Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Long Game: The Queen's Lair

Under the isolated Aesian outpost, Alvyn, Tong, and Kalgar were following the carnage caused by a creature of unknown form and intent. It had killed one of their crew, many Aesian guards, and was now seemingly trapped under the outpost.

Still, nothing is ever easy in The Long Game, so let's see how our adventurers handle it.
Kalgar held his javelin back, waiting for Alvyn and Tong to position themselves. Just as Tong was about to step forward, Alvyn made a quiet whistling sound. Without a word, Tong understood, and moved on an angle into the room.

Alvyn nodded, and Kalgar raised the javelin, letting its sunrod shine into the room. It was a large storehouse, with barrels and lumber in surplus. The room had seen better days and was very dark, with 15-foot pools of water in places.

Kalgar stopped and took a breath. All around him was a strong smell of lamp oil, unsurprisingly, however there was something else, a fishy smell. Kalgar recalled fishing season in Aes, when schools of fish would spawn everywhere and the waters would smell terrible. No one wanted to swim then.

Stepping further into the room, Tong noticed a side chamber containing barrels, some brown and some red in colour. The brown ones seemed to contain old supplies, but the red ones contained black powder or lamp oil.

"Kalgar, Alvyn, we're surrounded by explosives." Tong called out.
"Eee!" the gnome replied.
"Don't make that sound! This is serious!" Tong said.
"No no, it's good news!"

Tip-toeing farther, Tong made it to the next set of doors. There, he braced his body for combat. Around the door-frame, Tong could see a resin, grimy and gross.

Kalgar approached the door, as quietly as he could. Alvyn slipped into the shadows. Up ahead, Tong heard a moaning sound.

"There's somebody in there, and he's alive!" Tong whispered.

Pressing his fingertips together, Tong sent a prayer to Ioun, his god. The shadows around Tong became alive and crawled over his skin. He was now partially concealed as he entered the room, and this is what he saw:

The storeroom looked less like a room and more like a hive, a nest, the walls dripping in water and resin. Barrels were overturned, some floating in the deeper pools, and then there were the creatures themselves. Scattered all around the room, each was horrifying. Completely alien, the creatures stood taller than Kalgar, moved more gracefully than Tong, and wore the shadows better than Alvyn. They had two legs and a long, segmented, blade-tipped tail. Their heads were elongated and cylindrical, without any obviously visible eyes, and featured a large, powerful-looking jaw. The creatures were moving about the room, climbing the walls, and everything about them seemed so completely...right, actually. They seemed both an abomination against nature, and yet somehow its logical end. To see one creature was terrifying in both their appearance and their menacing grace, but to see so many, it would set your mind ablaze with fear.

And, worst yet, at the back of the room, stood the queen. Larger than the rest, the queen was surrounded by a giant cobweb-textured sack. It occurred to our adventurers that she was about to spawn more!

Tong stared at the nearest creature. Remembering some of the other horrible creatures he had seen before, he searched this...thing, this alien thing, for any sign of knowledge. He saw nothing but darkness. Sensing no redeeming qualities, Tong grabbed a warbead and whipped it at the alien.

It smacked off the creature's chest, its green blood splashed on the nearest barrel, hissing, bubbling, and melting right through it, covering the platform, and Tong's feet, in whale oil.

Kalgar rounded the corner, saw Tong's attack, trained his eyes on the same creature and challenged it to fight him! "You! Abomination! Come to me!" He threw his javelin and, with divine accuracy, it pierced the same area as Tong's attack. When the javelin returned to Kalgar's hand, he felt slight pain as the acidic blood dripped off the javelin onto his hand.

Alvyn moved out of the shadows, toward the door, and took a closer look at these alien creatures. He noted that they looked extremely strong, and that their hands and feet were quite large, even better for climbing walls. The queen was indeed birthing new creatures and, like her fellow creatures, had no eyes to be seen in her head.

Alvyn nodded, and changed his stance. Kalgar looked at Alvyn and nodded, and the two focused on the nearest creature.

Kalgar flashed his wings wide and slid to his left. Alvyn slid to the right, using the distraction to take aim. He fired two heavy slugs from his rifle, hitting the creature where its stomach should be, each slug impacting and starting to spin up. The rifle made a heavy thud sound and as Kalgar and Tong looked back, they noticed that Alvyn had upgraded his weapon, now using a slightly miniaturized boarding cannon, modified with several different types of ammunition and range sights.

Alvyn was smiling widely. "It works!"

Suddenly, Kalgar's shoulders were grabbed from above! Hanging from the ceiling, the creature's long, clawed fingers dug into his shoulders. He screamed in pain! And the next creature moved into position, reared its head back like Kalgar often does when using Dragonfear and spewed acid at Kalgar and Tong!

"They're adapting!" Tong shouted.

Another creature leapt from the ceiling down toward Tong, and crushed him? No, wait! Tong's mistform body materialized next to his enemy and the two grappled. Another creature circled around the monk and wraps its long tail around his waist!

"Watch out!" Alvyn called.

Tong whirled around and punched the creature in the chest. His strike pushing the creature back a step.

An egg next to Kalgar split open and a tiny creature emerged and leapt at Kalgar's face!

In the back of the room, the queen started making some hissing noises, somehow coordinating the other creatures, who attacked again!

Two monsters, the one on the ceiling next to Kalgar, and the one next to Tong, grabbed our heroes and flung them deeper into the room, into some pools of water.

Regaining his feet, Tong drew one arm across his chest, and another in line with his body. Psionic energy rippled out from him, reaching into the creatures' minds and creating a projection of the creatures' past. This rippling, shimmering surface depicted the last creatures the monsters had consumed and, as the creatures stood there watching it, a powerful, cosmic fist smashes through the mirror, hitting the creature, and the shattered pieces impacted the creature, a nearby creature, and the floor and nearest support pillar.

All the monsters in the room turned and hissed at Tong.

Kalgar stood up, grabbed the monster clinging to his face, and ripped it off. He tossed it aside and flapped his massive wings once, leaping into the air and smashing into one of the creatures! With a massive roar, Kalgar brought his jade-coloured sword high and dared the monsters to strike him!

"Hey, you two, suck it up!" Alvyn called them as he saw them and what he saw was how injured his friends were, despite their bravado. His words had an inspiring effect, and Tong and Kalgar gained heart, along with their bravery.

Surrounded by deadly mutated creatures, all along in this Aesian outpost, what will our heroes do? Stay tuned for the resolution of this fight! 

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