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Chapter 19: Exodus

Chapter 19: Exodus

Marlenny was forced to close the door. The temperature had risen drastically and the melting snow had formed a large puddle just outside Shadow Vale that threatened to flood inside.

Lazarus looked at the spam he was eating with distaste. Then he looked across the fire to see Slartucker eating a steak. "No way! Where did you get that?"

"From the Nine-Headed Cave Cow, of course. He and She heard my mooving pleas for succor and, in His and Her infinite wisdom and power, provided me with nourishment."

"Could you ask this Nine-Headed Cave Cow to provide me with a steak too? I'm hungry," Lazarus asked.

"That depends. Are you ready to be accepted into the Church of the Nine-Headed Cave Cow and serve Him and Her forever more? The Nine-Headed Cave Cow does not serve heretics."

"Um..." Lazarus was interrupted by Kelandon chanting quietly to himself.

"What are you singing, Kelandon?" the Almighty Do-er of Stuff said.

"A few verses of the Khalthanad, the great slith epic," Kelandon said.

"The better question is, why is he singing?" FBM asked.

"Because he's a ********* ******* *******, of course," Terror's Martyr said.

Kelandon stood up angrily. "I've had enough of your insults."

Terror's Martyr laughed scornfully. "What are you going to..."

Kelandon punched him in the face.

Terror's Martyr staggered in shock. "You... DIE!!!"

Kelandon had covered his ears and was chanting another stanza of the Khalthanad and so didn't hear him. Furious, Terror's Martyr grabbed a vengeance blade that Tyranicus had on display and attacked Kelandon. Kelandon grabbed a shield and got in up just in time to prevent himself from being skewered. He grabbed a sword as well.

"All right!" Thuryl said.

"Kel, no! What's the matter with everyone today?" Marlenny looked to Stareye, but he seemed more interesting in building strange towers of spam than preventing the fight.

Lenar translated for the Silent Assassin. "The Silent Assassin says that everyone is slowly being driven mad from being trapped in a small, dark space. He can even feel the madness affecting himself. He thought that he was being attacked by alien entities from another dimension. And that's why Mysterious Man had to die. What!?"

The Silent Assassin shrugged as he sheathed his knife and pointed to Mysterious Man's body.

"How could you?" Lenar demanded.

The Silent Assassin shuffled uncomfortably.

Terror's Martyr parried and riposted Kelandon's attack. The blow glanced harmlessly off of Kelandon's shield.

"I can't help thinking this would be so much better with lightsabers," Slartucker said.

The fire suddenly sputtered and steamed. Lazarus leapt up. "There's water leaking in."

Slartucker looked at the water seeping across the floor. "We have to get out of here."

"No kidding," Lazarus said, "Marlenny, open the door."

"I can't. The water's higher outside than it is here," Marlenny said.

Terror's Martyr seemed to have the upper hand in the duel. He was slowly pushing Kelandon back towards a wall. Lenar and the Silent Assassin dodged out of the way as they came by. Then Terror's Martyr stumbled over Mysterious Man's body, giving Kelandon enough time to recover.

Slartucker yanked the door open. A wave of water flooded in, extinguishing the final remnants of the fire.

"Hey!" Stareye said as the water washed his towers away.

"Stop the fight, Stareye. We have to get out of here," Slartucker said.

"Yes, I... yes. All right, you two. Knock it off."

Kelandon and Terror's Martyr ignored him.

"What will we do with the people who died?" Lenar asked.

"Carry them back with us," Slartucker said.

Lenar picked up Mysterious Man's body and pointed at Jumpin' Salmon. "You killed him, you carry his body back. You're just lucky I don't make you carry Mysterious Man too."

The Silent Assassin frowned but picked the body up anyway.

"Come on, people. It would behoove us to moove. The snow is still melting and the water is still rising." Slartucker stepped outside and waded through the water. Several people followed him.

"But who will take Tyranicus back?" Lenar asked.

"Is there any point in taking him back? He'll just die again," Thuryl said. After a moment, he added, "Oh, all right." Thuryl picked Tyrancius' body up. "Let's go."

"We'll catch up," Stareye said while Terror's Martyr and Kelandon continued their duel. Water splashed everywhere as they fought. Stareye moved to separate them. "Seriously, stop."

