Combat! Action! Battling the twisted hordes of undead!
Also - longest post yet!
Crow thrust the mace forward at the death knight, hoping to throw it off balance early on, however it moved a lot faster than it looked like it should for something that was armour and bone, deflecting his mace easily with his shield and forcing the Kharachian to duck under its blade. Bringing the weapon over his head he swung down low, aiming for the abominations legs, but was again denied as death knight moved backwards, raising his sword high and bringing down down hard.
Crow wasn't sure how he blocked it, but the haft was there suddenly to block the blade, using his arm to steady it. The blade bit into the wood, jarring Crow's arm harshly and he kicked backwards rolling away from his opponent.
Behind him, Addy watched, almost beside herself with worry, the undead was largely ignoring her for the time being, with the skeletons going after the militia that was fighting back, but three creatures loped round wide, making a beeline for the solitary Traldan. They screeched, as they charged her, and she turned, her eyes wide and breathing panicked as she saw the creatures. They looked something between man and undead - sallow skin, lank thinning hair, gaunt and sickly body. Even from where she was stood with all the undead around her, they reeked of death, their hands - which were now more like claws - and mouths strained red with gore. They had a hungry feral look in their eyes.
One broke away from the rest, charging her fastest and a mere six feet away it dove for her. She screamed her Goddess' name before swinging the liberated mace and stepping to one side. There was a sickening crunch as its skull caved in a broken bits of skull came away from it, spattered the ground with wasted brain matter. She stood in shock, breathing hard as if trying to understand what just happened, when another screech brought her attention back to focus with the other two creatures closing in on her. Raising her holy symbol, she focused her will and chanted her Goddesses for all she was worth, focusing on the closest creature. It stopped as if it had hid a brick wall, falling to the ground and scrabbling back to its feet, throwing itself at the barrier of faith she had created. Its companion didn't stop however, loping straight past the first and similarly dived for her. She repeated the motion, dropping her chant as it dived and this time connecting with its chest. Bones cracked, and dead blackened blood spattered on the ground as its chest caved in. The momentum took the mace with it though, and she was suddenly without a weapon, The third creature, with no wall to stop it, barrelled into her as she stared in disbelief at the mace. She raised her holy symbol in vein as it started to claw at her, and her arms were gashed. She screamed and fighting past the pain to call upon Tralda again, pressing the holy symbol into the creatures thin, mottled skin. The dice seemed to sizzle where it touched the skin and the creature fell backwards in pain, hissing, Addy scrabbled at her boot, even as the thing pounced on her again only to meet the blade of a thin stiletto dagger as the Traldan rammed into the underside of its jaw. Black blood spattered across her face and chest, and she rolled away from it, choking on the smell of the blood and the creatures foetid breath.
She gasped hard, in pain and beside herself with emotion. Then she noticed that the militia were falling backwards and her eyes were drawn back to Crow, even as she scrabbled for her mace.
The Kharachian was not in a good way, with numerous cuts over his arms and chest. He was panting hard and struggling to get his mace in the way in time for him to block the heavy blows of the Death Knight. The Father had managed to get in a couple of decent blows, and several items of its plate had been stripped away and lay on the grass. As Addy watched, Crow knocked the Death Knights shield aside with a heavy two handed swing, only to be backhanded into the dirt for his trouble.
Crow gasped for air, winded, refusing to let go of the mace, but the death knight prevented him from getting up, stepping over to him and laying a heavy boot on the Kharachians chest.
"You lose..." it hissed, raising its sword high above its head.
"Eight... Nine... Ten... Eleven..." Grundown roared over the noise of the combat as his axe and hammer tore through the ranks of the undead, scattering skeletons and zombies left and right. The nicks and blows from their weapons not bothering the dwarf as he stormed forward like a juggernaut.
"Didn't know dwarves could count past ten without help." Eliana called, dancing in and out of the melee with a longsword in one hand and a mace in the other. She weaved between blade thrusts and blows with hafted weapons, as she caused just as much damage as the dwarf - all pain in her leg forgotten as adrenaline pumped through her body.
Grundown cursed at her in Dwarven in between numbers as more fell to the pair, as they battled their way through the assembled dead, throwing attackers away from deluged militia and unfortunate peasants who had gotten themselves tied up with the fight. They came to a small group of assembled militia fighting a well organised line of skeletons with swords and shields. As they grew close one of the militia men suddenly fell, screaming and writhing in agony. The skeletons pressed home their advantage silencing the screaming man and pushing his fellows back. Over the tops of their heads, Eliana spied a creature stood several paces behind the line, garbed in a ruined peasant - almost dockland - garb, its face twisted in permanent scream. It raised it's arms, and gestured at another man, and he too fell, though this time he fell poleaxed, snoring for the brief few seconds he was still alive.
