Friday, June 17, 2022

Paladins: Set It On Fire

"Old joke: how many paladins does it take to burn out a nest of vampires?" Werendril was wrestling with a keg of lamp oil, trying to splash it across the wooden porch without getting any of it on himself. They'd have to douse the walls too, but he wanted to make sure that anybody who came out the front door ran directly into the flames. 

"I don't know, how many paladins does it take to--" There was a sudden cry, abruptly cut off, and a soft sound that might have been a body hitting the ground on the far side of the building, and Tarric frowned. "All of them, maybe." He'd been dousing the cellar door at the front left corner of the building; now he set his keg aside and drew his sword. Knowing that Werendril would follow, he headed for the back of the building. The True Elf wasn't Tavros and wouldn't ever be, but that didn't mean they couldn't work together.

The alley behind the brothel was empty, save for the fallen form of Tanovir who was bleeding onto the rough, irregular cobbles. Tarric stopped and spun around, looking, but Salya was gone and the alley was empty. The skin on the back of his neck prickled, and he turned and put his back to the wall just as something unseen whooshed through the space his head had occupied a moment before. "Amun take you," he muttered, raising sword and shield. "Werendril! Invisible enemies!"

There was no response, and for a moment Tarric feared that Werendril had abandoned him. Then there was a great WHOOSH and a gust of wind stirred the dust of the alley. 

The brothel was on fire. 

He wasn't sure later if his enemy said, "No!" or if it was just a small sound, but he turned and cut and found a body in what looked like empty air. There was the ring of metal on metal, and someone staggered back. "Salya?" he asked, not quite as surprised as he might have been. 

"Very good," she whispered, and then moved. He heard the footsteps but couldn't place them, and when she attacked it was sheer luck that he had his shield in the way. The first blow struck like a blacksmith's hammer, and drove his shield down; the second connected with his armor and cut into his shoulder. Then suddenly Salya was visible and Werendril was there too, the words of a dispersal spell trailing from his lips. 

"That," said Tarric, looking at her, "was a mistake." He raised a hand and filled the alley with daylight.

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