Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Revelations Part 3 - (The Finale)

Blade with whom I have lived, blade with whom I now die, serve right and justice one last time, seek one last heart of evil, still one last life of pain, cut well old friend, and then farewell.

Revelations 3

Norgarth shouldered his axe and ignoring the revenant form of Vapario, sprinted with all his worth towards the table and the daggers. The urgency of his task surged through him as he collected them up pushing them into pocket, belt and bag and wielding one in each hand, turned to move towards Vapario whose back was now exposed to him.


Haennah had exhausted all her spells, the pain in her chest would not go away, but she had to ignore it and fight on. The magic of the Yuanti-Ti armor she wore  gave her great physical strength and so she tried to use its advantage once more and grabbed out at Vapario, intent on throwing him to the ground. She mustered all of her physical strength yet in despair it was not enough. Vapario's strength came from the grave and was as unnatural as her's but greater. With a wicked smile he peeled her grasp from his shoulder with one hand, and twisted it away. She gasped in pain as with his other hand he touched her, the necrotic chill jolted through her, and her mind reeled! She focussed her will and pushed whatever was trying to assault her mind away, yet she could feel her life force being sapped from her, even as Vapario released her from his grip.


Galthia drew out her Holy Avenger, the divine light radiating from its blade as it sensed the evil of undeath close by. She struck hard at Vaparios form, but her first blows bounced off harmlessly. Vapario looked at Galthia and smiled ' Thank you human, for bringing me that last piece of the puzzle.' And it turned its gaze back upon Haennah.


By that time Norgarth was upon him and struck out at the undead's back, its unnaturally tough body shrugged off the first two stabs of the dagger, but with his third the aim was strong and true. The dwarf buried the ceremonial dagger to the hilt, and left it stuck within Vapario's body.


It arched its back in pain, and Haennah took an opportunity to step back and readying her glaive lashed out, but again missed. She was feeling weaker as something slowly drained away her life, like an open wound draining of blood. Without further hesitation Vapario advanced upon Haennah and struck again. Haennah just stood there.


Galthia and Norgarth had little time to notice as they continued to attack. Vapario raised a hand as if in command. The Red Dragon Orb that Haennah had secreted in her knapsack came free and rose up  and out of the bag and into the air above them, a glow emanating from its core. Vapario then turned his attention to the others and lashed out at them in return.
 

It was only then that Norgarth noticed the shifting light above, so focussed had they all been upon the revenant before them. Looking up he saw to his disbelief that the red orb had joined three others. But they had been safe with their creators the giants? But now the Orbs of Earth , Fire, Air  and Water were together, hovering and circling around each other, as a glowing light started to materialise around them. With them together the fifth Orb, the black orb of Thought could be summoned, and whoever controlled the five controlled fate and time itself!



Haennah disappeared from sight...


Master of Darkness

'Now behold, I shall now live forevermore though her, and I shall hold the keys of hell and of death....."

The moment Vapario had touched her for a second time Haennah felt her will fail. She had been here before, knew this feeling. Like looking up from the bottom of a pool of water, the world was distorted, muffled, and somehow distant from her mind. She felt chill, numb, and all she wanted to do was close her eyes and sleep yet she could not.  Her body was no longer hers and all she could do was watch.


Zhangs voice sounded strange to him as he spoke though this Teifling girls form. He had watched like a dream from the back of her mind all these years. A mote of his soul had remained attached to the crystal heart that she had taken from him. HIS heart!


'You think you can take my soul? No! I will take yours Haennah, and you will be lost forever. And  now I will  destroy your friends!'


Her will had been strong that night, back at the library of Rathmore, and he had not been ready. As perfect as his plan had been it was flawed, but the mortals had been foolish, thinking they could end him by casting his organs into the void. His body had been destroyed and without a new one he could be no more than a spirit, no more than a whisper, weak upon this plane.


His black crystal heart had always held the key to his power, no mortal could destroy it, only by his power could it be undone. Haennah had taken it for her own, to tap into his power, and by doing so a mote of his undead being had been trapped within, forever incomplete without it. As long as Haennah's will was strong he could not be whole. Vapario had been a willing and complaint servant, hunting down the Dragon Orbs, which when brought together would give Zhang the power for his undead soul to be brought fully back into the world, and to inhabit a new body. Vapario's body would have done, but now something better had come.


