"PRAISE BE TO KRYGAN!" the bestial roar echoed around the clsoe woodland and the party of four adventurers looked at each other nervously, raising their weapons where they had them.
"Greg... What was that?" Leanna's voice was nervous and breaking and her knuckles were whitening as the grip on his staff tighetned.
"What we came to look for, I'm guessing." the reply was resolute and steady, emphasised by the ringing of a sword from a scabbard as he drew the greatsword from his backscabbard. Though he looked calm, the nervous gaze around as he tried to pinpoint the sound gave away his feeling of unease.
"Some foul beast of the mother of monsters, lass, that's all it is." the harsh voice of the dwarf that stood alongside the two humans was like rocks striking each other - but it served well to bring them back to focus. "Jus' ye focus on yer teachings, an' all'll be fine."
"The short one has a point." the fourth voice sniffed. An elf, standing tall, aloof and slightly apart from the crowd, an arrow knocked already on her bowstring. The dwarf gave an answering growl and rounded on the Elf, though was cut off by Greg before he had the chance.
"Eliana, Grundown... cut it out. How are we supposed to do our duty to the Seven if we just bicker and infight? We know why we're here, and now - we appear to have found our quarry. And we will win and the Light of the Seven will shine out this day." his voice was firm and his gaze stern as he looked at his companions, his hand absently touching the sword pendant around his neck as he spoke. "Settle your racial differences when we're not just about to interrupt some foul heretic ritual."
"We'vre not going to be in time to stop it if Father Crow doesn't show." Leanna said softly, her feet shuffling uneasily on the carpet of dead leaves, she looked up at the sky. "It had to be completed when the sun reached it's zeinth, yes? That gives us maybe five minutes..."
A rustle from behind them, made her spin, while the others watched the path ahead, not flinching as a hooded figure dressed head to toe in black, came striding out of the bushes - a skull pendant around his neck, a shield on his left arm and a massive mace in his right hand. Leanna was fairly sure she's never be able to lift it with two hands, never mind with one. "I'm here. The souls of the fallen are tantemmount, and I will not shirk my duty to send them on. Especially the souls of a heretic, who go to the Allfather to be judged for their sins." the voice was slightly muffled behind a face mask and only his eyes showed - piercing and blue.
Greg nodded respectfully, and murmered a prayer to the God of the Dead - his head bowed - before he looked up at his fellows.
"They're in the hollow just ahead - some kind of large lumbering beast is doing some kind of ritual that Eliana says is prophesied. Apparently today is some kind of special day for them. But whatever it does - cannot be good for the locals... especially as it's right next to the river."
"Get on with it manling... times wasting." Grundown rolled his eyes, a large double headed azxe in one hand and a hammer in another.
Shooting the dwarf a look, Greg continued. "Leanna, Eliana, stay on the top of the rise and cover us - Father Crow, Grundown and myself will storm them disrupt anything we can. Take care of your footing - if this is some kind of religious ritual - and the fact that they're Kryganites - there's likely to be something nasty down there..."
He met each of their eyes. "May Crowa guide our blades and grant us strength."
"And may Kharach shepherd our souls to the halls should we fall." Crow's reply came.
Greg leaned forward to Leanna and kissed her cheek. "Eliana will look after you, just watch out for any blessed or poisoned blades and cover us, okay? You'll be fine.."
Leanna smiled in return, though looked too nervous to talk, and contented herself with pulling out a handful of cards from a pocket on her gold robes.
Without further word - the group turned and broke into a run, heading for the hollow - Greg leading the charge, bastard sword in hand. They crested the rise and without a second thought he launched himself off the top of the slope that fell away eight or so feet nearly vertically.
"PRAISE BE TO CROWA!" was his cry, as battle errupted and his sword flashed through the midday air...