Thursday, October 23, 2014

Online Novel Chapter 6 - Engaging The Mob

"What the hell was that?" Ray whispered to Pat.

The room was dark...very dark.  Back at the dorms, it never got this black since there was always some extra source of light, no matter how faint - a computer monitor, a light pole from outside, even the light from the hall creeping in under the dorm room door.  Here only more darkness crept in through the shutter that led outside.

Something else crept in - grunts and shouts, plus what sounded like the occasional muffled scream.  It sounded a bit like two in the morning on a Saturday night, with people shuffling back to their beds after a night of keg stands(except for the muffled screams, that is).

"We should get the others and find out what's happening," Pat said.

Grabbing his crossbow, Pat headed out the door, Ray close behind.  Dan was already in the hall, his hands gripped around Chris' robes.

"What is going on out there?" Dan asked.

"Your guess is as good as mine, Dan," Pat replied.  "I almost didn't hear it...and I wish I hadn't.  I'm so friggin tired."

The door to Tucker's room opened and the burly knight peered out.  "Keep your voices down.  They'll hear you."

"Who'll hear us?" Lisa asked, her and Kurt now joining them in the hall.

"Come see for yourselves.  Just be quiet about it."

They filed into Tucker's room, crouching as they moved.  Tucker had his shutter opened a sliver, and even from across the room they could make out movement outside.

That wasn't all.  Apparently it wasn't as dark as they'd originally thought, for light also flickered into the room.  As they crouched by the window, they could see why - torchlight was wafting inside from the crowd.  Of course, it was what the crowd was made of that nearly made Lisa scream.

"Goblins," Tucker noted.  "Real ones."

He wasn't wrong.  There were a couple dozen of the green skinned beasts.  A few carried torches, and all carried blades of some sort.  They were also clad in brown leather garments and wore sandals.  Several of the bigger ones carried burlap sacks across their shoulders...burlap sacks that seemed to move.

Those sacks were also the source of the muffled screams.

"There are people in there," Tucker noted.

"This is so cool," Pat said.

"No," Lisa corrected.  "The game is cool.  This is real."

"We have to save those people," Tucker said, as if it was obvious.

"Are you insane?" Chris said.  "Not only are those real monsters, there are over 20 of them.  We wouldn't stand a chance."

"Our group has taken on more than this," Tucker replied, never taking his eyes off the goblins.  "Whoever the goblins took, they don't deserve to be cooked and eaten."

"How do you know they'll do that?" Chris asked.

Now Tucker took his eyes off the mob.  "We've been playing DragonLore long enough to know what they do.  Goblins take humans for food, and we're considered a delicacy."

The group stirred uncomfortably.  Finally, Dan said, "Not sure I'll be of much good.  I'm blind, remember."

"The rest of us have enough power to do this.  Let's go."  Tucker skulked out of the room, grabbing his armor as he left.  The rest of the group looked dumbfounded as he went.  However, knowing they couldn't leave him alone, they reluctantly followed, grabbing what they could from their rooms.

Tucker's armor glistened in the soft moonlight, his silver sword in his hand.  He was about to charge out into the mob when Lisa grabbed him.

"Hey, big guy, let's think of a plan of attack, okay?"

"What do you have in mind?" he sighed.

"More than just charge in and take on all at once," Lisa replied.  "Think of this as one of our quests.  We'd make a plan beforehand."  She turned to Ray and said, "You've got your fireball spell, I'll bet.  Set those trees over there on fire.  Once that creates a distraction, Pat can lay down one or two with his crossbow, and Tucker can then slice a few that get separated.  I'll pick off one or two with my dagger, and Kurt, we'll need you to start healing us as soon as they attack."

"What about me?" Chris asked.

"None of them are zombies," Lisa observed.  "Stay with Dan and pray."

"Wonderful," Chris murmured.

As Ray brought his hands up, he said, "I really hope to God this works."

His hands started to glow orange, and his eyes widened.  As if he'd fired a gun, recoil struck his body and an enormous fireball leapt from his fingertips and lurched across the road.  Of course, it came nowhere near the target and hit an old barn in the street instead.

"Shit," Ray stammered as the barn went up.  He brought his hands up again and aimed for the trees.  His second shot came closer but still landed in a field short of the target.  Still, he created the intended effect - the goblins were surprised by the fireballs and temporarily stunned.

Before they could catch their bearing, Pat fired off a crossbow bolt and impaled one of the goblins through the skull.  He yelped in glee as he took aim with his second shot, but the bolt missed wildly and embedded itself in the wood of the burning barn.

Tucker leapt from the cover he was using and cleaved one of the stunned goblins in half.  As another approached him from the rear, Lisa came out of nowhere and jammed her dagger into its throat.  She pulled it out just in time to whirl around and catch another in the chest.

Pat was reloading as fast as he could, but he was having trouble getting the bolts properly situated.  Meanwhile, Tucker cut another two across the waist.  Ray was trying to raise his hands again, but nothing would come up.

"My magic is gone," he exclaimed.

"Dude, you used your magic points," Pat said.  "Remember, it takes a couple of turns for you to get them back.  Try a minor spell."

Sticking his hands out in front of him, he blew out his breath, a mighty wind now kicking up and blowing back the attackers.  Tucker aimed for the head of one, but the wind caused him to fall over.

Goblins were now running in all directions.  Several had dropped the sacks they carried, although none of the group could tell if they'd dropped all of them.  Nearly a dozen goblins lay dead or dying as the rest disappeared into the town and the woods.

Breathing heavily, Tucker asked, "Everyone okay?"  Once they all nodded, he continued, "Let's get Chris and Dan and get these folks out of these bags."

They made their way back to the wall of the inn to find Dan on the ground, his right eye bleeding heavily and him on his side.  The rise and fall of his chest told them he was alive, but he'd been badly hurt by the fleeing mob.  However, there was someone missing.

It was Lisa that voiced their concern.  She knelt by Dan and asked, "Where's Chris?"

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