Haennah had become powerful over the years, and as the effect of the heart had its toll upon her mind, she had started to stray from her own path, and towards evil. The effects of the cursed Yuan Ti armor was enough to take her over the edge to where he needed her to be. Now her body was no longer that of a weak and feeble Teifling girl but powerful and strong. This vessel was now his, worthy of his power and capable of holding it.

A queen of darkness he would be for now, but it would be easy for him to twist and corrupt this body into whatever form he pleased. All he now had to do was keep his vassal Vapario alive until he had allowed the Dragon Orbs to summon the Fifth and it had charged to full power. He could then use it to free himself from his spiritual form, possess Haennahs body permanently and regain all of his former power!


At first they were confused at the sound of Haennah's voice at a distance from them somewhere in the middle of the room. Norgarth had already stepped back from Haennahs last visible spot, already fearing the worst. The strange unnatural hollow to her timbre confirmed his dread. Galthia looked towards the sound but could not see the girl. She was well aware of the Teiflings ability to remain invisible and cast spells. Doubt added to her confusion as she registered what the sorceress had just said.



Zhang could not channel his own spells yet but his possession of the sorceress renewed this body with its power.

'I will feed off Haennah's inner light, as she has fed off me all these years.'


Lighting thundered from Zhangs fingers straight at the dwarf and then an orb of fire screeched towards Galthia and hit her. The heroes staggered under the onslaught, flesh shocked and burnt, they gritted against the pain, as Vapario struck out again at the only target close enough, the paladin.


....Haennah pushed back but the water was cool, and the images distant.....


Armor deflected blows but Galthia was still burnt and hurting from the fire. She stepped away searching for the location of where the firebolt had come from, if she could subdue Haennah, knock her out she could save her from whatever had overcome her, but where was she?



'No! ' Shouted Norgarth seeing the humans hesitation. ' We must stay focussed on our target. We must kill Vapario to stop the Orbs or all will fail!' The dwarf reached into his bag of holding and cast out in all directions skulls. The sorceress could not destroy them all without time, and the more hands upon Vapario the better. Skeletal warriors rose up from the floor, and Norgarth moved back towards his target.





'Despair as the protector casts away his shield, lament as the warrior lays down his sword, for they are undone, and thier will is broken. '




Zhang found it quite amusing as he saw the human and dwarf smarting from his spells, and throwing these trinkets around,  he had forgotten what fun could be had from casting magics. These sorcerous spells were pathetic compared to his own arcane might, but they would do for now, and so like a cat with a mouse he decided to play with the mortal fools!


Galthia reigned down a divine smite with her holy avenger upon Vapario, as he struck out again and Galthia felt the sting of the necrotic touch upon her. Norgarth rush to her side and plunged two daggers in Vaparios back. The daggers were seeming to work, radiant power was imbued in them, each strike against the revenant was as if a mighty sword had laid into him.


While Vapario's spirit was now undead his body was living,  Zhang using sorcerous metamagic cast healing from his vantage  invisible point, taking much perverse glee as the heroes watched in despair the wounds to Vapario start to close up.


The skeletons reached thier target and began to attack also. Vapario was surrounded. Zhang looked up at the orbs, the light had intensified but now a dark disk was beginning to grow in the centre of the four. The Orb of Thought materialised, Vapario  reached out with his mind and focussed the fifth orb on its final macabre task, to bring back Zhang for good. Zhang smiled, it wouldn't be long now, all he had to  do was toy with the heroes a little more and keep them occupied and Vapario alive a little while longer.





'Galthia',  he chuckled, 'So you thought you could call upon your gods divinity to turn me away? You failed... I find your lack of faith disturbing.... you should have faith in me! Now lay down your holy avenger and leave it upon the floor.'


Galthia could not resist the suggestion, and she lay down her holy avenger and stepped back. It was her only useful weapon her other sword was ceremonial only, no better than a giant letter opener.. but the voices command sounded perfectly reasonable. 


....Haennah pushed back but she was tired, she just wanted to sleep...



