Blue suede shoes [06] - Conclusion

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The Undying
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Blue suede shoes [06] - Conclusion

Post by The Undying » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:56 am


Like a pack of wolves falling upon their quarry, the three adventures spread out around the construct before beginning their coordinated attack. Shale charged squarely into the creature, pitting war hammer against pounding fists. Meanwhile, Minuial moved to flank their enemy and Eristed stayed in the safety of Shale's shadow. As Shale did his best to occupy the creature's attention, a steady stream of arrows sank into its backside and a barrage of magical ice struck and entangled its limbs.

The creature's quickness belied its twisted frame. More often than not, the construct won in each melee exchange, Shale's war hammer glancing off or swinging wild while the beast's own blows landed squarely. Shale weathered this onslaught with a Warrior's resolve, the accumulating bruises little more than background noise. Even in the lopsided exchange, Shale's own successful strikes proved fiercely effective. Between the efforts of the three Adepts, the construct's fortitude steadily eroded, its movements faltering under the weight of sustained damage.

The swelling tide of victory turned sharply against the Adepts when next the construct's eyes fell upon Eristed and Shale. With it's glance, they felt the fire of courage and self-assurance flicker and die. In it's place swelled an undeniable and all-consuming fear. Fear of failure, fear of suffering, fear of death. It was a fear once known but long lost to childhood when the dark held unspeakable peril. It tore at them, sapped their strength, and extinguished their will to fight.

At the center of this tidal wave of terror, there was the construct. It loomed before them now like an unstoppable force bent upon their inevitable destruction. The edges of the Troll's broken teeth drew their eyes, and the jagged fragments of nails on its mismatched hands seemed now like hooked talons. Visions of their flesh parting under an onslaught of bite and fang filled their mind. It seemed that standing against this abomination was no longer a risk, it was foolhardy, a promise of their demise.

Shale's arm fell limp beside him as he stared up into the construct's maw. His war hammer hung loosely, barely held on the edge of his uncurled fingers, the heft of its head swaying gently. Behind him, the faint blue sheen of collecting Astral energy faded out as Eristed ceased its collection.

Minuial saw her companions falter and rushed to their aid. As she closed the dozen feet that had once offered her protection, she slung her bow and drew forth her sword. Whether alerted by unnatural sense or by the emerging white radiance of the blade, the creature turned to meet her advance.

With the first shimmering strike of Minuial's broadsword, Eristed's resolve returned. He shook his head, his senses returning as the Power of the creature lost its hold. He took stock of the situation - Minuial engaged in an out-matched melee, Shale silently quaking before the construct - and once again began weaving his spells.

The construct howled as it drove its fists down upon Minuial. With each attack, she raised her crystal buckler overhead and intercepted or deflected the hit. However, each blow sent a shockwave of pain across her slight frame. The elbow and shoulder of her shield arm screamed under each impact, her spine compressing painfully.

Despite the mismatch with her foe, Minuial fought heroically. Each blocked assault gave an opportunity to tear into the construct's flesh with her sword. The blade lashed out with uncanny speed, arcing out with a brilliant sparking of light before the edge bit putrid flesh. The creature's eyes turned away with each blast of light, making it harder for the thing to land a solid blow upon the Elf.

The construct clasped its hands high over its head and swung them down in hopes of knocking Minuial's shield arm away. Moments before the crushing weight landed, the arms flung off to the side, missing their mark. Translucent chains of soft blue ice entangled its wrists, the heavy spiked orbs of dense frozen water that propelled it forward now entangled. The construct's head whipped around, and cloudy corpse eyes focused upon Eristed.

Minuial leveraged the distraction and pressed the attack. A blur of light, punctuated with firework-like pops of brilliance, filled the air before her as she lashed out. The construct retaliated ineffectually with bound arms. Finally, it shattered the chains around its forearms and drew back for a better blow. Before it could complete the movement, another chain coiled around its back-turned arm, the force of the impact pulling it slightly off-balance.

