As if borne on a distant wind from a far away land, Sevak could hear screams of rage. He instantly identifies it as the spirit naga. Somehow, it's anger was so great he heard it during his waking time. While not a good sign, angering that creature only boded well for his moral choices.
His mind is snapped back to the present as the Red Mouth sighed heavily.
"So you reject my offer? I offer you power and wealth, even after you invade my home, kill my men and escape with my slaves?" The nagaji frowns then smashes the heavy wooden table with a fist, shattered a plate into shards.
"Very well then. You ignore my generosity? Then feel my wrath. Men!" he roars, and the bandits pour in, carrying heavy chains and fall on the still sitting ex-druid.
"Chain him up. Gather the men and get the other. My patience has run out with them. We will feed them to the beast."
Sevak smiles grimly even as he's driven to the floor. At least he could pass one test, before he died... but hopefully there was a way to rescue Paq. That he had said 'other'... Hyo Soon must have escaped with the captive. If Paq could somehow get free, too... he would count it a profit to trade his life for the life of an innocent.
Through the press, as he is chained up, he still manages to cry out, "Even if... you get all you wish... it will leave you hollow... ever hungring for more. A snake eating... it's own tail. This... is the truth I saw."
The Red Mouth sneers at Sevak's word. "You know nothing of power. You are content to be a slave and a servant."
He begins barking orders to the others.
Soon Sevak is chained and hauled through the corridors, none too gently. A few times he hits his head on the floor or a crumbling stone wall. The chains are heavy and cruelly tight.
Finally, he sees sunlight and is set down in what must be the entrance hall to the old palace. Blinking, he looks out of the crumbling doors and sees that small bandit camp he spied on, where he saw the men eaten alive.
Just as he gets his bearings, another shape is thrown next to him. It is also chained, but the figure is dark and furry. It writhes slightly and soon Paq is revealed. His head had a nasty wound on it, with crusting blood mixed with the fur. His nail also looks to have been sliced cruelly, ending with a stump instead of a fine tip.
The Red Mouth begins shouting more orders to assemble the camp and 'rouse' the hungry beast. Under the cover of noise, he could speak to Paq.
A strange serenity accompanies Sevak as he is dragged out into the light. He had failed, yes... but at least he had not given in to darkness.
His heart sinks, however, at seeing Paq's state. But the sight reminds him--he must not simply give up. There must be something they can do...
"Have you seen any opportunities?" he asks, quietly, when they have their moment. "And... I am sorry."
One crusted lid cracks open, revealing an eye as bright and darting as ever. Paq coughs, shrugging in his bonds, "I see they treated you somewhat better then me." His eye narrows and he says, 'Is that chicken I see on your chin? Lao Shu Po, save me, things just aren't fair."
He laughs darkly before adding, "I've been stuck in a pitch dark cell since they captured me, chained and bound. So no, no chances to escape. Any word about Hyo Soon and the woman we rescued?"
"He tried to recruit me," Sevak whispers back. "He was... displeased when I rejected. But it seems Hyo Soon and the other escaped."
"Good..." Paq mutters but then the moment of privacy is shattered.
Bandits run up, grabbing the two.
The Red Mouth turns and speaks to them, face harsh."The stakes are prepared?"
'Yes." One of them says, one hand in the chains binding Sevak, "And we put one up for the other." A jerk of the head toward Paq.
'Good." The bandit leader says and leads them outside into the daylight.
Sevak is half-carried, half-dragged to the middle of the cleared out living space of the bandit camp. He can see bandits and slaves both arrayed around them, every gathered to watch them. Most of the faces are blank, neither showing dislike or fear. To them, this was a common brutality, unremarkable.
The Red Mouth however, seems invigorated by the march. The nagaji walks like a general inspecting his troops or a tyrant walking his streets. Muscles flexing, scales shining, he moves with a total surety of purpose and power. The aura of command lies heavy on the broad shoulders, a palpable force.