Zhangs concentration failed and Haennah appeared into view, Galthia was about to stride towards the Teifling but Norgarth called out, 'The daggers!'  He cried out to the paladin, 'They are the key to stopping Zhang',  Galthia grabbed a dagger from Norgaths belt. Uncertain who to attack, was Zhang in Haennah, was Zhang in Vapario also? Galthia struck at Vapario again imbuing the dagger with divine energy as her aim was true. The skeletons stabbed with their swords, and Norgath struck with two daggers but Vapario deflected the daggers away from him. However one more was stuck in his body.


Zhang's amusement ended, the mortals were now boring him and Vapario was surrounded. He cast a spell and a circular curtain of crackling sparks surrounded Vapario like a shield wall. With him safely inside tounges of electricity flicked outward form the wall in all directions. Galthia and Norgarth tried to shy away and cover up but the dwarf was not quick enough. Ribbons of lighting coursed through him and he watched as his skeleton soldiers exploded into chalk dust beside him.


.. Haennah pushed back.. but the water was so deep... the sounds of combat so quiet... let me rest...




Zhang had made a mistake, while Vapario was now safe, he was still visible and Galthia was no longer under his influence. She picked up her holy avenger and it shone brightly like a beacon of good, Norgarth gritting his teeth drew out his mighty axe, and the two of them rushed forward.


Zhangs mind pierced through Haennahs memory, she could fight with this glaive of hers and she could fight well with it! Norgarth was first to get close, but before he was in reach with his axe, Zhang swung the glaive in a broad stroke, cutting deep at the dwarf. He staggered and faltering he stepped in range and swung his axe striking back at Zhang, the first blow missed, but his second and third hit. Galthia was next and once again called upon her divine power to smite at Zhang within the girls body. Radiant damage surged though Zhang as the paladin dealt two mighty blows.


. .. Haennah felt a shock as if slapped awake from a deep sleep.  She was still looking as if from beneath a pool of water, watching the fight helplessly. She could feel Zhang controlling her body making her fight her friends... She pushed back.... but she was too week.


Zhang swung back at Galthia with his glaive, the blade cutting deep, then 'pop' and with a whiff of smoke Zhang misty stepped away from the heroes and then retreated further, glaive lowered in the fighter and paladins direction, waiting for them to foolishly come into range.


The two charged across the room, and slid to a stop weapon tips clashing with Zhangs blade.


'We meet again Norgarth, I am ready, come closer if you dare'


Norgarth looked down at his cut and burnt body, the toll upon him had been great, and he did not want to die at the hands this girl. 'This is hopeless! She is too powerful, we must retreat and fight another day'
Galthia wiped blood from her face carefully keeping and eye on the Teifling. 'We cant give up Norgarth, this must be stopped now, to do or die, there can be no retreat. I have vowed to save Haennah and I will even if I must die trying!'


Zhang could feel his time getting closer, if the these two faltered now, hesitated a moment longer it would be too late for them to stop his plan. Zhangs new body had sustained some serious injury , Galthia's radiant power was dangerous, but in a moment that would not matter, he would be unstoppable.


'Don't be a fool woman ! Rebuked Norgarth, 'why would you throw away your life like this, if we retreat we can return with help. I can't make you come with me, but you can see I speak true.!'


'My oath is my bond , I will not forsake her, this is our moment now or never. Haennah, hear me girl! You are stronger than this, resist the hearts hold on you, you can do it, break free!'


.. Haennah heard her name called, she knew the voice, her friend that she called sister, who had always shown kindness and mercy..... she pushed back... Zhang faltered a moment, his new body weaker from injury.....but no! Still he held on!...


Norgarth ran..


It was an army they needed against this onslaught! If Zhang truly had possessed Haennah then he could not see how they could stop him. If Haennah had just gone mad... well damn her to the nine hells, he wasn't going to die for her! He had watched all these years as she had slowly corrupted herself. Only because she had never done anything to harm him directly had he kept patient, hoping that salvation lay ahead. But no more! He had a life, and he wanted to keep it!
If Galthia was foolish enough to try, then so be it... on her own!


