Gate, Silence Gate
Lurker Wyrm - 20 Jul 2006
subsided, but their way was anything but clear. They still had several hundred
of the Stone Summit to get through before they could find safety. Revitalized
by a warm bed and warm food, the growing heroes felt they were ready for anything.
Kryta was getting closer, and their salvation from the Charr was becoming more
and more real.
that morning, while the air was still ripe and stiff, they all awoke. Last night
was unlike any they had experienced since before this journey had begun. They
felt rested and rejuvinated.
then, let's go," said Stargazer who, up until now, had been quiet. The cold
had chilled her through to the bones and was starting to get to her, and the mountains
would probably have claimed her if they hadn't run into Rurik when they did. The
night of comfort and relaxation had done her more good than the others and now
she felt as though she could take on any challenge. She had no idea that today
would wind up being the worst day of her life.
someone's feeling a bit chipper this morning," Buffy said, "isn't that
right Buffycat?" The animal purred in agreement with its master. Though the
cold didn't bother it as much as the others, it enjoyed being curled up by a fire
just the same as any other cat.
morning, the group also realized an unexpected benefit to their trek through Tyria
in nothing but their undergarments: because they had no armor to put on, they
were able to sleep more than others since they didn't need to allow the extra
time to get in and out of it. And so, emboldened by their rest and nourishment,
they stepped out of the cabin they had been given to spend the night. They received
quite the rude awakening as they did so: it was still freezing outside, although,
happily, the storm had passed and the skies were starting to clear up.
morning, if I do say so myself," said Stargazer. And it was, except for the
whole below freezing part. If you could get over that, then it really was turning
out to be a nice morning.
my friends, you're awake, good," Rurik said as he walked towards them. "I
hope you are feeling well rested, for this next leg of our journey could prove
to be the most perilous. We must go right through the heart of the malignent dwarves,
for while you were sleeping, our scouts came back and reported that they were
moving their forces this way; their hatred for King Ironhammer renewed and turned
bitter now that he has allowed humans to pass through the Shiverpeaks and are
now determined to stop us at any cost. They have truly become fanatical zealots
of these Shiverpeaks."
do we need to do?" asked Buffy.
sent Devona, Aidan, Cynn, and Menhlo ahead with a troop of King Ironhammer's soldiers
to skirmish them and see if they can't get some of the Stone Summit to follow
them and let up on the siege. So far it's been working; however, there are still
a few base camps set up along the path we need to take. Once we head out, I want
your team to sneak out and take the higher ridge, so you can ambush them and clear
the way for the refugees. Once you do that you'll need to open the other Frost
Gate so we can make it through. Beyond that is Kryta, our goal for this voyage
which, with any luck, we should reach in a few more days."
down ballistae, open gate. Got it," said Arty. "Sounds simple enough,
let's get along then."
wish you luck."
you as well, prince." With that, they took their leave of Rurik and began
moving up the trail that would take them to the unsuspecting dwarves. Ruruik stood
their for a while, staring after them, almost as if in a daze. Well, it's not
as though they're inexperienced in the art of diversion, he thought. Regaining
his sense of urgency, the noble prince led his people out of their dwarven haven
and back into the treacherous empire of the summit.
their way up the steep slopes of the Shiverpeaks to the dwarven trails they saw
little resistance, only a few stray minotaurs which had to be dealt with. For
the most part, the trip was uneventful, which was not always preferable. They
found that the more they walked through the snow without fighting, they colder
they were, and without armor to keep themselves warm, they soon realized that
this mission would probably be their greatest challenge to date. The cold was
getting to them and if they couldn't do something about it soon, they would be
in real trouble.
sti-ll rather b-b-b-b-eautiful out here," said Stargazer between shivers.
"Th-th-th-the mo-untains r-really have a mmmajestic aura t-t-t-t-to them."
No one replied to her verbally, the party instead just stared at her for a moment
and then trudged onward. Not much longer after that, the party found what they
felt was their greatest fortune: their first enemy encampment. The ballista was
just sitting there, begging to be destroyed. And destroyed it was.
was the battle cry of Sanskirt, who felt suddenly envigorated at the sight of
an enemy to fight. They all were. Unfortunately, they forgot to take into account
the stiffness that they all felt from being so cold for so long. Needless to say,
the attack didn't go as they would have otherwise planned. Their surprise was
ruined by the war shout; the Stone Summit dwarves stood ready and manned their
posts as the attackers came forward. They expected to see a troop of heavily armored
humans and dwarves charging at them. What they actually saw was a group of humans
hobbling towards them wearing nothing but underwear.
