Wyvernwater - The Fall 3 (Hell on Earth)
Pyth: I hope you meant that you wanted to write this section from Algar's perspective when you mentioned it before.
The Wizard's continued absence no longer inspired unease amongst the villagers, but past the walls of the garrison and before the shores of the great lake, people took to living guarded lives. Construction had ceased since the announcement of Theliobar's lack of a claim to the lands, and not just a few villagers were leaving altogether rather than waiting for the real owner of the lands to be found - a task and a half in itself. The militia had a new lawbook on its hands, several times the size of their old one; thankfully, the Purple Dragon garrison from Arabel had seen fit to keep the militia in place, temporarily at least. Recruits were no longer pouring into the militia though, and the council was growing ever smaller. The end of the village's tale was coming, clear enough to all whether they wished to see it or not.
When the sun set upon the stillwater of the lake, the Warden and Sergeant Jones of the militia were headed back for the garrison from a patrol in the wildlands. The sombre mood had carried over from the last few weeks, and what words passed between the two were little enough to call it a conversation. Not one remarked on the sight of nightfall, but perhaps if either had known it was the last sunset many of the village would ever see again, the sun would have had more attention that day.
Not far from the garrison, the ground tore itself right in the path of the weary pair. Bright light pushed its way out of the ground - an unnatural blue, followed by yellow and then a crimson glow as the smell of brimstone filled their lungs. Out of thin air a humanoid figure emerged, which became more and more monstrous by the second. As it came fully into view its height increased; horns materialised upon its brows, as a pair of huge wings unfurled behind the creature, and huge fangs, blue eyes, rocky skin and all manner of demonic appendeges were drawn forth. As the two members of the militia backed off, struggling to draw their weapons, the demon stepped off the rough circle that the ground had drawn itself into beneath it. With a hellish roar, the beast lunged at the two. Months of fighting goblins, orcs, ogres, handling grey renders, giants, wolfpacks and surviving troll and bugbear clans kicked in instincts, as axe and sword ripped through the demonic entity. Dark blood poured out from the twitching bodyparts left in the middle of the road, as the two ran for the garrison, their previous weariness forgotten. The last rays of the sun flashed against storm clouds overhead as they ran into the cave and the Warden called for backup. Just as Nancy was running to send a message magically to the city to call for war wizards however, another circle began to tear out its shape within the garrison cave, cracking the rock as if it were little more than paper. This one was much larger though, and several of the creatures materialised inside it. With the help of Tragil and the militia hound they were brought down, though not before they had wrecked the militia sleeping quarters and disabled the village's quickest method of communication with the city of Arabel. Adre gave the order for a lockdown, and rushed back up the steps with his sergeant to open ground…
...only to find even more demons inside the garrison. Even as the gates slammed shut with magical force and spikes pulled up out of the dirt to stop attackers, the ground within was tearing up in a dozen places and the militia was becoming increasingly outnumbered. Between the shouting and the fighting, the Warden left for the village post-haste along with Private Perriwell and Nancy Jones. As they ran for the village, Green Dragons wrestled with tiger-headed men, matching each swing and growl with an axe-head and a roar. Atop the village's entrance crouched D'rain Nailor of the village watch, bow notched and ready in his hands. The four made for the raised plateau, searching for anything out of place while Adre and Nancy tried to explain what had happened to the other two. It proved unnecessary though, for as soon as they were on top and able to view the calm sight of the village at night, a ferocious tearing noise broke the peace behind them. The demons clawed their way as if they had dug through earth and stone to arrive, while the four tried desperately to cut them down before any could reach the village.
Across the valley came the echoes of men fighting and dying at the garrison, while lights burst inside the Wyvern's Nest Inn windows as villagers were woken up from their sleep. The demon wave ebbed out a small while after the last screams ceased from the garrison. Turning around, drenched in the dark demonblood, Adre could see the faces of men, woman and children pressed against the windows of the village Inn, looking on from their windows as once again a battle had come within its boundries.
