Last Stand of the World
Chapter Eleven: Controlled?
Ryli looked back and forth behind them just after the first attack, and then the warning came, and she’d felt the second set of tremors begin under her feet. “Gabs stop, I think they’re telling the truth.”
Gab had gone into a frantic dash and just kept running. Ryli didn’t even know if she could hear her. Thinking for a moment, she reached back into her pack and grabbed a device, and aimed it at her friend just as the Sand Wyrm crested the surface. She’d pulled back on the rope and knocked Dugger in the back of the head, “Dang it, help me.” He woke up and began to drag on the rope with her, and they soon had Gabs in their arms. She looked pale and shook while they held her.
“Let’s go. We can’t just stay here waiting for another attack.” Ryli dragged on Dugger and Gabs. They scampered back the way they’d come, towards the alcove and the light. The human might know a way out if he knew that that tunnel was full of Sand Wyrms, and the Shaman had sent them to scout; besides, he couldn’t be all bad. He’d at least warned them of danger, and that meant he wasn’t dangerous, at least she hoped.
Dugger pulled her back, “you don’t know anything about that human. He could just want to capture us and kill us.”
“If he wanted to kill us, he wouldn’t have warned us about the Sand Wyrms.”
Dugger stood back, supporting an almost faint Gabs. At the same time, Ryli crept forward towards the light, her hand on one of her straps and the other on the hilt of her dagger. She knew it was pointless if that human wanted to do something to her. She was best off just running away. Still, they’d been locked in for weeks; they needed to escape before the "controlled" ones found out.
They needed to find a way out of these tunnels and into the desert. If she could get information from this human, she was willing to take a chance. It was better than to wait for death and be eaten by that monster.
Davern watched the little creature approach, mildly amused. He’d almost regretted warning them until he witnessed the rescue; he could tell that this bunch really cared about each other. Maybe they were just trying to get out of here as well.
Just as the goblin was about to get to him, they stopped and looked back over their shoulder towards the darkness of the cavern, “oh no, Controlled! Human run! Dugger, Gabs, what should we do? There’s so many of them?” The three goblins had huddled together with the light to their back.
Gabs pointed towards the light, “it’s too late to seek shelter there; the 'controlled' have already spotted us.” She shivered in Dugger’s arms.
Ryli stood in front of her friends and held up her small dagger, “I won’t let them drag us back to the holding camp.”
Asaa came up beside Davern, “seems like they know a little more about what is going on than either of us do. Do you think we should give them a hand and ask them?”
Davern looked at the team of goblins headed towards the three in front of them and knew that they hadn’t been spotted yet; if they did as the little gob had suggested and ran, they could hide and find a way to avoid the confrontation, but that didn’t sit right with him, and besides, something about the little thing had sparked his curiosity. Goblins were typically cautious crafty little creatures, and this one seemed to have an invention of some kind and reminded him of his crazy brother.
He nodded his head and then observed the situation, wondering if they should kill or incapacitate the buggers.
“I know you don’t use charm magic or anything like that, but should we try to incapacitate them rather than kill them? If they are 'controlled'?”
“It’s not that I can’t use it; it’s that my tribe doesn’t use it. Also, why don’t we go over and ask her before they are surrounded, and there isn’t any time to plan.”
He followed after her and watched the light sway on the tip of her tail. His fingers itched. He really wanted to grab it again. He mentally shook himself and pulled out his sword. He didn’t know what was wrong with him before today. He couldn’t have given two hoots less about tails.
Assa moved up next to the party of goblins and asked them, “so, what’s your plan here?”
They jumped a little when they saw her, “eek another 'controlled'! Where’d she come from?” Gabs shouted.
“What do you mean ‘controlled’?” Davern asked, coming up beside her.
“Shut it, Gabs,” Dugger said, flicking her forehead with his finger. “Maybe they’ve escaped a holding area like we have.”
“Well, not a holding area, exactly, but she was in a cell, so you’re half right,” Davern said. "Can you explain what’s going on after we help you deal with these guys?"
They didn’t have much time left for conversation; the others were almost upon them. “Sure, but could you do us a favor and not kill them? The Shaman would get mad if he heard we let a human just kill them, even if they are ‘controlled'." Dugger said.
“How do you propose we go about that?” Davern asked.
“I’m not sure either, they are coming at us full tilt, and they won’t be holding back. I just know that the Shaman says we’re not allowed to kill them if we can avoid it.”
“Not that they’ve shown us the same courtesy,” Ryli grumbled.
“Ryli!” Gabs gasped.
“Forget it. Just do what you think’s best, Dugger.”
Well, now that’s interesting, thought Davern. He looked over at Asaa; “Any Ideas?”
“We can use that wall there, as a blind, and you can use a spell. I can see if I have a sleeping potion that we can toss out, but we will have to fight. From the looks of it, they have a few bombers on sand lizards, a berserker on a striker, and some bowmen, and there are probably some rogues around.”
