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  #271  
Old Apr 12th, 2021, 01:03 PM
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There was only subtle hints of disgust on the young knight's face as he watched Edmund cutting into the body and scrounging around on the inside. Many holy warriors would find the sight of a body being disturbed untenable, but the Eye of Justice did not have the time to worry such small transgressions. Whatever sanctity this place once had was tainted by the stench of the evil that had made its home here. All the grace it required now was a righteous flame to burn it from root to crown.

Once the watchmen seemed to find what he was looking for, Cosmas would move to the final door and prepare to push it open.


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  #272  
Old Apr 12th, 2021, 02:20 PM
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The rule of three
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Edmund's impromptu autopsy was not nearly as decorous as he would attempt to make it appear. As he rummaged beneath the ribcage, his movements were accompanied by the sloshing of brine and sound of papery, preserved flesh tearing. It didn't take long, however, until the investigator's arm, covered in a strange, brown, mucus-like substance reappeared above the sarcophagus with a thick, cloth bag in hand.

As soon as their 'reward' was revealed, Cosmas quickly strode out of the room, apparently not at all interested in lingering further in this forsaken place. Whatever it once was, it was becoming increasingly clear that it had simply become a stagnant embodiment of death at every turn.

Unfortunately, that feeling was about to become very literal, as the paladin pushed open the next door. It banged into something and a slight shambling could be heard, though, considering the sheer number of rats they had encountered thus far, it wasn't exactly alarming. It wasn't until a dull, grey face appeared, shoving the door the remaining way open. Parts of his nose were missing, with long strings of flesh hanging from where his jaw gaped open, exposed. Milky white eyes started back at Cosmas, dead and unknowing. Hungering.

With a staggering step, the creature stumbled forward even as others gathered behind it...








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  #273  
Old Apr 12th, 2021, 04:24 PM
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Ravi Mudbelle
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Ravinia
The excitement of the oddity found in the corpse was quickly vanquished from the mind of Ravi as the party moved to the next room. She had yet to even have a proper chance to pester the wizard for a chance to properly examine the cloth bag that was set in place of the heart. The baleful groan and shuffling that came from around the corner where Cosmas went caused the pause in the halfling. Something nagged at her instinct to not move forward, yet curiosity demanded she weave through Mal and Edmund to peek around the corner at Cosmas standing in front of a room full of zombies.

"Nonononono!!!" her hand dove into her pocket trying to find something, anything to assist. Producing the familiar small twisted pouch she lobbed it in to the doorway not even really sure if she hit something or no.

With that she turn and promptly fled to a corner she deemed safe. "Dead! Dead - move - bad! FIGHT!" the words were near incoherent and full of panic and fright.

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  #274  
Old Apr 14th, 2021, 09:29 AM
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Edmund Trellian
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After wiggling around inside the wet, horrible ribcage of the cadaver, Edmund’s fingers finally close around something that isn’t slimy or slippery enough to be an organ. He pulls out a slightly soggy cloth bag that is tied closed at the top. Gingerly the investigator undoes the string and peers inside. In the bottom of the bag are four ordinary looking beans, which give off the auras Edmund detected through the ribcage of the mummy.

"This is very interesting," he mumbles. "I shall examine this better once we are out of the cultist’s complex and let you know what it does," he continues, stuffing the bag into his sack and grabbing his staff again. He follows Cosmas to the next door, expecting more of the same in there. As it turns out the room isn’t empty at all, in fact it is full of walking cadavers. Zombies, by the looks of things. And smell of things.

In such tight quarters he can’t really help Cosmas much, and if he stays in the corridor behind him he’ll block the others from assisting. Unwilling to waste his spells on something the others can probably handle well enough, Edmund simply pulls his crossbow off his back, quickly loads a quarrel in the already strung bow. He looks for an opening and quickly takes aim. Attacking Zombie 1, hitting AC 13 and doing 5 piercing damageThe Zombie going for Cosmas is an easy target and Edmund’s bolt is lodged solidly in its chest with a wet thud.

Seeing the others pressing behind him, Edmund moves further down the corridor, letting the others get closer to the action, should they wish to take part in what he assumes will be a quick slaughter.

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  #275  
Old Apr 14th, 2021, 07:15 PM
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The rule of three
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Ravi lobbed a cherrybomb over Cosmas' shoulder where it exploded as soon as it hit the first creature's face. The resulting pop and small explosion took off a chunk of the decomposed flesh precariously hanging there, a large chunk of which splattered back at Cosmas who was standing only a few feet away. The stench was overwhelming and the splat that it made as it adhered to the paladin's armor was stomach-turning.

