104. Hit & Run

“Did anyone else hear that?” asks Talo. “A distant cry for help?”
At that moment Saphiria bursts from the armoury and with a screech, passes over the party’s heads and flies off towards the south west.

“Sure Did, now follow that dragon!” With that Gordon rushes South West as fast as his legs can carry him, the laser rifle dropped in the snow as he draws his axe and shield ready for action.

The party set off at a run, Cynan and Kalam at a high-stepping run and Gordon and Talo with more of a wading motion. Talo is quickly left behind, not having Gordon’s innate strength to power his way through the thick snow. Cynan reaches the next junction first with Kalam close behind. The road to the right heads west, towards the city gates and it is in this direction the paladin sees Saphiria’s dark shape speeding. He heads off after her.

~

Jenson screams shooting at the Ghouls as the Ghouls overrun them and is slammed to the ground still screaming but now does not hear himself scream and laying there he is not able to move, he can only stare up at the snow falling and the passing of a Ghoul or Kradorn into his vision but he still screams in his mind at least as the sound of battle around him continues. Then the sudden movement of the sky is the only sign that tells him he is being dragged. He prays to himself that it is to a safe place but a chill runs through his bones as the battle sounds stop and he can only hear the guttural sounds of the Ghouls as he is dragged past buildings. A strange sense of calm overcomes him as he accepts his possible demise but also a plan in his mind if he suddenly can move again as he watches the buildings and sky pass his vision.

Gildor screams inside but knows they are in trouble. Paralysed he just hopes the others will be able to save them. He knows Saphiria is on the way but wonders about her safety. “Don’t let them touch you girl. Their touch can paralyse you. Be careful.”

Gildor thinks “We should have returned even sooner to the armoury. I let us get caught up in a futile search for the river boat on a snowy day. Lady of Summer hear my prayer. Forgive my fool hardiness that allowed us to fall prey to these undead creatures. Send us your warmth and blessing so we may defeat these foul creatures. Protect Saphiria, myself and my friends oh great goddess.”

Gildor, Kradorn and Jenson are dragged slowly along the snowy street by the ghouls for a hundred metres or so before being hauled upright. Stood in front of them is a withered almost skeletal warrior, with cruel, burning eyes set in mummified flesh. It is dressed in banded armour and carries a longsword at its waist with a shield over its back. Two more of these undead creatures stand motionless in the snow behind the first.

The leader strides up to Kradorn and grips the fighter around the neck. Kradorn gives a cry and struggles in the grip of the ghouls holding him up but the wight’s cold seeps into the fighter and he visibly weakens. It gives a smile and for a moment an ecstatic look crosses its face.
The creature hisses something to the ghouls who begin dragging a weakened Kradorn away and then it turns to its fellows and says in an unknown language something that makes them both smile. One moves towards Gildor, the other to Jenson. One of the creatures gets within three strides of Gildor when a stream of fire engulfs it and the half a dozen ghouls standing behind it.
The burning ghouls’ screams and the roars of outrage from the undead warriors drown out Saphiria’s cry as she wheels about and crashes into one of the ghouls holding Gildor. The impact sends the firedrake and ghoul tumbling into the snow, though the ghoul’s right arm remains attached to Gildor’s shoulder.

Gildor and Jenson slump into the snow, abandoned by the ghouls holding them up which rush after the fallen firedrake. As the ghouls close on Saphiria she erupts from the snow and climbs away from their grasping claws.
From the corner of his eye Jenson sees the blazing undead warrior collapse into the snow.
The leader turns and shouts instructions and once again ghoulish claws grasp Gildor and Jenson and they are propelled forward, held by a ghoul on either side. Both Jenson and Gildor can feel the icy paralysis of the ghouls touch beginning to fade. As they move they can see one of the undead warriors running ahead, towards the city gate, a little over 100 metres away.

~

Gordon catches up to Cynan and Kalam who have stopped at the junction 200m east of the city gates. Ahead of them, about 50m away, stand a group of 30 or so ghouls and there’s something else, a warrior by the look of him but with some power over the undead gathered around him. Something burns in the snow behind them and Cynan says he saw Saphiria shoot a blast of flame into the ghouls moments earlier before flying off again into the snowstorm.
Talo trundles on, some 100m behind the others. The dwarf is exhausted running all that way through the knee deep snow. Something makes him turn around and look behind him at the junction. There’s no sign of pursuit but he’s sure he can hear the chatter and screams of ghouls off to the east.

