Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Necropolis of Alkhezzar - Part V

*bam* *bam* *bam*

Fafnir came awake with a start, hands thrust out defensively towards the door. A ruddy glow seeped in through the small window bathing everything in a dull reddish hue. The room was stifling and Fafnir could smell smoke.

"...stard. Open the door!" The curse was matched with another *bam* *bam* *bam*.

"Pops?" Fafnir called out. He pushed himself off the bed and stood, rapidly coming to terms with his environment.

"Not for long if you don't let me in. You Locked your door." A scream sounded from somewhere distant and was cut off suddenly.

Fafnir concentrated for a moment. The door clicked. Pops threw himself inside and slammed the door shut again. In the moment the door was open Fafnir had the impression of bright light and heat.

"Lock it Lock it Lock it." Pops cried out in a rush.

Fafnir focused on the door and it made another audible click. A second later something slammed into it hard enough to shake the frame.

"What the hell, Pops?" Fafnir asked. "I thought we were done with the burning inns down phase of our careers."

"Wasn't our fault this time. Whew." The older halfling dusted himself off and tried to catch his breath. With a suspicious look back at the door he continued. "A handful of hood wearing nut bags are running a slightly smaller handful of chaos beastmen wild through the building. And, well, fire is about the only thing slowing them down."

"So ... you did start the fire." Fafnir said accusingly.

"What? Who cares? That's not important right now." The frame of the door shook again as something hit it with a crash. "Is that Lock enough to hold the door?" Pops asked as he backed deeper into the room.

"Only long enough to get this ready." Fafnir said with a grin. He brandished a silver tuning fork.

"Whoa!" Pops shouted and tumbled past the wizard as an even greater force slammed into the door. The frame and bits of the wall gave in with a splintering crash. The fires in the hall beyond the destroyed door backlit a seven foot monster with the face and eyes of a goat, three twisted horns and a bulky chitinous torso. It let out a frenzied snarl and began tearing through the wreckage to get inside.

*Binnnnnnng* Fafnir struck the tuning fork on the nearby bed frame. The whine of the fork was matched quickly by words and gestures.

*crack* A bright bolt of lightning shot from the wizard into the beastman, hurling it back into the hall.

*iiiiinnnnnng Pang* The tuning fork shattered.

"Blood!" Fafnir cursed. He dropped the useless piece of metal and turned to Pops. "Are you ready to leave, yet?" he asked.

"Thought you would never ask." He looked nonchalantly at a wall of the room that had begun to show smoke along its seams. "The management has really let this place go to hell," he said with a chuckle.

"Spare me." Fafnir groaned. He picked up a belt of small pouches and put it on. "Check the hall. We probably only have a few minutes before the entire building is unlivable."

"Voice of experience, eh?" Pops cackled as he moved back to the broken door.

"That was one time and it wasn't my fault."

"Says the guy with the fireball in his pocket."

"I was jumpy, bite me."

"Hallway looks cl .. " *pang* *thunk* A crossbow bolt embedded itself in the wall a foot from Pops head. "New plan. Hallway is not such a fantastic place. What about the window?"

*creeeak* The room shook and the two heard a not too distant crack of a large timber.

"Running low on time, Fafnir." Pops said. Fafnir crossed to the window and pushed it open.

"Remind me again why we take rooms on the second floor?" He asked the halfling.

"Security." Pops flicked a stone into the hallway. "missed." he muttered.

"And the logic behind a window overlooking a closed courtyard. A courtyard currently wreathed in flames I might add, it's quite spectacular."

"Thank you. I mean ... uh ... privacy."

"Hmmm. Ah ha. The kitchen. It's connected to the courtyard. Ok, Pops. Time to jump. I have a plan. Hold on to this feather. Try to avoid the bigger fires as you float past yet another once happy home crumbling to embers and ruin around us."

Pops crossed the room one more time to stand next to the tall man.  "Oh! The usual. Why didn't you say so in the first place. Give me the feather." He held out his hand with a smile.


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Geek - Gamer - Librarian - Writer. Only awesome at one of those things at a time, unfortunately.

About Fading Interest

After writing op-eds and travelogues for several years, after finishing a few books, and after failing to get the ball rolling with project after project I stumbled into an idea that might just hold my interest long enough to enjoy some level of satisfaction with my writing.