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Tre heard the voice and stepped closer to the dying fire. It's embers lit up his face trough the dark night. "My name is Tre. We are on a quest to cleanse the Den of Evil. Akara, the priestess of a nearby rogue encampment has sent us this quest. We mean you no harm. I have gathered information that a rogue out in these woods could help us find this Den. Do you, or anyone else here know where we can find this den?"
Tre stood there, blinded to who exactly it was he was talking to. However, Tre stood there confident, knowing that their just cause would protect from the harm of others also feeling the pain of this corruption.
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There was a pause, and a rustling in the trees. Out of nowhere, a single rogue woman dropped from the branches above into the circle of light and looked around at the group. Her eyes were intense, but the rest of her face showed concern.
"Don't worry, I won't do you any harm. The rogue you're looking for... is me."
She stepped closer to the dying fire. It was clear from her worn appearance that she had not seen much sleep or hospitality of late. She appeared somewhat dazed and jittery, her eyes darting back and forth between the members of the party and the dark woods beyond.
"The Den is a dangerous place full of terrible horrors. I've seen many potential heroes lose their lives to the evil that resides within in a vain effort for glory and swag. My name is Celia. I have made it my sworn duty to protect the sisterhood as best I can but, on my own, there's only so much I can do. Your party may be the first that has any hope of cleansing the den, and if Akara has sent you, then I will show you the way to the Den of Evil."
Relieved that the information proved to be correct and that the rogue was indeed friendly, Tilika still felt a tension in the air.
"Your party may be the first that has any hope of cleansing the den, and if Akara has sent you, then I will show you the way to the Den of Evil." The rogue said, followed by some crackling noises deep inside the creeping fog.
"They're here. To arms!" Tilika yelled and drew his axe from his side. They all heard moans surrounding their position. Something with quick footsteps started to near where Tilika was standing.
Tilika fastpaced turn around and with a beastlike roar threw down his axe from above his head down into what he thought to be one of the demons. "BEGONE!" He yelled, his axe plunging down into the ground, with a defeaning sound from the impact, he had actually hit plain ground.
"Fast on your feet, they're coming in greater numbers!" Raising his axe once again above his head, listening to what could be distinguished as some sort of conversation between the demons at hand, Tilika threw his axe forward into the fog, followed by a horrid, fearsome scream of death. As soon as the screaming stopped, what sounded like 20 feet started rushing at them from afront, yet no one in the group was not aware of what was happening behind them. "I will not wash the blood from my axe with only one dead demon!" Tilika stated loudly and started pacing in the direction where he had thrown his axe.
The skeleton stood fast fighting what came at it, as Tilika reached his bloodstained axe, which had forced open a gruesome wound in the now literally fallen demon. The distant moans had been closing in far quicker than he had assumed, and swift footsteps could be heard coming from every direction. "We have not even come close to this Den we so carefully must purge, yet we are overrun each turn we take in these woods. Whatever awaits us in the depths of that forsaken cave, we cannot allow it to birth these hellish creatures no more."Tilika thought as he pulled his axe out from the dead body beneath his foot.
Sudden guttural chants broke the hideous creatures' obsessive snarling. As Tilika turned to head back to the others he felt something grab hold of his tunic from behind. Startled, he quickly turned his head to the left to see what had caught onto him. Soon before he realized a walking dead had grabbed him, another one came from the other side and grabbed hold of his right arm. Still able to move, Tilika flinged his right arm, and the reanimated corpse, down on the ground. With a thud the zombie landed on it's back on the bloodsoaked ground, and with his arm now free, Tilika put it around the other walking dead's neck, grabbing hold with his hand over it's face, and pulling with such brute force it's neck snapped and he could easily remove what was supposed to be a severly rotted head. The other zombie, still lying on the ground, trying get to a standing position, without the slighest sensation of fear or anger saw a gigantic foot coming down towards it's head, stomping it wide open with a gory splash.
