When conditions are just right, the most horrible thing can happen in the desert... both a horrific sandstorm that ravages as far across as the eye can see, and intense lightning storms that can create pillars of glass wherever they strike. When the two combine during these extreme conditions, tiny glass shards form in the sandstorm creating a razorstorm that can tear an elf apart if left outside too long. In preparations for this, Nasherat has done what they can to shield themselves from the worst of it... until reports come in that several groups of Thalerith have not made it back to the city, and the storm is already upon us! Who will brave the high chance of death to save their fellow Thalerith kin?
Barfolemew, a small sand cat have been dismissed.
Ember, the red fur coyote, Mitzi, a mischievous little ice elemental arrive, following Dunlain.
It's the perfect storm, that moment at the end of the summer when the hot dry air of the desert sands smashes into the cold wet air of the onshore winds from the north. A massive thunderstorm errupts likes a volcano of lightning and near sideways driving rains that kicks up a huge dust cloud. All would be horrifying enough if it weren't for the residual heat radiating off the white-yellow dunes causing bigger updrafts than normal. The dust and sand mix into a huge sandstorm that begins to roll along the surface, pushed down by the thunderstorm but kicked back up by the heat.
Travel to and from the harbor to Nasherat is always closely guarded across the sands. It's not something one takes lightly and the nearly 3 day journey can sometimes be frought with dangers... but in this moment, caught unawares, several caravans of wood, metal, and textiles bound for Abbasah's growing dry dock, have become swallowed by the roiling monstrosity. Word was sent out by the Devrien family that anyone brave enough to face this deadly razorstorm was needed to help get these caravans to safety.
Belstrom covers his face with a cloth as he wades through the sand, looking for some sign of the caravan. His leather cloak flaps in the wind and he looks back at the entrance to Nasherat hopefully.
Lyandra had heard the warnings of the storm, and when the danger came to the caravan, she was among those who had answered the call. She was dressed for protection, exchanging her dress for her armor, silks, still, but with a cloak wrapped around her body and a hood to supplement the cloth wrapped around to protect her face, she was well enough. She carried no weapons though the glint of her crystals were evident on the bracers on her wrists as she followed the small party out into the storm. She could not see the road, but she had talen it often enough to remember the direction.
Zenandra stands near the entrance to Nasherat, offering the blessing of courage to anyone leaving in search of the caravan. Even here, protected by the canyon, the wind is strong carrying sand with it. She is covered head-to-toe in a thick dark cloak, and a cloth covers the majority of her face. Two lines of dried blood are visible just below her eyes.
Barfolemew, a small sand cat have been dismissed.
On hearing about the caravan trapped in the razorstorm the Warlord Sylindra immediately began to organize a rescue force. She detaches some casters, infantry, and cavalry from the army with instructions to equip themselves for harsh weather and personnel rescue. The cavalrymen wrap their mounts in protective barding against the fury of the storm, while the casters prepare defensive wards around the whole force. Healers stock up with medical supplies, particulary against cuts, and infantrymen load their packs food and spare razorstorm gear in case the survivors need it. The preparations are rushed as time is off the essence, but the ad-hoc force looks grimly determined to see their mission through even against the full might of the elements. It is not long before the expeditionary force is leaving the city, grabbing what they can and picking picking an assortment of other Thalerith along the way. The Warlord herself marches at the head of the relief column.
A small force, dressed in desert yellows, is at the gates to Nasherat. One of them approaches Belstrom and speaks through the thick scarf covering the majority of their face, "Our informants suggest the caravan will have tried to encircle somewhere around the curve towards the harbor, based on how long since they'd left. We're ready to depart if you don't have any other directives from the kinlessa."
The storm's biggest threat are the super fine slivers of lightning formed glass that hurtle through the swirling sands getting blasted sharper than most keen surgical blades. One tiny razor in the right place is enough to critically wound even a stout elf warrior, but an entire whirlwind of them can be fatal. The storm itself is about an hour's ride north of the city across the expanse, and it's direction isn't towards their cavernous home, but there's no telling how quickly that could change.
An intelligence officer arrives at the Warlord's side and delivers a missive to her dictating potential search zones and a full threat analysis for both the column of relief aide she's heading, and the city should the storm turn towards it. A messenger also arrives to deliver a letter to the Warlord, and not a minute after a second one arrives with another letter. A third and fourth arrive side by side, quite out of breath, to deliver yet another pair of letters. The final messenger to arrive is one of the officers, and instead of paper he has words, "We had a training regiment out in the expanse two days. They weren't due back for another two days and they could very well have been caught in the storm. I need permission to take a group of our men and women out to find them, Warlord."
Belstrom plods slowly to the warlord, greeting her, Lyandra and the priestess Zenandra with a raised hand as the wind howls. "Our caravan is around the curve, probably hunkered down for protection. Are all these with us? Or are you headed after others?" he calls through the cloth he holds over his face.