~

“Alright then. Can’t go over ‘em, can’t go under ‘em, can’t go round ‘em! We’re goin’ to ‘ave t’go through ‘em”, with no knowledge of whether his illusions will work against the undead he casts Mirror Image and as the illusionary Gordons pop into existence the gnome gives an ancient battle cry and charges towards the ghouls, axe held aloft (hoping the other warriors have taken his lead).

Cynan watches as seven red coated gnomes charge off towards the pack of ghouls before drawing his bastard sword, putting his shield on his arm and sprinting after the gnome. Kalam meanwhile, shoulders his laser carbine and takes aim.

The undead warrior gives a shout and the ghouls run at the party. Kalam’s laser carbine takes two down and wounds another before they close on Gordon and Cynan.
Cynan holds out his shield and cries “By the cleansing light of Ringheru, begone undead spirits of Ardûrband!” His shield shines briefly with a cold blue light and several of the ghouls charging at him stop and shield their eyes from its glare. Eight turn and run but the rest come on, howling the cry of the damned.

Gordon meets the monsters with his axe, leaping up to cleave apart a screaming skull. Cynan sweeps a blazing Bronzefire into the charging ghouls, one goes down minus both arms and the top of its skull and the back swing cleaves another in two.
Gordon lands amid the ghoul pack who fall on him and his mirror images with reckless abandon. The gnome rolls and almost hacks off a leg but the multitude of grasping, tearing claws is overwhelming and only the original Gordon and one copy remain.
Cynan thanks Ringheru for his new armour, which protects him from the swarming claws of the undead.
Kalam finishes off a ghoul he wounded moments earlier and downs another, before dropping his exhausted laser carbine and quickly retrieving his light crossbow.

Cynan is surrounded by ghouls trying to bear him down and rip him open but only one ghoul penetrates his armour and claws his flesh. Cynan feels the cold touch of the undead and instantly throws off the ghoul but before he can bring Bronzefire down for the killing stroke, another creature barrels into him, knocking him over.
Claws tear and pull at Gordon and his new coat looses its hood and one arm in the melee, a claw grabs the gnome’s wrist, preventing him from bringing his axe to bear.
Kalam hits one of the ghouls swarming over Cynan with a crossbow bolt. The creature yells and turns to see where the pain came from. With a howl it leaps off the paladin and charges at Kalam. Three or four other ghouls see the fresh prey and follow.

As the ghouls come charging at him, Kalam reloads as quickly as he can.
Cynan feels the ghoul’s claws tearing at him but his armour protects him from damage and he is able to stab out with his sword, impaling one ghoul then sweep the blade around in a fiery arc while he regains his feet. Another ghouls falls headless into the snow.
Gordon feels a claw tear through his armour and scratch him but fights through the chill, headbutting the ghoul holding his arm, he buries his axe in it’s skull.

Kalam dodges the first couple of ghouls that run at him and shoots point blank at the third, which falls back with a bolt protruding from its chest.
Cynan and Gordon battle on, with Gordon being lightly wounded again by the mass of Ghouls crowding around him. One of the creatures grabs the gnome’s axe and he has to wrestle it free.

Cynan fights surrounded by the bodies of the fallen, he batters one ghoul aside and cuts off the arm of another.

Talo can see the combat continue before him as he staggers on through the snow. Cynan seems to have cut down almost all his foes with only two still remaining, Kalam is fighting four, having cast aside his crossbow and drawn his shortsword but Gordon is still surrounded, with nine or ten of the snarling creatures swarming around him. How the gnome has survived this long baffles the dwarf.
The cold air cuts Talo’s lungs as he pushes on, still 40 metres from Kalam and another 20 from Cynan and Gordon.

~

Jenson’s head rolls about as he is hauled off toward the gate, thinking “Once I have my feet under me, I have to play it out a bit and see what the heck is going on, I am not one to be food for another. I hope the rest get here soon. I hope i still have my rifle on my back, maybe I am still holding my pistol or is my needler pistol in it’s holster and there is that incendiary grenade if it comes to it but running if or when I can may be my best action. I wonder how many ghouls are about and where are they taking us.”

Gildor praises Saphiria, “Good job girl. These undead things are dangerous my dear. Remember to not let them touch you.”

Gildor waits for the paralysis to end and for an opportune time to draw his needler with AP rounds and fires it at the closest threats and then those holding Kradorn. He wonders why they are taking us to the gate. Probably not a good thing.

Jenson thinks as the paralysis wanes, Laser rifle on my back – check, needler on my hip – check, Grenades in pack – check. Steady till either Gildor moves or says something or they notice I am not paralysed any more then I am going to blast them with the needler (Loaded with AP rounds) and try not to get touched again. We have to get to safety and the rest of the group.

