DAY EIGHTY TWO
I awoke before the sun’s rays rose above the horizon. I was restless the whole night and might as well not have slept at all. I ate a meager breakfast down at the bar. Not even a half a bowl of porridge. With so many soldiers needing to be fed there wasn’t much food to go around. I ate quickly, knowing I had a meeting to attend to. The War Chef, strangely, was no where to be found. Wherever he was, he certainly wasn’t in the inn attending to the customers. I asked an equally tired Cinna if she knew, but she hadn’t seen him since late last night. I shrugged it off and headed out, hopping aboard Socks. As I approached the outskirts of town a shadow descended from the trees. It was Mirath.
“You aren’t going with out me, alright?” He said, grinning. “Thought you might need somebody covering fire.”
In the hour before dawn all those assigned to get Aldoraen into the Queen’s Court gathered around Sandstorm and Malazhar. They asked we hold out our arms. Sandstorm approached me first. “Got these from some of the tattoo makers in the army. Figured they’d be useful.”
Four psionic tattoos sprang up from Sandstorm’s arms. I recognized them all: two of them tattoos of body adjustment, the other two tattoos of skate. They silently crawled onto my arm and made my shoulders and forearms their new homes. Sandstorm went around and gave four tattoos each to Cinna, Ishitari, and Thomytix. Malazhar possessed the same tattoos as Sandstorm and gave his to Pe Ell, Aldoraen, Cehos, and Mirath. They didn’t have enough for Malazhar’s projan brother, Thraenor, or any of Pe Ell’s drow but all seemed fine going with out. The meeting complete before the first light, we returned to town and awaited orders. There we kept mostly to our own group. I watched as the armies made last minute preparations before the battle. Amongst the countless soldiers I noticed Kimber, Cogline’s daughter, in battle-ready gear with Cogline’s panther by her side. She waved to us briefly before I lost sight of her, swallowed up by the maenad portion of our army.
“Thank you for your help, my king.” Came a familiar voice.
I peeked over my shoulder and couldn’t believe my eyes. There, standing before Thraenor, was the life elemental we encountered in the woods near Immos. He bowed his head curtly, the radiant light that naturally emanated from his body only partially masked by the simple clothes he wore. I saw Malazhar’s eyes widen in surprise. Most of us kept to a stunned silence, but not everyone.
“Oh great, look who else has changed on us.” Sandstorm groaned, rolling his eyes.
“Who the fuck is the king, and who the fuck is Malazhar?” Thomytix added. Both the life elemental and Thraenor shot him a look that instantly shut him up from saying anything more.
“Oh, I remember you!” Cinna exclaimed. “You were the one stuck in the pond!”
“Yeah, that’s me!” The elemental grinned. “This gracious one figured out a way to get me out of there.”
“Thraenor you did that?” I said, turning Socks around. I approached the two of them with awe. “How?”
“I asked Veritos if I could use the life crystal he was formerly in, and using that, I transferred the energy of the pond inside of it. I would have used my own,” Thraenor pointed to one of his earrings. “But neither half was large enough to contain the energy. Either way, now he can move around and still be connected to the pond.”
“And now I keep it here.” The projan unbuttoned his shirt. A single life crystal emerged from his chest where his heart would be. “That way I don’t have to hold it, and it looks pretty cool.” He kept the crystal out for a moment or two longer then returned it inside himself. He buttoned his shirt back up and bowed to Thraenor once more before returning to his people. The other projans, who at that moment weren’t in their gaseous forms quite yet, were delighted to see their brother once more.
Shortly after, Amara stopped by to inform Sandstorm she’d sent five thousand of her warriors North to help the Virathians push back the advancing illithids, and wished us good luck on our mission.
Less than two hours after sunrise our combined forces marched into the Jerancer Woods towards Nefir. The races of Almendra had amassed an impressive army. Over twenty thousand men, women, and dromites of almost every race in the land had taken up the fight. Half our troops were the mukra at about ten thousand soldiers. The hearty duergar, with the second largest portion of our army, didn’t match half that number. Their gold-skinned kin and thri-kreen from Ishitari’s village were each two thousand strong. The maenads and humans made up another two thousand. Although there were less than a hundred xeph scattered everywhere in the ranks, they were not a force to be reckoned with. Most were natives to Almendra. Well, as native as a xeph could ever be. Those who’d fled from the desert were, for the majority, unarmed citizens with no battle skills.
