Chapter 12: In a Rush

Chapter 12: In a Rush


The group returns through the caverns as quickly as possible, with Marin and Leo nearly flying at the lead and Alelip doing his best to ignore the pain as he limps quick-time behind them. The halls of limestone seem a blur of stalactites and stalagmites, and the pace occasionally has poor Ken seeing stars as he bumps into one of the white-grey outcroppings. Even at the best pace and with full knowledge of the path, though, it takes a good twenty minutes to retrace the squad's steps to the secret door in the vaulted chamber beneath the watchtower.

Everyone catches their breath as Leo cautiously opens the swinging wall, with Caedmon providing cover with his bow. All is clear and dark on the other side, but the faint sounds of battle can be heard even through the thick layers of stone and earth above.

Between the alert and the fear for the others, Marin was like a caged cat itching to move, so she slipped under Leo's arm after the wall has been fully opened and went to the feet of the entrance.

"Leo! Marin!" Alelip whispers harshly, ignoring the throbbing of his leg, "What do you see?"

"I'll see, sir!" said Marin before starting climbing the ladder and the chimney as quickly as she could, after all with all those sounds of battle it would be almost impossible to hear her. Halfway in the shaft, she starts slowing down and paying attention to known voices and commands, hoping to hear some good news.

"There's battle... and they are without a healer...." she thought trying hard to fight the despair that started creeping inside her

In a moment of anger, not particularly at any one person but rather the fact that men were dying and he was here safe, Kenjin surged forward. As politely as he could the warrior pushed past the others and began to ascend the ladder. He did not know what course of action he meant to take only that he would aid those in trouble until they could get to safety.

"Please move," he grunted at Marin as he began to approach her position on the ladder. "I will not stand down here and be cautious as our brethren are slaughtered above!"

Rives stands at the bottom of the ladder looking up. This seemed like a terrible idea... everyone rushing up the ladder into uncertainty at best, and certain disaster at the worst. If the Keep had been breached, a few more bodies weren't going to help do anything but feed the Gnolls. If the Keep had not been breached, there was a chance to get people out through the caverns... And so he waited for everyone above to charge to their deaths and made up his mind. He would try and save the horses - they still had a chance to get away, if he stampeded them, and then maybe his death wouldn't be entirely in vain. And then tears began to roll down his cheeks.

"Ken, there's no space for two in the shaft!" said Marin bitting her lip "Oh, to the hell with this, if we're going to die today it going to happen regardless if we're cautious of not" she thought and she resumed her climbing quicker, so Ken could follow her as soon as she is out.

As she finally exits the shaft, she crouches and keep her body low to void being a target and moves a couple of steps to give Ken space. Making as little noise as possible, she draws her sword

Kenjin is quick on her heels, thankful to be out of those accursed, brain rattling caverns. Moving to a defensive position, shield and axe at the ready, he paused just long enough to look back at Marin. He knew she was angry at him but now was not the time for apologies...that would come later...if he lived.

"Stay behind me," he whispered to her as he moved towards the sound of combat. He intended to observe the battle first, not rush into it. He would do his friends no good if he drew the Gnolls to their position uneccesarily.

Marin and Ken emerge at the top of the southeast tower. A quick scan reveals that much of the action is centered around the west side of the fort, where gnolls have erected ladders and are scaling the walls to attack. One has managed to reach the battlements and is fighting three men of Squad B, while the rest of the squad has their hands full trying to fight off the next hyena-headed beasts to climb to the tops of their rickety ladders. A fourth ladder has just come up at the southwest corner--and no one is there to take any action.

Status: Marin and Ken are about 100 feet from the erected ladder. Leo and Caedmon are 20 feet from the top, and Rives and Alelip are coming up behind.

"Ken, alert the Lieutenant and see if we can start evacuation" she said to her companion.

Seeing the ladder apprear, Marin dismissed Ken's order and rushed to the uprotected corner, aiming to take down the ladder before the gnolls reached the other side


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