There was another choice and Rem had to acknowledge that even with his allies on top, he might lose. What would happen to the people living there as he battled and worst yet, after the combat ended? The chance of this Stitch going berserk like its kind did many centuries ago was very real. No, Rem would steel himself and battle the beast down here. Between his blades and Felk's magics, they should be able to at least wound the Stitch, then either it would escape or they retreat. The old stories never said that these monstrosities regenerated as fast as trolls did, therefore there was a chance...
The solver of problems weighed both weapons and then cautiously looked around. The Stitch probably awaited hidden, ready to attack, the moment Rem dashed towards the ladder. Even though this sewer exit was one of the distant ones, fighting that creature outside could still cause deaths. The “Mourning of the future Dead” was in it's second day; oftentimes priests of Mara or Iroh went to the most distant parts of Krart. The alms they've gathered had to be distributed before Frost came, gifted to the most needy. Apart from these faithful followers, Rem oftentimes used the crowds of depressed drinkers as a cover while he worked. Some people felt that this Frost in particular would be their last and overcome with gloom, took to the streets. With plenty of hard liquor and sense-dulling potions in hand, these “Doomers” partied like death was awaiting them at the next intersection. However unwise these people were, they did not deserve to become collateral damage.
“That thing has to be real close Felk, stand ready!” - Rem stated, using Felk's telepathic spell.
“If you distract the Stitch, I may be able to stun it... or at least slow that thing down. Even a minute would be more than enough for us to get out.”
“I will try hitting its limbs first. Heavily wounding that creature might be the only way of defeating it.”
Rem whispered back his thoughts, catching a glimpse of something at the edge of his sight. Eyes unsure of what he had just seen, nevertheless, the solver of problems prepared to dodge an incoming attack, just in case.
“You know that I have few, but quite potent magics at my disposal. I could attempt to shatter its bones, tear its ligaments, and boil its blood.” - and the lich somewhat hesitantly added - “Yet, I am not entirely sure of the end result of my arcane strikes, Master Rem.”
“I think there is another way, Felk. Remember, you yourself told me that a Stitch is not easy to control, even for the best arcanists. Badly wounded, the creature might be too much for its current 'master' to command, it might even break the bond.”
“Break the mana chains indeed it could! Then the Stitch would no longer be running after you, Rem. Therefore, we could leave the sewers without fear that as it tracks you, the creature might slaughter innocent bystanders.”
“How much of your power is still left? You spent a lot levitating both of us, back at the pumping station.”
“A lot is not all of it, Master Rem. I can unleash many smaller magics or a big, powerful one.”
While they exchanged thoughts, that shifty something Rem saw half-a-minute earlier, dashed at him. The Stitch, because it was the creature's shape his eyes had noticed, swiped at him with such force, a distinct sonic boom shook the tunnel. Prepared to react, nevertheless, the solver of problems got nearly mauled to death by the monster. Mere inches, his trusty armor, and a most masterful dodge, were what stood between oblivion and Rem. Long, unnaturally sharp claws made easy work of his chainmail, even tearing the protective undergarment beneath it. The powerful strike, if it had connected fully, would've most probably left him dead on the spot. Bleeding but not eviscerated, he danced away from the monstrosity, looking for his chance to end it.
Even from point blank, his eyes could not see the Stitch clearly; it was as if some strange and very different from normal invisibility magic, obscured its body. Eyes struggling due to tire, darkness, and enchantment, Rem's ears clearly heard a painful whimper. It was followed by a growl and another brutal hit, which he barely had time to roll away from. Stone and metal shards flew in all directions, after the Stitch's clawed fist punctured a hole in the floor. Some of the shrapnel hit Felk, but thanks to the sturdy helmet, his bony face remained safe. Such raw power, speed, and agility did this monstrous creature possess, yet it still drew breath, cried in pain. One might expect that after bashing stone and metal, that thing would sustain damage. Yet, even with the vision inhibiting cloud which surrounded the creature, it was clear that their assailant's fists were unharmed. The most important thing which both the solver of problems and his floating companion noticed was – the Stitch briefly came into shift when its fist hit the floor. Felk, being a skilled arcanist, immediately put his magics to work:
“Ferelaana'! Guide my skill, oh Mistress of Sorrow, you, most faithful servant of Kan! Bend my enemy's limbs, rip muscle, and tear sinew.” - The lich managed to chant one of his spells with such speed, that the otherwise incredibly dexterous monstrosity slowed down almost instantaneously.
