Anthies stood on a rocky ledge, overlooking a cavern floor strewn with the skeletal remains of what appeared to be several hundred humanoids, the flesh long decayed from most. A glance towards the far end of the cavern revealed the reason for all those skeletons. A large turtle seemingly formed from the same rock as the cavern itself stood blocking the only path available. “I don’t suppose we can reason with it, can we?” Anthies said wryly. He absently shifted the shield slung across his back, and placed a hand on the haft of his axe.
“You can try, but I fear you will get the same answer those poor fools below got.” Fellthar, answered grimly. Anthies shook his head ruefully, and turned to face the others as Fellthar addressed them. “It would seem our only option is to go deeper into the cave and try to find a way back to the surface.” the other blood elf said to the group assembled in front of him. “Unless of course one of you has figured out how to sprout wings, and is willing to carry us out.”
An orc, clad in full-plate armor hefted his large two-handed sword, made of what appeared to be solid obsidian, and laughed. “You paladins have got wings. I’ve seen ‘em!” Amuyam, the other orc in the party, chuckled as well, though the laughter barely touched his eyes. Unexpectedly being dropped into a chasm had soured his mood a bit.
“Our wings are mostly just for show, Ruin.” Anthies answered the death knight with a smile.
“Altitude has never been our strong point.” Fellthar agreed.
“If we’ve got to kill it, let’s be about it.” Phantomjack said dryly, even for a blood elf he sounded grim. Aesdyne chimed in also, saying “Yes, let’s just kill the damn thing and get out of here before Sylvanas shows up to claim all these skeletons!”
Anthies turned towards the two druids and the remaining paladin. “Celesx, Ldywrath, Natishka, What do you ladies think, you’ve been remarkably quiet.” Without a word the druids’ shifted into their tree forms, and Natishka just smiled and hefted her two-handed sword, Doombringer.
“Like Phantom said, if we must kill it, let’s get it over with. We must reach Lei Shen, and stop him!” Lectron rumbled, the normally reserved shaman’s eyes shown fiercely.
Anthies watched silently as Fellthar charge towards the giant turtle. It was a system the two had devised to deal with foes. Fellthar would make the first strike to get the creature’s attention, and he would assist him, and deal with any other enemies that might try to flank them. A shimmering field of pure Light surrounded Fellthar as he slammed into the turtle shield first. At the same instant the cavern erupted with the sound of battle as the rest of the group attacked. A stampede of wild animals rushed past Anthies as he ran towards the turtle. He ignored the beasts, knowing that they belonged to the two hunters, Amuyam and Aesdyne. This was not the first time he had seen them in action. Mushrooms bloomed on the rocky floor as the druids channeled their healing spells to counter the damage the turtle was doing to Fellthar. Anthies whispered a prayer, and wings made of pure golden Light appeared on his back and the Light surged through him, giving him strength. With a roar, he threw his shield, now glowing with the same golden light as his wings towards the turtle, and after it slammed into it, it immediately returned to him. Movement out of the corner of his eye distracted him, and he heard Fellthar yell, “More turtles, careful!!” At that instant the giant turtle reared up and slammed back into the ground, shaking the entire cavern. Anthies barely kept his feet as he turned to assist with the turtles that had joined the fight. They were dispatched quickly, leaving hollow shells once they died. Through the roar of battle, he heard Nathishka scream at him. “Anthies, bats! You must keep them off of Fellthar!” With a curse, Anthies looked towards where Natishka pointed. A large swarm of bats had been awaked by the noise, and were rapidly descending.
Sprinting, Anthies hurled his Light-infused shield into their midst, hoping to draw their attention away from the rest of the group. They screeched and swarmed over him clawing and biting at his face and arms. Another prayer to the Light escaped him, and the ground beneath his feet burst into a circle of Light, burning the bats and the turtle as well. Anthies could see Phantom, a shining nimbus of holy light, and screamed. “Phantom! Bat! Look out!” Before he could move towards the priest, a hand of black unholy energy grabbed the bat and drugs it toward where Ruin was standing a few feet away. “You owe me one, priest!” Ruin yelled, as he turned back towards the giant turtle. Anthies grinned in spite of himself at the unlikely alliance that had been formed amongst the group of heroes. More bats poured from the ceiling, and he was desperately trying to keep their attention focused on him. He felt one of the bats claws rip into his neck, and screamed as blood poured from the wound. His vision began to fade, and he tried to channel the Light to heal the wound, but found he could not speak. “You don’t be dying on me now, elf.” he heard a thick troll accent say. Celesx winked at him and returned her attention to Fellthar, surrounding him in a glowing green light.
The fighting had gone on for what seemed like hours, but in truth, only minutes had passed. The great turtle was showing signs of weariness itself, blood pouring from the many wounds the heroes had given it. Anthies’ breath came raggedly, his arms and legs leaden. The turtles thrashing had caused large stalactites to fall from the roof of the cavern, and one had nearly crushed him. He was certain that his shield arm was broken, and likely several of his ribs. He took a deep breath, and summoned the last of his strength. If he was going to die here, he would do what he could to ensure his friends survived at least. Screaming, he summoned a hammer of pure Light and cast it into the ground at Fellthar’s feet. Several of the bats were swarmed around the other paladin, their claws ripping into his cloak and armor, seeking flesh. Lightning arced from the hammer, and ripped into the bats. Anthies threw himself into the seething mass, flailing about with his axe, drawing them away from Fellthar. He heard Lectron scream “Look out!” and hurl one of the empty shells left behind by the smaller turtles towards the giant turtle. The shell struck the turtle just below it’s right eye, stunning it, and stopping the great intake of breath it had been inhaling. Fellthar turned to see the axe slip from Anthies’ hand and his body crumple to the ground in a heap. Fellthar looked around frantically and yelled. “Ldywrath, heal him!” the tauren druid’s eyes were somber as she looked at Anthies’ broken form.
“I can do nothing for him in the midst of this battle, Fellthar, I’m sorry.” She pivoted as a smaller turtle snapped at her. “We must defeat this creature if we are to save him, or any of us.” she cried out. Lectron scooped up the paladin’s body and summoned the raw power of the elements, infusing it into those left standing.
“End it now, Fellthar!” Lectron growled. Fellthar screamed and Light surged around him “LIGHT, GIVE ME STRENGTH!” Pure bloodlust filled the heroes and they poured every last ounce of strength they had into their attacks. Bats continued to swarm around them, and the smaller turtles surged into the cavern, trying to overwhelm them. With a loud anguished moan, the giant turtle shuddered and for an instant was still, before crumbling into a mass of shattered stone.
Lectron gently laid Anthies on the stone floor, and Celesx’s hands glowed with a soft green light, that slowly infused the paladin’s body. The rest watched anxiously as his wounds closed slowly. Finally, Anthies’ eyes fluttered open, and he took a shallow breath. “I…I think my shield is broken.” He said faintly.
“Well, we’ll have to see about fixing it.” Fellthar said with a relieved smile. “We’ve still got a Thunder King to dethrone.”
I tried to include everyone involved in the kill as much as possible, but it was hard to do and keep the story flowing naturally. Everyone involved in this kill did extremely well, and played a very big part. I hope no one feels like I intentionally downplayed their role in this fight…