Ahead, jammed into the beaten earth are two wooden stakes. Sevak and Paq are thrown onto the ground near them and unchained. Quickly they are re-bound to the stakes but with wooden ropes.
From off to the side, out of the glade of trees, Sevak can hear growls as the beast wakes up. The nependis, the ogre Sevak had watched eat men yesterday. Had it only been yesterday?
The Red Mouth turns to the assembled crowd, "See now, what happens to thieves and trouble-makers."
He goes on at length, which gives Paq and Sevak a moment to speak.
You are tied so a Str. Check of 13 will break the bounds. Also, several of your spells may break it. You are still surrounded by all the bandits however.
"Any plans?" Paq says under his breath, "Now would be a really good time."
Are the bandits primarily on one side of where the ogre is coming out?
The only thing that comes to mind is to break free and try to flee under/around the ogre. Possibly with a fireball to the face to distract said ogre long enough to run past.
I don't like it, but it's better than nothing.
"Can you slip your bonds? Wait until just before it is to eat us, then slip free. I think I can get free also. I will use a spell to hold its attention while you escape past it, and... try to follow."
Indeed I have. Now hopefully Sevak doesn't just get wiped out in one hit. XD
Oh, dear. XD I think the map is pretty clear. Hopefully, for this plan to have a chance of working, some of those guys on the one side are going to clear out as the ogre approaches.
The moment of conversation between Paq and Sevak ends as the Red Mouth stops speaking. He has climbed up on an old stone platform, some Imperial relic, long sunk into the mud. His tattoos, the scenes of firer and violence writhe on his scales, glistening in the tropical sun.
He raises an arm, "Bring forth the beast."
With a roar the nependis comes forth, the ogre creature standing on two goat-like legs. It's tusk are a dull ivory, stained with old blood, and rippling muscles cover the humanoid upper body.
'Witness my power!" the Red Mouth screams.
Just as Sevak is about to begin his hopeless gambit, something odd happens. Out of the hot, midday air, mist begins to form. Out of nothing, a fogbank shimmers into existence, seemingly centered around Paq and Sevak, hiding them behind the mist.
Paq mutters, his voice muffled by the dense fog, 'About time, Hyo Soon."
From outside the cloud, Sevak can hear the Red Mouth raging, 'What is this? Who defies me? Druid, do you dare tip your hand to save this wretch?" Then, "Men, secure the prisoners!"
Sevak has a moment to act however, cut off from sight.
Would mage hand be capable of untying the ropes quickly? If so, that's what he uses. Otherwise he'll burn them with scorching ray.
I'll say yes, because the ropes were hastily tied. No one expected you to try and escape. It won't always work though
Sevak taps that magical reserve inside himself and begins loosening the knot. In a few moment he is free and stands on his own two feet. Besides him, filmy in the mist, Paq is already free, rubbing his small wrists.
'Are we going after the bad guy?" he glances at Sevak then grins, 'Of course we are." For all of his tough talk though, Paq looks much worse for wear then Sevak does. No one bothered to heal the ratfolk.
Three bandits enter the mist, sword held high. The rest of the world is still cut off, but Sevak hears more confusion then a simple cloud of mist should cause.
Sevak wasn't certain they were in any shape to fight, but there didn't seem to be much choice right now. What that meant was that he needed a sword.
Seeing the bandits approaching, he pointed at the nearest one and summoned up a bolt of flame, hoping to drop him and take his weapon.
Scorching ray: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Damage: 4d6 ⇒ (4, 3, 1, 1) = 9
Sevak's ray streaks out to the closet man, a fiery lance. It splashes across his chest making him curse and step back, but he is still upright.
"The stakes!" Behind him Paq is pulling the stakes they were tied to out of the ground. 'Better then nothing."
Outside the mist, he can hear the Red Mouth shouting muffled orders, mixed with the insane roar of the ogre. What was going on out there? The bandits too look confused at the sheer amount of chaos.
"Right," Sevak agrees, grabbing his and pulling it. It seemed Hyo Soon was using quite a bit of magic--perhaps she had learned to tap into the staff? Or perhaps the druid had joined her?
