Friday, 2 September 2011

Tarnished, Part 2

Continued from last post ...

The advancing waves of undead continued for nearly half an hour as the shrouded moon moved lazily across the sky, the Maguuma Jungle silent behind them as the wildlife within watched the spectacle of magic and battle. Loud cracks, deadly hissing and thunderous explosions rippled through the night as spells appeared from above and below the enemy and as Tyron’s rifle and gun turret spat angry bullets.
  They had fought valiantly against the surging enemy that had grown far beyond Alastair’s initial estimation. He had attempted to keep count of the masses of husks that had blundered toward them, but once he crossed the mark of one hundred he ceased counting. On several occasions he and Agrestal had moved to avoid a brainless fiend from attacking them; something behind the lines knew they were the threat, not Tyron.
  Yet despite their intense concentration and their best efforts, the oncoming waves of their enemy seemed limitless. Their energy was quickly dwindling and they had begun to make mistakes. Agrestal had foolishly thrown an arc of lightning at a mass of undead who had just fallen into large cracks in the sand caused by Alastair; she had been anticipating them to be frozen and her lightning simply fizzled into the sand, barely touching any of the lifeless corpses. On other occasions Alastair had thrown down the large fiery boulders and completely missed his target. Tyron seemed to be doing the best out of the three of them and had attempted to pick up the slack, but even he was beginning to tire.
  None of their undead enemy had gotten any closer than ten metres before Alastair desperately summoned a static field of crackling lightning. The dense wall of enemies shook violently as the electrified air coursed through their husks, crackling into the night, Alastair turning around to look at the other two as the brief respite transpired.
  “I can fight no longer; with one final gust after this we run!” he gasped, sagging as he spoke.
  He held up his staff behind him, its point aimed toward the wall of crackling lightning that flickered softly in the dense darkness of night. Agrestal could see him struggling to maintain his grip on the weapon. For a moment she stared in wonder at the young man as a decision warred inside her. She could see how exhausted he was; there was no way he could possibly outrun the chasing enemy even if he managed to push them back.
  “Alastair!” she cried out, louder than anticipated despite her own fatigue. “Let me distract them while you escape. They cannot turn me; I would die so you can live.” Seeing his disagreement in his eyes before he even spoke, she shouted all the louder. “It would save two lives rather than none! You cannot outrun them!”
  Behind Alastair on the beach where the far reaching fingers of the Jungle stretched across the pale sand, the static field wilted into darkness. Lifeless undead fell to the sand in a loud crunch that carried over the mindless groans which came from further beyond on the beach. The three of them turned instinctively and looked in defeat, and before Agrestal could action her offer, Alastair turned towards the fallen enemy and pointed the staff in their direction.
  The air hummed with energy as the magician found the power he had been using throughout the whole fight, surprising himself with how much he was still able to find. And then, as the bodies began to shift again and pull themselves from the sand, the Jungle hissed as a growing wind carried through the boughs and towards the beach. In a split second a howling gale rushed over the final dregs of the outer Jungle where the three of them stood and came together in a wall of wind that picked up the fraying corpses and threw them back to the next wave of undead. For a moment it seemed as though the wind had dissipated before its sharp whistle pierced the night and picked up the second wave.
  Alastair turned in wonder towards Agrestal and Tyron, his mouth wide open as he marvelled at how powerful he had managed to make the wind in his exhaustion. Yet before he had even looked into his sylvari companion’s eyes, his attention was caught by something behind them.
  Suddenly a glistening blue light appeared barely inches above their heads and stretched over them in a bubble while unfamiliar cries carried through the night, shapes appearing out of the darkened recesses of the Maguuma Jungle. Three trailing balls of fire flashed overhead while sudden circles of glowing light appeared in the sand, screams of pain filling the night as they formed. Flaming arrows followed seconds later while a shower of bullets crackled through the darkness after that.
  Within moments the beach turned into a warzone as a stout, heavily armoured asura appeared nearby, easily passing through the beautiful blue dome that had appeared around Alastair, Agrestal and Tyron. The asura looked at the three of them excitedly with wide yellow eyes and flashed an even wider toothy grin. A large mace hung from his hip while a particularly large glowing shield, especially for one so minute, was strapped tightly to his left forearm. His thick armour reflected the glistening light that hung over them, each contour and bend in the design pooling the light as he moved.
  “Looks like we got here just in the nick of time!” he roared cheerfully over the sudden cacophony that rolled towards the Jungle from the beach, showers of flaming rocks pelting into the beach that had appeared out of thin air.
  In a sudden flash of movement, the small asura turned away from the three he had saved, ran forward to close the original ten metre gap where the undead had nearly passed, and threw his shield around his head aggressively. A pulse of light exploded forth from the shield and rocketed along the beach before smashing into some undead that were nearing them.
  Alastair watched the asura in wonder, Agrestal watched him with mixed emotions, but Tyron was too busy watching the others who had appeared along with their apparent saviour. From what he could count in the flashes of light from the battle, there were at least fifteen extra fighters who had appeared from the Jungle behind them, all of them engaged in the fight. The only one who was not fighting as if it were life and death was the small creature who was making his way back to the three exhausted warriors.
  “Before any of you talk, just listen,” he ordered as he neared, shooting a quick glance behind him to the group of undead he had incapacitated with his shield. “You’re exhausted – knackered actually! I dare say, if you hadn’t started off with such a bang, I doubt we would have even heard you!”
  One by one he looked over Alastair, Agrestal and then Tyron. Each of them could barely stand and they each carried the same stunned surprise on their faces. Slowly they all returned the yellow eyed gaze, but by the time they seemed to be alert enough to absorb what the asura said, the remaining waves of undead had almost been wiped out.
  “I am Kip, short for Kipnarr, and I applaud your valiant efforts! We are from the Vigil, perhaps you have heard of us?”
  With his wide, all-knowing, toothy grin he extended a hand to Alastair to shake his hand. Kip’s gauntlets quietly clicked as the overlaying segments of the wrist scraped over themselves while he shook the young human’s hand. Alastair stared in bewilderment at the small, pointy-eared creature before him and wondered what his crazy endeavours had gotten him into.

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