Snippet #2202071

located in Skyrim, a part of Skyrim: The Mentor & The Sellswords, one of the many universes on RPG.

Skyrim

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Character Portrait: Dominicus Drayk Character Portrait: Adrienne Jastal Character Portrait: Sinderion Direnni Character Portrait: Vanryth Galero Character Portrait: Lynly Snowsong
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"Will do," Adrienne replied to the mercenary woman, fully intent on taking up the tacit offer of defense. Granted, she doubted very much that it would matter a whole lot to the dragon whether it had to burn through some plate before it reached soft-Breton-girl, but the thought was what counted, right? Besides, she had no intention of dying here and leaving the rest of her life unfinished, which meant they were all going to need as many advantages as they could give themselves. Numbers might be a good start, but the likelihood of a Frost Atronach standing up long against a (presumably) fire-breathing dragon was a bit slim, so help would have to come in lesser forms. She was no Daedra summoner at this point in her life, nor had she ever been, so for now it looked like bolstering their numbers in smaller ways would have to do.

Distance capability was key as well, so she summoned a bound bow, the purplish magic leaving her fingertips in a rush. Directing it to fire upon the dragon, Adrienne turned at Drayk's call for a potion and nodded quickly, reaching into a pocket of her robes and producing a magicka restorative. Though small in size, the liquid within was quite potent. "Catch!" she called, tossing it underhanded in his direction, mostly since there was a span of unguarded distance between them that she did not desire to navigate, in case it should make her a target.

Not long afterwards, the dragon pulled up and dove, setting the caravan that had been trailing the Imperials alight. The young woman swallowed past the lump in her throat; certainly, she would not have expected such a creature to know mercy, but... for what purpose did it kill them? Biting her lip, she shook the thought from her head quite literally and took a deep breath. If they had any hope of success, they'd either have to force it to land or get good enough at predicting its movement patterns to know when to shoot. And when to run.

The magicka potion hit Drayk square in the chest, knocking him out of his stupor. Amazingly, he reacted quickly enough to snag it before it shattered against the ground, uncorking it and downing the familiar tasting liquid in one go. He instantly felt his reserves replenish, magical energies returning to his fingertips. He wondered how long this round would last, before he needed another. The Khajiits had finally been released from their torment by death, but as the dragon made another pass, others weren't quite as lucky. It swooped low, snatching an Imperial archer in its jaws, the two clawed feet snagging an Imperial and a Stormcloak both. A simple snap of jaws and feet later, and their ribcages and spines were no more, before it released them, letting broken bodies fall into the valley below.

But the combined ranged attack they were putting forth was doing something, that much was clear. It was making lower passes, more frequently, temporarily laying off the fire in order to move ahead with more attacks with physical means. It seemed to be working from the rear of the column up to the head, and the soldiers at the back were taking the brunt of its blows. Stonehammer had reached a horse at the head of the column, and was currently rummaging through its bags, with no real sense of urgency. Shaking his head, Drayk turned his attention to the matter at hand: the dragon.

There were a number lying wounded at the rear of the column, Imperials and Stormcloaks alike, cut open by the dragon claws and teeth, those lucky enough not to have been obliterated in a single pass. They'd die without his help, of course. They'd probably die even with it, but seeing as he was the only one who could heal their wounds quickly enough to save them, it fell to him. He flipped his shield over on his back, figuring he would use both hands to speed up the process, even if it meant forgoing some defense. He doubted a steel shield would be much use against a dragon anyway.

Moving swiftly through the soldiers, whose eyes were largely skyward and not leveled with the ground, Drayk pushed and shoved past those who stumbled into his path, making for the severely wounded at the rear. The shadow of the dragon passed over him, a roar ringing in his head. The flaming remains of the Khajiit group danced in front of him as he neared, disorienting him somewhat, but he kept his eyes towards the ground, letting the din of the fight drown out the crackling of flames feasting on flesh and fur. The first man he came across was Imperial, a soldier curled up on the ground, trying to keep his inside inside, from a slicing wound a claw had clearly inflicted on him.

"Hold still," Drayk commanded him, sliding to a knee, healing magic flaring up in his palms. He let it flow into the fallen man, the effort of healing such a grievous wound so quickly wearing on him, but he pushed through it. When the task was done, he forcefully pulled the man to his feet and shoved him in the direction of the rest of the troops, to get him moving. On to the next. It was a Stormcloak soldier, a woman, shouting and trying to pull herself off the ground even as her blood ran in a current onto the stone and dirt. "That's the quickest way to Sovngarde, you know!" Drayk shouted to her, to which she spat at him. Ignoring her, he grabbed her under the shoulders and hauled her to the relative cover of the nearest supply cart, forcing her to lay still. This was going to be a challenge. He let healing magic wash over her, both hands outstretched. "Stop moving! This'll just take longer if you--"

His words were cut off when his world seemed to explode from his left. He'd heard the dragon's roar, but expected it to just pass over. Apparently the ranged attacks had worn it down enough to force it to land. It had swooped low, barreling through the supply cart Drayk had taken cover behind as it landed, sending the crates, the cart, and even the horses, flying from where they had stood. The earth had erupted beneath Drayk, and he felt himself lifted into the air, floating towards the far side of the road, crashing to the ground amidst the wreckage. The world seemed to shake as it landed.

