Confrontation - Story

Now this is an old Story from my days of Rackham's Confrontation.  Sadly it's a game thats now long dead as is the company.  Though still kept alive by those of us that love it.

Part I

Phidias moved his way slowly through the rubble every footstep could start a rockslide and give them all away.  He could hear faint snorting ahead of him and he didn’t like it.

His group had started with seven an advance group sent by the Knight Templar to scout out this level.  This place was huge, three levels at least from what they had seen and he still hadn’t found the gem.

Seven there had been, Gerac the rookie Templar had stayed a rookie, never getting past his first battle, he hadn’t seen the Hybrid as they had passed the tunnel so dark and dank.  In fact none of them had seen it, being the last in line, he had been the first to die.  Cheric the strange Red Monk had been the second, moments after avenging Gerac’s death he had died when a pest of flesh that had snuck in close exploded, spraying him with vicious shards of bone and bodily acids.

Phidias felt the weight of the Red Monks Sabre in his hand, it seemed better for this close area, his own sword whilst fine kept hitting the wall.  The feel of the weapon was amazing, it didn’t shine one bit, totally black in this area of semi darkness.  Phidias still didn’t know why he’d picked it up, it just seemed right.  The Red Monk had fought beside him before and he now missed his often quiet words and his very dark humour.

So now they were  four. The most recent to die was Madren, his head taken clean off by a trap left lying around in the lab.  The two purifier’s Fostren, who had seen more of the labs than any other, yet he still came back for more, Drenadal who was tall, making him stand out a little too much at times, his dark blue eyes hid a smouldering fire beneth and Heldion.  Heldion was an Exorcist, he had been around the Lodge for a little too long for Phidias liking, though he was polite and always called him sir, which he didn’t really like.  The other thing that un-nerved him and the other’s was the mask, it wasn’t the normal one’s that most wore, it was moulded to look like a beast.  It had made quite a few stern veterans’ stand back when he entered the room.

Phidias could feel him close behind him, in fact he could almost see him out of the corner of his eye.  They moved a little closer, each step taking them closer to the noise.  As they reached the corner, Phidias leaned around and saw what had been making all the noise.  It was some huge beast of Dirz. In the darkness Phidias couldn’t really make it out that well, but from where he stood it looked to be twice the height of a man.

Phidias indicated for Heldion to have a look. The man leaned around him, the massive bestial maw leaned past Phidias face.  He leaned back and looked at Phidias.

“Merin has indeed set a hard task for you Sir.”

All Phidias could do was nod.  He knew the creature was more than likely an Aberration, it wasn’t the normal Dirz construct…it was a dangerous killer.  Phidias called the other’s to him with a wave, but before they had chance to react the creature came round the corner.

They all looked at each other for what seemed like an eternity before the beast bellowed and charged into the Exorcist.  It grabbed at his body with its huge claws, though the man was quicker, his body falling away from the attack of the creature saving his life.

Phidias still in shock swiped at the creature, it was more to annoy than anything else but it had the desired effect, The creature turned as its huge paw swept towards Phidias head.  He dropped to the floor as he felt the air above buffeted by the huge arm.

He looked up as he heard the solid sound of shots as the two purifier’s emptied their pistols into the creature’s rear.  Its howl echoed through the corridor.  Taking the moment’s respite Phidias rolled away from the creature and pulled his pistol, he was a little too slow the creature batted it out of his hand like a childs toy. Not waiting for the second blow to land Phidias rolled forward, allowing the Executioner’s sabre to slice at the creature’s soft tendon’s as he rolled past.  It wasn’t the most sensible of actions but he had never gained merit for grace, just survival.

The Exorcist was upright now and bearing down on the creature.  His sword glowed like fire in his hand, he impaled it deep in the right side of the creature.  The wound was deep but it didn’t seem at all worried as it elbowed then almost stood on the Exorcist, A sharp set of claws sliced up the man’s front, if it hadn’t been for the heavy armour they wore, he’d have been cut like pastry.

The two purifiers had decided that direct action was better than reloading and they attacked the now visible flank of the creature, their subtle cuts causing the creature to change its attention once again.  Backing away from it they allowed the Exorcist time yet again to regain his feet. Their swords flashed out batting the blows of the creature, though they knew this deadly game couldn’t last forever.

Phidias seeing an opening ran past the creature; it was temporally distracted as the swift attacks of the purifiers kept it busy.  Stepping back Phidias grasped the weapon in both hands before stepping forward and plunging the weapon deeply into its spine.  The sabre seemed to slide easily in like a hot knife into butter.

The excruciating noise that the beast let out was frightening, Its keening wail could have been heard for miles and all the combatants looked around waiting for the creature’s allies but none could be heard over the noise.  Stepping back from it they let it fall first to its knee’s then watched as it collapsed on the floor its life’s blood seeping suddenly from its many wounds.

Later, as they sat tending their wounds, the Exorcist had shed his mask, It had been battered beyond all compare by the creature’s attack’s, His armour had many score mark’s criss-crossing up it showing just how lucky he was.