The sounds of battle erupt behind Gildor and Jenson, with laser beams flickering past and Cynan’s voice echoing across the snowy landscape. The undead warrior running with them orders those of the ghouls not carrying Kradorn, Jenson and Gildor ahead and the creatures sprint off towards the city gates about 60m away.
Gildor’s fingers feel like sausages but he can at least move them and seeing half the ghouls sprint off towards the city gates he makes a stealthy grab for his needler pistol.
Pistol in hand, he gives the Ghoul on his left a burst which knocks him down but before he can turn on the other, it grasps his throat and paralyses him again. Gildor feels the needler slip from his fingers into the snow as the ghoul picks him up again and begin dragging him forward.
Jenson doesn’t even get that far, reaching for his needler when he hears the ripping sound of Gildor’s, one of the ghouls carrying him grabs his head in both hands and paralyses him too.

Gildor stiffens under the ghoul’s touch. He was hoping for a better outcome, but it seems he and Jenson or fated for something else. If only the lady of summer’s blessing could shield them for a short time. Perhaps she has blessed them it’s just still not enough to save them. His spirits lift with the sound of battle behind them. They heard us. Thank you, Lady of the summer. Now if only they can save us in time. I’ve got to be prepared if I can get my feeling back again to break free and draw my sword. “Saphiria attack the skeleton leader by surprise my dear.” Perhaps if the leader that is controlling these things dies, we might stand a chance.

Jenson hears Gildor attempt to break out with that short Needler gunfire and moves to also grab his Needler but all he happens to do is feel immense pains throughout his body of pins and needles and before he can do anything the horrible disfigured face of what was once a human being stares him in the eyes and hold his face at it which point then brings his pins and needles pain to a roaring stop as the world around him again goes stiff in another bout of paralysis. Hearing the battle behind him Jenson in his mind screams a thunderous chorus of words even the most veteran Marine would blush over, ending in a short plea to the gods to help bring a divine presence of aid the group which will allow Jenson to see the light and believe further about gods in this place are real. Then as he is dragged once again, Jenson plots his next move of drop, roll, kick, crawl to get up and fight however he can as if he was in a burning building.

In response to Gildor’s request, Saphiria sweeps in to surprise the undead warrior but it turns and steps aside just as the firedrake’s flames roar down. The wight catches some of the burning venom but is able to cast aside its cloak which quickly goes out in the snow. Undeterred, Saphiria races up into the storm and prepares for another attack.
The undead warrior draws its sword and shield and waits for her next pass. The wight spins on the spot, sword and shield ready but it fails to notice Saphiria drop out of the storm directly above it, from which vantage point she douses the creature in burning venom.
Gildor and Jenson drop to the snow as the ghouls holding them rush towards the hovering Saphiria, she in turn blasts fire at the two ghouls who were holding Jenson before hurtling headlong at the last one.

Gildor sees Saphiria and the ghoul crash into each other out of the corner of his eye and then disappear. There follows a series of animal snarls and the sounds of ripping and tearing flesh, then all is quiet.
Agonisingly long seconds later, Saphiria lands next to Gildor in a wash of heat and he feels the chill of the ghouls begin to fade from his limbs. The firedrake is wounded but not badly.

Off in the distance Jenson hears a rumble and slowly raising his head he sees the city gate, about 50m away, begin to open slowly. Pushing hard he manages to roll onto his side and prop himself up on one elbow. He can see about ten ghouls gathered around the huge gate looking back at him. Kradorn and his two escorts are about halfway to the gate.

~

“Bah!! My eye for a sled!” Talo is pushing and wading through the snow as best he can. As he continues to press through the snow the apoplectic dwarf grips his axe to his chest and summons Clanggedin’s spiritual axe into existence and hastens its flight into the ghouls harassing Gordon. The spiritual weapon hacks and slashes with dwarven fury.

The axe appears close to the combat and strikes one of the ghouls waiting to tear into Gordon. The creature howls and looks about for its assailant but sees no-one.
In the chaotic melee Gordon manages to bring his axe around and smack one of the ghouls in the face. The monster gurgles a scream, its jaw dangling from a shred of flesh.
Claws reach out and tear at Gordon and one ghoul grabs the gnomes arm and bites into his shoulder. Gordon is instantly paralysed by the undead magic.

Kalam stabs with his shortsword then his knife slashes at a throat and two ghouls fall. Moments later one of the two remaining ghouls rakes a claw across his back and Kalam falls frozen into the snow.

