((Major DM Post - Time advances by 1))
Moving more quickly than anyone could react, the abomination charged.
It went straight for Kairn
, who fortunately was prepared for the attack. When the armored scorpion-tail-arm came swinging toward him, he dodged aside, deflecting the brunt of the blow with his bastard sword. But he wasn't fully prepared for the creature's unnatural strength, and the tip of its stinger still cut a nasty, deep gash into his side - and he could tell from the burning pain that the wound was poisoned.
Beside the half-elf, the fox-man Vehoe
let out a terrified wail and stumbled backward, holding his head. The horrific sight of the death and torture all around him was too much for his mind. He felt the Darkness seeping into his soul, and he could not will himself to fight on.
But his comrades still could. Bartholomew
lobbed a firebomb made from a bottle of preservative fluid at the monster. It struck its chest and shattered, spilling a stream of burning liquid down the abomination's side. But although the fluid continued to burn, it did not spread to the rest of the creature - even when Metallon
sent a burning corpse smashing into it. The hulking brute seemed to be protected against fire, unlike the lesser creations.
As Rona continued her chanting, Fen
sent an illusion of himself flying up to the monster's face, casting bursts of false flame. But the abomination - which clearly did not fear fire - ignored it as one would ignore an insect.
As instructed, Kyle
drew Rona's holy ritual dagger and charged in, aiming for a critical spot between the Abomination's plates of armor. At the last moment, he leaped into the air, driving the knife deep into a crack in the armor right where a normal beast's heart would be.
The abomination barely seemed to notice. Kyle jumped back, dodging a swing from its scorpion arm.
Then Rona finished her prayer and opened her eyes, the blue of which seemed to shine in the dim light. Whether this was linked to what happened next, or whether the effects of Kyle's precision strike were merely delayed, no one could be sure. But a faint light began to emanate from the cracks in the monster's armor, concentrated around the embedded holy knife. As the glowing fissures grew brighter, the abomination threw back its head and screamed - a horrific wail like the cry of a dozen lost souls at once. The ancient flesh of the beasts that had been sewn together to make it started to burn away into smoke and ash, and the rest came tumbling and crashing down. The sound of it echoed through the entire castle... and then died away.
With all of the undead monsters dead again, the world seemed to fall silent. Rona ran a hand through her messy brown hair and glanced at Fen, her face showing uncertainty about what had just happened. The others all exchanged glances as well. All except poor Mastus
, who still lay on the floor, unmoving. He did not draw breath.
After a moment of silence for their fallen comrade, Vsskyre
sidled over to Rona and said in a low voice - almost a whisper: "Excuse me, but do you think you could translate this book? I cannot read the words."
"I can try," said the young Templar, taking the ancient tome. "It may take me a little while. I know prayers in Old Achaean, but I'm not very good at reading it. I wish Mastus was still here to help... I'm sorry about him - about your friend. I would say some words for him, but I do not know-"
The moth-kin put her clawed hand gently atop the girl's. "Do not worry. I will take care of it."
With that, she strode over to Mastus's body and closed his lifeless eyes, and started to chant in a low tone, reciting the words of an ancient Minotaur funerary rite, as well as she could remember them. Everyone
looked around at the room, now silent save for Vsskyre's soft chanting. Down the stairs ahead was a great wooden door, covered in scratch and bite marks from the teeth and claws of the shambling dead creatures that had been trying to get through it. It apparently would not be easy to pass. And the human party of dungeon explorers - if they were still alive - might expect pursuit from that direction.
In the now empty cells once inhabited by the hulking abominations, however, there appeared to be another passage: two enormous cages held aloft by heavy chains, with winches to raise and lower them. Perhaps they could be used to reach the lower levels more quickly. But the winches were held in place by thick, rusty iron padlocks, and there was no telling where the keys might be.