Thraenor and myself, along with the rest of our troupe, took our places behind the five hundred elans and five thousand mukra leading the way into the city, just as the Druids had instructed us to. Intertwined with the reptilian foot soldiers were the three hundred half giants mostly from Aradi. For a moment I wondered if they would even fit inside the tunnels. Immediately behind us the maeands and humans waited impatiently for the armies to get a move on.
“We haven’t got all morning! What’s the hold up?” Shouted the maenad leader of the diamond knights.
The gold dwarves alongside them, by contrast, seemed content with sticking around awhile longer. And even though I couldn’t see past the thousands of warriors behind us, I knew my people were in the very back along with many of the fire and air elementals.
“Okay, troops, here is the gist of it.” Amanmal ordered, just before we headed out. “I can speak to you through my mind. This means silent communication. If we can pull this off, the enemy won’t hear me directing. This will be a huge advantage, plus I can direct those of you even really far away. Therefore, if you hear my voice in your head.” Like this. I heard him say inside my mind, “Then don’t be alarmed!”
The silver spiders that months ago blocked my way to Aimi were all gone. I couldn’t find a single one up in trees.
“I guess we don’t really need this door anymore.” Cogline sighed when we reached the door to Nefir. With a flick of his wrist, and with out even touching it, the Druid ripped it clear from its hinges. It flew off a dozen feet away with a clang. “Someone will forget the word in and then there’ll be people stuck outside.” He stepped aside to let others pass. Cogline would remain above ground working the portal, while Amanmal directed troops from the rear.
I nodded at Cogline as we passed by him. He nodded back with a smile. Looked like he was trying to appear happy but ultimately you could see he was sad.
“Tough skin, tough heart!” The mukra shouted as the darkness of the tunnel consumed them. They pounded their fists to their chests and rattled weapons against their shields. Over the almost deafening chanting came Sandstorm’s cursing. He did his best dodging the roots and boulders along the tunnel ceiling, but with his height it was nearly impossible to avoid getting repeatedly banged up. I imagined the other half giants ahead of us were in the same position as he.
We kind of just know when fighting begins. The water elementals provided flanking protection along the left and right sides, making it hard to get into the sides of the ranks via melee but ranged could still hit. A huge roar. We can hear the fighting.
I smelled the bloodshed before I could see it.
Smoke sticks being used. The mukra’s chanting has stopped. Can start to see the city after Mukra enter. Queen’s court covered in fire. Canons seem dismantled. Half the elans and the half of the five thousand mukra are already dead and its been maybe a minute of combat. Wall is being erected by the earth elementals with some duergar helping them. The earth elementals sprung up from the ground instead of marching in like everyone else. Drow trying to stop it from being built. Tens of thousands of drow everywhere. Other half of the ten thousand Mukra appear behind the drow and flank them, along with the bulk of the duergar army, which helps clear up fire a little bit, but they’re getting pretty beaten and might have to retreat.
Fire and air elementals also in the rear, shooting long range (indicate this with fire and lightening shooting from over head.)
Amanmal’s spiders flying overhead, some landed on the turrets, but some I couldn’t tell where they landed.
“Everyone, go!” Sandstorm [I notice pain, suffering, and sadness in Sandstorm’s expression for seeing the destruction.]
We bolted for the entrance to the Power District off to our left. I got one last look at the battle before we passed beneath the archways of the district. To my horror I realized exactly what was decimating so many of our troops. Seated on the outer wall of the city were the cannons Voltun warned us about. The illithids must’ve moved them down from the Queen’s Court. And by the Queen were they effective. About two dozen thri-kreen lept up onto the outer wall in an attempt to disable the cannons, but more than half were shot down before they even reached them. By the time we disappeared from view only two of the cannons had been eliminated by the combined forces of the thri kreen and the maenad’s catapults. As we silently slipped through the side gate unnoticed, thousands of drow flanked the duergar and mukra from behind, trapping them between two oceans of grey and blood.
Judging from my map of the city and Voltun’s word the sewers were twelve hundred feet away. We kept to the side streets, ever watchful for possible enemies all around us. “Wait,” I whispered, holding up my hand. I inhaled deeply and summoned a dimension door on the side of an old warehouse. A trick Cogline taught me a few days ago. I beckoned the others to go through it. “I can get us closer this way. Quickly!” One by one, the members of our troupe disappeared into the portal. When the last of us went in I followed after, reappearing on another side street only five hundred feet away from the sewer grate.
