A Crimson Shore 34.7 Anger Management

An ominous silence was followed by a gargantuan shaking that knocked them all off their feet–everyone except Zy’an. The monk, falling into a perfect stance, somehow rode it out as the others were scattered around the area like leaves in a wind storm. Iricah, who was separated briefly from her sickly brother, braced herself against the ghastly wall. Recoiling from the touch of it, she pushed the hair back out of her blood smeared face and  exclaimed, “What in the Great Realm was that?!”

“She is here,” answered her brother darkly. “I told you all.” His sad eyes passed from one to another, seeking some sort of understanding.  “Your efforts, though noble, are doomed. She knows you are here. She is coming for you all!”

Frank, stood, and grabbed his mace tightly. It had begun to glow again, and they all figured they knew why. The entity, the goddess as she was called by some, known as wrath, was said to be one of the traitors–an actual betrayer of mankind. If true, there was no greater hypocrite. Frank’s mace pulsated with a fierce brilliance as if to validate it even more.

Another quake rocked the tunnel, and then another that was so powerful the tunnel  twisted and turned. It was like standing in the hollow of a log that could move like a snake. “Well, tell her I’m coming for her then!” The cleric shouted to the ceiling and quaking walls. Frank’s eyes brightened with crimson fury. His horns, spiraling and  twisting outwards from his head, caught the light of his weapon and cast long shadows around him.

“And tell her Ket is coming with me!”

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The walls of the hideous cavern began to shake so violently that they all continued to be knocked this way and that. Especially bad off was Frank, whose armor kept him from finding his balance.  It was terrible enough to move through this place of stacked and mutilated corpses. It was all they were capable of not to think about the cavern in such a way, but the shaking forced them to reach out to stay their balance. Or in Frank’s case, it knocked them into the horrible sides of the tunnel.

And then their stomachs fell, and they droped to the floor with the sensation. The tunnel, behind and all around them, twisted and turned in a way no passageway ever could. For it wasn’t a tunnel.

“It’s her!” Shouted Frank, pointing his mace in all directions around him. Another jolt hit, so he held it outwards, trying to use it like a trapeze artist would a balancing pole.  “It’s her incarnate! Wrath is this space.  She has come to be in this very form!”

“What do you mean Frank? How can that be?” Asked Iricah. She was a bundle of hair and bags and robes, holding all she held so dear, her brother especially, about her. “You are not making sense!” Then, she caught Gaelon’s red rimmed eyes.

“Sister, Frank is right. She has amassed more power than you could dare imagine. She is anger now, incarnate. She is power. This,” he pointed around him, “These once poor souls. This is her.”

“We must away!” Shouted Zy’an, ever the pragmatist. “Follow me if you value your lives!” He strode off, stabilizing himself this way and that, up and into the dark passageway. Behind him, like driftwood in the wake of a fast moving ship, the others bobbed in the undulating tube and swayed on their feet, or fell to their knees to try and stand once more. The tunnels around them were now moving in impossible ways. They each pulled at each other, grabbing to steady their feet, but they were only knocked over again and again.

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It was like watching a living thing come to life, and in some way Frank knew that’s exactly what was happening. But it wasn’t alive, and it wasn’t dead either. Frank knew, as he knew what Gaelon was. As he knew what all of these poor souls were imprisoned cruelly here in this terrible manner.  It is undead, he cried inside his mind. This entire massive structure, this series of tunnels that branched in strange ways. It’s her. Wrath is a colossus. She is as big as houses. These souls are her power!

Frank, always the slowest in matters of personal safety when running through terrible tunnels on these so-called adventures, was the last to stop. The others had dead ended. What Frank noticed first was the wind. Before looking up, a feeling of intense dread left him, as a literal breath of fresh air struck him in the face. He looked up as he had been running at a breakneck pace, and saw what at first looked like an opening in the cave!

A way out! thought Frank. He made a step towards it, but Thrak, who was standing firmly still,  reached out his arm and grabbed him. Frank stopped again. Thrak’s tongue licked his chops.

Just then, Frank felt his stomach drop again, and he noticed several things at once. First, the cavern mouth had a peculiar set of stalagtites and stalagmites. There was a ring of them, both tops and bottoms surrounded the perimeter of the cavern mouth.

The second thing Frank noticed quickly then was that the cavern, which he could feel shaking and swaying violently side to side and up and down, seemed at times to be facing the sky, and at others to be facing the sea. Then, as it all came to him, the view out of the cavern mouth was directly above a ship upon the sea, and the ship was centered now so that it felt as though the cave was right above it! In fact, it was a Celn ship, and even more specific than this, Frank could see it belonged to a small vessel which sailed near Genoran’s un-named flag ship.

Close and closer the ship was!

Then, the cavern entrance grew wider, and the stalagmites and stalagtites separated. A fierce howl came from the inside of the tunnel behind him, and the wind rushed in at him from the cavern mouth as well. It felt like being  in the middle of a shaking tempest. He looked around and saw Iricah, and Thrak and Zy’an holding to whatever vile thing they could, while the wind whipped their hair and clothing around their bodies. Past them, past the cavern mouth, the ship grew closer and closer still. He could see men and women on the ship and he could hear them yelling now. They were pointing at his direction! He fell to his knees, trying to hold on to a part of one of the bodies which formed the structure of this place.

“I don’t understand!” Thrak yelled. “How can this cave fly?!!!” He looked angry, not able to draw his axes, nor fight an enemy he couldn’t see.

“A dragon,” said Zy’an singly standing with perfect balance while everyone and everything around him moved as though the world itself had come alive. “Wrath has formed herself into a massive wyrm, like none that Gaia has ever seen! Look!”

Frank did. And he knew what was going to happen before it did, even as he was helpless to stop it. His armor plates began to stick together on his body as though they were attracted by some force. Even his mace was moving towards his shield and it took a brute strength to separate the two.

And then, all around him, he saw little sparks of light, that sizzled and fried the air, singing his skin. There was a power building in the very air. The ship was close now–they were right on top of it. He could see the men and women clearly. He knew some of them! There was no time to think.

“Wait!” He cried.

A blast of electrical energy in a giant ray sprang from the mouth of what he now knew wasn’t a cave at all. The bolt of bright blue lightning streaked towards the ship and struck it like a hurricane hitting landfall. The ship was obliterated in an instant. Planks, barrels, and men exploded outwards in all directions, leaving a hole in the center, where water quickly filled. Frank’s view left the ship quickly as he now realized that Zyan was right. This colossus he was now inside of flew over the water and made a turn that sent them tumbling around again.

“Quick!” Called Iricah. She was desperately trying to hold onto Gaelon. “She’s making another pass!”

“She’ll destroy the entire fleet. They’ll be defenseless to stop her,” said Zy’an. “Unless we do.”

“We have to do something before she comes back around! But what?”

 

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