Following the Light (flash story)

 A continuation of Karamus’ retelling of his adventures from an old dnd game. Again, these are written for fun.

-Lucas

Karamus was awakened by the thunderous charge of children into his den once more. He gave a grumble as he sat up in his old, beat up chair, “What do you want now?” he snapped at them.

“We want to hear more of your story papa,” replied Kasalie with wanderlust in her eyes.

Karamus gave a snort. “Then one of you get my drink from your mother,” he said as he motioned to the door. Kasalie was quick to stand to her feet and ran out the door, her tail flicking with excitement. She returned a few moments later and handed the old rogue a large mug of bubbling liquid. “Cheers,” he grumbled before drinking it down, the look of disgust on his face readily apparent.

“Why do you drink it?” asked Kaur as he looked up to his father.

Karamus lowered the mug and looked over his children with a nasty look, “What is the first thing I taught all of you?” he asked.

In unison, the children sounded off, “Never trust a paladin.”

“There is your answer Kaur. I trusted a paladin once and he nearly killed me,” he said as he set the mug off to one side and settled back into his chair. “Now, enough of that, where was I..? Ah yes, the planes. We had finally made our way through the sickly flesh covered land and fought our way into the Cathedral of Feathers.”

“Seeing as those spider creatures had laid a trap for us, I decided to be cautious and began checking for any other traps that may be ahead of us. The main door was clear of any such things and I motioned for Kort to go through and check out the room, because let’s be realistic: if it is either me or the dwarf that is going to die first, it will always be that sodding dwarf. As I thought this, he stepped through the door, and as if on cue, he was attacked by a beautiful succubus,” he said with a snicker, as he shot a glance to the open door that led to the rest of the house. When his wife failed to appear in the doorway to devour his soul, he focused back on the children.

“Anyway, she flew down from the ceiling, trying and failing to grab the dwarf. Immediately after, a huge wall of fire erupted out of the ground like hellfire. It sprung up between Kort and the rest of the group, effectively cutting the dwarf off from any help. This brings up a good point, however. The dark of it is that you should always bring a cutter who can work magic with you, as it comes in handy from time to time. Take Bransen, the berk farmer turned… well, something else. I don’t think I ever figured out what he really was. Anyways, he immediately dispelled the wall with a flick of his wrist like it was nothing.”

“With a sigh, I darted forward, ducking off to the fiend’s flank as I flicked forth Daystar and pierced her ribs with it. She howled like the barmies in the Hive, and tried to fly away, but in doing so exposed herself…” Karamus tried to hold back a chuckle, but failed. The children looked at him in confusion, “Get it? Exposed?” he asked, but the children merely blinked back at him. The old cansin’s eyes narrowed, “Ask your mother about it,” he spat. “Anyway, she tried to fly away and with the edge of the blade I cut off her leg and she fell to the ground dying.”

“With the demon witch dead, we quickly entered farther into the large room where we found a sodding salamander hiding out, trying not to be seen. Why a huge flaming reptile would bother hiding is beyond me but alas, there it was. The group quickly moved to engage it, figuring it was the one who conjured the wall of fire. I tried to duck and roll around it but it was a little fast for me and caught me with its tail. It flailed me around all over and I thought I was going to puke, but the paladin and company killed it in short order, and I was ungraciously dumped on the ground.”

“With the initial fights finally concluded, we rested for the remainder of the day to recoup spells and catch our breaths. We found out that the Cathedral was in a state of flux, experiencing celestial flashbacks every once in awhile. Frankly, it was unnerving to have the scenery change, kind of like when your mother decides to clean.” He snorted a laugh and then continued.

“So the next morning we spent the better part of the day preparing for the fight we knew was coming up. To win over the place, we had to pass a couple Tests. The first was to choose a fight between either a demon or an angel. Since I never liked talking to sodding angels, let alone fighting them, I was pleased to hear the group agree to fight the fiend. It was like beating up a family bully really. Anyways, we planned and prepared for the fight. When the group was ready, we entered the choosing room where a corpse got up and asked us to choose, the demon or the angel. Now I’m no Dusty, so I’m not in the habit of speaking to dead people, but considering the place we were in, I was willing to make an exception. We headed off to the door marked ‘demon this way’ and the fight was on.”

“The situation immediately called for improv as the half-fiend was barred by some barrier from entering the room. As we all stood there confused, the bebilith demon attacked. It rushed us with is monstrous huge spider body and 20 foot long legs. From its fangs dripped poison that spilled like acid along the floor. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and went invisible as the rest of the group engaged the demon. The paladin…heh…took several bites from the bebilith while the half-breed orc bub-basher wailed away with his stick.”

“Now, when a magic user comes up to you and asks if you want a shield other spell cast upon you, tell him to pike it. Good lord, does that hamper the fighting style of a rogue such as myself. I finally got tired of waiting for him to advance, so I sprung forward and used my state of invisibility to get around to the side of the demon, striking a deadly blow upon the body of the spider. Just as I was about to swing again, that blasted paladin shoved his oversized sword down its throat and killed it.”

