In the midst of the hidden forests of Tearra Réhm
Far from the old port city of Lemus, off the western shores of the oceanfront, a small hunting party of halflings and gnomes is searching for small game, when the leader calls forward the others.
They gather around a large, flat, rectangular stone platfrom rising up out of the ground, viewing it curiously.
They had been out hunting for food to trade with the local butcher in Lemus when they practically stumbled across the stone flat.
The leader had been here many times before, and had never found this in this place before.
"Ilu, uganda," he says to the others. What is it?
The others all shake their heads at the unfamiliar object.
Seeing a crack in the upper corner of one of the sides, he sees that it is a doorway.
He tries to shove it open, but it will not budge. There is too much dirt covering the large stone door. Ancient runes line the doors.
"Dalui seetas?" Can you read it?
Again, they shake their heads in reluctant awe.
He almost decides to leave, when he notices that the chamber inside goes far deeper into the earth below. He gets an idea, and orders them to dig.
They ask what he thinks is inside, but he cannot tell them. Some of the others protest, saying that they think the group should leave it be, and just keep hunting.
The leader debates the idea for a moment, and decides to leave it be.
They continue hunting.
After quite a long time, they return to Lemus
to sell their goods to the butcher, and with good reward.
That night, they eat at a local tavern.
is wandering about in the woods when he spots some footsteps on the ground. He takes a quick look at them. 'Halflings... and some gnomes...'
he thinks 'Hunters, no doubt'
. By reason unknown even to himself he choses to follow the trail to see where the small party went.
The trail led him to the ruined stone object.
Holandar stopped when he reached the big stone platform 'And what do we have here?'
he thinks and walks up to the stone. After a quick examination he too finds the door with the runes 'It's not natural, that's for sure'
he thinks and takes a closer look on the runes.
A felynne figure came out of the bushes. It was a druid who was protector of this area. She went by the name of Moon tigress
. "Be carefull, it is an evil place. The soil around it is tainted by a foul essence. It was best left to be not discovered, but I couldn't stop the gnomes. Please sir, I ask you kindly to leave."
Holandar turns towards the druid "If this place is tainted, why don't you heal it?" he asks.
She looked at the stone. "I don't have the power. Even my archdruid doesn't have the power to clean this place. The knowledge of the stone has been forgotten, we don't know what it is, only that it's evil."
"Then I guess it's time for someone to find that out again." Holandar sais "I don't know about you, but I
don't want anything evil in this forest." he turns towards the runes again and tries to decipher at least something about them.
She opened her mouth, but closed it again when she deided there wasn't really anything to say. She wanted the forest to be pure as well, and this place was a rotten spot in it's heart. And she had to admit the stone hadn't been examined since a long time ago, maybe this time they would get farther... She already knew the signs on the stone, almost by heart. But she didn't know what they meant. Maybe this stranger would know more. "My name is Moon Tigress. Who are you?"
"Caw! CAW caw!"
A noisy bird crows loudly from somewhere nearby, then flutters hastily onward.
The ground makes a light buzzing, as if rumbling, but remaining unmoved. The low tone rings throughout the bodies of both present, making a sickening feeling in their stomachs.... the ache of the stench of death.
"It didn't do this before." Moon Tigress said, trying to ignore the sick feeling in her tummy. "But I don't think I have to mention it's not good. This is the most awfull way I've ever felt, and I've felt alot..."
Holandar looks at the bird "It's not an ordinary crow, that's for certain" he sais. He looks to Moon Tigress again "Holandar... that's my name." he sais.
"Nice to meet you and yes, that crow sounded about as weird as I feel sick that the moment." Moon Tigress thought she was going to puke, but it didn't happen and she got a hold of herself. Feeling a bit better now, she looks at Holandar again. "But what did you want to do about the stone? It's much to heavy to lift and to be honest I'm scared of the idea what might be udner there..."
"Don't you see the door over there?" Holandar asks and tilts his head towards the door "I guess the runes will tell us how to open it."
She looked at him, pleasantly surprised. "You can read the runes? That's great! Maybe we can do something baout this place now!"
She looked really happy because of it, and somehow that idea seemed to fill the area, making the forest almost look greener, as if it were happier now.
Holandar takes a quick look at the runes "They look a bit like ancient elven runes I've seen sometimes before, but I'm not certain." he gives the black bird an irritated look "And that bird's sickening influence doesn't really make it easier to think here!"
Moon Tigress followed his eyes towards the bird, and walks towards it. She tries to make an empathic link to it, beconing it to go away.
The bird ruffles its feathers, shivering in a silent wind that moves the leaves on the thickly-covered trees.
The empthic link seems to have no effect, as the bird's mind does not have an energy present that the druid can sense.
It caws once more, and hops to two other sets of branches, before settling down and looking back down at the two.
CAW CAW CAW!!!!
It hops on to the lower branch, and looks at them curiously from the side of its head.
"I have a feeling that was not exactly what you wanted, Tigress." Holandar sais and looks at the bird "I even think he's laughting at us.".
"I doubt it is really a bird." Moon Tigress replied. "I cannot feel it's spirit, that has never happened to me before... I don't think it's truelly an animal..."
She silenlty casted a spell which would make animal go asleep, and targeted the bird, seeing if anything would happen.
The bird ruffles its feathers once more, and lifts its tail to relieve itself on the forest floor in a swift motion.
Afterward, it flies onward to another branch a bit further out of reach and away from the stone base, clicking and cawing as it flies away to land on its tree branch.
A deep stench of death and decay rises up from the ground in one solid whiff after the bird has left.
The crickets stop chirping and hop away through the thick bush and ferns.
Caw Caw CAW!!
The bird begins caulering out again, followed by others that linger out of sight.
Another light rumble comes to rise from the ground, again with its low, ringing/whining pitch. It seems to sound almost like deep voices rising up from below. A sound like the voices of a hellish choir, almost....
"I'm getting a really bad feeling about this..." Holandar sais and takes his spear, ready to strike if something would happen.
"Oh dear..." Moon Tigress said, her stomach flipping over again. "May the woodspirits help us, this is not good... What is that creepy sound?"
"Trouble, no doubt." Holandar sais "It sure is time for someone to take a look over of this place again, unless we want an army of demons, or undeads or whatever now is down there flooding up here." he glares at the bird "Be gone, bird!" he yells at it.
Moon Tigress backs away from the stone, trying to get away from the stench of decaying. She was wonderingh ow she was going to explain this to the archdruid. Was this her fault? Should she have taken care of the forest better? She didn't know and for that became quite confused about what to do now.
Everything becomes quiet once more as the ground becomes void of motion or sound, but like ghost on a cold wind, the very fear let off by the two is enough to feed the energies of this place, and it lies once more, satisfied and resting.
Even the bird remains quiet, though still sitting in the tree, fluffing its feathers repeatedly and shaking its head.
