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The Battle... Ends?
<onine> The undead creatures leap of past the bridge, almost like a stampede of animals racing past, a few stray near you and are subsequently put down by the Magistrate and Epheri's wolfhound.
<onine> You can hear the noise of cheering echoing from the other areas of Glie, it would seem the enemy has been driven off.
<onine> The light is quickly fading from the evening sky, but the elemental light of Epheri, Anona and Diamandus brilliantly illuminates the area near the footbridge
<onine> As the beats race past, you can see their glassy eyes reflected in the darkness when they look your way, little paired pinpricks of light racing past...
<onine> Diamandus looks left and right, cautious of more that stray from the pack. "They are not retreating I fear, just repositioning. We have been afforded some time at least!"
<Anona> "Then I guess we'll just have to keep making them reposition."
* Yengo sighs heavily, wiping his brow. He stands well away from the raging animas of the Exalted.
<Yengo> "Sounds like they didn't break through anywhere else, either, at least."
<onine> "For now. What comes next however is a matter of speculation..."
<onine> Epheri dusts herself and checks her longbow over for any damage from the fierce fight.
* Yengo flexes his shoulders slightly, working out the aches, and shakes his head trying to clear it. He's definitely bruised, but... "Could've been worse."
<onine> "That's true, we are still alive." Epheri remarks perhaps a little too brightly for the situation.
<Anona> "Any fight you walk away from..."
<onine> Yengo, over the general whooshing noise of the exalteds' flaring anima, you can just make out a woman's screams.
* Yengo turns toward the source of the sound quickly, head still buzzing.
<onine> Somewhere further into Glie, she seems to be wailing. Somewhere south west.
<Yengo> "Someone's screaming!" He turns back towards the Exalts.
<onine> As centers of elemental vortexes, the Dragonbloods can't hear it, it is simply too faint.
* Yengo repeats himself, louder, already beginning to move off toward the source of the sound.
<onine> "Yengo wa-"
<onine> The magistrate calls. "Damn, Anona, Epheri, go with him, and be careful around the buildings!"
<onine> Diamandus returns to watching the stampede, Goremaul held ready. Most of the zombies have passed and have delved into the woods again, a few stragglers still bound past, tauntingly out of reach.
* Anona does what she's told, although in her haste she is perhaps not quite as careful as she should be... but she's running fast enough that she doesn't leave much more than scorch marks.
* Epheri sheathes her sword and runs after Anona and Yengo.
The Streets of Glie
<onine> As you run, Yengo homes in on the woman's voice. She is crying, crying for help, from anyone, mostly the dragons at the moment.
<onine> You round the corner, and the woman is in one of the yards, sitting on her knees and crying at the sky. She notices you only when the brightly displayed exalts follow behind you. The woman's eyes widen then she stumbles your way.
<onine> "Oh thank the dragons, please! Please help me!" When she reaches you she collapses to her knees and bows her head.
<onine> Her forehead nearly touches the ground as she prostrates herself before the Dragonbloods (and to a lesser extent, Yengo...)
<Anona> "What is your sorrow, woman?"
* Yengo puts a hand on her shoulder to hold her steady as Anona speaks.
<onine> "My husband and son, oh please, please, you have to save them!" She wails, her voice racked with terrified sobs.
<Yengo> "Where?" It seems like the fastest question.
<onine> "Inside!" she cries, wrapping her arms around herself. "The entire floor collapsed beneath them, they're trapped!"
* Anona grimaces. "Do you know if they're hurt?" It's not like she can go help them in her current state...
<onine> "No! I cant even see them its so dark!"
* Yengo glances behind her, searching for where they might be trapped. "Epheri, I'll need your help. I'm afraid Anona might send the whole place up."
* Epheri nods. She takes off her bow and sword, leaving them next to Anona. "Of course."
<onine> The house is a smallish cottage with wooden floors, wooden walls, paper screens... everything Anona should be kept away from. With Epheri's anima, you can see the problem within a minute of entering the house.
<onine> In the living room, the floorboards had given way to rot and collapsed into a hole in the ground that Epheri's light only barely scratches away at.
* Yengo moves toward the edge of the hole, calling out.
<onine> The sinkhole looks recent too, probably was about to cave for a while until the weight of the floor added to it.
<onine> You hear a small voice call back.
* Epheri moves forward, leaning over and casting her light down the hole.