'Oh no dwarf, you are not going yet' cackled Zhang ' come back and fight me!' He cast a spell of suggestion to draw the warrior back, so he could strike him down with blade and spell.  Norgarth's mind was resolute, and he shrugged off the spell, and kept going.

Zhang again had made a mistake. Losing concentration on the wall of sparks Vapario was again vulnerable. Norgarth reached for two of the three remaining daggers on his person and threw them at his target as he ran.

Galthia pressed the advantage as Zhang was distracted with his spell, and struck again with her Holy avenger.

Child of Darkness Child of Light.

The goddess is my shield and I am her sword, where she is light I am her fire.




....The shock again, Haennah felt it, she had seen everything , heard everything that her friends had said, felt the hatred and the glee of Zhang and knew that any moment it would all be too late, and she would be lost forever, her soul destroyed. But as her body weakened with every hit, so Zhangs control slipped!


She pushed again, her essence , her soul raged in desperation against Zhang's control. Like a fire she burned through his mind and into his soul and for that moment she was free, and in control. She fell to her knees beneath Galthia's strike, and screamed out. 'Stop! Stop  its me!'
Galthia waivered, was this real, or a trick?




The daggers struck true at Vapario, deep into his chest, and he staggered, stumbled and fell dead.  The orbs hung in the balance on a knife edge, the time had come, but Vapario was dead, and Zhangs control over Haennah had faltered. She could still feel him there, as if he was held back by the fire of her own soul, she could feel his power just beyond her grasp, and the focus of the orbs. All she had to do was try, try one last time to push herself that little bit further. Zhangs power could be hers for the taking. She would suck him dry and take all that we was for her own! The power of the orbs would  make it happen, all she had to do was reach out!


She would embrace lichdom through this gift given to her by fate, and become a child of darkness. She would be beautiful and powerful and terrible to behold, and she would strike down all who tried to stop her, let the world despair!




Using her glaive for support she struggled to her feet and leant against it, and in that moment saw again  Norgarth sprinting away. Her mind flashed back when Zhang still had control, and she remembered then the look she had seen on his face. Before it had been unclear, shrouded by the control of Zhang on her, but now her memory was sharp.


Norgarth the stubborn, Norgarth the annoying many times, but always Norgarth the brave, the dependable. Yet here she had seen Norgarth the fearful, the broken, the dwarf who saw only death ahead and no way forward.


He had saved her last time when she first got Zhang's crystal heart. He could have left her bleeding body in Rathmore and let the ruined walls crumple and collapse upon her, and become her tomb. He had not, despite their differences, despite thier arguments, and despite his unfriendliness, he had been a trusting and dependable companion. She owed him her life, and she loved the dumb dwarf for that.




She turned her gaze to Galthia. Honest brave and true, a friend she called sister. Sometimes it seemed so mockingly, yet deep down she had always been sincere. Anyone else would have shunned a strange Teifling sorceress, with her bag of marbles mind and demon heart.


In front of Galthia was a Teifling girl not quite 20 years of age, her body cut and bleeding, defiled and scarred by macabre undead magic, with an unhinged mind, who had wilfully let her self slip into evil and succumb to its temptations. But Galthia really cared. It was her way, and she would never abandon Haennah, if she could save her.




But did she even need saving? What from? Zhang would soon be destroyed, and she could have his power... and if she failed, then she would be dead, and would not know any different... yet Zhang would be set upon the world. It was then she had a moment of revelation.




 Zhangs Power raced through her every fibre... She bent his power to her will
'Not this time Zhang.. this time I win!
She raised up her bloody hand and pointed at the five orbs of power. With a swiping gesture she banished them . They receded and winked out of existence.




Legs shaking with uncertainty and fear her sword ready to strike once more, Galthia watched as Haennah turned to face her.  She raised her sword high. 'Galthia please!' cried Haennah. The paladin paused unsure what to do. ' Save me!'


Zhang would never truly be gone, his legacy would live on as long as the crystal heart was whole! And only Zhangs power, that which created it could undo it. Haennah reached under the heavy copper necklace she wore, and grasped the heart that protruded partly from her chest. Channelling all of Zhangs power through her, she sent lighting deep into the crystal heart, as her fingers dug deep into the flesh and ribcage around it. She gasped with pain as nails tore vein and artery, fingers buried deep into flesh and her palm was punctured and raked by the jagged facets of the crystal heart.


