Durakh-al and Malkie build up the defenses of the lighthouse, tearing down furniture and using it to brace the doors. Cazara and Blake take the time to prepare themselves for the coming fight.
Outside, a dozen guards approach along the top of the wall. Malkie and Cazara steal out the window and conceal themselves on the roof. Blake readies herself by the door to the control room while Durakh-al makes final adjustments to the barricade.
The patrols of soldiers grow closer.
Malkie fingers the trigger of her pistol, waiting for the priority targets to close. No sense wasting her bullets on this pathetic rabble.
Durakh-al messes with the barricade some more.
Cazara remains motionless in the shadows.
The Soldiers catch up with their troops.
Malkie creeps forward on the rooftop, trying to draw a bead on the first oncoming soldier through the ranks of lackeys. She strikes the powder, and her targets stumbles back, clutching his shoulder.
Cazara remains crouched in the shadows. Hopefully Malkie’s shot doesn’t give her away too early. She waits.
Blake wonders what is taking those traitorous bastards so long. The sound of gunfire makes her smile a bit but she waits patiently.
The shot soldier staggers back. “Get in there!” he shouts and the patrolmen surge forward. Half of them begin to climb the lighthouse stairs, while the other half crowd around the control-room door.
Cazara sees her opportunity. Perfect. She leaps into a gap in the ranks and destroys half of the patrolmen. Pretty good day.
Durakh-al leans against the barricade.
And the soldiers move up, with their glaives drawn. They settle into fighting stances at the bottom of the stairs. The injured one growls at Cazara. “By the authority of the Duchess of Shale, you are under arrest! Drop your wea— uh.. just put those claws away and sit down.”
Cazara cackles. It sounds a bit like a hiss. It sounds a bit like purring.
Malkie responds, “By the authority of the Royal Homeland Constabulary: No.”
The Patrolmen respond to Malkie with a flurry of crossbow bolts.
Blake sits down for the wait.
Cazara jumps into the fray again. Again, she cuts the opposition nearly in half.
The remaining soldier attacks Cazara with his glaive. “Kill it!” he yells to his crossbowmen.
Malkie is hungry.
The Patrolmen attempt to “Get” Cazara. Two of their crossbow bolts find the mark, but the third deflects off of the staircase and goes wide. Cazara is not feeling well, but she feels better than most of the patrolmen.
Cazara is not feeling well, and it shows. Her average kill percentage has dropped to 25%. Pretty upsetting. She braces herself for the next volley.
Durakh-al keeps piling shit in a pile. Goliath dung is a very effective mortar.
The soldier, horrified by Malkie’s hunger, tries to kill the abomination. The terror in his eyes grows as he misses her.
Malkie licks the wicked points of her fangs, locking eyes with her bruised and broken prey. Her mouth splits into an unnatural grimace, far too wide for her face. To her right, she hears the click of a crossbow being cocked.
“Tsk.” She clicks her tongue and darts back, turning her gaze to the peon preparing his shot. With a disdainful gesture of her hand, a blood vessel snaps in the man’s head, and he collapses like a rag doll.
“You may finish these scraps if you like, Cazara dear. I’ve had my fill.”
The patrolman takes a shot at the one that doesn’t keep fading out of existence. When that misses, he rethinks all of his decisions and makes a run for it. He expertly falls on his face and waits for death to come.
He crawls into the water and drowns himself in shame.
Cazara sizes up the last dude standing. She finds him wanting.
“Looks like we have another five minutes before the next wave?”
Cazara makes her way back to the roof to keep an eye on the next team of goons.
Blake grumbles about her orders being selectively followed as she starts shuttling debris over the roof to make it more difficult for troops to reach the lighthouse door.
Cazara watches from the roof as the second wave approaches.
“We may need more support for this group,” she calls to Blake and Malkie. “I can take them down fast, but it could always be faster. Did someone say something about boiling oil?”
Blake wonders how long it would take to boil oil as she presses herself into the shadows.
Malkie crouches behind the chokepoint barricade and cleans her pistol, wincing as her wounds reknit.
Cazara spends some time gathering the better crossbow bolts she can find, to use as makeshift shuriken. She sets up next to the wall, and catches her breath.
Malkie holds position, waiting for her moment.
