The Skyship

–Dark of the Moon, ch. 10–

In which the party unmasks the leader of the Lupine Pact.

←Read Chapter 9: The Duchess’s Secret

The four adventurers made their way back to the courtyard, talking all the while. “If we’re going to confront another werewolf, we need more silvered weapons,” said Nadarr. “Maybe we should go back to Miresedge first and get the weapons from Wyle.”

“I don’t think we have time,” said Danath, as a low rumbling sound shook loose cobblestones around them. They looked up to see the skyship slowly rotating away from the city.

“You’re right, Danath,” said Norros. “We can share your arrows. Let’s go.” He mounted the steps up to the roost. Norros addressed the griffin master, “Look, the duchess has appointed me head of her personal guard. I command you to grant us the use of four griffins and their riders.”

“A likely story. The duchess does not employ your kind, Half-Elf.” The griffin master spat at Norros’s feet.

Before Norros could draw his sword, Elendithas stepped in the way and handed over the duchess’s note. Five minutes later, the four of them where soaring past Glass Sea Tower on the way to the skyship. Danath breathed deeply and crowed his glee to the afternoon sun. “You’ll have to jump for it,” shouted to the rider when they reached the ship.

Danath leapt from his griffin and landed on his feet with arrow drawn. His friends were not quite as graceful. Regaining their feet, they looked around at an empty deck. “Must be below.”

They followed a set of steps below deck, trying to be as stealthy as possible. Norros vanished almost entirely and slipped into the the central room, moving along the back wall and ducking through a doorway. As he did so Elendithas absent-mindedly started whistling theme music for Norros. Danath and Nadarr waved their arms furiously to make her stop. But she kept on going, now switching to a percussive “Da-da-da-daaa-da-dum.”

Norros found himself in the brig  and both cells were occupied. “Dalvin! Dalvin Torn,” he whispered. “I am glad to see you.”

“Norros, thank the stars. I’ve been locked here for days. There was a mechanical malfunction on the ship here, and that bloody Calder Esris has been making me fix it. I didn’t want to, but… And I thought he was dead!”

“Stay there for now. We’ll bust you out when we’re done, one way or another.” Norros slunk to the other cell. A red-haired dwarf slouched in against the bars. “We’ve been looking for you, Thevir.”

The dwarf turned around, and squealed. “Calder! Calder! Someone’s here!”

Norros whipped out his sword and stabbed at the dwarf through the bars. “Shut up, you!”

A terrifying howl pierced the darkness. Norros backed into the central room and flattened himself against the wall. At the same time, his three companions came flying through the other door. At the far end of the hold stood an enormous werewolf. His dark, matted fur gleamed as a trio of lights flashed momentarily around the room. The werewolf took his paw off a switch, turned, and growled at them. “I thought Wyle would have disposed of you by now. He’s so very easily led. I guess I’ll have to do it myself.”

Norros snapped his fingers and a mote of flame appeared between his thumb and forefinger. “Look what I learned, guys!” He grinned and flung the bolt of fire at Calder Esris. But the grin collapsed into a frown as the flame was little more than a spark by the time it hit the werewolf’s fur. The wolf laughed. “Come and get me, weaklings.”

Norros changed position to get a better view. As he took a step, a small turret whirred into action, and a purple flash of lightning streaked toward Norros. He was too surprised to dodge out of the way. The lightning jumped from Norros to Danath, and both shook violently as the energy coursed through their bodies.

“Internal defense system,” growled Calder from the shadows. “Do you like it? I designed it myself.”

Elendithas said, “I’ve got a new trick too,” and she took in a deep breath and sang an impossibly high note, shrill yet crystal clear. The portholes on either side of Calder shattered, and he doubled over covering his ears with his massive paws. A second turret in between the two portholes whirred into action, and shot a burst of fire at Elend. Her left sleeve alight, Elend dropped to the ground and rolled around. The turret repositioned its focusing crystal and another spurt of flame erupted at Elend. This time she was able to roll away.

As she did so, Danath notched one of his silver-tipped arrows and fired. The arrow struck Calder in the shoulder, and it was clear by his gaping expression that he did not expect it to hurt. The werewolf dodged to a corner out of view and howled again.

