Highlord Tirion Fordring’s words echoed down the cold stone halls.
“This is our final stand. What happens here will echo through the ages. Regardless of outcome, they will know that we fought with honor; that we fought for the freedom and safety of our people. Remember heroes, fear is your greatest enemy in these befouled halls. Steel your heart and your soul will shine brighter than a thousand suns! The enemy will falter at the sight of you and will fall as the might of righteousness envelops them. Our march on Icecrown Citadel begins now!”
“The old man talks too much,” Calimdan remarked in cat form as we sprinted down the hallway. “So much for the element of surprise.” Facing us at the first portal were 3 undead guardians.
Avierra signaled Mal and he peeled off to the right and engaged 2 guardians at the same time. Hotohuri shapeshifted into tree form and already cast her first healing spell on the warrior even before he had rushed forward. Avierra’s spell smashed into the third guardian who stood on our left. The rest of us knew what to do.
Jizal, Calimdan, and Azmuth rushed forward in Avierra’s wake, moving to stand behind the undead guardian and attacking it with steel, spell and claw. Jarvisius and I halted a few yards away. He began to cast his usual array of spells while I let fly with shaft after shaft of deadly arrows. Adialetha and Brutusk stood nearby, making sure everyone that got hurt was quickly healed.
In short order, the guardian was felled and Avierra calmly pulled a guardian off of Mal. The rest of us quickly switched and, before long, all 3 guardians were smoldering corpses at our feet.
“That was easy,” Jarvisius noted cheerfully.
Azmuth shook his head. “From your perspective, perhaps,” he replied, in a deep resonant voice that seemed to come from beyond the grave. “Those guardians were far stronger and tougher than the mere doormen they appeared to be.”
“Azmuth’s right,” Avierra agreed. “Be on your guard. The Highlord’s scouts informed us that there are 2 sets of guards further down. We’ll be taking the left side first, followed by the right. It’s likely Arthas left us a few surprises along the way.”
Just as Avierra had mentioned, there were 2 sets of guards which we dispatched in quick fashion. I chewed on some blackened dragonfin as we continued down the corridor. Suddenly, a huge roar sounded from the right side of the hallway, directly behind some pillars. Out of the darkness a skeletal warrior easily twenty feet in height stepped out and smashed a gargantuan sword on our party.
We scattered, even as Avierra and Mal leaped back before rushing forward to engage the giant skeleton. Azmuth, Jizal, and Calimdan were a step behind. Jarvisius and I leaped to our feet and instantly got to work. Sizzling fireballs and screaming arrows went up in a barrage to savage the mindless undead sentinel. Brutusk, Adialetha, and Hotohuri had their hands full keeping everyone alive.
My right hand was a blur as it drew arrows from the quiver at my back, nocked them in place, pulled, and released, all in one smooth motion. I was picking targets seemingly by instinct, aiming for exposed joints and flickers of the unholy magic that bound the thing together. After seemingly endless moments, the skeletal giant began to falter. We renewed our efforts and soon, all that was left was a smoking pile of giant bones.
“Let’s try to avoid those, if possible,” I commented between gulps of tea.
“Seems we set off a trap,” Brutusk observed. “I saw a sigil flash over there before the skeleton came to life. It’s likely there are other traps throughout this corridor.”
“A rogue would come in handy to find and remove those traps,” Azmuth noted. “I know this highly qualified gnome…”
Avierra shook her head. “No time. You heard Muradin. We need to get to the Skybreaker through the platform and gain entry to the Upper Spire quickly. We’ll just have to be cautious, but quick.”
“Time to move out,” Mal warned. “We’ve little time.”
We encountered 3 more groups of regular undead guards and 2 trap-activated giant skeleton warriors along the corridor before it terminated in a massive room flanked by 2 upward sloping spiral staircases, one of each side. In the middle of the room floated a massive skeleton warrior, half again the size of the trap-activated ones. It had 3 heads where its single head should have been and chill blue fire ringed all 3 heads. In its hands was an enormous 2-handed axe that glowed with the same chill blue flames. It appeared to float, having no discernible legs or feet.
Avierra stared at the thing for a while. “What do we know?”
“It’s named itself Lord Marrowgar,” Adialetha replied. “Some of the scouts returned with reports regarding this creature. Aside from the obvious danger of the big axe, Lord Marrowgar makes bone spikes erupt from the floor, shoots rows of cold fire, and has a devastating whirlwind attack.”
I sighed. “Any good news?”
“There’s one of him and 10 of us,” Adialetha replied with a grim smile.
“Fabulous,” I said, flexing muscles already sore from the previous fights.