26 Firstfall 27th Year of the Dragon Age continued…
The hapless group found themselves in a dire situation: Branneks face was a twisted expression of torment gradually turning from blue to purple as a Skeleton stranggled him. Boreas was equally close to death and shaking off effects of the Shades weakness spell, and the magi of the group were both running low on mana.
Fellowship of the Shits indeed.
But just as all seemed lost to the fade – and as if guided by the Maker himself – the group overcame their anxiety to flee and instead focused on kicking some ass as a collective.
The Skeleton charged at Boreas and knocked him to the damp ground.
Yeran necked the delicious nectar of the Lyrium potion and started casting Heal spells on Boreas, who was crawling away. Boreas then picked himself up and retaliated with a massive strike on the Skeleton. Mah’Jeek attempted to cast offensively, but failed quite miserably. Brannek eventually broke free, but was immediately weakened by the Shade.
All the while, arrows were flying past at regular intervals. Neither of the two Skeleton archers were particularly good shots. But the members of the group knew that just a single arrow to the knee could be enough to end an adventuring career, relegating them to manning the night watch of some dull town or dank farmstead. All members of the group that is except Mah’Jeek, who didn’t care much for the seemingly obscure and frivolous concerns held by his friends.
Now somewhat recovered from his sexy choke time with the Skeletons, Brannek pulled an awesome stunt out the bag and unleashed some pain of his own. Yeran attempted to hex the ghastly Shade, but fumbled the cast.
The Shade closed in on Boreas. Between it and the Skeleton, Boreas was surrounded. Like a stern badass Mah’Jeek roared at Boreas “Kite!” before launching one arcane lance after another, in tandem with Yeran.
After a brief nod of acknowledgement to Mah’Jeek, Boreas took the attention of the Shade and the Skeleton away from the others. The Shade meant business, and begans spanking Boreas slicing right through his usually awesome armour. Wary of Boreas’ waning health, Yeran ceased lancing the Shade, and concentrated on healing his favourite meat shield.
In one singularly focused maneuver, Brannek stunned the Fanged Skeleton: grabbing its skull, and pushing it down on to Boreas’ sword. Yeran and Mah’Jeek shared a silent, awkward look as Boreas stared down at the dwarf, nostrils flaring in shaking rage.
Mah’Jeek and Yeran adjusted their positioning and double teamed one of the ranged Skeletons with their mighty arcane lances. While the Shade separated and headed towards some new graves to summon reinforcements. Brannek stunted and unleashed a Spirit Bane arrow upon the Shade. To the great joy of the party, the Shade evaporated out of existence in a flash of magical energy.
Whatever it was that stuck in Boreas’ craw about Brannek’s death strike on the Skeleton, it was probably for the best. His enraged state conferred the benefit of relieving the remaining Skeleton of its head.
Boreas picked up the skull of his slain enemy, and with a booming voice yelled “BRAAANNEK!” The dwarf slowly turned in the direction of the fell voice, unaware that Boreas had hurled the skull directly at him with some force. With a cracking thud so bone chilling it made Yeran wince, the skull hit Brannek square in the face. The hero of the moment fell to the ground to the sound of Boreas’ laughter. While Mah’Jeek enjoyed his victory over the remaining Skeleton, Yeran rushed over to his fallen comrade and cast Heal with his last reserves of mana. The battle ended, our – somewhat less than faithful – companions returned to Lothering to rest up.
The party left at first light the next morning, having little choice but to return to the graveyard to complete their mission. As if graced by Lady Luck herself, their goal, the Handmaiden’s Necklace was found almost within an hour of arriving. Buoyed by this good fortune, the group decided to continue searching intrigued as to what other delights rested here.
After finding a little copper, two Skeletons rose up from their sodden graves. Dripping in putrefied mulch, and foul as the scourge itself. A fight ensued, quick compared to the previous day’s encounters, but no less bloody. After the battle, Mah’Jeek found a chunky sword. He examined it closely for a few minutes, his eyes caressing the colossal blade, before he snaps out of his trance like state and held out his arm saying:
“Boreas. You take. I no need”
Yeran and his entourage continued “digging for treasure”, and the reward for their greediness was borne by freshly raised enraged Skeletons. Be it through fatigue, or arrogance, the party lost the focus they had held so far.
The battle did not go well. Yeran, too bloodthirsty to realise Boreas was in dire need, thought only of taking his Morningstar to a Skeleton’s head. When Boreas fell, the tide turned to favour the undead. Yeran healed Boreas, but it was too little too late, Boreas was out of this fight however his condition was stable. Yeran fell shortly after as the Skeletons beat down on him. He was shortly joined by Brannek.
Mah’Jeek was left alone to face the remaining Skeleton who had brought down his 3 comrades. He started running around the edge of the battlefield and fumbled a healing spell. He was running low on mana and had to make a difficult choice. Who to save? Yeran or Brannek? And would it matter if he in turn ended up falling to the Skeleton? Should he use his last bit of mana to use an offensive spell instead?
Mah’Jeek made his choice and healed Yeran and then used the last of his mana to cast Walking Bomb on the Skeleton. It was the right call as shortly afterwards the battle ended when the Skeleton exploded sending shards of bone everywhere.
But Brannek was gone.
Boreas, Mah’Jeek and Yeran stood over their friend. Lying on the wet mossy ground, Brannek was smiling and being rather jolly as he slowly stepped out of this plane of existence and entered the next. It couldn’t be any worse for him on the other side after all.
In the following days, while sat by many a roaring fire, and drinking many a pint of their fallen friend’s most prized ale, the three would often remark how good Brannek had been about all this.
And they comforted themselves with the knowledge that Brannek had died as he had lived.
But in the dreary, cold present the adventurers were broken. Spent and utterly fallible. They began a somber journey to return to Zeke and turn in the necklace.
During their journey back to Lothering the group heard a rustling in the bushes and as if sprung from the ground itself, out popped a tall, fair elf maiden.
There was a pause and nobody quite knew what was going on. But then Yeran decided that it’s not every day a cute elf comes along.
“Hail, fair maiden!” he exclaimed, bowing dramatically like some kind of flimsy Orlesian Aristocrat.
“These are my companions.” he continued. “The hulking goat over there is Mah’Jeek. He doesn’t say much, but he is honorable.”
“And the angry giant making his way in our direction is— hey!”
Yeran then continued “That’s Boreas. He’s like a slab of beef. No brains, but knows how to take a pounding.”
The elf looked around at the group of adventurers who were generally dishevelled looking and still covered in dried blood and sinew from their graveyard battles. “Hello…um… I’m Elodie…. Are you alright?”
Elodie explained that she had found herself completely lost and would welcome some company back to civilisation. Yeran suggested she camp with them that night. Elodie agreed, much to Yeran’s delight, who then attempted to make sleeping arrangements that benefited himself greatly.
The sun set and the moon rose. Not one of the adventurers slept well that night. The tide was against them, and their mortality felt as close and as real as ever.