<Yengo> "I'm here, where are you?" He peers down into the hole.
<onine> It is quite deep, you can just make out the face of a child not much more than four years old, dirty and dust covered. He is standing over a man laying prone at the bottom.
<onine> "Down here, get us out! Daddy broke his leg!"
<onine> It's a story deep at least, you could climb it you think, but making it back up with the boy's father would be difficult.
<onine> You could get the child out without too much difficulty.
* Yengo against his better judgement, begins easing into the hole. "It'll be all right," he assures the child. "If I don't come back up, you may have to go get help, Epheri."
* Epheri shakes her head "I can get down there and back out before you can have climbed halfway down. Stay up here to take the child."
* Yengo nods. He's never been much of a climber anyway. "Just be careful."
* Epheri leaps down lightly into the hole. She smiles at the small child "I'll get you out first, then come back for your father, ok?"
<onine> The kid has been taught well, he bows to you and keeps his head lowered in your presence. "Okaymissprince..."
<onine> With your light, you can see that this sinkhole leads either way into tunnels.
<onine> Deep tunnels.
* Epheri picks him up bodily, then gathers herself and leaps. She waits for Yengo to take him "There, now to get your father."
<onine> "Thankyou..." he mumbles in a small voice.
* Yengo pulls the child gently away from the hole, eyes slightly dazzled by Epheri's glowing skin in the near-darkness.
* Epheri leaps down lightly, then looks at the man before her, wishing she knew some healing magics. But she doesn't so... She very carefully picks him up, trying to keep the leg as straight as possible, then she crouches before leaping upwards in a sudden burst of bright white light, pushing off the walls of the shaft above the tunnels before she lands next to Yengo again, in a crouch
<onine> While you were hefting the man, you are certain you heard echoing movement in the tunnels, distant, but a fair amount of it.
<onine> "Thank... you..." The man mumbles.
<onine> "Daddy daddy daddy!" The kid is in rapture, hugging and jumping about.
* Yengo checks the man over to make sure his injuries aren't too severe.
<onine> Just a broken leg, only one bone, he should be fine if he gets it in a splint as soon as possible, you can easily make one with the materials at hand.
<Epheri> "It's fine. Really." she smiles tolerantly at the child "Let's take you out to your wife." and then she carries him out. Then sets him down for Yengo to splint his leg
* Yengo sets about splinting the leg, as quickly but as gently as possible. Who knows when those things will be back... "Everything's going to be fine."
<onine> "Thank you! Thank you!" The woman cries, holding her husband and child tightly.
* Epheri goes over to Anona. She whispers "There were tunnels down there. I could hear far off echoes, like lots of people moving."
<Anona> "Hmm. People, or... not-people? i wonder..."
<Epheri> "I don't know. If it's not people that could be very bad. They'd come up right in the town."
<onine> The Hound of the Five Winds prowls near the alleys, sniffing for ambush.
* Yengo finishes up the splint "The three of you may want to get to the town hall. You'll be safer there."
<Anona> "In which case, we probably ought to do something about it, right?"
* Epheri considers the house as she waits for them to leave. Who other than zombies /would/ be in seekrit underground tunnels?
* Yengo looks over at the two Exalts. "Shouldn't we be getting back to the bridge now?"
<Epheri> "When I was down there, I heard lots of things moving, far off. It could be more zombies, trying to sneak in."
<onine> The woman gasps now that the situation has been brought into the open.
<Anona> "Yes, if a sinkhole just kind of appeared in the middle of town, and linked to tunnels with noises, what would YOU suggest, Yengo?"
<onine> "The Pocks." The rescued man speaks up.
<Epheri> "The pocks?"
<Yengo> "Well, I'd- huh?"
<onine> "Yes." he winces as he sits up straighter. "Its a network of lava caves that cris-cross all over this area. Pocks. Pockets. There's only one entrance, near the shrine just outside the town to the west. But its all barred off."
<onine> The 'stampede' of zombies DID head west, but whether they were going into the tunnels is impossible to say.
<onine> "I suppose you could dig to them if you really wanted to, but they're dangerous so the council made them off limits after some kids went missing in them."
<Yengo> "All over the area? Those things could come up ANYWHERE..." What if... the others at the council hall...
<onine> The wife shivers. "Poor children probably got lost and starved to death. It happened a few years ago."
