If someone ever told you that getting an enchanted blade through the gizzards is a good time, let me be the first to assure that isn't the case! The pain is immediate and intense and I throw my body to the side in a desperate roll, keen to dislodge that sword from my guts. Thankfully, the armoured warrior has a grip of steel and the sword pulls cleanly out as I dodge away. Tucking my legs, I spring back up to find the mysterious figure watching me carefully once again. This situation is not cool and I don't approve of it! How the heck did he get through me so easily? Is it something special about the sword? Or something about the fighter himself?! The sword sure as hell looks rad though, covered in glittering runic script and dotted with embedded cores down the blade. I bet that's expensive
I strain my senses and trigger my healing gland to try and deal with my internal injuries. My pets have already started to retreat, following my order, which has the unfortunate side effect of leaving me high and dry as I lag behind them. Was this his plan? I pour more mana into the gravity domain, pressing down and compressing the energy to increase the strength of the pull.
[Crinis, I need some distraction. Have you got something for me?]
[Master?! Are you alright?!]
[I won't be if you can't give me some cover! Invidia, you too!]
As I speak to my two pets, I'm already moving, assuming that they have my back. If I stay here for a few more seconds, I'm going to get surrounded, domain or no. I watch the armoured figure like a hawk-ant as I start scooching my way back toward the reinforcements and away from the Golgari. The huge elite warriors are turning on me already whilst their leader watches on, blade held loosely in his hand. Thankfully, before they take a swing, a sudden darkness blooms around me, plunging the already dim tunnel in complete black. At the same time, my mana sense comes alight as spheres of concentrated energy flare into life around me. Crinis and Invidia have come to save the day, obscuring me in a visual and a mana sense. Time to DASH!
The moment I realise I'm hidden, my legs explode into motion and I rush forward, keen to get some separation between these rock-people and myself. As nice as Granin is, he's clearly not in control here and I won't rely on Golgari kindness again. Just as I pick up traction, my antennae flicker a warning and I twist my body by a fraction as the runic blade plunges toward me with inhuman speed.
Dammit! That freaking hurts!
Once again, with a sickening splintering, that hateful blade has pierced my wonderful diamond carapace and poked a hole in my organs! I need those organs!This guy moves so fast it's beyond belief! How was he even able to locate me? Sound?! Surely that's not possible! At least he made one mistake, which was to attack me from behind.
POW! POW! POW!
Eat acid! At point blank range, the powerful Golgari has no choice but to cop the sizzling liquid right in the chest as I pull away once again.
The restorative fluid from my healing gland is still sloshing through my body from the first strike and my hp slowly regenerates as I gain some distance. After two seconds, a hardened barrier forms between the Golgari and I, granting me some level of protection. Thank goodness that guy didn't chop off my legs! For whatever reason he seemed to think his stabbing attacks would be fatal in one hit, so he saw no need to immobilise me. It's true, I can't seem to defend myself against those strikes, they come too fast and hard for even my hyper-accelerated reflexes. That in and of itself is something I never thought would be possible.
I rush thirty metres back down the tunnel and re-join my pets. I can sense the Colony swarming in their hidden chambers around me, granting me a strong sense of comfort. Even if I can't hold them off on my own, we can hold them off together. Damn my guts hurt. I watch as the darkness fades away to reveal the Golgari, reforming their group as they begin to march towards us once more. Toward the back, Granin, Torrina and Corun walk with their people, grim looks upon their faces.
If I was to guess, I'd think that they didn't want this to come to a bloody end, just as much as I don't. Those three helped a lot in the past and I certainly can't say they'd be spared if an all-out battle were to ensue here. At the same time, I know things won't go as well for me and the Colony if they decide to fight for real. That figure encased in steel is the key. That's clearly the leader here. My acid seems to have had little effect on them, the armour seems just as polished as it was before. It doesn't look as if the acid was even able to adhere properly and just sloughed off. Please don't tell me that's some sort of enchanted armour!?
A fight is still possible, but I'm going to try another way first.
"Come on out, family! Time for a show of force!"
I call out to the ants hidden around us and they begin to reveal themselves immediately. The core shapers come first, their shadow beast pets sliding from cover and blending into the darkness around them. Then come the soldiers, the scouts, the mages, healers and generals. Hundreds of them crawl out of the walls and floor until they cover every surface, forming a living wall of carapace and mandibles that confronts the mere fifteen Golgari. Gweheheh. Leave it to a Colony of ants to perform a dominant display of numbers!
Some might expect that I would feel ashamed at this overwhelming numerical advantage. Such people are fools! Charlatans, all! Also, they smell bad! Ants need numbers to win, these sorts of odds are only natural. Viva la swarm!
I'll give the Golgari credit, they remain stone faced (heh) when confronted with this intimidating scene. When we show no sign of advancing, they slow to a halt and stand before us, weapons poised. Between the two sides, a stand-off ensues. The two forces are separated by only a dozen metres and the potential for explosive violence is thick in the air. The cold and oppressive darkness of the second strata presses in around us and not a single figure wants to move in case they spark the conflict.
It's into this tense atmosphere that I will need to insert my charm.
With slow caution, I deliberately weave together a mind bridge and extend it to the armoured Golgari. I don't want to startle anyone, so I keep my control tight and the contact light. The spell settles on him gently and I open myself up to the channel with care. Damn, I could cut this air with an antenna, I swear it's that thick. Need to be so careful here.
[What's happening, rock-man?] Gotta keep it light.