Ahrea Sidestory: Soul Of The Burning Mountain

Session 9: To Those Who Remain

Aras and Fiva begin willingly rushing into the trap the Legion has set for them – a good majority of Yarvdenn’s troops are waiting for them to arrive, and a number of snakemen and other weird creatures such as native drakes have made their presence known – engaging everything that’s entered the ruins, the Legion included.

Aras begins having a rather horrid daydream as he remembers a lot of old friends – Inel, Hilde, Ellever, and all sorts of other companions from his past ask him to protect them, and all of them begin turning into skeletons in front of him as he continues through the ruins. Aras apologizes to them for not having been able to, and imagines Gragus and his other recently deceased comrades also asking for his help and turning into skeletons along with the others. Aras is visible shaken, and begins stating that he can’t help them anymore, but that he’ll protect everyone still left. He looks over to see Fiva running alongside him and imagines her in a skeletal form, then immediately goes emotionally dead as he swears at the skeletons in his daydream that he will protect her over all – proving this point to them by cutting the head off of a drake in one blow as he runs past it.

The pair continue going down the hallway leading to the grand chamber, coming across heavy resistance as the Legion are firing arrows at them and trying to engage in sword fights along the way.

Fiva starts having her own daydream as she continues running and fighting her way down the hall with Aras – envisioning forests and fields full of flowers and all sorts of other such pleasant things, and stating plainly that she does not want to be here – she wants to be free from this. She wants to be far away and never experience war again – though she returns to reality and determines that she’ll need to take Aras with her first, despite how long it will take her.

The two continue on through the hallway after their hallucinations, running as fast as they can while engaging whatever opponents attempt to get in their way. The entire time they’re being fired at by arrows and being attacked by Legionnaires and snake men – but the two hack and slash their way through the thick of it. Later on in the charge the Legion intentionally start blasting columns and pillars over in order to attempt to stop them and buy time for Yarvdenn to finish the enchantment to open the portal. However, Aras continues running, slashing, and jumping through the thick of it – while Fiva follows right along as she fires her bow and scampers through the debris.

As those two are continuing through the hallway to the grand chamber, Selea is still trying to heal Adgar’s wounds at the ambush site. Wekus holds guard as best as he can, though he’s badly wounded himself. As she continues trying to save Adgar’s life, however, she realizes that the inevitable is happening – Legionnaires start rushing in to surround the three, the majority of the force having caught up to execute them. Knowing there’s no escape from this situation, and that she’s sworn to protect her wounded charges, Selea throws both Adgar and Wekus behind her as she holds her arms up – yelling at them that they will have to fight her in order to kill the others. She looks horribly afraid as she knows she has chance, but holds her ground with her mace in hand – until Adgar grabs her and forces her and Wekus underneath him, telling them to hold on. He starts yelling out an incantation, and suddenly a blast emanates from him – a blast of searing light.

As Adgar lets go of her, Selea looks up – seeing that little of the enemy remains other then charred ashes all around them. She’s utterly horrified at the prospect that some 50-70 people have just died around her, and Adgar grabs her and informs her that this is what he had attempted to shield her from since she was a child. He informs her that this is what war really looks like – people who have no reason to fight each other being forced to due to the different colored-flags they represent, and that they die for no reason during it. He looks utterly remorseful over what he’s just done himself, and forces himself up – telling the two with him that they must attempt to assist Aras and Fiva before they die in this battle as well.

As Aras and Fiva continue their assault, the two pass through an arched hallway – the majority of enemies they’ve come across have either been killed or have cleared out. As the two slow down to figure out where to go, Travner jumps from off top of the hallway arch in order to attempt to back stab Aras (having figured he’s the more lethal opponent out of the two to fight against). Fiva yells out to Aras to get out of the way when she notices him, and Aras turns around in surprise – barely avoiding being struck in the spine by Travner, but he still takes a severe cut down the side as Travner lands next to him. Aras is taken completely off guard, and Fiva takes a shot at Travner in order to protect him. She misses, however, and Travner takes advantage of Aras reeling from his new wound in order to stab him in the right side.

Travner draws back as Aras starts bleeding out, watching on as he’s fully expecting the fighter to succumb to his wounds immediately. Aras asks him why he thought betraying his allies was appropriate, however – catching Travner visibly off guard as he’s still expecting Aras to fall over dead by now. Seeing that Fiva now has an arrow directly pointed towards his face, Travner utilizes her worst fear and begins pointing his dagger at Aras’s neck – letting her know that he’ll fall directly into Aras and slash his neck if she fires. Fiva hesitates, trying to slowly draw in so she can rescue Aras from the predicament he’s in. Travner replies to Aras’s question by stating that it’d be foolish to fight against the new order now that it’s taking control – and that he was guaranteed to have a lavish life once this particular loose end was taken care of. The fact he facilitated the deaths of his former party members means nothing to him, as they simply allowed for him to gain a lion’s share of wealth in repayment for his services to the Legion.

Aras states that Travner die for having made that decision – though Travner laughs, saying that Aras is due to bleed out in minutes since he hasn’t already and is far too gone to make good on the threat.