Blake stares at the approaching Investigator through her gun sights – the woman’s figure bobbing over the metal until her fingers gently squeeze her triggers. The guns bark and the woman’s head explodes. She drops to the deck dead.
Blake allows herself a satisfied grin as she drops back into the shadows.
The rebel soldiers and police investigator surge forward amongst the patrolmen, either looking to encourage their troops or seeking the cover of the crowd.
Cazara flings a crossbow bolt at the remaining investigator. Might as well try to take down the leaders before they reach the barricade. The dart sinks into the investigator’s shoulder.
Malkie darts out from behind the barricade to take a potshot at the remaining commander.
The patrolmen scurry up the ramp. The lead group of four break out their crossbows and shoot at Malkie with surprising accuracy as they approach; two of the bolts strike home. The others simply close as fast as possible.
Blake loads her bullet normal and waits.
The Investigator launches an eerie flame into the sky over Malkie’s head.
The soldiers try to get into position.
Cazara moves back to the wall and picks off one of the mooks. She crouches behind the wall, because it’s no fun if they can see you before they die.
Malkie slaps at her not-really-burning clothes to no avail. Glancing over the crennelation, she can see the eyes of the witless rabble suddenly sharpening, the aim of their crossbows aligning to her chest with unearthly precision.
Malkie smirks. With her off hand, she clutches the small vial hanging from her neck like a pendant. “I shall not fear,” she whispers, “for My Lord protects me always.”
Like a snap, the legions crossbows waver from their mark.
Then Malkie runs behind the barrier, because there’s a difference between “faith” and “stupidity.”
The Patrolmen charge the barrier and begin to tear it apart.
Yeah, looks like the main site is now dedicated to some iPhone app, and they’ve shoved all their other tools off in a corner. Probably related.
Anticlimatically Blake reloads her other gun with bullet special and bides her time in the shadows.
The Investigator tries to figure shit out. She decides that leading from inside of a pile of barrels seems like a good plan, so that’s what she does.
The soldiers catch up.
Cazara tries to make the encounter a manageable size before they break the barricade.
Blake stands up on her tiptoes to try to see WTF is wrong with Malkie. She is confused by Malkie who is apparently entertaining the enemy with a little dance and despairs of the future of the team.
Malkie digs through her pockets for the little gold coin and gives it a flip.
The soldiers start as a tiny woman swoops around the barricade. Confused, they ready their weapons for the charge.
Then, with a piercing shriek, the halfling explodes like a mortar, and the air roils with black miasma and teeth. The patrolmen are ground into a red soup. Amidst the bloody festival, a few whispy tendrils of shadow wind their way south, unnoticed.
The patrolmen at the barricade work on tearing it apart while the ones farther back look around for the vanishing exploding flying goblin thing. One of them begins shouting. “Right there! right there! Shoot!” The men scatter in several directions and then launch crossbow bolts toward what seems to be empty space. Four of the bolts sail harmlessly through the space, but one of them stops with a squishy thud.
Malkie gets an unnatural chill, but it’s nothing she’s not used to..
Blake moves forward and fires bullet normal at the lead soldier. Another head explodes and she moves back into the darkness again.
“Enough with barricades,” utters the Goliath. “It is time to blood my axe.” He pushes past Blake and climbs through the western window, then grips himself along the outer wall of the control room.
The soldiers converge on the crossbow bolt suspended in midair. They swing the glaives into the space, making more squishy noises happen.
Blake peers over the roof again and spots Cazara taking up the dancing where Malkie left off.
“For fuck’s sake,” she mutters.
Cazara throws another damn dart. She’s getting edgy, not murdering anyone with her claws nor nothin’, but she’s conserving her energy. One more wave after these clowns.
Malkie looks to the legion of schlubs bearing down on her. She looks to the bolt imbedded in her re-coalescing torso, and the glaive wound right next to it. She entertains a radical thought: This may have been a bad idea.
She stumbles past the soldier’s deft footwork, towards the fortification—and the mob, all drawing a bead on her heart.
Across the crennelation, Cazara suddenly hears, in the back of her mind, a vaguely familiar ditty, whistled in an annoyingly familiar voice. Before she knows what hit her, she’s standing on the wrong side of the wall, smack in front of the patrolmen.
