Friday, February 19, 2010

A Daring Rescue

A crowd gathered around a large wooden structure in the middle of the town square.  The female Dwarf had a crazed look in her eye as she was led up the creaking wooden stairs.  Her arms and neck were secured into holes in the structure by several armed guards.  Despite the gathering, the armed men wore a bored look on their face.  It was just another trip to the stocks.

Two heavily cowled individuals at the rear of the crowd spoke in hushed tones emanating from deep shadows that obscured their faces.

"What in the name of the Light is she doing?" the first asked, a female voice.

"Look at her eyes.  She's gone all zealot on us," the second replied, male.

"But why? What transgression could she have committed to consider such a public chastisement?" the woman asked.

Shaking his head, the man replied, "Who knows?  She probably called someone a bad name.  Priests are touchy like that."

"Pssch.  I call people bad names all the time and I'm a soldier of the-"

"Look.  Here comes the executioner," the man said with an odd note of excitement in his voice.

A man clad entirely in black mounted the steps, weapon swaying ominously at his waist.  The other guards spread out in a semi-circle around the captive, bored eyes unfocused.  The Dwarven woman stared straight ahead, jaw clenched, quite obviously preparing herself for the worst.

"Well, at least he opted for the whip and not the axe," the woman observed.

"Still, they're not going to release her so easily when they've finished.  You know how these noble types are, and she's a talented Priest.  They're going to try to twist her and use her to their ends," the man explained.

"Right, right.  I know why we're here.  Let's just get this over with, shall we?"  The cowled woman started to take one step forward, the metal beneath her robe clanking.

Putting one arm on the woman, the man said, "Wait, the timing has to be just right."

The executioner unraveled the whip from his waist and checked the barbs on the end.  The cowled woman bounced up and down on her toes, clearly impatient.  Her armor made slight clinking sounds, and the man cast her an annoyed look from the depths of his robe.  Stilling herself with effort, the woman's hand still clenched at her side as if trying to refrain from drawing a weapon.  The executioner drew back his arm, the whip stretching out behind him.

"How about now?" the woman asked anxiously.

"Not yet..." the man replied.

"But she's going to get-"

The sharp crack of the whip stung the air and slapped into the dwarf's back.  To her credit, she did not cry out though a bloody rip evidenced the strong blow on the back of her white robe.  Guards did not flinch, spectators did not cheer.  It was just another day at the stocks.

The woman cast an annoyed glare at her partner, "You're awful, you know that."

Throwing back his hood, Fulguralis grinned, "Right, let's go save her now shall we?"

Fuubaar was already discarding her woolen robes, the sound of sliding steel filled the air as she drew her weapon and rushed up towards the podium.  Fulguralis rushed on in her wake.  The captive Dwarf's eyes widened at the two adventurers running towards her.  However, instead of looking relieved, Jessabelle looked pissed.

The executioner had drawn back in preparation for the second blow, but had frozen at the sight of the heavily armored Paladin rushing towards him.  Several of the guards started from their stupor and began to fumble around with their sheathed weapons.  Before any of them could even bring a shield to bear, Fuubaar was in their midst, sword and board held threateningly in front of her gleaming, armored bodice. 

"Hurry, honey.  I'd rather not have to hurt all these men," Fuubaar growled as her Warlock husband strode casually up the steps behind her.

Fury blazed in the Dwarf's eyes as she spat, "You should have just let me have it.  It's less than I deserve."

Fulguralis smiled at Jessabelle and then turned to his wife, "Well, you heard her, dear.  Who am I to bust up a delightful self-flagellation?  You! Good Sir Executioner! Please continue!"  His wife shot him a murderous glare that made each of the guards take a step back.  Fulguralis threw up his hands, "What?  We have great seats now.  This should be quite a show!"

"I. Don't. Like. This. Honey.  Let's go," Fuubaar said forcefully.

"Fine, fine.  But only if she asks nicely," Fulguralis said, turning back to Jessabelle.  The Dwarf just glared back.

Looking around at the guards who seemed to be regaining some of their composure, Fulguralis announced, "Well, good enough for me."  He waved a hand and the wooden stocks burned to ash.  The Dwarf rubbed her wrists and neck where her skin had been singed.  Her eyes shot daggers at the Warlock.

"What? You're a Priest.  Did you forget to heal yourself again?" Fulguralis defended.

"Oh for the Lightssake! Tease her later, Honey," Fuubaar yelled.  With a simple hand gesture, Fuubaar appeared astride her magical mount, holding an arm down to Jessabelle to help her up.

Fulguralis surveyed the guards as his wife made ready to leave. They appeared on the verge of rushing her and had formed a circle around the lot of them, effectively blocking their escape.  With a sigh, he threw up both of his arms.  A gigantic and horrifying visage appeared above his head, complete with an earsplitting howl of terror.  Guards and spectators alike scattered.

Fulguralis wave his arm once more, summoning his fiery steed.  Mounting up, he followed his wife as she calmly picked her way between the guards and townsfolk who were running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  One of the wayward guards, drunk with fear, ran directly into the path between him and his wife.  A ball of shadow appeared in the Fulguralis's palm and bounced there as he took aim.

"Honey! You promised!" Fuubaar chided in a singsong voice.

The Warlock wore a disappointed scowl as the dark energy winked out of existence.  As he maneuvered his horse around the panic-stricken man, his steed appeared to let it's rear hoof linger just a slight bit longer than was natural and the guard tripped over it.   The man tumbled forward, a cacophony of metal on stone.  Fuubaar spun in her saddle, frowning back at her husband.

"It wasn't me!" Fulguralis said.

As his wife turned back around, Fulguralis patted the horse fondly.

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