Cynan lunges as his last two enemies close on him, catching one under the jaw and burning its skull to cinders. The other ghoul claws at Cynan but its nails merely scratch across his armour. Cynan grabs the thing by the neck and drives Bronzefire through its skeletal body.
From out of the snow looms one of the undead warriors calling out to the remaining ghouls. Cynan hurls the smouldering body of the ghoul he just killed at the wight and then bronzefire sweeps through its shield, armour and cold flesh, leaving a gaping, flaming wound.
The wight’s sword scrapes across the paladin’s shield but leaves no mark.

Talo watches in concern as he sees Gordon and Kalam being born away by ghouls. The creatures which overwhelmed Gordon turn their attention to Cynan and sprint at the paladin with a howl. Clanggedin’s spiritual axe hacks at the group but misses.
All the while, the dwarf continues to attack the ghouls from behind with the spiritual axe he shouts. “To their ruin!!”
Unsure whether to save Gordon or Kalam, Talo looses focus and the axe flickers and vanishes.

Cynan is unable to attack the wight due to the wave of ghouls rushing at him and although Cynan is stuck a number of times he still manages to bring one of the creatures down in flames.
The ghouls try to overwhelm the paladin and only Cynan’s fury prevents their icy touch from pulling him down. Cynan steps back and cuts another down in the process, dodges the last of the creatures and then cuts it in two.

Talo summons his spiritual axe back and after bringing down one of the hoard attacking Cynan turns the weapon on the ghouls carrying away Kalam. It splits a ghoul’s skull and then hacks down the other, leaving Kalam sprawled in the snow.

Cynan, seeing the last two standing ghouls making off with Gordon, sprints after them. He catches them twenty metres further on and dispatches them both. Then he picks Gordon out of the snow and dusts him off. The paladin looks around but can see no sign of the wight he wounded.
Gordon realises he’s dropped his axe somewhere.

Talo reaches Kalam and turns him over. Once again the dwarf is sure he hears the sounds of more ghouls coming up behind them.

~

Grunting a moment Jenson looks to Gildor, “Gildor, Oh my crap ol’a bars, look we need to rescue Kradorn before he befalls to those ghouls and shit man there are seven of them still at the gate. I can charge and throw my thermal grenade as far as I can at the ghouls at the gate but there is a chance I can hit Kradorn! Oh man this is the shit.” Jenson gets out his thermal grenade “But we have to do something” and gets up “Unless you say different Gildor here I go” and charges the ghouls ready to throw the grenade as far as he can to the gate once he is at something of a running start.

By the time he’s finished his speech, the ghouls are already on the move, coming at Gildor and Jenson with howls of damnation. They pass Kradorn and his captors going the other way.

Gildor says, “Go for it, Jenson. We need to save Kradorn.”

Gildor looks about for his Needler pistol where it fell in the snow and finds it immediately.
Then he casts Levitate on himself rising 16 feet high and calls Saphiria.

Jenson follows through with a running throw of his grenade.
The grenade lands right at the feet of the oncoming ghouls and detonates with a bang and then a whoosh as the incendiary cloud detonates. Six ghouls are caught by the grenade and several blown over but most stagger back to their feet. Only one seems to have escaped the grenade’s flames and it comes on, howling.

Jenson after throwing his grenade stops and pulls out his blaster rifle and will fire on the Ghouls dragging Kradorn or the closest one to him if the other are attacking, yelling back to Gildor “Gildor what’s the next move?”

By the time Jenson has the blaster rifle in his hands and aimed at the ghouls, the first are already upon him, several still on fire. Two claws rake at him but fail to penetrate his armour before a claw catches him on the side of the head stunning and paralysing him.

Saphiria arrives behind Gildor and starts pushing, trying to manoeuvre him after Kradorn but the going is slow.

~

Talo peers into the snowstorm but can’t see any sign of Kradorn. He can just about see Jenson and Gildor by the light of something burning in the snow close to them.
Over the howl of the storm, Talo hollers, “Jenson! Gildor! We are being outflanked! Please watch our backs! We have more coming up behind us!”
The dwarf isn’t convinced Gildor and Jenson heard him, they seem to have more immediate problems of their own.

“Cynan – a piggy back if you will?” Talo looks pleadingly up at the winter paladin in hopes of catching a ride to the enemy.

Cynan tries lifting the dwarf but shakes his head, saying “I wouldn’t be able to carry you far dwarf and I’d be slower than you are now.” As he turns and sprints off after Gildor and Jenson he adds, “Perhaps you need to consider shedding a little weight… you could start with that plate mail.”
As the paladin begins his path toward Kradorn, Talo casts protection from evil on him, “Go get ’em, holy warrior!”