Which way was up? It seemed like such a simple question, but when Skyrim flipped over and over in his vision, Drayk couldn't be sure. There was the dirt, the pieces of the cart, the slate scales of the dragon, the cries of the men, the siren's call of the fire. It was so close. An inferno in an unknown direction. In all directions, closing in. He made a feeble attempt at standing, but the dragon slamming a front claw to the ground put an end to that, and Drayk went back down to hands and knees, wondering why Adrienne's breakfast hadn't come back up yet.

He could feel it taking in a breath near him. Feel its dark eyes on him, whatever other wounded had survived the dragon's landing. He wondered where the others were. Maybe they would get away. Find the Mentor, get him back. Sinder could conquer the beast inside of him. Van could repair the ruins of his life. Adrienne could find something worth living for. Even if the world conspired against them, they could pull through, couldn't they? They were strong, stronger than he had ever been, even if he fancied himself their protector or some such nonsense. He was happy, at least, that he had changed who he was before it came to this.

That was the thought he held as the dragon opened its jaws and exhaled, enveloping Drayk and everything around him in a towering inferno, engulfing the entire rear of the column in flames before the dragon crashed through them to attack the rest.

At some point in the confusion, Drayk had left Sinder's side, and though the elf was in general loath to let his companions out of his sight at a time like this, he understood that they would not be at their best simply clustered around in a bunch, waiting for the dragon to attack them all at once. Arrow after arrow flew from his bow, a few puncturing the leathery wings in places, but for the most part, they simply glanced off the creature's underbelly. With a low, rippling growl of frustration, the Altmer replaced the weapon at his back. The waste of arrows was unnecessary, and achieving nothing of note except perhaps to drive the opponent to further destruction.

The unwilling lycanthrope watched with a flat blue-eyed stare as a Stormcloak soldier was plucked from the ground and crushed to death. Certainly, he had no intention of allowing that to be him, and Sinder crouched low, making a quick but quiet dash for the treeline. Overt force wasn't going to be able to match such a beast, but perhaps something more subtle would be of use. What that thing should be was not immediately clear, but he'd think of something if he had to. If that something was using the rare blast of rune magic he was capable to to fell a tree on top of the thing, well, then that would have been the best plan on the fly like this.

Walking the treeline, Sinder slipped towards the back of the column of soldiers, which was recieving the heaviest damage by far. There was a roar from overhead, and the dragon swooped low over the coniferous tops, apparently intent on landing. That was both good news and bad, the Altmer was certain. At least it was remaining more or less still for the moment, which gave Sinder the opportunity to implement his slapdash idea. Lining up the best angle he could, the elf murmured a few words beneath his breath, a spell his much more talented sister had once tried to teach him, and grim satisfaction narrowed his eyes when the rune took hold vertically at the base of the pine. Retreating backwards, Sinder caught the sounds of another firey exhalation escaping the creature's lungs, accompanied by shouts. Had he known Drayk was in the middle of that, it would perhaps have paused him, but he continued, ignorant for the moment of the circumstances.

The way he'd lined up his shot, the rune should blow the trunk to pieces, sending the tree crashing down on the dragon (which was big enough to make it the only target). If he were lucky, he'd break a wing or something. If he were unlucky... well, it didn't do much good to think about what he'd do if he were unlucky.

Drawing his bow taut, Sinder aimed for the dead-center of the rune and released. That half of the process, at least, went off without a hitch, and the rune triggered, exploding with a great noise and a shower of smouldering wood. The great tree shuddered and cracked, tipping forward and gathering mometum on the way down.

The dragon had been in the process of biting a Stormcloak soldier nearly in half when the tree came crashing down, and it had been just about to unleash a gout of flame when it collided, coming down hard on the base of the creature's neck, sending the fiery blaze up into the sky rather than tearing through the ranks of the soldiers as it recoiled. It managed to keep its wings out of the way, tucked into its sides, avoiding much damage, but the weight of the trunk pinned it in place momentarily, offering a small window of opportunity for anyone brave enough to approach the snapping jaws and the threat of incineration. It lasted but a second, however, before the head slithered back out from under the tree, the dragon free again as it quite nearly pounced forward, crushing more soldiers as well as the wagon that had contained the prisoners.

