Devil on the Doorstep ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

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Vivimord
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Devil on the Doorstep ((Preservation from Umbral GuildPortal))

Post by Vivimord » Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:48 am

((Originally posted by Honnete.))

{{This was written for Andi's alternate Scourge invasion timeline, on the Feathermoon forums.}}

Wailing Caverns

Honnete wakes shivering in the damp cave air. She looks over to the tip of Burnil’s tusks, all that can be seen peeking out of the top of a cocoon of blankets. “Ya be ‘oggin’ all da blankets again!” she accuses, before darting fingers in through the windings to tickle his sensitive spots.

“Yarghh!” Burnil shouts as he wakes to feel cold fingers tickling him. He throws off the blankets, capturing both Honnete’s hands in one of his massive paws, and retaliates. Soon she is squirming, begging him to stop. And soon after that the cave is filled with the sounds of passion, the blankets long since forgotten. Neither of them notices the brightening glow in the eyes of the ancient hero’s skull that overlooks their mattress. Still less do they hear the sounds of battle in the outer reaches of the cave, or smell blood spilled. It is only when Witby comes dashing in and lands on top of them that they realize something may be wrong. Even then, Burnil bops Witby on the nose and tells him to “Go away, silly ole Witby!” But then Silky, too, comes barreling in, squealing at full voice. Burnil lifts his head and scents the air.

“Quick, Honnete, dead ‘uns!” he shouts, as he hastily throws his armour on. She is moving fast too, an arrow already nocked, scanning the entrance to their bedroom for threat. All they can hear is a roaring, loud enough to drown the sounds of the waterfalls. Since both are hunters, they can smell the stench of grave rot, a smell so strong now that they wonder why they didn’t notice it before. Honnete grabs her own armour, and starts putting it on as they prudently fall back further into the cave. The shamblers don’t notice them unless they move too close, and may provide a brief barrier to the undead. The elven druids are more wary – too many of them have made a meal for the orcs in the past few months since Burnil and Honnete took up residence. However, the hunters move too fast for them, and are soon past.

The cavern is easy to get lost in, with many passages feeding into one another, and Honnete and Burnil have still not explored all of its pathways. However, Honnete remembers one spot where a jump is needed to get to the further reaches. “Mebbe ‘f we goes ta dat jumpin’ place?” she suggests. “Dunno ‘f da deadahs c’n jump, but ‘s wort’ a try.” Burnil just nods, and follows her. Behind them, they hear the sounds of battle, all too briefly. The wet crunching and roaring that follow…….Honnete shudders. “We best ‘urry!”

On the other side of the jump, they lay traps and wait. Both hope that they can delay and maybe dispose of whatever pursues. That hope is dashed as a moving wall of undead surges into view. There seems no end to them. As fast as the two hunters shoot the leaders, they are replaced. The press behind forces the Scourge in front to fall into the gap, and still they come. Honnete looks down in alarm. “Dey’s goin’ ta en’ up walkin’ ovah each othah! Soon, too.” Burnil grunts in agreement. “Best fall back.” The two retreat slowly up the winding cave passageway, laying immolation traps as they go.

Still the Scourge come, now having filled up the gap with their bodies. Burning, filled with arrows…. as soon as one falls another takes its place. Still neither hunter can see the end of the press. Burnil lifts his snout and snuffs the air again. “They ends,” he reports briefly. “Ya reck’ns we c’n kill ‘em all?” asks Honnete. Burnil shakes his head, dolefully. “Nah, me neithah,” she agrees. “We c’d go up ta da Everlivin’ ‘n jump… mebbe get out uv da cave b’hind ‘em?” Burnil nods. Neither hunter considers the possibility of playing dead. The Scourge are eating every living creature in their path, and being apparently dead would be unlikely to save them that fate.

Slowly Honnete and Burnil retreat, laying traps and firing arrows as they go. The Scourge fall, but not enough. Never enough. It is becoming increasingly clear that they will have to abandon their home. Suddenly, Honnete has a thought, and turns to Burnil. “I lef’ my stone b’hin’. Ya still got yers? Mebbe we c’d call fer ‘elp.” He pulls his speaking stone from the pouch at his belt, and activates it. All they can hear is voices calling out in alarm or fear. Apparently the Scourge has invaded everywhere. There will be no help coming. The Crossroads will probably have fallen already, since the Scourge are in the Wailing Caverns.

They break into a run as they reach the cavern where Verdun stands, and leap from the ledge into the pool below. “Run!” Burnil gasps, urgently. “Scourge comin back!” Honnete grabs his hand and they run desperately for the cave entrance, hoping that it will be safe. Some straggling remnants of Scourge delay them, but mostly the way is clear except for clean-picked bones and pools of unidentifiable noxious fluids.

Outside the caverns, they call their riding wolves and start to move south, as far and as fast as they can. All the while they listen to the speaking stone, which seems to have more and more tales of disaster. “Dere mus’ be some r’sistance, surely?” Honnete asks.
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