“Kalam, go get Kradorn before he is lost!” shouts Talo.
Kalam nods but turns and heads back to where he fought the ghouls with his shortsword and dagger, hunting for the fallen weapons in the snow. He finds his shortsword, sheaths it and runs off after Cynan.

“Gordon, ensorcel them! Make spelly things at ’em! Zap ’em… or somethin’!” shouts Talo.
Gordon retreats a little in the hope of finding his axe, lost in the snow somewhere behind him. Talo can hear the gnome swearing and flinging snow about in a fruitless search for the axe. Gordon gives a final curse in old gnomish before heading after Talo, running as fast as his little legs will carry him after Cynan, Kalam and the others.

~

It takes about thirty seconds to close on the ghouls carrying Kradorn and by this time they are out of the city gate and turned right, heading for the palace atop the mount to the north east.
Gildor takes aim and fires a burst of hypersonic flechettes at one of the ghouls and brings it down. The other ghoul turns and looks about, giving Gildor the opportunity to hit it with almost a full burst. The creature disintegrates from the waist up and Kradorn falls into the snow.
Behind Gildor, two more smouldering ghouls come through the gate and out onto the plain carrying Jenson between them. Gildor hits and kills the one on the right but the other accidentally avoids his next burst trying to pick up Jenson again. Taking careful aim Gildor peppers the ghoul with flechettes and it too disintegrates all over Jenson.

~

Cynan spots three blackened and burnt ghouls coming out of the storm at him but doesn’t hesitate, Bronzefire sweeps down, cleaving one from shoulder to groin and impaling another. The third creature runs onto Kalam’s shortsword. The thief pulls the blade free and signals to Cynan to continue.
They sprint up to and through the open gate, then look about for Gildor and Jenson, who they spot off to their right not more than 10m away. Strangely, Gildor seems to be floating about 5m up in the air, while Jenson is sitting up, moving slowly, still feeling the effects of his repeated encounters with the ghouls.

The low grey sky to the north of them seems to be riven by a gash of bright blue through which sunlight shines down on the city below. While there is still snow falling where they are standing it won’t be long before the north wind brings the patch of clear sky over the party.

Talo and Gordon arrive at the gate panting and exhausted, the dwarf pointing back the way he came. 50m behind them come a dozen ghouls, with more following.

~

Panting great clouds of breath vapour Gordon calls to his comrades, “Guys. <pant pant gasp> Guys. <pant pant gasp> There’s another lad of ‘em coming from behind us.” The gnome turns and readies himself, wondering what spell from his meagre arsenal could be of use against these foul creatures. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” thinks the gnome and casts Summon Swarm some 25m out from himself and Talo hoping to catch the ghouls as they come charging towards them. If the ghouls break through the swarm or aren’t particularly slowed Gordon will ready Burning Hands to try and blast any that come at him. Final resort he draws his shortsword and fights for his life.

Talo is likewise brewing a blizzard of sweat in spite of the chill. The war cleric turns on his heel and casts his curative magic on his gnomish cousin, followed quickly with a protection from evil spell to aid in Gordon’s resistance from undead paralysis. Talo quickly levels his spiritual weapon on the foremost runners in the pack of ghouls and proceeds to make merciful harvest of this undead horde.

Jenson staggers to his feet now behind the group at the gate due to his slowness getting up, “Gadszooks man these things are tough as nails”, aargh, he pulls out his needler, “the way this day keeps going I’ll be down to hitting them over the head with my shoe,” sighs, “If i ever can get passed their paralysation.” Looks around, “which way guys, we just can’t stand still, can we?” and aims his needler and is ready to shoot if any ghouls attempt to circle around the group or get through to him. “Man they wanted to drag us toward the palace so we should go the other way and back to the armoury?”

Gildor tells the others, “Someone get Kradorn and let’s head back to the armory, back the way you guys came, so it’s easier on Gordon and Talo.”
Gildor checks his clip and swaps it for a fresh one if needed. He’ll cast fireball if needed and can do it safely. He will also consider a flechette grenade as well.
Gildor asks Saphiria, ”My dear, can you give me a pull. Follow Jenson and the others. Back along the path. I’ll try to clear a path for the others.”
Gildor will assess the situation but his objective would be to kill larger groups with either a fireball or grenade, flechette or incendiary and use his pistol on stragglers or to help someone.

“Does anyone have another power cell? My light gun seems to have run out of ammunition.” asks Kalam.

“I only have the little ones Kalam, don’t know if they are the right ones for your light gun though!” Shouts back Gordon as he readies himself for the oncoming ghouls. He fishes one out of his belt pouch and tosses it to his comrade.

Kalam nods his appreciation to the gnome.

