde of creatures. He continues until Inara’s calming hand finally lays on his forearm. The elf’s hand quivered just over his next arrow as he looks around, realizing the ship had pulled even further away from the docks than he realized. From where they were at, they could not even see the remaining two Divine Guard left on the island among the sea of creatures.

Stepping down from the bow, the four stood in silence. Rock manned the wheel while Inara stared out into the distance over the ocean. On the far edges of the horizon, spreading out in every direction, the great dragons could still be seen flapping out of view.

Neither said anything as Rock steered the boat, first east, then west, south and then north, searching for the answer, searching for a destination. None sure what would come next or what they had witnessed would mean for the world.

PREVIOUS: The Eighth One – Session 7 – Part 1
NEXT: The Eighth One – Translation 3

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