* Yengo stops.
<Yengo> "Wait. That door of Kallorn's..."
* Anona gets the idea. "Uh... oh."
<onine> "What is it?" The husband asks.
<Yengo> "I... I don't know." Not for sure, but he feels something cold twist in his gut.
<onine> Yengo did see some slaves enter the Merchant Master's property a few days ago. Diggers...
<Yengo> "Kallorn... he was shipping in diggers, and he said... he said... the people of this town..."
<Yengo> "Were just things to be consumed."
* Epheri snaps her head up. "We need to go to his house. Now." she whistles the dog over. "We also need to destroy your house, I'm afraid. We can't have them climb up though here."
<onine> The hound bounds over and brushes its large head against your hip, panting. Sometimes these hounds were almost like real dogs.
* Yengo starts at Epheri's remark, looks at the huddled family. "We'll pay you back somehow, I promise. But there isn't time to wait now."
* Epheri pets it absently for a short while, then leans down to whisper in its ear. The dog bounds for the house, its claws and jaws making short work of the wooden supports, the whole house falling in on itself. "I'm sorry, but that needed to be done. We will reimburse you somehow though, yes."
<onine> The family watches wide eyed at the destruction, but says nothing.
<onine> Merely holding each other close, glad to be alive.
* Yengo pats the husband briefly on the shoulder. "Get to the Council Hall as fast as you can. Things may get... ugly."
<onine> "Thank you. For everything." He bows. With the help of his wife and young son he slowly makes his way to the center of Glie. The boy runs back a short distance and waves, yelling out a thank you before his mother ushers him along.
<Epheri> "We should tell the magistrate about the tunnels, then go to Kallorn's property."
<Yengo> "Good idea. That way, if..." He doesn't finish the sentence.
* Epheri nods. She slings on her sword and her bow.
<Epheri> "You should head for Kallorn's house, I'll ride to the Magistrate and then meet you on the way."
* Yengo nods at her, then turns to Anona. "Let's hurry, those things might be emerging even now..."
<Anona> "Oh, if you /think/ so..." and takes off excitedly for Kallorn's house, with the possibility of being allowed to wreak more havoc being dangled before her.
* Yengo follows after, almost smiling despite himself at her exuberance. Just as long as they stopped anything from getting out of there...
* Epheri swings herself up onto the hound, then stokes its fur. "To the magistrate, quickly." The hound bounds off through the streets, claws sparking a little as it does.
Le Chateau Kallorn...
<onine> The three of you arrive at the heavy wooden gates of the Merchant Master's gate. There are no guards, and you haven’t seen any of Kallorn's men in quite a while.
<onine> A large brass knocker hangs from the heavy doors, and the entire property is walled. Easy enough to jump over however.
<Yengo> "Quiet. There were guards everywhere last time I was here..." And they're probably not fighting to defend the town.
<Anona> (No Violent Opening of Portals spell. I must remedy that some time.)
<Anona> "Yep. There's something rotten in Glie... we knew that, but it's always nice to have it confirmed. Other than the need for all the death and destruction to confirm it, I mean."
<Epheri> "We'd best not break the door down then..."
* Epheri reaches her hand down. "Yengo, you might want to get up behind me."
* Yengo grabs Epheri's arm and swings up onto the Hound behind her, a little disconcerted at being this close to her anima.
<Epheri> "Now, hold on tight." she backs up with the hound then, tells it to run and leap the wall, which it does, the horse-sized construct sailing over the gate and landing in a clatter of sparking claws on the other side with a growl.
<onine> The hound skids sideways to a stop at the front door like a motorcycle.
* Yengo almost laughs despite the gravity of the situation. "Always dreamed about flying when I was a kid..." He trails off as he slides from the back of the creature, smile fading.
* Anona follows Epheri, with charm-based assistance.
* Epheri grins and slips off the creature too. "You're not going to fit inside, so stay out here and watch for trouble, ok?" she speaks to the hound, then waits for Anona to catch them up, playing with the things ear.
<onine> In the slowly fading anima light, you can see the neglect of the gardens, weed filled grass, dead lilies and carp, the broken weather wheel. No lanterns are lit in the yard, and no light comes from inside the estate's main buildings, nor from the servants quarters and sheds to the side.
<Anona> "So, do we search for anybody living, or just head straight to the basement?"
