Dollano 29, SP~4,909
A Last Battle
We were exhausted from our exertions of the last few days, but, even more than that, we were weary from the loss of our friends. Or, at least, I was weary. My nossring companions showed little emotion, but I’ve been with them long enough to know when they’ve been affected, and I could tell they felt the loss deeply. Even so, they carry on.
Note to Self: Someday that will be me!
We started the day’s journey by trying to find the way out. The one that Donnessling had told us about. We had traveled for a while, and Donnessling had just told us that we were close when we heard a huge crashing sound up ahead. It sounded like some of the tunnel had caved in.
Donnessling sent two of his commands ahead to see what had happened. They returned soon and told us that the ceiling up ahead had caved in and the tunnel was now blocked. They told us that the collapse was extensive and not something we could simply dig through.
Donnessling looked at Sheshoffiss whose eyes were closed. He seemed to be trying to recall something, perhaps some very old memories. When his eyes opened he looked back at Donnessling, and said, “There is a place, further on, which leads out of the mountain onto its western foothills.”
“Wells’ Cavern,” was Donnessling’s response, “It is a dangerous place. For many years now it has been overrun with moraktatha, if the reports are true.”
Sheshoffiss agreed with this assessment, and emphasized how foul the moraktatha are. Snakes are bad enough, but these are large ones — some are longer than an ushen is tall — and they are particularly loathsome. The worst thing is that these creatures don’t just swallow their prey whole; they devour our selves, too. All of our memories, thoughts, and feelings become a part of the moraktatha that eats you. Not a pleasant way to die — as if there was some way to die that was.
The two of them debated while the rest of us waited. Neither seemed to like the notion of Wells’ Cavern, but they decided that it was either that or going back to the horror of the ancient city we had just escaped.
Once they made their decision, Donnessling gave instructions to Tollerring and told him to lead the way. Tollerring has taken the place of Allsassring as Donnessling’s commander. Neither of them mentioned Allsassring’s name when the assignment was decided.
It was not a long journey, and we arrived outside the cavern in the late afternoon, stopping before we entered to prepare ourselves. The plan was for Donnessling and Sheshoffiss to use their stones to form an Energetic shield around us as we moved forward and the fighters would form a ring around us to kill any that might get through. It was key that we all stayed together, inside the protective field, as we moved across the cavern to the exit.
Donnessling and Sheshoffiss stood close to each other and chanted to their stones. As the light rose, Donnessling nodded to Tollerring, who slowly led us out of our hiding place.
All of our swords were drawn and the light was enough for us to see a dozen yards in every direction.
Our gait was disciplined and slow, giving us time to search the smooth floor around us. The sleek gray skin of the moraktatha might easily blend in with the stone of the cave, making them all but invisible to us.
The minutes passed slowly. Our concentration never wavered and the stones emitted a steady stream of white light tinged with green and purple.
When we had marched about halfway across the cavern Donnessling whispered a word for us to stop.
“Something is wrong,” he said.
Sheshoffiss responded, “We know that this is their…”
We heard a soft hissing from the far end of the cavern. Donnessling cocked his head to listen carefully and drew the green stone, the stone that matched to Spirit Energy, closer.
“It is the moraktatha. They have drawn away to the far end of the cavern, and they are afraid.” He looked at Sheshoffiss. I could hear the surprise in his voice and I could see his brow furrow when he added, “But they do not fear us.”
A loud cracking sound broke the silence. The stone under the feet of the Nossring to my left broke apart and our companions fell. To my astonishment, they were sinking into stone as if its hardness had somehow become soft and malleable. I could see their eyes lit with pain.
“It is here. The creature that carries the Gray Stone,” Donnessling announced to the air around him. “There,” said Donnessling, pointing toward the other side of the cavern.
As one he and Sheshoffiss leaped forward. We were now in the dark, but could see their light as they swept toward some unseen destination.
I could see streams of green and purple light twisting themselves around each other to form a long, focused stream. Then the white light completed the braid and the three lights shaped into a sleek, powerful spear of light. I could hear sharp popping sounds and see sparks of light as the streams merged with each other making this weapon ever more powerful.
Without warning the three braided lights hurtled themselves into the dark. There was an explosion as they crashed into a dark gray cloud that had something hard and gray in its center. Something in the grayness struck back to deflect the assault, but the white light burst into brilliance and drove the spear of the entwined lights forward.
Suddenly a cry of pain pierced the cavern’s air. Then, unspeakable words in an ancient tongue rang out with what had to have been a terrible curse. When the curse completed, the gray cloud snapped out of existence and its remaining misty shards dissolved into the air.
Tollerring ran forward accompanied by three other nossring to see after our companions. I quickly ran after them.
We arrived to find Donnessling, depleted but still conscious. He was leaning over Sheshoffiss holding the green stone against the zweyjens chest. Sheshoffiss had the white stone in his hand, but it gave no light, and he was lying stiff on the floor and barely breathing.
I could see the green stone throbbing in Donnessling’s hand as he rallied against his exhaustion to try to keep Sheshoffiss alive.