Lyandra drew in closer, turning her face away from any potential wind or sand that would make it difficult for her to hear where they were being directed. Cloth wrapped hands tugged the hood closer up around her face, though she did not bother with the strands of her hair that kept slipping out.
The Warlord takes in the information reading and listening to the missives delivered by the various messengers. First she turns to the officer from the training regiment, "Even a group of trainees will be wearing armour and have desert equipment on them, and their officers will know where to take shelter. They should be able to hold out a while. You have my permission to go to the city and round up some troops to go find them. The rescue column I'm leading will focus on the civilians, as we are already mustered out and they have the most pressing need for assistance. Also tell General Karagoth to prepare the city for incoming razostorm, if it comes here I want everyone ready to hunker down deep in the caves."
Next she begins splitting up the expeditionary force into three units. The first one with Sylindra at the head will take the most dangerous job, heading straight into fanged maw of the razorstorm to rescue the stranded caravans. The second will travel to Moya Falls to look for the lost worker's party and the travelling farmers. Thankfully the only above ground structure at Moya Falls is a fort guarding the upper entrance, so damage should be minimal. The third group, comprised of the smaller and more agile cavalry unit, will range out between the first two and look for any stragglers. Her orders ring out loudly above the sharp whistle of distant winds.
The others around her hear the Warlord's shouted commands, "Okay people! Half the infantry and casters will come with me to go rescue those caravans. Lyandra, Belstorm, we'll be goig into the thickest part of the razorstorm, so you're with me too, we will be needing your magics. The other half will head out to Moya Falls, they're missing a group of workers, and they were expecting some mushroom farmers who never made it!" She mutters something about what kind of mushroom farmers takes the above ground route instead of the underground one. "Damage to Moya Falls should be minimal so focus on finding those missing people! The cavalry will form a third group and range out between the first two looking for any stragglers! We know that there's two Blade Sworn on a hunting trip out there, but there may be others, so keep a weather eye out! Above all stay safe people, if you have to hunker down and take shelter then do so, we don't want to have to rescue the rescuers!"
Belstrom follows the Warlord as directed, offering a hand to the others. "The road heads directly west to the curve, but it may be hard to stay on in this." He wraps a second layer of leather over the cloth around his face, so only veiled eyes are semi-visible.
Lyandra straightened, as she listened to the orders being handed down by the Warlord, her lips, though it was impossible to see them thinning into a line of determination as she stepped over to join the group that was gathering around her mother. "I will do what I can to ease the wind around us if it becomes difficult for us to move."
Sylindra nods, "Have the Devrien scouts lead us there, Belstrom. They'll be the most familiear with the route." She turns to her daughter, "Gather up as much lifewell energies as you can, this shaping up to be a killer storm."
Sylindra says, "Auntie!" the Warlord calls out to Zenandra. "You're a good tracker, help out the scouts with locating that caravan!""
That storm in question spits out several large bolts of lightning, slamming into the sand and sending shockwaves rippling across the surface. The thunder rolls across the lands and batters into the walls of Nasherat. Rain is the first thing to greet the rescue team as they get ready to embark on their journey and the slanting sheets of water drench the surface of the dunes into a slurry of dusty rivulets and muddy puddles.
Directing two Devrien scouts dressed in black leather to lead the way with tall staffs, Belstrom falls in behind them as the rain starts to fall. "Avoid low areas and ravines," he calls back, a hand at his brow against the bright lightning strikes. "They'll flood before you can get out."
Zenandra finishes blessing the latest of the soldiers to arrive at the entrance and joins the huddle with Sylindra just as she is given a task. "Tracking will be nearly impossible in weather like this," she talks loudly over the storm. She pulls the hood of her cloak down farther over her face as the rain starts. "If we hury, there may still be signs of the wagons' tracks left."
Lyandra nodded, at the Warlord's command, and with that in mind, she did not immediately move to assist the party as they headed out into the storm. She knew enough to know that it was best to conserve her energy when there was time enough to do so. She kept close though, as they moved, eyes scanning not only the world around, but the elves with whom she was traveling, marking if any of them required her aid.
The Warlord gives some specific marching orders to the officers leading the other two rescue columns and sends them on their way with a call of, "Good hunting and good fortune, and may Rithor smile upon your efforts." She then takes charge of her own column yelling loud above the din of the storm, "Onwards! Into the razor maw of hell!"
It takes several long hours to finally reach one of the possible locations for the caravan to be huddled up, trying to protect themselves from the storm. As the column of rescuers walk they are pelted by sudden gusts of wind spiking to over 70 miles per hour batter the group, knocking a few of the lighter weight casters to their knees whenever struck. Tiny needles of glass rippled through some of the less armored of the column, tearing small holes into the flesh of the elves. Dust chokes, sand bites at any exposed skin, and thunder hammers the ears.
Belstrom checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 4 lower.
Sylindra checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 10 lower.
Zenandra checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.
Lyandra checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.