The others could be heard swinging their weapons, cursing at the oncoming demons, fighting for their lives. Now soaked in blood, reeking of decay and death, Tilika clutched his axe hard and unlocked the small, round metal shield from his back. "I'm coming back in, be sure to watch your backs!" Tilika shouted, fearing this attack would last them all weary. "Magician of the dark arts, prepare what spell you cast on the demons before or this battle won't soon be over!" He added as he went back through the fog to the band of brave travelers.
As they were fighting, Anagra noticed how his army of skeletons were decent, but were for improvement. Deep in his years of sorcery, the elders would teach how using your entire body to envelop the energy would be your success for power, which will lead to the conquering of an element.
Yet Anagra was here, watching his demonic skeletons fight, get obliterated with one hit, and would force Anagra to be constantly looking for fallen foes to summon their bones as a warrior. They were good, and his curse of destroying the enemy's coat of armor only helped mildly.
He would need to summon than just the skeleton. He would have to perfect the revival of creation. More damage. More defense. Perfection.
Energy was in the air, and Anagra, with all his mind, concentrated it to a corpse, and with one almighty thrust in the air, he pulled out the most he could. A new skeleton rose from the carcass, however it was no mere skeleton anymore. From the hardness of the bones, a line of muscles could be seen at the arms, giving it more strength. Along the skeleton's leg, the muscles gave it the ability to dodge, run faster, and kick back. The bones grew stronger, giving the new mastered skeleton the ability to to defend blows much better than its weaker predecessor.
As Tilika came back into sight, he noticed the others fending off fallen and rotting, walking dead coming from every direction. He heard a thud and a crackling noise. Turning his head, from seeing one of the friendly, reanimated skeletons drop to the ground in a hundred or so pieces, he saw Algranon had hit the ground and coughed up blood. "Where are you wounded?" Tilika yelled at the necromancer who was pressing his hands against his head in agony.
Not getting an answer, he plunged forward to where the necromancer had dropped. The barbarian crouched down and grabbed hold of Algranon by his robe and searched for where he had been hit. He could see no trace of a wound or even a scratch on the necromancer's body. The barbarian realized Algranon was not hurt physically and instead focused closely on his face. "Is this the corruption's doing, or is the darkness merely tearing you to shreds, dark sorcerer?" He asked in a calm voice.
Completely lost in figuring out what was going on with Algranon, Tilika did not hear what was coming from behind him.
Non-stop battles, that's how it was going to be from now on for Grogbaargh and the others. He kept slashing and hacking through undead hordes - rotting zombies, skeletons and demons in the likes of the "fallen" and their shamans. This time the situation was no joke - the hordes of enemies were in even larger numbers than the first attack during the daylight. This time the fearless barbarian didn't even have time to help or think about his comrades in battle. Instead, the only thing he could do now is to keep decapitating, gutting, tearing apart and slicing the monsters in pieces for a battle that looked like was going to continue until the first sun rays of a new day... If they could live to see it.
Before the band's leader could respond, the unsuspecting group found themselves plunged into the heat of battle. Celia raised her bow again, this time aimed into the dark woods beyond. She could hear the others entering the fight and concentrated, staring into the darkness in search of the familiar shapes of the Blood Moor. The walking dead, the fallen demons and their shamans, the dreaded wendigos and, worst of all, her corrupted sisters. She had fought them all on occasion and each battle had left their scars - mental and physical - but every time she had learned. Learned to be faster, stronger, more cunning.
Her trained ears picked up the sound of a snapping twig and before she could think about it, her aim adjusted and the arrow fired. The familiar yelp of a dying fallen, it's throat freshly skewered, rang out.
The battle was going smoothly for Anagra, mostly just obliterating the small army of mindless monsters. His newly improved army of skeletons was going well, and his new curse of amplifying damage was perfect. The bodies of weak demons were flying, and the stench of blood was in the air. Anagra, who was moving more swiftly, was now moving forward toward the leader of the red demons, a priest that practiced the art of perfect revival. It seemed natural that the real leader would get special attention. A mere death from a skeleton would not be enough.
