Part 15 : Phor inthigg. Dos melee saph rothe!
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Posted 27 October 2002 - 06:16 PM
Twilight 15 : Phor inthigg. Dos melee saph rothe!(How appropriate. You fight like a cow!)
"Welcome to your new home," Azxun'n smiled like as shark as he and three male guards led a shackled Vierna into the dank crypt-like underbelly of the city-colosseum. There was scarcely any light at all in the already pitch-blank obsidian stone corridors. "You females think you can do anything," Azxun'n muttered. "Do you know how much money you and your friend have cost me?" he snarled. "You are going to earn back every copper by fighting in the arena. Take a good look around, girl," he said as his men shoved her into one of the tiny cells in the dank dungeon. "It will be your home for a very long time," he grinned before walking off into the corridor while the heavy lock of the door to Vierna's cell clanked shut.
'Figures,' Vierna thought while she sat down on a small wooden cot. They had taken her armor, but, to her relief, allowed her to keep her leathers. 'A dungeon. A dank, moist, cold, lightless dungeon. Classic design... I do wish the next generation of dungeons will be a bit more diverse...'
Meanwhile, back at the criminally cliché abandoned warehouse, Vierna's friends were still shackled to wall, nervously awaiting news from their friends' dangerous mission. Viconia sat on one of the crates, still closely guarded by three males who had been becoming increasingly twitchy over the past few hours. The males knew the powerful Cleric could destroy them with a single thought, so they had to keep their fingers at the trigger at all time. Right now that focus was taking it's toll.
Viconia herself was seemingly lost in thought, being very careful not to let any of her true feelings slip. She was ready to tear half the city apart to find her precious child, but she knew she had to be careful. The foolish males would not be able to kill her, not even with the poisoned bolts they had, but even though she could cure the poison quickly, she had no idea how even an instant's exposure to the poison from the bolts would affect her unborn child.
Cyrilla was also in the room, anxiously awaiting the arrival of her gems... and her future as ruler of the city... to having the Drow race in her hands. She had withdrawn into herself, not speaking or even listening to anyone. Just gloating to herself about her soon to be delivered victory.
Then, a figure stepped out of the shadows. It was unsure to anyone how Glyill had entered the room, since she obviously had not used the warehouse's only door.
Viconia snapped to attention and jump off the crate, the males nearly yelping in panic as she did so. Cyrilla had started from her trance-like state as well, and actually made it to Glyill before Viconia did.
"Where is it?!" she shouted, not seeing a box in Glyill's possession. "Show me..." was the last thing Cyrilla could ask before Viconia roughly shoved her aside. Cyrilla yelped as she smashed into a stack of empty crates.
"Vierna?" Viconia asked.
Glyill did not answer, merely staring in Viconia's eyes. The Drow was not amused, let out a guttural scream and shoved the ex-assassin in the nearest wall.
"Where IS she?!" Viconia hissed.
"Captured..." Glyill whispered apologetically.
"I do not care about your foolish daughter!" Cyrilla shouted as she got to her feet. "The gems! Do you have the gems?!"
Glyill took Vierna's Bag of Holding from her belt and grabbed a small box from its inside.
Cyrilla's eyes grew wide as she saw the box. "Give it to me!"
Then, Viconia grinned like a shark as she answered. "Oh, dear sister... We will..."
Immediately, a loud howl resounded through the warehouse, temporarily distracting the males. Glyill threw the box at Cyrilla, who deftly caught it. Making use of the distraction, colored orbs shot from Viconia's hands, 'holding' Cyrilla into place. In the background, Gerty slammed one of the males over the head with a plank, while Lenny and Shivon jumped the third male. The second male, now terrified and fleeing for the door, soon found his leg caught between Brimstone's mighty jaws before he could reach it. Glyill stunned him by slamming him over the head with the butt of her holy mace.
"Hey," Gerty chuckled as she gathered her weapons and armor from a locked crate, "it's amazing what you can do to such crummy locks with a few bent nails."
Meanwhile, Brimstone paced about the room, whined often and sometimes scratched at the door with his leg.
"Sure, Brimstone," Shivon smiled to the worried Hell-hound, "we'll get Vierna back soon."
"I'll be taking that," Viconia smiled to Cyrilla, taking great pleasure in the fact that her sister could hear her every word, see everything that was going on, but could not do anything about it. Viconia took the box from her sister's arms and shoved it back in the Bag of Holding.
