Areia waded into battle against the great mother, but the gigantic creature, although seemingly idle, was ready. Rearing up, her many claws and tendrils struck out at the rogue and Areia had to pull back, wounded badly.
The others followed her into battle. No cheer came from the prisoners as most seemed charmed still, But a couple did look surprised. She thought she heard Fritz yell something. It was as Thrak rushed forward onto the beach with his axe gripped tightly that he realized what Fritz, the commander, had done. Somehow he had used the webbing of the strands against the creatures! he must have known they were coming, or perhaps he just didn’t give up hope, but the old soldier had one more trick up his sleeves before becoming the next mate of his mistress! The few Celn soldiers and men who were left were stuck within the coat of seaweed ropes, but so were their captors. As the urchins stormed the beach a few were able to engage their enemies but most of the fish creatures couldn’t move their legs, stuck as fast as the Celns themselves. The great mother would have to fight them mostly alone. They had their chance.
One who was able to get away though was not a fish guardian. It was a dark skinned man, most likely from the Sea of Sands back in the Inner Wilds of Cellinor. His name was Eron. He kicked his way out of the strands, but instead of attacking, he ran in front of them and waved his hands wildly.
“Fromsa stor, fromsta stoooorrrr!!!!” yelled the man.
“What did he say?!” yelled Areia. “I can’t understand a word he’s saying!” Areia was crouching, daggers out. She was now looking for an opening but the monster was much faster than it looked. She ducked one of the legs glued into the mother’s backside as the gigantic body spun around attacking Thrak. “Gee whiz Squeaks why’d you have to unchew this one. Something about a door?”
“He said store didn’t he? Needs something at the store? It’s cause he’s Ala’madin,” garbled Andril, angry at the lack of concentration such a ridiculous question was having on his prepared spell. “Nobody back home can understand what they’re saying!”
“Oar, gucker bumda oar!” Yelled the dark skinned man from the Sea of Sands. “Ufna brongma fpoure!”
“Trying to cast here….,” spat Andril sarcastically. He ran up the wall a little higher to get away from voices, all of them including the one beating inside his head.
Haryk, back near the tunnel entrance on the beach, aimed, one eye closed and thought, What did that bastard just call me?! His weapon fired, and the mother roared with rage. She glanced in the direction of Haryk, but then stopped and turned her whole head towards the mage, who was above her on the wall.
“Youuuuu mmmmmuuussttt ttrrruuuustttt moooothhhherrrrr mmmmaaagee…” Rang inside Andril’s head, and his mind grew numb. The last thought he’d have for a while was that of his own anger at the stupidity of trying to figure out what some guy was saying who didn’t speak Celn while battling the hugest monster he’d ever seen.
Andril froze above them clearly magicked by the great mother’s charming call. He was standing with his feet on the wall. The whole thing looked wrong like he grew out of the rock sideways, headfirst, then froze while thinking of something happy. A cloudy look came over his face as if he were waking up. The great mother then backed into the sea and disappeared beneath the murky water.
“Dragonshit,” breathed Thrak. He pointed his axes to the dark pool before him and yelled for the others, “Be ready! These pools carry out to the sea, she could come up on any one of us here now!” But no sooner had he said it then a gigantic form burst out of the water in front of him. It was her! He brought his axes up and his shield moved to block one of her claws, but the others found their mark. Thrak fell forward onto the slippery mud and began to slide back into the sea. As fast as lightning she spun around and slashed out at the tiefling also. The red eyed cleric brought his mace in front and blocked a claw, but another slashed his legs out from under him, and he dropped to one knee on the other side of the pool from Thrak. The lizardman would be beneath the water in a moment.
The great mother moved on top of the tiefling and opened her mouth to swallow him whole.