Lynly looked back at the breton girl who she had stepped in front of. Even if she wielded her shield expertly, if the dragon wanted to get at both of them, she doubted the shield would do much to dissuade it. A fruitless, but a proud and noble gesture. Luckily for them, the dragon seemed unconcerned with them, huddled together in the heart of the caravan. The warrior within her found the idea tasteless, that she be looked over by the giant hunter. The realist inside realized that this was probably a good thing. It left less scorched skin and bitten armor. The ground rumbled beneath them as if it was struck by Stendarr's hammer. Lynly's sword and shield fanned out, trying her best to keep her balance. A couple of steps to regain it, and she had accomplished the task of not falling. Now to much harder matters. Like the dragon.

If the ground shaking was any evidence, then the mountainous beast had to have landed. A gout of dragon fire confirmed her thought as that side erupted in a brilliant hue of red and orange. Now the beast was within sword range. She looked to the breton lass, who now had a bound bow in her hand, once more, and spoke words that were perhaps more suited to herself, "Don't do anything stupid and get yourself killed," she said before turning towards the direction of the fire. Adrienne merely frowned. Did she really come off as that naive? If so, she was doing quite a good job deflecting suspicion, but not such a good one being herself. Lynly knew she had to try and do something, she was paid to protect the caravan, not to watch it burn to the ground and have it's inhabitants eaten. A job she wasn't doing so well at, she noted as she waited for the dragon to give her an opening. Swaths of grass and dirt was scorched, the stench of burning flesh and leather filled the air. And there she was, staring down the creature that did it.

Just in time for it to breath fire on them. She tensed and hastily threw her shield up out of instinct, and expected the worst. Though the bath of fire never came and instead it jutted upwards like a volcano. She had the tree on the back of it's skull to thank for that, else she, her armor, and her shield would have been melted into one corpse. She had no idea that a certain Altmer had anything to do with it. Then it pounced, surged forward. The sudden aclarity of the beast startled her. She backpeddled as fast as she could, hoping that the Breton would do the same. Tripping over eachother at a moment like this would prove fatal for all involved-- except for the dragon of course. The crashing of a cart being destroyed drew no attention as the fang riddled face in front of her was a bigger prioity.

Now perhaps was the best opening she could find. She suddenly left the breton and rushed the Dragon itself, veering off to the side so that she could attack the side of it's face. Perhaps still too close for her comfort, but it beat attacking it where most of it's teeth were concentrated. She lashed out with her shield first, swinging it from below so that the edge of it bashed into the dragon's chin, and perhaps closing it's mouth, followed by a stab with her sword in the general direction of it's eye.

Her shield gone, Adirenne stepped out and to the side, circling quickly to the beast's other side. She too had no idea what had happened to Drayk or Sinder, and she couldn't see Vanryth right now, either, which collectively had her unsettled. Fortunately for her, she was too busy trying to stay alive and help slay a dragon to really remember all of her insecurity and unease about being inexperienced in combat, and when there wasn't even time for fear, all the girl could fall back on was something even older and more visceral than that: sheer instinct.

Where Lynly went left, Adrienne went right, targeting the other eye with a frost rune spell, hoping to lay it right on the massive creature's skin. She couldn't trust her shot with the bound bow, so into her free hand went an ice bolt, the daggerlike shape of the projectile spinning in the air just over her palm as it collected more and more of the frost her magicka ws producing. Her breathing was loud to her hearing, the pumping of her blood a series of dull throbs in her ears. Everything else was quieter, from the crunching of wooden carts to the shouts and screams of men. It was like developing tunnel-vision, only much more acute. There was only the cold burn of ice in her skin and the rush of her own heart and lungs.

Inhaling deeply, Adrienne lined up her shot, aiming for the opposite eye from Lynly, the one where she could only hope her rune had stuck, and held her breath for the space of a heartbeat. On the exhale, she let the bolt fly, praying to the nine that there might at least be some kind of relief for those who fought this monster.

The dragon had been in the process of rending an Imperial soldier when Lynly reached it, shield bashing into its chin, knocking out a smaller tooth entirely. The beast moved its head enough for the stab to miss the eye just below, but the blade still sunk deep into flesh, sending dragon's blood spilling to the ground at her feet. Having finished with its previous prey, the head reared back, preparing to snap down at the Nord woman with tremendous jaws. The attack was interrupted, however, by an explosion of frost magic, when Adrienne's spell struck true. Crystalline shards of ice fell from above as the dragon recoiled in pain, much of the right side of its face mutilated by the explosion. It pushed a few paces backwards, flapping wings at the attackers, powerful gusts only meant to delay them while it regained its composure.

At the head of the column, Vodrin Stonehammer was returning, his namesake in his hand, a gleaming one-handed weapon with a head easily twice the size of any man's skull. His eyes calmly scanned the survivors, looking for one in particular.

At the other end of the column, the inferno was beginning to sway, and not from the wind...