Nethri, clasping the medallion around his neck, projected his thoughts. “What is it you want?”
“Bow before your Master and you will be spared!”
As Luc charged ahead at the Demon Lord, a knot in Nethri’s stomach formed. Concentrating on the essence of Dagon, an odd sensation struck the Dwarf. “Something isn’t right about this…”
Nethri searched the creature, feeling its malice and hatred, feeling the spite of his god upon Dagon. But there was a hole, a pit that couldn’t be filled and left the creature lacking substance. The monstrosity that loomed before them wasn’t the true Demon Lord, Dagon, but an aspect of it.
The message clear, Nethri unclasped his shield and withdrew his craghammer. Luc was in the crashing surf of the ocean now, swinging wildly at the manifestation. “The fool.” Sending a telepathic message to the Fighter, Nethri pleaded, “Luc, get out of the sea – that’s his domain!” But it was too late; the young D’Urban was already engaged, entangled in the array of tentacles.
Seeing only one solution, Nethri held fast, hoping to draw the creature out of the water, when it suddenly disappeared. Unexpectedly, from his right, a tentacle struck. Unable to raise his shield in time, Nethri took the full brunt of the attack, catching a glimpse of the creature suddenly beside him. “Teleportation?!”
The battle raged on for hours, Adasunu and Luc seemingly unable to strike the beast as it moved into and out of the surf, its ability to travel instantly hampering all attempts to contain it. Jetting between the shore and the surf, the warriors found themselves at a disadvantage and soon were on the edge of death. It was all Nethri could do to keep them alive, but even his powers could not keep up with the constant flurry of attacks that Dagon unleashed.
“We must…fallback…and regroup…”
But the onslaught never ceased. The sky shook with every blow and lightning blinded the warriors as they helplessly flailed at the aspect, occasionally drawing blood. The futility of their efforts, though were soon realized, as the massive reach of the creature prohibited them from escaping. Their fate sealed, the warriors fought valiantly, bravely holding out hope that they could prevail. Once an opening presented itself for fleeing, but it was quickly cut off as the creature intercepted Nethri when he tried to reach the shoreline. The waves battled them also, loosening their footing and slowing their movements. Luc, drug into the water by the undertow of the sea, found himself struggling to keep the tentacles at bay. Nethri, firmly planted due to the weight of his armor, gasped for air as wave after wave washed over him. Adasunu, vision impaired by the raging storm, found focusing difficult, and his attempts to attack Dagon suffering greatly.
Between the crests of the waves, Nethri wondered what it would be like to die. “Would it be peaceful or full of torment? Would Dumothoin be receptive and offer his soul sanctuary, or banish him for failure?”
A huge tentacle crashed beside him, snapping Nethri back to reality. As the limb rose, so did the body of Luc. The Dwarf looked on in horror as it floated gingerly with the roll of the sea. As the body rose and fell, fear gripped the Dwarf. “Land…I must make it to land!”
As the creature moved in pursuit of Adasunu, who began weaving through the building by the pier, Nethri was grabbed by a tentacle. Pulled along, he reached the shore and hope swelled in his chest. Spying a rowboat, Nethri started formed a plan of escape. “If I can reach a boat and hide underneath…,” but the thought cost the Dwarf; too long did he dawdle on the idea; too long were his eyes turned; too long was he distracted that he did not see the claw of Dagon swiping toward him. The Runepriest fell face first, mud splattering from the impact, with nary a sound uttered.
Two warriors had fallen to the Demon Lord of the Shadowsea; it was only a matter of time until the Drow shared their fate.
…to be continued.