Finals at the Academy:Campaign/Chapter 09
Chapter 9: Dirty Dancing, Orc Style
"When we last left Our Party, they were trapped in a whole lot of darkness, with unknown assailants busy... er... assailing Hiro and Ayaka..."
While Ayaka deals with the left-hand attacker, Hiro decides to deal with whatever is lurking on the right side of the room. He feels his way along the doors, lines himself up, and then charges forward with a mighty roar. He slams the open door backwards and feels it collide with something that gives a grunt of pain. The something manages to bounce the door back at Hiro, but Hiro knows he dealt some pain to whatever's back there. He grins to himself as hears whatever is behind the door fall backwards.
Ayaka narrows her eyes in anger, before she shoots an arrow ahead of herself farther into the dark room. She hears the arrow whistle through the air and then bounce off something, but sadly no squishing, screams of pain, or other signs that it hit anything resembling a lifeform. She then takes a step backward, placing herself in front of the open doorway.
Pyralis looks around irritatedly. "I hate this... why didn't I take the time to learn Light? Hang on... I don't want to use it up this early, but it's better than hitting teammates..." He takes off his pack and fishes around in it for a short time before pulling out his desired object.
Not knowing if there is a wall nearby to strike it on, Pyralis bends down a bit and strikes the object against the ground. He then holds the activated sunrod up, trying to see what the hell is going on in the dark room.
Pyralis finds that he can see Khila'eru standing a bit in front of himself and slightly off to the right, looking irritated. He can also see Hiro and Ayaka in the doorway of the room ahead, standing at combat ready. The room he's currently in is empty as can be except for himself and Khila'eru, and he can't see all that much beyond Hiro and Ayaka blocking his view.
Khila'eru closes her eyes against the sudden brightness, then opens her eyes again after a few moments and looks at Pyralis.
"What? A fight? Khila'eru," Pyralis says as he turns to the cleric, "We have to... oh, sorry. Uhm... we should probably help them out." Without waiting for her to reply, he moves towards the battle. "Let's shed a little light on the matter, shall we?" He comes up behind Ayaka and Hiro, illuminating the once-dark room with his sunrod.
In the sunrod's light, Ayaka can now see lurking behind the door an Orcish-looking creature with greenish-grey skin, a sloping forehead and jutting jaw, unkempt black hair, and reddish eyes which are currently glaring at her with irritation. On his side of the room, Hiro can now see there's definitely someone lurking behind the door he used as a vise earlier.
The creature near Ayaka bares his teeth in a sneer and says, "I was wondering when you idiots would finally decide you were better off with some light." Whatever is behind the other door clears his throat emphatically, and the creature near Ayaka sighs, says, "Oh, right. Uh, GUTS SMASH!, I guess. YAAAAAAAR!", then tries to pound Ayaka with his club.
Ayaka, still trying to get her bearings in the suddenly lit room, fails to dodge in time, and finds her chest on the receiving end of Guts' club. Fortunately, the club seems to have some sort of padding on it. Unfortunately, it still hurts.
"Hah!" Guts says gleefully.
Over by Hiro, the creature lurking behind the door comes out in the open, revealing that he looks similar to the fellow who just pounded Ayaka. He brandishes his own club and says to Hiro, "Nice door trick! Me smash you now!"
Hiro laughs at him. "You can try!"
The creature shrugs and says, "YAAAAAAAR!" as he swings his club. Hiro tries to dodge the creature's club, but it still catches him in the arm, leaving a rather nice mark. "Glory sort of smash, yar!"
Hiro winces in pain as the club hits him, but is thankful that it only got his arm.
Guts mutters, "Showoff."
Glory then moves to flank Ayaka and sneers at his companion, "Good thing me still help you, Guts." Ayaka, still wincing in pain, narrows her eyes as she is flanked, her shape tensing.
Hiro, rather pissed off at getting knocked in the arm, tries to pull back and give Glory a pair of what-fors in retaliation. Glory manages to see the blows coming, however, and uses his club to parry and send Hiro sprawling. Hiro's head connects with the floor with an unpleasant *thud*.
As Hiro groans in pain, Glory offers in consolation, "It OK. Brain overrated." Guts snorts in response.
