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Dawn of Darkness; Episode 7: Darkness Rising, Part 1

“Howdy there folks and welcome back to another tale of bravery and despair. In this episode we find our heroes in dire straits with no clear safe paths to take, when you have a choice between death and damnation sometimes the choice is impossible to make. Enjoy”

Darkness Rising, Part 1:

The native scout travels stealthily through the darkened tunnels of the mine, occasionally passing lantern-lit alcoves. the lanterns light being quickly devoured by the unsettling darkness. As the scout passed by the opening to his right he sees it is a short passage that leads downwards on a slight angle before the rest of the passage disappears around a corner hiding the end of the tunnel from sight. Staying light on his feet trying to keep his movements as silent as possible the scout moves down the passage following the wall, as he comes around the corner the passage opens up into a large chamber the contents of which make the scouts blood run cold. The chamber is huge and inside it are four strange portals that each have creatures of various shapes and sizes emerging out of each of them, the gates seemed to be spawning creatures of certain types as if from specific areas. The gate to the far left of the chamber was currently spewing forth short legged, black-legged spiders their appendages shining in the blue shimmer of the portal’s light, they were silently gathering in around a much larger spider of the same variety, the smaller creatures were collecting small white objects from around the larger spider and taking these objects they were then receding to the nearest wall where they proceeded to climb up the wall, the scout looked up into the darkness of the high ceiling to see that there was a construction about three-quarters of the way up near a slight overhang the construct was a massive web structure. The scouts eyes took in the sheer size of the web, noting the spiders crawling over it weaving to enlarge it. Also from this same portal emerged dark-bluish tentacles, some taller than the scout. Once a short distance form the portal the creatures would immediately burrow into the ground and out of sight. Though there did seem to be several of the tentacles re-appearing in a close-by nook in the chambers expansive floor where they seemed to be amassing a miner’s dream of raw golden nuggets. Out of the second gate suddenly a large swarm of dark-green winged serpents burst forth their screeching cries filling the chamber with deafening racket that made the scout wince as he clamped his hands over his ears to shut out the din. The flying snakes circled higher up into the stalagmite covered top of the chamber coming to roost hanging upside-down by their killer talons. Accompanying the flying beings several large thickly muscled beasts came out of the portal. The dark fur covering the beasts bodies allowed them to blend into the shadows revealing only the red glowing eyes and the low blue light from the portals glinting off razor-sharp claws as they went off either in packs or solo perhaps searching for easy prey.

Already seeing enough to make the scouts skin start to crawl in terror the scout started to doubt his presence would go unnoticed for much longer so he crept back towards the entrance to the chamber, once he got close to the passage he turned and much more quickly headed back up and out of the immediate area around this room of varied horrors. The only warning he received as he approached the corner of the upwards leading passage was a slight shiver traveling through the air seating itself at the base of his spine and sending chills racing along his skin, inches from the corner he halted moving forward as in the dim light from above and coming from the portals behind him, he sees the misty cloud of steam from an exhaled breath from something on the other side of the corner. Just then the unknown entity inhaled deeply in several short bursts as if testing the air finding a scent it liked the creature’s nose twitched in the alight airflow, its maw opened revealing sharp incisors capable of rending flesh into red and pink streamers of gore, saliva from its jaw spattering upon the floor of the cavern. A low growl emitted from its throat and the creature came around the corner. The creature was walking on two powerful legs standing upright it’s furry arms coming down its sides ending in cruelly clawed hands, it was slightly crouched its muscles tensed to spring in attack, the anticipation of a meal having lit a demonic fire in its eyes.

The group had met up shortly after coming into the local mine. they were a varied group of adventurers the only common ground between them all happening to be the very ground they trod upon. There was Marshal Olivia Dunham, “Liv” to her friends, a woman dedicated to bringing law to the lawless regions of the desert towns she currently was glaring at the back of the woman ahead of her in the group. Jesse Sanchez was a woman whose penchant for living the fast life and devil may care attitude had thus far served her well, though the same could not be said for the people that she had reportedly been robbing of their valuables recently at some point the small time gains must not have been enough for her as the Marshal had a writ for the arrest of this woman on the grounds of a bank hold-up that had taken place three towns over in which the woman had apparently employed high explosives to accomplish the task of cracking the safe. The woman behind Olivia was another bag of bolts altogether claiming to be a Sister of The Sacred Order the woman had approached the marshal and bandida as the two had been in a standoff at the entrance to the mines and seeing the dire situation at hand had pleaded with both parties to put aside their differences temporarily if only they could assist the older holy woman with a difficult task, apparently it had come to her attention that a young native had gone missing his tribe having no idea where he might have gone and the chief was exasperated and filled with worry for the well being of his only son. The chief had let slip while talking to the wizened old woman that the young native had taken to excursions into the mine as boredom had set in during the tribe’s long stay nearby the town. So the Sister had decided to head on up here and see what she could find and if any news bring that information either back to the sheriff or to the chief himself if it wasn’t anything too serious.

