Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC
“Withdraw to the lift!” Chai snapped as he viewed the grotesque and diseased faces of the towering creatures.
“Won’t work!” Gharad yelled back, ‘They’d just cut us down as I tried to pull the chain on the lift!”
“Then we fight.” Chai grabbed a hold of his bronze medallion of faith with his right hand and pointed his left hand at the diseased Hobgoblin. “Chemosh, strike the unfaithful with cold and darkness! Chai could feel as his medallion gave off waves of dark energy and a bolt of cold and evil shot forth from his hand.
The axe wielding hobgoblin shuddered as the cold froze him to the bone. The black and yellow pustules on its face froze and cracked as the monster fell over dead.
Chai blinked in surprise. He knew the power in that spell had wavered. It did not strike the creature that hard.
From behind the cleric a crossbow bolt went wild as Odren tried to take down the second diseased hobgoblin.
“Watch your weapon dwarf!” Chai shouted over his shoulder.
“Cannot let them tell the demons we are here!” Odren shouted back as he tried to load another bolt only to drop the weapon and then his bolt case. “Blasted luck! Demons have cursed my luck!”
Chai shook his head as he kept most of his attention of the slowly approaching second hobgoblin. The creature was in an even sorrier state then his now dead companion. Its face was covered with pustule and sores and its face was swollen to near twice its normal size. Weeping wounds soaked through its clothing. Chai was unsure how the creature could see, or even breathe without being in constant agony.
“Keep your distance Gharad,” Chai warned as he waved the warrior back. “There is no telling how contagious these things are.” Gharad turned pale and stepped closer to the cleric.
The remaining hobgoblin was either unaware of his companion's death or he didn't care. It pulled out large two handed axe and continued its slow advance on the trio. One of its steps crushed the fallen hobgoblin’s head into a mass of black yellow puss, red blood, and grey brain matter.
Chai grimaced again. The disease was worse than he had at first suspected. Even the weight of the hobgoblin should not have been able to do that. The cleric prayed as the foul stench of the hobgoblin began to overwhelm his senses. Chai had encountered Hobgoblins before in his homeland of Neraka. They were not always the most pleasant smelling. Chai new the smell of death and was comfortable with it. This was not the smell of death. This was the smell of creature diseased down to its very soul and living even as it rotted. It smelled of a creature being denied both life and death. It smelled of misery.
The hobgoblin raised its axe and swung wide; it never had a hope of hitting Chai.
“Lord of Bones,” Chai once more prayed, “Sap what life remains in this creature.” Chai completed his prayer and dared to touch the diseased wretch. The cleric could feel the negative energy pulse through his hand as it made contact with the hobgoblin’s arm.
Cuts and bruises open up all over the hobgoblin’s diseased body. One particularly nasty gash opened across its throat as it fell to the floor. With a silent prayer Chai watched the creature fall, thanking Chemosh for the powers he has given, and asking him to take the two souls, worthless as they are.
“Huh, that’s interesting,” Gharad said as he poked one of the bodies.
Chai looked over at his companion, “what? You are interrupting me.”
“The disease, it’s gone.” Gharad pointed to the body he was poking with his sword.
“Leave them, we have more important things to do,” Chai replied.
“But what if it is a demon’s plague?” Odren asked as he crept closer.
“Stay if you wish,” Chai replied. The dwarf and the warrior shrugged in response and followed the dark cleric to the end of the hall.
“Looks like the north side is ruined,” Odren spat. His ragged shirt and borrowed Red Dragonarmy uniform dragged on the ground.
“Then we take the south,” Chai replied. Chant moved closer to the southern end of the hall and the wooden door that awaited them. Gharad reached out pulled the cleric back.
“What?” Chai hissed.
Gharad pointed to his ears. The companions stopped moving and Chai smiled. His gaunt face pulled back in the semblance of a skull.
“Chanting,” Chai answered Gharad and Odren’s questioning looks.
“Demons don’t chant,” Odren said, “But that don’t sound like Common.
“It isn’t,” Chai replied, “it is Nerakan. And this cleric is calling on Morgion.”
Gharad reached for the handle of the door, trying to grab it tight as a puff of dust exploded into his face. Gharad scrambled backward and grasped for his waterskin and chugged down water as though his throat were on fire.
“Quiet fool!” Chai spat back at the dark warrior. “The cleric is sanctifying the room. He is turning it into a temple of Morgion and he has just reached the end.” Chai checked the cloth over his face again and grab the handle of the door. The ancient wooden door opened easily as strange orange dust coated the face and scarf of the cleric. He could spy his final foe. A cleric of Morgion in the traditional vestments: unkempt, torn robes of brown, a loose ﬁtting smock, and an iron medallion of faith.
“So what you doing?” A tiny voice popped into Chai’s ear. The cleric wheeled around to attack its owner with his ritual knife and stopped as he was greeted by familiar yet unwanted face. Cherry the kender had returned. Chai regained is composure and placed a finger to his covered lips before pointing her over to Gharad. Gharad nodded at the unspoken command. Keep the Kender quiet.
Cherry giggled then patted the cleric on the back.
“One day either I will kill you or you will kill me,” Chai said to himself before refocusing on his would soon be his new foe.
Chai opened the door wide and stepped inside. "So, you are the leader of the hobgoblins upstairs?"
|Taste of things to come|