Julius was yelling about something, but before he could look, Shade saw a flash of bright light in front of his eyes. Strangely, he was now inside of a stone building of some kind, staring at a non-human female. He realized that it was an ogre, a species that had been eradicated a very long time ago.
The sound of battle raged near Shade's position and the female ogre was yelling at him.
"Izig! Get up! We have to move!" She yelled.
Shade stood and dusted himself off. He could see that he was not himself. He had thick, dark hair on the backs of his hands and long, thick fingers. His skin was not the normal tan brown of his half-elf form, but a much lighter brown instead. He must have been seeing things through the eyes of this Izig, who was likely an ogre.
She grabbed his arm and began leading him somewhere. Not knowing what was going on, he allowed himself to be guided through the stone structure. The fortress was impressive and was obviously under attack. After a few minutes, the two ogres emerged onto the top of an inner curtain wall.
Shade looked down from the impressive height of the wall and saw that this fortress was on a high point in an unfamiliar mountainous region. Outside of the curtain wall, upon which he stood, was a town and an outer curtain wall.
The outer curtain wall was under heavy bombardment and was crumbling in some areas. The inner town was ablaze and Shade saw magic balls of fire arc over the wall and strike the inner town.
"Defilers." The female ogre spat out contemptuously. "They're the reason we're losing this war." She looked back at Shade, "Come on."
"Captain Okur, how is the defense going?" She asked.
The ogre captain shook his head, "It goes poorly, Yazir. There's just too many of them." He pounded a fist on the merlon and ordered the archers to draw and fire again. "Yazir, their magic is killing all the farmland. Even if we do drive them back, we will starve. Is that Izig?"
"It is." Yazir answered.
"You need to get him to the great hall. He's too important to lose."
Yazir grabbed Izig's arm and dragged him back inside. She lead him through the halls of the keep, as soldiers rushed back to resupply, or relieve, the archers. Shade was taking the opportunity to look around and admire the finery of the fortress. Ogres, it seemed, were a species that enjoyed fine artwork, especially stonework.
As they passed a narrow hallway, Shade caught sight of something on the floor. He backed up and looked again. It was an ogre on the floor, with a dagger wound in his back.
"Yazir!" Shade called.
Yazir turned and Shade pointed into the hallway. Upon seeing the body, Yazir cursed and ran to the body. She turned him over and bowed her head in momentary grief.
"Did you know him?" Shade asked.
Yazir looked at him with a puzzled look on her face. "Of course, it's Zosuzug."
Shade had no idea who it was, but he was obviously supposed to know. "Oh, I didn't realize it." He mumbled in response.
"The humans have breached our defenses." Yazir whispered, "Probably a psychoporter assassin. We have to warn Major Brakag."
Shade took a quick look around. "The assassin was smaller than us." He began, "After he killed Zosuzug, he went that way." Shade pointed to the opposite hall.
Yazir looked puzzled. "You're no tracker Izig."
Thinking quickly, Shade replied, "I've been doing some studying."
Yazir shrugged. "Well, we should go get him then." She uncovered her iron poleax and beckoned Shade to lead the way.
Shade lead them through the maze-like keep. He stopped at a set of double doors that Yazir said lead into a small dining room. The room was being used as an order relay post for captains and runners. Shade peeked inside.
"They don't know we're here, we have them by surprise." She looked up at Shade. "I know you're not much of a fighter Izig, but we should stop them, before they can kill more of us."
Shade smiled, "It's okay, I've been studying that too." He pulled out his alhuluk and dagger, which appeared as two daggers to Yazir, and he nodded.
Together, they burst into the room. The humans were surprised, but didn't seem too worried. Shade attacked one of the men and stabbed him with his iron dagger. Yazir charged in and attacked the female human.
The combatants turned and engaged Shade and Yazir. The assassins were well skilled and wounded Shade and Yazir. Shade had not seen the defiler hiding in the shadows, but he emerged and starting firing magic bolts of energy at Yazir.
Although Shade and Yazir were skilled fighters, they were outnumbered by equally skilled opponents. Seeing their inevitable defeat, Yazir shoved Shade away.
"I'll hold them back!" She yelled. "Go! You're too important!"
As the assassins closed in on Yazir, she fiercly swung her poleax and cried out in rage. Not wanting her sacrifice to be in vain, Shade turned from the fight and fled into the hallway.
A flash of light brought Shade outside. Now, he was walking through a narrow pass at night. There were many other ogres with him, carrying meger belongings on their backs, or in their arms. Many had wounds that had been hastily covered.
He turned and looked behind him. He saw the fortress in flames and the sounds of battle quickly fading. One of the other ogres noticed him looking at the conquered castle.
"It is a great loss." The ogre began, "But we will rebuild. I have no idea what we ever did to bring the Ogre Doom's wrath upon us, but we will go where he cannot follow and we will rebuild." He smiled at Shade, but Shade couldn't smile back. Shade knew that the ogre was wrong. Not only would the ogres not rebuild, but the Ogre Doom would massacre them all.
A flash of light brought Shade back to his own body. It seemed no time had passed at all. He was in a cave with Julius trying to push them all back into the sandstorm outside.
Join us in two weeks for another exciting episode of Adventures Under the Dark Sun.
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 18 years old. Played by Ben. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Elf.
Vashti: Human female clairsentient/water cleric. 20 years old. Played by my wife. Speaks Nibnese, Gith, Tyrian, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Balican, Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Party NPC. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.