The thing about him now that worried Phidias even more than when he had seen the Exocist without the mask on was just how young he looked.  He would have guessed not much older than 20 winter’s at a push, his skin was soft, so soft it seemed to glow in the darkness.

Feeling the man’s stare on him the Exorcist looked up.  It was as if he heard the question without it being spoken.

“Don’t worry Sir, my heart is young but my hatred is older than us all.”

Phidias just nodded, yes it was that.
Part II

Phidias crashed against the parapet. This was getting silly.  They were clones after all, but this one didn’t want to die.  Raising his bag Phidias felt the scimitar crash against it.  He never used a shield, he had never needed one, it wasn’t his style.  But at this moment he would have loved to have one.

Batting the Scimitar away Phidias grabbed the Climbing Iron that had dropped from his smashed bag.  His sword was someplace around smashed from his grip by this relentless clone.  Swinging at the clone he was pleased to see it back away a little, though he was still worried about the feral look in its eye’s.  He knew there was nothing left for it as he rushed forward grappling the arm of the clone with his bag.  He bought his knee up swiftly smashing it into it's stomach.  As its body started to double up Phidias slammed the Spike into the base of its skull.

He leaned back as clone slammed into the floor. It didn’t move so Phidias gave it a few heavy kick’s just to be on the safe side.

Looking around the floor Phidias managed to find his sword under an upturned table.  The rest of his group had started to move back to the main room where this had all started.  Phidias looked over the corpses again.  This lot had been here a while, their supplies were very low and they had attacked like feral animal’s.

Phidias leaned out over the parapet.  He could see below that there was indeed another level to this place.  What did that make four or was it five?  This was a lot stranger than he had originally imagined.  The walls were warm to the touch which was something that worried him more than just a little.

Returning to his brothers he found Heldion using parts of his robe to patch up the wound on Fostrens arm.

“Is that wise, using Holy robe’s for such a thing?”  He asked.

“Sir, Merin watches me no matter what I wear.  If he was worried about fashion we’d all be wearing the same.”

The men looked at the Exorcist and smiled.  The longer he spent around them the more relaxed he became.  If it wasn’t for the scrolls and other trappings he could almost be a Templar.

Phidias sat down on his haunches pulling some smoked fish from his pouch.  Taking a few bites of it he sipped from the water canteen passed to him by Drendal, the last of the merry band.

“So what now sir, do we go on?”

Phidias looked at the Exorcist for a moment.  He still couldn’t get him to stop calling him sir, no matter what he tried. he’d even tried ordering him to stop, but that was just as useless.

“Well my orders were to try and locate the Darkness Gem that keep’s this place running.  Though I’ll admit its starting to turn into a huge task.  We’ve followed no end of power lines that just lead us to more breeding rooms and more unholy constructs.”

Phidias took another swig of water before passing it to Fostren.  He sat silent for a few seconds running his hand’s through his hair.  Man did he need a wash, he was covered in Merin knows what.  That last chamber had been a real bitch.  When one of the vats had exploded, they’d all been coated in some green liquid.  It hadn’t appeared to have been Toxic, but it wasn’t pleasant smelling in any way.

“Okay that corridor leads to a balcony of sort’s.  I can see an open area below.  I think we have another level yet to be explored.”

Fostren turned his gaze from his arm to look at Phidias.

“Another one, this place just seems to go on for ever.  Do you think this place is the one.”

“I don’t know, it could be.  We’ve certainly seen more than our fair share of what was inside the twisted minds of the Dirz Technomancer’s.”

“If this truly is the place that Dirz himself worked from, then Merin has smiled upon us brothers.  He has seen it fit to send his most chosen to do such a deed as this.”

They all looked at Heldion.  It was comments like this that reminded them all that he was a man of the church,  though not the normal sort.  The Darkness Hunters and Exorcists followed a different path altogether.

Phidias was about to say something but thought better of it, no reason to try and spoil the moment.  Though he hoped he wasn’t right.

“Okay gents I think we need to get moving.  Lets drop down to the area I’ve seen then take a look.  I think we’ve gone a lot further than we should anyways.”

The small band gathered their things before following Phidias to the parapet.  Unravelling rope they made quick work of the descent dropping into a room not as far below as they had first thought.

Using Lanterns they moved quickly about the room.

“Okay I’ve found an exit of sorts.”  Called Fostren.

The other’s moved to his position.  Phidias looked down the dark corridor, every so often a thin weak green bulb illuminated the darkness.  They weren’t bright enough to work or travel by so he knew they would have to use the lanterns.

“Okay Fos, you take the front.  Heldion I want you behind him in case anything starts coming down the corridor you’ll sense it first, I’ll go next and Dren you can protect our rear.  Stay close brothers I don’t want anything getting between us.  If you find a fork in the corridor we’ll stop and work out what to do then.”

The group nodded, they had all done this before so they knew the drill.  Each man made sure his Redemption Pistol was loaded and ready.  It was always good to be ready and you never knew when that spilt second could save your life.