Cleric Journal: Day Two Hundred and Eighty Five

DearFatherMulcahy

 

 

The howling wind and constant lightning strikes made a cacophony of the night.  The enemy’s ability to track by smell had been overwhelmed by the sharp scent left behind by lightning strikes mingled with that of the churned swamp muck and rotted vegetation.  The enemy, eleven gnolls, struck out at random, howling and raging against the storm, frantically searching for their prey.  Even the berserker blood rage of the gnolls was no match for my daring and audacity.  I was a madman in the storm — the weapon of divine retribution against the demonic aberrations which tainted the very nature around me.

I crossed the open water with Kithri on my shoulders, unhindered now that the leeches had all died attacking the first gnoll to be destroyed this night.  I had wrapped Kithri in my cloak, protecting her as best I could from the elements, but she did not seem to be affected by anything as paltry as rain.  Stalking my next gnoll victim while carrying her must have looked outrageous to any who could’ve seen us in that night.   But the absurdity of the scene did not save the next gnoll.

I was within striking distance when a lightning flash cast my shadow in relief, allowing the gnoll to spin at me in that last second as my mace smashed into his arm.  I had hoped to smash in the back of his skull, but the mace had no problem breaking the bones in its upraised right arm.  It swiped at me feebly with its left claw as my second blow shattered its shoulder and drove it to the ground.  The third blow smashed in its face driving the shattered bones of the skull back into the creatures foul brain.

Three breathes, no more and the score was ten against one.

The next two were harder, as you can imagine.  My luck is only so good.  I attempted to pull one of them from the other with the briefest of conjuring with Kithri’s divine power, but I misjudged and the two of them charged me, their roars lost in the deluge.  Kithri sat against a rock outcropping, three steps behind where I stood, braced to attacked the monsters.  It appeared to me that as soon as they got within five strides of Kithri, they angled toward her, ignoring my very existence.  This gave me a few more ideas for defeating the monsters, and confirmed that we were indeed being tracked by the scent of her specific flavor of divine.

Killing a beast that refuses to acknowledge your existence is rather easy, and frankly less than exhilarating.  While my mind was afire with the chaos and power of the storm around me, the death of the third gnoll gave me no satisfaction.  I believe it was due to the fact it held no challenge.  The fourth, however, had more survival instincts and turned from his original path toward Kithri and lunged over his fallen companion, slashing at me, laying open two great gashes in my forearm.  Him, I enjoyed killing.  Three blows with the mace drove him to the ground and a fourth smashed his head into the mud at our feet.  If the blow didn’t kill him, then he drowned in the mud.  Either way, he kicked twice and stopped moving.

I examined the slash to my arm, letting the torrent of rain wash it clean.  The cut would likely be infected as the gnoll was such a foul creature.  With my old view of the divine I would’ve healed it in a thrice.  Now, with this new form, I was unsure exactly how to proceed.  But I’m a quick study.  I thought back to the way I would mend my cloak and tried that on my arm.  The relief was immediate as the pain simply faded, washed away with the blood that had bubbled to the surface of the flesh.  I toyed with the flow, moving it to and fro, see where I affected the wound and where I just caused the green glow of spill over.  It took no more than a minute, but with my mind clear, and the interference of Kithri’s armor removed, I was starting to get a handle on things.   I completely healed the arm with energy to spare.  Every lightning strike seemed to fill me with renewed vigor.

The odds were steadily swinging in my favor.  Eight to one and the storm had intensified.  I was very happy not to be standing along the road in metal armor, let me tell you.  I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to hear again with all the explosions that rent the surrounding terrain.  One of the gnolls, the fifth to die, wielded a halberd longer than I was tall.  He had seen me fell his two companions and came running across the road, weapon held high over his head, screaming an impotent war cry which was swallowed by the bolt of lightning that struck him.  I had remembered to squeeze one eye shut, so when the strobing finished, I saw that the only bits remaining of the foul beast was a twisted metal blade smoking in the rain.

The remaining gnolls hunted in three separate and supporting groups: two, two and three.  The closest to me was further north, away from the dwarven tunnels.  Another pair was up where the road rose along the western edge of the Far Spire peak, and the trio were within striking distance of the hidden door.

I debated heading for the trio, but feared that one or the other duo would turn back and attacked me from the rear.  Better to destroy them on my terms while the storm held.  Divide and conquer had worked so far against the first five.

I headed north, staying off the road and moving through the thick vegetation.  The green sight allowed me to not only move through the darkness as if it were day, but it eased my passage through the brambles.  I know understood just how Liz had managed to move around the swamp so easily.  I’d have to say something once I rescued her.

Carrying Kithri had become second nature, but the night was long and my arms and shoulders were growing tired.  I found a set of low branches where I could tuck her up off the ground near the first duo.  Once she was secured, I stalked the gnolls, moving more swiftly than I should’ve been able to get away with.  Luckily the storm still favored me.  I had the next pair in my sights and I was feeling confident.

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