Heading away in the direction of the gnomes' path, the bird begins to CAW once more, just beyond the treetops, and off onto the horizon, toward the nearby city's glowing lamplights.
"It stopped." Holandar sais and looks after the dissapearing bird "And it seems that cursed bird finally decided to leave." he turns to Moon Tigress "How fast can you get this information to the arch-druid?"
Moon Tigress thought, and then was happily able to answer she could be there by tomorrow at sundown. "I know the way well and I can ask Unya to bring me."
"Good, I haven't met him in person, but I guess he would like to know about this." Holandar then turns to the stone, a frown appears on his forehead "I'll see if I can read those runes."
"Right..." Moon Tigress said, turned away westwards and ran of. Making a strange call every little while, a large male deer came running with her after a while. After sharing some empathic messages she jumped on his back and he raced of towards the grove.
Holandar walks up to the door and begins examining the runes.
The entire night Moon Tigress rode on Unya's back, reaching a very dense part of the woods in the morning. She knew the grove was on the other side, but Unya couldn't go through this place, and going around would take too long. So she got of and thanked him for bringing her so far. As Unya ran off she took the shape of a squirrel to get through the forest faster. She could change into a bird, but she didn't like flying, and besides, you never knew what was in the air and there was rarily a place to hide. And with that thought, Moon Tigress' second part of the hasty journey began.
Holandar was at that moment still staring at the runes, trying to get anything out of them. 'Does that one mean 'forbidden'?' he thought and scratched on one of the signs.
Going through the plants with relative ease, Moon Tigress was making more progress than she'd calculated when she spoke to Holandar. Around noon she got out of the patch of dense woods and changed back to her normal form. She stood still for a few minutes, enjoying the always beautifull place the grove was situated. Somehow the plants and trees seemed greener and oddly, that made one think they were happier. Moon Tigress liked to believe this thought, and always took her time to let it fill her mind. The clear stream running through the area was full of fish, like always at this time of the year, naturally attracting more animal life. Especially bears were found without much difficulty now. Then she realised she too had comehere for a reason, and started running towards a tree that was significantly larger and older than any others in the rest of the woods. According to the Archdruid it was the first tree of the forest, the one all other sprouted from and that was the beginning of this large land of nature.
The voice of the Archdruid reaches her from somewhere near the tree "Silent Eyes? what is it you want?" he asks.
Breathing heavily she stops near him. "Archdruid... in my forest... big stone... weird birds..."
Then she took another deep breath, knowing she probably didn't make any sense. "Okay, erm, I was walking in the woods when I suddenly finds this ranger man. It was near the tainted place, you know it. Then we talked for a little, untill these birds started to make alot of noise. But I don't think they are real birds. And then the ground started shaking and this eerie sound rose and I got sick and there was this horrible stench for lots of stuff that has been dead and decaying for long and... erm... sorry for me going so fast sir, but I think something is very wrong."
She sighed, she went way too fast, she just hoped the archdruid would understand. She knew he was very wise, so she had good hopes about it.
"The tainted place?" The archdruid scratches his beard "There hasn't been any activity from there for ages..." he looks up on some clouds passing by "What was that ranger doing?" he finally asks.
"He just walked by, like rangers do more often. he was following the trail of some gnomish hunters. They found the stone too, before I could lead them away, but they went without doing anything. Then the ranger showed up, and I did ask him to leave, but we just started talking somehow. He's now left with the stone, trying to examine the runes..."
"Why can't they EVER learn to stay out of things that doesn't concern them!" the archdruid sais "The only good thing that can come from this is that he shouldn't be able to open the door, or decipher the runes." he looks down at a small caterpillar crawling on the ground "Silent Eyes, I want you to get back there and make sure that ranger leaves, then I want you to seal that place." he looks away at the horizon "Take some help with you if you wish."
"How do I seal it if the forest hasn't been able to in so many years, archdruid? I don't think I know magic that powerfull."
"Then make an illusion that lasts until I can get there and seal it myself. The forest has kept that place hidden for many years, and with a little help it can do so for a long time to come."
"Yes, sir. I suppose I'll be seeing you there then in a short while. I'll be leaving now, I hope I'll be there as afst as I came." Moon Tigress turned around after saying this, and ran of in the direction where she came from. Unfortunatly she had to travel through the dense part of the woods during the night, the little light there was being blocked by the many plants. So she got lost several times, having to redirect herself every so often. A few hours after sunrise, she finally got out, but far from where she had planned. it would be far into the afternoon before she'd meet up with Holandar again, if he still was there...
The short brakes Holandar took to clear his mind and find something to eat had grown longer, and thus he spent more time sitting and staring up in the sky than on the runes 'I don't get it, I know I've seen runes like those somewhere before...' he thinks 'I guess the Archdruid knows about this by now, hopefully that druid has some idea about how to open this damned door so we can see what hides inside'.
As Holandar sits trying to decipher the script after a full night of reading, he suddenly feels a hot sensation of breathing on his shoulders. It's very big, whatever it is.
As he slowly turns to see what it is, a large set of eyes look at him from their huge skull, which looks like that of a dragon.
Being a ranger, the man instantly knows that it is not a full dragon-wyrm, but a Linnorm, a close cousin of dragonkind.
Its breath reaks of the stench of death, and it speaks in a low, raspy voice of anguish.
"Hello, little dinnerling," it rasps in its horrible voice. "What do you think that you are doing?"
Before Holandar can answer, or even get his bearings, another voice calls out from the forest edge.
"Get away from him! Get away from that crypt, the both of you!!"
Two elves in regal dress ride on horses out of the thick trees surrounding the tiny clearing.
Despite Holandar's assumptions that the vile beast would not listen to their words, the colossal creature wriggles back away from the ranger in a reluctant move.
Its moss-covered body moves on two front legs, with its hind-end being a mere tail.... A true Linnorm.
"Keep away, Corpse Tearer, or else suffer the wrath of the True God! This is no place for you. Your time to lead the undead has come and gone many eons ago! Get back!" The elf rides in furtively, looking down at Holandar once.
"Get back, you! Take heed, and move away from the crypt," he says, this time speaking to the man.
The huge Linnorm growls and groans reluctantly, moving slowly away.
"Why do you silly fools feel the need to get in the middle of this all the time, eh? This is none of your concern... It is obvious that this pitiful littlt man cannot open the crypts of the Lich Kings... Why bother with it?" the dragon speaks to the regal elves, who now stand between it and the stone monument that juts out from the earth.
"Mind it not, beast! Get yourself away from here now, or else suffer the wrath of Obad-Hai!!" one of the elves calls out to him.
"Very well," the creature scathingly replies, and moves off into the woods, and from behind, it is esy to see why the creature was so difficult to detect when he forst arrived. Its back, covered in moss, looked like a huge decaying tree trunk, and its camoflague had made it undetectable for most of the night, until now, where its body left a gaping space on the ground nearby.