“HOLY FUCK,” observes Cazara. Then, she flips the fuck out. One hapless Patrolman recieves the brunt of her fury.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?” Cazara howls, as the enemy closes in around her.
The patrolmen try to put an end to these shenanigans. Their crossbow bolts convey their displeasure.
The remaining 4 patrolmen tear down the barricade some more.
Blake would almost admire Malkie’s sudden but inevitable betrayal if she didn’t fear becoming victim to it.
As Cazara falls to the flurry of crossbow bolts, the investigator runs up to join the group at the barricade. She taps one of the soldiers on the shoulder as she passes, pointing to Cazara and giving him instruction.
“No necrophilia por favor,” she says.
Blake fires off two rounds that fly wildly into the night as she cackles at the soldiers, “You’re all going to die here..!”
Durakh-al moves off the wall and next to Malkie. “Hodo?” he says inexplicably.
The soldiers move up to Cazara’s prone form. Expecting her to be unconscious, one of them tries to grab her. When she fights back, he smacks her with his glaive. That doesn’t work, so he enlists some aid from his fellow soldier. He’s no better.
Cazara comes to, surrounded by the enemy. One of the big guys tries to manhandle her. Hell no. Instinct kicks in; and instinct says gtfo.
That…likely lost me some points, Malkie thinks, mentally adjusting the tally between her and Cazara. She frowns. That put Cazara ahead of her, even by conservative estimates. I’ll need to find a way to play this off for minimal loss of face.
Absently, Malkie reaches out with her mind and pops a blood vessel in the enemy commander’s head, before returning her attention to the more important matter at hand.
The patrolmen decide to abandon their demolition of the barricade and fill Cazara and Malkie with crossbow bolts.
And then Durakh-al hears a whisper in his head about how Malkie betrayed Cazara and she’ll probably betray him, too. He swings his long ax at her. The rune of endless fire consumes Malkie, leaving nothing but ash in her place.
Blake, of course, has the prettiest dance of them all. Even with the vampire ashes blowing in her face, she doesn’t miss a step.
Dammit, Blake thinks to herself as she reloads her guns, If they aren’t busy not comprehending easy plans, they’re busy making them harder…
With the vampire halfling sorted, Durakh-al thinks about how to help Cazara without making a pincushion of himself.
“Once more into the breach!”
He jumps down to the ramp and falls on his face with a thud.
He stands up and moves over to Cazara, while the Golden Icon of Urim glows and a wall appears between him and the soldiers.
The soldiers take the opportunity to rush forward and tear into the barricade.
Cazara is.. well, she’s better off than Malkie. Let’s leave it at that.
The patrolmen atop the wall storm the barricade. Those at the top of the ramp learn about the Goliath’s invulnerability to crossbow bolts.
The investigator gets at the back of the group of people moving the random debris and pitches in.
Blake takes careful aim, not even looking down her sights but, rather, taking in the scene as a whole and pointing her guns appropriately. She draws two rather nasty wounds in the remaining soldiers as the crack of her gunpowder echoes around the harbor.
The soldiers focus on the objective.
Cazara comes to – coughing most of the healing potion out as she does. She stands woozily and takes stock of the situation. No one is looking at her. All the better.
“Thank you,” she says to Durakh-al. She plants her feet firmly, her muscles coil, and she springs over the wall. She lands next to Malkie’s broken body. Her eyes widen. Her pupils narrow.
Meanwhile, high in the mountains of Ber, a man of indeterminate age glances up from his book and his pipe, a look of mild irritation crossing his face. He calls for one of his manservants. A scrawny, pasty thing answers, her hair bedraggled, her neck thickly bandaged, and her eyes unfocused with desperate, religious love for the man.
The man rises and takes from his bureau a small wooden box and a scrap of paper. He scribbles a few lines, rolls up the hasty letter, and hands both note and box to the servant.
“You make for Risur tonight, for the city of Flint,” he says. “You will find the offices of the Royal Homeland Constabulary, and present them with this note. Within the fortnight, some men will be attempting a ritual, and will make a hash of it without these instructions and the contents of this box. Stress this.”
The man returns to his seat, and reopens his book. “Take a good horse and enough funds for food, lodging, and the appropriate bribes. Not a copper more.” He sighs into the pages. “The little fool can buy herself out of this one.”
Back at the lighthouse, the investigator guides the patrolmen in the removal of debris.