Her body shook as the electricity coursed though the heart and Galthia looking on in shock and horror, heard sounds like cracking ice. With a shuddering wrench, Haennah seemed to almost bend double backwards as the heart, its blackened defiled blood pouring from it, was held momentarily in Haennahs bloody hand. The Teifling collapsed lifeless to the ground, the glaive clattering to the floor and the crystal heart struck the ground, cracked and splintered shards broke off its surface.
Galthia brought her sword down in one swift stroke and as it hit the heart it flashed with radiant light, and The Black Crystal Heart shattered.


With desperate urgency, Galthia dropped to her knees beside Haennahs body. Her goddesses power could bring the living back from the dead of she was quick enough, but this was different. She tore the necklace form the girls motionless body, and looked upon a fist sized hole in the Teifling chest.


'Chauntea, Great Mother, Goddess of Life. Heed my prayer and guide my magic to save this girl. If truly her soul can be redeemed you are the Goddess to grant my wish, do not let her sacrifice be in vain. For though she has lived in folly, there has always been good in her, and she has saved us all from evil.'


Healing power glowed though Galthia's fingers, and she hoped that it was enough. As she knelt there over Haennah's body, at first there was no change. Then a small red blob appeared in the hole in the teilfings rib cage. It grew gradually in size, and then started to pulse with  a rhythmic beat. Damaged and torn arteries repaired and attached to the newly formed living heart . Rib and cartilage was reformed and muscle and skin grew over until Haennahs chest was whole again.


For a moment there was silence and all was still. Then a sharp and sudden intake of breath, like the first breath of life.


'I knew you'd make it, chicken.' smiled Galthia.


...End...

Monday, 2 April 2018

Revelations Part 2













'Heed this revelation , for it will be your last. I am he that was undead, and then was dead; Now behold, I shall now live forevermore though her, and I shall hold the keys of hell and of death....."

Revelations Part 2




Norgarth and Galthia heard a cry form Haennah, 'Help, help Shen is injured! I cannot wake him!'
She explained what had happened and what was ahead. Galthia looked over Shen's sleeping body.
 'I think he has fallen into some sleeping trance, that which monks can do', she explained, 'My goddess will not be able to help .. whatever twisted elven magic that overcame him is powerful indeed. We must have faith in the gods and in Shen's own ability to heal himself of this.'


It was decided to secret Shen's body in a alcove safe, and with a note in case he awakened before they returned, so he knew they had continued forward further into the ruins.



Descending further down past he spike trap they walked down a long dark corridor  Galthia used her shield to cast a light so she could see. Not long after they could see a glow ahead. Galthia extinguished her light so as not to draw attention to them.  Haennah sneaked forward to look, the archway opened into a large dome-like room with a narrow pathway, which fell off on both sides into darkness. The path ahead widened into a circular area with a burning brazier in the centre, and beyond 4 large dark doorways beneath large carved statues of warriors. The floor was covered in a thin layer of water, and splashing about as they walked here and there were half a dozen kobolds.


















Norgarth quietly moved forward. The chatter of the Kobolds was too quiet to determine even though Haennah and Norgarth could understand dragon. Galthia decided to move, but in the darkness a sword she was carrying came loose from its buckle, and slipped to the floor. CLANG, CLATTER!' the noise echoed down the corridor and filled the chamber. The kobolds froze in place and looked over to the trio.
'Oh well', grumbled Norgarth, and straightening up marched with purpose into the room. Heannah and Galthia followed.

'You can't come in here!' squeeked the kobolds,' The Master cannot be disturbed. You cant pass, what are you doing here, go away. !' they scolded.

'Erm we have an appointment' chimed in Haennah, casting Suggestion.. 'take us to your master, tell us his name, and show us where to go!' The kobold unaffected by the spell just stood there staring up at the Teifling wondering what to think of the strange female creature in front of it.