Just then a small patrol of four drow came around the corner. Aldoraen saw them first. He sprung into action before the rest of us had a chance to react. He bashed one square in the face. A single spike of mind blade energy jutted out from his fist and went through the drow’s skull, killing him instantly. Then the other drow were upon him. Aldoraen grabbed a hold of two by the throat and threw them against the closest wall. His original spike had vanished. The drow suddenly shrieked, blood pouring out of their mouths. Aldoraen let go and the two slumped to the ground. We watched in horror as the drow choked to death on their own blood. They each had a single puncture wound through the jugular. The remaining drow lunged for Aldoraen, screaming furiously over the deaths of his comrades. The maenad easily disarmed him of his longsword and threw him to the ground. Mind blade spikes enveloped Aldoraen’s fist like thorns. He punched the drow over and over, even long after he was already dead.
“Interesting shape. Is that new?” Sandstorm asked, unphased by what we just witnessed.
“No,” Aldoraen shrugged, “I just thought of it.”
The screams of the first patrol must’ve alerted the enemy to our location. The drow spread out along the side streets as well as the main roads, making it increasingly difficult to avoid patrols. We had to move fast. We lost our first troupe member three hundred feet from the sewer. In the midst of another fight with the patrols, one of Pe Ell’s drow who’d taken up the rear was stabbed through the chest.
At about a hundred and fifty feet from the sewers it was nearly impossible to keep to the side streets with out being noticed. We made a bold move and turned onto one of the main roads. As we darted for the entrance I noticed fifteen of our drow weren’t with us. Pe Ell fell behind, running at a slower pace than I’d expect him to. He held up his open hand, turned sideways. He made a quick chopping motion and in the next instant the bloodied bodies of ten drow archers fell from the rooftops. Many had arrows locked and ready, but our drow eliminated them before they’d had a chance to strike.
By the time we’d reached the sewers two more of Pe Ell’s drow were dead. One from an arrow through the neck, the other cut down by the fiery blast from a psion guarding the entrance. We disposed of the psion and other soldiers blocking our way not long after, but from the shouting all around us more were surely on their way.
“You need to go. They know we’re here!” Pe Ell yelled over his shoulder, his sword Dmitri in hand. “Get in the sewers! We’ll cover you at the entrance here. This is where the other drow should be meeting up…Now go!”
There was no time to argue. Sandstorm yanked off the grate and threw it aside. Before he descended the ladder, he tossed Pe Ell all his tangle foot bags. “You can set up traps with these!”
Pe Ell nodded and threw a couple to the drow closest to him. “You heard the man!”
Ishitari and Aldoraen filed in after Sandstorm, followed by the rest of us. “I can carry you down.” Thraenor said into my ear so I could hear him over the shouting. He picked up Socks with ease and cautiously lowered the both of us down into the sewer. I shot one last look at Pe Ell. For a brief moment I wondered if I’d ever see him alive again.
The thought was pushed aside by the overwhelming stench of shit surrounding us in the bowels of the city. Everyone was at least a little queasy from the smell, but Cinna looked like she was ready to puke. We traveled in near darkness for nearly half a mile. The only source of light a single torch held up by Thomytix. Dozens of rats, mice, and Queen knows what else scurried away from our foot falls. Thank the Queen we ran into nothing bigger than that.
“Well that was shitty…” Sandstorm said under his breath when we found our way out.
“Are you trying to be clever?” Thomytix exclaimed, gagging a little.
“Will the both of you shut the fuck up? You really want us to get noticed again?” Aldoraen snarled. For a moment I feared what he might do to them. He shoved both men out of his way and sliced open the grate with a mind blade. He glared at them over his shoulder, his hand on the ladder. “Come on, we’ll be quieter this way.”
Sandstorm shrugged and climbed up after the maenad. Thomytix and the others followed suit. Like before, Thraenor and I went up last. We were close to the secret entrance now. Two hundred feet away at most. It wasn’t long till we ran into more opposition. An illithid and a drow spotted us as we dashed for the closest side street.