A gurgling scream filled the pit as Minuial buried her blade to the hilt in the construct's neck. With a jerky movement, it turned its head to look upon her, a snarl rippling across its lips. Then, the milky eyes of the Troll rolled up into its skull, and the creature fell to the earth. As it struck the soil, the Horror magics that bound the corpses together dispersed, and the individual bodies broke free somewhat in their heap.

With the creature's death, the terror that held Shale captive unraveled. His hand clenched around the shaft of his weapon once more, and he stepped up to Minuial to check on her. Minuial pulled her sword free of the Troll and nodded to the Obsidiman.

Eristed blinked his eyes and turned his gaze to the Astral Plane. Whatever foul Horror magics had once animated these poor Namegiver bodies was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps due to the lost presence of the Horror, he could once more see the slowly writhing blue cord of energy snaking out and away from the pit. Now, however, the cord was unraveling, Astral energy tearing loose in soft wisps as the effect that once contained it fell away. He smiled, pleased with their success.

The three did their best to examine the fallen corpses for lingering Horror taint. When nothing emerged, they set about the sad task of laying the Namegivers in dignified repose. The town might yet be in danger, so there was little more time to give to bodies.

Reunited with their ill-fated Human charge, the four began their way back to the village under the expertise guidance of their Scout. The sun was emerging from its slumber, a mix of purple and orange far off on the horizon. The rain, too, finally relented, the torrential downpour receding to gentle shower, then soft mist, and finally subsiding entirely.

The return through the forest was uneventful, and once again, the town hall emerged from between the trees. The pounding of music and revelry was gone. In its place, an eerie calm hung around the building.

With some measure of caution, the adventurers pushed the door to the hall open. In stark contrast to the celebration they had left, they found a huddle of Humans in disarray. Some held the limp forms of loved ones against them while others attempted to comfort them. Yet others attempted to hastily draw forth arms in response to motion at the entrance. All gave a wide berth to some four or five bloatworm corpses scattered on the floor.

The remainder of the day was a sad conclusion to the unfortunate affairs. The villagers set about the job of cleaning and mourning. Fresh graves were dug for the fallen and hasty burials performed, no one beyond their closest survivors wanting to linger near Horror-touched bodies. Meanwhile, the Adepts dragged the bloatworm corpses to a stack of dry wood from the village stores. A mighty fire, stoked as hot as possible through Eristed's coaxing to the flames, incinerated their remains.

As calm and order began to set in once more, the Adepts made ready to depart. The village elder thanked them for their aid, his villagers amassed behind him in a mix of sadness and gratitude. He offered up a purse of some hundred gold in reward, the most the village could spare, but the Adepts turned it away. Much work lay ahead for the village, with fewer hands to tend it, and the troupe could not deny them much-needed funds. The elder nodded, once again thanking them for their service.

With little more to be done, the companions bid the Humans goodbye and set off once more towards Yarrin.

Tattered Rags
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Re: Blue suede shoes [06] - Conclusion

Post by Tattered Rags » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:17 am

Excellent as usual.
Adventure I'm running:
Under the Stars

Adventure GM post-mortem:
Under the Stars Postmortem

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The Undying
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Re: Blue suede shoes [06] - Conclusion

Post by The Undying » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:51 am

Appreciate the kind words. I don't think I have a future as a writer, but I think it came together well enough. :D

I really wanted the story to focus on the Earthdawn-y stuff rather than feeling like generic fantasy. At least from what I've read on the fiction - specifically, the novels FASA re-released and are now available on the site for purchase - they feel like 75% generic fiction, 15% hopping around locations of interest in Barsaive, and 10% "here is how Earthdawn is different." That doesn't make them BAD by any sense, they're fun reads, it just makes them not great "Earthdawn" books for people that want to know what Earthdawn is like.

My attempts might've ended up heavy-handed or belaboring some material as I attempted to achieve my goal. Still, I think things like the fact that Scouts actually see tracks as a magical thing rather than just "oh, I'm super good at this" is important to the setting. I wanted to put something together for people to experience that tries to draw those elements forward.

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Re: Blue suede shoes [06] - Conclusion

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:46 pm

Good stuff!

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