With great effort, Thrak opened his eyes and saw the great mother about to smother the man creature that Canton had introduced them to. Had asked them to bring, and he realized he still did not even know the man’s name. He knew too well what it was like to be thought of as a beast, and not a man in a man’s realm. He tried to lift his axe but couldn’t, his arm had been slashed into shreds, and his blood was spilling around him into the water that was rising above his waist as he slid into it. Soon, he knew he would be dead or worse. He hoped just dead. “Quick, demon man, tell me your name, before we die?” called out Thrak, trying to dig his claws into the mud. It wasn’t working, soon he’d be in the water, and after that, he’d be no more.
“It’s Frank.” replied the cleric. “My name is Frank.”
“Hornagobbin macbloga door!!!” yelled the voice of the Ala’madin once more. From behind them, he attacked the great mother, who for just a second took her concentration off of the tiefling. But that was all he needed. Frank, if that was his name, began to chant in the fashion of the Silver Order. A silver radiance of blinding light enveloped the beast. He stuck a hand out at her and she roared with rage and pain. The light grew impossibly bright, and when the others were able to see, the beast had backed away just a few feet towards Areia and Haryk. Thrak saw his arm was healed at least somewhat. He looked over at the tiefling. Steam was coming out of his nostrils, and his eyes were glowing deep crimson as if a flame was lit inside his skull. “Nice going, uh, Frank.” said Thrak. The two stood, both wobbling. They would make their last stand here, but neither intended to make it. Frank had only bought them some time.
“Oh I got it! Guys I figured it out. He wants to know if we’ve seen his boar!” Areia moved along the wall by Haryk. Haryk was reloading his weapon and Areia tried to hide among the rocks but she sensed that the great mother was watching her anyway. Soon the thing would be on top of her, and there was nothing she could do to stop it now, not without the others. She knew in a matter of a few seconds the beast would strike them both down, kill them. Andril would be all that was left and who knew to what end Andril would wind up. They had failed. This thing would send out her eggs, and flood the sea caves to make her grotto. The colony would be wiped away. She turned to Haryk, both of them with their backs against the rocky wall, and said calmly, “I think he’s missing his boar, Haryk.”
Haryk’s leg kicked out at one of the mother’s searching tentacles. “A what? Did you say a boar Areia, I’m trying to….” Haryk began, his weapon was finally loaded but it was too late. Another tentacle had wrapped itself around his legs and now dragged him over the sand towards the beast He was rising in the air off the ground, towards her open mouth.
Haryk was being lowered at just that moment, and he figured then he had but one last shot. He took aim, fired and….
So that was it, he thought. He could see the putrid insides of her mouth, the teeth and the rotting stench of her. He was about to be eaten alive. His mind was losing it because just behind the beast, out of another tunnel came slipping and sliding a
“Maaaaa boooooaaarrrr!!!!” yelled the Ala’madin. “Maaaa booooaarrrrr, cooommmmeeee!!!!” And just like that, a huge boar with giant tusks ran into the backside of the great mother, striking it with such force that she dropped Haryk. The boar backed up and charged again, slicing the connecting tissue between two previous wounds. The great mother’s innards spilled out before her. As the others who were still conscious watched in disbelief, thinking they had lost their mind, the man who had been speaking broken Celn walked over and hugged his boar around the neck. Not a door. Not a store. Not four.
They had killed the great mother.
And they had saved the people of Far Realm.
Thanks to a boar.
Don’t Call Me….Mud!
“Quiet, what’s that sound?” Haryk shouted. “There’s a rumbling, far off, and yet it’s…”
“It’s getting nearer,” said Areia flatly. “The wall! I’ve forgotten the….”
“The wall,” said Thrak and Andril at the same time.
“There!” Shouted Fritz. They looked in the direction he had pointed, back towards one of the many tunnels leading out of the great mother’s lair. It was Ian, running out of one of the tunnels. He was carrying a small child in his arms, wrapped in a bundle that had been his own cloak. And he was joined by Governor Canton, who was covered in what looked like chunks of seaweed running just as fast, but once they saw him, he slowed to a walk, and tried to fix his collar which was uneven. The survivors of the battle stared at them as if to ask, Well could possibly try and kill us now? And then, incredibly, from behind them poured the half naked forms of women, and children in rags and torn clothing. Dozens and dozens of them, yelling and screaming for the others to move.
