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Postby Itanya_blade » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:22 pm

The Blackrock Caverns crawled with the Twilight’s Hammer. Everywhere they went the dark stone hallways were filled with the echoes of hundreds of Twilight-addled devotees whispering supplications and spells.

Fenniel’s voice quivered. “It’s creepy in here.”

“I might build a summer home here someday,” said Ambika, gliding along the narrow rock tunnel. Her face, deeply engulfed in shadow, was impossible to read.

Fenniel gaped at the shadow priest, and a clip of bullets fell out of his hands onto the ground. It clanged loudly, and he stooped down to pick it up.

Verdus frowned. Reading the druid’s expression with some amusement, the priest chided the chubby hunter quietly. “He is right. You’ll alert everyone in this place to our presence if you keep making so much noise.”

Fenniel mumbled a “sorry,” and shoved the clip into his quiver. He took a deep breath, and beads of sweat rolled down his forehead.

The shiny paladins leading the way stopped abruptly halfway down the suffocating tunnel.

“Is there a problem?” The priestess hovered behind them and peered over their shoulders.

Dorri gave a half-hearted shrug. “Nothing a good mace to the head couldn’t solve.”

Verdus shot the paladin a dirty look. “We’re fine, Dorri. Nobody’s spotted us yet. No harm, no foul. Right? Let’s save the head-cracking for the Twilights.”

Fenn frowned. “I said I was sorry. I didn’t mean to drop it.”

“It’s fine, Fenn,” Verdus said. “We’re fine,” he said to everyone else. “Let’s just keep going, okay?”

The floor just ahead of the party gaped open over a chasm, leaving a three-foot gap. Following the trench with her eyes, Bika pointed out a rickety bridge crossing at the far end of the tunnel. Behind the bridge, firelight flickered against the wall, creating broad shadows vaguely shaped like men.

“We have company,” she whispered.

Fenn groaned. “Do we have to do this?”

Ignoring the whines of their bespectacled hunter, the priestess examined the row of crude pillars that lined the far side of the gap like the teeth of a comb. “It will be tricky, but not overly difficult, if we simply jump across.”

“Why the hell are we jumping? There’s only three or four people there. Kel and I could take them if you’re scared.” Dorri leaned forward, a twisted smile across her face.

“You’re guessing. There could be any number of cultists in the tunnel behind, and we’ve already spent far too long in here to risk getting caught now. Druid. Talk sense into her.” Ambika floated stiffly in the air and mentally calculated the short jump.

“You do realize that they’re wearing dozens of pounds of plate mail, right Bika?” Verdus retorted. “That doesn’t exactly promote nimble athletics. I really don’t think they could make that.” Inwardly the druid agreed with Ambika, and preferred to reach their objective with a minimum of open combat. He simply hoped that goading the paladins would bring them around.

Keltyr gave the druid a single glance. “Wouldn’t want to leave a large group of cultists behind us. Besides, of course I could make that jump.”

Dorri’tow grinned at Verdus and hefted her mace a little higher. “Right, cultists first.”

“Hmph.” Ambika lifted her skirts slightly and hopped up onto the air, coasting gracefully over the gap to the other side. “I will be over here, when you are finished with your bloodthirsty posturing.”

She vanished into the shadows on the other side.

“Um. Can’t she just levitate us all over there?” Fenniel asked.

“Probably, you’d have to go over there and ask her though,” Keltyr said.

“She can still hear us, right?” Fenn raised his voice a bit. “Miss Ambika?”

The ground seemed to jump up underneath him in response, almost knocking him over as he rose several feet off the ground. He could see the light glinting off her yellow eyes beyond the pillars.

Fenn smiled. “See, it won’t be bad! She can hear us.”

“Well,” Verdus said, “might as well keep it moving.” His form fluidly shifted from that of a large Tauren and reformed as a tawny, leonine cat. “See you on the other side.” Dashing towards the edge in a burst of speed, he easily cleared the first gap and resumed his natural bipedal form on the other side. “C’mon, Fenn! You can make it easily with that levitation spell on you!”