After the creature had left, the elf who had spoken looks down to Holandar once more.
"Are you okay?" he asks him.
"Except for the embarassement when that giant of a rotting snake managed to sneak up on me I'm just fine." Holandar sais "Were you sent here by Moon Tigress?"
Moon Tigress however, knew nothing of reinforcements and was still trying to find her way back to the crypt, which wasn't as easy without a mount. The deer she rode on the day before didn't answer her calls and she knew that if he wouldn't come, he'd probably have good reason. So she changed herself into a more quicker form, hoping she'd reach Holandar around the evening.
The regal elves draw their horses in nearer to the uprisen portion of masonry, and they both hop down from their fine steeds, mares of grey and white, to stand in sight of Hollander.
"Your friend's Druid Primalis is a resourceful being. I'm sure we have already beaten your friend here. We waste no time in these matters.... This is not something to toy with," he explains rationally.
Both of them are dressed in portions of armory, lined with fine robe and vestment.
A sword hangs at both their scabbarded belts, and the silent one carries a fine crossbow and a slew of bolts.
"I am Elydu, and this is Baccharim," he introduces them both, and gestures, while the bruthish Bach just nods complacantly.
"The tomb has been opened. It is still not active, but it must be sealed. Mostly this is just precautionary. We inspect the crypts every so often, but the damned wyrms keep getting into them, making the dead talk to them, then letting them back to rest. Your coniving predator was most likely tampering with the crypt at some point. You are very lucky we arrived when we did. He would have made you for lunch, if not for something worse."
They begin to heave the stone lid back on the diagonally-positioned crypt, which presently juts out from under a huge mound of mossy earth and tree roots.
"Bach, conjure the roots away and back to give us more room," Elydu comments, and the other elf chants to the roots, which move as he bade them to.
"We need your druid friend to arrive, and make these things push it for us. That would be easier," Bach comments after he performed the orison, then moved on to heave at the lid again.
After sliding it back on top of the crypt, the two of them step back to look Hollander up and down once.
"Who else has seen any of this, my friend?" Elydu asks him.
"Well, except myself and that druid..." Holandar begins "I followed the trail of a small party, that's how I found this place. I think it was either gnomes or halflings... perhaps both. And then there was this odd bird... but that might not interest you." he thinks a while "I don't think anyone else has been here in a while, I couldn't find any more tracks."
Moon Tigress was making progress, but still wasn't near the crypt. She did find an animal path in the right direction which would speed things up a little bit. After taking a short brake to eat some food, before she'd collapse of exhaustion, she travelled on to the crypt.
"Aside from that Linnorm and you lunatics that roam the dark forest in search of adventure, you're right, not many have walked these paths many times recently. This place is hallowed ground, and not to be mettled with by any of us," Elydu comments.
Looking around, Bach asks, "The bird you mentioned? Some evil creature, or something you spoke with?"
"A harpy, perhaps?" Elydu asks, turning his head in concern.
"I can see a few more lunatics wandering these woods right in front of me... and I CAN see the difference betwen a harpy and a bird" Hollandar counters Elydu "But yes, something was odd about that bird.".
Moon Tigress changed herself into a more mobile form, becoming a hawk flying low through the woods. Even though she was a bird, Moon Tigress didn't like heights, sometimes she was even a bit scared. Though she would rarily admit that...
Ignoring the lunatic comment, Bach answers, "Very well, just a bird, then."
Elydu comments, "Not to worry."
They both look grimly down at the ranger.
"You should get outta here before anyone else sees you, and suspects that you're up to something... Terrible things happening these days, and you wouldn't want to be caught doing something questionable," Bach suggests.
"He's right," Elydu adds in. "This is not a reasonable time to be fiddling with crypts and graves... You should find safer harbor somewheres else."
Elydu looks around for the Linnorm, and seeing nothing in the dark woods around them, pulls his horse back around to mount.
Bach does the same.
"I suggest your druidic friend does the same," Elydu calls down from his horse's back.
"This forest is not a playground for adventure, it is a prison for old wretched Wyrms... Just leave it all be, and find better hunting grounds."
Soon after Moon Tigress reached Holandar, changing to her mobile form as soon as she arrived. She sat down, panting. When she caught her breath again, she was able to say hello. "I spoke with my archdruid. He says it's best to keep the stone hidden untill he's here. Then he can try to seal it with help from the forest."
She noticed the tracks on the ground. "Have other people been here?"
"They sure has." Holandar sais, it's easy to hear he's quite irritated "Some followers of obad-hai came here and told me to stop investigating the ruins... they asked me to tell you to leave too."
"They what?" Moon Tigress seemed somewhat shocked. "People of Obad-hai tell me to go away? Not that I do not respected the Nature Lord, but I was chosen to guard this piece of forest. I'm not leaving! My friends are all here, if this tomb is dangerous I'm not letting them behind with it!"
"I imagined you would say something like that." Hollandar sais "You just missed something though... we had a linnorm here."
"He's back? Hmm... must have figured there were no excess bunnies up the east." Moon Tigress mumbled. "Uhm, yeah, that's what I told him to go away last time he was here. He finally bought it after 2 hours of persuading. Well, maybe the archdruid can take care of him too?"
"The creature said something quite interesting though." Holandar sais and looks to the stone door "Have you heard anything about the Lich Kings before?"
Moon Tigress looked at him, not understanding. "Are there kings in the forest? Nobody can rule the forest. What's a lich?"
"Well..." Holandar sais and thinks a second, he looks up in the air "I have never met one myself, but it is when some mage uses magic to unnaturally prolong his or her life"
"Ow... that's a really bad thing! People should let nature go it's own course, and that includes death!" Moon Tigress said, somewhat disgusted and indirectly offended by the idea of a lich.
"But the linnorm said something baout these lich... being kings. Why? Are they here in the forest?"
"They have always been here," a voice speaks from the edge of the dark woods.
A lean woman slips from the forest, as if a shadow had become lit with color beside the tree she stood by.
"I am glad you have returned, Moon Tigress. I have been asked to speak with you and your Druid Primalis by my people, the Fehrmi of southern Tearra Réhm. My name is Gea, and I am pleased to meet you both."
The slender woman bends at the waist to bow before them both. Dressed in robes of brown, and her hair wrapped up in colorful painted scarves, she looks almost elven, but taller, and with more extravagant features like a Fae.
"The Elves of Forythima mean well, and are accomplished clerics and warriors, but they are ill-tempered and highly secretive. It is likely that they suspect the two of you had something to do with the opening of the crypt, and that is why they may now never trust you in this matter... It is not their fault. These are dangerous times."
Her eyes speak openly of her knowledge and also of her age. She appears almost otherworldly, a creature outside of time.