Just as she finished speaking, a bomber tossed a hard round object off his mount in their direction. Davern happened to be looking at the formation she’d been talking about at that moment and drew his mana into his hand and threw out a crude shield in front of them, blocking the object from reaching them, “you weren’t kidding about them not holding back he said, huffing and shaking out his hand, “that stung a little.”
“I can imagine. Now you three get behind the wall,” Asaa said, “Davern can you make a bigger one of those, at least for a minute? I need some time to locate a potion.”
“I can try, but make it quick. I just got this stuff back, and from the looks of it, this is going to be a long night.”
She nodded and closed her eyes as he said those words. He looked at her for a moment, then looked back at the horde bearing down at him; why hadn’t he kept his big mouth shut.
Then he looked over at the little goblins and sighed; they probably wouldn’t have survived the encounter and he kind of needed information that only they could give him at the moment.
Then he looked to the girl, he could feel the tension and anxiety coming from their connection, but he wasn’t going to admit it. She had her eyes closed, and he knew that she was looking for something within the bond.
He could smell the acrid smell of rotten eggs that burned the nostrils, and the smoke drifted on the air. He held the spell static so that he didn’t have to operate it and went up to meet the first of the spearmen that came charging around the edge of the wall. He parried a thrust with the tip of his sword, pushing it to the side, and got within the goblins, striking zone. Moving around to the side and blocking the spear, he grabbed it and pulled the small creature forward, knocked him on the temple with the flat of his hand, trying to knock him out without killing him.
The goblin next to him picked up the spear that had been dropped and went to meet another "controlled" that had come up to them. They were evenly matched in strength though you could tell that the other was much better at the spear.
Another bomb hit the shield, and he grunted under the additional pull on his mana, countering the force of the strike. “Asaa, hurry, I don’t know how much longer we can hold them off,” just then, a bombardment of arrows rained down onto the shield, and he turned white. He really wasn’t at full strength, the venom was still in his system, and it chose that moment to flare up. He panted and pushed the pain to the back of his mind, focusing on pushing the arrows off and to the side, the non-lethal maneuvers seriously hampering his ability to use his magic.
Both bombers were riding on sand lizards; its ornate flared hood allowed them to duck for cover from enemies and have high maneuverability on the battlefield. Davern annoyed that he couldn’t do anything to the pesky goblins, could do something to their mounts and slung out a spell just in front of the oncoming animal that turned the ground into liquid mud as soon as it stepped into it. It solidified again, causing the beast to howl in displeasure, momentum coming to an abrupt and painful stop.
The goblin bomber on top was thrown over the head of the beast and into a nearby wall; it was stunned from the fall, tumbled for a few feet, and then lay still for a moment before jumping to its feet growling obscenities.
He was about to call Asaa again when he heard the little goblin behind him scream.
The human had promised Dugger not to kill any of the "controlled". It really made Ryli feel like punching him in the face when he suggested it. Who really cared if a few "controlled" died? Why did the Shaman insist that they needed to keep them alive? All she knew is that she hated them and hated the lamia "controlled" that drug them away to feed that thing.
However, Dugger had wanted her to not hurt the rotten bastards, so maybe she wouldn’t, at least not right now. Rotten bastards. She kicked the ground and watched the human and the Lamia. Well, that’s a weird combination if she ever saw one, as they worked out a strategy to defend them against the oncoming battle. She grabbed Gabs, “hey, Gabs, just stay here and don’t get hurt, okay?” And put her next to the wall before getting up and heading towards the rest of the party.
“B-B-But, w-w-what are you going to do?” She asked, grabbing hold of Ryli's arm, pulling her back.
“Help!” She said. Untangling her hand from Gabs' grasp and running towards the shield, where the front line of the fight was. She pulled out a device from her pack, aiming it at one of the "controlled" spearmen, she pulled the trigger, the rope released, shooting out a net entangling him within it. She turned, scanning the area to find any other enemies and see if Dugger was okay. A movement behind him caught her eye, and without thinking, she dashed forward and tackled the "controlled" rogue who was about to make a double backstab into her friend.
They rolled over several times and came to a stop; she groaned and put her hand up to her head for a second before getting to her feet. Still, the "controlled" didn’t give her a second to catch her breath, and they scrambled for purchase to get a grip on one another; she pulled out a stink bomb and blew it up in the air around her, making a cloud so that she could put some distance between them.
She bumped into something hard against her back. Her immediate thought was Dugger? Her instincts screamed ‘run,’ but before she could make any kind of motion, the rogues had pinned her in a pincer attack. Ryli heard a faint scream in her ears as pain coursed through her stomach, a wicked smile appeared on the "controlled's" face, and she collapsed into darkness.
I haven't been feeling well the last few days; sorry that the updates have slowed down. I'm a little better today and will try to finish this chapter today, but I'm not sure how the week is going to look. My medical condition has flared up pretty bad this week. I will do my best. Take care.
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