Sevak pulls the stake out of the ground as an impromptu spear. Use these stats- Spear
The bandits close in, including the burned one.
Swords: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Swords: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Sevak is able to fend both of them off, and Paq tumbles away from his own foe.
"Go! Find the Red Mouth." Paq hisses. "Standing and fighting will just get us killed by weight of numbers. Besides, who knows what in all the Hells Hyo Soon is up to out there."
Sevak nods slightly. He focuses a moment to summon up some measure of protection, then backs away from the bandits towards the sound of the Red Mouth's voice.
Cast mage armor, move towards the voice.
Sevak feels an aura of force surround him as she steps forward and then out of the mist. His eyes grow wide. Things have changed since he was enveloped into the fog bank.
The air is full of shouts and screams, as bandits and slaves alike run about. The once bright sky overhead has darkened and is filled with heavy thunderclouds, low and dangerous.
Off tot he side the ogre, having pulled free of its handlers, runs amok through the simple bandit encampment. It smashes huts, knocks over fires and tramples fleeing slaves. Roaring, it has seized a tree branch and wielding it like a crude club, clearly glorying in destruction. As far as Sevak can tell, no one is trying to master the savage beast.
Dead ahead, the Red Mouth still stands on his rock, gaze focused not on Sevak but to Sevak's right, slack jawed and wide-eyed. Surprised at this lack of attention, Sevak glances over.
There, atop one of the large rocks littering the clearing, stands Hyo Soon, white staff in one hand. She is no longer the quiet, somewhat shy human wizard Sevak has traveled with, with her hair braided and eyes adverted. Gone is the reticent academic, curious about the world around her. In her place is fury given physical form, a figure of blinding power astride the rock.
Her robes blow about her, caught in a tempest of her own making, green hair unbound and whipping. Storm clouds ripple and flow circle her, dancing with blue lighting. Arcane energy crackles along her entire body, making the air itself sizzle. All about her the ground is churned from lighting bolts. Even as Sevak watches a massive blue bolt lashes out with a blinding flash, leaving two bandits dead and smoking earth.
She raises the staff and in a voice not her own intones, "In place
of your bloody master you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be as blood, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning. Stronger than the foundations of the earth!"
A crack of thunder, like the sound of doom, fills the clearing, making bandits shout in terror.
Then, farther away, Sevak notes someone else. On the stairs of the palace he sees the woman he saved, who was being questioned. How she got back into the palace is a mystery but he is riveted to her for one reason. In her arms is a long, dangerous looking object.
Zhèngyì, glinting in the darkening gloom.
Just as he watches her, a movement in the air catches his old, jungle guide trained right. Turning, Sevak sees a incongruous sight. Among the flashes of arcane power, the shafts of arrows and thrown rocks of the ogre, he sees a dove flying, dodging and swooping. Why would it risk such action? It flies right over the druid and drops something glittering from small claws at Sevak's feet. It flies away, darting among the chaos.
Glancing down, Sevak sees the object is a small vial. On it, branded with magic are these words in Druidic.
"I am pleased, young one." A glance tells Sevak it is a healing potion.
So much was happening... and what could he do in this chaos?
Sevak quickly scoops up the vial. Paq needed it worse than he did. Speaking of which...
"Paq!" he hissed. "Get out of the mist!"
Now... what to do? It was clear something was very wrong with Hyo Soon. Would she recognize him? Would whatever had taken her mind attack him?
There was only one way to find out.
Stepping forward slightly, he spread his arms and called out, "Hyo Soon!"
As an aside, I will not update the map inside the fog cloud or behind it, to replicate Sevak's field of vision. I really need to get dynamic lighting.
Sevak calls for Paq, but no ratfolk emerges from the fog cloud. Was he hurt, dead, or merely fled in a different direction?
He shouts to Hyo Soon, who is standing imposing on the rock, tiny arcs of blue lightning wreathing her frame.