<Yengo> "I think we should secure that door before we do anything else."
<Epheri> "You know the house, Yengo." She listens carefully for any sound of people in the house.
* Yengo moves to take the lead, drawing his sword as the Exalts follow behind him. "It's not too far inside..."
* Epheri draws her own sword and follows after Yengo.
* Anona also follows.
<onine> You hear no sound. Only the ambient noise of the night...
<onine> Sure enough you make your way to the locked and barred door. The house hasn't grown any cleaner. Dust and cobwebs hang on everything and a strange musty odor permeates the rooms and seems to oppress your senses.
<onine> The door Yengo talks about is a heavy metal door halfway down a thin stairway. It has an iron bar across it and a lock upon a second latch.
* Yengo runs a hand over it again, experimentally. "Doesn't look much different."
<onine> It doesn’t. Except the lock is no longer fastened.
<Yengo> "So I guess the question is... do we go through?"
<Epheri> "..How are these zombies going to get in, if the door is barred from this side?" she considers outloud.
<Yengo> "This might not be the only way in. And whatever's going on, we know Kallorn went THROUGH here."
<Yengo> "He might be opening a path for them anywhere."
<onine> The bar looks like it is the type that can be fastened from both sides, but it might not.
* Epheri nods. "That's true." she tests the bar. does it lift?
<onine> Sure does.
* Epheri lifts the bar up quietly, then pulls the door open.
<onine> You expected it to creak. But it opens so perfectly quiet!
In the Cellar
<onine> You make your way down the stairs and they turn to the right. You enter the darkened cellar.
* Yengo brings up the rear.
<onine> The stone floor has been completely excavated, there is a huge hole that has been dug out of the floor.
* Epheri continues picking her way down the stairs as quietly as she can, carefully listening for noises, any noises.
<onine> Piles of dirt and shovels sit at various points around the darkened room.
<onine> As your eyes adjust, you realize that there are people tied and bound to the wooden ceiling supports, three or four at a time.
<onine> You recognize some as council members, a few of Kallorn’s personal guardsmen, and a couple that look to be slave diggers.
<Yengo> "Kallorn has been b-" His voice dies as he notices the people.
<onine> All of them look at you with fear in their eyes, begging you to release them.
<onine> The shadows move a little and a shape lunges at you, brandishing a knife and wearing a heavy furred coat.
* Epheri snaps her sword around in a slice even as she flickers, her body wreathed in flame and wrapped in earth to avoid his knife thrust
<onine> The assailant crashes past you clumsily, he puts too much weight behind his strike and not enough precision. He stumbles over the bottom step and rolls into a heap on the floor.
<onine> The knife clatters across the stone and into the pit. The man crawls and stumbles away and turns around to face you, rage reddening his face as he glares at you on all fours.
<onine> "Hah! It's too late Archons! The Winter feast will begin, and the fire shards will become the foremost!" Kallorn splutters, grinning.
* Yengo grabs him by the front of his fur coat, lifting him bodily off the ground. "Start. Talking."
<onine> Kallorn smiles, his face contorted from Yengo's hold on the fabric around his neck. "Why, whatever do you mean, hah!?"
<onine> "It's very simple, you're all going to die."
* Epheri starts to cut people down, carefully lowering them to their feet. "Go, up the stairs and outside. Don't worry about the large dog, just get out of here."
<Yengo> "I don't think we are. If I were you, I'd be more worried about myself. Now what is this Winter Feast?" He shakes for emphasis.
<onine> "Do not touch them exalt! They are the first that the shards will sup on!"
<Epheri> "They will sup on no-one here." she cuts the next group down.
<Anona> "Let me put it this way, Kallorn. WePorcelain_Child/MAY/ die. YouPorcelain_Child/WILL/ get kicked repeatedly in the junk if you aren't a little more helpful. Isn't fortune-telling fun?"
<onine> "Your noble blood won't help you, it will only make you that much more succulent!"
* Epheri sighs softly to herself and gets on with doing the important stuff while Anona shouts.
<Yengo> "You were going to feed the town to those... things. What did they promise you? What. are. they?" He slams Kallorn's back into the wall.
<Anona> "Yengo, I don't think the man believes us. Keep him up against that wall, will you" Anona makes exaggerated "limbering up" motions with her right leg.