Lyandra moved with a grim determination, keeping her face protected as best she could, as she scanned the desert as they walked. Her eyes were still keen, and they were always moving as she sought for sign, of any sort that might help them to locate the missing caravans. A glint of something, some shape in the sand drew her gaze, and she drew on the smallest trickle of the lifewell, sending her voice into the ears of those she was travelling with, cutting through the noise of the storm. "To the west! A skid, the sort that would have been on the sleds of the caravan. It's there, off of the road leading deeper into the desert, away from the harbor!"
Belstrom follows Lyandra's voice and the grooves through the storm to the west.
"Sharp eyes Lyandra!" Sylindra calls out in compliment. "Belstorm, Zenandra, take the scouts in that direction to investigate! I'll bring up the rest of column!"
Joran gets a bleached krilkar-skull helmet from a large, drab grey travel pack.
Zenandra tries to keep her face turned away from the shifting winds. She hears Lyandra's voice in her ear and crouches to examine the tracks. Nodding to Sylindra, she follows Belstrom off to the west.
Hunched low and head angled down, Joran calls out from within arm's reach of Sylindra, covered from head to toe in leathers, bone, and an additional layer of cloak, "Orders on my part, Warlord?"
The skid points in a direction that would take the caravan way out into the wrong direction, not even following the coast line. It's no wonder though, in the gloom the horizon isn't reliable enough to mark a compass and with the wind at your back it's easier to move in this direction than it is the other one. It's a while before the scouting turns up a body, an elf from the caravan. Torn to shreds by the glass and the grains, blod clotted and dry if checked. It's been here at least an hour, maybe longer, and it's slowly being swallowed by the desert. A long low howl on the wind causes scouts and hunters in the rescue party to perk their ears, murmurs about the wild krilkar calling out, likely due to the on-coming storm.
Zenandra checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 23 higher.
Belstrom checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.
"Stick with me and your sister in the main column Joran, but get ready to rush forward if the scouts run into trouble," the Warlord commands. The relief column is ready to continue its advance at any moment as they await for word from the scouts on what they've found.
Belstrom grimaces as he looks around, and waits for Zenandra's thoughts.
a deathstalker scorpion have been dismissed.
Lyandra did not follow the scouts as they moved in the direction she had indicated. Instead, she remained close to Sylindra, back up nearly to be able to press her back against Joran's arm or chest, as though she were using him to shield her from some of the brunt of the storm.
Joran's back remains broadsided between the direction of the heaviest gusts of the whipping sands and his sister, small tears becoming evident in the canvas of his thick pack and cloak. He offers a heavy nod to show affirmation to Sylindra's orders, before the skull-covered head cants toward Lyandra, still angled low as if trying to avoid more sand whipping into his bony facial protection.
Lyandra took advantage of the cover her twin provided her, her eyes continuing to scan the sands as best she could in the storm, her lips once again downturning in a thoughtful frown. She reached out, tugging at her brother's arm, her voice once again sounding in the ears of the part, even though she was speaking only to Joran directly, "Oran, can you see there? The tracks are so scattered. It almost looks like there was more than one skid, or as if...as if the caravan decided to split up, or they were drawn apart." A beat, "Are there any natural places of shelter they might have been trying to get to?"
Zenandra takes some moments to examine the body and confer with Belstrom. Her eyes trace some markings in the mud towards the north. She quickly returns to the head of the caravan and reports, "There's a body. It looks like this one ran, but there are some markings nearby that suggest the caravan may have been dragged to the north by something. We should hurry."
Sylindra nods at Zenandra's report, and turns to the troops in the relief column, standing tall against the fearsome elements beating down on her. She shouts her orders as loud as she can so they may be heard over the peal rain, sand, and thunder, "Looks like the caravan turned away from the main trail!" A sharp gesture with her arm indicates the direction, "They went north, let's go!"
Joran's head swivels in the direction Lyandra indicates, chest visibly shifting with a low grunt whose noise is swallowed by the winds, but the perplexity in his posture and the gesture still carries. Following a salute in response to Sylindra's orders, he thumbs hand in the direction of Zenandra. "Sounds like there went one portion of the split, sister! Were I betting, it would be cliffs or a deep enough ditch in the sand to search for shelter!" He slowly falls into step, angled steps allowing his bodily cover to carry on near Lyandra as the column falls back into motion.
Zenandra nods and returns to the scouts. The group keeps just ahead of the relief column as they march north.
Lyandra did not stray far from Joran, her beck bending, hunkering herself down as she turned into the storm to follow in the direction Sylindra set. She stepped carefully. She was no scout of hunter, true, but she was an elf of the desert as she moved as one, keeping her weight low and giving herself the best chance to avoid the worst of the gusts as they sought to blow them from their feet.
The winds shift their direction and begin to blow the storm south towards the city. The rain has finally let up but lightning strikes are still common enough that tracking thunder is beginning to become a challenge for even perceptive elves with keen ears. As the group trundles on through the desert they come to find a horrfying sight, the sled animals have been torn to ribbons and one of them was blasted apart by lightning. The trail leads now to the northeast and in the distance a shrill whistle gives the impression of wind funneled into a small space, like a potential shelter one could take.
