BC Arc – Chapter 9

Araatris: “FALL BACK!” Deth’s command slices the din of battle, echoing off the blackened, scored tunnel walls. “Max, take tha’ caster down.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse ducks behind some rubble. She calls out, “They have a healer on the ledge. Watch my back while I try to get a clear shot!”
Araatris: “On it, kid.” Ultarn kicks at the Taken bloodelf harassing him, stepping over so his bulk & his broad axe can shield the huntress.
Rhoelyn: “Thanks!” Nysse steps out from her cover and aims. The busy healer sees nothing in the chaos. Several arrows fly in succession.
Araatris: As the distant figure crumbles, another takes his place. Calinea backs toward them, heals flying. “We’re too exposed, here. Move!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse curses but backs up. Her arrows fly to help cover the retreat as best she can. “Where to?” She dodges a large ball of fire.
Araatris: Her question is answered with a piercing whistle from their left. Valerio covers them from the mouth of a side tunnel, ammo flying.
Rhoelyn: “Watch out for the warpstalker!” Nysse watches as the beast blinks in and out within their midst as they move towards the tunnel.
Araatris: Ultarn finishes his sin’dorei opponent with a kick like a shotgun to the chest, sending him flying. “Th’wha, now? I didna qu–OOF!”
Rhoelyn: “WARPSTALKER!” Nysse didn’t dare risk an arrow so close. She instead followed Ultarn’s lead with a hearty kick to the warpstalker.
Araatris: The beast rolls with the force of Nysse’s kick, its tail whipping. As it rights itself, the ground beneath it bursts into flame.
Rhoelyn: “Thanks Chimaera!” The warpstalker disappears with a screech. Nysse offers a hand to Ultarn to help him up. “Everyone still good?”
Araatris: “Aye. No’a scratch.” He grins as he straightens, hefting his axe just in time to block a frost bolt gunning for Calinea beside him.
Rhoelyn: “Looks like Max could use some space.” She shoots a freezing arrow to free his flank. Max scowls, “They’re swarming like insects!”
Araatris: Deth smashes his shield into a Draenei’s nose, shoving the man back as he fills in the hole in Max’s defense. “This isna workin’.”
Rhoelyn: “There’s a lot that isn’t working. I didn’t expect an army!” Nysse’s arrow grazes the mage gaining them a brief reprieve from him.
Araatris: “Hmph,” Deth grunts, sharing a brief nod with Cal. “Right. New idea, then. Chim, Val, Nysse, blow th’tunnel mouth. EVER’ONE BACK!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods with a grimace. She pulls one of the explosive arrows from her pack, a device she wondered if gnomes made, and let fly.
Araatris: Under the might of their arrows and spells, the roof of the cave collapses, cutting them off from the bulk of the Taken masses.
Rhoelyn: Coughing, Nysse peers through the dust. “How many got through?” Despite her lack of vision, her bow is held at the ready.
Araatris: “Not enough to be challenging.” The lump beside her resolves into Shadow’s small form, the gnome dripping blood from his daggers.
Rhoelyn: “Good, because I think we’ll need the chance to regroup. I’m not leaving without Rhese and I doubt the Taken are going to stop.”
Araatris: “I couldn’t agree more.” As the dust settles, they can make out Calinea sitting wearily on a nearby boulder. “We can’t brute this.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse sighs and lowers her bow, “So a plan. Think we could manage a distraction? We’d have to split the team.” She glances about.
Araatris: The team gathers in, dusted with debris. “Mebbe so. But wi’ this many o’ ’em, we cannae move ’til we know where tae go,” Deth says.
Rhoelyn: “Agreed. We could stumble on worse. Have we scouted out this way any?” Nysse glances at Valerio. “You found it, didn’t you Val?”
Araatris: The draenei shakes his head. “Any port in a storm. I haven’t scouted beyond a few hundred meters. Not even sure we aren’t caved in”
Rhoelyn: “We better check it out. Being trapped would ruin our heroic rescue.” Nysse grins wryly. “And Rhese would never shut up about it.”