<onine> You all hear a chinking of metal from the darkness in the corner of the room. It is accompanied by a quiet hissing.
<onine> Two twinkles of light reflect Epheri's aura light back as they move closer to you, in the darkness you see serpents writhing in the darkness.
<onine> Kallorn leans against the support. "Now you get to be the first to die, my congratulations meddlesome Archons!"
<Epheri> "...Anona." she speaks softly as she cuts the next group down.
* Yengo looks at the snakes, eyes widening.
<Anona> "Eh? What is Ephe...ri... oh."
<Epheri> "Yengo, leave him. Cut down and many people as you can and get out. I think we need to leave here now."
* Yengo only has time to nod shortly before the creature is on them.
<onine> The metallic clinking becomes deafening and the shadowy snakes launch out of the darkness at Epheri and begin to coil with startling speed around her, in her light you can see that they are steel chains, not snakes.
* Epheri leaps backwards from the chains, twisting as she does, shadows racing over the walls as she ducks under then leaps over the questing chains.
<onine> The chains scrape across the walls around you, one wrapping around a wooden support and pulling it partway free. Another catches Kallorn across the jaw and he is knocked across the room and into a wall, senseless from the impact.
* Anona makes a half-hearted attempt to dislodge the chain wrapped around the support with her sword, through the medium of chopping.
<onine> The chain breaks and lashes around darting back into the darkness
* Yengo , intending to hurl Kallorn at the thing he seems to love so much, finds himself left with nothing but the shoulders and sleeves of his fur coat. He tosses them aside and begins moving to free the people still trapped.
<onine> The chains whip out of the darkness, no longer intent on netting Epheri, but retaliating against Anona, they lash across the room, smashing splinters off the already damaged roof support and whipping across Anona heavily.
* Epheri runs forward, ducking under and leaping over the writhing chains as she heads for the source. whatever it is.
<onine> The chains smash across Anona's body, lashing out savagely from the darkness with a high pitched whistle and clink as the links impact with her body.
<onine> As you close, the light of your aura washes over the attacker, the chains whip back around you, and you can see it in full detail.
DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!
<onine> It glares at you with glassy eyes of death, but there is a fire of sentience and intellect in these eyes which seemed to be lacking in the other zombies. It is rotted badly, with matted hair and torn, filthy monks robes.
<onine> Around it's neck and wrist are jade shackles with connecting chains. Strangely, this one only has one leg...
<onine> It's leg is likewise shackled, chains you have seen carried by Orihime's immaculate monks.
<Epheri> "...What are you?" she asks of it, as she readies her sword to strike, not really waiting for an answer as she takes in its form and remembers the stories. She stabs it hard. Twice. Then gets ready to leap from the chains..
* Yengo continues to saw through the bonds of the captives, freeing another, trying markedly NOT to glance back at what's going on behind him.
<onine> The zombie opens its arms menacingly and leans forward, emitting a half screeching half-roaring noise that is entirely unnatural, smoke and a foul burning odor pouring from its mouth.
<onine> It launches itself forward, its long arms darting at you, dirtied clawed hands slashing at your face and torso
* Epheri backpedals swiftly, up and over mounds of dirt as the thing advances, dropping under the claw rakes, tumbling to avoid the final cut before returning to her feet.
<onine> The first two raking attacks cut only the air, but the third slashes up low, taking a cloud of dirt with it and cutting four parallel lines in the front of Epheri's top.
<onine> Thin lines of crimson appear in the rips.
* Anona 's decidedly non-vorpal blade attempts to go snicker-snack on the zombie.
<onine> Anona tries to go straight for the zombie, taking a course over one of the dirt piles, but a poorly placed shovel snags the hem of her robe. Coupled with the loose ground she goes head over heels across the stone ground near the pit.
<onine> Was anyone watching that display of rampant clumsiness?
* Epheri wasn’t. Epheri wants to be allowed to learn more spells.
* Yengo saws loose another prisoner, a man this time, and shoves a scalpel into his hand. "Help."
<onine> The young guardsman nods, frightened, and starts to saw a woman free.
<onine> Meanwhile, the powerful zombie darts upon the off balance Anona, its large left hand trying to capture both wrists in an iron grip, whilst its right darts directly for her throat to choke the life from her.
<onine> Anona, the desiccated fingers wrap neatly around your windpipe and start to squeeze in unison with the hand wrapped neatly around your wrists, which crushes with bone-fracturing pressure.