"The Harpy Queen has come to these places many times in the hopes of releasing the power of the Crypts and raise the Elder Lich King once more. Even the Linnorms have tried to help her, since it is she who now seeks the Scroll of Wood that once sent the Lich King to rest in the Afterworld, and that is now the only way to raise him once more..... Only I know who will be the one to raise him again, and of the ones that will save this world once more. But that, I cannot tell."
She smiles, and glows radiantly with joy, knowing full well that they disbelieve her of this.
Below her loose robes can be seen her colorful clothes, and a light movement that becomes all too visible when a few butterflies hop between her sleeves and neck. Other butterflies flutter nearby, from behind the tree she once stood.
Moon Tigress was scared for a moment, when the woman so silently slipped out of the bushes and started talking. She quickly calmed down, as she noticed this owman was very close to nature as well. What she was babbling about, however, was almost going beyond Moon Tigress understanding. She looked at the woman with big eyes, before finally saying: "Greetings Gea, pleasure to meet you..."
"How long have you been staying there?" Holandar sais, obviously suspicious of the woman "And if you're not about to tell us about those people, why did you even mention them in the first place?"
"Thank you. The pleasure is mine, I assure you," she replies to Moon Tigress.
When asked about her intentions, she opens her mouth, as if beginning to speak, pauses with a blank stare at the ground nearby momentarily, and in the first of many ditzy instances, she breaks the original aura of wisdom with the answer, "Um... Well... Actually, I kind of just.... um..... Guessed you might be interested. I didn't think you might actually confront me with the questions... But know, you, that I cannot answer those questions. Only questions about simple, uninteresting, indifferential things that have no real bearing.... Like, 'If a tree falls in a forest, does it hurt?', or, 'What is the meaning of grapefruit?'.... Things like that, I can answer THOSE questions.... Just not those OTHER questions.... Those are definitely, strictly secret ones. You know."
She stares at them both with her wide fae eyes, completely satisfied with her answer's end result. A small smile reveals her shy intentions at being confronted on an issue.
"And I was there long enough to see many things.... Many, imPORtant things.... And a few others.... like when Hollander picked his nose after you left."
She points at him accusatorily from beneath the slender sleeve of her scarf-lined robes.
A few butterflies flutter out, flitting lazily around in chaotic, beating loop patterns. A bit of trailing dust behind their wings reflects and refracts the light of the sun coming in down through the canopy in scattered beams. Around her feets, grasses and wildflowers grow from beneath her robes in a small patch, and more of the lazy bugs scuttle in and out below it.
Holandar glares at the fey woman "And who sais it is a secret then?" he doesn't really care about the nose picking comment.
Moon Tigress had absolutly no idea what the fey was babling about still, but after to somewhatbadly improvised answer she gave the shock of the creature's sudden appearance had gone away somewhat. "Miss Gea, what you say isn't really helping, I think... I'm getting confused... You're a fey right? At least you seem like one, sorry if you're not. But if you are could you try and ask the forest to cover the grave up? The Archdruid said I should hide it, but I wouldn't know how."
Gea quells her face thoughtfully at Hollander's question, but gives no answer, and when Moon Tigress begins speaking, it is as if the question had no real purpose in this conversation when she replies to the shy druidess, "My dear, it will only resurface. It is not the will of the forest that it should rise... The forest already knows. Something else is causing it to rise and open."
Pausing with a questioning look on her face, she asks, "But if it is your will, I can beckon the crypt back into the ground... An Illusion might be more sound for a longer time, but what you really need here is a guardian..... Perhaps you don't mind if I...?" she asks archaically, as if the question could be read aloud.
By that Moon Tigress was a little insulted. "You think I don't manage good enough? I try my best! how am I supposed to help it weird lich thingies are buried in this ground?"
"Oh, no, no, I didn't say THAT... Oh goodness, no, I just think that maybe it would make your job easier if something else did that guarding, and you just did the checkups... you know, like a...um, well.... You know, like a .... G...G, guar..... hmmmmmmm" Gea begins to explain her point, but loses her train of thought, and returns to speaking about what she knows.
"Well, it is never simple or easy to deal with problems of this nature, but with the right help, any of us can do something for the good of us all."
The words don't seem to relate much to what she had just previously been talking about, but she continues speaking nonetheless. As she speaks, she moves her hands in a fashion as if conjuring forces. Leaves begin to circle her feet, and bits of light and ether swell between her hands as she creates from from light energy between her two hands.
"The Lich King will rise when the forests of Tearra Réhm bond into the realm of Faea'iir or Erespios, and the Linnorms are able to commune with their dire Spirits of death and evil... The dead can speak to them, and the Linnorms are constantly trying to get them to give them information and answers about what is coming next, so that they can be ready when they are able to flee their forest prison.... Then they will protect the Spirits of Death as the Black Rite takes place, and the Lich King is given his throne once more..... Wait, what did you just ask me? Did I answer it? I'm not really sure now...."
She scratches her head in a sign of faulty memory, looking off into the sky for an answer to herself, and not finding one.
"Say, where are you both from, anyways?" she asks politely, not realizing that she had diverted from the original conversation.
Caught back up in what she was doing, she stretches the light-form into a set of two triangular shapes by pulling at its edges with her lithe hands. It begins to look like a set of butterfly wings, whose body is nothing more than a cylinder of swirling energy.
"Oh, yes, a GUARDIAN... That's the word I was looking for.... A guardian to protect..... Oh, yes, the crypts... To protect the crypt. Here you go."
She lifts the energetic creature up into the air, and it flutters around the crypt shortly, then lands smoothly on its closed lid.
"Now, where were we?" she asks, again oblivious.
Moon Tigress looks somewhat desperatly at Holandar as the fey speaks, only understanding half of it, and confused by the fey constantly forgetting the subject and continueing something else, as if trying to have multiple conversations at once.
Holandar sighs and looks up in the air "Why did I ever follow those trails?" He asks himself. He then looks to Gea "Listen, are you supposed to start making sense soon? Who are the Spirits of Death?"
"The spirits of death? Oh! Well. they're these guys."
She lifts her arms to gesture to their new friends, who appear around all her, and them. The convorted bodies and terrifying expressions of the three-dimensional beings that hung in the air like roiling silk of black and white appear before their eyes.
The illusion was impressive, if not terrifying upon surprise.
"Loki, Toldoth, Asmordiar, Tel, Xaotu, Drovek, Gatekey, and the Imprisoned Empress," she rattles off their names as though they were a children's museum display, pointing to each accordingly.
A twisted humanoid, a paragon wraith lord, a beast of chaos, a shadowling warrior, a creature of both metal insectoid body and a smoke-like genie with the head of a panther, a huge-brained demon, a chained-up lich-form of a swamp gnome with shining eyes and orifices, and the emaciated body of a starved eighteen-foot-tall female creature of unnatural appearances hanging from a terrifying contraption that holds the woman up by her hands, her huge black ragged feathered wings chained apart from her body by a pair of painful-looking iron manacles that connected to the perpindicular iron bar.
