Mavrik once again found himself climbing the oaken stairs of the lighthouse at a breakneck pace. He could make out the others coming to a landing, and exiting out into a dark and rainswept night through a narrow doorway. Mavrik knew this was the uppermost landing of the Torch’s Tower. Whatever was up there, there would be no more stairs. The clouds were thick and the stars were nowhere to be seen, nor the moon. A rush of wind nearly blew his cloak off of him as he broke out into the pouring rain. If it weren’t for the many buckles and straps that crisscrossed his torso, the wind would have taken it down and over the harbor. Somehow, he must have been deep in thought about Thoros, and the night’s events, because now he stood alone atop the uppermost landing of the lighthouse. He spread his feet apart to gain his balance while the wind and rain swirled around him. The railings that surrounded him were devoid of another soul. Had they been cast over?
“Thunk! Abel!” roared the thief as loud as he could, “Laz?!!!”
He spun around, fear setting in, and that’s when he saw a leg, floating in the middle of the air, just above the platform and over the rail nearest him! What in the Patral saints he thought. Next to the leg, suddenly, appeared Abel’s torso, and then his face, the rest of him was invisible or else somehow hidden from view. He put his finger to his mouth and motioned hurriedly for Mavrik!
What new magic is this thought the thief, who quickly came over to Abel, not sure how to climb up or why he would over such a precarious rail! But before he got there, he knocked his knees hard against something he couldn’t see. Feeling down, he realized it was a step, a step that was invisible! He leaped up onto it and quickly followed other invisible steps into what looked like the galley of some large vessel. Wind tore at him, but Abel caught his outstretched hand! His head narrowly missed the door jam, and feeling around he realized that there was a circular hatch, opened. He climbed inside, using his other hand to guide him and ducked his head.
He was in a vessel resting atop the lighthouse, and one that could not be seen! Below his feet he could feel it swaying in the torrent, and although he could plainly see the interior, the exterior had been magicked to be unseen!
“So here is how the Antichans planned to escape,” he exclaimed breathlessly. Thunkeyoy hissed at him to be quiet. He was crouching low and looking past this small galley into a hallway. He made a frustrated sign for Mavrik to be silent, which he did immediately. Lazuras was behind him and looked ridiculous trying to squeeze his massive body into the tight space. Mavrik closed his mouth immediately, and from behind him Abel closed the circular hatch he had just come through with as quiet a thud as he could.
Instantly, the noise outside leveled off, and they began to hear voices.
“We’re away, Commander. I’ve sent a dispatch to Antioch. The war has begun,” came a voice with a deep Antichan accent.
“Let’s to the forecastle gentlemen, so we can see the annihilation of the nobility and the destruction of their sea enterprises.” This, they knew to be the voice that called himself Gronk, though they had never had the pleasure of meeting him.
“Let’s have the pleasure of meeting this son of a Kraumpus, shall we?” Thunkeroy garbled through gritted teeth. “I call telling him the Torch will remain lit.”
“Blast it!” mused Abel, “I was hoping to tell him that with my blade in his belly!”
Later, Abel would realize that even in such a short period, they had learned to fight together, to act as one instantly. What a series of events that had brought them together, and what a dangerous game that had taught them how to rely on one another! And that they did. They hustled up and through the hallway working as one. “The honor is yours, my metal friend.” Thunkeroy motioned to a closed chamber door from whence the voices had come. Lazuras turned his head to stare at the blacksmith, and only as Lazuras could, attempted a whisper. “Thank you,” he spoke in a whisper far too loud to be one, and with a single kick, he bashed the door to splinters!
The others watched as the walking suit of armor with a strange personality stomped into the cabin, breaking everything in his path. Several figures reacted with shouts and instinctively flinched in the opposite direction, one fell over his chair. The others pulled weapons and moved backwards instinctively.
The room was cast in gold, and quite well adorned. Maps and several writing journals were laid upon the table in the middle. By the time the others had entered, Lazuras was already aiming his weapon at a half-orc with large fangs. He was wearing a Sarassin outfit which made him look silly because his bulging muscles had spread out the feathers and other accessories. They stuck outwards in all directions rather than hanging loosely in the Sarassin fashion. Around him were other men, all dressed in Antichan garbs. Two of them, they could tell instantly, were nobles, and their expressions of arrogance had melted to that of fear. They both ran to hide behind an overturned table. There were three other men. What must have been a mage, had moved to the farthest wall, and two bold warriors, stepped forward protecting him at his command. The warriors drew their swords, while the mage began to conjure up the shadows lying below the galley lights. They writhed and rose and climbed the walls to coalesce as one dark spear the size of a lantern pole levitating in front of the mage. His evil eyes looked towards Lazuras who was being attacked by Gronk. The tip of the spear began to swing around in his direction!
“Kill the Magus!” whooped Thunkeroy, who began to call up shadows of his own.
Abel and Mav tried to dodge and weave to him, but the warriors were in his way and their aims deadly accurate. Soon both of the brothers were lying on the ground, bleeding and unconscious. Maybe dead.
The spear flew and hit Lazuras squarely in the chest. It’s dark aura flew through the back side of him and burst upon the wall. The various shadowy elements of the spear dripped down the side like water and fell in with the shadows below.
Must I do everything around here. Thunkeroy resigned himself and engaged the two warriors, slashing one down, and a twin shadow of his exact likeness brought forth from the darkness hacked at another. Gronk motioned to the mage who began to create another spectral spear.
I won’t last much longer thought Thunkeroy. The second warrior was nearly defeated, but he had slashed the blacksmith with a cross along his thigh. Thunkeroy stooped over unwillingly, but keeping his weapon aloft for defense with the little strength he had left. The half-orc, Gronk, grinned a wicked and toothy grin. The battle was over, and they both knew it. Thunkeroy waited for the killing blow.
“Just so you know,” Thunkeroy muttered through painful spasms, “the Torch didn’t blow. You’re plan failed thanks to me, two black rock miners and a walking metal suit of armor.” That was all he could muster. My last little sarcastic line he snorted to himself. He would have loved to show Gronk his face, but he couldn’t hold his head up any longer and it drooped. He waited for the end.
Gronk brought his deformed face down to Thunkeroy’s. “You lie,” he smirked.
“You forgot the cook!”
Gronk turned to see Chantecleer the elf standing in the doorway. He was still wearing his chef hat and dirty apron. “I’ve begun to think that you lofty men, would never need a cook again!”