Growing impatient, Norgarth puffed out his chest and looking down at the kobold in his way..'Excuse me! ' and walked past. Haennah followed, gently moving the kobold  out of the way with her hand, and patting it on the head ' Good boy'


Four archways faced them. They seemed to be hidden my magical darkness as it was not possible to look in. The kobolds were continuing to be stubborn and uncooperative, but they were harmless and not armed.

Seeing little option but to move forward they decided to walk into one of the arches, Norgarth took the lead, the other two just behind. But just as the dwarf had stepped over the threshold a solid stone wall appeared blocking the path to the others. No amount of pushing or bashing would move the block.

Meanwhile inside, magical sconces lit up around a circular room 60ft across, Norgarth saw in the centre, like a limp marionette, an ogre sized warforged. He skirted around the perimeter cautiously. The warforged stood up, a glaive in its hands, and turning toward the dwarf rushed at him to attack. Before it could cover the distance Norgarth swung his magical axe, sending out an arch of energy to strike the creature at distance, once , twice it struck, but on the third strike something went wrong. The axe overloaded and exploded in his hands. Drawing another weapon Norgarth readied himself behind his shield as the warforged swung its glaive at him. Metal sparked off armor as they exchanged blows, but Norgarth used his cunning and aimed at the weak spots between the warforged armor plating. Dropping it to one knee he cut through its wrist and as the glaive fell to the floor, hand still attached he kicked the weapon away.


It was then that he noticed a small wooden box about the size of his hand in the centre of the floor. Smashing it open inside revealed a golden egg. The warforged rushed again, weaponless at Norgarth! With quick thinking he placed the egg into his bag of holding, and the warforged collapsed  motionless on the floor.


The doorway then opened up again. The other two peered inside, at the dwarf. 'Everything ok? ' asked Haennah, looking curiously at the lifeless construct on the floor. While Galthia and Norgarth spoke about what had just transpired, Haennahs inquisitiveness got the better of her and she went to the three remaining doors in turn... 'hmm no, that one doesn't feel right, what about this one.. ah this one feels good I will go in here!'



Once again a circular room and a stone block magically closed behind her. In its centre looked like a giant coil of steel rope. She approached it, and suddenly the end rose up out of the centre and started to widen and unfurl into the hooded head of a cobra. Haennah had a thought, and concentrated on the YuanTi magic,  began her transformation , her legs morphed and combined together and lengthened into a snakes tail. 'Look, I am like you.. whe can be friends!' 
The metal cobra did not seem to notice and struck out at her, it missed the first few times, Haennah slithering out of its way, but it then struck with a poisonous bite. Instinctively she Hellish Rebuked the snake with her innate Teifling power and flames rushed up the body of the metal snake. Haennah was able to resist and attacked back first with her glaive and then with lightning as the snake bit again, but this time she felt the poison start to go deep into her. She was frightened that if she succumbed to it she would not be able to escape so she fought on desperately, and soon dispatched it.



Galthia had similarly chosen a room, and facing her was a giant Hellhound, glowing with demonic fire. Unsheathing her Holy avenger, light shining form its graceful blade, she attacked without hesitation. The hound bit viscously at her, but imbuing each strike with divine power the beast was quickly undone!


At the end each of them had gained a precious metal egg, one of gold, one of platinum and one of bronze. They entered the final room. At its centre stood a giant fire elemental which immediately tried to attack. Heannah cast invisibility upon Norgarth as he stormed forward to strike at the creature.  This left the final doorway, which now was clear of magical darkness and free to pass through.


It was then that they each heard a voice within thier mind, deriding them, sneering at then attempting to plant seeds of doubt within them.

The Labyrinth.

He who is ensnared by the joys of the world and weighed down by its vices, can regain the doctrines of life only with difficulty.

Galthia heard in her head 'You have let your Queen down. You have failed your God and your quest.' The words disturbed her greatly, how was this possible, what did it mean, where did it come from.?  It was apparent to the others that Norgarth was similarly afflicted but he did not divulge what he had heard, yet his expression gave it away.

Haennah's mind also filled with a the voice 'You have let down your mother, your friends and those who you care for. Yet you still may be worthy' Surprisingly for the others, she shrugged it off nonchalantly , 'I hear voices all the time, and this is not one of the normal ones.. so it's not important,' she said. ' Pay it no heed....shall we continue?'

