The blow that Veraka parried went wide, throwing the man off balance that had swung at him. The enraged aasimar whirled, bringing Marala Vharc in for a slashing horizontal attack. The man had been smart to wear armor, as the edge of Veraka's blade failed to penetrate the armor, however, it did leave a very deep gouge in the chest piece of the brigands armor. However, Veraka was unphased as he followed through in his strike; using his body's spinning momentum, he leaned outward, and launched a reverse, straight kick into the bandit.
The man went careening backwards as the kick was being delivered by a barbarian-turned-paladin, crashing into a tree stump and being momentarily dazed.
Another goon, this one in scale-mail, came full-on at Veraka, twin short swords brandished, poised to strike. In a blur of motion, the highwaymen launched his assault on the paladin, his swords dancing and leaping through the air at the aasimar.
The frenzied aasimar gave a low guttural growl in response to the man's attack, and met blades with sword and shield, metal on metal ringing out into the air, a testament to the power behind each of their blows against one another.
The duel-sword wielding bandit slashed in low, one of his shortswords arching in for a calf-cut. However, Veraka, enclosed in his full armor of platinum dragon scale, merely let the steel blade hit his lower leg. The shortsword stopped with a 'KINK' as it failed to penetrate the platinum dragon scales that encircled Veraka's calf. Veraka grunted as the force from the impact bruised the flesh beneath his skin.
The bandit looked up just in time to see the enraged aasimar raise Marala Vharc up over his head and plunge the adamantine blade into his neck. Veraka howled in glee as he twisted his sword to the side inside the bandit's neck, opening up a heavy wound in his jugular. A red geyser fountained from the sword, splattering the aasimar's platinum armor with a deep hue of crimson.
Veraka pulled his sword out of the now-dieing bandit's neck and whirled about to find his next victim. Among the carnage he found himself staring at plenty of targets, all of them ripe of destruction that he could unleash upon them. The only problem was that Veraka wasn't himself. For every slash that he took under the Berserker's influence, he howled out in his mind against it. Everything that the Berserker was went against his morals and his code. Yet, here it was, in complete control of his body, granting him use of its dark rage and powers in exchange for getting but a taste of the carnage that was wrought around him.
The aasimar found his next target, however, a huge amount of heat, followed by a blast that drove him to his knee, emanated out from behind him. The Berserker turned its head around, glaring in the direction that the fireball was thrown from. However, a shout of excitement and glee removed its attention from Inriia and back onto the bandits. The shout had come from a half-orc of some size, wielding a sword and shield much like Veraka.
The aasimar let out a shrill cry and charged the bandit, Marala Vharc leading. However, the enraged aasimar couldn't foresee the slight calculation that was going on in his eyes. As Veraka brought his sword over his head in a heavy chop, the bandit stepped to the side, using the aasimar's blind rage to his advantage, and slashing at him across his torso. Again Veraka's armor saved him, only by preventing his insides from being split all over the place. Despite that small victorious fact, the aasimar let out another heavy grunt of pain, and stopped in his tracks, his lungs having the wind knocked out of them.
The half-orc roared in victory as he charged Veraka, shield leading. The aasimar attempted to step back, but his breath wouldn't come to him. He took the blow barely on his shield, by getting it up in the nick of time, the metal on metal clang ringing out into the air.
The bandit raised his weapon again for another strike, but howled out in pain instead, as Luexena's Holy Word took its effect on him. The man screamed about, asking where others were, and scratching at his eyes.
At that same instance, Veraka let out a howl of pain as the energy from the priestesses spell lanced through his body. The damage was there, surpassing the heat and burns done from Inriia's fireball.
Slowly, the paladin got to his feet, his strength and stamina a little too unnatural for the tastes of most of his party. The berserker shook off the effects of both spells, despite what damage they had done to him. His body surged with dark power as the berserker fed Veraka its own rage. He let out a roar of vengeance around himself, launching himself at the first bandit he saw.
The paladin came upon the blinded bandit with such speed that he looked like a blur. Raising his shield, Veraka bashed the goon in the face, his shield crunching the bone in its way as it plowed through the bandit's face. The man was instantly dazed, and not anymore from Luexena's Holy Word.
Veraka would have continued on his way had he been himself, but the dark Berserker within him thirsted for blood and screamed that it's demand be satiated. His eyes crimson as any drows', the enraged aasimar stalked forward towards his stunned target, his bastard sword extended, his shield at his side.
He brought his shield up and around to bash the man in the face again, sending the highwaymen reeling, his nose spouting blood from the blow.
"Please, sir; I've a family back in Cormyr; they're living on the poorest of conditions right now. My children suffer on a day to day basis. Please, let me go back to them?" pleased the bandit.
Veraka halted for a moment, his consciousness howling in his mind, screaming for his body to stop. However, the Berserker roared in his mind and body, shaking his soul with an energy that made the paladin shudder. He continued his slow advance upon the near weeping, injured man.
"Sir, do you have no heart, no soul?!" the bandit exclaimed.
"Would you want a child to come home to no father one day. How will my children grow up when they will miss me for the rest of their lives. Please, paladin, let me live; I merely wish to return to my family in peace and alive." The man raised a hand over his head as if to block Veraka's blade.
Veraka growled low in tone and with a quick horizontal slash, opened up the bandit's neck. Blood sprayed out like a high-pressure water hose.
"Now your family can mourn you," He said in the most callous voice possible. The aaismar then tilted his helmet back and let out a hollering roar that pierced the air like a wolf's moon-fueled howl.
With that finishing blow, Veraka ended the life of the last fight worthy bandit. Now the question is whether or not the aasimar has a rein on his dark beast that dwelled within, and whether or not he can maintain his calm in the heat of battle with it constantly waiting, ever patiently.
Around the bandit's encampment are still the few living children and women from the highwaymen's ambushes. All of them still locked in cages, some in shackles, others completely bound in either rope or chain. Most of them look like they've contracted a sickness or two, especially given their lack of food or drink.
In War, Justice; In Peace, Hope; In Death: Sacrifice