Edmund, seeing Cosmas still stunned by what he walking in to or perhaps the decaying flesh he now wore, aimed around the aasimar and fired a crossbow at the creature. It sunk in with a hollow thwap, but the zombie seemed unphased or unaware of the bolt now sunk deep in its chest cavity.

Moans echoed through the small room and into the hallway. The nearest creature slammed a hand into Cosmas but it bounced harmlessly off of his armor. The second grabbed at him hungrily, but this too failed, thwarted by the creatures own positioning and lack of mobility, meaning he was just too slow to actually get a grip on his target.











 


 

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  #276  
Old Apr 15th, 2021, 12:52 PM
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Caleb Shaw
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Shaw had been all too caught up in his rear guard activities. No enemies appeared to be coming at them from the rest of the labyrinth... yet. But that meant he was a little too slow on the uptake to react to the groans coming from latest door. It wasn't until Ravi's panicked shouts that he realized their explorations had awoken more of the facility's less... vivacious inhabitants.

Blue appeared to be holding the line, but that didn't mean a little support wasn't in order. As Edmund and Mal pushed forward past the door, Shaw stepped up behind the young paladin and sighted into the room. Chock full o' zombies. There was a literal wall of flesh climbing over itself trying to get out and attack the living targets beyond. Luckily, that made it nearly impossible to miss at this range.

"On your left."

Shaw called out a last second warning to Cosmas, not wanting an inadvertent dodge to end with a crossbow bolt in the back of his blue head. And there was little chance of the zombies being able to understand the message anyways. The bolt sank deep into rotting flesh and the bowman ducked back around the corner to allow the next person a clear line of sight into the room.

"Like shooting fish in a barrel."

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  #277  
Old Apr 15th, 2021, 03:11 PM
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Malconus Galt
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Ravi's shriek of terror momentarily froze Malconus in place as the combat began. He hadn't realized before in their last encounter with the undead just how they affected his friend or indeed why she had sealed herself off from fighting them. A glance forward confirmed Cosmas had the door sealed to keep the groaning creatures contained. Mal spared a moment then to place a hand on her knee and try and comfort her. "There is nothing our Paladin can not handle, especially in cases such as these. Stay here, it will be over soon." He gave her knee a reassuring squeeze and moved to join the others.

The moans started to fill the hall as he came closer. The mindless undead called out in their soulless misery. This gave him more concern than the things themselves, for sound and its effects were a bard's bread and butter. Someone must have raised these creatures and kept them sealed in the room for use later. And that someone might come at any moment to find out what was happening. Mal pushed past his companions, taking only a moment to glance into the room and bring his curse from earlier Moving Hex (Str) to Zombie#4back from the dark recesses of the catacomb to rest on one of the zombies.

From there, he squeezed past Edmund and grasped the door's handle at the end of the hall to keep it closed. He was not the strongest of them, but at least the door wouldn't open by surprise if the necromancer came calling.


 
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  #278  
Old Apr 15th, 2021, 04:41 PM
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Cosmas had, most shamefully, frozen in reaction to the charge of the zombies from beyond the door. The rotted bodies charge forward, getting too close for him to position his glaive in time for a strike. All he could was take a half-step back, his armor fortunately absorbing the impact of their blows and resisting their grabs. Luckily one of Shaw's thick bolts sent the one nearest him to ground, at least for a second as it began to struggle back up towards the doorway.

That was all the time he needed to shake off the lockup and brandish his glaive, taking control of his space. The Commander would have chewed his ears off for that mistake, but luckily he was still alive and no more harmed than a few seconds before. He would have to thank his squad-mates for their covering fire from behind. "Your rest comes now, creature," Cosmas said to the zombie before him, marking it as his prey just before a great horizontal swing from his polearm took its legs out from under it.


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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 12:24 PM
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Ravi Mudbelle
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As the young Hin cowered in the corner from the unnatural moving bodies trying to push out through the door just down the corridor; the others moved in to intercept and route. As was the way for them. There had to be something she could do to provide proper aid. The only question was "What?"

Her supplies were low and there were too many for her to have a real punch against. She still had a pocket full of Cherry Bombs, yet even those were finite in supply. The guilt welling in her gut from being told to stay by a trusted friend whilst the others fought quickly ate at Ravinia's pride. She couldn't kill what was already dead - thus she shouldn't worry like the other fights before. Yet the fear that gripped her body made it downright impossible to engage again.