“Shoot, all my lasers are somewhere back there on the ground. Hmm let me look but we have to keep going” says Jenson.

“Jenson, help Kradorn please.” asks Cynan, moving back to the gate to help Gordon and Talo.

Gildor calls down, “Kalam and/or Cynan, Help Jenson with Kradorn. We need to get back to the armoury. I’ll try to clear big groups if I can. Perhaps if we go back the way you came Talo and Gordon can walk in the paths they already made so it won’t be as hard on them?”

While Gildor changes his needler ammunition, Saphiria pushes him towards the gate. The firedrake seems to be struggling, she’s wounded and cold, and the snowstorm isn’t helping either.
As Gildor rises above the gate he can see about 25 ghouls running towards Gordon and Talo and maybe three or four creeping out from cover on either side of the road, emerging from behind houses or fences.
A swarm of rats suddenly appears from the south and proceeds to attack the group of ghouls coming up the road. The rats swarm over the ghouls but only two fall under the furry mass. The rest run on towards Gordon and Talo.

The priest casts a healing prayer on the gnome and then casts ‘Protection from evil’ on him too.
“Oi! Gordo! Ya need an axe for this work!” Talo kisses the head of Clanggedin’s Cleaver and hands it to Gordon until he finds his own war-edge again.

Jenson helps Kradorn to his feet, he says he feels weak but he can stand on his own. The fighter digs in his pack and hands Kalam a power-pack which the young thief attaches to his laser rifle. He looks at the numbers on the side of the rifle and smiles “One hundred shots!”
Kradorn calls to Jenson as he runs towards the gates to help the others. “Jenson, can I use that big blaster thing you’ve got? I don’t think I can use my bow until I get my strength back.”

Gordon ignores the offer of the axe and prepares a spell, waiting for the first of the ghouls to close on them before casting it.
Cynan comes through the gate and seeing the horde coming at him, mumbles a prayer to Ringheru. Talo meanwhile takes back his axe and prepares for combat.

Gildor, watching the ghouls close on the gate, throws one of his flechette grenades down into the mass of undead. The grenade lands right where Gildor intended and the resulting explosion knocks down nine ghouls and injures almost all of the others.
They finally arrive at the gate, where Gordon blasts the first three before him into burning bones, Talo takes down one with his axe and Cynan hacks down one and impales another. Talo and Cynan both feel the claws of the undead rake their armour but remain unharmed.
Gildor meanwhile takes out his needler pistol and tries to pick off the stragglers closing in from the left. Three bursts from the needler takes down one ghoul and lightly injures another. The weapon beeps, the first of the 6cm ammunition blocks drops off the front of the weapon and the remaining two slide forward to replace it.

The rest of the ghouls close on Gordon, Talo and Cynan and Gordon goes down almost immediately, wounded and paralysed. Talo is overwhelmed but despite being repeatedly clawed at, remains unharmed, even if he can’t bring his axe to bear on the ghouls.
Cynan ignores the claws and teeth of the ghouls, battering one to the ground and beheading it withBronzefire.
Gildor concentrates on the three ghouls gathered around Gordon, the needler buzzes four times and two of the ghouls explode into grisly fragments. The last of these ghouls leaves Gordon and charges at Talo, just as the dwarven priest takes down a ghoul with an axe to the neck.
Cynan stumbles and is almost overwhelmed before battering a ghoul aside with his shield and then hacking off another’s head and arm as it rushes at him.

Jenson, Kradorn and Kalam emerge through the gate to find the fight in full swing. Kradorn goes down on one knee and aims at four ghouls closing from the right with support from Kalam, while Jenson starts shooting at point blank range at the two attacking Talo.

The ghouls claw and bite at Cynan and Talo but do no harm. Cynan beheads his last ghoul with a clean blow as it charges at him, the headless corpse bouncing lightly off his shield.
Talo grabs a ghoul by the neck and smashes its skull in with his axe just before something slams into him from behind.
Jenson looks aghast as his first shot into the combat glances off Talo’s plate but then the last ghoul staggers back and howls a challenge to Talo, giving Jenson a clear shot. He pulls the trigger and the ghoul explodes all over everybody.
Kradorn and Kalam both start off well but after Kalam hits, his gun bleeps and refuses to shoot any more.
Kradorn loves his new weapon as it shoots out a constant stream of light balls which explode on impact, just like a blaster pistol but much faster. He hits a ghoul twice in rapid succession but when he changes target the weapon bleeps and stops working. “Piece of crap!” mumbles the fighter, pulling out his dagger as the last three ghouls run in from the right.