* Epheri blinks as the zombie darts past her, turning as it does, stabbing it twice in the back as it expresses its love for her cousin.
<onine> Smoke pours from the wounds in its back, the first decisive strike made on the creature, but it barely reacts, its as if nothing happens, it continues to tighten its grip on Tepet Anona
<onine> The creature yanks Anona close, bringing its face within inches of hers.
* Yengo and the guardsman release two more almost in unison, an old man and a thin, trembling young woman. Both get scalpels and join in.
<onine> You feel a rushing sensation and it becomes hard to inhale, soon the force is tremendous, and your breath is literally pulled from your lungs. The blood roars in your ears and you feel moisture well up in your eyes.
<onine> Trickles of blood run from the corners of Anona's eyes and lips, they start to bead and mist off flowing through the air into the creatures mouth.
* Epheri winces as she sees Anona’s eyes bulge as the zombie clinches harder, bringing her sword up and down to stab it again and again "let ...go ...of ...her ...and ...DIE!"
* Yengo frees one more, distributes the last of his scalpels, and turns around as the hostages continue to free each other.
* Epheri continues the up and down stabbity motion of her sword, gouging out holes in the zombie as she hacks and slashes.
<onine> The beast screeches as Epheri's sword plunges into its decaying flesh, it lashes out at her trying to swat away her blows, releasing Anona's hands. The hand wrapped around her throat hurls her across the cellar, sending the fire aspect crashing through the damaged roof support.
<onine> The ceiling caves a foot in with a deafening cracking, but holds at least for the moment.
<onine> Anona rolls the remaining distance to rest against the far wall bloodied and inert.
* Yengo hurls himself forward at the creature, armor and sword flickering crazily in the light of Anona and Epheri's animas, shadow jumping dramatically off the walls as his sword sweeps from side to side and back, a pair of razor cuts less than an inch apart.
<onine> The first carves off the zombies right arm just above the elbow, and the second slices down from its left shoulder to the waist, smoke and flames bursting from the ragged tear in its chest for a moment before fading.
<onine> The creature stands stock still for a moment before gasping a breath of air and dropping heavily to its knee and supporting itself with its remaining arm.
<onine> Instead of the dark expression of mute hatred on its face is an expression of pain and sorrow.
<onine> It's mouth moves and it gasps dryly, looking up at you.
* Yengo 's hand shakes, he almost drops his sword.
<onine> Then its arm folds beneath it and the body slumps to the ground inert, finally dead. Truly dead.
* Epheri stares at it while it dies, then relaxes just briefly... "Anona!" she runs over the piles of earth and rubble, sheathing her sword as she does, and carefully picking Anona up.
<onine> The hostages watch in mute silence.
<onine> Anona is unconscious and in pretty bad shape, she'll need medical attention rather swiftly. On the bright side she wont bleed to death being an exalt.
* Yengo kicks the creature once more, moving with Epheri to check on the fallen Anona.
<Yengo> "Is she...?"
<onine> Half of the freed hostages are standing a loose circle around the fallen Anona, bowing their heads to the unconscious Dragonblood, but too scared to touch her.
<Epheri> "She'll be ok, she needs to see a doctor soon." she picks her up, then she glances over at Kallorn. "Can you tie him up and carry him out of here?"
<onine> The others, including a number of personal guards are clustered around the unconscious Merchant Master, some are cracking their knuckles.
* Yengo moves around to the front of Epheri, touching Anona's forehead gingerly, probing. "Skull isn't cracked... not surprised with a head as hard as hers... but she's hurt, we need to get her out of here so I can work."
* Yengo turns to the guards standing around Kallorn. "We have questions."
* Epheri cradles the unconscious Anona, and nods to Yengo. "We're leaving now. You people. Do not lay a hand on him, the Dragons will judge him." she nods to Yengo "Please, tie him up. Carry him out."
* Yengo moves around, quickly but efficiently lashing Kallorn's wrists behind his back.
<onine> The guardsmen look like they may resist, but the command from the Dragonblood quickly halts any rebellious thoughts involving a sound beating.
<Yengo> "What the hell was Kallorn doing down here? Was he digging tunnels anywhere else?"
* Epheri starts to look at the pit, as she cradles Anona. How stable does it look? Any parts you could just knock out and it would all fall in?
