Exodus

Canto, the Fifth

Blood Rain Sucks

The idiots charged guns blazing into Saturnalia. Idiot number one was made the king of fools. Then they decided to join the Glaistig in overthrowing Ariven. And, because traitors will be traitors, and idiots will be idiots, they decided to arrange a marriage.

The Glaistig woke the idiots up shortly after the matins. There is a creepy hornless glaistig lady, pale as pale, and hard to see when not concealed in shadow, as contraditory as that is. The idiots are handed their weapons, oiled, darkened with resin, and muted with leather pads. They marched out with the cook on point.

They march through forest that looked oddly virgin. Then on past huge carved and fallen slabs of stone, covered in moss and etched with strange winged figures, like kenku with faces like elves. Ancient, ancient stones, from which nothing good could possibly come.

Of course, there rang out a brutal roar and the ring of weapon on weapon. The Cook moved closer to see a battered patrol of legionaires, most of them decapitated or torn in half, and a dark passage into a hillside. Standing before the passage was a centurion, holding the line against wode-painted, heavily muscled giants.

Quick as his broken wind, the Cook snuck up and healed the Centurion. A flicker of lights through the woods told the rest of the idiots that life was about to get even suckier than it was already. As hard as that might be to imagine.

More giants burst from the woods, to be met by angry glaistig. Ralph the Midget burst into the clearing, sword swinging. The rest of the idiots followed into the melee, apparently having a strange change of heart as many of them moved to help the Centurion.

Backhander snaired them with black-reaching arms of doom from the ground, then Unibrow called on the forest spirits to light up a tree, blazingly bright. With the giants blind and reeling, the Glaistig plowed through strait into the barrow.

Finally the idiots had a stroke of brilliance and followed the Glaistig towards the hole. Not that the hole looked at all pleasant or inviting, but it would be far superior to having one’s head caved in by the wode-painted giants. Idiot #1 even had the odd altruistic turn to try to grab the Centurion on his way in. The Centurion refused, until Snorlax and Unibrow tackled him in.

Val and the Unibrow, being the last in line, were skewered and tossed into the hole. Leaving, of course, myself. I slinked towards the hole, still unsure, until the giants began hurling things at me. Down the hole I went.

Of course the hole just happened to be a passage into the Fade. Of course. Like anyone would be surprised that the creepy, clearly malevolent hole into the hillside after passing through some creepy old ruins would be a passage into grimdark. Meanwhile, in the cold and dark, the creepy hornless glaistig woman who had led us here looked even creepier, her face cracked and ashen.

The Centurion seemed just as surprised as we were. Idiot #1 tried to convince him that the Glaistig with us were auxilia. I, meanwhile handed him my reports, him being the highest ranking officer present. Of course, like all the idiots, the Centurion failed to read the report, and thus bought Idiot #1’s barefaced deception. I shouldn’t even try, really.

The Centurion exposited of entire villages razed by the giant wode-painted things. Levels of destruction supposedly not possible by small scattered bands like the one we encountered. Creepy Glaistig lady suggested that the destruction might be related to Winter waking.

He finally sat down to read the report as everyone rested, but, of course, the bumbling cook dumped a bowl of stew on them. Everyone rested, recouperated, and ate. Some people got backhanded. Shields were confiscated, traded, and returned.

Within short order the idiots were back on the move, out of the cave and into a strange, unreal landscape. Everything growing was rotten, festering, diseased. The ground a soggy, bubbling morass.

A scout came back, covered with thorn wounds, and his flesh half-dissolved into air leaving only a disembodied skull. A whirlwind of boiling blood and bone descended, and promptly ate a second glaistig. Backhander promptly backhanded it from afar, hurling splinters of bone in every direction.

The idiots threw the kitchen sink at it — light, lightning, force, slashing and tearing blades — but still it stood. In response it did…nothing. Then Snorlax simply waggled up and smote the thing.

Creepy thing dealt with, the idiots moved in closer to the city. They knew this not by walls or houses, but by the wailing of children and the moving, seething, filthy movements of their burried dead. The houses that were there were the ancient, torn, rotted, and burned, remnants of Glaistig hovels.

There was a sudden light, painful, boring, and piercing. Then the idiots found themselves standing in the middle of Ariven. In the clear, finally, the archvist sent a second copy of his logs off to the legion.

Snorlax, meanwhile, pointed out that, beset by monsters the likes of we’d never seen, pitching the Glaistig against the Legion would be a bad idea. Perhaps not everyone in this unit are complete idiots.

The idiots headed for the gates, Idiot #1, still dressed as the King of Fools, attracted quite the crowd. He ordered dunkings for everyone and called for a pig. The Legionaires manning the walls and gates were in an uproar. The gates themselves were swinging closed, fast.

Gutting the pig, Idiot #1 read the entrails. Closing the gate was low reward, low risk. Opening the gates were high-reward, high-risk. The gates were opened.

A wild rabble of Glaistig came tearing towards the gate, as a full legion came out of the woods and began forming up against them. Then, from the other side of the city, came the deep sound of a mighty, shuddering horn, and a rain of massive boulders and whole trees being hurled through the air. Followed by marching rank after rank after rank of raven-folk, then an army of the lumbering wode-painted monstrosities.

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