As the march carries onward and the winds shift directions, so too does Joran's interposition between them and Lyandra, though the change places him facing into them instead of hunched against. Still, his movement through the sands maintains an almost reflexive proximity to his twin, while every so often his head seems to angle in the direction of Sylindra on a more conscious level. A low whistle is loosed from beneath Joran's helm at the macabre sight of the naturally-massacred beasts of burden, broad shoulders slouching faintly in what might be disappointment.
Sylindra continues to lead the main body of elves while the scouts range ahead, and even her powerfully muscular form bend slightly before the tearing wind and sand. As they approach the blasted, shattered remnants a caravan sled and it's dead animals, she starts giving orders, "Eyes forward! Do not tarry! Keep moving! Looks like there might be a sheltered area northwest of here, continue the march!"
Lyandra did not ask Joran what she was meant to do, or how she was meant to move. The twins simply did as the twins always seemed to do when they were together. Walking as if in perfect step, moving together as though they were one mind in two bodies. When they came upon the bloody scene, Lyandra's eyes narrowed, though she cared less for their fate, sad but true than for searching to see if there were any bodies between the animals or concealed by them. She was glad to follow the Warlord's orders and did not linger. Dead or alive, Lyandra had no use for animals unless at dire-est need.
Zenandra frowns as they come upon the animals. Her gaze does not linger on them long, instead following the trail to the northeast where the sound is coming from. She turns her head to hear Sylindra's orders to keep moving, much easier to make out now that the rain has let up, at least between crashes of thunder. She faces the sound and keeps moving.
The Warlord's command spurs Joran out of the momentary lull in his pace, shifting back into the determined pace alongside Lyandra. In an absent tone seemingly to himself more than anyone else, Joran mentions, "Will need to send some hands to butcher those before they rot out here when we return.. assuming we do not meet the same.." The words are at a normal volume, neither seemingly intending for anyone's ears nor quiet enough to attempt avoiding them.
"When the storm passes we can try to salvage what we can, but right now we have to keep moving and find what remains of the caravan," Sylindra replies.
Another couple of hours and the wills of some of the weaker military troops are starting to flag but at long last comes a sight for sore eyes, a full sled from one of the caravans and it's only a matter of minutes from a rock outcropping just off the main road. The road itself is obscured about half a mile up due to a landslide of rock, mud, sand, and detritus. The party of rescuers can hear the sounds of elves at the outcropping and upon short investigation an okay shelter has been found made against the rocks but it won't last the entirety of the storm. The caravners are in a sorry state, several of them lying on the rock floor tied with strips of torn clothing to stop bleeding that seems to continue despite the makeshift bandages. Others are curled up next to a tiny fire that's clinging to life, trying to stay warm or trying to help pluck littles pieces of sharp sandglass out of each other's skin.
Lyandra opened her mouth, and then promptly closed it again, the grin that crossed her face despite the situation hidden by her face covering as Joran spoken into being the words that had been in her mind. She followed in his wake, pausing only briefly as they came upon the rise and into view of what remained of the caravan. She looked away, seeking for Belstrom, knowing healing would be required. But also, perhaps, looking for ways in which she could create a better shelter for them all. "They are in no shape to travel!" Perhaps the healers could help with that, "Even if we heal them, they will face injury all over again!" As would they all.
The relief force is no doubt a sight for sore eyes to the surviving elves of the caravan. The Warlord immediately starts baking orders to the various officers, "All right people, we've found our lost caravan! Star destributing food, protective gear, and medical supplies. Healers see to the wounded, prioritize those who can't walk we need them mobile in case we need to leave. If there are any to crippled to make walking wounded out of them, fashion some stretches and sleds so they may be carried out. I want some casters and infantry to try and reinforce that shelter as best they can!" She turns to the memebers of the caravan and barks out a question, "Who is charge here?"
Lyandra finally stepped away from the main grouping, moving to walk the perimeter of the outcropping, looking for places where she could reinforce the defenses the rock provided for the group, both rescuees and rescuers. As she did so, she called for some supply of the wood they had brought with them, and she both added to the existing fire, and moved to build another closer to the shelter the rock face provided, trying to fashion a place where the healers could work.
Now upon their intended site to provide aid, Joran seems to dig deeper into a reserve of energy to break into a slow, trudging jog upon Sylindra's orders. He busies himself in assisting and overseeing the impromptu reinforcement of the already-available sheltering space, unfit supplies for that duty being set aside for further makeshift splints or sand-sleds.
When they find the caravaners in a rocky outcropping, Zenandra grins and steps out of the way to let the healers do their thing. She examines the natural shelter and begins to help the infantry troops with their reinforcements but pulls away. She walks over to Sylindra. "This shelter will not last long against a storm of this magnitude," she says at the warlord's shoulder. "I am concerned about the possibility of another landslide as well if the rains begin again."