The figures appear shadowy and incorporeal, but realistic and barely moving, like the images wish to have a mind of their own.
"Take a close look.... They sure are ugly.... Okay, maybe not UGLY, but gooey," she rambles.
"Ok, I agree with you on that point" Holandar sais while staring at the illusions of the spirits "So, can you give us a straight explanation to how we're supposed to stop this lich king from rising?" he asks.
Moon Tigress was still twitching from the surprise of the sudden appearence of all these horrifying creatures. She wasn't happy with this, not happy at all and she wished she was with the other druids. But she realised this probably was important for the forest, so she'd have to hang in there and try to do what she could. Sighing, she sat down in the grass, where at least she had the feeling of being surrounded by nature, although she knew well she was.
"Stop the lich king? Well, you can't. Why would you try to do such a thing? So strange you are," she half-replies.
Looking down at Moon Tigress, whose quivering has caused her upset.
"Oh, darling, now, don't be scared, they're just illusions, not real..... Here, let me help," she cooes, then lightly leans down to rest her hand only momentarily on Tigress' shoulder, and a rush of soothing feelings sweep over her body like a wave of anasthetics and glee.
Suddenly, the ghoulish figures that loomed before her seem to lose their dominance over her willpower, and what once was terrifying is no more. The huge figures before her are all a part of the crew, a bunch of her old long-lost buddies from happy happy funland.
The euphoria is a little blatant after the light touch from the tall fey.
Gea merely smiles at her in that oogling fashion that seems so soothing right now. The euphoria is almost hallucinogenic.
Moon Tigress sighed, relieved. She looked at Gea and Holandar, asking: "So, then what are we going to do now?"
"Yes, THAT's a good question" Holandar sais "Why don't we ask our 'friend' here?".
"Oh, I'm your friend? Really? That's so nice...." she cooes joyfully to herself, tipping her head sideways while she admires them both.
"Why don't we go get a drink?" she asks, stading proudly upright, hands in one another's sleeves. "I hear Lemus can get pretty roudy at night..."
Holandar sighs, obviously the fey had no idea what irony was "Do you really think that is a good idea?" he asks "How long time do we have before linnorms, lich kings and spirits begins to haunt this place? You're permitted to answer that, right?".
"Yes, I don't want ghosts in the forest! I liked it the way before!" Moon Tigress pouted.
Gea regards him thoughtfully for a long moment..... too long.
"Well, actually, no, I can't tell you specifically WHEN that will all take place, but what I CAN tell you is that it won't happen tonight, so we really shouldn't worry about it..... Instead we'll all get drunk and dance. Doesn't that sound so much more pleasant?"
She nods her head in many directions while she speaks, gesturing with her hands before returning them to the insides of each other's sleeves.
"See, if I tell you WHEN it all happened, it would be divinatory... a prophecy..... AND, since I can only be employed to do prophecy for certain particular instances, and almost never for mortals, see....Well, I really cannot tell you without the proper protocol. It's all just part and partial of the divine games of the powers-that-be...." she remarks at Hollandar's obvious retraction to her answer.
"Don't worry yourself over it. You may have the opportunity to be involved with the protection of the forests of Tearra Réhm even yet.... just not right at the moment."
"Then why are you making such a fuss about it?" Moon Tigress said with a somewhat irritated frown.
"Am I? Oh, pardon my frenzied speech... Some people say I'm hard to keep up with. I always have to tell my self to just slow down..... I say, 'Now Gea, just relax, take a nice deep breath.......hhhmmmmmm............and, aaaahhhHHHHHHHHHh......and slow down like that..." she replies.
One of her little butter-friends flies straight in between Moon Tigress' eyes, and flaps dazily away. Bits of shimmering colored dust flits in sprays away from where it biffed the bridge of her nose.
Another has taken to doing lazy circles around Hollandar's head and shoulders.
Moon Tigress watches it flap away, and with a small smile on her face her stretched her legs. "I still don't get what this is all about. Perpahs we should go and get help of some sort? I've heard of powerfull adventurers who often wipe out dungeons and tombes and cryptes and other scary stuff like that. Maybe we should seek them?"
"If you two want to leave this place unattenden then please do so!" Hollandar said "I'm staying right here, I'm not leaving untill I know what those stupid runes say!" he gestures to the stone door.
Moon Tigress sighed. "I suppose I shouldn't be leaving my forest either. I have a duty to perform here, and that is to watch over the forest. So I guess that would demand me to stay."
"Well, you can both stay here if you wish, but that sounds a little crazy to me. But then again, I don't like Linnorms. They stink and are terribly irritable. And Hollandar, even THEY don't know what those runes mean. It is a forgotten language.....best left forgotten, if you ask me."
Gea slowly guides her butterflies back into her robes with a light wave of her guiding hands.
"How much of this deep jungle do you guard, MoonChild? Does your circle watch over this entire deepwood? And, has anyone heard the crows lamenting these past days?" Her questions are quick, but somehow related in her mind..... She is not breathing like she earlier portrayed, either, and the irony is appaulingly blatant.
She is apparently disregarding the runes once more.
"Um, well, there have been alot of crows lately. And... wait! Linnorms! You said Linnorms! What's this about Linnorms!?" Moon Tigress nervously asked.
"Uh huh, Linnorms. Those sneaky bastards will wait until just the right moment to creep up on you and either scare the bejeezus out of you, or just gulp you up whole. Wretched smelling beasts, too, if you ask me."
Gea looks to Hollandar.
"Tell her about the beast that snuck up on you earlier, and those Forythimans came along after.... That particularly horrible breed was a Corpse Tearer, and a necromancer at that. You're lucky he didn't bring any corpses up out of that tomb with any spells of his, or you would have had one heck of a time keeping them all off of you.... Especially him," she comments, speaking about the Linnorm that had crept up on him earlier. Well hidden underneath the carpet moss and decaying branches, the beast had looked exactly like a fell tree trunk, left to rot where it had fallen in the deep woods.
Now faced with the concept of further Linnorm intrusions, Hollandar's survival instincts now hit high alert. Motion seems to emanate from the ground and tomb.
"What's that?" Gea asks, also alert.
A moaning comes from the nearby woods, still a bit dark beneath the high forest canopy that shut out most of the sunlight from above. Scraping sounds accompany it, and portions of the ground move as something is trying to escape the earth.
"It must still be around," Gea mentions quietly, looking around.
"It walks the dead among us. Be on your toes now," she suggests, drawing her half-bow, and pulling an arrow from her boot quiver, hidden below the folds of her robes, which she quickly pulls aside as she bends to retrieve and nock her arrows, bearing two of them on the line and another four in her hand for backup.
Only two corpses are visible as they trudge out of the woods, but more are becoming audible behind them, and the ground continues to move.