"What do we do with these Drow?" Lenny asked.
"This," Viconia said and gave her sister a gentle shove, making her clatter to the floor like a statue. "Leave the others. They are not important..."
"We still need to figure out where Azxun'n has taken Vierna," Glyill spoke harshly, the fact that she had been force to leave her friend behind was not sitting well with her.
"I might have an idea who might know more about Azxun'n's business-habits..." Viconia muttered.
Viconia was summoned from her cell unto the field of battle rather quickly. She was escorted to an upper floor, where she was locked into a small chamber. A large portcullis which gave access to the battle-arena was the only main feature. But inside the room, were her mother's Red Dragon Plate, Arguvandel, the Equalizer and her spellbook, along with several other magical items she had gathered during her travels. As she had donned the last piece of her armor, the portcullis rose and Vierna slowly stepped through...
'Well, this colosseum is definitely no longer used for rothe-races. At least not today...', Vierna considered, thinking back to her mother's words earlier. It was a semi-large colosseum, complete with the mandatory sandy floor. There were only three isles of seats for the public, but the place was moderately filled with people of all races, but mostly Drow, even young children. It seems like going to the colosseum was a family pastime in this city, which explains why Azxun'n had gotten the title of Trade Mayor.
Azxun'n himself was sitting in a small, but luxurious lodge, and was currently standing in plain side of the cheering crowd.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," Azxun'n shouted to the crowd. "My apologies for cancelling todays rothe-races, and let me assure you : Those rothe shall run tomorrow at the regular schedule. Today, however, we have an unscheduled gladiatorial combat for your viewing enjoyment! The challenger of today is a well-known surface Drow, my friends. Yes, you've heard that correctly... a Drow who has been living on the surface. Meet Vierna DeVir..."
Immediately, the audience cheered at Vierna, making her blush profusely and feel more than a little uncomfortable. Then Azxun'n went on to introduce the next contestant : A huge male Drow stepped into the area. He was very muscular and wore blue face-paint. He stood nearly seven feet tall, and brandished a huge Two-handed sword almost as long as he himself was tall, combined with plenty of magical armor. Upon closer inspection, the male turned out to be a half-Drow, and a very, very, very bad-tempered one.
Gritting her teeth, Vierna rose her two swords to engage the male.
Ginafae Esz'Razz was happily making her rounds through the city-streets, keeping a very close eye on the local businesses. She grinned to herself as the merchants of the city grew ever more nervous when she passed by them. Ginafae loved her job a little to much in their opinion.
'They fear me.... HAH! Well they should, I...' Ginafae thought, but was suddenly yanked backward until she ended up lying prone on the street. 'Ah, stupid grate!' Ginafae snarled and yanked her braid free. 'Hope nobody saw that,' she said while quickly checking out The Swift Death Mart : A broadly stocked supermarket for assassins.
"Excuse me?" she heard ask from behind. Turning around, a bit embarrassed about the whole braid thing, Ginafae noticed a motly group of adventurers, led by a Drow female practically radiating with extreme power.
With a resounding 'clang' Vierna felt the muscles in her arms strain as she blocked a powerful blow from the male's sword by crossing both her swords. Before the huge half-Drow could raise his sword for a second blow, Vierna jumped back twice, safely out of his range.
"Surrender to your fate. Stop this foolish dance!" the male roared as he approached Vierna.
"Did you fail ballerina-class? Is that why you prance?" Vierna retorted with a grin, and continued the match.
This game had been continuing on for the past fifteen minutes. So far, neither combatant was at an advantage. No major blows had been scored. The male was huge, especially considering Vierna's small frame, and his blows carried much force, but this also made him rather slow, while Vierna was quick and nimble. She was often out of his way before he could strike. Vierna had, when the circumstances allowed, managed to sneak in range, strike and be out of his range fast enough for the male to even react.
Seeing another opening Vierna gritted her teeth, and jumped forward, twirled around her axis and delivered a slice to the male's unprotected leg. He hissed in pain as the magical Equalizer left a deep gash near his unprotected knee, but if she slowed him down, he managed to hide it well. Vierna could barely avoid his large sword this time, but managed to roll away from the male. After her narrow escape, she heard the cheer of the audience. Apparently, she was the favorite, and money was changing hands rapidly as new bets were being placed.