"I am Hyo Soon, but not as you knew her." There is a roll of thunder, loud enough to make Sevak's head ring. "I have seen my true purpose, understood my real power." She raises the staff and there is a bolt of blue lightning and one of the bandits is blasted to ruin.
"Trouble me not, failure of a nagaji." Her eye gleam with a fervor of not only arcane power but also of some fanatic glory.
Sevak notes the slaves with Zhèngyì moving toward him, skirting the round rock where the Red Mouth still stands. Even as the ex-druid watches, the bandit warlord notices the sword and begins moving closer, obviously curious.
Meanwhile the ogre rampages more, killing a slave and a bandit, tearing them into bloody pieces. Their screams fill the air of the clearing.
Power. How he hated that word.
"And at this rate, there shall be none to see it," he calls back as he backs away from Hyo Soon.
Then he notes the woman carrying Zhèngyì, turns, and jogs around the fog cloud again. He waves to her, trying to indicate she should throw the sword toward him.
Sevak skirts the fogbank again, giving the roaring ogre a wide berth.It seems to be enjoying its new found freedom, trampling the entire area, making the mist cloud swirl around it, churned by its fury.
Farther away, Hyo Soon continues to blast others with her power, the Staff glowing a bright white that lights the bottoms of the roiling clouds overhead.
Then new shapes. Sevak glances past the ogre, through the huts tot he edge of the forest. He sees people emerging, armed. More bandits, perhaps? No, these were uniformed, orderly and armed. Soldiers.
In a few moments he recognizes them, the soldiers from the river, where he had met Hyo Soon. Several of the soldiers even look familiar to the nagaji. And behind them was the Commandant, the man who had told Sevak of the Red Mouth in the first place. Why were they here?
The soldiers begin shooting arrows at the rampaging ogre, trying to distract it from killing the slaves. They form ranks, firing in volleys, clearly trained in such tactics. While welcome, they add yet another layer of confusion on the field.
But Sevak has no time for that, and he faces the escaped slave woman. Her arms she carries Zhengyi, looking terrified of the battle around her. Seeing Sevak wave his arms, she nods and heaves the sword. The throw is a strong one and the weapon is hurled high into the air, silhouetted against the angry thunderstorm above. It arcs toward Sevak...
The Red Mouth lets out an angry bellow and leaps from his rock in a powerful lunge. Throwing himself into the arm, he reaches out one clawed hand. He grins a bloody smiles, snatching the blade and rolling to the ground, ending between Sevak and the slave woman.
"Ah, a secret weapon? I wondered about this blade." The bandit lord says, seizing the jeweled pommel. "An imperial relic for sure, probably plundered from my city. You are not worthy of it, slave of the naga."
With a flourish he pulls the blade free, and it glow slightly, humming with power. "Ahhh.." the Red Mouth sighs happily, clutching the blade. "Power." The powerfully built nagaji holds the sword aloft, as if rallying an army.
Then, a frown crosses his face. As if in confusion he glances at the blade, which begins to glow brighter. Quickly it flares into a blinding intensity. The Red Mouth struggles, as if trying to throw it away. There is a sudden crack, like a great stone shearing free. The Red Mouth tosses the blade away, and it whistles through the air, sticking point-down in the damp earth near Sevak.
In his mind he can hear, faintly, the voice of the sword saying, 'Unworthy slime..'.
Sevak drops his makeshift spear and seizes Zhèngyì's hilt. Hopefully I have not earned that epithet also, he thinks to the sword.
He hesitates a moment... he wishes to save the potion for Paq, but... the soldiers are here, and he has no pack in which to put it... and if the Red Mouth fights, or he must brave the storm to reach Hyo Soon... reluctantly he quaffs the contents of the vial, then drops the empty container so he may put both hands on Zhèngyì's hilt.
"You are undone," he says to the Red Mouth, taking a ready stance. "There is enough madness here without your adding to it."
