Friday, January 14, 2011

Free Bird!

Fulguralis whirled and surveyed the hillside.  Three more orcs were running toward his position and he'd yet to see any sign of his dwarven backup.  He turned back to watch as the attacker he'd just been focused on continued in a frenzied path away from the Warlock.  Suddenly, the orc stopped, looking around as if seeing the world anew, and turned back to face Fulguralis with a sneer on his face.  The induced fear from the coil of death had apparently worn off.  The savage uttered something guttural and charged.  Fulguralis raised a hand calmly and fired a quick burst of green flame that consumed the beast.

"Aw, you match," he cooed pleasantly as the emerald-skinned attacker toppled over and skidded to a halt.

A feral snarl from around the corner of a ruined dwarven dwelling alerted him of his companion's imminent appearance just a moment before the furry man-wolf sprinted into view.  Valentis had a wild look about him that was only exacerbated by the lolling tongue that came with the dog-like panting.  Poor guy wasn't used to this type of action, apparently.

"Two more coming anti-clockwise 'round the bungalow!" the Gilnean yelled.


"From the left side," Valentis clarified.

"Why didn't you say so?"  Fulguralis retorted.  Ignoring the frown he got in return, the Warlock pointed toward an open doorway.  "Wedge your furry ass in there."

Valentis complied, then questioned, "What am I supposed to accomplish from here?"

"Just heal me," Fulguralis answered.

Taking a deep breath, he tapped into his lifeforce to refresh his magical abilities.  It wouldn't do to start shooting blanks now.  The spell stung a bit, but like most things in life, it got easier the more you did it, and Fulguralis had tapped his life a lot over the seasons.

A squawk to his left commanded his attention.  He turned toward the captive gryphon and regarded it with a questioning eye.  What did it want?  He followed an avian gaze to the ropes tied to stakes in the ground.  Ah, yes, he thought, freedom.  Such an expensive commodity these days, it seems.

"I'll do it," the Warlock replied, "but it's gonna cost you.  Don't be flying off before we finish these orcs off, you understand?"

The bird didn't speak common, but something it its demeanor reassured the Warlock.  He didn't consider himself an expert on bird-lion-hybrid expressions and body language, but he was pretty sure that this was one pissed gryphon.  Kneeling down, he struggled to undo one of the knots affixed to a stake.  After several seconds of futility, he gave up and just blasted the entire thing with some fire.

"Call whoever tied these King of the Knots for felssake," he mumbled.  The gyphon cawed in agreement and thanks.

After standing up, Fulguralis turned to find himself surrounded by five orcs, their tusks gleaming menacingly.  The Warlock looked up at the sun burning high about the Twilight Highlands, and sighed heavily.  Five to one, he counted.  Shoulda stayed in the Dream.  A small ball of thorns suddenly appeared and began orbiting around him.  Fulguralis stared at it curiously for a moment before realizing it had come from Valentis in the doorway.  I'm not that fat, he thought.

Frowning, he turned his ire on the pentagram of orcs that were steadily closing in around him.  He grinned at the shape.  Apparently they didn't want to live.

A loud screech behind him was all the warning the Warlock had before a bundle of feathers whooshed over his head, causing him to duck.  The gryphon he'd freed flew straight at the pinnacle of the five-sided formation, fluttering above the flustered orc's head and scratching him occasionally with sharp talons.  That left four to deal with.

Fulguralis called his Midnight from the void, and sent her over to dance for one of the two green skins behind him.  He induced a state of horror in the other while the two charged in at him.   A large, demonic skull appeared above the Warlock and spewed violet flames all over the orcs in front.  The burning of the shadowy fire slowed them and Fulguralis took the opportunity to jump behind a nearby log.  From there he set about corrupting, cursing, and afflicting one of the orcs.  Once that was completed, a mottled green a purple orb returned to his hand from his first target, ricocheted, and slammed into the second target, transferring all of the diseases of the first.   Both orcs cringed in pain and a quick bolt of shadow to the face of each sent them flying to either side of the doorway behind them.  A startled Valentis stood wide-eyed between the settling corpses.

The Warlock was pleased when a quick tapping of his life was immediately recouped with leafy healing from his Gilnean partner.  Valentis hadn't completely flaked on him yet.  Midnight, his Succubus, still had one orc in hand, so Fulguralis turned his attention to the feared green skin.  He cracked a sharded soul he's stored up and used it's energy to fuel a large ball of molten air streaking toward his would-be assailant.  He watched with glee as the fire engulfed the orc, burning out his very soul and leaving nothing but a pile of ash and some scraps of cloth.

One on one, now, Fulguralis mused happily.  He ordered his minion to whip the man back to reality, and fired a couple bursts shadow for good measure.  The orc stumbled but did not fall immediately, so Fulguralis queued up another salvo.  As his focus was falling, a bright shaft of light behind him sent him diving to the ground.  He rolled over just in time to see a green ball of concentrated natural wrath take a sixth orc in the chest.  The dead weight fell on him heavily, causing the Warlock to grunt.

"Sorry about that last one, mate," Valentis said, striding over as a shimmery dust fell down his body, returning him once more to his human form.  He frowned at the heap of limbs and began helping Fulguralis extricate himself.  "Jumped right out of the bush.  Sod's law, eh?"

Once on his feet, Fulguralis brushed himself off and took a moment to view the carnage around him.  Near the body he'd just crawled out from under, there was a pair of daggers that were shiny with an applied poison.  He'd come very close to returning to the Dream.

"Thanks," he said earnestly to the Gilnean.

"No' at all," Valentis replied happily.  After an awkward moment, he continued,  "What do you say we take a look in that keg over there?"

Fulguralis smiled, "I think that's the best idea you've had yet."

The two men sauntered over to one of the intact kegs that still sat under a ruined awning.  Valentis pulled two more-or-less usable mugs from the wreckage while Fulguralis set about knocking a hole into the wooden barrel.  They filled up a smaller cask to take back to the dwarves - there was no way they were carrying the whole thing - then filled up the mugs with the remains.  No reason to let the extra go to waste.

The happy squawk of the freed gryphon beside them caused them both to grin, and Valentis reached out to pet the beast.  Fulguralis settled back onto a banister and looked up at the clear blue sky.  In doing so, he noticed a tiny spec, growing larger by the second.  It looked to be another gryphon descending on his position, a shiny plate-clad rider on its back.

Sure, now the reinforcements arrive, he thought.


  1. Thanks. Wanted to get it up earlier, but technical difficulties prevented that.