Hunt - Chapter Twenty-Nine
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27 Arodus, 4692 AR; Grey Garrison 1st Floor, Kenabres
27 Arodus, 4692 AR; Grey Garrison 1st Floor, Kenabres
"Damnit. Snaga, hold that door!"
Without a word, Snaga rushed up to the door and pressed his hands against it, reducing the impacts against it and preventing it from flying open. Each blow against the door threatened to send him sliding, yet he managed to keep ahold of his position, digging his toes as deep as he could into the stone floor. Of course, it was practically useless since the stone was smoothed flat from constant movement, but with the added strength of Nephalim, it was enough.
Kaira started moving behind Snaga so she could shoot, but Shayliss stopped her, "Stand back, Kaira." Shayliss then turned to Mordria, "Get ready to rush in behind Snaga."
The tiefling gave Shayliss a raised eyebrow but complied. At Kaira's inquisitive grunt, Shayliss explained, "That door is not going to hold on much longer." As if to agree with her, wood splintered when a tiefling's hand burst right through it to grab at Snaga. Mordria raked her claws at it, forcing it back. "So, we are going to make a sustained assault, pushing them back and holding the door."
Kaira's eyes widened. Then, she nodded agreement and took a couple of steps backward, ready to start firing. Thankfully, all of their experiences under Kenabres helped train her to avoid hitting allies in such close quarters, or else this would be a horrible idea. Blueeye joined her, body down low and ready to pounce should something break through the line the group was about to create.
Another fist burst through the door and raked claws across Snaga's side, leaking more magical blood. He let out an angry grunt and turned to look back at Shayliss.
Making sure that the others not cleaning the shrine were ready, she nodded, "Do it!"
Snaga moved away from the door, letting it open under the force of one last attack. As soon as it did, he charged forward. On the other side of the door, Shayliss could hear demons letting out shouts of surprise. Those quickly turned to battlecries mixed in with the impacts of metal to flesh.
Mordria followed a second later, not waiting for the splintered wood to settle. Shayliss could now start seeing what was happening. Mordria had raked her claws across the belly of an Abrikandilus and grabbed the front of its robes. She then shoved it backward, making it topple into whatever was behind it. Without skipping a beat, she ignored a blade that left a cut on her forearm to grab a tiefling to hold it as a shield. Her plan worked. Blade and arrow alike that was on its way toward the woman sank into the meat-shield's back. Those attacks did not kill the tiefling and it struggled to swipe its shortsword into Mordria.
Snaga came to Mordria's rescue, grabbing the tiefling's wrist and slamming his other fist into their side. The tieflng's body fell limp, but Snaga was already targeting another tiefling with a right hook to the jaw. He then followed it up with two jabs to the belly before finishing it with a kick to the knee. Bones could be heard shattering and the tiefling let out a cry of pain. The half-orc did not have any time to worry about it, though, as he was recovering from a blade to his side. He blocked another swing with his gauntlet and tried to return fire, but the demon backpedaled to avoid it.
However, that let him enter Kaira's line of sight. Not leaving anything to chance, she took a half a second to aim before letting loose the arrow she had been holding. The metal tipped shaft shot forward like a dart, arching upward, barely missing the door frame, to slam hard into the demon's chest. She pulled out another arrow from her rapidly diminishing quiver and aimed at her next target, an Abrikandilus who was about to send a claw into Snaga's exposed back. Her arrow missed, but it was able to distract the demon long enough for Snaga to recover his stance.
The frontline pair were managing to push the demons back step by step. It was a slow process, but with each kill Snaga and Mordria made, they stepped in preventing the remaining demons from advancing. Not only that, but they were successfully putting pressure on the demons, causing them to take steps back on their own. Shayliss's plan was working wonderfully. They had managed to keep the demons from entering the shrine and even pushed the line of combat past the stairs upward.
Her eyes widened. The stairs!
A sudden flare of fear exploded in her belly as she drew her longsword and ran forward. There was no time to warn them. As soon as her foot planted against the ground preparing to launch her forward, two tieflings appeared from the stairs to flank Mordria and Snaga. Neither of them saw the attack coming. Shayliss could only watch as both tieflings raised their swords up in what would most likely be fatal blows.
A bright light flashed in front of the pair of tieflings, not only stunning them but also Shayliss, who was halfway toward them. Pain seared her eyes and she knew that it would take a few seconds to recover her sight. Blackness started dissipating back into normal color. Another few seconds later and she was able to see blurry shapes. When she was finally able to see clear again, she noticed that all of her allies were alive.
Irabeth and Strune had joined the fight.