Cure: 3d8 + 7 ⇒ (4, 5, 8) + 7 = 24
Sevak grabs the pommel and feels a surge of vigor enter into his body. His weariness flees from him, his muscles bunching in refound power and energy. The sores and tension from a night spent chained vanish.
In the vaults of his mind he hears the sword sing to him, 'Let us end this, with honor.' Zhengyi says, voice firm.
The tattooed nagaji one eye sweeps the chaotic battlefield. There are his bandits fighting and fleeing for their lives. There is his 'captive' ogre, loose and rampaging among the pitiful remains of the camp. There is the arcane tempest that is Hyo Soon a whirling, swirling area of desolation. And beyond it is his dread rival, the soldiers of Po Li, pouring in, slaughtering his remaining fighters. For a moment doubt covers the bloody face, and his hand clench and unclench in pain.
Then he throws his massive head back and laughs. "Perhaps you are right, slave of the naga. But if I am undone, at least I can destroy one more tool of my hated masters."
Red Mouth Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Sevak : 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
You are up. DOn't forget this use of the blades magic- 'If neither exhausted nor fatigued, the wielder gains a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and a +10 foot enhancement bonus to all modes of movement possessed until the end of the wielder’s next turn.'
I thought that only applied after getting a 'kill'?
"Still you misjudge me? So be it, then. Your madness ends here," Sevak says, grimly.
And with that he steps forward and swings Zhèngyì in a wide arc.
Slash: 1d20 + 10 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 10 + 2 = 23
Damage: 2d6 + 7 ⇒ (2, 4) + 7 = 13
It is a world of difference then the fight in the tunnels. Then, Sevak had been tired, stuck in strange mud, closed in, worried about Paq. Now he was free in the open air and Zhengyi's song hummed in his veins.
As if he had trained with a sword his whole life, Sevak stepped in, slicing. The razor edge catches the other nagaji, slashing a long red line along the Red Mouth's arm.
The nagaji curses and flinches back from the blade, bringing himself into a defensive stance. 'So, you do know how to use it." he mutters, almost to himself. Then, without warning, the nagaji drops and tries to sweep Sevak's legs.
Sevak AoO: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Trip: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
The move is so fast, Sevak's hasty blow misses and he is knocked to the ground. As he falls, the nagaji follows up, trying to step on Sevak's neck.
Viscous Stomp: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Sevak just manages to avoid it however, rolling on the muddy ground.
You are prone, next to the Red Mouth
Sevak keeps moving, rolling to his feet (which I believe provokes an AoO), bringing Zhèngyì up in a wide slash as he stands.
Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Damage: 2d6 + 7 ⇒ (3, 1) + 7 = 11
It does indeed
As Sevak rolls to his feet, the Red Mouth lashes out with a fist.
AoO: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
the bandit lord lets out a satisfied grunt as it lands and he sees Sevak wince in pain.
Sevak's own blow lands too though, for even more damage. Zhengyi sings in delight, joyful at this chance to destroy this unlawful evil creature. Even now the nagaji looks wounded, panting slightly.
Acrobatics Check: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
Instead of attacking, the nagaji moves back and jumps onto the large stone. As he does so, his armbands starts to glow, with a dangerous red light. Jumping up, the nagaji turns, mouth agape.
The armbands flash and Sevak feels a wince of pain.
Sevak Fort.: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
But it passes without anything else and there is a flash of disappointment across his face. Blood streams from his two wounds, staining the old, moss covered rock.
Red Mouth has the high ground on you. +2 to attacks (assuming you move within range) as well as defense if you attack him from below. Also, climbing the stone,inside his current reach will provoke an AoO. You could of course go around him. The Climb DC is 5
Sevak looks carefully at the armbands. It's clear they're powerful... dangerously so. Perhaps he can surpress them?
He calls on his magic as he sprints around the stone, then hurls it at the armbands, trying to rob them of their power briefly. Dispel magic on the bracers.
Dispel check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Sevak sends out his spell and feels it, somehow, connect with the armbands. There is a brief struggle and then his spell recedes, defeated. It had been a struggle, the armbands were no mythic relic at least, but Sevak's attempt had failed.