The next moment, a horrific conflagration burst from the ground on the other side of the inn. In an instant the scene went from relative tranquility to chaos. The blast was enough to send Adre flying head-over-heels from where he stood, his axe lost and the shield strapped to his arm causing it to flail wildly against the force. Thudding into a rock-face, the Warden nearly went unconcious. Fortunately he was back to his senses in a short while. Heaving himself up, the sight of his village burning greeted him. Nancy was trying to talk sense out of a sobbing woman who had been blown clear of the inn, while Algar Perriwell of the spellguard began casting elemental resistance spells on himself and D'rain looked forlornly up at the burning upper-story of the inn. The statue of the Warden who had preceeded Adre's time - Casper Cleareyes of the Wyvernguard - lay face down in the dirt, cracked and caked in mud. Perriwell came out of the Wyvern's Nest with what survivors he could find in the crumbling building. The Sergeant had managed to piece out that the other woman was an exile from the city, a woman called Elektra Sandstorm, who wouldn't stop asking where she was to go now in desperation. There was no time for questions or answers and the four tugged what few survivors there were from the village towards the Purple Dragon camp in the hope of finding some respite. Only minutes dead, the burned bodies from the inn began to make their own way out. By the time they had reached the gate dozens of zombies were on their heels, empowered by some infernal force. Giving the order for Nancy and Algar to get help from the camp, Adre shut the gate and locked it shut, before climbing up a steep cliff beside it with D'rain to shoot down as many zombies as they could. Sergeant Jones and Algar came back earlier than expected, only to tell of how the camp was dead to a man past. Dispairing further, they decided on a daring plan to save what was left of the village and its people. As the Warden pushed open the gates and began to cut a path through the masses, Nancy made a break for it, to run all the way to the city. The Sergeant did not want to abandon the village when she knew she may never see any of it or its people ever again, but for once in the history of the militia under Adre's command, the order given was obeyed without argument. For that much, the Warden was thankful; it was no easy thing.
Long after she had gone, the remaining three and who survived of the villagers had taken up position on a raised platform atop a sheer cliff with mounted ballistae to keep off any more attackers. Something caught the Warden's eye far below on the burning ground however, a shimmer of light so familliar...
Out of a cave no one had checked for more survivors stepped out Theliobar, the Wizard of Wyvernwater, for once with nought but a modest stoneskin upon him. As Adre raced down, he saw one of the tiger-men turning to face the archmage. Rather than going down into the village, Adre ran in the opposite direction for the nearest ballista. The force of its magical bolt nearly brought the demon down in the first blow, and the second was enough to kill it before it could do any damage. Rushing down with the other survivors, they met the Wizard as cool as ever, speaking in a distant voice. The demons had broken loose. The wards were broken, the prison shattered. It was time to leave, Warden. As the archmage led the remnants of the village out towards the garrison, from where they could leave to Immersea, Nancy Jones arrived back, out of breath and with a dozen adventurers at her back. No sooner had they all come together than a wall of fire ten feet high rose behind them, where once the proud village gates had once stood, guarded by Green Dragons.
The gathering turned as one to face the fire, which obscured the sky and sent shadows racing along the ground behind them. A huge horned skull appeared through the flames, followed by the massive body of a greater demon lord, deathly silent against the roaring of the fires behind it. It took a few steps towards the group, scorching and cracking the earth everywhere it stepped as a giant flaming sword hung lazily in its right hand. The Adventurers, villagers, and militia began to edge away, but Theliobar did not move. A second blade cut through the wall of fire, as a demon even larger than the first stepped through. A low rumbling, like a great, mocking laugh echoed across the lake, until Adre realised it was the demon. The Archmage of Wyvernwater stood facing the demons, his stoneskin since vanished, but he turned his head sideways all the same to give his last order as Lord of Wyvernwater: Go.
The militia shouted the others through the garrison gates, and bodily pulled some who were too busy contemplating dying needlessly. A tremendous blast came from behind, where Theliobar and the demons had been moments ago. It was impossible to see, but somehow Adre knew that Theliobar was dead. His run slowed to a walk until he stood still on the bridge leading out. The water in the moat dug around the garrison and kept filled by the lake of Wyvernwater itself rippled, and then crashed, until it was as roiling as any sea. The shockwaves from the explosion tugged at his cloak, threatening to toss him down into the waters to die in the place he had reigned as Warden for nearly half a year, but the Warden steeled himself against it, clenching jaw and fist, and let the wind pass by him. For years the Wyvernguard had faced up to every challange set to them, and the council as well, and as the wind passed him by, Adre looked up towards the sky. There were no stars to be seen this night, as Wyvernwater burned around him, but there was a flaming orb racing across the sky towards the garrison and getting larger by the second. For a while, he thought about letting it all end here like Theliobar had, but when he turned around to give the order for the others to leave, he realised this was more than just about himself. A dozen of his Wyvernguard had died to give the villagers and him this chance of escape. Between D'rain's nervousness, and the determination of Algar and Nancy, his will was broken. Breaking back into a slow run as tired as he was, he gestured north towards Immersea to the others, and as they fell in behind him he glanced back, shouting one last order as Warden of Wyvernwater as a deep rumbling filled their ears, and a tremendous meteor raced for the garrison: "Lock the gates."