Tuesday Tales: Unexpected

Long Night

CAST OF PLAYERS:

Jeremy Whitener…………Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Aaron Murphy……………..Claws-of-Honor………………….Were-Tiger
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master

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Casey, sheltered now by the shield in front of her and Korin and Elijah at her back, channeled all her power into enlarging the telekinetic barrier to enclose all three of them. It stretched slowly, slowly, in a growing arc….

“They want Casey, only Casey,” Korin rasped breathlessly. “Lets just get out of here!! The fastest way…where is it?!!”

“Keep your shit together, kid.” Elijah urged. “This is only gonna get nastier.”

The Mangoose continued lashing and dodging; it was utter chaos as nightmare forms slashed and grappled them with inky limbs and shadow claws. It was a madhouse of horror, never knowing from where the next strike would come. But it would come. And it did…over and over…a hail storm of blows, a torrent of tearing….

Korin’s flight response shrilled along Casey’s nerve endings, knotting her stomach. His desire for escape radiated like heat against her skin and into her mind, making her own heart thump even harder and her head spin with conflicting impulses.

The shield began to tremble, shake…

Flight…escape…survival…his emotions buffeted her like pounding surf, eroding her resolution to finish what she’d started.

Where was Pana…? Dead already? Along with Tracy and Dennis….

She didn’t belong down here, in the middle of this unwinnable fight. Nothing she’d ever known had prepared her for a situation like this. She was going to get them all killed with her stupid, misguided determination to prove something to herself.

And to Falco.

Scowling, Casey struggled to raise her mental shields, block out the alarm thrumming into her from Korin. It wasn’t easy with most of her concentration still on the telekinetic barrier, but she doggedly imposed calm on her own mind and heart, slowed her pulse rate, washed the panic from her thoughts.

When she was as composed as she could make herself, she reopened the three-way mental connection, steeling herself against the rush of Korin’s emotions. ** We can’t, ** she sent, pouring as much calm tranquility as she could summon into the thoughts. ** I can’t. There are more prisoners being held down here, that’s why I came. We have to take them with us when we go. Besides, if we can’t beat these phantoms we’d probably never make it out alive anyway. **

^^Others??!^^ Korin was unintentionally broadcasting again, his thoughts louder than shouts in Casey’s head. ^^Others who can fight? Can help us? Where? We need them free now!!!^^ The thoughts of flight twittered away as Casey’s will became his own, her resolve to stand and die intertwining and conquering his desire to run, to take her and Elijah and run. “Where are the others??” he panted aloud. “They could help us.” ^^If they want to live they would help us!^^

** I don’t know…that way… ** she sent an image of the black corridor ahead of them, beyond the sea of attackers, ** …somewhere…. **

It seemed to occur to Korin for the first time that the telepathic link might work both ways. He spoke deliberately into her mind this time, awkwardly struggling to form words and defend himself all at the same time. ^^Could I free the others? Is there any in the cells that could prove deadlier to us than the untouchable death thats on our asses now??! Any who would help us? If so I’m going to try and free them.^^

** That’s the plan. We’ve got to get to them first, somehow. ** Then she realized… ** Korin, these creatures seem mostly interested in me. Maybe if you ran on ahead and freed the other prisoners, the phantoms would be too preoccupied with trying to capture me to notice. **

Korin was a step ahead of her: he’d already come to the same conclusion and was ready to make the attempt. In a blink he sprang from the triangle of defense. ^^Here goes nothing.

^^Or everything…^^

Korin’s only allies receded behind him as he leaped and spun, the infinitely flexible backbone twisting inhumanly as he contorted and dodged the attackers, sprinting towards the dark hallway that served as a highway to the phantoms… ^^Gotta free the others!!^^

Korin was gone in an instant, and a moment later Casey closed the shield around herself and Elijah.

“Sweet!” she heard the vampire rejoice. “Chica, you and me gonna be good friends!”

The unlikeliness of that seemed to call for some kind of response, but before she could answer her attention was jerked back to one figure in particular that stood before her, his eyes narrowing — studying her. A new chill shivered through her as she met his baleful red stare.

He placed his hand against the shield…and slowly, Casey could feel him dissolving the layers of mindforce….

No….

No.