We went in for the attack, all except Thomytix. The elan stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes opened wide in shock. Whatever it was, it must’ve been because of the illithid. He wasn’t able to move for the whole battle. Cehos, with arrows already locked, fired two. Both arrows made their marks deep in the illithid’s chest. In the next instant Sandstorm was upon him, and in one fell swoop the illithid’s head was severed from his body. With a torn piece of cloth Sandstorm knelt down and wrapped the bloodied head like a trophy around his sword hilt.
The drow, still alive and fighting, came for me like a demon out of the abyss. She screamed and raised her sword to strike. But I was never struck with her weapon. A couple of Mirath’s acid and fire arrows pierced her in the belly. The drow woman screamed in agony as she burst into flames. In the throes of death her burning corpse collapsed at my feet. Transfixed, I watched her skin and sinews peel away, layer by layer, until only paper white bone was left.
“Hey, let’s go.” Aldoraen shouted at Sandstorm, pushing him to get a move on. Sandstorm growled but did nothing to retaliate. I shook my head to clear the image I knew all too well had already been seared into my memory.
The entrance into the Queen’s Court was just up ahead. I cursed under my breath. The illithids must’ve figured out its location too. Guarding the door stood a pair of mind flayers, with ten drow surrounding them. Eight stood in a line, each with a long sword drawn and ready, and behind them two psions with staffs in hand. They hadn’t noticed us quite yet thank the Queen, so Mirath and Cehos took to the rooftops and got in flanking positions. Once up top, Mirath looked down at Sandstorm. He gestured at the enemies and mouthed for him to go. Wasting not a moment of opportunity, Sandstorm popped one of the skate tattoos on his left forearm. He charged ahead, straight for one of the illithids. At the moment of impact Mirath fired a thunderstone arrow into the fray.
In the midst of the chaos I saw Cehos going in for the kill, his arrows dead set on the second illithid. Two or three of his arrows struck their target, but surprisingly the illithid wasn’t dead just yet. He yowled in pain, blood gushing from the arrow wounds in his neck. His eyes darted from rooftop to rooftop but he couldn’t find the perpetrator before it was too late. A second later the illithid was struck again, and this time he was gone for good.
It took a couple seconds for the smoke from the thunderstone arrow to clear, but I could tell Sandstorm had wounded the first mind flayer badly in the gut. He struck again, and the flayer did not rise. Thomytix was at his fellow diamond knight’s side, staving off the drow attacking them. His scythe nicked the drow in the arm, but his second swing missed.
Both casters pointed their staffs at us, their eyes scarlet with rage. Bright flashes of light erupted from the tips of both and I instantly recognized what they were. I cursed again. Those were energy missiles. I raised my hands and erected an intellect fortress around us all. I hoped by the Queen this second trick of Cogline’s would be enough to protect us from most of the damage. I saw as at least two missiles struck nearly everyone in the party, save for Cinna and myself. Thomytix stood in front of Sandstorm and took some of his damage. To make matters worse, Ishitari, Sandstorm, and Thomytix were were all attacked by the drow with long swords seconds later.
I summoned a lance of electricity, and aimed it at the drow. In a moment, two of the swordsmen and one of the casters were electrocuted to death where they stood. Up on rooftops Mirath struck one of the remaining drow fighters. All of a sudden, an explosion engulfed the whole roof of his building. In the moment before the blast I swore I saw him fumbling and drop an arrow from his quiver. Meanwhile, Thraenor had slain two more warriors and severely injured the remaining caster. Sandstorm broke through the melee fighters and cut down the caster with a slice across the chest. Cinna struck another swordsman with an ice ray. On impact, a flurry of ice emerged and froze to death the last three drow surrounding him.
Now unguarded, we sprinted for the secret entrance. But we wouldn’t be alone for much longer. I could hear shouting coming from all around us. Once at the door we waited for Cehos and Mirath to get down from above. Cehos made it, but the fire still ablaze Mirath was pinned to where he was.
“I’ll cover you from here if you cover me!” Mirath shouted from the rooftops, some of the fire right behind him. “But hurry, please!”
“We’ll both cover you guys from here.” Ishitari interjected, mind blades drawn. When we didn’t immediately run inside she shot us a hard look. “Keep going! We’ll slowly go inward after you. But if you don’t get moving it’s going to be a killzone down here.”
“Then take these!” Thomytix told her, handing over his precious alchemic fire bombs.
“Thank you,” Ishitari smiled, “Those will be useful.”