The Red Mouth walks on the edge of the stone, hands out defensively. He grins savagely, 'Scared, slave? Even with that big sword of yours?"
Sevak Fort: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Sevak feels that twinge of pain again, stronger, but he shakes it off.
The Red Mouth frowns and then smacks the armbands together. They glow a deeper red. Then he throws his head up and Sevak watches, in horror, as the bandit's mouth unhinges, scales ripping and blood pouring. In a moment the jaws are longer, stronger, set with even sharper teeth, like that of the crocodiles Sevak has seen floating in jungle pools.
Dripping blood from his new savage maw, the Red Mouth roars, still holding his place atop the rock.
"I think you have forgotten something," Sevak replies. He points at the Red Mouth, and a small red bead flies from his fingertip past the other nagaji's shoulder before exploding in a ball of flames.
Fireball damage: 6d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 3, 6, 4, 5) = 29
Reflex: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Sevak's tiny ball of fire explodes behind the nagaji. However, Sevak was fighting no dull-witted bandit or lazy guard. This was a warlord, a warrior, trained and at the height of his power. With cat-like agility he turns and jumps away from the fireball, dodging the flames. Indeed, as Sevak watches, he doesn't see a single burn on the sinuous, strong shape.
The Red Mouth jumps down off the rock and kicks out again at Sevak.
Kick: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Sevak Fort Save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
The blow lands but this time Sevak isn't knocked tot he ground,b ut maintains his feet. Still, the Red Mouth's foot felt as if it were made of iron.
Sevak grunts from the impact, and swings Zhèngyì back.
Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Damage: 2d6 + 7 ⇒ (4, 5) + 7 = 16
As he attacks, he says, "You have forgotten that you are already ruined. I do not have to destroy you. I... can simply walk away."
And with that, he stepped back into the mist.
Don;t forget to add that ten damage to your stat line. Oh wait,
your AC is 17+4 (Mage Armor) isn't it? So that last kick misses?
Stepping into that white fog bank is like entering a different world. The noise of roaring ogres, screaming men and crackling spells fades, muffled by the roiling white mist. The sights of battle slide from view, and Sevak feels, for a moment alone.
Outside he hears the Red Mouth curse and shout, "Coward!" But there is also a note of respect there, from one warrior to another. Then, with a rush, Sevak spots the warlord leap into the swirling mist, lashing out with hands and feet in a flurry of blows.
20% Miss Chance, Punishing Kick: 1d100 ⇒ 2
20% Miss Chance: 1d100 ⇒ 17
20% Miss Chance: 1d100 ⇒ 93
20% Miss Chance: 1d100 ⇒ 79
Two of the blows miss completely, the mist throwing off the aim.
Unarmed Strike: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Unarmed Strike: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
The other blows barely tap Sevak, obviously being blinded (even partially) is deeply upsetting to the bandit warlord. Despite his evil, darkness scares him, distracts him, weakens him.
Not so for Sevak.
Blind Fight feat ftw!
"The serpent is neither the strongest nor the fastest of beasts," Sevak says as he slashes back at the Red Mouth.
Zhèngyì slash: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
Damage: 2d6 + 7 ⇒ (2, 5) + 7 = 14
"But it hunts well with what it has." He steps back again.
The blade slashes open the nagaji's back, and gaping wound that sends blood sheeting onto the ground. The Red Mouth sways where he stands, covered with wounds. Sevak can feel frustration coming off the bandit warlord in waves. He had tried defense and it had failed, he had tried to attack and Sevak melted into the mists. And all the while his own wounds have grown worse and worse. Sevak can see the nagaji is weakening severely.
Growling, Sevak watches the armbands glow again, the warlord dipping into this reserve one last time. A dark shape begins to..pour out of the armbands, forming a shadowy rope that the Red Mouth gathers up. With a quick motion, he lashes out toward his foe.