The trio had been working their way deeper into the mines twists and turns for quite awhile not yet having found any solid evidence of another person having been in there before them, they found themselves coming upon a larger more open section of the mine there was broken wooden benches and tables strewn about as well as some crates of miscellaneous items checking through the crates quickly the group found not much of interest other than two old sticks of dynamite the fuses sticking out crookedly. Jesse put the sticks into her satchel even though they were old they might still prove to be effective and who knows when a big bang might be required. It was while the trio were searching the room for anything of use that a man stumbles into the room wavering on unsteady feet he is obviously badly injured cradling one badly twisted arm with a bloody hand there was deep gashes in his clothing revealing the bloody mess underneath as whatever had tore into this man had stripped chunks of flesh from his frame, his breath came in ragged gasps as each inhale made the man’s ribs dig painfully into his sides. The nun was the first to notice the arrival of the stranger and recognizing him from the description the chief had given her as being the man’s son she immediately rushed over to grab the grab the man’s arm and quickly taking as much of his weight as she could she shouted to the other two, who just now looked up to see what was going, to right one of the upturned benches that wasn’t in to bad shape and with the man grimacing they were able to ease him onto his back on the bench. Theresa had not had much experience with dealing with injuries such as the ones this man had sustained the sheer number of different cuts, bruises, and tooth marks? made identifying any that were more life threatening near impossible. With nothing else to do she knelt down beside the man to take his hand in hers and looking into his one widened eye she commenced praying softly, almost a whisper.

It did not take long for the man to succumb to his injuries and lose consciousness but before he had passed out he had been able to relate much to the gathered women about what he had encountered. The group was already on edge having digested the man’s story when echoing down the mines tunneled passageways a terrible screeching fills the air freezing their feet to the mine floor as their hairs stood up in a desperate attempt to flee from their doomed bodies. The dread in the room climbs ever higher competing to distract the group as the three women hastily try to prepare what defenses they can to protect them from whatever is about to come upon them. the broken two-foot long benches becoming improvised barricades using rusted mining pick heads driven into the ground as wedges behind the barricades as reinforcement. Able to set up three barricades to cut-off the main ways to enter the room that they are holed up in the group braces for what is coming.

The attack happened without warning, the screeching cries of the horde traveling through the darkened corridors of the mines never ceasing as the first wave of demonic creatures comes out of the surrounding darkness and smashes into the barely holding barricades, spreading out to attack from three sides, the light of the group’s one lantern reflecting duly off the dark green scales of the swarm flying around the passage as the hisses and screeching continue making it impossible for the women to communicate in anything but quick hand gestures to get their meanings across while fighting to maintain the barricades. The women have their hands full each trying their best to ensure their barricade will hold up against the unending assault.

After what seemed like an eternity fighting valiantly to hold back the tides of demonic flying beasts the inevitable occurs as each woman in the group of desperate defenders are overwhelmed by the assault. The first to be overtaken is Marshal Olivia, doing her best to fend off the swarm of hell-spawn by lashing out with the butt of her shotgun whenever the creatures happened to fly within striking distance or diving at her to attack her with their sharp fangs or claws occasionally able to get a shot off when the swarm receded to gather its numbers for another assault thinning the cloud of creatures slightly. However when the spider beasts sprang their ambush upon the group’s defenses it was too much for Olivia to hold being unable to keep the flying assailants at bay and defend from the fast moving eight legged fiends on the ground at the same time and she disappeared under the beating leathery wings of the hellbats, as the spider beasts crawled over her towards the last two surviving members of the trio.The next to fall was the Sister of the Sacred Order who had been struggling to fend off the swarms as much as the Marshal had with only slightly more success the lynchpin was when the spiders came upon her from behind as she was unaware that the Marshal had been overrun the first she felt was the stinging bites of the spider beasts as their fangs penetrated the robe she was wearing finding flesh underneath, the spider venom worked through her system quickly numbing her limbs she quickly succumbed to the siren call of sweet nothingness as she lost consciousness. The last survivor Jesse Sanchez had turned when she had heard the thump of the falling Marshals body hitting the hard floor of the mine chamber and seeing the pack of spider beasts climbing over her fallen body and move on towards the Elderly holy woman who was also taken down before Jesse could shout a warning. Now it was just her against the masses of deadly creatures now circling overhead in a screeching frenzy as the spider beasts warily advanced upon her having lost the essence of surprise. Deciding that her current position would be impossible to defend what with her two companions out of the fight she found she had no other option than to make a hasty retreat, vaulting over her ramshackle barricade Jesse withdrew her last stick of dynamite from her satchel and cutting the fuse to reduce the time before it would detonate she sprinted for the nearest passage leading away from the chamber with the creatures following close behind. As she got to the passageway she tossed the lantern to the left where it smashed against the floor spreading oil and fire in a small puddle, using this fire to light the fuse on the dynamite Jesse planted the stick along the wall and kept running for her life. It was about five seconds after the dynamite had been planted that the lit fuse reached the blasting cap igniting the volatile ingredients resulting in a thundering explosion that echoed down the mines varied passages. The detonation caught the swarms of creatures that had been following after Jesse incinerating a large number of them, the odor of burnt flesh filled the air as the entrance to the passage collapsed preventing the remaining creatures from following after her any further. Jesse had ducked down a side crevice to escape the major brunt of the blast as the heated air rushed past her followed by the smell. After her ears stopped ringing she crept out from the crevice now in the pitch dark, feeling along the roughly cut wall of the mine with her right hand to keep her bearings in the pitch black void. She continued on this way for an indeterminate length of time passing several tunnels branching off to god knows where. Her other hand had her pistol at the ready in case she happened upon any other foul creatures in the mines depths. The passage she was following started a slight downward angle and continued this way for awhile as she came to a corner in the path she found her lead foot had found nothing beneath it but by then it was too late and in the darkness she pitched forward tumbling down further into the dark of the mines.

Tune in next week for . . .

Shadows of Brimstone: Last Hope ! ! !
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