Part 9! Gonna try and get everything I've done compiled into one long bit and edited sometime this week. Enjoy.
A hurried glance at each other was all that was needed before the group all piled into the back room and down the trapdoor, leaving Aylix and Gregory on the outside.
"You first." Gregory insisted, closing the door from the main room to the kitchen, his body tensed up ready for when the Kyrganites kicked in the door on their house.
"No, after you." Aylix was stood by the trapdoor, holding it open for the Crowan.
"I can't leave first." Gregory snarled, "Get down there for the Gods sake."
Aylix shook his head and, sighing, swung his legs down and lowered himself down into the space below the house. Greg pushed himself away from the door and followed him, closing the trapdoor quietly even as the door was kicked in.
Below, they were led through several tunnels of what was quickly surmised to be the sewers before their guide stopped at a seemingly innocuous piece of wall. Pressing a small piece of brick, part of the wall swung back to reveal a large room filled with refugees. Their guide finally stopped and spread his arms wide, grinning widely.
"Welcome to the hideout of the Sons of Tralda."
"Wh-what?" Lahsaa's eyes went wide, staring in disbelief at Leanna. "But... why? Why would anyone...?" he stumbled over his words, his voice barely a hiss.
"I... I think I saw something I shouldn't have. They were doing rituals out in the woods while the attack was going on and I saw them. They know I know where they were doing it... I think they're want to stop people going back." her voice, laced with fear, matched the same volume as Lahsaa's.
"We have to tell someone! Guards or... adventurers or someone!"
She shook her head. "There's no way. They're going to be too busy with the city for days... and with all the refugees and making sure that no one gets in that they don't want to."
He whimpered, anxiously. "What can we do then?"
She glanced around, biting her lip as if mulling something over. "I... I know where one of the sites is. Whatever they did there - we might be able to undo it."
"But... how?"he looked confused and scared.
She reached into a hidden pocket in her robes and pulled out a scroll. "I have this, this can undo everything that they've done... but I need your help to do it." She met his eyes, reaching across the table with a free hand to grab hold of his. "Will you help me?"
Grundown growled, hacking away at some that caught on his trousers as he trudged through the undergrowth. "Bloody woods. Give me a nice tunnel to walk through any day."
Eliana smiled, still limping, several paces behind the dwarf. "They're only brambles, dwarf. They won't kill you."
He muttered an oath, hacking away at more of the catching thorns.
"If there were any Longstorians here they'd be extremely pissed at you, you know that right?" Eliana muttered, shaking her head at the destruction.
"Let 'em, I'm 'ardly lovin' been out in in these thick, chokin', claustrophobic ruddy wood... S'good for fuelling the forges and that's about it." he raged, hacking apart a bush that was completely blocking his path.
"I live in those forests Grundown. The same God that made your mountains, made the forests as well."
Grundown muttered something incomprehensible. "Still doesn't stop me 'atin' these trees."
They came to a clearing, a gap in the brambles, thorns and other obstacles and Grundown breathed a sigh of relief. "Finally, we can't be that far away from Netherthong now."
Eliana limped out behind him, looking around the clearing cautiously. "There's something..."
"Quit yer yappin' Elf, come on! Nearly there."
"I'd listen to the elf you're with, short one." a figure stepped out from behind a tree at the far end of the clearing some thirty feet away, flanked by two massive wolves. "Of course it won't help, because you're not going to make it out of these woods, heretics." In the light the figure was obviously male, human with a bizarre glint in his eyes. He threw his head back to the sky and howled loud and long. Rustles surrounded them and a dozen more wolves stepped out of the forest. "We're going to rip you apart."
Crow pushed on past the crowds who were all standing up to take a look in the direction that the screams were coming from, Addy following behind him, floundering slightly, murmuring Tralda's name again and again. "What could it be?" she called after him, over the shouts and confusion.
"I'm not sure..." Crow said, barely audible to her, redoubling his efforts as another scream went out and was suddenly cut off with a strangled gasp.
They found the site of the disturbance a minute later, a large semi-circle of people looking on in horror as a black misty figure floated over a woman, one ragged arm outstretched in her direction. She held her throat, choking on thin air. Beside her a man lay bleeding, vicious wounds on each of his limbs, a gash across his stomach and another across his forehead. The figures eyes glowed red with a dark malevolence.
"Shit." he cursed, pulling his holy symbol from around his neck. "Wraith."
He rushed forward, chanting his Gods name and holding the holy symbol out. The wraith recoiled away from him, a hiss escaping where its mouth should be.
"Kharach! Kharach! Kharach! Kharach! My Lord, I call upon your name, through my faith, Kharach! Make this creature LEAVE!" the pendant glowed and the wraith seemed to shimmer in mid air, spinning away from the woman who was now coughing on the floor.
"One of the faithfuuuul..." it whispered, gesturing at Crow who stood unflinchingly in front of it as Addy rushed to the bleeding body. "Is thiss all I have to killl... Killl in order to have alll theeese soulsss, alll theesse warriorss to fight for meee...."
"Not going to happen, abomination." Crow intoned. "Kharach! Kharach! Kharach! Kharach! By my faith in Kharach, LEAVE abomination!" the pendant glowed again and again the wraith flickered, recoiling, before returning to glare at Crow again, raising its arm at the Kharachian. Crow fell to his knees, his throat seeming to close up, and he scrabbled for air.
"Tralda! Tralda" Tralda! Tralda! Oh Lady Tralda, protect us from this abomination and send it away! LEAVE!" Addy rushed forward, away from the man - who had now stopped bleeding and just seemed to be unconscious. The wraith recoiled, turning its attention to the physician. She in turn fell to her knees, choking for air.
"Get away from her, filth! Kharach! Kharach! Kharach! Kharach! By my faith, by the light of the Gods, by your will Kharach, dismiss this filth and send it back to where it came from! LEAVE!" the wraith hissed and it seemed to tear apart, the wisps of black disappearing into the night.
Crow spat into the grass. "Good riddance." he growled, turning to check on Addy. She was stood behind him already, grabbing his lapel as he turned and pulling him close to kiss him hard.
"By Tralda, you were fantastic." she grinned widely, before turning to check on the woman and man they had saved while Crow stood there, staring after her, shocked.