"I think I may have pissed him off with that last comment about his smell," Gea comments to herself.
Moon Tigress jumped up, alert again, and drew her scimitar. Sniffing if she could catch up any scents, she followed the fae, who seemed to know where she was going. In her head she was going through a list of usefull spells she knew, just in case.
Hollandar took a firm grip on his spear. He listened carefully, trying to locate the still unseen corpses.
"The creature has not left us, it is still here. Finish off the corpses first, but keep your eyes keen to the shadows and tree husks. The moss is never friendly," Gea comments she walks reluctantly forward, a bit away from the others.
Moon's smell picks up on the heavy scents of mold, decay, and mildew that are nearly always thick enough scents to mask nearly any other, but below that lurks the faint whiff of reptilian flesh, hidden somewhere very well beneath the mold and fallen trunks.
The scent of moving corpses is a heavier scent still, and three of them move from her side toward the group, difficult to see in the thick shadows, still some distance away.
Hollandar can hear the scraping sound of the zombies feet on the ruddy ground behind Moon Tigress' flank, as well as two others coming from the other flank. Gea's attention is fixed on the dark woods in front of her, though she is trying to outstep the moving ground below her.
She gets to the outside of the moving ground, and turns to fire two arrows at the one zombie closest to her and Moon. She flings the nocked arrows loose, pulling back her half-bow at the last minute to give them a bit of curve, which plants them deep into the zombie's neck and upper torso. It stalls but continues to lurch toward them all.
She stashes the halfbow back in to the robes, and begins to mutter a chant.
One more zombuie appears behind the two others on Hollandar's side, three on each flank now, only one with two arrows in it on Moon's side. The ground continues to move more steadily, something trying to work its way up and out of the ground, roots and thick moss.
Hollandar turns towards the three zombies approaching him "Be happy that you don't feel pain..." he sais and slowly moves towards them, slightly crouched and ready to strike for the heads as soon as they are within his reach.
Speaking in Necrotic, the tongue of the dead returned, a language Hollandar was familiar with, the creature replies, "Nohkht lo anta krahkt araulmn amna shoultta. (Not like the pain you will feel now)" It is the zombie husk of a half-orc that leads before the other two, and it begins to clumsily run its way toward the ranger, claw-like fingers displayed menacingly.
Gea finishes her chant, and releases her arms out to the sides, creating a huge plume of prismatic smoke, which filters out into the forest. A massive horde of butterflies come flying out with it, leading the cloud out further than it would normally reach. Everywhere the smoke touches lines the moving creatures with a halo of Faerie Fire, and it creeps over the undead, tainting their dingy skins with color and light. Roiling smoke seeks its way into the forest, seething as though in search of the nearby Linnorm.
The six corpses and three others are alight with energy, as well as the ground below them which continues to move.
A huge tusk juts up out of the ground, two steps away from Moon Tigress' left side.
Hollandar moves his right leg back until he almost kneels before the running zombie. The last moment he thrusts forwards with full force, aiming for the rotten face of the half-orc.
Moon Tigress jumped away fro mthe tusk in the ground, not knowing what it is. She decided she'd rather attack the walking corpses than this huge thing. She flung her scimitar in one of the corpses to slow it down, and changed into a tiger, jumping and raking at another zombie. Bashing it on the ground with her weight, she dug her claws deep into the head of the zombie and tried to rip it off.
Hollandar's spear lodges into the undead's upper neck and jaw, bursting a few tendons loose, and making the thing's head jut to one the left. It pauses only to be hit, then shakes once, unable to knock the spear loose since it went all the way through and back out, and continues shambling forward in its clumsy run.
As the felynne druid leapt aside, the tusk dropped only once, to come slamming back up through the soil, a huge skull of a seemingly one-eyed beast came rising up, two tusks jutting from its mouth, and curving back in toward the eye. It looked like other similar bones she had seen lying around the gravel canyons. Her circle called it the 'old tusk husk', which in druidic was 'Mammoth'.
The ancient sleeping beast rises up from the clumpy soil and half-rotting root systems, slamming itself up through and out of containment.
The attempt of slowing the corpse with her scimitar fails, since it lodges into its chest, but does not slow its motion.
Her pounce, however, does inhibit the other corpse, a half-elf husk that cries out at her in a shrill scream as it attempts to rake at her. Tearing its head off, it screams for still a few moments, then goes silent while its appendages still squirm.
Gea looks around the deeper woods, letting her faerie fire seep out in search of the great Linnorm hiding amid the mosses and dirt.
The smoke of her incantation drifts lazily, driven forth by hordes of gold-yellow and average Réhman butterlies which blow it around with their flapping wings.
She lets it drift, watching carefully, sure that her intuitions are right, and he is just negating the spell extrememly well.
There is no one strong enough to outwit fae fire without resistance of magic. Come out, my Corpse Tearer...
Two more corpses are dusted with the gilded smoke, lighting them ablaze with color and light as well, and in a moment of pause, it seems that all of the corpses look to have more interest in the fae than the others.
The half-elf below Moon still claws lazily at her, but the half-rotted eyes of the skull now look over to her instead of Moon.
Gea looks around at all of the corpses, and a knowing and confident smile rides across her cheeks and lips.
"Go ahead, serpent. Reveal yourself. Or hide in cowardice," she says aloud.
The old tusk still tries to free itself, its shoulders fully visible from the dirt.
There is no reply at first.
Hollandar makes one hard tug in the spear, causing the zombie's neck to emmit a cracking sound when the rotting bones break in several places. The tug is followed by a kick in the zombie's chest, the force is not enough to do any real damage but the spear comes loose from the creature's head.
The spear comes loose, and the half-orc husk falls to the ground on its back, its head half-cocked on its neck.
In its place, two other zombies, another half-orc with only one arm, and a large human rush in on either side of his, grasping for his arms to hold him.
Moon Tigress wrestled the corpse, and eventually got him down by tearing one arm off, and cutting the muscles off the other. Her hind legs had savagly torn open the zombie's entire legs, all it could do was twitch a bit. She jumped off and turned. Her jaw was wide open at the sight of the huge beast. What could she do against it? It was so huge.
Hollandar takes a quick look over the shoulder towards the mammoth skeleton "That may become a problem!" he shouts before turning his attention back to the zombies. He lashes out with the spear towards the one-armed zombies' legs.
Severing all of the tendons across the tops of the zombie's legs, Hollandar causes the corpse to fall to its knees, unable to hold itself upright without its necessary ligaments and tissues. The other human zombie latches onto his shoulder and head in a tight clawing grasp behind him as he focuses on the half-orc husk. Its cries out in an indecipherable shriek.