Sylindra nods at Zenandra, "Yes I agree, even with our men reinforcing the shelter it might not hold-up. That's why I'm trying to make sure as many of the wounded as possible are able to walk, and that those who are too injured at least have sleds so they can be dragged with us. We should also distribute the food and water now while we're in shelter. If we have to go back out there we will not be able to eat or drink with glass and sand flaying us alive, and we need to have as much energy as possible in our bodies if we are to make it out of this."
Lyandra checked mana + abjuration at difficulty 30, rolling 8 lower.
Lyandra checked mana + evocation at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.
Sylindra checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 51 higher.
Zenandra checked wits + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.
Lyandra took her time, as she moved around the shelter, doing her best to stay out of the way of those who were either in need of aid, or assisting them. Finally, after a few long moments of silence, she nodded to herself, moving to each of what seemed to be a preselected place in turn. At each point, she stopped, casting her eyes to the ground, sand shifting and bubbling like running water as stone rose from the bedrock, growing as if it were a limbless, leafless tree. One column after another rose from the ground to find their way to the roof of the shelter, the sound of them growing like the growl of some rumbling animal. It would take some time and no small amount of effort, but eventually, three columns rose which would offered increased support to the roof of the shelter.
The howling of the winds is shrill and high pitched, but in the leeward of the rock shelter it's mainly the chill and the dust that bothers the sick, dying, or already dead. The healers, led by Belstrom, move through the various clusters of elves and provide what magic or medicines are needed. One of the caravaners finally walks up to the Warlord, "I am in charge of the caravans, Warlord Sylindra. My name is Nonahmey. Thank you for finding us out here, we were certain this storm would send us back to the wheel."
As if it could hear it's name, the storm rages hard against the stone sheltering the group of Thalerith, sending huge tufts of dust and sand all around them, as if it wanted to swallow them whole and bury them far below the dunes where only worms and mushrooms grow.
Zenandra nods in return to Sylindra. "So we stay as long as possible..." she mutters, glancing around. The priestess begins grabbing spare pieces of wood discarded as too small by the infantry and setting up a proper tower for a fire near the existing tiny one. When ready, she takes a flaming piece of wood and ignites the kindling. The fire is slow to build as some of the wood is damp, but it starts to warm up the surrounding area.
Seemingly content busying himself with the straightforward manual labor, Joran appears to be leading by example in the hauling and clearing of any debris small enough that winds might turn into projectiles far from the site, aiding in the mundane reinforcement with movements carrying a trudging determination.
The elves of the rescue expedition follow Sylindra's commands quickly and efficiently. The Warlord's clear sense of purpose and stalwart confidence keeps the troop's spirits up, and they in turn give heart to the battered and bleeding members of the caravan, reassuring them that rescue is here and they are in good hands. She turns caravan leader Nonahmey as he introduces himself, "A Warlord's highest and most solemn duty is to see to the protection of her people. I am glad that we made it here in time to find most of you still alive. The plan is we shelter in place as long as we can and hope the storm abates. To that end troops are reinforcing the shelter, however we are also making preparations in case it begins to fail and we have to move out. We're trying to get as many of the wounded healed enough to walk, those that can't we will drag in sleds. We brought severe weather gear, and that should help your men survive out there. Right now though, the most important thing for you to do is see to it that food is distributed and everyone eats. We will not be able to later if we have to brave the storm."
"You..." The Caravan leader Nonahmey stops as a screech echoes through the rock and a wild krilkar's head pokes through from behind a rock blind. He snatches the leg of one of the more critically wounded elves and pulls the woman down into the hidden cave, her screams echoing until they sudden cut off. There are loud growls and shrieks as what can only be described as a full hunting pack of the murder lizards belt out their feeding frenzy from somewhere as yet hidden.
"There are wild krilkar that live here... our best warriors already have fallen prey to them and now, they must know we're too weak to defend ourselves."
*Lizardy screech and chortle*
Lyandra took her time, such as they were allowed, making certain that the supports she had summoned would hold up well, before she turned her eyes to the work being done, moving to help as she could. "What else is required to protect us through this storm?" As it seemed they were indeed aiming to hunker down and wait it out. The sudden commotion as the krilkar reveals itself and drags off one of the elves brings her head around, her attention snapping to the last place where she saw the beast. She did not hesitate, but moved to begin to approach the cave, "I assume there are no elves taking shelter down there?"
"We will see about that," the Warlord says grimly as she grabs her spear. "Belstrom, stay with the healers and help defend the wounded! Joran, Lyandra, Zenandra to me, we're going krilkar hunting!" She then starts directing troops into various defensive positions. Archers find elevated nooks from which to shoot incoming krilkar, infantry form a defensive cordon around the wounded while the healers keep working and the casters prepare defensive and offensive spells. A small group of soldiers is called to join the Warlord and her family to help with the hunt.
