Last Stand of the World
Chapter Twelve: Battle
Dugger, meanwhile, had decked the spearman, knocking his spear out of his hands, and they were now fighting fist to fist, but he couldn’t get the upper hand. And then he heard a scream, “Ryli, no.” Gabs piercing wail shocked him, freezing him for a second.
Then he came back to himself after time stopped and started again he turned, his eyes for the briefest of seconds met that of the human who had promised to help them, and then Dugger launched himself away from the spearman with a twist and a kick of his foot darting towards Ryli. He pulled the first “controlled" off her and drove his fist into his face as hard as possible; Dugger continued hitting him until he quit moving.
All he could see was her still form before his eyes. He closed his eyes, pain rolled through him, and he hit harder. He didn’t take long with the “controlled” rogue; before he was off him and on to the next.
He took the knife from the first and brought it with him leaping over Ryli and landing with his knee in the guy’s chest before he hit him. Then he hit him again, and again until he was dazed; then he repaid Ryli’s favor and used the knife borrowed from the other rogue to inflict the same wounds they'd given her and began carving him with the knife in the same way.
As if something had overtaken his body, he was unaware of what was going on around him or who was near him. His only concern was getting payback for the death of his friend.
Davern caught the glance of the male goblin when he turned at the sound of the small goblin girl's scream; he could see in his eyes that he was leaving the goblin spearman he’d been fighting to go to his fallen friend, and he acknowledged him with a nod, whether he saw it or not, was beside the point.
He dashed over and palmed the spearman on the temple. Then got behind the male goblin and checked to see if the first "controlled" goblin rogue he’d taken out was still breathing. It was, but barely. Davern looked over and nodded his head; he didn’t give much more thought to the other one and focused instead on the fallen girl,
“Asaa, the potion?”
“I’ve got it. How is she?”
“I’ll stabilize her. You spread the potion?”
“ Okay, give her this too.” Asaa, handed over a healing potion and a few other vials.
Davern looked at her quizzically. "What are these?"
"They’re the antidote to what I’m about to throw up in the air. All of us need to take it before the potion is completely disbursed."
"Okay," he nodded, and cracked the lid off of his, and downed it in a gulp feeling the thread of warmth through his veins. He looked over at the quivering goblin hiding off behind the wall. “Hey you, come here and help me with your friend.
She shivered and shook her head.
"I need to give you this potion to keep you from being knocked out with the rest of the cavern as well. But it’s your choice." That got her moving. She came scampering over and snatched the vial out of his hands and then cracked it, sniffed it, and then took a small sip before drinking the rest.
“Okay, I need you to hold your hand here for a moment. He pointed to a spot in front of him and then cast a cleansing spell on them. Okay, now hold this cloth over the wound when I say, okay?”
She nodded her head stiffly. He cleaned his own hands and then closed his eyes, threading his mana inside her so that he could see the extent of the damage that the knife had caused. It had thankfully missed most of her vital organs and hadn’t punctured her guts. How she’d managed to avoid that was beyond him.
He concentrated his magic around the knife and slowly extracted it by forcing the mana around it and pushing it up and out. “ Now." He commanded, and then he felt pressure around the opening, and the blood flow was staunched.
He could feel the shivering of the girl. He mended the broken vessels from inside and repaired what he could until he got to the top layer of muscle, flesh, and skin, sealing it shut. Damn, he’d just gotten his mana back, and he’d already expended so much.
He sat back on his heels and took a deep breath before leaning her forward and pinching her lips slightly, feeding her the healing potion that Asaa had given him as well as the vial of antidote to whatever she was working on spreading through the cavern.
Then he looked over at the goblin who had finally worked himself into a stupor and was sitting there staring off into space; picked up a pebble and chucked it at him. "Hey, are you about done?”
He rounded on him, the stupor replaced by fury. "What did you do that for? I shouldn’t have asked you to save the bloody ‘controlled.’” He grabbed his head and pulled on his ears; “if I hadn’t then, she wouldn’t…” he sniffed and pulled harder on his ears.
"She wouldn’t what?" Ryli asked, sitting up groggily.
"Ryil wouldn’t be dead."
"Eh? Why don’t I know that I’m dead?” She felt her body and noticed the blood and torn clothing; she frowned, "eh?" she paled. What happened?"
"You were wounded pretty bad," Davern said, his hand on her shoulder for a moment, checking that she was still okay. "Take it easy for a few minutes."
She nodded, "okay. Thanks"
Gabs threw her arms around her at that moment, wailing, "you’re not dead. I helped him."
Dugger dropped his hands and looked over, his eyes wide. He crawled forward on his knees. He reached out as if to touch her face as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Then he saw the red, blood-smeared there, and he dropped them, "it’s good as long as you're fine." He turned to Davern, "thank you for saving her."