<onine> "We don’t know." The higher ranking guard says. "It's pretty deep down to the Pocks, I don’t think he could have done it anywhere else without raising suspicion." Session Time: Sun Feb 06 00:00:00 2005
<onine> Your wolfhound could seal it nicely, take out the supports, collapse the floor.
<Epheri> [if it could get down here...*ponders*]
<Epheri> [its only the very flare level that actually damages Exalts, right?]
<Yengo> "Seems to me we have two choices. Collapse this here and hope for the best or actually go down in there and look around." He stops, looking at Anona. "And I know which I'd rather choose right now."
* Yengo nods. "Collapse the cellar, lock and seal the door. Sounds good to me."
<onine> "If you'll permit me sir, madam?" The guardsman offers.
* Epheri nods. "Everyone, get out of here, up the stairs. Take him with you."
* Yengo turns to him. "What is it?"
* Epheri turns to listen to him.
<onine> "If you collapse this area and block the exit, there's only one place they can come out, that's shrine hill. If we station a unit there, we can kill the sons of bitches as they come out."
<onine> "You could even seal shrine hill if you wanted, though having a swarm of these things living under the town doesn’t really appeal."
* Epheri nods. "Very well. Now, everyone, OUT!"
<onine> Every conscious mortal within earshot obeys.
* Yengo heads up the stairs, dragging the unconscious Kallorn with him. "Whatever you're planning, be careful."
<onine> Meanwhile the mortals exit the house in short order. As you exit the door you look towards the black shape of the mountain ranges to the north.
<onine> You see something - a spark, an orange and yellow light, like an enormous fire has suddenly started there.
<onine> Within a minute the intensity fades until you can see nothing anymore.
* Yengo starts with alarm. "Maybe..."
* Epheri carefully sets Anona down on the bottom of the steps, then strides back into the room. Her anima blazes white as she concentrates on the spell, the rumble of earthquakes filling the room as a cloud of flawless diamonds swirls around her. In front of her a hound takes shape. "Go down that hole, collapse the supports of the tunnel. If you don’t get trapped, hunt for zombies to your hearts content."
<onine> The hound barks quickly and obeys, diving into the depths of the pit.
<onine> Taking care of business, exalted style.
* Epheri waits until the dirt and earth has settled in the room, then satisfied that it is sealed, she turns and strides from the room, the dust flowing off her. She picks up her cousin, then climbs out of the dungeon, locking the door behind her then striding out into the moonlight, her anima lighting the sky.
<onine> As Epheri exits the house with Anona draped over her shoulders, the rear portion of the house collapses with a deafening crash.
<onine> The Pocks are sealed, there is but one place the marauding dead can escape, Shrine Hill...
<Epheri> "Yengo, can you please look Anona over, I need to organize a welcome for the zombies on shrine hill."
* Yengo nods, carefully and gently taking the Dragon-Blooded from her cousin. "She'll be fine... she's a tough one." He says it with real admiration.
* Epheri slips astride the hound that she left to guard the doors, then sets off down the path, leaping over the gates once more. She sets off in search of troops.
The Council Hall...
<onine> Your search takes you back to the council hall, it is the highest concentration of troops in Glie at the present moment.
<onine> There are signs of carnage, zombie bodies lay strewn amongst the bodies of villagers and town guardsmen.
<onine> Clearly one of the assaults got through the outskirts and made it through to the haven in the center of town.
<onine> Fortunately they weathered out the attack well, the wolfhound sits outside the door in a mass of shredded flesh, licking at a few wounds it has suffered.
<onine> Ujiro sits on a stack of barrels next to it holding his sword upright with a nurse fussing over him.
<onine> He takes large swigs from his sake jar, periodically offering some to the nurse and to the wolfhound, but neither partake.
<onine> "Hoy!" Ujiro calls as he sees the bright Dragonblood. "You live, and live well at that!"
* Epheri winces slightly, before she gathers herself, shinning with the divine light of the dragons, her clothing still immaculate, the scratches barely noticeable. "People of Glie who still have it in them to fight. The threat of the hoard is almost passed, though they are not all defeated yet. They are in the tunnels below this town, but there is but one way out. Shrine hill. I do not intend that any leave that place to sully this town any more!"