Nadarr strode forward, and once again the lightning turret flashed purple. Nadarr took the brunt of it on his shield and the leather arm strap kept the current from surging through his armor. With Calder in view once more, the paladin touched the flat of his sword to his own forehead and each shoulder, centering himself around a word of command. “Grovel,” he said, and the force of the word hung around the werewolf’s neck like a heavy chain.

Elendithas dashed forward, ducked most of another blast from the lightning turret, and spoke in a loud stage whisper – not words really, but a collection of sibilant hisses. The air around the werewolf hummed and he backed farther into the corner away from Elend, still clutching his paws to his ears.

Norros and Danath both took aim at the lightning turret, and their arrows were met with blasts of lightning, which they ducked. Calder now stared daggers at Nadarr, but the command to grovel was still pressing itself into the werewolf’s mind. He bent to one knee and growled unconvincingly, “Please, please, don’t hurt me.”

The two Half-Elves fired again at the lightning turret, and Danath’s arrow struck the dead center of the focusing crystal. The turret hummed for a moment. The hum turned to a whine. “Elend, look out,” he cried. But it was too late. The turret exploded, knocking the bard to the ground. Her body skidded across the room, and a third turret hummed to action, blasting frost towards Elend’s prone form.

Calder leapt to his feet and charged Nadarr. But the paladin stood his ground, and turned both the seeking teeth and swinging claws of the werewolf. As the claws swiped by, Nadarr swung his longsword, putting all the light within himself into the blade. It struck Calder in the back and radiant flames licked up his spine.

As the werewolf and Dragonborn struck each other, Norros snapped his fingers again and a ghostly reproduction of his own hand floated to Danath’s quiver. It grabbed a handful of silver-tipped arrows and delivered them back to the rogue. His aim was true, and his arrow lodged itself in Calder’s neck.

Elend stood up and mocked the werewolf. “Us weaklings? Where’s your precious Lupine Pact now?” As she was speaking, Danath lined up to take another shot. He sighted along the arrow and let fly. The shaft streaked forward, passing between Elend’s fingers as she strummed her lyre, then passing Nadarr’s outstretched sword arm. The arrow sped into Calder Esris’s eye, and the werewolf dropped to the floor.

Danath blew out a sigh of relief. “Good shot,” said Nadarr.

“Why isn’t he turning back into a human?” asked Elendithas. As if in answer to her question, ghostly purple flame began licking out from Calder’s eye socket. In a moment, his whole form was aglow with purple energy. He shuddered and one paw curled into a fist. Then with unnatural speed, the undead werewolf sprang at Nadarr. Caught off guard, the paladin could not turn the blows and took the whole brunt to his neck and face. Once again, Nadarr focused his light into his blade and swung. For a moment, the radiant yellow light from Nadarr’s sword overwhelmed the necromantic purple light swirling around Calder.

The fire and frost turrets both spun towards the paladin and blasted him. Luckily, the frost put out the flames, but Nadarr dropped to one knee, visibly hurting. Elendithas strummed her lyre and sent a wave of healing energy at the Dragonborn. Norros snapped his fingers a third time and sent his fire bolt at the frost turret. The turret gave better than it got, and Norros struggled to bend his frozen joints.

Not wanting to meet the paladin’s divine smite a third time, the undead Calder charged Danath, who’s arrow missed wide as the werewolf rapidly approached. Calder sunk his teeth into Danath’s unprotected shoulder and swiped him across the face with both claws. Norros put another arrow in Calder’s neck and the werewolf let go of his Half-Elven friend. Elendithas slammed her hand onto the deck and her thunderwave struck Calder in the back.

Too close to his quarry to fire an arrow, Danath reached up with his left hand and, in one fluid motion, drew his shortsword and swung it in a mighty arc at Calder’s neck. The werewolf’s head came clean off and bounced to the middle of the room. The frost turret took aim at it and froze it in place in midair.

As Norros, Elend, and Danath watched the werewolf’s body slump to the ground for the second time, an explosion sounded behind them. “I got the fire turret,” said Nadarr.

“Just flip the switch, you ninny,” said Norros. Nadarr did so, and the whir of the remaining frost turret subsided.

Chapter 11: The Last of the Werewolves→

Written by Adam Thomas, Dungeonmaster
Jarrod Antkowiak as Norros Arborshade
Allissa Leonard as Nadarr Kasdann
Jack Leonard as Danath Errandir
Leah Thomas as Elendithas Day

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