"No way. Not this time," Kelandon said.

"Not until after I show that ********* ******* ******* a thing or two." Terror's Martyr lunged. The blade bounced off Kelandon's shield and struck Stareye instead. He collapsed. Kelandon and Terror's Martyr halted.




Not far away from Shadow Vale, the temperature dropped again. The standing water turned into slush. Well in the lead, Slartucker slogged through it until he found solid snow to stand on. He paused so everyone else could catch up.

"I haven't seen Stareye with Kelandon and Terror's Martyr yet. Maybe we should wait for them?" Marlenny suggested.

"It's still cold out. If we wait, we'll freeze. They'll be fine." Slartucker started walking again.


Kelandon and Terror's Martyr glared at each other for a moment more. Then Kelandon hauled Stareye out of the water.

"This is your fault," he said.

"******* off, ****** *****."

"Enough!" Stareye said. He checked the gash in his side. Fortunately, it wasn't too deep. "The others have already left. We have to catch up with them. Yes, you too, TM. There are other forums on the way back to Spiderweb. The storm and flooding probably emptied some of them out--most likely the ones that aren't friendly."


Ash Lael stopped. Four figures stood and another knelt in the snow. The kneeling figure said something and a flicker of flame appeared. It vanished almost instantaneously.

"its no gud"

"yeh evry tim u start a fiar teh sno melt nad putsit out"

"Noobs," Ash Lael whispered. Everyone halted.

"Shut up! Just shut up!" The kneeling figure stood up and slapped the two noobs who had spoken.

"And a flamer," FBM said.

The flamer and noobs noticed the Spiderwebbers.

"hay who r u"

"were u from"

"Ignore them," Slartucker said.

"Oh, yes, just ignore us. You miserable little..." The flamer counted how many Spiderwebbers there were and decided not to start a fight.

Slartucker sighed in relief. "For once in their lives, they show a little bit of sense."


The trail the other Spiderwebbers had left was clear. Once out of the water and slush and onto the snow, Kelandon, Stareye, and Terror's Martyr moved quickly. Or at least quickly given the fact that Stareye was injured.

"We're probably close to catching up with the others now. Just a little farther," Kelandon said.

Stareye shook his head. He halted and leaned against a wall. "I need to rest for a moment."

"Okay then," Kelandon said. He and Terror's Martyr stood in uncomfortable silence.

Suddenly, a heavily-armored 1337 h3x0r dropped from above. "411 `/0|_|5 8423 453 8310|\|6 70 |_|2!"

"What? I didn't understand a word of that," Kelandon said.

A flamer and two noobs dropped from above as well. "This is our forum, idiots. You're on our territory."

Kelandon drew his sword as the 1337 h4x0r charged at him with an axe.

The flamer glared at Terror's Martyr. "What are you looking at?"

"Three ***** ****** maggots."

"y r u so mean"

"You think we're maggots? You thought wrong. You're the maggot," the flamer said.

One of the noobs watched the flamer and Terror's Martyr argue. The other turned towards Stareye. "who r u"

"Go away." Stareye said.

"tahts not nise!"

"I said go away."

"ur mean!! ill sho u!!!1" The noob lunged at Stareye.

Stareye managed to knock it to the ground and then stomped his boot hard on its face.

Meanwhile, Kelandon and the 1337 h4x0r fought. The 1337 h4x0r's axe hit Kelandon's shield harmlessly. Kelandon stabbed at it, punching a hole in its armor. He parried the next blow. The sword snapped in half.

"1\/3 607 `/0|_| |\|0\/\/!" The 1337 h4x0r swung its axe.

Kelandon blocked it with the shield. "I still can't understand anything you say." He pulled a spellchecker out of his pocket and slammed into the face of the 1337 h4x0r. The 1337 h4x0r collapsed. Behind him, the flamer exploded after taking one too many insults about its mother from Terror's Martyr.

Stareye left the noob lying in the snow. "Let's move on before anyone else shows up."


The rest of the group was making good progress.

"I can see the message board!" the Almighty Do-er of Stuff said.

"Yes, we're almost..." Slartucker stopped short. Everyone stared.

The Spiderweb Software Message Boards sat in the middle of a lake.