25 Arodus 4718 (Starday) cont
As we rushed to Martella’s aid, I spotted three cultists. I called out to my friends letting them know as I made my way to Martella. She was still trying to shout something, though with the gag in her mouth I couldn’t make out what she was saying.
I heard more movement from the southern part of the room, and saw a halfling man come running forward. He was dressed like the halflings that we confronted when we exited the Senate of Circles. Then Wysilka the Fantabulous appeared from around the corner, holding a puppet and a dagger in her hand. I was shocked to say the least. It turns out that she is the leader of the cult of Thamir Gixx, and the mastermind behind Martella’s abduction.
A split second later, Oliver was at my side, and we did our best to keep the cultists from flanking us. Since we were outnumbered, this was a losing battle, but we did the best that we could. I have gained a great respect for Oliver’s fighting capabilities, and felt glad to have him at my side during our battles.
As Wysilka rushed towards us, she began to spellcast, summoning a spectral blade which she sent flying towards Oliver. She then conjured a mirror image of herself, grinning at our surprise.
Verity joined Oliver and I, striking one of the cultists as she made her way into the chamber. Felyx hung back towards the entrance, firing Dignity’s Barb at Wysilka. I had lost sight of Cornelius, and realized that he must have used the scroll of invisibility to follow through with the plan Oliver had outlined earlier.
As I moved closer to Martella, I began to sing my favorite hymn to Ragathiel, letting his righteous fury flow through me. I reached up, pulling the gag from Martella’s mouth as the halfling assassin ran up beside me, putting me between him and one of the clerics. Martella offered her thanks, and now that I was so close to her, I could see exactly how badly she had been beaten. I felt the rage within me stoked ever higher as I turned to face the halfling man, just in time to see Oliver bring Oakhart down upon him.
One of the priests of Norgorber cast a fear spell upon Oliver, and I could tell by the look in his eyes that the magic had taken hold. From behind me, I heard another priest scream out in pain followed by the thud of a body hitting the ground as Verity brought one of our enemies low. The brief distraction left an opening for the halfling assassin, his dagger finding an opening in my armor. I turned back to face him, cleaving into him with my bastard sword, bringing him to his end. Beside me, Martella’s form turned to a hazy mist, and she began to drift away.
Oliver turned, yelling at all of us to retreat as the magic forced him to flee, and it was probably one of the scariest sights I’d seen that day. Wysilka slid up beside me, taking the fallen halfling compatriot’s place and both she and another cultist brought their blades to bear against me. A split second later, Felyx was at my side, using the wand to heal my wounds. I brought my own blade around and struck one of the priests.
Cornelius reappeared, using the wand of shocking grasp in hand to bring low the priest I had just struck. He looked rather surprised as the priest hit the floor, and it occurred to me that out of all of us, he seemed the most reluctant to use lethal force against our opponents. There is a time and place for mercy, and while I understood Cornelius’ hesitation, I hoped that he would come to realize that when it is life or death, you do not have a choice. My faith in Ragathiel brings me strength in moments like these.
The last priestess attempted to cause me to flee in fear, but I was able to resist the effect. Wysilka also spellcasted, attempting to hold Verity in place, but she too resisted the spell’s effect.
Verity and I began to close in on the last priestess and Wysilka as they attempted to trap Cornelius between them. From around the corner, Martella emerged, holding a firearm which she then shot at Wysilka. She missed her target, but did dispel the mirror image. Part of me wished she wouldn’t fire again. The sound had been deafening.
I hadn’t heard Oliver’s approach due to the gunshot, but I realized he was back among us when a javelin flew through the air, striking the priestess. She took a stumbling step forward, swinging her blade desperately at Cornelius before falling.
My friends and I closed in on Wysilka, forcing her into a corner. She whined about it being “unfair”. She had been babbling and making jokes the entire battle, and I was glad I had been able to tune her out with my song. I was able to land a blow on her, but not before she viciously stabbed Cornelius and he fell to the ground. She had the utter audacity to do a forward flip, landing squarely on his chest and raising her arms up in the air and yelling “ta-da!” like it was a wonderful trick. I quite literally saw red, and Oliver yelled at her to get off of him. She pouted again. After Mr. Smiles and now Wysilka, I can confidently say that I loathe clowns.
Felyx was at Cornelius’ side immediately, using the wand to heal him. Wysilka was so focused on us, launching into some tirade about painting the walls with our blood and using our guts as ribbons, that she didn’t realize Cornelius had regained consciousness. He grabbed the wand of shocking grasp off the floor, and jabbed it into her ribs before a jolt of electricity ran through her body. She screamed and then toppled to the ground. Her last words were another whine of “not fair”.
There was a brief moment of silence, before we all turned to Martella, who rushed forward, pulling all of us into a hug and thanking us for coming to save her. As if leaving her had been an option at all.