[Vfw-times] MK Winter Assault part 38 - AGAIN

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Fri Oct 5 22:33:30 CDT 2001

  My apologies to those of you who got a load of gibberish mixed in with part 
38. Hopefully this version will be a lot clearer!



   Daria stopped just inside the room to gain her bearings. The dim light of 
the lantern held in Garulf's paw vaguely illuminated the great room faintly. 
She could make out the rows of shelves, tables and racks that marched off 
into the darkness. Flanking the door they had just entered metal staircases 
wound upward into the darkness. Of Misha and his team there was no sign. It 
was as if the darkness had swallowed them up.

   Daria had been here many times but this was nothing like it had been 
before. All the other times the room had been brightly light and friendly. 
Nothing like this shadow haunted place she was in now. A shiver ran down her 
spine. She stood straight trying to look bold and unafraid for the benefit of 
her team. The last thing she needed was for fear to take hold of the group. 

   A soft whisper echoed behind her and a golden glow erupted, casting a 
bright light around the room. Turning around she saw a glowing sigil carved 
into the wall. "Thank you David."

   "Which way do we go?" Jessica asked. "Left, right, straight ahead or up?"

   Up," was her leaders reply, "and we'll work our way back down to the door."

   With her rapier in hand Daria started up the spiral staircase. Behind her 
the other people made their way after her. The stairway was dark in spite of 
the light the bear was carrying. She took each step carefully, slowly, 
looking for the slightest sight or sound of an approaching enemy. The trip up 
went slowly but without any interruptions. It was at the top that she found 
the body.

   Her first sight was of a trail of dried blood on the top few steps. Beyond 
that she could make out a shadow laying on the floor some ways from the 
stairs. Moving cautiously she reached the top stair tread and stepped onto 
the balcony. A few short steps brought her to the corpse. It had been a 
fellow Keeper, a man, someone she did not recognize. Daria stared at the body 
for a long time. "Who was he?" she thought to herself. "How did he die?"

   Morel touched her on the shoulder. "Come along, we can't help him anymore."

   Reluctantly, she followed the man's advice and started off again. She saw 
David carving another Sigil into the stonework at the top of the stairs. Its 
amber glow illuminated the area and its deceased resident.

   Walking among the racks was a chilling experience for Daria. The faint 
light from the staff did nothing but make eerie shadows that danced over 
everything. The sharp tap, tap of her boots on the stones seemed to echo 
louder and louder until she was sure everyone in the keep could hear it. 
Occasionally they would pause for David or Jessica to work their magic and 
light would flood the area. Daria would be relieved for a moment and then 
they would head back into the darkness and her anxiety would return.

   The endless rows of weapons and armor slowly moved past as she walked. 
There was a strange silence in the room. She knew that the other group was 
out there somewhere but she hadn't seen any sign or sound of them. Had they 
been attacked and wiped out? Brutally killed in the darkness? Daria shook her 
head to dispel such fear. The Longs were too good to have been killed without 
a fight.

   After a long time the group came to an area with no racks or shelves. 
Instead there were a few tables and chairs scattered about. Daria paused at 
the edge of the clearing next to the last of the racks. She watched as Morel 
behind her took a bow and a quiver of arrows from a shelf.

   "Daria!" David shouted out loud. She turned to the speaker and saw David 
pointed back along the way they had come. Looking in the direction the insect 
pointed all she saw was two lights glowing in the darkness. As she watched 
one of the lights flickered and died leaving only one.

   Garulf cursed softly. Something was destroying the lights. "Now what do we 
do?" Bradfox asked.

   "When it's done destroying the lights it will come after us," Daria 
answered. She pointed at the one light that remained in the vast blackness. 
Then she began to move carefully toward it.

   The group got only a few feet before that light went out as well leaving 
them with only the faint light of the lantern. She paused for a moment and 
took a deep breath. "Everyone stay alert," she warned in a whisper. "It will 
be coming for us next."

   As she started moving she heard Morel speak, "Good," the man said. "I'm 
getting tired of skulking around in the dark."