"Think!"

Her veridian eyes tracking up into the darkness that surrounded the hall. "Think!!" Just across the way was the door frame, just barely visible in the light she cast from the glowing copper where within Edmund performed his first successful Mummy Open-heart Surgery.

"THI- The door!!!!"

If they could close or block it in some manner then they could stop the flow of the unnatural! Quickly dipping into the Monster Bag Ravinia drew out a piton and came around the corner with a renewed vigor...and still wobbling legs. "We need to close that door!!" she declared coming up to Shaw "If we loop some rope between this and the door handle we might prevent them from coming out!"

Now only to anchor it, get rope, loop it around the door, and hope it holds.... simple!

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Old Apr 18th, 2021, 04:25 AM
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Edmund Trellian
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Although Edmund is a bit annoyed when Mal pushes past him, he backs away from the door and gives the half-elf space. "We should make ready, in case someone comes to investigate," he says in a calm tone to Mal.

"The others should be able to contain this zombie infestation. With Cosmas blocking them from getting out they should be easy to handle," he says. It makes tactical sense, after all, with the most heavily armored member of the team holding the enemy at a bottleneck to let the more skilled combatants assist and for Edmund to save his strength for when it is really needed.

The investigator puts his new crossbow onto his back again and brandishes his staff, Hold action, if a hostile creature opens the door Mal is guarding they will get a Toll the Dead cantrip in the face.ready to use his magic on anything hostile that comes through the door.

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  #281  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 08:59 PM
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The rule of three
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For a moment, it seemed as if things would slow, with the lumbering creatures doing nothing but swatting at the armor of the paladin to little effect while others took them down little by little. The first zombie had fallen in an unpleasant heap even as another threatened to move forward, eager to take its place. Cosmas stood steadfast in the doorway, preventing the creatures from pushing through and posing a threat to the other, more vulnerable members of the group. The second and third zombies lashed out, finding success where the last one hadn't. One bludgeoned the paladin with a surprising amount of strength where there was little armor to protect, while the next raked sharp nails across exposed skin, leaving trails of red in a sea of blue.

Less than excited with Ravi's plan, Edmund and Shaw both let loose the tricks in their respective arsenals, watching with satisfaction as they took their toll on the target before them. Cosmas followed up, letting his glaive separate the creature's head from its shoulders which made a sickeningly wet, hollow sound as it fell to the ground moments before the body followed, forming a small mound on top of the other.

As quickly as it happened, another replaced it, this one looking even older and less intact than the last. It struck out, hitting Cosmas once more with what looked to be a vital blow, judging by the aasimar's reaction and the pallor of his face. He lashed out again, as did the others, and the zombie fell. It was less of a relief as it should have been, however, as Cosmas was forced to consider retreating and letting another take on the burden - or becoming one himself.

As he considered his options, another zombie stumbled up the slowly growing pile of decomposing flesh.








 


 
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  #282  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 10:19 PM
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Caleb Shaw
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The plan had been going well. Too well. They had let themselves become overconfident, let their guards down. Now they were paying the price. As Shaw wove in and out from behind Cosmas, he saw more and more bodies pressing against each other in their desperate attempt to reach living flesh. But the young paladin held firm... until he didn't.

The huntsman heard, but did not see the repeated blows that pounded against Cosmas's armor, rending flesh wherever putrid claws could find purchase. Suddenly the warrior staggered back into the hallway, giving way under the relentless assault of the dead. Shaw could see him hesitate there a moment, bleeding from too many wounds. For a moment, they locked eyes. They both knew the same thing. If the zombies got into the hallway, it would be far too easy for them all to be overrun. Someone had to plug the hole.

Time seemed to slow down as Shaw's blood pounded in his ears. He looked at the kid he called Blue. Those wounds were survivable, but not if he took many more like them. But dammit if the young warrior wasn't thinking about it, too noble for his own damn good. Behind him, Shaw could hear Ravi, the little grease stain. She had come up with another one of her schemes, this one for sealing the dead away, but it rather relied on them being corralled on the other side of the door. Even Longshanks and the damn bard were doing their parts.

Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

This was why! This was why he never let anybody in. This was the job, this is what he did. There was darkness in the world, and he couldn't waste time on this nonsense. He wasn't supposed to care this much. It had barely been two days. He hardly even knew these people! How had they wormed their ways in like this already?

