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Long Roads Ahead (Back to Square One)

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The battle was hard-fought. One by one the salamanders fell. Their numerical superiority and having three specialists on board helped to whittle down their scaly opponents' strength. Finally, the last salamander fell and the kobolds cheered in victory. 

On 11/8/2019 at 12:26 PM, Venus Sprite said:

“Come on. There’s still a bit more than all of these to go. We need to burst the water table, and quickly!”

Torie, however, was not in a mood for celebration. Aaric quickly fell behind the tigress as she made her way into the cave. The rest of the party followed suit, even as some of the kobolds had suffered some light to moderate injuries themselves. The group trudged forward in the darkness, trusting Torie's senses to guide them. 

Eventually they came to a stop and Torie turned towards the wayfarer.

On 11/8/2019 at 12:26 PM, Venus Sprite said:

“Take the dynamite up that path. Go to the very end and you’ll come across a dark granite wall. Shove it in the biggest crack, light the fuse and run back here.

On 11/8/2019 at 12:26 PM, Venus Sprite said:

“The rest of us will hold here until you get back.”

"Sure thing." Aaric nodded. 

But before he could leave, loud hisses and the sound of slithering bodies on soil echoed from behind them. Multitudes of salamanders appeared before them, ready to eliminate the intruders of their home. Aaric cursed.

On 11/8/2019 at 12:26 PM, Venus Sprite said:

“Priscilla, I hope you have plenty of crossbow bolts left,” she said, breathing so hard her belly pressed against the earth of the cave with each gasp.

Thinking quickly, the wayfarer fished through his utility pouch and took out a shiny metal capsule no bigger than a small tomato and pressed it into Priscilla's hand. 

"Take this!" Aaric explained loud enough for everyone to hear. "Throw it on the ground when the time is right and it'll explode with a bright flash and a loud bang. Get everyone to close their eyes and ears! The Salamander's won't know what hit 'em. I'll be back before you know it!"

With that, the former assassin sped off, melding into the shadows and racing towards the end of the wall. 

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On 11/7/2019 at 9:26 PM, Venus Sprite said:

Thanks,” Torie said, eyes glittering behind a mask of blood at her little companions. She turned to the others. “Come on. There’s still a bit more than all of these to go. We need to burst the water table, and quickly!”

Priscilla grabbed a few bolts on her way in. She hadn't fired much, and the bolts she'd fired were mostly intact, save for a few that had missed. If she could find them at all, they were shattered, blasted to pieces upon impact with the walls close by. She gathered the bolt tips anyway, and followed behind. Her quiver rattled in a melancholy way, tragically less than full. Ahead of her, the kobolds surged behind Torie, flanking her as they charged deeper into the mine. 

Aaric and Priscilla followed at their own pace close by, following the tigress through the dark. 

On 11/7/2019 at 9:26 PM, Venus Sprite said:

“They’re all down that way, I think,” she said, pointing to the right tunnel. A breeze blew up from there, carrying with it smells of scorch and sweat, and a sibilant hiss at the edge of her hearing. It was quite steep too, the path being cut into steps to aid travelers, but the dirt and dust lined with the tracks of snakes.

To Aaric she said, “Take the dynamite up that path. Go to the very end and you’ll come across a dark granite wall. Shove it in the biggest crack, light the fuse and run back here.

But before he could sprint off, the sudden arrival of more Salamanders demanded their attention. Priscilla spun in the dark, hopefully in the direction of their intruders. She racked the bolt on her crossbow, aiming at the eyes lingering just out of vision. She only barely saw them this deep into the mine. It'd be difficult to make the shots on her own.

On 11/7/2019 at 9:26 PM, Venus Sprite said:

“Priscilla, I hope you have plenty of crossbow bolts left,” she said, breathing so hard her belly pressed against the earth of the cave with each gasp.

Torie seemed frightened, which didn't help the runesmith at all. She reached for her quiver, and brushed her fingertips over the ends of them. 

"Oh! Yeah, totally. Plenty of bolts!" She lied.

Aaric prepared to disembark, but not before handing her something. It felt cold and smooth in her hand. Priscilla glanced down.

Quote

"Take this!" Aaric explained loud enough for everyone to hear. "Throw it on the ground when the time is right and it'll explode with a bright flash and a loud bang. Get everyone to close their eyes and ears! The Salamander's won't know what hit 'em. I'll be back before you know it!"

"What?" She hissed. "Why would you say that loud enough for them to hear?" But he was already off on his own mission. 

The runesmith groaned in frustration. At this rate, it wasn't likely they'd escape unscathed. Still, she had her knife, and she had her bow. That had to count for something, right?

Runes floated menacingly into view, obscuring her vision for a second. Great.

Out of annoyance, mostly, she pointed the crossbow towards where she thought the enemy was and let the bolt fly. It struck the wall above their heads instead, and clattered off into the dark.

"I hate this." She announced. "I've decided I really hate this."

Edited by Jotnotes

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On 11/13/2019 at 7:12 AM, Jotnotes said:

"I hate this." She announced. "I've decided I really hate this."

"Are you kidding? This is fantastic. What a story to tell our children! Are you planning to have children? Don't answer that, if you don't want."

The salamanders slithered closer up the rocky slope, spears at the ready, waiting at the last minute to thrust. With her foothold on higher ground Torie found them easy to dissuade. Wait for them to get close and bat their spears aside, bat them across the head if they were close enough. Snake tails were grippy but once she got their heavy torsos unbalanced, they fell away easily into their comrades.

More concerning was a sibilant chanting from further down the tunnel, behind the salamanders. Like whispering but too loud to be whispering. An eerie red glow outlined the salamanders, like fire, so that it wasn’t just the red glint in their eyes she could see.

“Aaric, hurry up with that boom!” she said, as the chanting climaxed in a whispered shout. Torie swatted away one more spear head, looked about for more, but found none.

All the salamanders were waiting at the bottom of the rockfall. The light behind them was getting brighter, as if a bonfire was crawling up the tunnel. Then, slithering into view was a huge, smoking salamander. Between his scales glowed the brightness of fire. Smoke and ash issued from his snout, his eyes, his ears, crowning his head and rolling off the roof of the cave. The salamander opened its mouth and roared.

“Look at that!” Torie said to Priscilla, pointing with her claw. “Have you ever seen anything like it! I love travelling, and adventure. Stuff like this makes it all worth it. I’m never going home!”

"Pretender!" Shank screeched. "False, tricksy salamanders. You must die."

The salamander raised his spear, chanting, and the spear began to glow red. Then the redness flicked forward, shooting out the way the spear was pointing in a fireball.

Torie was too slow.

It didn’t explode, but hit her centre of her chest and sizzled. Torie roared, and stepped back in pain.

The salamanders slithered forwards up the slope.

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