Sylindra wields the spear, White Glint.
Lyandra wields Smokey Focus.
Zenandra wields a tall wooden spear.
Zenandra grabs the spear off her back as the krilkar makes itself known. At first, she holds it defensively, her head bouncing between the cave and the openings to the outside. When Sylindra gives the order, she adjusts her grip on the spear and joins Lyandra at the cave entrance.
Joran hardly seems to need Sylindra's prompting, twin yatagan already flashing free from beneath his cloak and out of their sheaths. Blades held low, he begins stalking in a direction roughly between Sylindra and Lyandra as the group begins pulling together.
Joran wields a matching pair of curving, steel yatagan.
Lyandra frowned, as Sylindra called the hunt, her eyes showing a bit of confusion at the command. "Couldn't we just seal them inside their cave?" But alas, she was not in charge of the expedition, and so, she simply adjusted her bracers, moving to stand beside Joran, nodding to herself as she settled into place for the descent into the belly of th-- bad analogy.
Jiro, ever vigilant condor have been dismissed.
Sylindra considers he daughter's question and looks at the caravan leader Nonahmey. "You've been attacked from every direction right?" she asks. "So this is probably not the only exit out of the cave?"
"Honestly, we don't know." Nonahmey answers, "It was from all sides, it was initially when we arrived here they came in from outside and swept up so many of us I lost count." he hangs his head, "We've been trying to just not disturb them or make too much noise ever since."
"The pack is hunting. They know we have wounded, and they will wait as long as they have to for an opportunity to strike. It will be much worse if we do have to move. We must be proactive," Zenandra recommends.
The Warlord nods in agreement with Zenandra and turns to Lyandra, "They're not going to like the weather outside any more than we do, but they're hungry, so they will if they have to. Right now though they are probably concentrated in that cave. If we seal this entrance and they'll just use the others to scatter and surround us. Better deal with them while they're concentrated. We go in, kill as many as we can. If they start overwhelming us we retreat back here and seal the entrance behind us. That should weaken the pack enough to keep them from attacking us further." She looks around at the hunting party around her, "Everyone clear on the plan?"
Joran adds nothing to the ongoing discussion of the krilkar, focus seemingly locked in the direction of the previously hidden cave and the trail of blood leading into it. Tone grim but with the lilting hint of dry humor, he nods firmly. "Yes, Warlord. Storm the lizards before the storm hits us again. If they want something to eat, they can taste steel." Head cocking aside toward Lyandra, he adds, "Or whatever it is you plan on feeding them, sister."
Lyandra listened to the byplay between Sylindra and the caravan leader, glancing from one to the other and then looking to Zenandra and then to Joran. She finally pulled down her face cover enough to free her mouth, spitting out a bit of sand before she pulled it back up, "As long as it is not you, I think we'll be alright, Oran."
Zenandra nods at Sylindra's plan. "I can go in first to catch them off-guard," Zenandra says. She looks at Sylindra with a determined smile. This is clearly her element.
"Yes, you're our best scout," Sylindra says nodding in agreement. "Go ahead, I'll be right behind you."
Zenandra checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.
The group heads into the cave behind Zenandra and they make it down into a cave without being noticed before it's too late. They are poised to strike at the krilkar long before the lizards' tongues relay information to their brains about intruders. The fight breaks out between them and 3 fully grown male krilkar who have recently shed their youthful molt, roar with fury as bladed weapons and sharp pointy sticks are jammed into their sides, underbellies, and faces.
Lyandra had no sword nor spear, but she had her will, and the magic of the lifewell. She moved with the group, fanning out just a bit from Joran as the krilkar raged and lunged to attack the party. It was ice she summoned now, as she had done in the deeps of Nasheret,long and long ago, when there had been another that sought to taste their flesh, a focused shower of spears, razor sharp and launched to impale the krilkar closest to her.
With a quick rush of steps the Warlord closes the distance between herself and one of the large male krilkar. Her spear White Glint glimmering softly in the dim light of the cave as she moves with speed and purpose. The krilkar lifts is head up and roars out a challenge, but Sylindra is faster. Before it can make ready to pounce upon her Sylindra drive's White Glint's shimmering head straight through the lizard's throat.
While the grisly distraction of a feeding frenzy upon a hapless victim may have aided the party's descent into the cavern, it looks like it also had the side-effect of raising the ire of the beasts upon its interruption, though admittedly the sudden barrage of pointy steel and jagged ice did little to improve their spirits. Joran squares against the beast closest to himself and Lyandra, strafing movements and whirling blades a flurrying dance in unison with the tumultuous spells of his twin, working in tandem with the effects of her magic to leverage jumps off of the fallen spears of ice, striking higher and dodging farther.
The priestess rushes into the cave, her footsteps hardly making a sound. Zenandra wastes no time using her forward momentum to stab at the torso of the first krilkar she sees, ready to drive the wide tip as deep as possible into the beast's flesh.