Both holy warriors of Iomedae had charged forward when one of their Daze spells successfully stunned anyone looking right at it, which was everyone except Snaga and Mordria, since they were turned away at the time. Irabeth took the left tiefling, slamming it against the wall with her shield then stabbing with her longsword. The blade went deep into the tiefling and stopped at the stone of the wall. She then swiped the blade out to turn her attention to the stairs where more tieflings were trying to descend.
Strune, who was taking care of the other flanker, would not be able to help Irabeth at the stairs, so Shayliss filled the spot for her and yelled, "Keep pushing! Make your way to the end of the hall!" Taking her voice down, she said to Irabeth, "Looks like we're together again."
The half-orc flashed a tusked-grin, "Looks like." She raised her shield against a blade, "Are we holding them here?"
"No." Shayliss answered as Kaira and Blueeye both moved behind her to keep the assault going, "We are going to start backing up with the others once we give them some room to work."
Shayliss deflected a set of claws with the flat of her blade and threw them back. With a quick flick of her wrist, she sent her weapon into the arm of her attacker. There was the slight resistance of a successful hit, but she did not stop her motion. Pulling back, she swiped up in an uppercut that missed her target. However, it left her whole body open to the attack that left shallow lines across her chest.
Irabeth shoved her shield in front of Shayliss to block another attack that was coming her way. She then raised her blade to deflect a shortsword that was coming for her side. This left her in an awkward position that left her back wide open. However, she did not seem to mind. Once her shield was available, she used it to bash in the face of the tiefling she was deflecting. That sent them backward which let Irabeth to skewer them.
Shayliss took a quick look back to find that the fight behind them was moving further and further down the hall. Seeing that they had given the others enough room, she thrust her blade at whatever was in front of her. No matter what actually happened, she trusted that she gave herself the chance she needed to take a step back. Irabeth read her actions well and mirrored her. Now they stood in the hallway inching backward toward the group.
"We have to work in tandem here." Shayliss whispered, "Since we cannot see where we are going, we must stick together."
Irabeth nodded, "You take the lead."
Shayliss deflected a blow on her weapon's hilt, sending it toward the ground with a shove. Irabeth followed that action with a slash upward at the tiefling behind the weapon. Without hesitation, Shayliss finished him with a thrust and yelled, "Step!"
The pair took a step backward in near perfect sync. As they did, Shayliss parried a tiefling's claws back with her wrist against his and arced her blade at him. With a quick step, the tiefling dodged the attack allowing another to slip in and attack. Irabeth knocked the attack aside with her shield then used the edge of it to gash the tiefling's face. "Step!"
This time the demons went for Irabeth first, a pair of them swinging downward at her head. Shayliss thrust her blade upward to parry both attacks away which allowed Irabeth to swipe at their bellies. Neither of them could dodge in time and both received deep gashes. Shayliss used their reaction to the attack to throw them away. "Step!"
Somehow, those two tieflings were still standing and were now furious. Seeing that they were being unsuccessful, they each chose one of the pair to target. Shayliss ducked under one blow and took a second to the shoulder. The third attack was to her head, which she halted with a pommel strike to the tiefling's chest. He let out a puff of stunned breath and staggered backward. Irabeth thrust the flat of her shield forward, deflecting an attack with force before thrusting her longsword into her tiefling's leg.
"You're clear!" Strune called from behind them, "Run!"
"Go!" Irabeth yelled, stepping in front of Shayliss.
Shayliss spun around and rushed down the hall, its exit only ten steps away. The hallway was littered with corpses that she had to avoid. She threw herself into the room, being careful to not decapitate herself with her blade, "Kaira!"
The huntress was already on it. She raised her bow toward the hall and prepared to pull back a nocked arrow.
Like a trained soldier, Irabeth immediately ducked down as far as she could. Seconds later, arrows started flying down the hallway, slamming into whatever objects they felt like. There was no aiming to it. Kaira was just providing covering fire for Irabeth to disengage and it succeeded. When she saw that the tieflings were pulling back, Irabeth spun and ran. She did not throw herself into the room, but she made sure not to get into Kaira's way.
As soon as she was through, Snaga slammed the door closed and Mordria pulled various nearby objects to barricade it. For the moment, they were safe.
That moment, however, died half a minute later when the other door in this room opened and a tiefling with curled horns, wearing leather armor, and carrying two vials of liquid, stepped into the room, "By the locust, what in the Abyss is going on out there?"
He halted in place and everyone stared at each other for a second. A sharktoothed grin formed on his face, "Maybe Jeslyn will listen to me if I bring her your heads."