"Is that how you fight?" the male snarled as he advanced on her once more. "You are an embarrassment of a Drow!"
"How appropriate!" Vierna retorted while blocked a blow which did succeed in pushing her backwards, "You fight like a cow!"
Vierna came back with a frontal assault. To an outsider, and to the male, it seemed like she was attempting a mad plan of storming the male to try to knock him aside, but at the last moment, Vierna spun around and barely shot past him, only to deliver a swift kick at the back of the male's knees. As the male fell with a surprised groan, Vierna sliced Arguvandel across the leather straps keeping the male's breastplate in place. It slid of the male's body, giving Vierna a significant advantage in her next strike.
"I will," the male roared as he got to his feet, kicking his now useless magical leather armor out of the way, "I will spill your guts all over the arena!"
"Believe me," Vierna grinned, "I'd be better off than if I keep on sniffing the current discharge from your bowels in the air. What's your problem? Severe Diarrhoea?"
Foiled at his own insult-game again, the male roared and stormed Vierna once more, only to crash into the wall as Vierna sped out of his way with lightning speed. The audience cheered again as Vierna smiled and stabbed the male in the butt for good measure.
The male roared again as he rose to his feet. "I warn you : I have left many female-fighters gasping for air on the floor during combat! It took days more before they rose!"
"I'm sure they were trying to catch their breath from laughing so hard after seeing you without clothes!" Vierna chuckled.
Properly insulted now, the male roared and swung his huge blade again... But he was faster this time, and Vierna could not avoid it. Luckily for her, the male was so enraged he did not hit her with the sharp edge, but with the flat end. The blow connected with her small helmet, which in turn was slammed against her temple, leaving Vierna more than a little dazed. Her head pounded, and her vision was temporarily blurred. Deciding to go on the defensive until she could regain her composure, she decided to keep her distance between her and the male. It was not an easy task when she started to feel that her head was too big for her helmet and she felt a sticky wetness dripping from the inside of her ear.
She rose her weapons again to defend herself... but then a crash sounded from the very room she had used to enter the arena. Vierna turned around, and smiled when she saw her mother and her friends standing there, with a whole contingement of the city guard.
"Hey!" the male dared to should at the scowling Drow female. "I am fighting here! I will chop this tiny female to bits!"
The male never stood a change. A light flashed in Viconia's eyes, which was quickly followed by a powerbolt fired from her hands. The male screamed as his soul was ripped from his body, and his body dropped to the floor... A lifeless husk.
The audience did not know how to react and went on chattering amongst themselves, while some others argued with the bookies that, technically, Vierna had won the match. Several of the Drow families were dragging their children away, fearing that his powerful female might strike once more.
Meanwhile Viconia knelt down next to Vierna, who had collapsed on the ground now that the combat was over, from both exhaustion and the effects of her head wound. Viconia loving removed Vierna's helmet and started to heal the wound in question.
"I could have had him, momma," Vierna smiled. "I would have beaten him..."
"That, I do not doubt," Viconia smiled and kissed her child on the forehead. "You are your mother's daughter, after all..."
"AN OUTRAGE!" Azxun'n shouted from his personal lodge. "How DARE you interrupt these games?!"
"Outrage?" Viconia asked calmly as she handed her child to her friends. "This is not an outrage," she spoke calmly and moved to the middle of the arena. The audience, having a fair idea what was to come, screamed in terror as they collectively fled from the colosseum. Then, Viconia rose her arms as dark, magic clouds started to form over her head. Bolts of lightning, acid, fire and ice shot from her hands and slammed into the darkstones of which the colosseum was made. Explosions rattled the colosseum as part of it collapsed under the raw power of the magical spell of 'Storm of Vengeance'. As the magic ebbed away, and Azxun'n regarded his surroundings, a cold fear was etched over his ebony face.
"Now, this... THIS is something to be outraged about..." Viconia smiled.
"But... but... but... but..." Azxun'n stammered, but a lightning-bolt fired at the lodge changed that. Azxun'n fell in the sandy floor of the arena. Shivon stood there, still extending the hand he used to fire the bolt of electricity, a hard look crossing his young elven features.
The proud Trade-Mayor now lay at Viconia's feet, begging and pleading to her to spare his life.