Khila'eru steps up into the room where everyone else is, notices Ayaka's pained state, reaches out, and lays a hand on her shoulder. "I call upon you, Corellon Larethian, the protector and preserver of life, to grant healing grace for your stricken daughter."
A warm glow perfuses from Khila'eru's touch to the bruise busy forming on Ayaka's chest. It heals somewhat, but not completely. If one was in a ribald state of mind, one might think that the Elven god was too busy admiring Ayaka's womanly endowments to actually heal them.
Nevertheless, Ayaka flashes a grateful look to the other Elf. She then narrows her eyes again, coldly, lashing out with her sword. Guts twists his body so that Ayaka's blow glances off his armor. "Sorry, Elf lady." Ayaka glares and steps back at an angle to put some space between herself and the two uglies.
Pyralis looks at Glory. Figuring that it worked pretty darn well the last time, he calls out his incantation and lets off another energy missile from his fingertip. It makes an odd splash against Glory's chest, though with more oomph this time.
Glory goes cross-eyed, says, "Yar! Magic man make ouch!" and flops over. He hits the floor like a ton of bricks, bounces a few times theatrically, flailing his arms, then lies still.
Guts looks even more irritated at this. "Blasted razzlefrassin' showoff! Bah!"
Pyralis smirks. "Hey... I thought he portrayed the hit well..."
Guts sighs and says, "I'll show... er... Guts show you who do hit well!" He then takes a step and reaches around the door to try to tag Pyralis with his club.
Pyralis raises an eyebrow at this shoddy attempt at an attack and sidesteps it. "Wow... I know I'm no combat expert... but that looked pretty bad."
"Grr..." Guts growls in annoyance.
Hiro, wondering if maybe Pyralis is on to something with this projectile idea, pulls out his sling and fires a bullet at Guts. It almost looks like it'll actually hit... but then it ends up whizzing past Guts' ear and plinking off the far wall instead. Hiro closes his eyes briefly and mutters indecent curses in the general direction of the gods of luck.
"Let's end this, Half-Orc." Khila'eru drops her pack, steps forward, and swings her sword at Guts. However, the fact that her waist is still smarting keeps her from being able to muster a strong enough blow, and it bounces off the Orc's armor. He's still so busy snarling at Pyralis that he doesn't seem to really notice.
"Or not..." Khila'eru finishes, a bit lamely.
Ayaka draws her crossbow, aiming at Guts herself. Khila'eru stumbles backwards out of the way and into Hiro as she realizes Ayaka's intentions. Hiro grabs her by the waist as she falls back. "Whoa, steady on!"
"Gah! Watch where you point that thing!" Khila'eru shouts at Ayaka.
Ayaka cringes. "Sorry..." she whispers. She then lets fly with her bolt.
As Ayaka's bolt whizzes through the air, Guts finishes growling at Pyralis, pulls his club back, barely missing Khila'eru's head as she trips, holds it up in the air, starts to say something... and is interrupted by the bolt plowing into the rubber of the club just shy of Khila'eru's head. He scratches his head, yanks out the bolt, and tosses it over his shoulder.
Khila'eru is unbalanced for a moment, but quickly steadies herself, whispering a prayer of thanks for her narrow escape.
Pyralis raises an eyebrow. "That was... interesting..." Instead of dwelling on this happening too long, he casts another missile at Guts.
The energy splashes into Guts' chest. He winces, but doesn't seem too put off by it. "Sorry magic man, Guts have more... uh... guts than brother over there."
Pyralis grins slightly. "Hmm... yes... but you obviously have much less pizazz. Your friend was much more entertaining."
Guts growls again and waves his club at Pyralis. "This time, Guts be entertaining by not missing." He glances over at Khila'eru, waves with a toothy grin, then proceeds to reach past her and snag Pyralis solidly in the side, smushing him into the door for a moment. Guts then pulls back and says, "That entertaining enough, magic man?"
Pyralis gasps and winces as he is slammed into by the club. Thankful that he still stands, he nevertheless feels the need to make a retort. "Well... I can't say that I enjoyed it... but if YOU did, then that's all that matters..." He then mutters under his breath after the bulk of his reply, "...because it will be the last thing you ever do..."
Hiro glares at Guts and steps towards him. "You've done enough damage for one day, I think!" He gets into a fighting stance, ready to launch a kick. His foot snaps out efficiently, and would have hit if Guts wasn't busy doing a victory tap dance over smashing Pyralis.