From his vantage point Gildor shoots down at the last three ghouls. His first shot misses, then the weapon bleeps and the last block of ammunition moves into place.
Gildor looks around while the weapon reloads and spots yet more ghouls approaching from the east, perhaps a hundred metres away, along the road leading to the gate.

Kalam draws his shortsword as the last three ghouls charge the party. He manages to avoid being hit but doesn’t land a blow himself, Talo comes to his aid and takes down the ghoul with an axe to the head.
Kradorn grips his dagger tightly as two ghouls run at him but is somewhat taken aback when they both trip over something that must be hidden in the snow and land face first at the fighters feet. Kradorn doesn’t waste the opportunity, quickly dispatching one with his knife, and when the other starts to rise, Jenson sprays it with his needler and blows off the top of its head.

Seeing the next pack of ghouls approaching, Kalam unplugs the power-pack attached to his laser rifle and replaces the power-cell with the one Gordon gave him. He quickly takes aim at the Ghouls now 60m away and shoots, just missing one of the 13 ghouls.

Gildor quickly tosses his last flechette grenade at the 13 ghouls approaching them and times it to detonate near the front of the pack as best he can.

The grenade lands just where Gildor intended and the resulting blast knocks down all the oncoming ghouls.

Gildor says, “Someone help Gordon. Kradorn, those ghouls tripped on some stuff. Grab it quick. It might be our laser carbine and pistol.”

Kradorn moves forward and starts searching in the knee deep snow for whatever tripped the ghouls. He searches amidst the snow but finds nothing.

Gildor gets a healing spray and sprays it on Saphiria.
The spray turns to foam and quickly hardens over the firedrake’s wounds
Gildor quickly finds a safe spot on Saphiria he can secure his ring of warmth to her.
Saphiria takes the ring and clutches it in one foot, pushing it onto a talon. Within moments the creature feels the ring’s magic warmth flow through her.

Mentally, Gildor feels that she is healthy and warmer and says, “There you go girl. Just pull me back toward the armory girl. Take a break every so often to rest on a perch where the ghouls can’t get to you.”
Gildor tells the others, “Steady and as fast as we can without exhausting yourselves folks.”

Looking at the area the ghouls tripped. Jenson moves to it and tries to find what they tripped over. Then rushes to help the group get away. Using his needler if ghouls are close.
“We have to get out of here to a better defensible place even if not the armory.” says Jenson.

Kradorn gives him a sour look “It’s a door stop Gildor, they tripped over a doorstop for the main gate. There are no weapons here!”

Kalam and Cynan take aim at those ghouls picking themselves up out of the snow and start shooting at any who come at the party. Kalam brings down one and Cynan three. While Cynan swaps his blaster for Bronzefire, Kalam keeps shooting while Kradorn and Talo stand before Jenson and Gordon, waiting for the gnome to recover.

Kalam’s laser carbine flashes twice and the last of the ghouls fall burning into the snow.

Gildor continues to use his Needler as needed and reloads if needed, Cast Fireball if the situation warrants, Cast Web should it warrant tactically and use his incendiary grenades if the situations seems right. Gildor tries to keep track of how long he’s been levitating and will get closer to the ground as time gets close.

Talo interposes himself between Gordon and the oncoming ghouls and blesses him with two healing spells before they close on the party’s location. The dwarf then blesses Jenson in hopes of bolstering him as much as possible preparatory to the coming battle. “Please watch your shots, Jenson. Hang in there! You’re doing well!”

Cynan adds his prayers to the gnome’s recovery.

Gordon feels better but is still wounded after the cures and Jenson feels much better, with only a few cuts and scrapes remaining.

“Thanks Talo, We need all the help we can get, now what did I find and I am ready for the next round.” Jenson sheepishly nods, “yeah, I should have a better handle on the weapons from my time.” smiles “I’ll do better, you watch and then when I learn magic oh boy!” and grins, turning to defend the group as they once again move.

The ugly dwarf smiles, “I like the cut of your jib! I am terrible with those things, by the way. Friendly fire is a real thing with me at the trigger.” Talo can be heard to enviously say, “Pew pew!!” throughout the remainder of the fight as he watches the better aiming members level their weapons at the undead.

The party move away from the gate, still partly open, and head east, back down the road littered with their recent encounters with the city’s ghoul packs.
The party get about 100 metres down the road when Gildor spots more ghouls coming up the road ahead of them, just crossing the junction about 200 metres away.

Gildor says,”ok folks, let’s get back to the armory as fast as Talo and Gordon can move and not get too tired.”
Gildor gets a clip handy to swap in once he’s completely out and an incendiary grenade.
When the ghouls are at medium range he throws the incendiary grenade near the front of the group.