Zenandra checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.
Sylindra checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.
Joran checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 56 higher.
Lyandra checked mana + evocation at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.
So many Thalerith looked down on those who did not take up arms, and perhaps to some, they might have had the right of it. But as Lyandra fought with her twin, the truth of the matter was answered. The twins moved in perfect time, almost seeming to anticipate each other's needs and movements as ice and steel made short work of the initial assault and the krilkar's flesh opened and bled. Lyandra spoke no words, but perhaps did not need to.
The krilkar rear back from their wounds and lash out with claws and teeth, missing all four fighters as they duck and weave or are pushed away in the case of the twins when one protects the other through shear brute strength. The beasts switch places, screeching and chortling at their attackers, one of them thumping the ground with its tail and is clearly the biggest of the three.
Hamstrung tendons. Limbs impaled with ice. Punctured lungs. Opened Arteries. A clinical dismemberment of whatever vital points can be reached throughout the hectic maelstrom of melee. After a leaping dive onto the neck of their hapless target to drive his blades sidelong into either side of the krilkar's neck, Joran rolls free from the lizard being focused by he and Lyandra, coming out of the dive onto a knee a few strides away from his twin with bloodied steel bared low.
The Warlord gives White Glint a good twist in the Krilkar's flesh and withdraws it from its body, but the large beast remains standing. Must have missed its windpipe and major blood vessels, not hard with a throat that big. Sylindra takes a few steps back, circling her enemy a bit, spear held in a high guard position with both hands. As her circling takes her close to the largest of the three krilkar. She takes its thumping tail as a challenge and answers it with battle cry and a fearsome thrust of her spear.
Zenandra grunts as she yanks the simple but effective spear out of the krilkar's flesh before it struggles and moves, a trail of blood following the spear tip. With an almost feral grin, she twirls the spear on one side of her body, waiting for an opportunity. When presented, she spins around and uses the angular momentum to slash at the face of the krilkar nearest to her.
Sylindra checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 35 higher.
Zenandra checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 37 higher.
Joran checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 54 higher.
Lyandra checked mana + evocation at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.
The krilkar being tag teamed with magic and a pair of blades is slaughtered fairly quickly as both elemental blasts and steel stabystabs end it in a pile of blood and flayed flesh. The krilkar fighting the eldest elf of the pack takes another deep wound and is bleeding profusely from both spots it was stabbed, however as the spear embeds itself it slashes back with its tail and cuts into the elf's flesh. The biggest of the three howls as it's stabbed in the softer underside of its scaly hide, but its teeth scrape across the halter top and rip into the leather but miss the skin beneath the armor. The remaining two krilkar stomp their feet and howl-screech for help, backing up in the cave as much as they can.
Sylindra quickly steps back and away as the huge krilkar's jaws close around her shoulder, escaping just before its dagger-like teeth could tear into her flesh. Parts of her top come free in the motion and remain in the creature's mouth, leaving her left breast uncovered save for a few tattered strips of leather. The Warlord adjusts her stance accordingly, moving her left foot back and her right foot forward to present the still armoured side towards the creature. She begins to jab White Glint aggerssively towards its face, pushing forward in an effort to drive it back and corner it so it cannot maneouvre.
Zenandra's own blood joins the krilkar's in the air as the creature's tail digs into the flesh of her upper leg through the cloak. The two pause for a beat. The priestess shifts her weight to favor the other foot but otherwise does not seem to react to the injury, though that may just be the adrenaline. She readies her spear for another attack, this time thrusting the spear underneath the lizard's belly and dragging it along its underbelly with an echoing shout.
As their foe fell, Lyandra moved with Joran, the pair rounding on the next, and more dangerous target. The screams brought a wariness to Lyandra's face, "They call for aid. We may need to start sealing them off." Which would mean divided attention, but such was life. Still, she had her enemy, and Lyandra once again called on ice, casting just in the moment before Joran left, aiming to send the elemental speak into the side of the krilkar that fought Zenandra.
"We kill as many as we can, then we pull out! If we weaken the pack enough they might just resort to eating their fallen instead of going after us!" Sylindra exclaims as she jabs at her foe.
After shifting to his feet, Joran pauses a moment, though whether for breath or for a cursory scan across the cavern battleground cannot be discerned beneath his face-covering helm. "Will not take many more in these quarters to swarm us.", he agrees with Lyandra, before dashing off at a full sprint in the direction of the clash between Zenandra and her krilkar, covering the distance in the matter of moments - though even a few breaths could feel like years in the course of a life or death battle. The elf leaps from the ground as he bears down closer upon the beast, diving feet-first to plant his boots into the spear of ice flung by Lyandra that rams into the reptile's flank, driving the projectile deeper before it has a chance to react. In the same motion, he hacks hard with the curved, weighted blades of his yatagan into one of the krilkar's front legs, seemingly in an effort to hobble its assault of the elder elf. While his landing following the movement is not the most graceful, he does at least manage to fall to a knee a pace or two away.
