Wild Abandon

Carried Away

Chapter 39

Mye-kuhl Jancer awaits the return of his comrades from the Sky-Pyramid of the Tanduradim at the aarakocra redoubt.

He paces around his room overlooking the sea of glass, which is reflecting the last light of the setting sun in brilliant shades of gold, red, and violet. The necrodancer's crawling claw familiar drums its fingers on the table, just as antsy as its master. Jancer looks out the window and sees Jimothy's slaad son, Artorias, building a sand castle on the glass "shoreline".

Jancer grabs his staff of power, puts on his jacket of scintillating colors, and slides outside, leaping past an aarakocra watchman on the wall and down to the rocky slope upon which the redoubt is perched. The excitable half-elf stumbles and slides down the cliff directly through Artorias's sand castle. The slaad stares blankly at the place where his castle was, an unbelieving smile on his froggy face.

Jancer gets back up and begins apologizing, but before he finishes, Artorias stands to his full height (now almost eight feet!) and looms over the half-elf. With a croak, he suddenly kicks sand at Jancer! Artorias does it again, then falls onto his back and begins belly laughing. He begins picking up handfuls of sand and throwing them into the air, slowly burying himself. Jancer looks at his crawling claw, which spins in a "this dude is crazy" motion. He looks hopefully towards the distant silhouette of the Sky-Pyramid on the horizon, but there is still no sign of his party's return.

Climbing back up to the wall, Jancer enters the main aerie, where the flockmates not out on patrol are resting; the elder is fast asleep. He ends up convincing the six remaining aarakocra (including the wall watchers) that they should give the Dance of the Seven Winds another go while the elder is asleep. After all, practice makes perfect!

This is clearly isn't the aarakocra A-team though, as their dance moves are… lacking. Jancer suffers such a bad case of second-hand embarrassment that he is caught off-guard as a shadowy form scuttles down the eastern cliff-face and decapitates one of the birdmen in one stroke with a huge, scythe-like arm!

Barely illuminated by the moonlight, the eyes of the enormous metallic demon spider flash as it rears up onto its hind-legs, baring its bladed forelimbs and letting out an unearthly noise like the death scream of a man being dipped in molten metal.

Going into instant battle mode, the five remaining aarakocra swirl around one another, a tornado appear between them. Eyes appear in the maelstrom as the newly-summoned air elemental moves in to attack!

Despite being assailed on all sides, the construct seems wholly focused on Jancer. Its bladed forelimbs flash, slicing through four of the aarakocra like butter as one of its crystaline eyes fires off an orange beam that hits Jancer in the butt as he turns to run. He 'Misty Step's up onto a wall, only to realize that his legs are suddenly turning to solid stone!

Artorias (who was peeking over the rampart at Jancer practicing his dance) springs up beside the necrodancer as the demonic machine breaks away from the air elemental and closes on them both. Jancer draws his Wand of Wonder, and, in a burst of rainbow light, both the half-elf and his pursuer are blinded. The construct seems to have some kind of extra-sensory perception however, and reaches out with its bladed limbs unimpeded. Artorias runs away in hysterics as he is sliced by the creature, while an eye-beam like a fiery ray hits Jancer, almost frying him. He 'Misty Step's again, blindly teleporting in a completely random direction.

He appears on the north wall. The air elemental flies over to the construct and pounds on it with cyclonic fists, throwing the metal beast in Jancer's direction! Jancer is thrown from his perch by the construct's impact on the wall, but assumes 'Gaseous Form' and escapes through the window of the main aerie, breaking his petrification in the process.

The confused aarakocra elder scratches his head as they wake up, asking what the heck is going on. He gets his answer as the roof is suddenly torn off the aerie by the construct, who's eyes begin to power-up for another blast. Jancer winces as there is a flash from above…!

CRACK!

Jimothy leaps from Peter's back and delivers a thunderous smite unto the construct's back. Its legs quake beneath it as it reaches up with its scythe-claws in retaliation, slashing into Jimmy and pinning the goliath in its razor-blade grip. Little Cora jumps down, grabbing one in her rage and ripping it off, "Leave my man alone!"

Rorik gets Peter to let him down nearby, cutting at the construct with his silver sword. It looks down at him, and in a flash of blue light, fires off a frigid eye-beam at the man. Rorik catches the brunt of the blast with his blade, using 'Absorb Elements' to empower it with cold energy. The distraction gives Jancer enough time to call his back-up dancers from out of his 'Leomund's Secret Chest', as well as raise three of the aarakocra as ghouls using 'Create Undead'. The aarakocra elder faints at the sacrilege done to his fallen comrades!

With a loud croak, Artorias suddenly leaps through the wall of the building, and starts slashing wildly at anything and everything in a flustered haze, having turned his fear at being cut into some kind of primal bloodlust. Even Jancer's undead aren't safe from the attack! Several of them are cut down by the slaad and the demonic construct.

Jimothy is able to free himself from the grapple by flexing, and falls to the ground. Cora rides the giant metal demon spider like a little girl riding a pony, while digging her claws into its back like its name is Jimothy. Rorik slices into the creature again, and though it resists the icy edge of his blade, that is not what concerns him. The eldritch knight notices the metallic skin of the creature start to knit itself back together—IT IS REGENERATING!

In the confusion, Jancer notices that the necromancy segment of the Rod of Seven Parts (stowed safely in his pocket), is pointing up at Peter the griffon, who appears to have a painting lashed to his saddle. The necrodancer holds his staff of power aloft and tries to cast 'Hold Monster' on the construct as he moves to escape it, but the spell has NO EFFECT. A scythe-like arm shoots out, knocking Jancer unconscious and grabbing him.

With its prey in hand, the construct suddenly disengages, charging full speed back up the cliffside!

Jimothy whistles and hops back onto Peter, picking up Rorik in the griffon's talons as they swoop past. Cora is still clutching onto the machine's back as it climbs vertically up the rock wall. Jimothy leaps onto it after her, landing directly onto the creature's face and getting a crotch full of fiery eye-beam. He slams Corpsebane into the eye and shatters it. With a mighty heave, Rorik is thrown onto the creature's back and grabs ahold of its metal exoskeleton with his teeth, freeing his hand to grab his sword and swing!

With a guttural grinding, the construct suddenly stops, twitches, and falls backwards off the cliff! As they tumble the one hundred feet down, Jimothy sees Artorias leap up onto Peter's back, hold the griffon's wings down, and go crashing to the ground while laughing. He thinks about disciplining his son right before landing with a crash beneath the metal beast. Cora climbs down and lifts the weight off the bloody and beaten Jimothy, giving him a kiss on the helmet.

Before party can recover, the construct suddenly jolts back to life below Rorik, and rises from the sand as its body reconstitutes itself. Its form begins to distort as a discordant ringing fills the air. Jimothy and Cora charge, but as they make contact with the creature, all of them are suddenly gone.

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