“Stay alive! Run if you can!” Sandstorm called over his shoulder as we ran ahead into the belly of the Queen’s Court.
We were met with not a single patrol on our approach, but I could hear fighting going on up ahead. The whole Court was engulfed in flames. The smell of fire and soot hung heavy in the air around us.
By the entrance were two faces I was glad to see. It was Voltun and Veritos, both busy guarding our way in. The Consort was battered and beaten. One arm hung limp at his side, and his left shin was bent at an unnatural angle. On top of that the whole left half of his body was burned, and his left eye so swollen it looked more like a bruised tumor. Sword in hand, he called out to us. “We’re going to cut you a path. It’s upstairs, not in the mines. We passed it on the way down here.”
“Hey Thraenor!” Veritos exclaimed, “Good to see you again buddy.”
At that moment Thraenor transformed himself into a swirling storm cloud about the same size as Veritos. Coal red eyes emanated from the center, the eyes of a mighty hurricane. Lightning crackled with each movement he made.
Voltun gently slid himself down onto the ground and sat up against the wall behind him. He winced when the cold stone touched his shoulder. “I can’t really run, so you’ll have to keep going. I can keep this place guarded from here.” He put his sword in its sheath and loaded the crossbow strapped to his side. “Is there any more people coming with you all? There’s supposed to be a group of drow with you.”
“Pe Ell and his drow remained behind so we could continue forward.” I said, briefly looking over my shoulder at the tunnel we came out of.
“Same with Ishitari and Mirath.” Sandstorm added.
Crossbow bolt in place, Voltun grinned. “Well, I’m going to chill out in the doorway here.”
“Thank you for covering our asses like everyone else.” Sandstorm said to the Consort.
I wondered if he was really going to be able to defend the door in his state. “Please stay safe my lord.”
“Eh,” Voltun shrugged with his good shoulder, “Veritos will come back over this way later I think.”
Moving on, we left Voltun where he was and followed the two elemental kings to the base of the stairwell. Before we ascended Veritos and Thraenor stopped and turned to us. “We’re going to keep them out of the stairway and clear out this bottom floor. Help keep Voltun and you all safe.”
“Go,” Aldoraen bellowed impatiently, “Let’s get out of here!”
I smiled and nodded at Thraenor before I went with the others. We easily cut down a couple drow as we dashed up the stair case. Beyond that there was surprisingly little resistance. I feared that wouldn’t be the case when we reached the top. Fueling my sense of dread was the lack of commotion coming from the raging battle outside. The clashes of combat had ebbed. The ground no longer shook with the force of the earth elementals.
The top of the stairwell opened up to a room nearly devoid of all its walls. All except for its support beams had been torn out, revealing the fire had spread to other parts of the city-hive. At the room’s center was a giant brain. Guarding the massive organ was a lone drow leaning against the outer door frame. Upon seeing us a mind blade appeared in each hand. One glowed a vibrant purple, the other tinted dark red. He charged right for us. In a flash he slid underneath Sandstorm. A powerful gust erupted from his mind blades, slicing Sandstorm and everyone around him including me.
Reacting quickly, Cehos fired at the attacking drow. The arrows struck him square in the chest. Before he had a chance to strike back Cinna incinerated him with her fire ray. As he lay burning to death on the stone floor I noticed we were not alone. Soon, more encompassed us. One drow loomed behind Cehos about to strike. Before I knew it another was upon Cinna. I barely managed to avoid a strike from that same drow. Seeing an opportunity to attack, Sandstorm stabbed the drow that had gotten Cinna from behind. Cinna easily finished off her attacker herself. An aura of some sort, I assumed one of protection, surrounded Thomytix as his scythe slashed our enemies. Cehos killed off the drow going for him with Malazhar’s help. I shot at another drow with an electric lance. In the midst of the fight I popped one healing tattoo, although it might have been wise to save it. Malazhar’s projan brother swirled around us, patching up some of the damage done.
Aldoraen broke from the group and sprinted toward the unprotected brain. A myriad mind axes burst from his arms, legs, and even his chest. He hacked away and burned it with fire. Sandstorm threw his mind blade at the last drow but missed. The blade disappeared just before it collided with a support beam. He cursed and dashed after Aldoraen, his trusty pick materializing in hand. The drow finally met his end at the hands of Cinna and her ice ray. The rest of us ran toward the brain and began to attack it too. But we had to move quickly. I heard more drow approaching.