The mammoth, having worked its upper body free, and thrashing about wildly in order to loosen the rest of itself, now stands on its two rear legs to attempt to hoist itself out of the pit its absence has created. Its scratchy, winded trumpeting still resonates in the woods as it howls on its way out through its mostly rotted trunk. This creature, unlike the ones she had seen before, looked somewhat more complete, with much less decay than the one in the side of the gravel rock wall. This one could still make noise through its long trunk. It is an eerie noise which makes both Hollandar and Moon shiver, the skin prickling on their necks.
Gea looks sparingly at the both of them then turns, eyes nearly shut in focused concentration, toward the forest once more.
Damn this infernal creature's resistance to my spell, Gea thinks to herself as she watches the last wisps of her faerie fire cloud dissipate into the foliage and mold without covering the creature's body as she had intended it to do.
"Fine, then! A coward you shall be! Hide and wait until you can defeat us with corpses, then consume the mortal souls while we are weak and defenseless! What an honorable courting with such a splendid meal!" she cries aloud into the muffled forest.
Still no answer.
The ground shifts beneath them, and they can feel it below their feet, though much further down and faster than when the mammoth had arisen.
The zombies continue to converge on the others, mostly speechless.
Moon Tigress quickly decided. She changed into the biggest animal she knew: a dire bear. With a loud roar, she stood up on her hind legs, higher than the mammoth, and slashed at it with her claws.
Raking at its upper shoulder and neck, the mammoth goes berserking into a bull rush, piercing the dire bear/Moon in its lower chest with the thick jagged tusks on its face.
Moon's claws instinctively dig in further, but to no real avail.
The Mammoth tries to back away from the bear after being grappled, but cannot escape the bear's intensely strong grip.
The human husk on Hollandar's rear, who had flanked him while he was focused on the one-armed half-orc, bites down onto Hollandar's neck, still clawing at him at he latches on further.
Gea turns quickly to swat at an approaching zombie with her half-bow, knocking it backward a step while she fluidly sheathed her bow, and unsheathed her scimitar in one swift motion. She beckons the creature forward, waiting for its first move.
"The Linnorm has burrowed under the ground, but it can surface quickly! Be on your toes!" she cries as she waits for the zombie, which charges forward mindlessly, without fear of pain or the fight it would get from her.
"ARGH! Get off of me!" Hollandar yells and tries to shake off the zombie. He drops the spear and throws himself backwards to the ground in an attempt to break loose, or at least crush some of the corpse's bones in the attempt.
He leaps backwards into the corpse's chest and throat, but the zombie somehow manages to shift Hollandar's leap to his disadvantage, spinning sideways, and tossing Hollandar to the ground on his back. The undead opens its mouth in a horrific cry, and lunges on top of the elf.
Moon Tigress roared when the tusk hit her. Furious, she grabs the skull and the neck of the ancient mammoth and tries to work it to the ground or break the bones in the process.
Utilizing her great strength, Moon tugs quite firmly at the base of the mammoth's skull and vertebrae, cracking several bones and ligaments. Unfortunately, the attack works the tusk in deeper into her rib cage area.
Gea plunges the scimitar deep within the corpse's chest, grabbing onto its shoulder and hoisting it quickly over her shoulder, and tossing it to the ground, and pulling her sword back out while it fell.
She begins work on casting an Entangle spell, while she commands her butterflies to lift her up, which they begin to do underneath her robes.
In the meantime, something mostly unseen has begun taking out the outlying corpses seemingly from the air. It looks feline, like a big tiger or something similar, but its form vanishes almost as soon as it seems to appear, then quickly travels elsewhere, to attack another zombie.
A low groan of pain escapes Hollandar's lips as he hits the ground. He stares in disgust on the zombie, parts of the cranium is visible where flesh has been torn off. He punches the zombie three times in the face and tries to kick it off him.
Moon Tigress pushed away the skeleton before she'd pierce her own heart, and took some distance. She lowered herself so she stood on all four again, before charging at the mammoth, clawing away at the lower bones of the legs.
The husk clawing his way at the elf is kicked into the air violently, and the unseen form of the large pantherine creature heaves directly into the zombie's face and torso, smashing and tearing it with its claws as it pulls it into the otherlanes with it as it disappears once more like liquid crytal.
Another zombie half-creeps in toward Holandar, looking half-alive with some form of insane will of its own. Its elven appearance is enough to unsettle the living elf. Though mostly decayed, its elven features are nearly indistinguishable, though familiar enough to this man.
It begins belching up shadowy wisps of dark energy and carrion insects as it shrieks and wrenches closer to him.
The mammoth's heaving bulk is pushed back into the smaller zombies, which fall to either side of the huge beast carcass. It caulers through its rotting jaw space, and hops up on two feet for a few seconds, preparing for a bull rush, but the dire bear is too fast. Within seconds, the mammoth's front left foot is torn off from the tearing blow, and the carcass fall directly onto the bear's back, though not as heavy as it was with all of its flesh still intact.
Hollandar got up from the ground so he was in a crouching position and reached for the dropped spear, his eyes fixed on the former elf. He grabbed the weapon, some cracks had appeared on the shaft. "You will be put to rest..." he sais to the zombie before thrusting the spear towards it.
Moon Tigress tosses off the skeleton, crawling from udnerneath it with a grawl. Quickly, while the big carcass was still on the ground, she bit the other leg, tearing it off so the thing wouldn't get off the ground again. She threw the big bone far away, and walked around the mammoth's behind, ending behind it's massive skull. There, where it couldn't hit her, she finished her job by seperating the head and neck from the rest of the skeleton.
The mammoth, being incapacitated, merely cringes and rocks as it is dismantled piece by piece, leaving the dire bear Moon to deal with more approaching mindless zombies.
Hol's spear pierces the zombie's neck just above the collar bone and dead center into the neck, making its shrieking stop immediately, though the swarm of shadow and angry flies issuing from its mouth and the rotting flesh of its neck continues on with a raspy half-shriek around the wooden shaft piercing its throat area. It pauses momentarily to asses its damage, but then lunges forward again, in no way fearful of being destroyed.
Gea is becoming hostile, staring through slitted eyes into the woods, tracking her pantherine cohort as it shot in and out of reality, grabbing and pulling carcasses into other realms, and leaving them there. When the numbers of undead have dwindled significantly, she cries out, "Is this all you have, serpent?!? What are you hiding?!?"
The earth below them rumbles once more, and it seems the beast could be rising up from below them soon, the large object sliding through the undergrowth, creating friction and heaving the soil up in spots.
She silently casts a spell on herself, and lifts into the air, hovering in midair nearly two meters off the ground and slowly climbing. Her scimitar is displayed menacingly in front of her as she glides up slowly, keeping her eyes wide in all directions.
The ghostly cat ends its realm-jumping momentarily.
Moon Tigress turned around, and simply started crushing any remaining zombies he saw around with her sheer size and weight. She got bitten and clawed at several times, but in her current shape, it mattered little. When she had finished her squatting, she held still, listening closely to the rumbling sounds around them.
