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To Bane A Shield

It was a long run from Subway to the simple shack and the mountain portal. He had the coordinates or he would have gotten lost in the trees. He stopped there, putting on his gleaming GSC. GSC stood for something, something ancient and primal, but he had never asked
what it was. He just wanted to know how well it would protect him, it and the boots, gauntlets and helm that were dyed to match. And it would protect even better when he was done casting his buffs.

He went through his ritual, clicking each button along the tab. The words he said by rote. His tongue formed them, but he did not know their meaning any more then he knew the meaning of GSC. They were tools of a man. Not part of him as claws were part of an ursuin. When the time came he would discard them for better tools, erasing them from his memory.

When at last he was protected from everything he might encounter he was ready. The last time he had made this run he had been guided by his patron. With the spells of his patron protecting him and aiding his weapons he had made short work of the creatures he had encountered on the way to the islands to get his bandit hilt. Now he was making the run alone.

He started out with the reckless courage of one who has never fought anything that could truly fight back. He ran past the merchant's shack on the other side, the last outpost of civilization. He was in the wild then. In the snow and the ice, his left blocked by a ridge of mountains that would serve as a guide as well as a barrier.

There were lugians in his path and he laughed. He had fought lugians before in their own citadel. They fell quickly before his dagger. There were liches in his path. He laughed again as the flames of his dagger incinerated them, but howled in pain from the acid streams that reached him. He was protected, but only with his own weak magics, and he was used to the protection of his patron.

Enraged, he hunted down all of the liches and lich lords he could find. Then turned at last to the portal north. His own spells were not long in duration and he knew they would fail soon. As he stopped to recast them, a rat ran up and bit his foot. He stabbed it twice quickly and it fell. He completed his spell when another rat appeared. He stabbed it dead as well. He could stay and buff but the rats annoyed him. Their squeaking hurt more then their teeth. And when he checked the corpse it had only a few pyreals and two sacks of hyssop. They were too annoying to live and not worth killing.

The Olthoi Horde Nest was supposed to be close by the exit portal. He was meeting some fellows there and could rebuff safely at the entrance. He hopped through the portal as he looked for his piercing dagger.

The first blow caught him unawares and nearly knocked him to the ground. It was a tusker, and the eyes that stared at him were full of pain and rage but no fear. It turned and ran, back to where it had been standing. For a moment he thought he was safe, but then it
turned and started to run back to him.

It struck again, a mighty blow that he scarcely felt. He redrew his flaming dagger and thrust, but the tusker was fast and he could only graze it. The two danced back and forth singing and grazing one another. And then he felt it, his buffs were wearing off.

Thud, the blow crashed through his shield and into his chest. The bludgeon bane on the shield had worn off and the blows were smashing through. He healed quickly, then fumbled in his pack for his wand. Bludgeon Bane, where was it? He found it and said the words, but his mind was unclear, his focusing buff had dropped as well. The spell failed. He did not have the time to look for a lesser version of bludgeon bane. He tried it again, and it fizzled as another blow struck him. As the spell fizzled it burned up hyssop. He looked up at the tusker and said the words one last time, but he realized to his horror his hyssop was all gone.

The tusker bashed the man's helm into the ground, the veins of blood streaming down it matched the veins on his GSC. The tusker grunted at the corpse and went back to his place, waiting for another camper to enter the wilds.



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