"This is how I like my males," Viconia smiled and pushed him flat on the ground with her boot.
"What about daddy?" Vierna smiled.
"This is how I like my DROW males," Viconia smiled, even more broadly.
"Okay," Ginafae smiled as she brushed past Viconia, her long braid dragging through the sand. "I've been waiting to get a shot at your business for years, Azxun'n! Let's see... Oh!" she smiled as she picked up a fallen torch, "what have we here? A fire-hazard! Don't you know this is an enclosed cavern?"
"The entire colosseum is made out of stone!" Azxun'n retorted before Viconia pushed him to the floor again.
"That's one offence... Oh, and while the audience was running, I noticed three of the six emergency exits were locked. That's the second offence. As for the third, I gather young Vierna here did not consent to fighting your male warrior in the ring? Non-consensual arena-fights between two Drow are illegal in this city, you know?"
"Since when?!" Azxun'n asked.
"Oh, since the last twenty thousand years!" Ginafae smiled. "Slaves are the only merchandise not allowed in this city. Slavery does not exactly fit the climate of inviting free enterprise we like to show off to our guests. Anyway, that means three offences... Oh, this is going to hurt you a LOT more than it will hurt me! I've been wanting to say this for two centuries now... You are BANNED from trading in this city for an entire year! Hah! Can I say it again. YOU... BANNED... YEAR" she chuckled, knowing full well it meant Azxun'n's financial ruin. "And as a banned merchant, you may not longer be Trade Mayor of this city. Please pack your bags and move out of the mansion..."
"You can't do this!" Azxun'n cried.
"Oh, and this colosseum is publicly owned, so I expect you to have it repaired before the next rothe-races next tenday. I so love to watch the rothe-races," she winked.
"But... but... but..." Azxun'n shouted. "I'm... I'm RUINED!"
"If you like to protest, I will have no choice but to go back to my office to draw up the paperwork, but that would mean I would have to leave you with my friends here for about half a day..." Ginafae said, and smiled and Vierna and her friends. "Right, I'll be going then... I'll come back for your remains in the evening, Azxun'n... I don't think I'll be needing much of a casket..."
"WAIT!" Azxun'n cried, glancing at Vierna's friends... and her mother. Especially the snarling Hell hound just waiting to pounce upon him was the deciding factor. "I... I'll... leave the city..."
"Well, that worked out well," Gerty said as they were standing in front of the 'Drunken Spider', getting ready for some well-earned rest.
"Sure," Lenny said. "We got to take out some baddies, blew up a building and finally got the last ingredients of the spell, whatever it is."
"Normal day, I'd say," Glyill smiled.
"Wuf!" Brimstone wagged his tail as he walked next to Vierna, never taking his eyes off her. Vierna herself was currently supported by Shivon as they stopped at the inn.
"Oh, no," a voice... Cyrilla's voice sounded from the shadows as a small army of twenty males and females surrounded the party with blinding speed. Viconia's sister stepped out of the shadows, her face displaying an obvious bruise. "Yes," she smiled. "I will take those gems now..."
"Haven't you been listening?" Shivon smiled.
"We don't have them anymore," Vierna smiled even more broadly.
"WHAT?!" Cyrilla shouted in denial.
"You're too late," Viconia smiled. "And you, I used to think you were clever, but now I see you are just as muscle-brained as Devora. I was already negotiating the sale of the gems before you even came along. Shows how well-informed you really are...."
"You... you..." Cyrilla stammered, not being able to voice her disappointment and anger.
"You're a failure, Cyrilla," Viconia smiled. "You could have ascended to greatness after the fall of our house, just as I have... Just as Dipree has, appparently. Instead, you puttered around with back-alley thugs to earn yourself a scrap of bread on a lucky day. You should have died with our house. It would have been a mercy-killing."
"I... I'll kill you all!" Cyrilla snarled, the truth biting harder than the sharpest of teeth.
"This time, we are prepared for you," Glyill smiled while the party prepared weapons and spells. Still, Lenny was hoping to end this peacefully. Most of the Drow working for Cyrilla were little more than simple houseless rogues : hungry, scared, desperate, devoid of hope. He hoped they did not have to lose their lives serving a madwoman : the only truly evil creature of this lot. Then, the chance presented itself :
Xerxes, the banished Glabrezu currently working at the Inn, came out of the kitchen door to take out the trash.