<onine> Most of the guards have been downed around the council hall, only a few dazed survivors still man their posts around the hall. The lines are much thinner and wider spaced than before.
<onine> Ujiro full of vigor finishes the sake and tosses the jar aside, standing abruptly much to the frustration of the nurse trying to bandage the mortal's bleeding brow.
<onine> "Then to Shrine Hill we go!" He roars. "Everyone with us!"
<onine> The other guards jog over and form a loose circle around you.
<onine> "But what about the hall?" One of them asks. Ujiro responds, walking over to the wolfhound, patting it on the head. "Doggy, the women and children are yours to guard alone now, live well and die well!"
<onine> The hound looks at him then looks at Epheri.
* Epheri nods emphatically to the hound. "Guard it well as you have these past few hours! Now, everyone else, to shrine hill!" she sets off at a low lope, atop the hound.
<onine> Ujiro and a group of tired but motivated men trial after you cheering. As you make your way west, more guards join you, farmers, merchants and guardsmen alike. Soon you have a sizeable unit of fighting men, spurred by the dragon's splendor.
* Epheri organizes the men and the hound into a rough unit, surrounding the hole that the zombies will emerge from. She leaps down from the hound, sword drawn. And then the waiting begins.
And on the Heroic Mortal side of things...
* Yengo lays Anona atop an overturned wheelbarrow, making sure her bleeding has stopped and checking for broken bones before gathering her up to return to the infirmary. (At a much slower pace than Epheri and the wolfhound, of course)
* Yengo arrives shortly after they have left, bustling into the infirmary with Dragonblood in tow.
<onine> The able guards in Yengo's crew fan out and take up weapons, the other enter the council hall.
<onine> The hall is in chaos, the chaos of an infirmary is all to familiar. Wounded men lie everywhere, and hastily drafted surgeons work on the most wounded.
<onine> Tara leaves one of the other nurses and walks quickly over to you. "You're alright, thank goodness."
<onine> "Is she...?"
* Yengo looks at her for a long moment. "Tara... I'm so glad you... Ah- Anona..."
<onine> It occurs that a mortal dragging an unconscious Dragonblood around in a wagon is a little... odd?
* Yengo lays her body carefully on the nearest bed, setting his medical bag close by and starting to work. "She's alive."
<onine> "She took a sound beating, what happened?" Tara asks as she settles into the usual ebb and flow of medical work, you as the doctor and her assisting you.
* Yengo swabs a trickle of blood that has seeped down Anona's chin. "Kallorn was in league with those things. He had a dozen people chained in his basement as a sacrifice for one of them. We had to kill it." He holds out a hand to her. "Bitterroot."
<onine> Already in her hand, she hands it to you quickly. "I see."
<onine> "The zombies attacked very hard here, they pushed through from the east. If it wasn't for Epheri's wolfhound and Ujiro we would have been..." She trails off and gets you a fresh cloth from the bag.
* Yengo nods, taking the cloth and binding the bitterroot against one of Anona's nastier wounds. The Exalted didn't take to infection easily, but... He doesn't meet her eyes. "I'm glad they were here. I couldn't stop worrying..."
<onine> "Where are the others?" Tara asks.
<Yengo> "Epheri is with Ujiro killing the last of the creatures. The Magistrate I last saw at the bridge."
<onine> "I see..."
* Yengo finishes with the last of the bandages, satisfied. "She should be all right now. I thought... I thought she might be..."
<onine> Soon the zombies charge from the caves in a steady stream, but there is no organization, no intelligence in their attack, it is the type of attack that is on survival instinct alone. They pour out and the ambush is sprung, You, Ujiro, the hound and a unit of inspired men charge into the fray, into a massacre - though a massacre with the tables turned!
<onine> Within an hour or two, the stream of beasts soon turns to a trickle, and then nothing at all. There was one moment when they threatened to break through your lines, but the timely arrival of the wolfhound you set to collapse the tunnels turned the tide. With the tracking skills of the wolfhounds, by early morning, not a single active zombie remains.
<onine> By morning all of the wounded have been treated, the surviving fighters return, and soon talk turns to the clean up of Glie, and what to do about Kallorn.
<onine> The sun rises in a clear sky, but that is dulled greatly by the chaos of the aftermath, bodies of the undead burn in a pyre on the outskirts of town, guards fight fires in the ravaged areas, and families mourn their dead.
<onine> You won.