The Singing Mercenaries

Terror From Beyond

Branca 15th, 331

Pointing his skull-tipped staff, the priest of Orcus hurled a blast of power ripped from the Abyss itself at the Singing Mercenaries A withering cloud enveloped them all, blinding their sight with a cloying darkness. Cackling madly, the priest directed his servants to attack the bewildered mercenaries. Just as in their battle with her before, the vampire fixed her gaze on Jett, enthralling him with honeyed words and enticing looks.

Tattered Onion, on the other hand, had only one thing on his mind: slaying his foe. With a shout, he charged foward, blind with battle lust, towards what he felt to be the most worthy opponent, the hulking werewolf that had been summoned by the Orcus Priest, leaving the others to fend for themselves. Elrias, realizing that the Priest was the true source of his forest’s predicament, launched himself towards the Orcus worshipper, bellowing that he would have the cultist’s head.

“Foolish elf!” the priest retorted. “Your power wanes as the forests life is sapped into the Far Realm. Orcus himself will soon walk these lands again, and your precious forest will be his first conquest!”

Maddened with rage, Elrias returned the insult by sending a shockwave from his sword towards the taunting priest, but to no avail…the blast swirled about the priest, but fell shades summoned from the Shadowfell protected him from the magical assault.

Unfortunately for the maddened cultist, his summoned help was no good to him. Jett managed to fend off the feminine wiles of the Feywild vampire, and Tattered quickly discovered that the werewolf was a failed experiment, and while it appeared intimidating, it was a slow, cumbersome beast.

During the battle, the hovering spirits around the room exhorted the Singers to greater efforts, calling out especially to Mark 9. The evil cultist tried to silence the ghosts with threats and blasts of shadow, but to no avail.

Soon, Tattered’s fury and Jett’s sword had felled the cultist’s summoned aid, and he found himself surrounded. Despite his sorcerous powers, the cultist was no match for the combined might of the Singers. As he finally fell to Tattered’s blade, the evil priest cackled with his dying breath, crying that the world was already doomed, just before his body faded away into the Shadowfell.

Exhausted, the Singers collapsed as the cultist’s body faded away, glad to be rid of the menace to the forest (and their own lives). They were concerned about the spirits hovering around the room, but the spectres made no hostile actions, but simply watched them.

Moments later, the two portals the evil priest had summoned ripped back open, but they appeared to be extremely unstable. Crackling and wavering, they slowly drew towards each other, warping and finally flowing into each other. With a great explosion, the two portals fell away to reveal a glimpse of a terrible, alien realm.

The Singers watched, horrified, as a great monstrosity pulled itself from the void. With a soul-rending howl, fixed its gaze upon them. The creature before them was unlike anything the Singers had ever encountered. Although it floated in the air, it had a mass of tentacles that writhed and lashed about it’s body. The creature’s gaping mouth gnashed it’s uneven teeth, it let out an eerie scream which clawed at the Singers’ minds.

At its appearance, the ghosts in the great chamber let out a collective wail of dismay. “We’ve failed!” they cried. “Heroes!” the closest one to the Singers called out, “You must slay this…this…abomination! It is a gatekeeper, that portal will only close with it’s demise! If it remains open this world is doomed!”

Weary, exhausted and terrified, the Singers readied themselves for the horror they were about to face. The monster seemed to size them up before surging forward, snapping its tentacles, attempting to crush the mortals that stood before it.

Elrias and Tattered stood ready, but before they could reach the monster, it unleashed a terrible scream that sent the Singers into visions of an alien realm, filled with wriggling, writhing entities beyond comprehension. Overcome by what they were facing, the Singers were unable to react as the beast moved among them flaying Elrias with it’s wicked tentacles.

Although they were unprepared for the shock, the Singers, battle-hardened as they were, managed to fight off the terrible visions and fought gamely on with the beast. Tattered, especially, found his footing in the battle, unleashing a mighty Avalanche Strike that cleaved several tentacles from the beast. Much to the other Mercenaries shock, however, the beast seemed unaffected. Instead, it dipped its tentacles back into the gaping rip in the planes, pulling the planar wound wider.

The assorted ghosts again groaned, and at this, the monster seemed to notice the apparitions for the first time. Ignoring its opponents, the monster surged across the room, and devoured one of the ghosts.

The Singers were unsure of the purpose of the creature’s actions, but realized they needed to prevent it from doing whatever it intended to do. The battle was arduous: no matter what they did to the beast, it’s resilience never seemed to fade, its screams invaded their psyche, and its tentacles continued to batter them.

Eventually, whatever purpose and sanity was guiding the creature’s actions seemed to fade. Rushing from one side of the great room to another, and then widening the portal yet further, the beast seemed to lose all direction, and even that it realized the Singers were there.

Taking advantage of this, the Singers, summoning up what reserves of strength and courage they had left, unleashed everything they could against it. Invoking the power of the Shadowfell, Nyktas ripped at the creatures very soul, while Winward and Mark 9 called upon their magical prowess to assault the beast. Elrias and Jett attacked in tandem, and, in the end, it was Tattered’s sword, Acris, that delivered the final blow.

As the beast writhed in its death throes, it seemed to be lifted by some unseen forced and dragged back through the portal through when it came. The great yawning wound in the planes snapped shut, and the Singers stood triumphant, albeit wounded and horrified.

Seeing it was no longer in danger, one of the ghosts in the room approached them…

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Valmir

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