"Hey, look!" Lenny said. "Oh, no! It's Xerxes with his magical amulet of extreme power!"
"What?!" Cyrilla said, glancing into the alley. In the alley, Xerxes was glancing over his shoulder as well, looking if there was another Glabrezu there called Xerxes...
"Oh, no! We're doomed, doomed!" Lenny sighed. "Nothing can safe us now?"
"Lenny?" Vierna asked. "What are you talking about?"
"If Cyrilla dons that amulet, she could destroy us, even your mother, with one foul swoop of her hands!" Lenny replied. "She could rule the world with its power. The unholy might of Crenshinibon is nothing compared!"
Cyrilla, looking very, very interested now, glanced at the Glabrezu. "So if he has so much power," she asked suspicious. "Why is he working as a busboy?"
"Well, I was ba..." Xerxes started to say before Lenny interrupted him.
"He's being chased around by half the Baatezu race!" Lenny said. "Any why not?! That amulet could end the Blood War for them. Xerxes was very smart to keep if for himself before Demogorgon could use it against lord Bel."
"Err, yes, yes..." Xerxes said, "I am... very greedy..."
"HAND IT TO ME!" Cyrilla snarled and ordered her troops to target the Glabrezu with their crossbows. "NOW!"
"You heard the lady," Lenny smiled. "Hand it to her..."
Xerxes sighed and did something he had tried countless times before : trying to lift the Cursed Amulet of Extreme Misfortune from his neck. He gasped and lay his doglike ears backwards as, this time, he at long last succeeded. Eager to get rid of the accused thing, he tossed it over to Cyrilla, who took the mandatory villain's pause to have a greedy look at the instrument of power before donning it.
"I... I can feel it's power soaring through my body!" Cyrilla shouted. "I can.. I can take on the world!" and she prompt slammed her foot against a loose brick. Screaming in pain as her little toe was definitely broken, the leaned against the wall... and promptly slid to the floor. As she lay crumpled to the floor, a huge load of bird-dropping fell straight on her face.
"Impossible," Viconia chuckled as she looked in the air, "I thought Priretta birds were flightless!"
"Imagine the luck," Xerxes chuckled.
"Kill them!" Cyrilla shouted, but all bowstrings seemed to snap at the same time, leaving her men defenseless. Suddenly, a dark shadow fell over the sticken Drow. Looking up, she just managed a whimper before a block of darkstone landed on top of her head.
"Well, that takes care of that," Viconia chuckled.
"And, you!" Lenny directed at the other Drow henchmen. "There were plenty of opportunities in this city to choose from and yet you chose to work for a mad criminal. In other words : Get out of here and get yourself a proper job!" Needless to say, the twenty Drow complied.
"How," Xerxes asked Lenny, "How did you break the curse?"
"Well," Lenny smiled, "the curse say that you had to tell someone about the curse when accepting the amulet, but not that I had to tell someone else about the curse..."
"You you lied," Gerty smiled. "Some paladin you are!"
"Hey, I didn't lie! I just omitted to tell her and important fact, plus I exaggerated at bit, but I never actually LIED..." Lenny smiled.
"So, what are you going to do now, Xerxes?" Shivon asked. "Back to the abyss?"
"Nah," Xerxes replied. "I don't think so... But, you know, me and some others have been talking about becoming a hired force to keep stuff and people safe for a small price. Maybe it will make us a bundle...I call 'the securi-troops'! What do you think?"
"Okay, out you go," Ginafae smiled as she took Cyrilla by the collar and shoved her towards one of the nexus-gates. Cyrilla stumbled, make a roll and slammed her head on the elevated platform.
"Errr, sorry," Ginafae muttered sincerely.
Two days of well-earned rest later, Vierna, her friends and her mother were standing in time for the Nexus-gate back to the Muzad under Calimport, anxious for the conclusion of this strange trip across the lands of Calimsham and beyond. They had come just in time to see Cyrilla thrown out of the city.
"YOU!" the fallen Drow shouted at her sister and her niece. "You haven't heard the last of me!" she shouted just before the blue light shot her to a place unknown.
"Why do villains always say that?" Vierna asked.
"Union thing," Gerty muttered as she and her friends stepped on the platform.
"Let's go see this thing through to the bitter end," Vierna smiled as the blue light engulfed her and her friends."
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