Holandar takes a firm grip of the spearshaft and begins to twist the neck of the creature by pulling it to the side. A loud crack is heard when one side of the neck breaks and the spear gets loose. The head of the zombie tilts to the side, unable to be kept straight by the destroyed neck. The ranger launches a hard kick on the walking corpse, making it fall to the side. The impact with the ground makes the head come loose, leaving the body which shivers a few moments before growing still.
The madly hissing head is caught by the large white and blue panther that steps fully into reality, nestled softly between the creature's large jaws. Its body is long and skinny, rather lithe for a panther, though not at all emaciated. Its hide is a soft white coat mottled in blotchy spots of vivid blue along its back, tail, muzzle and paws, with thin streaks runnig into some portions where it is minimal, gold flecks catching what little light there is this deep in the forest and relfecting it back like tiny shards of gold embedded in its flesh or fur. It rattles its head once to shake the corpse's useless brains, then chomps down hard, breaking the skull open with a gooshy crunch, whereupon its eyes widen and it stops moving its head. It takes a deep breath and spits the head out voraciously, but instead of landing anywhere at all, it disappears into the air that consumed it in a rippling manner similar to the rippling haze that surrounded the panther as it shifted between realities.
Sickened and hacking, the panther tries desparately to get the awful taste of rotten too-long intact zombie brains, coughing and spitting, using its paws to rake out the slime, then absolving to rake chunks of dirt, stones and moss into its mouth in an attempt to neutralize the taste, all the while becoming less aware of the impending attack at hand.
Gea floats in midair nearly ten feet off the ground, hovering slowly, looking at ground with intense wonder. Eight vivid butterfly-like shapes of yellow-green light flap their way from her in eight equally-spaced directions around her. After a quick ten foot straight shot out, they all turn left and begin a slow spin counter-clockwise around her, like illuminated surveilling birds floating lazily along in a circle around the center post of a watchtower.
Her eyes go wide as the earth rises and bursts open beneath two of the zombies, tossing them in the air, one of them directly toward Moon-bear, who is a mere thirty feet away from the burst. Hollandar, off to Moon's opposite side but closer to Gea, is in for serious trouble, however, when he spots the serpentine LINNORM head rise violently up from the ground, tossing heavy soil, stones, moss and bits of dead tree roots in every direction. Gea flies quickly up and back away from debris, dodging behind some nearby trees. She takes some minimal damage as she tries to avoid the fast debris.
The panther is tossed aside rather violently, and before he hits the ground, he disappears in a wave of ripples without another sound.
As the rubble settles and everyone is able to see once more, there is no serpentine head where there once was.
Moon-bear saw the zombie coming and lifted up a huge paw to intercept it, which wasn't quite hard seeing the undead's size. She slammed it unto the ground and pounded it flat with two slams of her front claws(CRUNCH!), before she looked around once more. Wary of the Linnorm and knowing she was easy to hit like this, she shifted forms to a hawk shape, taking the air and circling the battlefield, watching for any disturbances.
Seeing that he would be an easy target if the linnorm came back up again, Hollandar decided it would probably be smart to reach higher ground. He grabbed his spear and began to climb up a tree, all the time watching the ground for any sign of movement beneath it.
The opportunity for true fear had presented itself. At once, a cloud of roiling magical darkness seethes out from the crevice where the head had blasted out from within. As it quickly rolls ever nearer to the tree Hollandar had begun to climb, now fifteen feet (5m-ish) up its trunk, he could make out the tendrils seeping ever closer.
Gea takes time to peek out from behind her tree, nearly fourty feet above the root-covered floor, her incantations still finishing on her lips. Creeping slowly out, she surveys the hole, and seeing no linnorm, inspects the ground frantically. Hollandar, being hidden from view by the thick treetrunk, is on his own. She spots the single plainsland falcon, and having seen no dire bear, figures Moon is soaring high. Where is the hunter?
"Yamaheimana illcho amaya ahld'h ibielbee? (Sister druidess, can your eyes see your companion?)" she speaks in the secret tongue to the bird soaring in listening range, hoping that it wasn't loud enough to attract undue attention. Gea hopes her druidic acquaintance is in form, since no other sign of the felynne was present. Could they have already been doomed? I did not hear a struggle...
Hollandar curses in elven when he sees the tendrils of darkness approach 'How am I supposed to fight that!?' he thinks.
Moon-Hawk, not able to speak in her current form, soared over the tree Hollandar was in and took a straight dive down to indicate the tree, and flew up again. She wondered what to do against that dark cloud that was soaring towards him. Still being able to cast spells in her animal shape, she decided to cast Gust of Wind on it, even though she wasn't sure the cloud was lethal. But, seeing it was spit out by a Linnorm, she didn't want to take the risk.
Hollandar looks after the hawk and raises his hand to say thank. He then turns his glance back to the ground in his search for their scaly "friend".
Deep down in the writhing darkness slowly creeping its way up the tree and around the ground surrounding the huge hole, the linnorm lies chuckling to itself.
Though the gust of wind was intended to dissipate the cloud, it effectively stirred it up, making it sweep out to its furthest extent, some ways beyond Hollandar's tree. Darkness surrounds him to such a degree that even his sensitive elven eyes could not see through it to grasp sunlight filtering in through the treetops. He was cut off at once, still hearing the low chuckling below the ground.
The undead drop worthless within Gea's spell, while the others slowly turn away, sickened by the hallowed ground around the hole.
Gea fires up a circle of dancing faerie fire lights around her, lightening only herself in the deep magical darkness. Hollandar could see her glow from around the tree where he was. Getting irritated that this one was not leaving, she began to sense an imminent danger at hand. He's toying with us.... Oh no.
Levitating ever closer, her lights become more apparent to the elf hanging on to the side of the tree.
Niether of them could see the hawk any longer.
'Curses! I can't see a thing!' Hollandar think "Gea! We have to get this damned fog away!" he shouts.
Moon was shocked to see her spell turning out in such a unhandy way. Not knowing what she could now do for her friends, which she couldn't see, she instead tried to spot the Linnorm, which had to be around somewhere. If she could only notify the others were it was! Right now, the linnorm had the element of surprise, and Moon didn't feel good about it.
Hollandar waves in the air in a futile attempt to get some of the fog away, or to tell the others where he were.
Hearing Hollandar's cries, Gea rushes to the sound of his voice, grasping into the darkness at his faded figure. Taking hold of his arm, she says, "Come quickly!" and attempts to take him into the air with her.
With his eyes peering through the magical darkness at the large hawk flying over the gaping hole in the ground, the Linnorm chuckles, and slithers further down.
Moon soared down and landed on the ground, swiftly changing into a dire tiger, ready to pounce away at any moment. She tried to think of a way to call upon some allies who might be able to help them against this foe.
"Where? I can't see a thing in this blasted darkness." Hollandar sais to Gea with squinted eyes "And where did all the zombies go?".