Table of Contents
Don't really have much to say about this one.
Charging forwards, Kieran slammed the hilt of his sword into the gut of the guard, who doubled over just in time to take a heavy fist to the back of the head as Khory stepped in. Behind them, Elena sent another gust of wind flying, sending a pair of elementals sprawling. Nia charged forwards, knocking a last guard over with a dozen strands of paper, and waved a hand. "Just through here, quickly!" The others followed her out onto the rocky surface, and Nia spun around and raised her arm. Paper slashed outwards, covering the opening, and Elena slammed wind into it to collapse it downwards, covering the entrance.
"That won't hold them for..." Nia gasped, sinking to her knees. "He's getting through. We have to hurry, or I'll be pulled into his mind no matter what." She reached into her pocket, pulling out three small brown seeds and pressing them into Kieran's hands.
"I hope this works..." Kieran took the seeds carefully, kneeling beside Nia, and regarded them dubiously. "So, Nia, how exactly do I use these?"
"Break the seeds... very strong magic, spiritual. Make it part of the offering to Bear." Nia sagged down to the ground, Khory catching her and easing her fall. "He'll hear it... I hope." She closed her eyes, pain evident on her features, her teeth gritted. "And hurry!"
Kieran nodded quickly, and knelt down on the rocky surface. "Mighty Skulking Bear, if you are present, please come and hear our call. We would not call you away, but we have great need of you, in this our darkest hour." One by one, he broke the three seeds open, and the air was filled with the scent of blooming flowers and mist. Even as he prayed, he felt a breath of air, and his aches receded. "Let this token be a symbol of our need and respect for you. Please, come to us!"
For a few, terrible moments, he thought that there would be no response. The cliff wall shuddered, as unknown magics tore it apart from the far side, and Khory and Elena stepped in front of it, sword and hammer drawn and ready to attack.
Then the skies grew dark, and a bolt of lightning split the heavens. It slammed into the ground, spreading with a dull roar, and the wind followed, taking shape, as Skulking Bear rose from one knee to survey the island. His mighty brow furrowed, and he growled in a more-or-less friendly matter. "THIS HAD BETTER BE IMPORTANT - I WAS JUST FINISHING UP THAT UNDEAD ARMY, AND I HATE LEAVING THINGS TO MY SUBORDINATES."
"Supremely important, Master Skulking Bear. We have uncovered the being responsible for your imprisonment, and we have a chance to stop him - and, even better, to heal him so that he will help in the future." Quickly, Kieran outlined the problem, while Khory and Elena stood guard, and Nia lay silently. Kieran looked over at her. "Nia, are you...?"
"Still here. But please, we need to do it now." Nia opened her eyes, looking up at the bear god. "When Mokrelus pulls me into his mind, you have to let the others come with me, and then guard our bodies. Mokrelus will be occupied, and you..." She broke off, gasping, and then continued. "You can handle anything the guards can do. Just be alert for sorcery."
Skulking Bear nodded solemnly. "IF YOU CAN TAKE AN ENEMY AND REPAIR HIM, YOU MUST TRY. I CANNOT STAND AGAINST MOKRELUS ALONE - TAKE CARE." He breathed out, and mist surrounded the four. Kieran felt himself growing tired, and lay down. Beside him, Khory and Elena did the same. Stalking Bear smiled, standing above them, as the fog billowed around them. "YOU MAY ALLOW MOKRELUS TO DRAW YOU IN, NOW, SPLINTER. FAREWELL - AND GOOD LUCK."
Nia nodded weakly, and lay back, letting her breath out all at once. Her eyes closed, and the fog swirling around her poured into her, just as Mokrelus reached out for a final time.
The cave wall shattered, and a dozen elementals and splinters burst forth, sprouting brass claws and paper trails, iron bodies and flaming swords brandished. Skulking Bear looked them over thoughtfully.
"FIRST THE UNDEAD, AND NOW YOU." He smiled a feral grin, and then followed it with a loud laugh. "THIS DAY, THE MAIDENS TRULY SMILE ON ME!"