The Name in Stone

   
The creature raised its arms, and the ground beneath their feet rumbled and shook. Jasper yelped and tumbled to the side as a giant black tentacle burst up where he'd been standing. More followed, covering the entire area. Waving like blind worms, they sought to grab a hold of something and tether it to the ground.

"Not good," Jasper grunted, and he slammed into Ruve to keep her from the creature's grasp. Around them, everything moved. Conner blinked out of sight and appeared behind the creature, his blade cutting deep into its tendons. Derek shouted and charged along with Sam, but while she dove skillfully between the tentacles, one slammed into his chest and batted him against a wall. Sam's attack got fouled by a waving black appendage.

Somehow, Ravan's spell managed to get off, and the beast roared and froze.

Samantha couldn't hear Ravan's warning. The voices were at full volume, drowning everything else out, even the blood rushing in her ears. It felt good, to be angry and to let it out without restraint...too good... She yelled wildly as her sword came around, biting into the thing in front of her with a vengence.

Ravan

Ravan's exultation as he saw "Asmodeus" freeze turned to exasperation and then dismay when he saw the tendrils springing up beneath him. He hacked away at the rubbery portrusions with his Hellcleaver, but to no avail. He felt his chest constrict as the magical constructs wrapped around him and began to squeeze, struggling against them all the while.

The black tentacles wrapped around everything they could, crushing the air out of those unfortunate enough to be grabbed. Ruve was one of those. The black swarm dragged her down and, when she tried to speak, smacked her enough to drag the air out of her lungs.

The beast appeared stunned by whatever spell Ravan had cast, and even when Sam slashed with her sword, it didn't even bellow even though the gash sprayed viscious black blood out. Conner grunted and swiped at his eyes, trying to clear them. Stupid monsters and their stupid blood. He flanked with Sam, and attacked himself, his sword earning them both another spray.

This time, Aurelia saw clear. The monster fell apart into Words and, while it wasn't truly here, nor was it a summoned creature of any sort. Instead, it appeared to be fully cobbled together out of divine power. It was hard to determine which god lent the power, as it appeared to be a swirling swarm of the Words, all mixed and jumbled together. More importantly, she was able to determine a rough direction of where the summoner was hiding - straight into the heart of the old city.

Ravan

Ravan struggled against his bonds, but it was in vain. He cursed his own stupidity, but didn't waste too much breath on it. Breath was a resource he was quickly running out of. The construct-tentacles were squeezing the air from his lungs, and he could do little but writhe against them, futilely. He was not going to die here. He refused. There was too much at stake, and this would be an idiotic way to die.

But then, he recalled telling students that most of the Denavashor died stupid deaths. That was the price of letting down your guard...

The burst of energy and anger released by her last strike wearied Sam a little more than she expected, and her reflexes weren't ready for the burning blood. She cursed under her breath as her skin boiled and a tentacle batted at her, but she ignored it all and attempted to swipe at the monster again.

The tentacles blocked Jasper's view of almost everything. He had a sense of Ruve and Aurelia getting grabbed and pulled down into their embrace, though in the sneak's case, she might've just made herself hard to see. Wouldn't be the first time. Close by, he heard Selarenia's startled squawk get suddenly cut off.

Not good. Really not good. Conner was up there, which meant he'd be severely pissed off if something happened to their resident healer while he'd been busy hacking away at monster-matter. Not that the bastard would thank Jasper for helping out. Still, they'd need their healer, and it wasn't Sel's fault that she had terrible taste in men.

Decision made, Jasper worked his way through the waving tentacles. A few came close to grabbing him, but he managed to keep out of their grasp. Sel's struggling form came into sight, and he went to work with his daggers, getting her free.

Ahead, Conner adjusted his grip on his sword, dodged the tail that tried to take his head off, and slashed at the back of the beast's legs. His sharp sword met resistance, and acidic blood sprayed again. There was plenty of that around, as Sam's own blow did obvious damage, and the nightmarish creature staggered forward.

"This is not over," a disturbingly female voice hissed from the creature's mouth. "The hour is far later than you know." Flame swept over him, and when it cleared, the monster was gone. With its passing, so too did the spell end, and the sea of black tentacles shrank away, freeing their captives.

Derek muttered to himself and limped over, a thick stream of blood leaking from a gash on his head. "Did we kill it, or did it run?"


"Neither," Aurelia answered, wiping the blood from her nose with the back of one gloved hand. "That thing was made entirely of divine power. I'm not sure that 'kill' or 'run' are technically applicable terms for that kind of entity." She reached into a concealed pocket at her hip and drew out a cloth to clean the glove with. "At any rate, she made it, shoved it at us, and exploded it in our faces. On the bright side, I got a rough fix on her location, somewhere at the center of the old city. Should be easier to track her when we start getting close."

Samantha took the fireball to the face and then stood there staring at the open space in front of her. ...and she continued standing there not moving as the others spoke and moved around her.

The voice was distinctive, and Sam knew who was speaking before she'd even finished. It made a strange kind of sense that Clyk had gone crazy with power and freedom. What didn't make sense was why she had decided that Sam was the target to go after. Sam replayed the evening with Tobias' family in her head, but nothing popped out. Only then did it occur to her that Clyk had killed her own parents, so Tobias' son was dead.

"Ah &$%#," Sam sighed and dismissed her sword and armor as she turned around to look at the rest of the group. "Is everyone alright?" She was walking and talking, but not in particularly good shape
41/111 HP
herself, burnt and bleeding all over. Not the worst beating she'd ever taken, but how often did one get a massive spike shoved through their chest.

"Good, I'm glad it wasn't just me that sensed somethin' was off," Jasper said with a smirk. "Might've thought I was losin' my mind."

"No more than usual,"
Conner growled, stalking over to where Selarenia knelt, his arm going around her shoulders.

"That was her," Toby confirmed as he landed and shifted back to his human form, brushing himself off a little. "The Nightmare Bitch. She seemed distracted, though. I don't like it."





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