Women holding their children and carrying the little ones, despite their terrible conditions. Among them were Inara, the Bard, and Portia the halfling rogue. Neither looked like their usual happy selves. All looked near death, covered in blood, and grime and much worse. They ran onto the shore, hysterical with fear. “Portia!” called the ranger, “I need you to lead this lot towards the surface immediately. Keep them away from the city’s center. Move towards the North end!”
“Aye aye, skipper!” shouted Portia. She took off, calling for the “ladies and laddies” to follow her. The men, joined the women, some of whom were overcome with emotion at finding their loved one alive. Others, still desperate, out of sheer fear ran on, back through the tunnels they had come through. Little ones were picked up.
For a split second Ian, Canton and those who survived the battle with the beast, Morn and Eron and the urchins, stood there staring at one another and then at the women and children, too many to carry, too many to push faster. Ariea smirked. “We actually did it!” She exclaimed. “Sorta.”
Canton was about to ask someone if they had any armor polish, when Sir Ian cut him off. He took in the bodies lying around the beach, the massive creature now lying dead. He was looking out from the beach, past the water, at the colossal stone cylinder. “I…I…I have seen this before…what the hells is one doing here?” Suddenly, there was another crack and he came back to his senses. “There’s no time now. We stopped the mechanism, but missed one chamber. Part of the wall will collapse, we can’t stop it. We must run for it. To the surface, before we are all swept away! Show the little ones the way, by the Flame, guide them out!”
A crack brought the moment home and they took off as fast as they could over the slick mud, through the tunnels, catching up quickly to the others. Out onto the first beach where the derelict ship lay they ran, helping the weak and old and young. Haryk looked back just as he was catching up to the children and the women who were moving much too slow. Huge sheets of mud, in a torrent were oozing out swiftly from the tunnel they had just left, cascading in a gigantic river over the beach and into the sea cave’s water.
“Run! Run!” Shouted Fritz. “Help the others to safety! By your honor, get the innocents to safety Celns!” He stood, directing them all with his arms, mud flowing by only feet from where he stood.
The others didn’t need to be told, for they knew the poor women and children weren’t going to make it without them. Haryk, Andril, Frank, even Thrak, Eron and Areia showed the slower runners where to navigate along the beach. Some tripped, and they tried to help them all up, but the flow was coming closer. It’s speed was horrifying. Like a gigantic avalanche of earth moving toward them, oozing out of tunnels, carrying everything in a heap out to sea. It was sure death to be caught in it. They helped smaller children over rocks and several of the elderly ladies into and up the tunnel. Fritz, always the commander, was the last to be pulled up and into the tunnel. It looked like they would all make it as below them a river of mud and debris flowed into the seacave’s waters covering the derelict ship in it’s way and twirling it about like a toy. But then, a portion of the landing where the tunnel exited was stuck with a gigantic boulder and it gave way knocking several of the people into the mud flowing by below!
Thrak had tried to reach for them as they were swept away in the mud. There was nothing he could do! Haryk too, nearly slipped himself , and although he saved one child, her screaming mother was silenced when the flow separated her from the outstretched arms of her baby. Past them she went, her face covered quickly never to be seen again. He pulled the child back into the tunnel, clutching it to his breastplate. “Mama, no!!!!!!” Yelled the infant. But there was nothing anyone could have done.
Awards, Inheritance and Elvish Taxes
Later that day…
“Master Andril. Master Andril, come quick. Governor Canton has called for you and the other Far Realm Saviors immediately!”
“Master? Who the Ketian hells are you calling master, kid?” grunted Andril.
“Who the darknessss are you calling Sssaviors?” spat Thrak.