Araatris: Val humphs, a smirk lifting the corners of his mouth. With a quick glance at Calinea, he nods. “Give us ten minutes. C’mon, Nysse.”
Rhoelyn: Shadow pipes up, “I’ll watch your backs. Three is better.” Nysse nods at the gnome and gestures for him to join. “Let’s go then.”
Araatris: They leave the rest of the team resting while they scout the tunnel, which is blessedly empty and also-blessedly not a dead end.
Rhoelyn: “Elune be thanked! We won’t have to hear Rhese.” Nysse grins broadly at Valerio, but she keeps her voice to an excited whisper.
Araatris: Shadow elbows her in the shin, pressing one finger to his lips and pointing the other down the rightmost branch. A light flickers.
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns, not at Shadow, but the light. She gestures that she’ll check it out before edging quietly towards the light.
Araatris: The other two hang back, readying themselves for trouble, as she creeps toward where the tunnel opens out to a lit, rotund chamber.
Rhoelyn: Nysse holds her bow ready as she listens to some voices then peers cautiously around the corner. She frowns but hovers and listens.
Araatris: “Master, they–” “I’m aware. I can hear them too much, already. More. I need more.” The woman’s voice slurs and fades erratically.
Rhoelyn: Nysse tries to see what’s going on. It’s a cautious edge around the corner to peek. She shows two fingers to Valerio and Shadow.
Araatris: Nysse sees a lounging couch and a cluttered side table near the center of the room. A robed human lolls there, her imp at her feet.
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks for any other exits past the woman. Then focuses on what she assumes is a warlock. An arrow lies notched on her bow.
Araatris: “Nn. Go, Noktip. I need more.” With a lazy kick, the woman shoos the imp off down the only exit, a tunnel halfway around the room.
Rhoelyn: Nysse edges back to the group and speaks in a whisper. “One warlock and an imp. She just sent the imp off. She sounds.. Drugged.”
Araatris: “Hm.” Shadow adjusts his goggles thoughtfully. “We could ask a few questions. Get some intel. She might know where Rhese is held.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse glances back. “I’ve a gut feeling she’s seen Rhese before, but I don’t know why. I think it’s an option if we move quickly.”
Araatris: They move immediately, Valerio and Nysse setting up at the shadowed mouth of the tunnel while Shadow slinks to the oblivious woman.
Rhoelyn: Nysse watches as Shadow slips behind the couch. With quick movements he restrains so she can’t cast. The hunters approach.
Araatris: The warlock gasps, her gaze glassy and bewildered. Val stops mid-step as the light from the candle flickers on her face. “Sansea??”
Rhoelyn: “You know her?” Nysse looks to Valerio. Shadow tries to peer around to see as well. Nysse looks over the woman again.
Araatris: Scowling, Val stomps forward & grabs Sansea’s chin to examine her. “You took her place on the team when she succumbed to the orbs.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods and moves up. “Is she aware enough that we can figure out what happened to her? Maybe we can help her somehow.”
Araatris: Sansea answers with a big, slow grin for Valerio. “Heeeeey! S’the sour squidface.” She snickers. “Big, blue grump. Why so serious?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse grimaces and interjects. “He’s a grump face cause he didn’t expect to see you here. What happened? How did you get here?”
Araatris: Val releases her face, and Sansea turns her vacant gaze toward Nysse. “Get here? Mmm… they called. She called. I HAD to come.”
Rhoelyn: “I can’t tell how much is orb or… Whatever else. Have we successfully woken a Taken before?” Nysse looks at Valerio and Shadow.
Araatris: Shaking his head, Shadow pokes around the substances on the table. “No. If she inhaled even half of this mess, she’s scrambled egg”
Rhoelyn: “What about her imp? We’ll have a healer look at her too. Something she said makes me think she was trying to not hear the orbs.”
Araatris: Sansea giggles, trying to lever herself up. “They don’t shut up. They never shut up. They have to whisper, even through the haze.”
