This was no time for panic. I saw our exit from this inferno, I just needed to rally everyone with me. I shouted for Onfim to follow me. I trusted Boris and Vlad to follow Onfim, regardless. I leapt past the fires to Zeynep and the brothers. Ahriman was… Doing Ahriman things. I was going to send up Onfim, so he could catch people. But with Ahriman in place, I sent up Zeynep followed by everyone else, Boris was helping me hoisting people up. After I helped Boris up, I climbed up myself. Boris is a lot heavier than he looks… Luckily there are few things that motivates you to work harder than burning alive. Our troubles did not end here. Myself and Boris lifted the gate, and Zeynep snuck past. Before we could get everyone past… I heard a noise. A noise that made my stomach churn… The creature. Whatever unholy beast that lived in this forsakened tomb… There was no time to think… Ivan came running, in panic. This was no time for panic. I quickly shoved Boris off the portcullis, that we had been lifting. Ivan smacked into it. There was too much… I dunno what to do. Zeynep in danger… Ahriman leaping headlong into an abomination… More creatures from the right… I took a deep breath, and cleared my mind. Without any further hesitation I shouted my orders… “Boris on Ivan, keep him down, Igor defending them, Onfim and Vlad cover our flank.” And with that I ran, and leapt… Straight down towards the beast of my nightmares. I barely remember the battle itself… I don’t know how I steeled my mind, but I did… I don’t know how I stood my ground, but I did… All I remember is seeing a familiar vision, the vision Ahriman figuring out how to kill the beast… But the beast lashed out at him, my body moved on its own, the way I trained it, it took the hit, and it hurt… But I knew Ahriman would defeat the beast.
I woke up on the floor by the wall, the beast must’ve flung me here. I woke up to a half naked Ahriman looking at me. When did he lose his shaman outfit? During the battle? Wait… Why I am not wearing armor? I didn’t question it. I woke up, alive, armor or no armor made little difference. I still not move, and my eyes moved in and out of consciousness. I didn’t wake up proper until we got back up. Where I had to make some tough calls. I never asked for this… My insides are screaming, crying, panicking… But this is not time to panic. Igor was dead. Ivan was unreachable. Every fiber of my being said we should save him, except… My mind. I knew. If we take him up there, someone else will die, protecting him. I slit his throat, and we burnt the corpses, so they would not return as… Abominations. With that we went back down to the unholy creature, I grabbed my weapons, and we started scaling the stairs leading up to the fortress.
Getting in was a not big issue, finding out way was. Ahriman looked at the ground, and said that more people had moved to the right, so that’s where we went. Ahriman’s eyes never cease to amaze me… I am glad he is with us down here. I hate being here, I wish I wasn’t… But I’m glad he’s with me. We reached the basement, and Zeynep decided to scout ahead. She came back with a clear idea of where to go to lower the drawbridge. She had also spotted the sorcerer. My heart skipped a bit… Am I this scared? I should be… But, I’ve come too far to back down now. I steeled myself, and turned to Ahriman, who had said he would go face the sorcerer. What I said, admittedly, was as much a promise to Ahriman as it was a promise to myself… If he needed me, I would be there, to face Yefimov. Part of me couldn’t believe I just said that! But I meant it. For Ahriman, I would be there. We charged out.
When myself and my soldiers got the courtyard, we took decisive steps towards the drawbridge control. I layed out the plan. Clever Vlad at the bottom, strong Boris on the heavy control, captain Onfim with me at the top. The guards at the bottom was stronger than I thought. Or was more tired that I thought? They called for help, before we could cut them down. That didn’t change out plan, it just made speed more of a factor. I charged up alongside Onfim. Guards blocked our path, along with a commander of sorts. I told him to follow if he could, and I leapt over the spearmen in front, planting my axe firmly in his face. _ A single honest blade, huh, this feels more… Comfortable, somehow. I feel a freedom of movement… I can do this, even without a shield._ I weaved through the opposition, and got to the top. More soldiers waited us here. Onfim remained in the stairs. I met them directly. Some did get past me, but I managed to get back to Onfim in time to save him… And I felt something from above… Rain? Terrible unholy rain, from Gregory Yefimov. This would be the time to panic… So as to steel myself, I shouted at the top of my lungs I die free!, as if Ahriman had heard my prayers, I see one Gregory Yefimov impaled… And the rain stopped. Strength returned to my body, and I smiled. I told the guards to stand down. Most did, the rest died. As if by clockwork, after my shout Boris got the door open. Manduhai was among the first to get in. I would NEVER admit it to her face, but I was overjoyed to her face. And that is how we beat fortress Oblivion…