Zenandra checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.
Lyandra checked mana + evocation at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.
Joran checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.
Sylindra checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.
Sylindra is overheard praising Dunlain: Staying up all night to be an awesome GM deserves all the praise I can muster.
Belstrom is overheard praising Dunlain: Awesome event, terrifying storm and monsters!
Joran is overheard praising Dunlain: GM'ing my very first Ithir event and making it one for the ages, despite it turning into an all-nighter for them! The hero we don't deserve.
Zenandra is overheard praising Dunlain: For GMing an awesome event all the way into the morning.
Lyandra is overheard praising Dunlain: Who needs sleep. Not this guy! Thanks for a great scene!
The next krilkar to fall was the bleeding one and it goes down with a struggle but a weak one, scratching the air more than any of its attackers. Magic punctures into its side, spilling innards, and a spear finds purchase in the face, taking an eye and driving deeper than expected. When it's down, the final lizard is the biggest one and he's not looking too good now. It slashes with its foreclaws but rends dust and air, missing all marks by miles. Seeing the other two dead, it backs up further and its tail slips out of sight around yet another blind turn in the stone of the cave. Seeing a chance for escape, the murder lizard forgets any hunger it might have had and disappears out of sight.
Outside there are some screams and several of the military come running into the cave, shouting for the warlord, "The rocks, they're cracking! We're evacuating the shelter, we'll have to tough the storm or we'll be crushed." Several loud cracks of thunder vibrate through the cave walls and the limp claws of the krilkar jitter across the stone floor. More shouting and several screams of pain clatter through the shelter into a wild din of excitement.
"Okay we're done here, everybody out!" the Warlord orders. "Go! Go! Go!" she yells as they rush back outside.
Belstrom is waiting outside, frowning. "What was all that screeching? Zenandra, is that your blood?" He intercepts the battle priestess, eyeing the others as they emerge for signs of injury.
Lyandra did not stop to see where the wounded krilkar was going. Instead, she turned, glancing only briefly to Joran before she moved to follow the Warlord back out towards the shelter, what was left of it and the people who were now seeking to escape it. "I'm right behind you, Oran." And she would be, but she also sought to use what magic she could to shore up their crumbling shelter, at least enough to give them time to escape if she could not salvage the overhang.
No time to celebrate victory as Zenandra hears the cries from outside the well-hidden cave. She straps her bloody spear on her back and rushes out. Seeing the healer at the entrance, she grabs Belstrom's shoulder and lifts her leg out of her cloak. The wound did not hit any major arteries, but it is wide, it is bleeding, and it is vulnerable to the sand and glass in the air. "Here, quick, we need to move," she says bluntly.
Joran seemingly doesn't need to be told twice to leave, but lingers at the back of the party near Lyandra as they make a hasty exit regardless, likely covering the rear as a precaution. "Right beside until we are back in Nasherat, but no fussing over words for now."
Belstrom checked intellect + restoration at difficulty 20, rolling 7 higher.
As the Sylindra steps outside the cave she begins barking out more orders, "Continue shelter evacuation! Casters, try to hold it up until we're done evacuating! Everyone remaining able body, move people out! Quickly!" The Warlord herself grabs an elf who can walk, but too slowly, and just flings him over her shoulder, her other hand grabbing a pack of supplies as she runs outside away from the crumbling shelter.
Belstrom wraps an arm around the fearless Aynarr and puts his hand on her injury, an eerie blueish glow covering the gash as pins and needles, followed by a cold trickling sensation streams over it. A quick patch job--the skin closes tight and shiny--it may leave a scar-- and Belstrom has a bandage ready to wrap over the new skin so she can move quickly as it heals fully.
Zenandra flashes a quick grin at Belstrom. But just like that, she is out of the healer's hands and into the fray, helping her fellow elves pack up supplies where needed.
The storm outside is going just as strong as it had been when they arrived, a wave of dust rolls through the fleeing elves as they all break free of the shelter. Upon cresting a sandy hill, a huge splintering crack rends the air and a low deep rumble like grating of two mountains trying to pass in the night ripples across the desert floor. The shelter collapses ... Nonahmey still inside with several too wounded to move too quickly.
As the group look around, the scouts begin to report that they cannot find neither hint nor marking of the road that is supposed to help them back to Nasherat. They start to debate the direction they should travel and none seem to have any good grasp of exactly where they are in relation to where they want to be.
Zenandra checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 15 higher.
The group slowly emerges from teh storm into the cavernous cover of Moya Falls, about a 1/3rd of the rescued caravaners were lost to the storm and some of the materials were also saved in the process. The two Blade Sword greet their Warlord happily and apologize profusely for not being around to help her. A report comes in that the missing workers were found, they had gotten swept into the sea of mud due to flash flooding, but rescue workers brought many of them to safety. When the storm passes, teams go out to clear the roads and re-establish messenger routes to get information flowing again.
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