Araatris: The human grabs Valerio’s arm, dragging at him. “Even Rhese can’t shut them up. See? If he can’t, why would I? Max should’ve seen.”
Rhoelyn: “Shadow can you check for her imp? He’ll be back soon.” Nysse takes Sansea’s hands. “I know they don’t. I hear them too.”
Araatris: The warlock blinks at Nysse, then breaks out in a slow, empty grin. “You do. Aren’t you lucky? Cursed lucky. They whisper for you.”
Rhoelyn: “Strange definition of lucky. Maybe we can try to quiet the whispers.” Nysse glances up to see Shadow returning with the imp.
Araatris: Val grabs Sansea by the arm and leans down, slinging her over his broad shoulder. “Let’s get back. Time’s wasting.” He turns away.
Rhoelyn: “Agreed.” Nysse and Shadow lead the way back, and it was Shadow who piped up when they neared the group. “Cal, we found Sansea…”
Araatris: Calinea steps up, her brow furrowing as she examines the warlock. Sansea squirms restlessly. “Whatever she’s on is magic resistive”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods. “Not surprising. Think she was trying to block out the orbs.” She looks between Cal and Rhoelyn. “Anything we can do?”
Araatris: Rhoe blinks as Cal and most of the team turn expectant eyes on her. She blushes. “I-I have never tried to aid one truly Taken.”
Rhoelyn: “Can you try, Rhoelyn? I know you were able to help after almost being taken before and I was on the verge.” Nysse requests gently.
Araatris: The priestess gazes at Nysse, biting her lip. “Of… of course. I will try.” She kneels, whispering prayers as she touches Sansea.
Rhoelyn: Nysse watches as the orb glaze fades from Sansea’s eyes under the healing glow. Rhoelyn steps back nervously and Nysse thanks her.
Araatris: The warlock sighs and relaxes back, that big, lazy smile spreading across her face, again. “Silence. Holy Fel, that feels better.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles at the woman, “I’m glad to know we could help. Now, I was wondering if you could help us. Have you seen Rhese here?”
Araatris: Sansea blinks, then breaks out into a giggle. She cocks a thumb at Rhoelyn. “Just put that one in pants. Rhoe, growl for us! GRRR!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse sighs and glances about looking for help. “Sansea, we need to find Rhese. We believe he was brought here like you.”
Araatris: Deth sighs, rubbing his forehead. “Max?” “Thank you.” The death knight hauls Sansea up by the front of her robes. “Focus. Or else.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse shifts back in surprise, but stares at Sansea for a moment. “I will ask again. Have you seen Rhese here or know where he is?”
Araatris: The human gasps, shaking as if chilled by the ice in her teammate’s gaze. “Rh-Rhese is with the Mistress. She keeps him close.”
Rhoelyn: “Mistress…” Nysse presses her hand to her forehead trying to recall something. “The woman who-.. Kaerryn. Is she the mistress?”
Araatris: “Wait jes’ a minute, ‘ere. Kaerryn?” Ultarn pipes up, his dark eyes wide. “OUR Kaerryn?” Sansea gulps, nodding. “Their c-champion.”
Rhoelyn: “My memory is fuzzy, but he used that he knew her to get me out, I think.” Nysse stares at Sansea. “Where do they stay?”
Araatris: “They’re waiting at the center. At the Machine. B-but you mustn’t go! She knows you come. She WANTS it. She’ll collar you like us.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns. “Well, I can’t leave Rhese there even if it’s a trap.” She pauses, “Is there a way to cut through using your room?”
Araatris: The warlock nods. “The far tunnel…” Her eyelids droop, the awareness in them dulling. “Left. Down. S’behind… b’hind f-faces.”
Rhoelyn “Let her rest. Looks like we need to plan quickly.” Nysse looks about at the team. “Or they’ll figure we’re up to something.”
Araatris: Deth nods, beckoning the group in closer. He starts scrawling a rough map in the dirt. “Right. Time t’layrn t’dance ’round an army”

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