Tales of the Ruddy Spirits Taproom
Senji the Bright Star
Stats (level 3)
Armor DR: 4
Mystery Revelations: Coat of Many Stars, Interstellar Void
Other: Oracle’s Curse: Haunted
Sense Motive: 3
It was the smoky light of a torch which roused Yentha from the slumber in which she sought forgetfulness. Lifting herself on her hand she raked back her tangled hair and blinked up, expecting to meet the mocking countenance of Kafdra, malign with new torments. Instead a cry of pity and horror reached her ears.
“Yentha! Revered Ossuary!”
The sound was so strange to her ears that she thought she was still dreaming. Behind the torch she could make out figures now, the glint of steel. Two countenances bent toward her, one lithe and pale, the other reptilian. She crouched in her tatters, staring wildly.
One of the figures sprang forward and fell on one knee before her, arms stretched appealingly toward her.
“Yentha! Thank Lyssa we have found you! Do you not remember me, Senji? Once with your own lips you praised me, after the funeral of my master!”
“Senji!” she stammered. Suddenly tears welled into her eyes. “Oh, I dream! It is some magic of Kafdra’s to torment me!”
“No!” It is your own true friends come to rescue you! Yet we must hurry. Ash-rakyld fights in the fields, but three hundred of his devils hold the city. I killed the jailer and took his keys, and have seen no other guards. But we must go!"
Yentha’s legs gave way, not from weakness but from the reaction. Senji lifted her like a child, and with the torchbearer hurrying before them, they left the dungeon and went up a slimy stone stair. It seemed endless, but presently they emerged into a corridor.
They were passing a dark arch when the torch guttered out, and the bearer cried out in fierce, brief agony. A burst of blue fire glared in the dark corridor, in which the furious face of Kafdra was limned momentarily, with a hideous beastlike figure crouching beside her—then the eyes of the would-be rescuer were blinded by that blaze.
Senji tried to stagger along the corridor with Yentha; dazedly he heard the sound of murderous blows driven deep in flesh, accompanied by gasps of death and a bestial grunting. Then she was torn brutally from his arms, and a savage blow on his head drove him to the floor.
Grimly he crawled to his feet, shaking his head in an effort to rid himself of the blue flame which seemed still to dance hellishly before him. When his blinded sight cleared, he found himself alone in the corridor—alone except for the dead. Blinded and dazed in that hell-born glare, the torchbearer had died without an opportunity of defending himself. Yentha was gone.
With a bitter curse Senji scooped up his weapon, blood ran down his face from a gash in his scalp.
His clawed feet clicked on the marble as he darted up the broad stair and through the pillared portico. Evidently the prisoner had given them some trouble. Yentha, sensing the doom intended for her, was fighting against it with all the strength of her lithe, fragile body. Once she had broken away from her brutal sister, only to be dragged down again.
Choking with fury, Senji rushed down the great hall, weapon in hand. He whirled on the pads of his feet, quick and fierce as a jungle-cat, glaring around for Kafdra. She must have exhausted her blue fire-dust in the prison. She was bending over Yentha, grasping her sister’s white locks in one hand, in the other lifting a dagger. Then with a fierce cry Senji’s hammer was buried in Kafdra’s chest with such fury that the blunt end sprang out between her shoulders. With an awful shriek the ghoul mage sank down, writhing in convulsions, grasping at the hammer as it was withdrawn, smoking and dripping. Her eyes were glowing; with a demonic vitality she clung to the life that ebbed through the wound. She groveled on the floor, clawing and biting at the bare stones in her agony.
Sickened at the sight, Senji stooped and lifted Yentha. Turning his back on the twisting figure on the floor, he ran toward the door, stumbling in his haste. He staggered out upon the portico, halted at the head of the steps. The square thronged with people. The throng seethed and milled, yelling and screaming. Losing himself in the crowd, Senji fled the Shadow Plane with Yentha cradled in his arms.