Cadfael's mare begins to buck... skittering sidways... he saws on the reins trying to bring her under control... then he notices the cause, and his heart turns to ice. Like a black tide, tearing up the trial behind them is a host of silently running Kobolds.
"RIDE!!!" he screams.. "to the trees... make for cover!!!"
The three horses set out at a gallop for the treeline, both Stranger's and e-Berry's charging ahead of Cadfeal's. He bends and whispers in the horses ear... "Time to be the wind my love". The mare whinnies, and and seems to fly over the turf... slowly he begins to catch up to his two companions.
May 7th, 2003, 12:12 PM
Suddenly the bay circled back. Stranger headed for the kobolds at an angle,seeing that the fools were coming in a group.
He drew back and fired an arrow into the bunch. One went down and the bay veered off until he got another arrow ready. The bay came back the other way, Stranger fired and they began howling for blood.
Glancing back, he saw they made it to the trees, then took off after them. They were close behind him, gaining ground. The bay slowed, Stranger spun in the saddle, locked in and began a rapid fire, trusting the bay.
He worked the longbow like a harp, not aiming, just firing into the bunched up group. Now kobolds aren't the brightest bunch you ever laid eyes on, but they eventually got the idea and spread out, making targeting them more difficult.
The bay hit the treeline at a dead run, those heavy hooves sounding like rolling thunder.
May 7th, 2003, 12:19 PM
e-Berry's bow was singing as well, as she wheeled around to pick the scattering Kobolds off one by one. Her aim while moving was true, and little time elapsed between arrows.
"Aaaiiiieeee..!" she whooped in a battle cry, dropping unfortunate kobolds one after the other.
May 7th, 2003, 12:29 PM
Cadfael... not having the benefit of ranged weapons, sat on the ground and absently begins to cleen his fingernails...
"Let me know when you have killed them all" he drawls..."I may just get a bow and some arrows from their dead..." his head flicks to one side as a Kobold arow thunks into the trunk of the tree he leans against... the arrow head scoring a line of blood along his cheek "Now THAT was not nice at all." raising to his feet he stands just hidden in the treeline and begins to chant...
.. he then raises his arms and punches them before him. The resulting fireball sends the Kobolds into confusion... many of their bodies thwon into the air.
Cad turns to e-Berry and winks... "Good ey?"
"Not bad for a beginner" she smiles... drawing another beed on her target.
May 7th, 2003, 12:48 PM
The few koblods left took out across the prarie, screeching like banshees.
Riding back, Stranger watched them.
"They'll be back", he said grimly. "Their shaman will get them all worked up and they'll come looking for blood".
He rode out, retrieving arrows and checking the dead. There was nothing much to get, except for a couple of medicine bags hung around a few necks.
His mind thinking hard, he returned to the trees, tossing the bags and catching them. He looked at Cad.
The old soldier spat into the fire.
"Now they coulda rode off right then. That bit a magic old Cad done on the kobolds scattered 'em for miles. It took a couple o days for their war chief to round 'em up". He cackled, thinking about it.
"But thet Stranger feller is a perverse sort. He'd gotten his hands on them medicine bags, and jest couldn't resist the temptation to mess with their witch doctor a little".
The fire in the kobold village llit up the night sky. Around it danced the kobold women; naked, coppery bodies writhing in ecstatic trance, their voices raised in trilling chants.
The warriors danced an outer circle around the women, shaking spears, passing the Mataaske liquor the witch women had made. It put them in the spirit trance, helping their courage return, and the war chief swore dire vengence on the intruders. They echoed him with screams of the tortures they would inflict on the men, and the abasement they would all have on the pale warrior woman.
The skinny shaman worked his magic by the fire, calling forth the earth spirits, the dark ones, singing his incantations, shaking his his chuchumbos like the warning of the great rattlesnake god.
He wore a buffalo skull headdress, adorned with sacred feathers, holy bones and secret, painted markings. He danced his trance dance, feeling the power rise, knowing the spirits were listening.
Now and again he threw a bit of the magic sand into the fire, which made it blaze up, causing the dancers to draw back in fear. Soon the spirit demon would come, and they would be invincible men.
Cad watched Stranger with amusement. He had been working with the charms for two days now. He had drawn the Ritual Circle, the Pentagram, yada yada; all the things humans were so insistent on in their magic.
Stranger was the only human Cad knew who could really do anything with the Wild Magic. There was something very primal in the man that allowed him to open up to it. That was what had first brought them all together, so long ago.
It was also, he suspected, a major factor in the intense, immediate attraction e-Berry and Stranger had experienced. They were kindred souls.