Khila'eru acts quickly after Hiro's attempt... er, attack, and slashes at Guts. Unfortunately, he's still gyrating too much to be hit easily, and Khila'eru's swing goes wide. Not only is he a hard dancer to hit, he's an awful dancer to watch, adding insult to injury.
"Saura!" Khila'eru decides to retreat before her luck gets even thinner
Ayaka narrows her eyes, then charges forward, swinging her sword at Guts. He dances out of the way of the swipe, then grins at her and continues his horrible dance routine. He seems to have gotten pretty into it at this point.
Khila'eru looks around at her rather roughed up team, then settles her gaze on the wounded sorcerer. "Corellon Larethian, may he put an end to this."
Pyralis, for his part, has been glaring this whole time at Guts' horrible dance routine. "Hmm... you are trying too hard. Time to put you in your place." His last energy blast of the day slams into his opponent.
Unfortunately, it doesn't drop Guts, but it does at least stop his irritating victory dance. "Gah! Stupid magic man stop perfectly good dance."
Pyralis chuckles. "I don't know where you learned how to dance, but what I interrupted was a perfectly good dance by NO means."
"Move, you gul'edan!"
Pyralis is alerted by Khila'eru's shout. "Oh... that would be a good idea, wouldn't it... sorry. I was getting a bit caught up in the drama." Pyralis grins sheepishly as he starts to step back, realizes he's removing the only source of light, tosses his sunrod to Khila'eru, and finally retreats completely, never taking his eyes from his Orcish foe.
"Hah, I show you superior Orc dance later, magic man. In the meantime, er, Guts go over here..." He carefully takes a few steps back into the lower-left corner of the room.
Hiro observes Guts' retreat and loads his sling in preparation. He takes a deep breath, holds a wet finger up in the air to test the wind, then holds his thumb out in front of him for a bit of measuring. After muttering a few mental calculations and rolling his eyes around a bit while the ladies and Guts stare at him puzzledly, he then raises the sling and lets fly one of the bullets. It sails through the air and bounces off Guts' forehead, sadly still just a couple inches left of center.
Nevertheless, Guts holds his finger up in the air, says, "Good shot!" and slumps over unconscious. Hiro looks at him as if he can't actually believe he hit something. He takes a moment to recover himself and walks over to the unconscious Orc, where he proceeds to do a slightly better version of the Orc's earlier victory dance.
"Lait'eru! Finally, he hit something!" Khila'eru breathes a sigh of relief and goes to looks for the discarded lamp. "That was some fight."
Pyralis grins slightly as he walks back into the room. "You're telling me..."
Khila'eru looks him over. "We should really get you back to the Inn. How do you feel?"
Pyralis raises an eyebrow. "I feel like I could fall over at any second... that club hurt..."
Hiro looks at the others. "I think we could all use a rest."
Ayaka nods, tiredly. "A rest would be good."
Khila'eru also nods. She finally locates the discarded lamp, picks it up, and dusts it off a bit. Hiro pauses as he remembers something. "Although first I think it would be a good idea to search the two packs on the floor."
"All right," Khila'eru agrees, "Let's heave these two into bed and give those packs a once through."
Hiro pulls the packs off the bedrolls, and, after a lot of grunting, shoving, and pulling, manages to get Glory onto one of the bedrolls. He then picks up one of the packs and starts sifting through it. Ayaka picks up and sifts through the other pack, while Khila'eru, after her own effort, manages to get Guts laid out on the other bedroll. "Oof."
"Fair enough... if it isn't too much to ask, could someone get my pack from the previous room?" Pyralis asks.
Khila'eru edges around the now occupied beds and gives the sunrod back to Pyralis. She then lights her own lamp, goes into the other room, retrieves Pyralis' pack, and returns and gives it back to its owner.
Pyralis nods a bit. "Ah... thank you, Khila'eru."
Khila'eru smiles and nods at Pyralis. "Of course." She then asks Hiro and Ayaka, "Find anything interesting in those packs?"
After a bit of pawing around, Hiro determines that the backpack he's looking through contains a flint and steel, another lamp, another pint of oil, a mirror, and a waterskin. Ayaka, meanwhile, finds that the pack she's looking through bears a deck of cards, some flint and steel, a small hammer and chisel, what appears to be several half-carved rocks, yet another lamp and oil, and another waterskin.