Fenn nodded. “Okay.” He aimed for the pillars Verdus went through, kicked his feet in the air and soared across the gap, then lodged between the two pillars with a resounding SHUNK. “Oh crap.” Fenn’s voice rose in volume. “Oh no.” He tried to wiggle through the pillars to the other side, getting more solidly stuck in between them. “Nononono.”

There came a strangled sound from the darkness beyond as Ambika tried to control her laughter and only partially succeeded.

“Oh, sweet Earthmother...” Verdus muttered. “Fenn, just relax, okay? It’s all right, we’ll get you out of there. Just stay calm, don’t panic, and for the Earthmother’s sake stop wriggling!”

“Light, what the hell is that noise? Is he stuck?” Dorri squinted, looking across the short break in the pathway.

“Please someone help me out, oh crap.” Fenn wiggled a bit more. “I promise I’ll lose twenty pounds, someone just please help me.”

“You’ll come out soon enough. A week should do it,” came the troll’s voice from the dark.

“Oh no.” Fenn kicked his feet. “Just pull. Or something. I don’t know.” He groaned. “It’s not a crime to like food!”

“Is it a crime to leave him there?” Ambika mused.

“Hells, just get him out before he brings all of them down on us,” Dorri said.

The troll emerged from the shadows right in front of Fenniel and examined the pillars to each side of his suspended bulk.

Fenn tried kicking his feet again, and a cascade of ammunition clips and traps fell out of his quiver onto the ground with a massive clattering sound. “Oh crap.” One of the traps went off, scorching the bottom of his boots. “I don’t wanna die. If I die like this, please someone tell my sister this isn’t how I died.”

Verdus couldn’t help but facepalm at the comedy of errors unfolding before him. Or at least it would be a comedy if it were happening to someone else. This was a tragedy of errors, and he could picture every cultist and drakonid in the entire cave system breaking out their war drums and heading straight for them. “Fenn, calm down, okay? Just calm down and stop squirming, we’ll get you out.” Moving over to the beleaguered hunter, he grabbed one of Fenniel’s arms and started to tug. The Farstrider didn’t budge.

“This is bad,” Fenn said.

“No, it’s fine,” Verdus said, straining with the effort of pulling the hunter, to no avail. “It’s fine, we’re fine. Just hold still.”

“Do you hear that?” Ambika said.

“We should have just charged the fire.” Dorri pointed at the previously seated figures that were now moving towards them. Fenniel whimpered again. “Shut him the hell up!”

“Tell her I was doing something really brave,” Fenniel said. “Not this.” He kicked his legs again. “This is bad. This is so bad. I promise I’ll lose thirty pounds, anything, please just help me.”

“Dorri turned, jumped across the gap and shoved her face into Fenn’s face. “SHUT UP!”

Keltyr finally managed to pry his hand away from his face. “Right, if they didn’t hear us before, they have now.”

As if on cue, a dozen angry cultists spilled out from the tunnel and spotted them, chanting spells and barking orders as they broke off into two groups, one taking the worn bridge, the other headed straight for Keltyr.

The sound of hissing came from the dark. “Not the snake trap,” Fenn said. “Why did it have to be the snake trap?!”

“Hells,” With a nod at Keltyr, Dorri moved to place herself between their companions and the enemies swarming across the bridge. Meanwhile the priestess stepped calmly forward and appeared to do nothing. The cultists on the far side of the bridge began to scream and claw at their eyes, trampling over their fellows, and the bridge began to groan and sway under the tumult. “Dammit, Ambika. Stop taking my fun.”

“My apologies,” she said, and stepped lightly aside to get out of the way of Dorri’s enormous mace.

Verdus muttered a short prayer to the Earthmother, causing enormous barbed roots to burst out of the ground, completely enveloping one of the larger cultists charging the paladins. Finally registering what Dorritow had said to Ambika, he pre-emptively turned to the paladin and said, “Err, sorry.”

In the meantime, Fenniel furiously kicked his legs while mumbling a litany of “oh crap” and “oh no” and “this is bad”.

“If you piss on yourself, I don’t want to know,” Dorri said.

“I’m not gonna pee myself!” Fenn’s voice was frantic with panic.