Tightening her focus, she closed her eyes against the icy malice of his gaze — though it hardly mattered.  He was etched in cold black evil upon her perceptions; she didn’t need her eyes to see him.

Don’t let him rattle you.  The shield is what matters, concentrate on that.  Visualize it…as strong as steel…as strong as will.  Unbreakable.  Incorruptible.  Casey forgot everything else in her all-consuming effort to make the words true.  Braced against the vampire’s back, she threw every ounce of power she could call up into the shield, knowing that if it fell she had no hope of reaching her weapon in time to save herself.

Her body trembled, shaking under the strain. She felt the shield warp and ripple just before the walls flexed back to impervious rigidity. Her dark enemy’s hand snapped back as if shocked. She could discern a snarl.

The barrier was solid.

Others of the nightmare creatures stepped forward, each placing their hands on the barrier… and pressure built behind Casey’s eyes. She was holding now… but not for long.

It only took a moment or two of that for the hopelessness of her situation to sink in.  Without opening her eyes she said hoarsely, “Elijah, I’m losing the shield.  Get ready….”

“Aw crap,” the vampire groaned “How long?”

“Maybe another minute.”

He whispered, “Tell you what, when we’re ready you fall in behind me. I’ll make a hole and clear the way.”

“Okay.  I’ll get my sword up as fast as I can and cover the rear.  Dropping the shield…now.” She moved in Elijah’s wake, making a swift grab for her weapon in the same moment.

…And blinked, sensing Claw’s presence though she hadn’t heard or seen him come. The tumult of seemingly endless battle with the black phantoms filled her vision, drowned out other noises, but the Tiger’s mind was like a clean, hot flame dropped unexpectedly into the dank chill of the hall. Hope rose suddenly in her, gave renewed strength to the swing of her blade.

Someone else was here too, but Casey didn’t recognize the other, harsher mind.

And a moment later, Pip. His presence burned even hotter than Claws’, and not so cleanly: it sent licks of flame into rather distracting corners of Casey’s mind. She missed her next parry, and a fresh streak of blood blossomed across her cheek behind the raking claws of one of the dark apparitions.

“This can’t be good… Is that…?” Pip called out, “Casey!”

“Watch out for the red-eyed things,” she shouted back, too worn out to bother with pleasantries. “They can be killed when they take solid form!” As an afterthought she added, “The vampire’s on our side!”

“‘Preciate that,” Elijah shared over his shoulder.

“The Tiger’s kind of a ‘disembowel ’em all first and ask questions later’ sort,” she quipped back.  “Didn’t want any fatal misunderstandings, after you were nice enough to save my life and all.” She twisted her head for an instant to see the new arrivals, gauge the distance between herself and aid. Over the shoulder of Elijah, she could vaguely discern the massive form of the Bastet, Claws, and not far beyond him was Pip. A hulking blue monster faced them.

“Friends of yours?” Elijah asked.

“This would be the cavalry,” she said with a fierce grin. “I don’t know who the big blue guy is though, I’ve never seen him before. He doesn’t feel very friendly. Try to get over there if you can.”

Every inch gained was a yard of pain, every foot advanced was a mile of terror.

Pip dodged around the Ogre while calling to Claws, “You got this guy, right? I think Casey needs some help.” The satyr planted his hooves and held his quarter-staff out before him and intoned:

“In the beginning was darkness
darkness again at the end
awaiting those who despise Light
Light’s gift of love for all men.”

He spun the staff and cried, “LET THERE BE LIGHT!”

The staff erupted in a brilliant white light as if high noon had been pressed into its narrow confines. Casey squinted, averting her eyes from the blinding glare.

The satyr leaped into the swirling torrent of Dark Ones swinging the luminescent weapon while singing — yes singing — at the top of his lungs… and horribly off-key.

“Yooooooooooooou light up my life!”

WHAP!

One of the nightmare forms screamed.

“You give me hope to carry on…”

CRACKT!

A shriek this time.

“You light up my daaaaaaaays…”

SNAP!

Followed by a cry of agony.

“…and fill my nights with song!”

With a final exclamation of pain, the way was clear and Casey joined Pip.

Elijah veered away warily from the daylight burning quarter-staff.

“Hey there,” Pip greeted Casey. “Fancy seein’ you down here.”

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