"Er, not really," Hiro says. He shows Khila'eru the contents of the pack.
"That mirror could come in handy."
"Take it then, if you're that vain." Hiro hands the mirror to Khila'eru.
Khila'eru takes the mirror and notes, "The ability to see around corners should not be taken so lightly." She then sheathes her sword and moves to grab her own dropped pack.
Ayaka ponders. "I think this hammer and chisel might be useful..." She stows both into her own pack, then shows the remaining contents of the pack she's searching to the others.
"Well, if we're all done here..." Hiro looks at Pyralis. "Can you walk?"
Pyralis grins slightly as he moves a bit. It is obvious that it is not easy, but he manages it. "It won't be pleasant... but I can manage it."
Hiro nods, then has a sudden thought. "Wait a minute. Ayaka, let's have a closer look at those rocks."
Ayaka wrinkles her nose. "No problem." She smiles then, before retrieving and eyeing the rocks. After studying them for a few moments, she decides, "I don't think the rocks are going to be of use to us."
Khila'eru blows out the lamp. "If you would like, I can bless some of those stones for your sling, Hiro."
"I think that is an excellent idea, thank you." Hiro holds his hand out, and Ayaka obligingly drops the rocks into it.
Khila'eru studies her new-found mirror more closely, looking over the front and back, then has a change of heart and slips it back into the pack from whence it came. "To be honest, I would feel shameful taking one of his personal possessions." She pauses, then says, "Shall we go now?"
Ayaka nods. "Let's." She sets the Orc's pack back onto the ground.
"All right, let's go," Hiro agrees, setting the other pack down as well.
Khila'eru offers Pyralis a shoulder to lean on. Hiro glances at her action. "Do you need a hand with him?" She gives him an incredulous look in response.
Pyralis smiles slightly at Khila'eru. "Thanks," he says, standing on his own. "Hopefully I won't need it... but I'd appreciate it if you stuck around... in case I slip, ya know?"
Khila'eru smiles and nods. Ayaka smirks faintly herself and looks around. She notices a distinct sameness of the quality of this room to the previous rooms. Whoever built the tower wasn't that creative with the architecture. She also notices that the set of doors on the left wall sport a parchment attached to them, same as the first room. She moves to read the parchment.
"Any less nonsensical than the last one?" Khila'eru wonders.
Ayaka blinks at the parchment, then chuckles.
Ayaka smiles. "No, this one doesn't make any sense, either."
Khila'eru shrugs and heads out. Ayaka moves to follow. Pyralis moves along with the group - he appears strained, but is otherwise managing on his own well enough. Hiro puts the rocks in his pack and joins them in moving towards the exit.
Everyone heads back into the previous empty, dark room. They then head further into the not-at-all dark room where the warrior woman is still snoring blissfully, and eventually back out into the Office, where Rosie is sitting at her desk, thumbing through some tomes. She looks up and gasps, putting her hand over her mouth briefly. "Oh my goodness, you all look not so great!"
"Yes, fighting will do that to you," Khila'eru notes dryly.
"Oh, well, yes, I guess... I mostly just study books..."
Khila'eru smiles half-heartedly. Ayaka smiles faintly herself. Pyralis grins slightly as well, and comments, "Yeah... that's okay, but I think I prefer magic in the heat of battle to magic in the cold of practice..."
"Ooh, magic, I wish I could do some of that... oh well. Um, are you leaving, then?"
"Yes. My thanks to you for staying," Khila'eru tells Rosie.
"No problem, always glad to help!"
Hiro sighs impatiently. "Come on, let's get back to the Inn. I really need some rest."
"I think we all do..." Ayaka agrees.
"Yes, it has been a long day," Khila'eru notes.
"I doubt tomorrow will be any better," Hiro notes.
"Well, let's pack up, then!" Rosie stands up and heads over to the door.
Khila'eru's mouth twists into a grin as everyone follows Rosie into the Library proper, where they notice she's spent some time pushing in chairs and piling books onto the book cart. Rosie heads over to the door, opens it, lets them all outside, then turns and locks the doors. It's night-time now, the stars twinkling merrily in the sky.