A cultist ran for Keltyr, swinging a mace over his head. At the last moment, he turned abruptly and threw himself into the chasm. A thin scream came up from the rift, then was silenced. Ambika smiled.

Fenn coughed. “...I think I have to pee.”

“You can hold it for another five minutes, can’t you Fenn?” Verdus asked incredulously. “Seriously, I’m trying to get you out of there, and I’m gonna be really unhappy if you go all over me.” As he spoke, the druid shifted into the form of an enormous bear, grasping the hunter’s belt in his powerful jaws. Leaning back with all of his significant mass, he tugged further trying to get Fenniel out. Again, the poor hunter didn’t budge.

“I didn’t say I’m going to pee! Just um, now that she mentioned it...” He wiggled again. “I kinda feel like I have to.”

“Don’t blame that shit on me!” Dorri snarled, smashing one loudly chanting cultist in the face.

“I’m not blaming you, I swear!”

Dropping the hunter’s belt and shifting back into his natural form, Verdus sighed in exasperation. “This isn’t working. I don’t know how you got wedged in there so tight, but I can’t pull you out from this side.” Taking a quick glance back across the gap, Verdus saw one of the cultists maneuver behind Keltyr without him noticing. With a quick flick of his wrist, the druid conjured a swarm of biting insects, causing the cultist to cry out and abandon his attack. The paladin wasted no time in dispatching the madman that had just drawn so much attention to himself.

“As fun as this is,” said Ambika, “I would like to finish our mission sometime today.” As another cultist plunged screaming to his death, she hopped lightly across the chasm once more, through one of the gaps adjacent to where Fenniel now squirmed and panicked.

Verdus was correct. Fenniel couldn’t be pulled through from the far side, but if he managed to wedge himself in from across the pit, he just might be able to come out from the back. Ambika examined the tiny ledge behind the row of columns where Fenniel’s feet swung madly. Maybe if Verdus gave him a shove...

“Druid! Stop tugging on him, he’ll just get more stuck--if that’s possible,” she said. “Give him a big shove and see if you can pop him out through the back.”

Verdus blinked slowly back at Ambika, in mild disbelief. “No, Bika, I’m not going to push Fenniel into the pit for your amusement.”

“What?!” Fenn nearly shouted.

Keltyr looked over at the debacle between swings. “We could throw cultists at him. At least that way he’ll fall away from the pit.”

“I like that idea. I could probably spare a few.” Dorri looked over her shoulder, a grin covered her blood-splattered face.

“Not helping!” Verdus yelled.

Ambika rolled her eyes. “It isn’t like I won’t catch him. It’s fine.” She dodged a cultist and he fell over the side. These were some of the worst cultist minions she’d ever seen.

“Um, do I have any say in this?” Fenn asked.

”No,” they all said in unison.

“Well...” Verdus began thoughtfully, “what if we were to weaken the pillars some? Do you have any bombs on you, Fenn?”

“Kel does!” Dorri shouted.

“I have some but um...I can’t really reach them right now,” Fenn said. “Isn’t that kinda dangerous? I don’t wanna fall in the gap. Seriously guys, I don’t wanna die.”

“You’re not going to die, Fenn, I promise,” said Verdus.

“Unless the bombs blow him up into little pieces,” said Ambika. “I can’t fix that.”

“Fine, fine, it was just an idea,” said Verdus. “But I’m really not comfortable just shoving him back into the gap like that.” Resting his chin in his hand, Verdus pondered.

“Fine. Let’s starve him out, then. It’ll work. Eventually,” she said crossly.

“If we’re going to do that, might as well just cut off a leg or something. I am sure we could find someway to fix that.” Dorri brained another cultist who was stupid enough to charge her.

“Oh crap, please no,” Fenniel said, and wiggled a bit more. “There has to be another way!”

“I’ve got it!” Verdus said. “We just have to get him going back across the gap with as much speed as he came across. You’ve still got those nitro boosts on your belt, right? If I give you a start with a shove and you fire the rockets at the same time, that should get you back across just fine. And Ambika can do whatever it was that she was going to do to catch you.”

