The battle raged for an hour. The blighted came in waves and the others were able to defeat each wave, but they grew weary. I wanted to help them, wanted to make them listen to me, but they were all too busy and I couldn’t stand up. It wasn’t until the sixth wave had been defeated and Rufus was laid out beside me, unconscious from a blow to his head that looked fairly awful before I finally understood what was happening. I sat up, looked down at myself and realized that I had died.
Died, you know, dead, like ghostville. It really pissed me off. The arm had kept bleeding, a mixture of vine ooze and good red blood. Basically I had just bled to death, as you’d expect from a wound like that, but with no pain, and my friends in trouble, I didn’t have time to notice.
And I guess I have to caveat exactly what I mean by dead. My spirit was still around. I had no strong urge to go to the Far Shore or anything. From where I was hovering, I didn’t have a strong indication that the Far Shore even existed. That’s a subject for a different day.
I didn’t stay dead, as you can guess by me writing this journal entry, but I’ll not jump ahead here.
When I was dead, and the others were battling for their lives, Liz arrived with Lilith (or Sparkle, too early to tell) , three hobgoblins, a dwarf, six gnomes and a bugbear. They all were fairly starved looking, but eager for some payback. They joined the battle and helped turn the tide by the end of hour three. Exhaustion was becoming a factor and both Blargle and Beatrice were wounded and hanging back with me and Rufus.
None of them could hear me, which was annoying and since I was only mostly dead, I couldn’t go too far from my body. I did stand over with Liz who was more wounded than I’d ever seen her. Her left leg was broken and set with sticks and torn strips of cloth, but she fought. I could see the pain in her, in all of them actually. Alfred was a tougher than I had first imagined. He took blow after blow, and still he stood on his feet, killing foes without pausing as his allies fell back one at a time.
Scythen, Leaper and a half a dozen other spider pairs arrived just after Liz collapsed. One of the surviving gnomes dragged her back and stood guard over her, like he was her bodyguard. Actually, all of the random folk who came to the arena with her were protecting her, taking blows meant for her, sacrificing themselves to keep her alive. That’s how all three hobgoblins were killed. The bugbear went a little crazy when Liz fell the first time. A blood lust came over him and he rushed into the enemy, ignoring his own safety and killed three of the bigger blighted before he was pulled down. The gnomes were a bit more wily, using their size and speed to their advantage. They were especially interested in Rufus. There weren’t too many gnome wizards where they came from.
The spiders saved the day, or what was left of the day. They had a lot of experience battling the blighted and were able to turn the tide very quickly. It gave Alfred and Calladil a chance to rest, which was sorely needed. Liz was able to cast a very small healing when she revived a bit which brought Rufus back into the game. He had two more healing potions and they went to Liz and Alfred who needed it the most. I was delighted that Rufus was such a good potion maker. I wanted to talk more with him, after I wasn’t dead any longer. Yes, I know, crazy thing to say, but when you are dealing with magic and the divine, not all rules apply.
Lilith and Calladil where the least injured. I don’t think Lilith had been touched. While the spiders beat back the last attack, she opened her pack, took out the closet where Wizard Tim was hiding and opened it up. The gnomes raided the place looking for weapons better than the rusted swords they had been using and for food. There was a bit of food, which made those who were standing very happy.
Tim was hauled out and sat on the ground beside the rest of us and Lilith applied a second potion that would bring him back from his torpor. It just took a while to complete. They really needed a fresh wizard, too. After this, Liz came to me and sat by my body, holding my left hand and crying. Her leg was not healed, but most of her color was back after quaffing the potion. I tried to talk to her, and I thought that maybe she heard me there for a moment, but she just cried while the gnomes stood around her. It was very sad.
Once Tim was revived, they brought him up to speed. They all exchanged what pieces they knew about the arena, the blighted and even the elves at the top. Blargle had sussed that out. I was quite proud of her. Leaper took two pair of their swiftest and went up the ramps to confirm what was up there and the rest started making plans.
With the intelligence from the spiders, Rufus assessed that the blighted would eventually over run the arena. He suggested that higher ground would be easier to defend. The spiders told how they had brought me and The Green Lady to the tower and how the blighted had brought us here.
“She’s up there,” Blargle said. “I’ll deal with her.”
No one argued, not even Scythen, who worshiped the flower covered god. Things had apparently gone too far for even her most dutiful followers.
I tried to tell them we needed to burn out the vines, and to do that we had to go lower, not higher. But, you know, mostly dead. No one heard me even when I jumped around and shouted. Someone heard me, but that didn’t come to bear until the following day. For now they decided to pack away the dead. No one wanted to leave anyone behind. Lilith opened the pocket closet she’d used to hide Tim and they moved the dead, including me, into the room and shut it away again. It was cold and lonely, but I did find something positive in that eerily lit place. Besides more of Tim’s hat collection, I mean.