As he approached the leader, a group of red demons noticed their leader in trouble, and reacted upon it. In an instant, he found the mindless fallen to be running toward him, eager to destroy the potential killer of their priest. In the blink of an eye, they were on Anagra, their teeth spewing blood, and their long knives ready to dig in his neck.
A skeleton minion ran to aid Anagra, quickly getting in the way of the fallen. Soon, the minions protected him, fighting off the Fallen. Anagra himself helped fight them off, using his dagger to slit their throat and use their bones to form new minions.
In an instant, a fallen jumped on him, but perhaps of the red demon's success of actually reaching the demon may have prevented the instant of death of Anagra, but his skeletons army was distracted, and without their master, they were quickly losing their battle. Anagra grabbed the fallen off his back, and then fell down to the ground. With one swift motion, he dug his dagger in the fallen's neck, killing it.
The shaman, however, in the midst of the chaos, finally had a clear look at the master of the skeleton minions, and then, with a demonic smile, summoned a ball of fire, and aimed on right at Anagra's back.
Anagra, seeing the fireball moving toward him, was defenseless. On the ground, he swung around, instinctively covered his face, and braced for impact. Yet the act of waving the dagger, he unintentionally summoned a skeleton, a weaker one, yet one that faced the fireball. The fireball collided with the skeleton, and it got obliterated.
Stunned at his luck, Anagra had a clear look at the Shaman. He ran to it, and the shaman, who no longer had anymore fallen to protect, tried to cast another fireball. Yet Anagra caught up to him, and quickly dug his dagger into the monster's stomache. Tha shaman coughed blood for a moment, then fell forward, dead.
The chaos of fighting around him, Anagra now knew that his cloak and minions would not offer him enough protection. Seeing the obliterated bones of the skeleton he summoned gave him an idea. The bones of a skeleton can handle physical blows and resist elemental damage. They were ideal protection, and they were a satisfying answer to his problem.
With a wave, the bones flew up in the air, and surrounded him at the waste, waiting, like a minion, to protect its master.
Tre looked around, studying the battleground. Zombies, skeletons, and fallen all surround them. Each person in the group doing what they could to fight off these corrupted beings. Tre saw Tilika crouched over Algranon, oblivious to the tow zombies approaching him from behind.
Tre shut his eyes and concentrated for a moment. He felt the energy of Sanctuary around him. Its warmth that filled the air flowed into him, fueling his own powers. He opened his eyes and aimed at his two targets with his arms. A small spark grew into a flame around Tre's body. He focused his energy and flowed the flame from his body down his arms and sent it traveling towards his targets. The flames traveled across the ground searching for the zombies. Once finding them, the flames rose up, scorching their bodies. The two zombies fell to the ground, the flesh burned to black ash.
Tre continued to survey the fight. The other necromancer was making quick work of the other fallen, even destroying their shaman leader. The newly met rogue was firing from a distance, shooting victims that Tre could not even see. It appeared that the fight was ending, all of the demons lying dead on the floor. Tre walked around looking for any useful materials. He spotted a leather cap, lying next to one of the zombies. Tre picked up the cap and inspected it for any damage. Despite a small hole in the side, it would serve to help protect him from further blows. He placed it upon his head, adjusting it to fit his head.
With a calm now replacing the intense fight, Tre walked back to the rogue. "Celia, can you please take us to the Den of Evil. It is apparent that these attacks will not stop until we are able to cleanse this area of its foul corruption. My men are eager to complete this quest given to us and there is no time to waste."
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The battle was slowly easing. Yet Anagra felt weak. A lot weaker than before, which came to surprise him. He looked at his dagger, and then he realized that, unfortunately, he did not have enough strength and energy to maintain his bone armor along with his skeletal minions. He valued his curse too much to abandon it, so he chose to get rid of his protective bone armor, figuring that he would aid the others from a further distance, letting his minions attack instead of he himself engaging in close combat.
