Dark Presence Rising

Dire Straits

Play Session 3

As Castiel is discovering the pirate ship and the imminent threat to the companions and crew, he just barely notices the last grappling hook being pulled securely into place. He knows that he needs to sound the alarm but his hunger for battle and the thrill of the fight takes control. He wages an epic battle of wills pitting his sense of danger for the companions and his dragonborn heritage’s lust for battle. Ultimately, his good sense of empathy for others wins over and he sounds the alarm down into the berth of the ship. Meanwhile, he knows it is up to him to hold the pirates at bay or they will quickly overwhelm his companions below decks.

Variel being the most alert at the time springs into action with his great axe already in hand and sprints toward the stairs. As he makes his way to the stairs, he calls out to Arkamydies and Auris, “Kael, Auris, get upstairs. We have work to do.” He also raps on the door to the cabin where Arkamydies and Zanhorn are sleeping and shouts for them to hurry upstairs. Meanwhile Castiel is barely managing to hold things together. Three human rabble have crossed the ropes onto the merchant’s vessel and are attempting to surround him and bring him down. His armor is not quite suited to stopping blades but, being a master dual wielding swordsman, he does not seem concerned with these minor foes. It’s the wizard and the burly looking guard on the pirate vessel that concern him.
As Variel reaches the top of the stairs he is able to see what a master Castiel is when fighting with two swords. He whirls and darts back and forth always seeming to stay just out of reach of the flimsy looking daggers that human rabble are wielding. He spins to block one blade while the other is sent out behind him to block the attack from behind. All the while, he is dodging crossbow quarrels from the guard across the water and magic missiles being projected from the wizard’s hands. Variel’s presence is a relief but it is enough of a distraction to allow a single crossbow quarrel through his defenses. Luckily his leather armor is able to stop the bolt from sinking to deep, but still, the wound to his side pains him.

Zanhorn sees all of this happen in an instant and knows that both he and Variel need to start crossing the ropes to eliminate the threat that the mage and guard pose to their group. He shouts to the others, “Variel and I will cross, everyone else focus on the subduing the rabble here. Castiel can join us to deal with the wizard and guard if he’s capable enough!” Castiel fires back a retort and continues to whirl and dance with his blades. As Zanhorn and Variel are crossing, Kael shouts for Castiel to roll to the side. At precisely the right moment, Castiel dodges to the side. He could feel the divine energy building in the area and escapes at just the right moment. There is a huge explosion of energy that Kael unleashed and two of the rabbles are projected over the side of the railing and into the ocean. One is left remaining and Arkamydies seizes the moment to bury magic missile after magic missile into the distracted remaining rabble. The last one goes down in a heap.

Auris feeling left out runs to the railing and takes cover. She peeks over the side and uses the guard’s distraction to blast him in the midsection with a lance of faith. A radiant lance of divine energy is projected forward from her outstretched hand to strike the guard. He stumbles slightly but is otherwise unaffected by this attack. Seeing such a brilliant attack, Zanhorn, Variel, and Castiel are bolstered by Auris’ faithful attack. At this point, Castiel has begun to cross the ropes behind Variel and Zanhorn. Variel lands on the deck with a loud thud and issues a challenge to the guard. This seems to get his attention as finally a worthy opponent has stepped forward. Kael and Arkamydies seize the opportunity to blast both the human mage and the guard with magical energy but their attacks seem to barely graze each of their targets. Variel, now toe to toe with the human guard is trading blows in order to enrage him and draw his attention away from the others. Variel’s matte grey plate armor allows him to withstand a lot of punishment in battle. It is scored, scratched, and notched but it is not poorly taken care of. Taking a glancing blow to the thigh, from the guard, Variel takes the opportunity to sidestep behind him and quickly bring down the human mage.

The frail mage instantly knows that this holy warrior will be big trouble for him and digs deep into his magical reservoir to issue a blinding bolt of lightning. He targets Variel knowing that his iron armor will conduct it and project it onward to affect the others. Variel locks eyes with the mage and stalks forward as this is happening and realizes too late that he’s been goaded into taking the full blast of the lightning bolt. It strikes him dead center in the chest and crackles up and down his body leaving him breathless with the force of it. The lightning, with a mind of its own now, dances from Variel to Castiel and on to Zanhorn. Luckily, the bolt lost most of its energy when it struck Variel and stayed primarily attached to the iron plate armor he was wearing. Castiel, in mid leap to land next to the guard takes the glancing effects of the lightning and quickly shakes it off. However, the moment was all the guard needed and a precisely timed swing of his hand axe bites into Castiel’s thigh. Meanwhile Zanhorn, who is still balanced precariously on the ropes between the ships, loses his footing from the lightning bolt and slips off. He barely manages to grab the ropes as he falls and begins to swing his legs up onto the railing of the ship all the while yelling, “Do not stop to worry for me. I will make it. Just focus on distracting them so I can make it aboard without interference!”

Castiel, knowing that things are becoming dire, readies himself after the hit to unleash all of his innate fury upon the guard. The guard seeing the battle fury in the dragonborn’s eyes knows his end is near. Castiel pivots with the blow he received and uses the momentum of the pivot to execute a spinning backhanded blow with the pommel of his left sword to the guards face. He then brings his right handed blade to bear swinging his left back around in a tornado of death the leaves the guard completely cut to ribbons. Trails of blood fly to and fro instantly soaking his leather armor with blood and splattering his face and arms. Seeing that the biggest threat to them has been dispatched, Variel continues to wade into combat with the mage and cleaves him in two with a vicious swipe of his enormous great axe.

The battle is won and Auris rushes aboard to tend to Castiel’s wounds praying to Pelor to grant this valiant warrior another day to fight that his will might be felt surreptitiously through Castiel. Castiel mutters to Auris, “Many thanks Auris. Your healing skills have saved my life this day and you have my gratitude.” Auris replies, “Your thanks are heard, but it is Pelor who you should thank. It is through him that these powers flow. I am but the instrument of his will and it would appear that he has taken note of your prowess. Perhaps you might consider worshiping him someday?” “I worship no gods for a reason” replies Castiel, “but you still have my gratitude. Both you and Pelor do.” Seeing that everyone is safe and the wounded are tended, the party begins to rummage through the personal effects of the pirates and relinquish them of their gold and treasures. And, once the noise of battle has subsided, the group can hear noises from below like the sound of scuffling boots and furniture being shifted into position to hamper their descent down the stairs. Variel looks at Zanhorn and with grim determination and says, “Well, they attacked us so we must punish them. The wicked deserve their fate and these shall get what they have earned in this life” and begins to stalk toward the stairs into the belly of the pirate’s ship.

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