But, Stranger usually lapsed back into his Ceremonial training, so here he was, fussing over these bags, working some god knows what spell to link himself to the witch doctor. What in bloody hell he had in mind, was the question.
May 8th, 2003, 08:14 AM
Cadfael pick up one of the sacks and toses it from hand to hand... "So what are you gonna do?" he whispers... "Good God this sack smell awful!"
Stranger give a strangles scream and grabs the sack of Cadfael..."Are you MAD!" he almost shouts, but manages a low snarl..."Just leave the damn sacks alone!"
"What?... what... WHAT!"
May 8th, 2003, 09:52 AM
The night stars twinkled brightly over the plain, as if they were laughing at the tiny figure standing in the Circle far below.
Cad watched idly. This was amateur stuff for him. e-Berry, however fidgeted and worried. She had no idea what he was up to, other than he was going to make his soul leave the body, and that frightened her. If he messed it up, he could die. And to hear Cad tell it, Stranger messed magic up more than he got it right.
He worked the spell for a long time before a sliver glow began running around the perimeter of the Circle. Stranger then lay down, folded his hands across his chest and closed his eyes.
e-Berry's eyes narrowed. His breathing became shallow, then seemed to stop. She looked at Cad, who just rolled his eyes.
The witch doctor danced in a frenzy now. The fire roared high, the dancers were at a fever pitch. Facing the fire he raised his hand high.
"Grutzzel Beol, Maka ka hama! Maka ka Nae"!!
He threw the magic dust into the fire. It exploded skyward. Flames went everywhere. The crowd cowered. An exultant look came into his eyes. Then suddenly a monstrous figure appeared amid the flames.
"Arwarrkk"? the witch doctor stared in disbelief, fear dilating his eyes to the size of saucers. His legs trembled, his knees knocked together.
The monster reached down and grapped the tiny man up, roaring like the great hump-backed bear. Holding him a good thirty feet high, the Demon shook him like a rag doll.
The kobald dancers screamed and took off like a flushed covey of quail. In all directions they ran, knocking over pots, shields, other kobolds: anything that got in the way. They were outta there!
The screaming shaman kicked like a caught chicken and squawking just as loud as the Demon put his little head in his mouth.
The shaman let go. He began peeing all over himself, all over the Demon.
"Huh"? the Demon said in a distinctly un-demonlike voice, and looked down to see what was wetting his legs.
He threw the shaman in disgust. The little man hit the ground heavily, with a big thud, but rolled and hit the ground running without missing a beat.
Last they saw of the old man he was booking across the plains like a road runner on speed.
Cad looked over at Stranger. His body stirred, his eyes opened, and he began laughing hysterically. e-Berry and Cad exchanged glances. Stranger was holding his ribs, alternating between laughing and choking to get his breath.
Cad's nose wrinkled in disgust. "What IS that smell"?
May 8th, 2003, 10:14 AM
Cadfael and e-Berry back off from Stranger... leaving him rolling on the floor...
"He bathes tonight" e-Berry says...her finger pointing and jabbing towards Stranger "otherwise I am sharing your bedroll". She gathers her equipment and head back towards the camp.
Cadfael takes a deep breath and helps Stranger to his feet... "I can never understand all this mumbojumbo when you use the art" he says... tapping Strangers head... "It is is here... just let it flow" he laughs... "but I have to admit old ole buddy, that was damned funny"
"You should have seen his face" Stranger snorts..."I half expected him to cra*p himself as well" he once more collapses in laughter.
"Well I am about bushed" Cadfael yawns "let head back to camp... my belly thinks my throat is cut... and then some shuteye"
"I will just had a dip in the river first" Stranger says "I need to get this Kobold p*ss of me"
Cadfael grabs his arm and winks... his lips forming a leer..."I would leave it on buddy... e-Berry told me the aroma was quite 'erotic' ey... ey" he nudges his friend..."I think that Shaman did you a favour"
May 8th, 2003, 10:24 AM
e-Berry noticed Cadfael chuckling to himself as he helped Stranger come back to reality, and she wondered what on earth he could find so amusing about any of the mysterious spectacle they had just witnessed.
She noticed Stranger turning as if to walk to the river, but then Cad seeming to call him back. No, no, she thought, please don't stop him. She decided he might need a little encouragement, for she would not share a bedroll with him reeking of that kobold s***.
Cad saw her approach and hid a snicker with his hand, as if he were coughing.
"Do you plan to take a little bathe in the river, love?"
Stranger looked at Cad, his eyebrow raised, and the mischievous monk shook his head. e-Berry turned quickly, suspicious, and Cad shook his head harder, sticking his finger in his ear.
"Damn gnats, flew straight in!"