humans have sent us feed for our Dolyaks," said one of the devilish dwarves
as he started to laugh. The entire encampment started laughing at the sight approaching
them, half in pure disbelief. They were so taken back by this group of fools rushing
at them, that they forgot they would have to defend themselves.
happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts," said Arty repeatedly,
as if in a mantra. As he did so, the sky erupted with flame sending globs of molten
rock down on the dwarves incinerating them and melting through the giant frost
golems they had created. Their laughter was replaced by screams of terror and
they began to run around in a panic -- it wasn't until their leader, the one who
ridiculed the travellers a few moments earlier, gave his war shout and called
for an attack that they regained their bearings. As they did, they charged their
attackers and the melee ensued.
not fully recovered from the cold-enduced stiffness, the Ascalonian warriors found
themselves on the defensive. The fight seemed to be going in favor of the dwarves
and would have kept going that way, but the heat of the battle was finally giving
their mobility back. Everyone was warming up in the middle of the fight, their
bodies doing what they needed to do to win. Fireballs were flying, arrows were
exploding, blood was everywhere: the battle was turning, and quickly. One by one
the dwarves fell, unable to compete with the Ascalonian onslaught. When the last
dwarf fell and the nearby ballista was destroyed, they let loose a wild cheer
that echoed through the mountains as a nightmarish prophecy to the dwarves but
also letting Rurik know that the way was being cleared and it was becoming safe
for him to lead the refugees through the pass.
by their victory, when the entourage saw a group of dwarves coming to investigate
what had just happened they charged them, attacking so hard and fast that the
dwarves had no time to react and could not put up a suitable defense. With victories
coming swiftly and smoothly for them, the band of warriors moved along the cliffs,
cleaving their way through any competition they were met with, growing bolder
and more fierce with each victory. The frozen air and their lack of protection
from it could not do anything to slow them down. Nothing could. Soon they had
reached the giant gate that blocked them from victory.
what now?" asked Arty.
down ballistae, open gate, remember?" Sanskirt said.
yeah. So... how do we open the gate?"
imagine it would involve using that lever with that gear mechanism."
So... what are we waiting for?"
the one holding the lever, so... you."
Hmm... Um... It's stuck."
moving it the wrong way."
That works better." The mechanism came alive and the giant gears started
moving, slowly turning, pulling the massive chains that were holding the gates
shut. As they opened, they revealed the rest of the path, and what was to be their
ultimate goal. They were finally approaching the end of the Shiverpeaks.
almost through, thank the gods," said Stargazer. "Let's hurry, we're
so close to Kryta, I can almost feel the warm air rising up the mountain to greet
us." She was excited, they all were. It was nice to finally see some glimpse
that they hadn't been dragging themselves through ruins and freezing mountains
for nothing; but they weren't in the clear yet. They still had work to do and
dwarves to stop. After what they had been through before, this felt like light
work. The few remaining dwarves were scattered and unorganized, and posed little
threat to anyone. Once the few remaining dwarves had been dealt with, they opened
the few remaining gates and rejoined Rurik.
friends, I cannot thank you enough for what you've done today," said the
prince. "Surely there will be tales of you told for years to come. There
will be much rejoicing tonight, but first, we must get to Beacon's Perch. Let
us make haste, there is a foul stench in the air." No sooner had he finished
speaking than did a cry start coming over the mountains. It was not the cry of
terror or defeat, nor was it the cry of a single voice. It was a war cry, made
up of hundreds of voices, and it was all around them.
You dare intrude in my lands," a voice said, echoing all around them. "For
that, your punishment is death."
are the lands of King Jalis Ironhammer! We pass with his permission," Prince
Rurik said. He knew saying this would have little effect if this really was the
leader of the rebellious summit dwarves, who King Ironhammer had warned him about
before they left Creek's Hollow.
laugh came over the cliff above them and as they looked up, there he was, the
ferocious leader himself. "Ironhammer and his pets have no authority here.
This is the land of Dagnar Stoneplate and the Stone Summit." He began to
laugh again, and again the war cry went out all around the Ascalonians. The first
wave of the Summit was rapidly approaching, but they were no match for Rurik and
his royal guard, who made quick work of the attackers.