With a flick of his dagger, the bone armor fell to the ground. And with that, the last of the fallen were slowly falling.
Grunting from exhaustion Arry slammed his sword into the ground before whispering a prayer to the divine.
"This should help..." yelled the paladin, sure enough the lifeforce returned to those around him. With a renewed spring-in-his-step the holy warrior ripped his blade from the earth and threw himself at the last remnents of the fallen.
The ground around Tilika had risen to flames for a short moment and lowered the numbers of the attacking fiends. Shortly after the paladin had yelled he suddenly felt refreshed with energy and life rushing through his body. With what could be called ease, but what was actually far from it, the band of heroes had withstood a severe attack by the foul demons.
Bodies lie spread across the camp, the fog seemed to have almost eased out and not even a handful fallen could be seen. Algranon had already risen from the ground, and Tilika the same. With the refueled energy that now flowed through his veins, Tilika plunged forward to the nearest fallen, avoiding his quickly striking dagger, rapidly lifting a fatal blow to the demon's side with his knee. As the demon fell to the ground like a sack of wood, Tilika bashed its head open with a precise strike with his now crimson axe.
Scouring the field, he noticed the 3 other fallen fleeing for their lives. He pointed in their direction. "I don't mind staining my axe with the blood of those, but if anyone else wants to join in on the fun, this is the time." Tilika said with a grin on his face.
"Why stain anything but the ground?" quipped Celia as she moved up beside the Barbarian, bow raised.
On the end of the bow perched a single glowing arrow, shining dimly in the light. The Rogue closed her eyes and adjusted her aim, clearly deep in concentration. A moment later, the fleeing fallen seemed to glow as well, with the same hue and intensity as the arrow. Confused by their sudden change in appearance, they huddled together, expecting another attack.
Eyes still shut, she fired the arrow. It flew through the trees and struck the first fallen between the eyes. There was a release of energy, creating a sound not unlike the crack of a whip, and the little demon flew backwards, skewering himself and the other two creatures against the tree behind. As their glow faded, the Rogue opened her eyes and turned back to the group.
"We must make way to the Den quickly. The sky will stay dark even into day and with no permanent defenses, we don't stand a chance outside. At least down there the monsters generally only come from one direction."
With the rest of the grouper as eager as Tre to cleanse this evil, the heroes followed Celia to the Den of Evil. They picked off demon after demon, anything that came across their path but staying diligent to make it to their destination. Just as the sun began to rise up from the horizon, its orange glow filled the once black sky. The demons seemed to disperse with the light of the sun, lessening their burden on their way to the den.
"Do not be fooled by this temporary break. I am sure that deep within this den, the sun's glow will not do anything to stop the demons that dwell within. It will surely be more dangerous than anything else we have encountered thus far. We need to stay alert and cover each other's blind spots. We cannot just rush in their with axes swinging and magic flying about. We ill exhaust ourselves too quickly. I do not know exactly what awaits us at the heart of this corruption but we will surely need our strength to fight off whatever is causing this."
Just as Tre was finishing his speech, the group saw what had to be the Den of Evil. A protrusion from the ground that seemed to almost open the ground to the depths of its core. Dimly lit, Tre walked up to the entrance, unable to see even five feet in front of them. It was as if the corruption of this placed was even able to corrupt the light that sat within it. Tre found two torches that marked the entrance of the cave. Holding his hand out to the tops of the torches, a small glow started in his hand. A small flame sat in his palm, lighting the torches.
Tre took his first step into the Den, the musty smell of death overwhelming his senses. Again, he whistled, calling his raven to his side.
"Alright everyone, here the moment we have all been waiting for. Akara has asked to cleanse this den. Not a single monster must remain. We must kill all the evil that dwells here."
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