The Fallen Lands: The Ruins of Numinis

5.2

Motherly Love

The party, including Armeo the Seeker, moved through the sewers into another cross-tunnel. Ginni and Armeo felt the presence of magic, and Ginni could tell it was residual energy from the blood rage. Ahead, Blinky alerted them to a larger monstroid, carrying a fullblade, to the left, and they moved in. Before they could close, however, a pair of smaller creatures and one much bigger monster appeared from the right. The party fought all four— the fullblade-weilding creature flanked by Rhio and Malidar had a way of manipulating that blood rage energy, and he clouded Malidar’s mind and his aim. Unseeing, the warlord struck Ginni, who wisely moved back.

Meanwhile the larger beast and its much smaller friends— all degenerate forms of humans— fought Armeo and Rangrim fiercely, nearly slaying Rangrim in the fight. Malidar called out to his friend, however, and he rallied.

Ultimately, panting and bleeding, the party finished the fight and reconvened to, once again, share their healing reserves and bolster each other.

As they approached the area near the vault, Ginni once again felt the keen energy of the blood rage— and more, the party recognized the stonework in the sewers as matching that near the courtyard now called “the Well of Blood.” Blinky moved ahead, this time identifying some smaller creatures that were fussing over the corpses in the muck and mire down below.

The party moved up and opened fire on the corpse-babies, belatedly realizing that the babies had a mother lurking in the shadows behind them. The Death-Mother stepped out from the shadows, the gaping maw of her womb spitting forth a corpse that rose up to attack.

The fight was brutal and long. Ginni summoned a whirlwind of power and focused her efforts on pushing both enemy and ally around the battlefield for best position. Every time the Death-Mother moved or found advantageous ground, Ginni shoved her somewhere less helpful, or pushed a friend up to strike. When she had a little space to cast, the Death-Mother summoned a burst of power that left the party’s ears ringing and their minds dazed and fogged— and knocked Blinky out entirely. Unlucky Armeo, brave and forceful, had closed to fight her, but instead was struck, grappled by her unnatural umbilicus, and forced to fight his own allies on her behalf.

Finally, Malidar gave a rousing shout to him, and he shook off the Death-Mother’s effects. Enraged, he fought harder yet. When the Death-Mother finally fell, wherever her blood rained down, corpses began to rise. These, though, were quickly dispatched by the party.

As Ginni started patting down everyone, and Malidar started healing, Armeo pointed towards a tunnel to the left and said “the vault’s that way— but what’s that?” A ladder up ahead led upwards, and he climbed it. Blinky appeared over his shoulder, peering out as well, and the two of them saw a glass, smoke-filled coffin and a horde of enormous, overgrown monsters moving through the Well of Blood and into a nearby warehouse. With a shiver, the Seeker climbed back down and the party all decided that rest was the first order of business.

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Ginni dodged behind Malidar, throwing her hand up to summon her horde of flapping butterflies against the beasts on the other side of the room. The warlord had transformed his wing-spear into a longsword and struck out against the creature in front of them.

Ginni felt the twist of magic in the air and saw the blade turn in Malidar’s hand before Malidar realized what was happening. He spun, slashing sideways, but in the wrong direction— instead of the monster, he struck Ginni.

Her eyes went wide for a moment, and she stumbled back. Shocked, Malidar looked up at her, regret already filling his face. But the wizard shook her head. “I’m okay,” she called. “You missed me.” In the gloom of the sewers and the spray of blood everywhere else, how would he even know?

Later, when the blood settled and the bodies of the smaller beasts were floating downstream, Ginni cast the ritual to help everyone bolster their healing reserves. Malidar caught sight of the bloody slash in her sleeve and pointed to it. “That one’s from me, isn’t it?” His voice was flat, and it was barely even a question.

Ginni shrugged, wincing. While Rhio and Rangrim were loudly discussing the spoils of the fight, she leaned in intently and said, “Are you not my blood brother? There is no fault and no apology to be had, here. My blood is yours to spill.” Then she turned away, ready to send Blinky ahead to scout once more.

Sharp-eared Rhio overheard, her, though, and remarked later on it. “Sounds like you’re coming around, Ginni,” he teased, though light-heartedly. As a group, they’d exchanged more than a few well-meaning jokes and pranks, and Rhio and Ginni had a knack for one-upping each other.

She shrugged and her crooked half-smile crept over her mouth. “I told him what he needed to hear, Rhio. You know Malidar— he needs to think we’re all a team, a band of brothers.”

Rhio narrowed his eyes, then cracked his own smile at her. "All right, kid. Just so you know— it’s not a good con when we both know you’re lying.”

5.2
 

She was tough, tougher than she looked. Rhio didn’t trust the things Ginni said any more than he gave credence to the existence of gods. But words weren’t the way one gained trust, not really. She had stood with the three of them through some horrific things. He wasn’t sure that Mortimer would have stuck around for most it. He felt a wistful moment as they walked toward the chamber that Armeo told them the Keepers had nearby. He saw her as she should have been, a softness to her face as she brushed her hair out of her young face. Then she looked at him and smiled in a very disarming way. He could do nothing other than smile back at her. It was probably the most practiced deception of every woman but of this one in particular. This time he decided to lose himself in the performance.

5.2
 

Ah, Anthony. Thank you for giving me my “Numinis fix” today!

5.2
mortaine

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