“Well, um, I hope it works,” Fenn nodded.

Ambika glowered. “Well, at least give me a moment to get out of the w--”

It was too late. Verdus had already taken a step back to get his momentum going. “Now!” he yelled as he surged forward, shoving his large hands into Fenniel’s chest with all his strength.

Fenniel popped out of the pillars with a loud PTOO, fired off his nitro boosts and soared across the chasm. He hurled into Ambika, then by sheer momentum flew another fifty feet. His flight came to an abrupt halt when the priestess cushioned their combined impact against the cavern wall.

At this point, Ambika had plenty of choice words for her elven ‘friend’ but couldn’t say any of them, having had the wind knocked out of her.

Fenn rolled onto his stomach, completely unaware of the troll priestess, who slumped to the floor and curled up like a shrimp as soon as his weight was off her. “Ugh.”

“Are you two okay over there?” Verdus called from back across the gap, having grabbed onto the newly liberated pillars to keep from falling in.

“I think I hit something,” Fenn said.

Shifting his gaze slightly, Verdus’s eyes widened. “Oh yeah,” he said apprehensively, “you could say that...”

Ambika groaned.

While the majority of the cultists had been routed, the paladins were paying more attention to Fenniel’s flight than the fight. Fighting off another round of crippling laughter, Keltyr pointed at Fenn. “You got something caught on your back.”

Fenn rolled over onto his back. “Oh crap, Miss Ambika, are you alright?”

“Hhhhhhhh--” she wheezed.

The two paladins continued to laugh madly with every groan Ambika made.

“I’m sorry ma’am, I didn’t understand you.”

Ambika tried not to vomit, and barely succeeded. “Hhhhhhhhhhhate. You.”

“Um.” Fenn sat up, rummaging through his backpack. He threw things out of the pack and onto the ground, candy bars and ammo clips flying in all directions. “I think I have some water or something...”

“HATE.” Gingerly she peeled herself up off the floor and staggered toward the gap. Apparently, the chasm seemed like better company at this particular moment than the heavy-ass elf that just bruised half of her ribs.

“I’m sorry, Bika, that’s my fault. Don’t blame Fenn, I’m the one who shoved him at you,” Verdus said, trying to cover for his friend.

One dagger-like glance let Verdus know that his part in this debacle had not gone unnoticed. “Are they dead yet? I’m ready for this to be OVER,” she growled, still doubled over and clutching her sides.

Keltyr and Dorri barely stiffled another round of giggles, grinning at each other across the gap.

“Do you want me to take a look at that for you, Bika? I’m sure I could ease the pain somewhat for y-” One withering look from Ambika caused Verdus’s words to catch and die in his throat. Visions of horrifying death danced before him, and he wasn’t quite sure whether it was just his imagination or whether the enraged priestess had something to do with it. He wasn’t particularly inclined to ask, either.

“Light!” Dorri marched over to Ambika and glared at her. “You alright to walk?” She crossed her arms over her chest, matching scowl for scowl.


Fenn walked up behind Ambika. “I couldn’t find the water. Are you alright?” In the meantime, he’d opened one of the candy bars that had fallen on the ground and took a large bite.

The little troll slapped it out of his hands. “You idiot!” she hissed. “That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.”

He watched it fall into the chasm below, frowning. “I was eating that.”

Her tone was authoritative as she ordered them all to the bridge. “No more wasting time,” she said. “Move along.”

“Honestly, it’s not like this was even remotely difficult in the first place. I mean look, I can make this jump in plate from a standing start and toss in a full spin for the hell of it.” Keltyr grinned, walked up to the edge, and jumped.


Keltyr scowled. “I hate you all.”

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Slug Cookies

Postby Itanya_blade » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:23 pm

Dorri’tow watched suspiciously as Ambika handed over yet another teddy bear shaped cookie to Fenniel. She had been watching this strange doling out of snacks the entire time they were crawling around the dank tunnels filled with naga and their ilk. Neither Ghaar or Verdus seemed to have noticed anything peculiar about the usually diffident priestess providing treats to the Sin’dorei hunter.

“These cookies are good, did you make them?” Fenniel continued munching contentedly.