"Nightmare!" Eliana turned to Grundown desperately. "We have to kill it or they're finished!"
The dwarf looked around hurriedly, there was no easy way around, with more undead pressing in on both sides. dropping his axe, he reached into a pouch, pulled out a vial and downed the yellow liquid inside it in one smooth motion. He grunted, tensing his muscles. "Up and over lass." he yelled, running to stand several steps behind the line of militia.
"You're mad!" the elf cried in protest.
"S'this or g'round. Now come on." Grundown urged, bracing his weapons flat as a kind of shelf between his arms.
"Oh Tralda..." Eliana breathed, skipping back a few steps before breaking out into a run. His leg screaming in agony, but she powered through it, leaping first onto the Grundown's weapons and then up in the air, powered by the dwarf as he threw her upwards over the heads of the men and the undead they were fighting. Dropping down behind them into a roll, Eliana sprang up running, eager to close the distance between her and the abomination.
It raised its hand, focusing a blast of unholy energy at her, but with force of will and powered by the magic inherent in her race she pushed the spell aside, closing the gap between them with another leap and driving it down into the floor with her sword through its chest. She rode it to the floor and brought her mace up and round, even as it started another spell...
It didn't finish.
Behind her, Grundown had barrelled into the undead, the strength he seemed to gain from the yellow potion seeing him through as the militia mopped up the rest.
"Nicely done lass." he snorted, brushing blood away from his eyes. "Forty two." he added with a grin.
Eliana wasn't listened, as she stood, pulling her weapons free and raising them to point to another fight going on.
"Grun! That's Crow! Fighting the Death Knight!" she gasped, as the Kharachian was knocked to the floor.
The Dwarf cursed, setting off in the direction that she had pointed, forcing his way again through more of the undead.
Eliana gasped for breath, her legs leaden as she looked around frantically for something to help and her eyes found a skeleton, crushed under a weapon with a bow still in its hand and arrows on its back...
"Crow! No!" Addy screamed, as she dashed forward, raising her holy symbol. "Tralda! Tralda! Tralda! Tralda! By my faith, Tralda, drive this creature back! LEAVE!" the holy power lit up her holy symbol and a flash of blue light made the Death Knight stagger backwards. It lowered its sword, glaring at the Tralda, and raising its free arm to point at her, its breath rattled out some inhuman words. Before it could complete whatever it was going to do, two arrows thudded into the back of its helmet in quick succession, knocking it clear off his head, leaving it skull, still covered by padding, but free of any armour.
It turned, somehow growling in frustration at the interruption and was immediately disarmed as Grundown swung both his weapons hard, hitting its sword and sending it spinning away, almost hitting Addy as it landed some ten feet away, point down, in the grass.
The death knight howled, and a build up of dark, necromantic energy built up around it before exploding outwards. Grundowns eyes widened, and he moaned in fear, scrabbling away. Addy was filled with a sense of dread and terror and screamed, curling up into a ball where she stood.
Crow stood up, shakily, a barrier of holy energy fading rapidly from protecting himself with the spell.
The Death Knight hissed in anger, raising its hand again. "You cannot win!" it rattled. "Lord Collins will still bring death to this world!"
"Either way. You lose." Crow's eyes flashed with anger as he brought up his mace from his side and connected with the side of the death knights head, knocking it free from its shoulders and sending it hurtling across the grass. The body took a wavering step before collapsing into the grass as the skeleton began to howl in anguish.
Crow crossed the distance to it easily and raised his mace again. "And I don't fear death." he snarled, bringing his weapon down in two hands and shattering the skull - a 'wumph' of power escaping it as the necromantic energy was dispersed.
A horn went up from the tree line, and the undead began to back away towards the woods, many of them being brought down by the remaining militia and some of the bolder peasants, but - the battle was over.
Lahsaa knelt next to a militia man, tying a bandage around his chest, the smell of the pungent poultices it had been soaked in making him recoil from it.
"How is it going?" he asked Leanna next to him, who stood ready with the staff looking like she was watching out for the undead - her eyes focused on Crow, Grundown and Eliana.
"The... the undead are retreating... looks like someone beat whatever was leading them." she stammered, before regaining her composure and looking back at Lahsaa. "Come on, we should get back into the village... it looks like people are coming back to help tidy up, we should let your family know you're safe." she urged.
Lahsaa sighed, looking around at the devastation that was still around them, obviously torn between staying and following Leanna back to the town. She had trusted him with her secrets after all - he didn't want to annoy her already by refusing to stick with her and he was supposed to be watching her.
"You're right - come on lets get back." he agreed as the started their way back towards the middle of Netherthong. Leanna's eyes lingered on her three former companions for several seconds, before they were lost behind more tents and crowds.