Jenson pauses “Really Gildor, how many more, man guys, be ready to light em up as they get to us. How many more are there in this place?” Jenson readies his Needle and will start shooting once they are close enough for effect.

Gildor, hearing Jenson’s comments and feeling the chill of the air now that he no long wears the ring of warmth, says “Everyone. Look for an alternate building to survive the night, just in case. If you feel we won’t make it back to the armory, then say so. If possible, we need to get to the armory though. All our gear is there. Cynan or Gordon… Did anyone seal the armory when you left it?”

Over the howl of the wind and accompanying screeches of undead, the dwarven cleric responds, “I don’t know – I didn’t close it.”

“I shut the front door but I didn’t lock it. I don’t see anywhere round here that has the defences of the armoury, unless we occupy one of the wall towers.” says Cynan.

Gildor talks, moves, throws and fires as he moves forward. Pausing only to throw and fire to have better accuracy. “If the Incendiary grenade has a good enough radius effect and proves to be effective, we have a chance. I’ve got some spell power left and a couple incendiary grenades left. The problem is if any of us gets paralysed again.”
Gildor saves the grenades for groups and uses the needler to help take down stragglers coordinating fire with the others.

As the party move away from the gate and towards the point Gordon was first paralysed by ghouls he prepares to cast Detect Magic in an attempt to locate his axe.

Seeing more ghouls Gordon gives an audible sigh. “Gildor, do you have enough mystical energy left for another Fireball? If you have I suggest you light this lot up as soon as they are in range. Talo, Cynan, I thought you religious sorts were good at getting rid of these sort of creatures with your Godly gifts?” Asks the gnome with a raised eyebrow.
“Understood.” Smiles Cynan.

Gordon then readies himself for another onslaught, Burning Hands spell at the forefront ready to take down as many as possible, with another blast planned immediately afterwards as necessary.

Gildor replies to Gordon, “I’m a little low on magic. I’m saving it for a bit. I’m going to try one of these metal fire thingies. We need to cover as much ground as we can to get back to the armoury. Let’s get a moving.”

Talo readies himself and once the ghouls are within range he attempts to turn them.

Gildor uses the incendiary grenade at medium range. Then uses his needler and reloads as needed saving the spent clip.

Jenson waits to shoot until the Ghouls are in range, “Good idea, saving the clips, you never know if we make it out of here we may be able to make our own bullets. Keep moving, this will be a long nights run”

Gildor throws his grenade and it lands just where he wanted it, about 30m from the party. The grenade bangs and then whooshes. Engulfing most of the ghouls in orange flames. Two avoid the flames and run at the party but Kalam brings them down with his laser carbine seconds later.
Ten burning ghouls come at the party and Talo strides forward bellowing dwarven oaths and turns the four ghouls running at him.
Cynan does the same and turns six more. The burning ghouls all flee, with most staggering and then falling before they reach cover.

With all the ghouls dead of fled the party pushes on down the road. They’ve been travelling for perhaps a minute when more ghouls emerge from the swirling snow ahead. Gildor throws another grenade and catches all but one of the ghouls in its flames.
The pattern repeats, with Kalam killing two with his laser carbine and Talo turning all the rest. They scatter and only two make it to cover, the others falling and burning in the snow.

The party move on, eventually reaching the site where Gordon thinks he lost Gorm’s axe, just short of next junction. The gnome casts Detect Magic and immediately finds the axe buried in the snow. Kradorn pleads with Gordon to see if he can do the same to try and find his lost sword. He thinks it’s up ahead somewhere.
Before Gordon can cast the spell, another pack of ghouls comes running out of the snow and across the junction.

Gildor throws his last grenade and this lands a little short, only catching half a dozen ghouls in its flames. Kalam shoots, hitting three times and bringing another down in flames. Cynan and Talo step up and turn the remainder while Gildor shoots down at them, exploding one.
All the ghouls flee the priest and paladin’s holy symbols, Kalam brings another down as does Gildor’s needler as they run away through the snow.

The party push on through the snowstorm and a couple of minutes later Kradorn comes to where he thinks he lost his sword. With the help of a Detect Magic from Gordon, the fighter finds his missing sword in the tumbled snow.

The party reach the armoury about 5 minutes later with no more encounters with ghouls, by which time Gildor’s Levitation spell has faded and he’s trudging through the snow like everyone else. They get within about 20m when two ghouls burst out of the armoury, the first carrying what looks like a small limb in its mouth – its hard to tell if its an arm or a leg – with the second ghoul trying to grab a piece for itself. The creatures hiss and snarl at each other, oblivious to the party.