A Punishing Descent
As the last griffon was turned to ash, Vi turned to Darlynn in shock and awe.
"Damn, that's awesome!" Vi's exclamation caused Darlynn's chest to continue to swell with pride as the party began to relax. All the threats had turned into corpses or ash.
The party quickly began to loot the griffons, both Vi and Odarod picked a corpse to skin. Darlynn drifted towards Oddie, as Angus made his way to Vi.
As Odarod made his attempt, Darlynn began to pester him. She placed her hands on his shoulders, leaned on him, and continued to chatter away as he worked.
"Can you make sure to get me the skull," she pleaded. "I really want to start a collection of the beasts we kill. It'll go great with the werewolf skull.
" As her excitement welled up, she began to press harder against him and even caused him to sway. Her pestering ended with a tattered pelt; frustrated, Odarod gripped his head in hand.
A perfectly good pelt was wasted.
In and out. In and out, he breathed. With one last deep breath, Darlynn piped up once again. "I can fix that for you, if you can get me my skull, Oddie.
" Her lips pulled back into a wicked grin, eyes full of mischief and delight, as Odarod did his best to swallow the fire and frustration burning in his belly.
A taught, "Fine," escaped his pursed lips as he attempted to free the skull from the flesh.
Whilst Oddie and Darlynn worked together, Vi had begun to masterfully separate the griffon's hide from its corpse as Angus began his line of questioning.
"We didn't get to properly introduce ourselves back then," he laughed. "I'm Angus, and those two are Darlynn and Odarod."
Vi nodded, engrossed in her work. "Name's Vi," she chirped.
"So, Vi, what're you doing up here? Did you plan to take on those griffons by yourself or--" his voice trailed off as he watched her work.
"Doing something stupid obviously," she sighed. "Well, lucky for me you guys stepped in when ya did." A bright smile lit up her otherwise weary face.
"Actually," she continued, "I came to try and help out the village. I assume you guys are here to do the same.
" She paused and looked up at Angus, and as soon as he nodded in response, her words began to flow again. "There was a party of five that came through town earlier.
I'm pretty sure they stole the griffons' eggs, which is why they decided to attack town. So, I thought I'd come and sort things out.
" Vi continued to tell Angus about her plan to calm the angry griffons. She had wanted to replace the stolen eggs with a fake paper mache egg. However, now four of the six griffons were dead.
Still, perhaps she still had a chance to enact her plan.
A loud crack filled the battlefield followed by a loud groan. Both Angus and Vi glanced over at the two half-elves to see what happened.
"I can't believe you broke it," Darlynn cried out in anguish. In Odarod's hand was a broken and splintered skull. Like his skinning attempt before this, he had failed miserably.
Odarod only groaned before he turned his gaze up to where Angus and Vi were. "Well, we've got one more chance.
" He side-eyed Darlynn before adding, "We'd have more if it weren't for a certain someone." Darlynn's eyes locked onto his. She met his look of annoyance with a look of resentment.
As the two locked eyes in an impromptu stare-off, a shadow passed over them, and a large screech pierced the sky.
Yet another griffon had appeared. Odarod quickly shot off Guiding Bolt and dealt some damage, followed by an arrow from a now hidden Vi.
The arrow missed, but the divine damage had angered the creature. It began to dive towards Odarod and Darlynn.
As it closed in on Darlynn, four shadowy tendrils shot out and pierced the griffon's chest. Life quickly faded from its eyes as it continued to tumble towards the half-elves.
In an instant, the shadows consumed the tumbling corpse. Instead of a large corpse, Odarod and Darlynn were covered in ash.
As the ash showered her, a feeling of praise filled Darlynn's soul as she absorbed the griffon's lifeforce - a rush.
Odarod shivered as he whispered to himself. "Scary."
"Well, it looks like you guys are on a-whole-nother level," Vi chirped as she came out from hiding. "Looks like I won't have to worry with you guys around.
" She had a friendly smile plastered on her face as Odarod and Darlynn moved to where the others were. As they drew close, Vi tossed Odarod a perfectly prepared pelt, head still attached.
"You said you wanted a pelt, right?"
"Thanks," Odarod murmured as he inspected the pelt. It was perfect for what he wanted to do.
"Now, why don't we try some of this griffon meat?" As Vi spoke, she began to carve out pieces of meat for the party to try.
After carving the portions out, she began to cook it using Hellish Rebuke.
And as she did her best to cook, Odie and Angus managed to remove the skull from the remaining griffon corpse before handing it over to the ecstatic Darlynn.
Darlynn gingerly stowed the skull into her bag of holding.
The end result of Vi's unorthodox cooking method resulted in a burnt mess.
While some of the party tried the burnt bird, Darlynn worked on holding up her end of the bargain and began to fix Odarod's mangled pelt.
She cast Mending again and again until the pelt was almost as pristine as the one Vi had gifted to him.