CAST OF PLAYERS:
Jeremy Whitener…………Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master
Casey blinked, thrown off a little by the vampire’s casual manner. But time was still ticking away; she needed to keep things moving. “I’m Casey.” She turned to indicate the staircase. “Those stairs lead up to the main bar. If we work as a group we might be able to sneak or fight our way outside together.” She turned the other way and gestured toward the dark corridor. “I don’t know what’s in there. But I have to take a look, to make sure there are no more prisoners being held here. You guys can come with me or hit the exit, whichever sounds best to you.”
Elijah looked each direction indicated and then looked to Casey, “I’m with you, Blondie.”
Tracy stepped off the stairs, her slim legs shaking just a bit. “I’m with you, too, Casey.”
“Good,” Casey smiled. “Thanks. I can use all the help I can get.” She never quite turned her back on the vampire, though.
The Pooka nodded, trying hard to fan the weak flames of her newly kindled bravery. She was frightened, but not willing to give in to it.
The Boggans on the other hand…
“Um…” Dennis’ voice wavered from the stairs. “Shouldn’t we just go? We could call the police when we’re out?”
Casey looked over at Dennis, not unsympathetically. “It’s up to you if you want to go. But there might be more safety in numbers.”
Dennis nodded and followed — albeit reluctantly — after Tracy.
Elijah laughed, shaking his head. He looked to Korin. “What about The Streak here?”
Korin smirked begrudgingly at the burn. “I’m with you of course. I don’t even know where I am…not likely to find my way out alone.”
Casey looked around for Pana. The Malamute was standing at the door to the corridor, facing the darkness. Casey moved toward the dark hall. ** What do you smell? **
Pana was distracted and didn’t answer at once. :: I do not know… Evil. Other worldly. Terror. ::
** Sounds delightful. ** Casey extended her own perceptions down the corridor, seeking out the source of Pana’s disquiet. She brushed a series of minds… alien. Not human. Not even like human.
… cesspools of hate and malice, filled only with evil intent.
And they were thinking about Casey, her name on their minds.
A cold shiver rippled through her. Did they know she was here? Were they waiting for her, crouching in the darkness, biding their time for the right moment to spring?
She stood motionless and silent for a long minute, staring into the blackness with a rather unfocused gaze.
When she finally moved again, it was to turn the leather-wrapped cylinder she held into a vertical position in both hands. Its contents flowed up from the top, like clear molten glass. It rose fluidly, then solidified into the shape of a slender, elegant crystalline blade about three feet long, with the cylinder for a hilt.
Nodding her satisfaction, she moved forward again. Pana fell in beside her as she stepped into the corridor.
Korin followed, a shiver of fear and anticipation running down his spine. “Some…something, somethings are coming. Not sure how many…or..or what, just a bunch of red eyes…and coming fast! I’d guess this might get very bad.” He balled his fists, his only real weapons. “Casey you may not want to be standing there when whatever it is gets here.”
“I’m pretty sure I don’t,” Casey returned in a low voice, lifting her blade into a defensive position, never taking her eyes from the darkness before them. “But I don’t think it’s going to matter all that much where I’m standing when they get here.” Her face was pale, her body tense, but there was a hard determination in her blue eyes and in the way she held the crystalline sword.
“Interesting pig-sticker your got there,” Elijah observed. “Pick that up at the Sharper Image?”
That drew a distracted, almost feral smile from Casey. Her attention was completely focused on the corridor now; whatever was waiting for her there had overshadowed all other concerns for the moment. “There’s nothing good down there,” she murmured absently to the vampire. “How are you in a fight?”
“Better in the bedroom,” he smiled. “But I’m alright in a fight, too.”
“You better be…they are almost here.” Korin’s voice sounded raspy. The hair on his neck stood at length.
The darkness was nearly tangible, like moving through dark curtains. Casey held her sword lightly but securely in her right hand, senses deeply attuned to her surroundings as she walked down the hall.
A low whine escaped from Pana, followed by a deepening growl as she padded forward, head low.
“I’m with you there,” Casey muttered, nerves crawling with the sensation of evil and malice looming ever closer. Her eyes were beginning to ache with the effort of staring into the blackness, trying to see her concealed foes. She glanced at Korin as he moved up beside her, gave him a quick, strained smile. “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of dark scary enclosed spaces,” she whispered humorously. “Just once I’d like to take on the bad guys in a sunny meadow, you know?”
“Meadows are nice, but personally anywhere not here would be great. I still wanna know what they were doing to me that required me being naked.”
“Can’t say I blame you there,” she grimaced sympathetically. “Maybe someone just really liked your outfit?”
Korin glanced back at the man in the cowboy boots, who Casey referred to just moments ago as ‘might be trouble.’ “You don’t seem to be making much use of that shirt, mind if I borrow it? I think we’d all feel more comfortable if my dork, as you so eloquently put it, and ass weren’t hanging out. And I promise not to soil it….on purpose.” His voice took on a raspier tone as he spoke in a loud whisper.
Elijah chuckled darkly, “Sure, bro.” He shrugged the shirt off and handed it to him. “I expect it to be returned to me professionally laundered. I like heavy starch.”
Smirking, Korin took the shirt, wrapping it about his waist and tying it off and quickly returning his gaze to the darkened hallway.
Casey’s sword felt light and balanced and strong in her grip, but rather inadequate for the circumstances. How much help could one blade be against a horde of attackers? She found herself hoping that mongoose-guy and the vampire–maybe even raccoon-girl–had some combat skills, that they’d turn out to be assets rather than liabilities.