Miss Chance, 20%: 1d100 ⇒ 79
Ranged Touch: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 9 + 2 = 21
The shadowy rope flies through the mist, and by luck or skill, wraps around Sevak's neck. It feels dreadfully cold there, as if carved from ice.
?: 1d6 ⇒ 1
?: 1d6 ⇒ 2
?: 1d6 ⇒ 4
There is a painful surge at his neck, and then a feeling of suction, as if the rope was pulling away his vigor. His muscles weaken, his reflexes slowed, his stamina diminished.
The Red Mouth grins evilly, holding the shadowy rope, but at least he doesn't seem to have gained what Sevak has lost.
Lose 1, STR, 2 DEX and 4 CON
Sevak grits his teeth, steps forward, and stabs at the Red Mouth wordlessly.
Attack: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Damge: 2d6 + 6 ⇒ (1, 4) + 6 = 11
Even with that weakening, sickening feeling pulsing through him, Sevak charges ahead. The sword sings as it cuts through mist and cloud. Unerringly, it finds the target.
Sevak feels Zhengyi plunge deep into the Red Mouth's chest. There is a rasping sound as the glittering tip erupts from the bandit warlord's back, slicing his thick scales. The Red Mouth hangs, like a puppet, from the blade.
The rage and frustration melts away from the nagaji, replaced by fear and anxiety, eyes wild. With a spasm, he grabs Sevak's shoulder and pulls the ex-druid closer, ignoring his own impalment.
"You must....seek out, the place Iskassala feared." he swallows, and Sevak can see blood gurgling out of his throat, mixing with the red tattoos. "The name...Lao Shu Po's Trove. I...I know not where. I...I have failed. You must not."
He heaves a shuddering breath, ribs rasping on the blade, and then slumps forward. The white mist flows about them, giving Sevak a moment of silence with the corpse.
Was that ability damage or drain?
Sevak frowns as he pushes the Red Mouth off of Zhèngyì. He felt no joy at killing the other nagaji, not even satisfaction, really. It had been necessary. He had done it. That was all.
Why had he insisted upon this in his last moments? What could he have learned that would impel him to plead with an enemy to seek this place out?
He shakes the thought off for now. There is still work to be done now. Lives to be saved. But first, these armbands were too dangerous to leave for a bandit to pick up. He bent down and started to take them off of the corpse.
As Sevak bends down, and the lifeless body slides off the blade, he feels his vigor return. Whatever dark magic had been channeled in that last desperate attempt is undone by the Red Mouth's death.
His strong body looks much less imposing now, sprawled out on the ground, eyes turned unseeing to the sky. Sevak pulls off the armbands and feels the slightest prickle of arcane power at their touch.
He had seen what they could do... but he had also seen what the staff had done to Hyo Soon. What if they, also, would drive the wearer mad?
For now, he would not risk it. Instead he simply strides out of the mist, towards Hyo Soon. He had to save her from the staff... somehow.
We won't be using the map again unless you fall back into combat
Leaving the mist thrust him back into the chaotic battle. Still, things had calmed somewhat. Few of the bandits were left, most having fled into the forest or laid dead on the field. The slaves were huddled in small groups, terrified.
The soldiers were battling the ogre, but apparently had it somewhat under control. Arrows bristled from it, and ropes seemed to be slowly tying it down.
Hyo Soon however, was an unfettered as ever. A small group of soldiers huddle near her, spears raised and shields up. Clouds wreathed her, making her look like a mountain amidst a swirling storm, dark and imposing.
Then she laughed and pointed the staff at one of the soldiers. There was a crack and his shield shattered, and the man thrown back 10 feet, slamming into the mud. He moved painfully, crawling away.
Then her eyes lit on Sevak.
"So, you killed your rival?" Her voice seems magnified, filled with tones of power. Tiny blue lights crackled from her finger tips. "Does it not feel good, to overcome your foe?"
Sevak shrugs slightly. "It is not pulling weeds that is satisfying in gardening," he says, taking a careful step towards her. "It is seeing what you have grown flower or bear fruit. The weeding is simply necessary."