Figuring that Aras is taken care of, Travner walks past the badly wounded Aras in order to focus on Fiva – dodging another arrow as she fires one to defend herself. He charges her with a jump and takes her by surprise – the thief is extremely quick on his feet and nearly catches her with his dagger to her neck. She barely dodges, however, trying to slam him in the face with her bow as she tries to get out of the way and draw Vyraelys. He continues on the offensive, however, forcing Fiva back as he rapidly stabs in her direction – not giving her the chance to. She’s forced to retreat back, and gets stuck in a position where she’ll get stabbed in the event she tries to draw her sword. Knowing she’s being pushed up against the nearest wall, she tries to roll over to her right, but Travner anticipates this and prepares to stab her as she falls to the ground.

His final attack is disrupted, however, as he realizes that Aras is now rushing right behind him – the fighter yelling out in extreme physical pain as he swings his sword as forcefully as he can. Travner is taken by complete surprise, and barely parries with his dagger, though Aras continues on in a blind rage, swinging his sword wildly as he attempts to kill Travner. The thief is forced completely on the defensive, only having his dagger to defend himself with. He manages to parry a number of Aras’s vertical slashes, and when Aras takes a moment to make a overhead swing at him, Travner uses the opening to stab Aras one more time in the stomach. Aras somewhat reels back from this third wound, having lost his momentum.

Seeing that his opponent is near incapacitated, Travner jumps forward and prepares to slash Aras to ribbons in order to finish him. He completely forgets about Fiva during his rush to kill Aras, however – as she draws her own dagger and stabs him through the back of the shoulder. He lets out an excited gasp and wonders how he got so careless – just in time to see an overly enraged Aras start swinging Kinsir down upon him as Fiva jumps out of the way.

Travner dies a horrible death as Aras rapidly starts using multiple overhead swings of his sword to cut down Travner, and lives up to his word to Selea – once Aras tires out from his most recent rage, there’s not much left of Travner other then a bloody pulp.

Aras stares at the recently deceased thief’s body, and then stumbles backwards as he falls over. Fiva runs over to him and rests him on her lap, realizing that his wounds finally caught up to him. Aras tries to force himself up, however – telling Fiva to bandage him up so they can get going again. Fiva yells at him to stop, however – telling him that he’s far too wounded to even think of carrying on now. Aras disregards her, trying to continue to stand up as she tries to keep him from continuing forward.

As they struggle against one another, a drake manages to sneak up on the two, and Fiva is caught off guard. She watches on as it prepares to pounce on them while she’s trying to hold Aras down – but as the beast prepares to bite at her, a bolt of frost suddenly strikes the beast on the right side of the head, encasing it’s head in ice. Completely surprised, Fiva watches on as the red-headed witch from before casually walks up to the trapped drake and fires a magic missile at it from point-blank range, literally shattering it’s head into pieces.

Fiva and Aras both look at Aya with some amazement, having fully expected to die and shocked she showed up out of nowhere. Aya casually comments she felt a need to be here, and looks concerned as she stares at Aras’s new wounds. Seeing that Fiva nor Aras have done anything to stop the bleeding, Aya forces him up and lets him rest on her shoulder as she rips her own cloak to make bandaging, wrapping it around him as best as she can. Fiva looks surprised, but assists her, utilizing Aras’s own bandaging to fully wrap his wounds. The two help him up, and he barely manages to keep standing as they let him stand on his own.

Fully stressed out that they’ve wasted too much time, Aras starts attempting to run down the hall, though Fiva grabs onto him. She again informs him that there is nothing they can do – though Aras replies that the everyone needs them to continue – even if it costs them personally. Aya watches on during their argument, and looks a bit concerned. Without either of them noticing, Aya walks up to Aras again and holds him up, telling him to keep pace with her. Aras and Fiva both look surprised again, and ask her why she’s helping. Aya replies that if anything, she’s come to regard the two as friends of sorts after having watched them from afar for so long – and promises that no harm will come to Aras as long as she’s with them. Unable to argue any further, Fiva stands dumbstruck as Aras starts dragging Aya behind him, and follows as the fighter and witch start hobbling their way to the grand chamber.

The three finally make their way into the grand chamber of the ruins – finding that Yarvdenn is now fully in the middle of the spell that will open the portal. Aras watches on in horror and throws Aya off of him as he attempts to run at Yarvdenn – but Fiva makes the draw first and shoots at Yarvdenn. The shot hits his left hand, impaling his hand onto the book as he is knocked back by the hit. He yells out in pain as he dislodges the arrow, and looks furiously at the three below him. He yells out in anger that they will die for disrupting the Legion’s plans, and casts an empowered enfeebling blast at them. Aya jumps in front of Aras in order to cast a Shield spell, though her shield breaks as the two of them are thrown backwards into the wall from the force of Yarvdenn’s spell.

As Aras recovers from his dazed state, he finds Aya similarly dazed and laying against him. He looks over to see that Fiva is laying on the ground unconcious from the blast, having hit the wall hard and laying against it. He lets out a pained yell, realizing that this was exactly what he was hoping would not happen.

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