She wondered if she was leading them all to their deaths.
Forcing that thought from her mind, she concentrated on watching and listening for the first sign of trouble.
Beside her, Korin was transforming. He was becoming a bit taller, leaner, hairier…
She glanced over at him, distractedly hoping that the metamorphosis would produce something really big and ferocious with sharp claws and lots of teeth.
“HERE THEY COME!” Elijah warned.
Casey’s attention jerked back to the dark hallway, her stomach tightening.
And suddenly they were amongst them. They were felt, not seen — with the exception of their eyes, their awful, crimson, nightmarish eyes.
A terrible chill rolled across the company.
Dennis shrieked his terror.
“…Oh God…” Tracy groaned.
Just for an instant Casey froze up. The spectral shadows seemed too intangible to confront, their ghastly red eyes too malicious and cruel to even look at for long.
Korin howled as two shadows slammed into him, passing through him… the sensation as violent as a hot razor through soft pink flesh. The Mangoose staggered back.
Casey shivered as she felt the shadows pass her. She stood, paralyzed by inexperience and dread, her sword gripped uselessly in white-knuckled fingers.
Then something shifted in her chest, and she drew a quick, gasping breath through suddenly clenched teeth. Turning to step clear of her companions, she brought up her weapon’s glassy blade to slice through the crimson eyes of the nearest shadow…
… and sliced only air.
“Aiiiiaiaiaiaiiaaiai…!” Dennis’ scream rose in pitch.
Tracy leapt from the floor to the wall, bouncing over the company’s heads and away from a darting shadow.
They were evil given form, sin given substance. One moment they were solid, the next they were wisps. Shuddering under the overwhelming flow of malevolence and hate, Casey attempted to time the swings of her blade to strike the abominations in the moment they took corporeal form. Hacking again…and again…No luck, no luck….
Frustration boiled within her. It seethed through her mind, kindling a hot anger that drove her fear into the background. Power rose to the surface, coursed through her veins like electricity.
Elijah growled, then yowled as one of the dark one stabbed his hand into the vampire’s chest!
Casey whirled, slashing with her crystal blade.
“YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” The creature screamed as the night split, its arm vaporizing.
She bared her teeth in a feral smile, her return stroke divorcing the agent’s head from its shoulders. It exploded in a strobing burst of green light!
A panting, half-whispered “ha!” rasped breathlessly from her as the apparition perished. One down, a gazillion to go.
“Thanks, Sunnymuffins.” Elijah plowed forward.
“No… No…” Dennis pleaded.
“Leave him alone!” Tracy hurled herself down to Dennis’ aid.
A wrathful roar echoed through the corridor as Elijah cut loose.
SHE IS HERE…
…SHE IS HERE…
…SHE IS HERE…
The words were felt more than heard.
Casey blanched, her wrath faltering, her blade wavering to a stop.
SHE IS THE ONE!
SHE IS THE ONE!
SHE IS THE ONE!
They all advanced on Casey.
“Do what you want with the girl!” Dennis cried, “But leave me alone!”
Through her own terror Casey felt a twinge of mingled pity and annoyance. Dennis shouldn’t have been here at all; he’d have been better off taking his chances up in the bar. She moved farther away from the group, not wanting to draw death onto them if it could be avoided.
Korin howled in pain as he sprang away, the man wanting to run, the Mongoose to fight. “Casey…Elijah…what are they??!!
“Death!” Elijah snarled, “Cold death!”
“How can we fight them??” The Mangoose tucked and rolled, attacking at any opening that presented itself with the unnatural weapons of his transformation. “Can I at least kill them back or is this a one-sided game?!”
“They can be damaged when they’re solid!” Casey called to him, still working to put more distance between her and her companions. A storm was brewing in her head, flashes of lightning illuminating violent possibilities…
Razor claws sliced through the Mangoose as one of the red-eyed bastards tore at him. Korin managed to shove the thing away, but as he spun about, soul-numbing cold struck through his core as one of the spectres passed through him.
“Fuck this!!” he growled, his claws lashing out towards the “thing” as best he could. The speed of the Mangoose served him well. He was speed given form. Korin bent impossibly away from one strike and then another, as if his spine were made of rubber rather than bone. He rolled to the ground and leaped over heads. He was everywhere. He was nowhere. His claws lashed out… but the dark agents were also slickery in their movements. Korin caught only air.
“Behind you!” Elijah warned.
The Mongoose spun and slashed, catching one of the nightmares, ripping what passed for a face…
FINALLY! The creature screeched and whirled away.
Farther down the hall, Casey abruptly switched to a one-handed grip on her sword, bringing it around in a wide horizontal sweep to help keep the dark phantoms at bay while simultaneously letting the blade flow back into its hilt. Within seconds the weapon was only a cylinder again and no longer a drain on her energies. Redirecting her power into new channels, she gestured smoothly toward the mass of swarming creatures in unconscious imitation of her mentor.
Casey’s form was commanding, a general in the field. Her eyes flashed darkly, hair falling about her face, forming a blonde hood. Her fingers flashed outward as two of the dark figures burst suddenly to flame, shrieking their burning agony.
The illuminating flame revealed dozens of the beasts flowing down the hall toward them.
“Get back!” Tracy could be heard from behind. “Get ba…”
A warm PLOP echoed wetly as Tracy’s head rolled to the floor.
Casey grimaced. What had she been thinking, bringing everyone down here with her? She’d led them all to their deaths.
“Nooo!” Dennis cried out.
Elijah grunted. He crouched, growling. “Surrounded. They’ve cut us off from retreat.”
He was right. They were all around.