Wardrobe change

"I would not have been so quick to turn down such an opportunity, thief. The power granted by the Dark Side is greater than you can possibly imagine," Vader was remarking to Artimis when the music began.

He immediately drew his sword in readiness. Having spent an unlifetime full of adventurers stumbling into an encounter with him, he was aware of the music's significance.

"Time to die, adventurer!" he declared. Then, glancing around. "Force of habit."

Then a veritable storm of arrows began to fall.

"Arrows? Hah!" he declared, laughing.

While the others dodged, ducked, dipped, dove and dodged, Vader made no move to block or take cover. The arrows shattered on his thick armor like rain hitting on a tin roof.

"Invicita, Kara cover Cyndel and Artimis and get to cover I will draw their fire. Vader! want to join me?” Glenn said with a crafty grain and then charged without waiting for anyone to respond.

"From one butcher to another, it would seem," he remarked. Then, "Veil of Corruptus!"

An unearthly darkness blotted out the sickeningly bright sun, blacking the sky so completely that not a single sliver of light made it to the battlefield.

"You grow powerful," a voice whispered.

He charged, leaping into the ruins and impaling a thoroughly surprised mutt. His blade split the goll's sternum. He jerked the blade free as the beast howled its last breath. From his right, an arrow whistled through the air and struck his pauldron, splintered on impact.

"Orb of Fear," he cast for the first time.

In his left hand, a swirling ball of dark matter took form. Eerie screams could be heard emanating from within its unearthly core. Even to a soulless Dread Knight, it was unsettling. So he hurled it at the gnoll archer. It struck it square in the chest and exploded, sending out bolts of onyx lightning which rippled up the creature's body. It shrieked in terror and took off running, a foul smell of urine and burnt fur in its wake.

Vader smiled wickedly and turned his attention to the next one, which appeared with axe in hand. With a great overhead swing, he cleaved both axe and gnoll in half.

"By Corruptus! This isn't even a challenge!" he bellowed.

Then, just as Vader's Veil of Corruptus ran out, a fourth, much larger gnoll approached. It wielded a nasty looking iron mace. Before he could re-cast, the beast attacked. He blocked and parried, but the attack was so forceful that he couldn't help but give ground.

"Mongrel! When I'm done with you, I'll skin you for a new cloak!" he cursed, taking another step back.

The gnoll followed through with surprising speed and struck him in his breastplate, knocking him to the ground. He rolled and came back up, just in time to block the next attack. It knocked him back yet again. The creature was obviously a higher level than him!

"Orb of Fear!" he cast and threw the orb.

It yelped as the orb caught its fur on fire. The damage was minor, but it distracted the gnoll long enough. Vader dove in and sliced it's gut open, spilling steaming bowels all over the ground.

It fell to its knees and dropped the mace. Vader watched as it tried in vein to stem the mortal wound. Then he lopped its head from its shoulders.

Minutes later, he joined Glenn in the heat of his own battle. A new fur cloak hung from his shoulders, still damp on the edges with the occasional bit of drying blood.

"Do not wear yourself out, Inquisitor. There are more coming," Vader said, pointing to a fresh pack, shaking their axes and spears as they charged the pair.

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