“We gotta hurry this up guys!” Sandstorm yelled. He put away his pick and prepared to attack a group of illithids who had just reached the doorway. “Come at me, I’ll kill every single one of you!”
Aldoraen put away his mind blades walked towards a door located on the outer wall of the Queen’s Court. “Fine, I guess I’ll go through here. Tell Cogline to go head and start that up.” Goes through the door and shuts it. When he opened it, all I could see inside was a bright white walls.
A bright wave of purple light washes over us. When it passes over the door is gone. Illithids trying to attack us but can’t, and Sandstorm’s pick is gone. I realize I can’t use psionics anymore and all our tattoos are gone. I feel a book in my hands, titled “Artemis’s Apprentice: The Beginner’s Guide to Incantations, Arcana, and Spells”.
Flayers about to attack but a mind blade goes through one of their heads and Ishitari tosses its corpse to the side, the mind flayers scatter. “So I guess I’ll have to teach you a trick or two about making one of these ones now that there’s magic here.”
“What’s magic?” Cehos
“The thing that Thorumak told me about, it’s not psionic in nature, it doesn’t come from your mind, it just comes from the natural world. He said it would probably get here after all of this was over. It’s what he taught me to do. It’s still weak and not very good though since I haven’t been able to try it out.”
“So you’re using magic to manifest your mind blade?” Sandstorm.
Ishitari nodded. “I’ll teach you how to do it too.”
“So is this just another way to use psionics?” Cehos
“It’s not psionics. Magic is a totally different type of energy. It’s why the mind flayers can’t do anything. All of their power came from psionics and they don’t have that anymore.” Ishitari
“Let’s worry about this later, we need to get the hell out of here.” Me
Cinna and Cehoss zone out. “Is this the effect of the magic? We somehow can hear the voices of other synads around the world now.” Cehos asked Ishitari, she didn’t know if that was the case.
Thomytix has a talking shield. “Hey, what’s up? Somebody told me to come here to you. I came with the book. The book’s not intelligent like me. I don’t even know who sent me here. I couldn’t see him but he told me ‘Hey, you’re going to go serve this guy well. He’s a cool dude.’”
“But shouldn’t we get out of here though? Mirath is just outside.” Ishitari
Thraenor, still large sized, ripped off part of the wall. The same part of the wall where the door Aldoraen had been in moments before. Veritos right behind him. Climbed up the outer wall instead of flying like Thraenor. “You guys should see this…we’re winning! The drow are fighting on our side now!”
“What, why?” Cehos
“Because they don’t like the illithids I guess.”
Voltun hobbled up the steps, leaning against the wall. Says to Thraenor: “You broke the fuckin’ wall, man!”
“Oh. Sorry.” Thraenor
Veritos went over to Voltun, who’s now sitting on the ground. Malazhar’s brother already tending to him. The two quietly converse with each other.
“Will psionics ever come back?” Cehos
“I hope not. Psionics came about because of problems of some kind with in this dimension. I don’t really know what exactly. We weren’t supposed to have magic either. We didn’t at first. But something went wrong and psionics came about. But now that it’s gone we don’t really want it to come back because that means that things are going wrong again.”
“Cogline isn’t responding to my missive…” Sandstorm
“Cogline’s dead.” I said. “Him and Amanmal are both dead.”
“So is Thorumak and all the other gods.” Ishitari added. “The planeswalkers and the gods are the ones who die when a dimension dies.”
“Who was the person who did that last thing that changed us? That killed the dimension?” Cehos
“From what Cogline was telling you guys before, he said that some of you met this guy named Tyler. Tyler was able to planeshift and if he did it enough that shot him out of the dimension. He used up what remaining energy the dimension had, killing it. This dimension could have been in stasis for thousands of years, we’ll never know how much time has passed. But somebody brought the dimension back. Either Aldoraen or Tyler gave it energy again, allowing it to fix itself. It’s why the psionics went away.” Ishitari
“We could’ve been in stasis for thousands of years?” Cehos
“We wouldn’t have even known.” Ishitari
“Well, we should worry about this magic stuff later. We need to get out of here.” Sandstorm
Malazhar looked down out of the hole Thraenor had made. “We can’t get out of here now. Look at all the chaos down there. Looks like there’s some fire near the entrance too.”
