While Thrak lay dying, Iricah, Zy’an and Areia used the fog against the hags. Chlamydia, her rouse now made clear, called them out by name. Areia had had enough. “Ceillini’s, it is time to show this prehistoric witch how we do things in our town!” She covered the lantern’s glass with her tunic sleeve, and instantly their true forms were revealed once more.
“Let’s do this!” She hollered, and Zy’an shouted back, so too did Frank and Iricah. But not Thrak, for he was still struck down somewhere in the cloud.
The gigantic naked form of the hag that had first felled Frank howled with triumph as did Clamydia above. “Fools! We know it is you! We know who you are!”
Still only two of the hags had revealed themselves. The third was yet to be seen. “Be wary for the third is still lurking somewhere, here in the cloud!” yelled Iricah. She looked over, as she fought with her rapier at Frank.”Has anyone found Thrak? Thrak? Where are you?”
But finding the lizardman was something they couldn’t do at the moment. Frank had stood his ground, a feat that to the group became legend. He held the warforged at bay, and healed his bleeding comrades through his divine radiance. Without him, that night, none would have survived past the springing of this terrible trap.
Thrak, though, only moments away from death, finally opened his eyes from sheer will and determination. Maybe it was hearing his voice that made his lids rise. Whatever the reason, he could now see his end. In a corner, he saw Iricah now fighting in between one of the gigantic and retched hags and the metal men attacking Frank. She was trying to talk them down, as they had with Spider and the others, but it wasn’t working. The hag spun around, slashing her across her torso. It advanced onto her, towering over her, reaching for her with it’s talons. Clearly it was enjoying itself. Above, he could hear Zy’an’s striking breath. He had found a way to engage the leader of the coven far up above, no doubt bounding up there himself. He landed blow after blow, and then, the clouds began to part, and the entire chamber came into view!
Struggling to get up, to grab his axes which lay on the stones just next to him, he looked around. He was now able to free his neck from the imprisonment his body was in. And to his utter bewilderment, he saw, sitting on a bookshelf two little men drinking what looked like hard liquor out of a rum bottle that was larger than they were. They were arguing and bickering and squabbling. “I must be dead,” thought Thrak, because he looked down to see his hand reach for an axe and he saw his claws. He was no longer disguised, nor were any of them!
Unable to move, he watched the little beasts guzzling the drink. One was retching now over the side of the shelf while the other slapped it on the back. This was followed by a long drawn out belch. This then turned into, without a pause, a tiny voice, that was at once squeaky and guttural, laughing hysterical and yelling, “Do that again! Do that again!”
The other held up something like a small thimble, took a swig from it and yelled out to no one in particular. Around him, the others, no longer in disguises either, battled. They all looked near death. He had to help somehow!
Above the din of all the battle, somehow, it’s little voice rose highest. “You’ve got our bauble, I know you have and it wasn’t good of ya to lock us up! Bolvey would never have done such a thing to his old pals. Now Ding and I are going to have to bed your mothers! hehehehe!!!”
“Sorry friends, looks like the healing potions have turned into disgusting little men with bad acne and a desire to use profane and erotic phrases,” shouted Iricah. “Frank, I need healing, please!” The hag was now lurking over her, Iricah’s rapier swung limply. She wouldn’t last much longer.
“Terrible trade,” quipped Frank. Who was also clearly running out of time. “I’m nearly done my friends, it’s been a pleasure, a true pleasure.” He stumbled as a sword slashed at his knees, but rose again to trade blows with the iron plated warriors surrounding him. Never before had his bravery been on such display as that night.
They were losing the battle though and they all knew it. This, there adventures, would all end here. Here in this archive of all places. It was an Areia joke waiting to happen, but Frank figured he’d have to wait for the next life to hear it.
And then Thrak saw her, coalescing from the void before him. First, he saw her dark skin and her deep, serene eyes. Ulua! She strode before him, reaching for him. He could hear her voice, “All will be well, Thrak. Trust in our strength, trust to it!”
Thrak couldn’t believe it, “Ulua you are alive!” He wanted to cry out, but he couldn’t. He was dying and he knew it, his cold blood was spilling underneath him. And that’s when the ethereal form of the warrior princess scattered, and a darker, hooded form floated toward him. It was the third hag! Her demon eyes shone through her cloak. This was now the end!
“Your power is mine you great fool,” she hissed wickedly, “The way of the three, and the way of me! Die now. Feed my soul!!!!”
“Thrak!!!!!!!!!!!!” screeched Areia’s voice. It came from above, and Thrak could only glimpse up to see the hag’s jagged dagger slicing down towards him. But above the dagger, and above her snarling face, Areia was hurtling in the air, with both of her daggers held out before her! Zing! Both zipped downward and sliced the hag’s hideous head right off her shoulders! He wanted to cheer, but he couldn’t. The exertion to watch was all he had left. He closed his eyes and prepared to die at last. The final words he heard were Areia’s.
“Nobody feeds souls ahead of me in the chow line!”
Thrak opened his eyes. Above him, Areia was smiling, and he thought he detected a smudge on her dirty face, below her eyes as if she had gotten her face wet. She beamed when he looked up at her. “Hiya scaly!” She cried.
He ran his tongue around his mouth, and felt the bitter liquid. In Areia’s hand was an empty vial. “Whatcha say we go kill this stupid witch?”
“ROAR!!!!!” yelled the lizardman. With energy and anger that felt built up over years, he lurched out and felt his hand tighten upon his magical axe. His tail swished, and he righted himself perfectly. He was back! With a tail, the way he was meant to be! Raging, the barbarian ran into the crowd of the warforged, slashing and bashing them against stone and the metal staircase. Where his axe wasn’t his tail was knocking a foe aside. Just as Frank was fighting off the last of the armored soldiers, now on one leg, Thrak slew the last. He turned to see Iricah laying before the large hag in the corner, slumped over and lifeless. The nasty witch stood over her, arms outstretched to them, begging for the them to take her from it.
Together, Frank and Thrak, charged the fiend just as she reached out to strike a killing blow at the bard. But it was Frank’s mace who got there first. He swung it so fiercely, it smashed her head like a melon, sending the huge form backwards where it struck the wall and slunk to the floor.
The second hag was dead!