The troll priestess, Ambika, answered without any signs of irritation, “yes.”

Fenniel smiled in return. “You’re a good baker.”

Meanwhile, Dorri stared at the priestess suspiciously. “You cook?” The paladin muttered angrily to herself as she scowled at everyone around, “why does everyone cook?” The “but me” part of that complaint went unsaid.

“They are diet cookies.”

The announcement from the priestess caused Fenniel to blink hesitantly. “What?”

Ambika continued, overriding Fenniel’s question, “or, at least, not make the problem any worse.”

The hunter seemed confused by Ambika’s words. “What problem,” he asked.

Fenniel was distracted from Ambika glaring at his prominent beer belly by Dorri’tow poking him.

“Fork over a cookie!”

“I don’t have any.” Before Dorri could snarl at him, the hunter quickly pointed at Ambika, “She does!”

Dorri’tow turned to look at Ambika and the priestess calmly held out a cookie. “Knock yourself out.”

Still looking suspiciously at the priestess, Dorri started nibbling on one of the cookie’s feet.

“I still don’t understand what the problem is.” Fenniel said. Behind him, the orc shaman, Ghaar was watching the murloc minions walk their patrols in the distance.

“What? That you’re fat?” Dorri asked.

“Oh.” The hunter hung his head dejectedly.

“Hells,” Dorri cursed at him, causing him to slump down a little more. “Don’t start that!” She growled at him in frustration.

“You’re not fat, Fenn.” Verdus said. The druid’s voice was filled with quiet patience. Fenniel smiled up at Verdus, warmed by the words.

“He is too. If he wasn’t he wouldn’t have gotten stuck.”

“Keltyr got stuck.” Verdus pointed out the obvious hole in her logic, but Dorri was having none of it.

“That was armor!” Dorri protested with a fierce scowl at the offending Tauren.

“He is well above the ideal weight for a person of his height and build.” Ambika spoke with authority, but the druid and paladin were too deep in their argument to pay attention.

“You think mail doesn’t take up any space?” The Tauren druid began to raise his voice to match Dorri’s.

“Keltyr is not fat!”

“Exactly!” Verdus looked smug. “And neither is Fenn.” He took a few steps back as Dorri raised her axe, narrowed her eyes and took a few steps towards him.

“Can we handle this social issue after we finish clearing this place out? The gilgoblins are laughing at us.” Ghaar tried to distract the rest of the group to no avail.

Equally ignored was Fenniel, still slouching dejectedly. “I wear mail armor.”

Still glaring at the Tauren, Dorri’tow muttered under her breath about steak and diets. Finally she turned to stare at the goblins which were standing at a bend in the cavern, chattering in their high pitched language and pointing at them.

“Oh please, as if you have ever even seen a steak!”

Goblins forgotten, Dorri whirled back around to face Verdus. “What is that supposed to mean?”

To the side, Fenniel dug a bit of cake out of his pack and handed it to Ghaar. The shaman started to eat with resignation. They were not going to go anywhere while the big-haired paladin and Verdus settled their dispute.

“It means, Dorri, that you could do with a slice of cake sometime. Or maybe a sandwich.”

“Ugh,” Dorri looked at Fenniel as she spoke, looking a bit green. “Don’t say cake. I’ve seen where Fenniel keeps cake.”

“In a pocket?” Ghaar asked, still eating. Ambika refused to look at any of them, as the argument continued.

“Loincloth!” Dorri shouted.

“That was just one time!” Fenniel protested, shoving his glasses back up his nose.

“It was disgusting!” Dorri pointed her finger in her mouth and made retching noises.

Ghaar looked at Fenniel oddly and then at the cake he was not eating.

“It was my wedding.” Fenniel told the shaman, sheepishly. “It was the mushrooms.”

“Oh.” The orc shoved the rest of the cake in his mouth, without a care. “That’s different.”

“It was disgusting and just wrong!” Dorri glared at all of them.