Get the people to Beacon's or all hope is lost," the prince said. Desperation
was on his face for the first time that anyone could remember. He knew the immediacy
of their situation and wanted, more than anything, to get his people to safety;
but there was no time. He had to come up with something now, so he did the only
thing he could think of. "Royal guard! On me! We will hold this line until
our people are safely beyond the gates. Do not fail me now, not when our people
need us the most!"
cry was answered immediately by all of the members of his guard. Together, their
collective cry was so fierce that it caused the oncoming dwarves to hesitate for
a moment. Their bloodlust soon overcame them again, and they once more charged
Lead the people to Beacon's Perch," Rurik said to the disrobed entourage,
which had taken up position behind him, ready to fight. "You must get the
people to safety."
Stargazer started to say, but was cut off.
you wish, my liege," said Buffy. Clearly, separating from the prince was
not something anyone wanted to do, but they had no choice. The people needed to
and his men formed their line and let nothing through. They would not suffer anything
to pass by them, and their battle cry became more intense with every sword-stroke,
their attacks more fierce: it seemed as though Balthazar himself had posessed
them and was guiding their blades to their marks. No enemy could stop the prince
from achieving his goal. His burning sword was a force no man could reckon with.
second wave fell faster than the first. The third, even faster. He looked back
over his shoulder and saw that the people had made it safely beyond the gates.
He had done it, his people were safe. It did not come without a price, however.
Half of his guard lay dead with the dwarves. They would not be able to stop another
men, we've accomplished our goal," he said. "We must make haste and
rejoin the others."
they began their retreat, Dagnar let out a furious bellow. "You will not
escape me, humans!" He waved his axe above his head and called forth a mighty
avalanche. The entire mountainside quaked at its power as it headed for Rurik.
was nothing the prince could do to get out of the way, so he thrust his sword
into the ground and braced himself as best as he could, preparing for the worst.
He didn't have to wait long. The tidal wave of snow slammed into him and ripped
at his armor trying to take him with it; but his grip was strong and he would
not be defeated. He held on and, for a moment, it appeared he would be successful.
would have none of that, though. Spying several trees that looked as though they
were ready to fall over, he had them thrust over the edge, hurdling right at the
prince. Rurik had no time to react. Even if he did, he would still not have been
able to do anything, it was taking all he had to keep from going over the cliffside
with the avalanche. The first tree barely missed him. The second was dead on,
hitting him in the shoulder, crushing it beneath its weight, sending Rurik toppling
onto his back, where the last one fell on top of his stomache. He could hardly
breathe. He couldn't move. So this is the end, he thought. The avalanche subsided
and he lay there, unable to move. The villainous Dagnar appeared and stood over
him, gloating over the prince.
all of his remaining strength, Rurik looked to Dagnar and said, "Go ahead
and kill me, but remember this: you have failed. My people are safe."
am I to disobey a prince?" Dagnar said, and as he did so he raised his axe
above his head. "As for your people... well, we shall see how safe they really
saw the axe start its descent downward, and then all was black.
No!" was what Stargazer said, looking back at the path they had just come
from. They were a stone's throw away from Beacon's Perch and the safety it provided.
They were able to hear the battle cry of Rurik and his guards the entire way down
the path, and it gave them hope. They knew they would be safe. After a while,
though, the cry stopped, and they couldn't be sure why. Did Rurik succeed and
eliminate all the remaining summit dwarves, or was it too much of a task for him
and his royal guards? Their answer came quickly enough. The ground had started
to tremble and, as they looked back, they saw one of the higher cliff faces collapse,
starting an avalanche that was heading right to where Rurik was. When it had finally
subsided, they knew that he did not survive. The rest of their journey to Beacon's
Perch was quiet and tearful.
they arrived, they were greeted by Master Armin Saberlin. He had planned to greet
them with open arms and joyous cries, expecting much of the same from them. The
greeting he recieved confused him. Where was Rurik? He expected the prince to
be leading his people onward, but the prince was nowhere to be seen. Further more,
what was that tremor he felt earlier? What was going on out there? As soon as
he saw the people solemnly walking into the refuge zone, he knew. His heart sank
to the ground as he realized that Rurik was claimed by the mountain and would
never rejoin his people. He had lost his prince, his liege-lord, and, what was
more, he had lost his friend. For years, the two fought side by side together
against the Charr. Losing Rurik now was more than he could bear, now that the
people needed their prince the most. All Saberlin could do when the refugees started
walking through the gates was to look at the ground, and join in the silent sobbing.
He tried to busy himself with seeing to the wounded, getting blankets for the
cold, making sure everyone had a warm bowl of food to eat. He tried everything
he could to get his mind off the loss he had just suffered, but he couldn't. His
friend was gone.
was with his beloved Althea now.