Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Depths of Despair Part 4: The Heart of Fear

 There were many sights that Fland wished that he had not been witness too. He had watched comrades die in battle. He had seen the boddies of men that were tortured to death. He had even seen a man futily tried to put his own bowls back in after being gored by a boar. What he saw now, though, would easily rank at the top of things he would rather forget.

Goblin were strewn about a small cavern writhering in pain. Their flesh looked melted and many bore open wounds where the skin had burst open. They were all greatly mishapen, their bodies growing bloated in what seemed to be an inconsistent manner. Some looked taller while others had one or two limbs stretched out. Most had swollen heads and their bottom jaw had split down the middle. Their skin looked like melted candle wax, excpet where tuffs of fur had sprouted.

Despite rolling on the ground and obviously wailing in pain, no sound entered the tunnel where Fland and Elarr stood. While Fland felt no need to hear cries of pain, the silence made things that much more errie.

"Silence wards up ahead, four around of the tunnel," Elarr said in a cold whisper. Fland glanced around and could indeed pick out four sigils scratched into the stone.

"Whoever is in charge probably doesn't want to spook away the rest of the tribe," Fland responded, "Goblins are calous to one another and like torture, but I don't see them wanting to stick around if they think they are the next one in here."

"Indeed," Elarr said, "However...I think these are likely volunteers, though they may not have realized what they were getting into. I must have a look at the process.”

“Fine,” Fland said as he creeped forward t move past the silence runes, “but make it fast, those guards have probably found the ones we kiled by now.”

Stepping past the runes was an assault on the sences. The air suddenly came allowed with the sound of a dozen wailing and moaning goblins. The ward had apparently blocked more than just sound, Fland also found a thick scent of putrid flesh filled his nostrils. It hit him so suddenly that he nearly retched. In addition to the noise of the twisted goblins, Fland also faintly heard chanting coming from around corner up ahead. Stepping over a curled up goblin, Fland slyly checked around the coner. Even with the invisibilty, instinct told him to seek cover when spying. What he saw was just another horror in the long list of abominations he had witnessed since waking that morning.

Around the conrer was a chamber with a pit at its center. The pit was filled with a foul, bubling green liquid. Suspended above the liquid on a crucifix was a naked goblin with bloody runes cut into its body. Any time a drop of blood dripped down into the pit a flash of smoke would billow out. The goblin’s screams blended in with the pained moans of those that must have gone before it. The chanting came from a cloaked figure standing near the pit. As the incanter spoke, it slowly ran its hands over the surface of a black orb that seemed to glow from within with a malignant energy. Fland had a feeling deep in his core that the orb was the source of unease that had been eating away at his resolve. The only other creatures in the chamber was another pair of burly bugbears working a winch to lower the desecrated goblin into the pit.

This was the center of it all, where the coruption was pouring out into the world. This vile chamber was leaking out its evil magic to pervert the land. It was why cave felt so unatural and the forest was becoming twisted. Deep in his bones, Fland was certain that the orb was the key to it all.

Fland crept forward, intent onf finding a better position. He knew Elarr would have counciled waiting, but the opportunity to end all of this in one swift action was not to be missed. He gripped his maces tighter as he tensed for the attack.

A flash of fire out of the corner of his eye was the only warning Fland had. He threw himself forward and went into a roll. That was all that saved him as a web of flames sprung up where he had been only a moment before. A slower man, or goblin, would have found burning lines of fire criss-crossing their body. Fland could almost hear the epitats that Elarr would be hurling at him later for setting off the trap.

Fland came up from the roll on his feet, still moving forward. With the fire web trapping him in the room with at least three enemies, he needed to even the odds desperately. The activation of the trap had turned all eyes towards him. The invisibility spell was fading away from his sudden burst of movement. That was still enough suprise for him though. He lept up so that he could bring both maces down with more force on the nearest bugbear. They made a loud cracking noise, but the creature still stood, though stunned from both the twin blows to the head and the unexpected attack.
Fland delivered a solid kick to the massive creature's abdomen and sent it realing backwards where it colided with the other bugbear.

With the two brutes tangled with eachother, Fland turned to the spellcaster, wanting to take him out of the fight fast. Now facing eachother, this was Fland's first chance to get a real look at the one he determined must be at the center of this abomination. At first he thought it was just another goblin, but that was not right. It was taller, lankier. Its head seemed elogated, almost conical. More than anything though, was the wicked intelligence behind its eyes. This was not some dimwitted and cowardly goblin.

He charged forward, covering the distance swiftly. The creature only grinnned with its mouth full of razor teeth. Fland had a bad feeling about that grin, but attack was his only option. When he was only a few strides away, the creature pointed its hand at him. All of the dread of the forsaken goblin warren were suddenly compressed on Fland.

Fland screamed in utter terror as pure, unadultered fear flooded his mind. The creature before him was the thing of nightmares. Here he was, trapped in a cave with it, no way to escape, no where to run. He looked about in panic for any place to escape. He backed away, shoutting at the monster to keep back. Then he looked over and saw the bugbears. They were huge and impossing. How could he have possibly have thought to fight such demons? He backed into a corner and cowered, knowing that surely these were his last moments before his heart exploded in his chest from the mind numbing fear.