“After defeating the demon, the dead guy appeared again, telling us that we had passed the first Test and to proceed to the next test. We found a lantern that shined a light that made a path for us to follow. Sadly, it was out of the cathedral and back onto the flesh covered ground beneath the fiery sky.”

Karamus gave a violent cough that sent a shudder throughout his whole body, “Boy… get my vial,” he said before coughing again. The young boy Desmon quickly went to the desk and fished out a vial, which he handed over to the old cansin, “Good, good,” he stammered and quickly drained the foul tasting liquid. “Why is it that everything that helps you tastes like dragon blek?” he muttered.

The children looked at their old father with eyes of concern which he returned with an icy stare. “Go to bed, all of you!” he yelled with a wave of his hand. The children scattered out of the room faster than a thief with a spotlight on him in a jewelry store. Once the room was quiet, Karamus settled into his old beat up leather chair and fell fast asleep to pass the night away.

_______________

Karamus settled within his chair once more and closed his eyes, taking in measured breaths as he slowed his racing heart. Outrunning guards and thieves was not as easy as it use to be, but the end result was well worth the risk. He untied a pouch from his belt and drew it open to reveal a golden ring. From his pocket he withdrew his handkerchief and began to wipe the dried blood that had collected on it. “At long last, the cold dish of revenge can be had.” He muttered to himself before the door came crashing open followed by the thundering herd of children.

Karamus gave a growl and slipped the ring into his pocket, “What do you bastards want now? Another story?” he asked.

“Yes!” the children answered in unison.

“Then sit the sod down. Now, I believe we left off with the Silver Phoenix and I leaving the Cathedral of Feathers following this magical lantern which sent a beam of light in the direction we were suppose to go to the next test to get out of the hellish place. Our new adventure took us to the Tremor Zone, a place that looks remarkably similar to old uncle Vermark’s face.” The look of disgust quickly covered their faces as the image of the demon’s face came to their minds. Karamus gave a grin and continued.

“Now, as we traveled, the light seemed to randomly choose a direction for us to go in which, at the time, made no sense to us. Then again, with the half breed orc holding the light, I can’t say I’m surprised. If I were the lantern I would try to get away from him as well. As we descended into the zone, an event took place that I shall never forget. A lizard like creature attacked us, looking for its next meal. Its eyes…oh those eyes were deadly as you see, with one look, it could turn a creature to stone. In the heat of battle, the half-breed, the sodding paladin and myself were teleported back to the beginning of the invisible maze with the creature. Needless to say, we were surprised which quickly led to a sour note in my career. The half-breed and I were turned to stone when we accidently caught its gaze. I don’t remember anything that happened during that time, it was like time stood still in a gray haze until everything came back to normal and the freak standing in front of me, looking caught pleased with himself.”

“You were stone papa?” asked Gresh as he held onto his tiny horns in disbelief. “Yes, just like the guardians at the temple. I also came to life, just like them too. Now stop interrupting.” The cansin snapped.

“Apparently the sodding paladin had slain the beast, it was, after all, his job to be the mule. As for why we were teleported, we figured out that it was because we had stopped and fought the beast and not moved forward. The logical deduction was to have one person keep moving forward and if anything else came out after us, the group would handle it. This decision led to one of the highlights of the journey, an encounter with a priestess with ample…assets and her three lucky companions. Naturally, the dwarf made an asinine remark and the group attacked us, stating they wanted our lantern. It was soon shown that the three lucky men were actually trained at combat and the third one was one after my own heart and went invisible. I did the same and the fight was on.”

“This is where I mention my favorite part. The half breed, though mindless, was very good at hand to hand combat and quickly wrapped up the priestess in his arms in a loving embrace. I moved over invisible, wishing I had thought of it…that is, until the other invisible guy came out of hiding and planted a dagger in his brain box. The assassin looked pleased with himself and his handy work. It was too bad that his companions were no challenge for the rest of the group. We descended upon the two of them like a pack of Lost looking for food. I killed the priestess, regrettably, and the assassin was killed quickly thereafter. Everyone seemed sad to see the lifeless body of the half-breed, well, with the exception of me that is. He left just as quick as he arrived. Some fools are not meant for adventuring. To top it off, his body was left on the field, deemed too heavy to carry.” The cansin had a broad grin on his face which he soon dropped and continued on with the story.

“With the half breed dead, I took up the duty of holding the lantern to guide us the rest of the way through the blasted maze of a trial. Our journey took us deeper in and with what seemed like an eternity, a new creature came into view. It was almost predictable. What wasn’t predictable was that the creature was a large spider like creature standing nearly 20 feet in height. Then again, maybe that is too. I don’t’ know why that place liked spiders…appropriate I guess for the creepy factor. I did what I was suppose to and keep moving while the group and the spider decided to fight and see who had the larger pants. The dwarf in particular lost that comparison as he was bloodied quite quickly and efficiently. The thing picked him up and started to carry him away…presumably to feed him to offspring or some other nasty, vile and torturous death. The group chased after it as I continued following the path. I presume they finally killed the creature as they all returned, with dwarf in tow. Drats.”

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