Shaw's eyes locked on Cosmas again and something inside him broke. The kid just reminded him way too much of a young man named Caleb, all ideals and sentiment. Caleb was dead and buried, but Shaw was damned if Blue was gonna end up that way too. He knew what he had to do. He'd been keeping it bottled up inside him for years. It constantly nipped and worried at the back of his mind, it was a constant struggle to keep it chained up where it couldn't hurt anyone. Last night he'd... he'd screwed up. He'd been running on too much adrenaline from the events of the day and he hadn't been paying attention to the moon. But now it would be different. This time he reached out of his own volition and willingly took one further step into the darkness.

"Dammit kid! Get back!"

The words left his throat in a bestial growl as his crossbow clattered to the floor, forgotten. Shouldering his way past Cosmas, Shaw aggressively stepped into the doorway, planting himself bodily in the path of the walking dead. He may well be damned already, but they wouldn't get past him. Not today.

The pain was... exquisite. Bones that weren't meant to move in these ways shifted and changed under his flesh, bulging grotesquely. Fur pushed itself out through his skin, and his head stretched out into an inhuman muzzle. His back was turned towards his companions, but there was no disguising the fact something was happening. Fangs and claws spread wide, Shaw faced the dead and growled defiance.

"You want blood? Try mine on for size!"

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Last edited by hafrogman; May 4th, 2021 at 11:12 AM.
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  #283  
Old May 4th, 2021, 11:03 AM
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Failed plan - Go!
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Ravinia
Small rough hands worked quickly trying to secure the piton into the wall and loop the rope into it proper. Everything was cumbersome with this blasted shield strapped to her arm, yet a shield was a shield!
Dice * Sleight of Hand (knot tying):
d20+2 (17)+2 Total = 19
Confident in the knot she made Ravinia turned to get that door closed! The sight of Cosmas carving into the shambling mounds of humanoids sent shivers down her spine and made the hairs beneath her lucky jacket stand on end.
Dice * Conquering fear(WIS Save):
d20+2sh13 (15)+2 Total = 17
Swallowing the fear Ravi pushed forward with rope in hand as Cosmas swung at another undead. She could stop all of this if she could just close that door! Yet, there was a problem! One of the bodies the paladin laid low was in the doorway!

The plan was a simple one: Shove the corpse away, close the door, save the day!

Charging forward around Cosmas, Ravi stretched her foot out mustering as much strength as she could to shove the zombie aside and she succeeded.
Dice * Shoving zombie corpse(Atheletics):
d20 1
Sort of. Her boot met with the head of the nearest zombie corpse and instead of the whole body moving only the head did. Tearing loose from the decaying shoulders and neck that held it and rolling into the room where the other shambling zombies were. All of the gusto she mustered before rolled away with that head. The rope in her hand was dropped loosely to the floor as she retreated wordlessly throwing I am not fully sure how to properly put this in chronologically so feel free to adjust as needed
Dice * Noping tf out of there, Cherry Bombs!:
d20+5sch8 (12)+5 Total = 17
→ d10g 1
d20+5sch8 (7)+5 Total = 12
→ d10g 5
d20+5sch8 (5)+5 Total = 10
→ d10g 6
whatever cherrybombs she could grab. The calls of the zombie's claws against Cosmas' scale mail range out along with his yelps of pain. Then came Shaw's unexpected command that sounded worlds different from the man she had come to know in the previous days. Ravi peered out from her cubby to see Shaw charging into the room leaving "Ol' Hickory" behind.

What was he doing?! Was he committing suicide?! He was going to die! Shaw was going to die!!

As Cosmas shuffled back from the room bleeding from sustained wounds Ravi knew what she had to do. The only thing she really could do for the party at this point. The only thing she was actually decent at: making potions. Low on components, the halfling started to quickly work on a draft. It wouldn't be as effective as the last - or it might be more! Who knew! She was winging it here now! She only had one mint leaf left so it is sure as heck wouldn't taste very good no matter what she made! But that was beside the point. Cosmas needed to be healed and Shaw needed his crossbow!!

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  #284  
Old May 5th, 2021, 09:05 AM
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Edmund Trellian
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With Mal guarding the door, Shaw and Edmund work in tandem, alternating as they load and shoot their crossbows past Cosmas into the zombies trying to push past the blue-skinned warrior. At first the paladin’s armor seems to hold against the undead, but eventually he starts to get overwhelmed as the zombies find weaknesses in his heavy armor.