Rem was now in a good position to attack; he quickly threw Sparrow, aiming at the Stitch's knee. This was a probing strike, which he expected the creature could easily evade. Instead the dagger's pointy tip, after easily perforating skin, lodged itself deep into its flesh. Following what he assumed a lucky hit, Rem put all of his strength behind a vicious swipe of his own. The flat, bone-crushing part of Sap, he aimed at the creature's left shoulder. Again, this attack, which his tired limbs could not perform with the usual blinding speed, hit. There was a loud sound of snapped bone and immediately after that, he saw how the creature's right hand aimed at his throat. With blinding speed did the Stitch's fingers move, nearly ripping Rem's trachea out. Somehow this beastly thing managed to lift its right hand and, disregarding broken bones, slapped Rem's helmet off his head. The solver of problems recalled Sparrow and before leaping away from his attacker's reach, slashed. Something much akin to blood, yet with a most unnatural color, gushed out from its now sliced open knee. The creature's shape again wavered, became hard to see and another, this time laden with even more pain whimper echoed across the tunnel. In the span of mere seconds, the Stitch had nearly murdered him and not once, but three times.
Rem was so tired!
His armor in tatters, helmet lost, and throat in great pain, yet his mind worked quickly. According to legend, the Stitch was supposed to be the perfect soldier – it felt no pain! Yet, the creature acted as if it was suffering and terribly so. Moreover, this thing attacked somewhat hesitantly; it almost felt like its master did not achieve full control over it. Rem hoped that after suffering heavy wounds, the Stitch's controller would give the creature order to retreat, maybe even lose his or her hold over it. The legends clearly spoke of implantation and then, a rebellion.
“Sever its mana chains, Felk! Quickly, I don't know for how long these wounds will slow it down!”
“Felkmarr! Oh Great Kan, I will use all the gifts which thou hast bestowed upon me!Sacrifice my own Unlife, I shall! Thine power flows through me, my magics shape it, so that another creature's shackles would be shattered.”
As Rem dodged another, this time much slower and definitely hesitant attack, magical energies swirled around the Stitch. Blue, forked lighting formed inches away from Felk's barely floating skull and then, bypassing the no longer shifting shape of the creature, hit something mid air. The tunnel shook, as someone, far away, projected their own magical power. Gnarled, pinkish flames nearly swallowed Felk's lighting whole, but whoever was on the other side of this spell, did not quite measure up to the task. Seconds later, the lich had successfully projected this powered by his own Unlife sustaining mana spell, through the enemy arcane link. Whoever commanded the Stitch, was no longer in control and, most probably lying on the floor of some arcane chamber, in charred, gory chunks. Rem saw the creature stop dead in its tracks – it looked stunned, without direction and most importantly, no longer willing to attack. He speedily picked up Felk's skull and aimed his limping feet towards the ladder. The only thing Rem now desired was to remove his wounded and tired beyond measure, bleeding persona from the Stitch's immediate vicinity.
What happened then, however, stunned him beyond measure. The wounded, bleeding monster fell on its knees and then stretched its neck; Rem could see a pair of gray, tear-filled eyes, looking at him. Then, out of the creature's disfigured, full of vicious-looking teeth mouth, came a plea. With a most sorrowful voice, which clearly belonged to a little girl, the Stitch beckoned him:
“Please... warrior... I... beg of you... end... me!”
Rem was shaken to his core; knowing the legends and meeting a real Stitch in person were two different things. This poor soul had suffered greatly and, evidently no longer desired to remain among the living. If this unnatural, wretched existence could even be called life. Who was the real monster here – the Stitch or those who created it?! No, Rem had a duty as a devote Kannite to at least attempt, try saving this girl's spirit! If this monstrosity was crafted with the use of alchemy, maybe Felk and Rem's other associates could find some way to help it? No longer controlled by Countess Levoah's arcanist, the creature had completely surrendered to his mercy. He turned around and, after unleashing a tired sigh, asked the Stitch:
“I have a better idea. You have a problem and I, Rem, am a solver of other people's problems. If you would come with me, I promise to do everything in my power, find a way to help you!” - If that is Rem's choice, vote 1 in your comment.
He blinked a couple of times; in his confusion, Rem could not fully realize what had happened just now. It took him a couple of seconds to gather his thoughts. This creature, if he could find a way to help it, it might become a powerful ally! However, dragging it back to his base of operations “The Busty Elf”, might prove difficult, not to mention a task most daunting. He quickly thought more about what might be done and then decided that it would be better if the Stitch remained underground. Later, during the night, Rem could send someone who could guide the creature to another, remote location. Of course, the possibility that instead of waiting, the Stitch would simply find its way back to the lower dungeons, still existed. - If that is Rem's choice, vote 2 in your comment.
Whatever happened to the Stitch now, it wasn't any of his concern. Most probably the thing would go away on its own... eventually. Or the guards might come and finish it off for good. However slim, the possibility of this teary-eyed plea being an elaborate lie, still existed. Rem spilt too much of his own blood, risked his life too many times to blindly trust a monster of legend. He ignored the creature's words and climbed the ladder, eventually finding himself surrounded by his allies. - If that is Rem's choice, vote 3 in your comment.