Blake watches as the choke point barrier starts to come down and eases back into the shadows. Reloading again, always reloading.
Walls do not repel him; arrows bounce off of him. The Goliath approaches the wall and climbs.
The soldiers kick down what’s left of the barricade and bravely wait for the patrolmen to lead the way.
Cazara lies very still as the last of the barricade is destroyed. She does not turn to look, but her ears point straight backward – nearly folded to her head. She exhales slowly when she hears the soldiers hesitate.
Time to get away. She takes a couple deep breaths as she slips the icon of Avilona around her neck. Then, she jumps.
The investigator and her patrolmen rush over the barricade. She and an assistant climb the lighthouse steps for a better vantage point while the rest crash the control-room door.
Blake creeps forward again to take a shot and is distressed by the wave of soldiers pouring through the breach in the barricade. She can’t even spot any of her team in the mass of fuckers.
That’s because one of them is up on the roof with her. Cazara waves as Blake pushes past, but the boss must be having vision problems or something.
Blake nearly squeezes off a wild shot but takes a brief moment to compose herself before blasting away at one of the soldiers and hitting her mark. She moves quickly back into the shadows.
If only they could drop the leaders, Durakh-al thinks, I could handle the rest of this rabble myself.
He climbs over the wall and makes his appearance again on the porch, swinging his great axe in an arc through the throng, but they duck en masse.
The soldiers move to Durakh-al and try to convince the patrolmen that he’s not invincible. They manage to scratch him slightly with their glaives.
Cazara gets her bearings, and her little bag o’ darts. She flings one at the investigator. The leader of the second wave dies rather anticlimactically.
“Hey, boss,” Cazara says, sliding into a darker patch of shadow. “Uh… Sorry for the mess. When I run out of these darts, I can help you with reloading if you’d like.”
The patrolmen scatter in a panic, fleeing from the invulnerable Goliath. They scurry up the lighthouse stairs and begin trying to break the door down.
Blake reloads a gun in the safety of the shadows of the fireworks ritual silhouetting her nicely for the guys on that other platform over there.
Cazara coughs. “Um, boss? Ya wanna move so you’re actually, like, hidden?”
Blake casts a glare of disdainful irritation from her hidden spot.
The soldier is making Durakh-al angry; he won’t like him when he’s angry. . .
Unfortunately, the Goliath’s anger gets the better of him and he swings wildly.
The soldiers continue their work of trying to chop down the Goliath, but their weapons have no effect on him. The two men exchange a worried look.
Blake says nothing, and she’s got one loaded anyway. Cazara creeps up and tries to murder another minion with a dart. She succeeds, then steps back and holds out a clawed hand for some of Blake’s ammo, and another for her gun.
With a now well practiced motion Blake creeps forward, pokes her gun over the edge and executes one of the soldiers before creeping back to her hiding spot.
The huge Goliath swings his axe at the remaining soldier.
The soldier swings his glaive at the remaining huge Goliath. It is less effective.
Cazara takes one of Blake’s guns, reloads it for her, and holds it out for her to take.
The Patrolmen try to open some doors.
Blake moves out of the shadows to deal more death to the crowd below before melting back. She hands a gun to Cazara.
None of this rabble can harm him. He goes to work with his great axe as if it were a pitchfork, moving hay.
He swings high and roars.
The Patrolmen scatter in terror. They know that the flaming invulnerable giant in their midst cannot be defeated. They desperately try to find a place to hide, tearing at the lighthouse door.
only one of them is in a position where he couldn’t use one move action to add himself to the pile of guys passing chunks of wood down the stairs. The other nine work on the door.
Blake continues dealing out death.
Durakh-al starts plucking men off the balcony.
“Back away or die,” he tells the patrolmen still working on the barricade. “I shall let you pass if you cease; tell the others what you have seen here: that I cannot be defeated by your weapons, that your task is hopeless.”
Cazara quietly assists Blake. If she could get her heart rate down, maybe she could even start resting for the final wave. The action of continually reloading a gun could become its own kind of meditation. She thinks she might have dislocated her shoulder, though. Maybe crazcked a rib. Hard to tell, given the flesh wounds. She doubts she could throw more than one or two punches before exhaustion takes her.
The Patrolmen carefully consider Durakh-al’s offer and scamper back the way they came.