“Seriously, eat a sandwich, woman.” Growling, Dorri snatched another cookie out of Ambika’s hand, and stuffed it in her mouth. She chewed as loudly as she could and then flashed the contents of her mouth at the annoying Tauren. “Really? You’re trying to prove me wrong with diet cookies? Really?” Verdus sighed deeply, as Ambika pinched the bridge of her nose. Dorri continued to glare at the Tauren. “Let’s just kill some things, `kay?”

“Fine!” Dorri whipped around, her axe inches away from Fenniel’s face as she turned. As she stormed towards the amused gilgoblins, she muttered constantly about how she really did eat.

Later, as they gathered at the stone circle where the Earthern Ring shaman had created portals and Ghaar took his leave, four of them checked their equipment one last time. It would not do to have an unseen gilgoblin poisoned dart prick someone when they were far from help.

A look of sudden resolve crossed the Sin’dorei hunter’s face. “So, why are they diet cookies?”

“Cause you are fat.” Dorri’tow repeated, with an irritated glare that caused Fenniel to hang his head.

“He’s not fat!” Verdus loomed over the paladin, frowning. “Stop that!”

“He is overweight.” Ambika said.

At the same time Dorri said, “He’s pudgy.”

Verdus agreed, “a little, yes.” He was reluctant to give the paladin even that much agreement. “But there is a big difference between that and fat.”

“Are you sure?” Dorri asked the Tauren.


Ignoring the debate about what constituted fat, who was fat (Hallis Boarhorder for example), and how Fenniel was not fat, Ambika addressed Fenniel directly. “The cookies will take more effort to digest than the calories it will provide.”

Fenniel looked at the priestess and then his other two friends who continued to argue. He shrugged and said sheepishly, “I was just asking, you know, what’s the difference between normal and diet cookies.”

At this point, Verdus threw up his hands and said, “anyway, pleasure as always. I’m heading home now.”

Everyone gave their good-byes to the druid, even the grumpy paladin.

And then Fenniel piped up again, “I still don’t know what’s in the cookies.”

Grinning from ear to ear, Dorri leaned forward to speak into Fenniel’s ear. She kept an eye on Ambika as she spoke, “Probably something gross, like slugs or the bones of gnome babies.”

Unaffected by Dorri’tow’s obvious ploy to rankle her, Ambika asked, “How do they taste?” Fenniel frowned. “You don’t ask questions about the soup the bartender feeds you. I don’t see why you would care what is in my cookies.”

“He doesn’t call it diet soup.”

“No he doesn’t.” The troll priestess smirked.

Off to the side, Dorri said, “Because the bartender can’t burn out his mind with a look, maybe?” She shrugged. “Just a guess.”

“I’ve never rocketed into his ribs either.” Fenniel flushed in embarrassment as he spoke.

“They are just cookies.” Ambika took a deep breath and frowned. To Dorri’s disappointment, however, the prickly little troll priestess did nothing more than that. She did not even glower. “They will not kill you.”

Looking from the troll to Fenniel, Dorri came to the conclusion that neither of them was going to give her the satisfaction she wanted. Besides, she did not want Fenniel going back to hiding on his sister’s couch. “Look,” She said as sincerely as she could, “I have never known Ambika to lie. Hedge around the truth a little, but never lie. If she says they are cookies, they are cookies.”

Fenniel slipped his hand into his pocket and finally just nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay!” Dorri clapped him hard on the shoulder, smothering a laugh as he stumbled forward. The three of them parted for the evening.

Accommodations in the hastily constructed fort in the twilight highlands were small, dark and crowded, which meant that Dorri and Keltyr tended to spend most of their downtime out on the ramparts. They had even taken quarters that opened onto them, just for the extra space.

In the faint afternoon sun, Dorri took a brush to her armor, seeking to rid it of dirt that Keltyr was certain did not exist. When she was done scrubbing, there would be the polishing. Thinking about watching her do all that work made him hungry.

“Hey, I’m going to get a sandwich. Do you want one?” Dorri’tow whirled on him in a fury. Kel knew by the look on her face that he had said something wrong. He did not have time to avoid the fist that hit him right in the face. “Hey!” He said as she stormed past him. “What was that for?”

“I do so eat!” She snarled back and slammed the door behind her.

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