   The next four minutes were the longest of her life. As they moved the 
source of light in her party cast strange shadows that all seemed to leap and 
dance around her. Very slowly she moved trying to look everywhere at once and 
wishing she had Misha's sharp nose or excellent hearing. Instead she had to 
make do with the faint light from the staff.

   When she reached the place the last light had been, Daria paused and 
looked around. To her right was the faint outline of the railing, beyond that 
was open space and a long drop to the floor below.
   From one side she caught the flash of movement out of the corner of her 
eye and spun around. Daria lashed out with her rapier as some shadowy figure 
came at her. The figure let loose an inhuman shriek and fell to the ground.

   Behind her she heard the sounds of her fellows fighting. She saw Garulf 
drop his lantern as three figures leaped at him from the top of a rack of 
bows. Wild and garish lights and shadows suddenly bounced, flashed and dueled 
around the giant room, making the whole area look surreal and terrifying. In 
a flash of light she saw the bear grab one of his attackers and bodily throw 
it against the balcony railing. Even over the sounds of the fighting she 
heard the crunch of its spine breaking. The corpse flopped over the railing 
to the main floor below. Then the light was gone, leaving her alone with the 

   Suddenly a figure loomed up next to the woman and threw itself at her. The 
two fell to the ground together with a thump that took her breath away and 
sending her weapon flying out of reach. She felt course fur scrape against 
her body and a foul breath from the creatures maw made her gag. It's great 
weight pressed her down and threatened to simply squeeze the life out of 
here. She grabbed her attackers muzzle with one hand and pushed their razor 
sharp teeth away from her throat. The power in those jaws was immense and she 
had to struggle with all her might to keep it at bay.

   With her free hand Daria drew the dagger from her hip and drove the blade 
deep into where the creatures skull should be with all her might. There was 
an earsplitting scream and some foul smelling liquid splashed over her making 
her choke. Then the great weight disappeared, letting her breath again.

   A soothing, white light played over her and the feathered face of Jessica 
loomed above her. "Relax, everything is fine."

   David and Morel helped Daria to her feet. She still smelled terrible from 
the foul creatures blood and she was a little unsteady on her feet. "What 
happened?" she asked.

   "We got hit by a group of lutins," Weyden said from his perch on a table.

   "What I fought was no lutin," Daria said and looked around for the 
creatures corpse. All she found was a large pool of black ichor.

   "What ever it was, it's dead now," Garulf said poking at the puddle with 
the tip of his axe. "Gone to what ever hell it came from."

   "Seems we missed all the fun," a chipper voice said from the shadows. 
Before anyone could react the slim forms of Finbar and Danielle came towards 
them followed by the rest of Misha's group. The fox came last of all, his 
sword still in his hands. Daria noted the blood on the blade. It was black.

   Misha came up to Daria and looked at her carefully, his concern plainly 
visible. "Are you all right?"

   "Fine," she stammered. "Just this evil goop is clogging my nose."

   "What's it from?"

   All Daria could do was shrug her shoulders in ignorance. "I don't know. It 
melted when I killed it."

   "It was some sort of summoned creature," Jessica commented.

   "You've made quite a kill today, Daria," Misha said with admiration. "Not 
many people can claim to have killed a summoning and lived." He put his arm 
around the girl and hugged her.

   "Thank you," she stammered. A thought occurred to her. "What about the 
rest of the armory? There might be more of those things around."

   "Nope, We've cleared the bottom floor and the rest of this one," Misha 

   Everyone visibly relaxed. "Now what?" David asked.

   "First we outfit ourselves with what we need," the fox replied. "Then 
you'll take your team back to the temple and gather up about twenty guards 
and bring them here."

   "Then what?" Daria asked.

   "Then the guards will guard the armory while we go out and cause more 
mayhem," Kershaw explained.

   Daria smiled. "I can think of a few targets my team can wipe out."

   Misha nodded. "We'll have to coordinate our efforts so we don't both 
attack the same target."

   "I can work with that," she answered.

   "Good, let's get planning," Misha replied.


   End part 38

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