I head off to check on Mirath, who’s still sitting outside, while Sandstorm and Malazhar continue talking. I see Mirath had two arrow wounds to the gut, and a sword slash to the right leg. I jump off Socks and dash over to him.
“Didn’t feel like movin’ very much.” Mirath
“I can tell. Those arrows look like they’re in pretty deep.”
“Yeah. Can’t really take them out just yet.” Mirath
“Well, it seems like we’re going to have to wait a little while before we can get out of here anyways, so you can rest for now.”
“What do you think I’m doing?” He laughs a little, but he winces in pain from laughing. I sit down on the ground beside him.
Malazhar’s brother appeared a little while later. “Hey Mirath are you okay? Had to come check up on everybody.”
“Not doing too bad except for some arrow wounds here. Those can be taken out later. But you can help heal the sword cut in my leg.”
As he’s healing Mirath, Malazhar’s bro says “Yeah, I can’t take out the arrows yet. Might mess you up internally.” As he’s healing Mirath’s leg: “That’s a pretty gnarly cut you got.”
As Mirath is getting healed up, Thraenor comes over to us. “Hey. Came over to see how you two were doing.”
“I’m fine. But Mirath…not so much.”
“Ah, I see. We’ll get you out of here as soon as we can, okay?” Thraenor
“I appreciate it.” Mirath
We remained in the Queen’s Court for another half hour or so.
Voltun carried out of the Queen’s Court by Veritos. I helped Mirath get aboard Socks so he doesn’t have to walk his way out.
We meet up with Pe Ell on the way back to the surface while trying to bring Mirath and Voltun to the medics. Find them with the medics at the entrance to the tunnel out of the city. Pe Ell himself isn’t too badly hurt. He’s waiting outside a tent and sees us and beckons us over to him. “Come on over here, there’s extra beds in this tent.” As we approach the tent, he asks “Did everything work out fine? Is everyone safe?”
“Yeah, we got Aldoraen out of here.” Malazhar.
“How about you?” Sandstorm
“Not too great. Only three of us made it out, and one of us has major injuries. We are inside here, treating her wounds.”
At this point, we get Voltun and Mirath on to some beds, and Pe Ell walked off to return to the other two drow. I look over and see that one of the other survivors was the woman we’d met back in the Forge, she had a broken arm. The other drow was female and was missing a leg from the knee down, lost through psionics. Didn’t think she would make it, but she does. Life elementals helping heal her and all the other wounded.
This next scene takes place after we talk to Pe Ell, but he’s there with us. Scene begins inside the tent where Voltun and Mirath are being treated. Aduras arrives inside the tent and beckons us outside, looking somber.
“Hello, I’m Aduras. I’m the tactician from the mukra army. You may remember me. I have some grave news to tell you.” As he says this, seems like he’s mostly talking to Pe Ell. “The leader of the mukra company, Amara, has not survived the battle. She was great friend and a leader to all of us. I figured that you would want to know of this, seeing as you knew her and brought her to the surface.”
Pe Ell nods, looking sad. “Thank you. She was a good friend to me too. Tough skin, tough heart.” He put his hand to his heart, as did Aduras.
Sandstorm left with our group, but had us move pretty fast, worried about the fate of his dad. He left shortly after Aduras break the news about Amara’s death. I don’t see him for the rest of the day. His dad lived but lost his right hand. We find him with the other injured with the medics and Pe Ell.
For the rest of today Cinna, Malazhar, Ishitari and I assisted the medics in treating the wounded. Thomytix also helped, but ignored the medics and did his own thing, sometimes getting the medic’s way. If he got in Malazhar’s way, he likely would have elbowed him in the gut, hard. Eventually, he gets knocked out by Malazhar, is dragged outside away from the medic tents, and a mug is put in his hand. [Cehos?]
Veritos remained with Voltun as he was treated. Once in the medics tent he returned to being the small sized elemental that could fit in the palm of Voltun’s hand.
“Hey, could we possibly have some healing water to take with us?”
“The greenskins of Sky’s Well were generous enough to supply our medics with healing water, but I’m sorry. We don’t have any we could spare for you. Aren’t you going to have a projan with you anyways?”
“Are the greenskins not going to fight?” me
They shook their head. “They lost their leader not too long ago. Sending us healing water was the best they could do to help.”
About 11k died on our side and 15k drow died.