When Cosmas stumbles back, Edmund drops his crossbow and picks up his staff, which he had left leaning against the wall behind him. Although he isn’t too fond of melee, he has trained for it and is quite accomplished at using his magic to protect himself. The question is if he and Shaw can hold the tide, or if the zombies will manage to push past them.

"Get back," he tells Cosmas, as the stalwart defender falls back, his word echoed by Shaw. Edmund’s focus might be on the fight, but he picks up on something in Shaw’s voice. There is something there that wasn’t there before. A change. He looks at the crossbowman, trying to determine if the man will stand his ground or leave Edmund to face the zombies alone. He doesn’t have to wait long for the answer, as Shaw pushes past Cosmas, stopping the zombies from pushing through.

A shadow passes over Shaw’s face and Edmund lifts his staff over his head to give the crossbowman what little advantage he can give him. He doesn’t have Cosmas’ armor or his heavy glaive, and Edmund is under no illusion about how long the bearded crossbowman can hold the line.

Only, it wasn’t a shadow that passed over Shaw’s face. It was his face, changing. His muscles moving, bones growing before Edmund’s eyes. He doesn’t see the rest of the transformation as he involuntarily takes a step back, and Shaw now has his back to his allies. Shaw’s voice is nearly unrecognizable when he shouts at the undead, challenging them. Although he can’t see much, Edmund doesn’t fail to notice that Shaw hasn’t drawn his weapon, and that his hands, visible as he shifts about in the doorway, have long, nasty-looking claws and are much hairier than they were a moment ago.

"Stay… Stay back," he warns the others, his shaking voice leaving no doubt that the normally stoic investigator is clearly rattled. "He’s changing. Shaw. Shaw is changing. Mutating. Transforming," he continues, stopping himself from babbling further as he stares at Shaw as he tackles with the zombies. For now he seems to be on their side, although what happens once the zombies are dead is anyone’s guess.

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Old May 14th, 2021, 06:49 PM
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The rule of three
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Chilling. Incredible. Horrifying. Intimidating.

All of these and a handful more would be legitimate ways to describe the transformation overcoming the blood hunter at that moment. Even so, it was only his friends who reacted. Shaw's adversaries didn't show an ounce of comprehension or fear as they clambered over fallen bodies to get to the warm-blooded opposition before them.

But fear they should have. As deadly as each of the group were, Shaw, in his new form, was something to behold. He struck out with remarkable ferocity, not once, but twice as the creature closed on him. Claws as sharp as finely honed blades tore through ribs, exposing half decomposed guts that spilled onto the pile of bodies with a nauseating slop before extending out and falling to the ground before his feet. Another slash ripped what remained of the creature's cheek, nose, and one eye free, leaving deep, red-stained bone exposed. The smell saturated the small hallway, but it did nothing to discourage Cosmas' glaive which was able to find purchase in the creature's skull despite the hunter being in his way. Edmund and Ravi did their best from around the corner, lobbing what projectiles they could without injuring their newly changed companion. The successive attacks took an obvious toll but weren't enough to discourage the mindless creature from continuing its barrage.

As quick as the zombie fell, the other took its place, a task that was becoming more and more difficult given the mess it now tried to stand upon. Two hands grasped for Shaw, yet neither found a hold as the zombie struggled to remain upright. Another reached from the corner, failing to grab more than a small handful of fur before that too was ripped back beyond its grasp. Having clearly lost his interest in entertaining this engagement much further, Cosmas thrust forward with all his strength, burying his glaive up to the staff through the zombie's eye socket. With a quick movement, he wrenched it free, allowing the monstrosity to fall upon the others he had been standing upon.

The last zombie could barely move in its struggle to climb to the doorway given the obstacles in its way. Before it could make a real attempt, Ravi's cherry bomb landed, sending shards of hip and thigh bones spraying into the room. A cross-bolt from Edmund followed quickly after, lodging itself in the creature's shoulder, leaving the limb unusable and hanging loosely at its side. Shaw's claws connected with the decaying corpse, one after another, leaving deep wounds in already tattered flesh. The creature fell to its knees, looking as if it might move once again, before falling face-first into the other bodies piled in the doorway.

For a moment, everyone stood still, as if unsure that the danger was truly mitigated, but as several jagged breaths passed, it became clear that the undead were truly disposed of.

 
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Last edited by DaysUntold; May 14th, 2021 at 06:52 PM.
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