"Don’t mention it. Now take this," he said, tossing him the bottle.
Then he nodded to Asaa, and she started her preparations. He stood up and reinforced the shields. A small gust of wind blew by, where none had been before swirling around, and bits of sand twirled within.
A roar could be heard from the far end of the cavern where the leader of the enemy troops stood on his striker beast, the words guttural and incoherent to his ears, but the sudden increase in the rate of bombs and arrows and pressure told him they didn’t want her to finish whatever she was doing.
He could only pour in more power and hold on, "Asaa, how much longer, and do you have any more mana potions?
"I have a few, but we might consider taking a moment before moving on, instead of consuming them?”
“There isn’t time. If it’s already like this, I don’t like the odds that my brother is still okay. There was something odd as if the Nuller had something special in mind for him.”
"I agree with you; this whole situation is bizarre; why did she take your brother and not you? if it was just for food, she should have just kept both of you in the food locker and not taken him deeper into the tunnels, depending on the venom to keep you immobilized.”
The wind picked up more fiercely, and fine particles of green mist escaped into the wind swirling around the cavern; the bombardment increased faster, and Davern poured more mana into the spell; the concussion caused him to cough up a small amount of blood and knocked him back. Then it abruptly stopped, and a furious howl launched in the distance. They looked at each other.
"It should have taken care of him too?" She paled.
"Is it a problem with the formula? He asked.
She dithered around for a second and then pulled out a book from inside the bond and rapidly flipped through it, swore, then tucked the book away.
"What is it, then?"
"Berserkers take longer."
"Figures, something is always mucking with our plans," he said.
Then turned to look at the now sullen goblin that was sulking near Ryli watching her but not actually daring to come closer. "Dugger, look after your friends and tie up these guys," he said, kicking the side of one of the spearmen that were still unconscious. "It wouldn't do for one of them to wake up while we were distracted and stab us in the back. Okay, you guys stay back," he said.
Davern pulled out his sword, and they went forward to meet the angry charge of the berserker. "Asaa, I’ll hit the striker with a spell to slow it down, then we can try and distract the berserker until the potion takes effect?
"Sounds like a plan." she began to chant another spell concentrating the potion on the berserker. Davern knew that most of her fighting was as limited as his was, given that neither of them could do anything lethal at the moment.
He shot out a spell, like he had before with the sand lizard, that liquified the ground in front of the striker, but this cat was too smart and avoided it and kept on charging. He shot again annoyed that he was using more mana, his face drained of color, and the venom once again found purchase inside his body, draining his mana, to keep it at bay, he cursed, just what he needed, a constant internal fight, he could tell that she was low on potions. And didn’t have many to spare, not to mention that they’d just helped the goblin girl.
He refocused, charging the spell with a little bit of electric chore magic, which he hoped would stun the beast long enough for it to slip into the mud; this time, the spell worked, and the berserker jerked forward when the beast came to a stop.
Still, unlike the goblin who had gone flying earlier, this one aimed for them when he came off his beast, or rather he aimed for her. Davern saw what it had in mind before she’d completely turned towards the berserker.
She was still getting another spell ready, and damn, this is going to hurt; he charged his feet and launched himself into its side, the impact of their collision sending them both tumbling, flying past her, and hitting the ground with a hard grunt.
They'd just missed her; he breathed a sigh of relief but didn't have time to think, as he used the momentum of the fall to bring him over and coming to his feet. He came face-to-face with the "controlled" berserker; they both started slugging into each other without thinking.
A heavy fist hit him in the right jaw. His head snapped back. Damn, when had he signed up for this shit. He sighed and then leaned forward and drove his fist into the gut of the goblin in front of him. He was aware that the longer this dragged out, the stronger the being could become, using his rage to fuel his fury.
He needed to find that right point that would knock him out without hurting him too much because although Dugger had killed one of their own, it wouldn’t look too good if they did the same when they were trying to seek information from them.
The Goblin hit him back with his shoulder, trying to create room for it to get another major swing at his face, but he wasn’t having any of it. He zapped it with a lightning magic chore spell. Davern felt the body opposite him jump and then yelp in rage, and he bit his lip when he got a swift punch to the ribs grunting against the pain.
He swung back, knocking into the berserker, hitting him as hard as he could in the temple, but with his strength waning between mana depletion and the venom that wasn’t much, he was already exhausted for the day.
Then the Goblin stiffened and went down with a thud on the ground in front of him, and he looked up in confusion, pulling the punch that he was about to throw.
Promptly following him to the ground and landing on his butt, catching his breath, "thanks." He said, looking up at the girl holding a heavy ornate rock with a slightly rough texture. She blushed slightly when she saw him looking at it and quickly put it away.
“'thanks,' don’t mention it," she offered him a hand, and then they both stood up and then got to work tying up the “controlled” goblins.