Gathia voiced her concerns over Haennah's ease with how her mind had been invaded. 'This is not a good thing Haennah, you should be as worried as I,... as I am worried for you, and your demon heart!'

The three walked down a long corridor, which slowly narrowed until they could only walk in single file. The doorway at the end opened upon up into an amazing and unnerving sight, the largest cavern they had ever seen, the roof was shrouded in mist and was filled with light, like daylight. The cavernous room stretched out in front of them in all directions, but what was most astounding was what was in it. They were standing on the top of a narrow wall looking out over a giant labyrinthine dungeon.


They could see where it opened out into rooms, and could also see creatures milling about, along the corridors and in the rooms. Studying from their vantage point it quickly became apparent that it would be possible with care to walk along the top of the walls and cross the dungeon without engaging the creatures inside. The labyrinth had a ceiling that appeared solid from below but was invisible from above. The monsters inside were oblivious to the passing of the party as long as they did not fall in.



The others heard a scream from behind and looking round saw that Haennah had landed with a bump on her backside in a corridor. Looking up she could only see a solid stone ceiling. Galthia and Norgarth saw her desperately looking up and around in vain. She poked the end of her glaive up though  the ceiling, and the other two grabbed it and pulled, but she was not ready and it slipped from her grasp. Fishing back down with it Heannah got a better grip and was being pulled up the wall, when suddenly a black scaly claw swiped at her. A young black dragon has crept up and lunged for an attack, but missed. Back on the top of the wall, the teifling angrily turned to look down at the black dragonling, which was looking in confusion at the ceiling, and fiercely rebuked it in draconic. The young dragon winced at the scolding and skulked away back down the corridor.



The three were just over half way across when once again they heard the voices in thier heads. Again while this disturbed Galthia and secretly concerned Norgarth, Haennah laughed it off. Finally they passed across the dungeon and through a door.

The Masters Lair




Like the pale of the moon, the mirror of your soul shall show the truth, and you will see the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter, your undoing shall be no mystery to you.












Flanked and held up by two stone statues of elven warriors upon a dias was 15ft tall mirror. The paladin and the fighter stopped in caution as they looked around this room. Haennah without a care, skipped up the steps,
'Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest.. AIEEE!' She screamed out in horror, and reeling from her reflection stumbled backward , and down the steps. Shaking in fear and with a quivering voice she pointed at the mirror.' My reflection.. undead! A lich! ' she cried.




What Haennah had seen was herself, withered and gaunt, a rotting corpse yet alive, herself yet not herself. A disjoined image of her as a lich.



Galthia helped her to her feet, and then walking cautiously up to the mirror looked upon herself. The reflection at first looked normal, but then changed view and she saw her turn her back , and within it was a dagger buried to the hilt, blood trickling down her spine!




Norgarth also looked. He saw himself sat upon a dwarven throne, his head resting wearily in his hands , with an expression of worry, pain and failure. He heard from the mirror the sounds of baying crowds, an angry mob.


Were these images of the future? Reflection of what might be, or what will be? Or was it another trick of the mind?





Now this, this greatly disturbed Heannah, yet with macabre fascination she could not leave the mirror alone. As the other two took time to search  around the room she stood in front of it transfixed at her reflection. Was this what she was destined to become? Leaving the  mirror behind they passed though to a grand hallway, they were stood at the bottom of a double staircase with a shallow sunken pool between, and joined by a balcony above, the great hall stretched on at the upper level out of sight. Water flowed off the balcony and into the pool below. Galthia sensed evil in the room. They quickly clambered out of the water and onto the staircase.

I will give power to my minions, and you will witness water turn to blood, they shall smite you like a plague, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and overcome you ,and kill you.





Suddenly and before they could react octopus like tentacles rose out of the water and tried to slam into them. The pool churned and surged and a jet of water erupted out hitting Haennah, she braced herself against the force, standing her ground. Then as they watch, a horrendous squid like creature with one giant eye rose out of the water, levitating 10ft above the surface. 


They could feel the abberation in thier mind, this was the creature that had been sending those thoughts... this was the Master they believed.
Norgarth sprinted up the top of the stairs. As its tentacles writhed it turned its eye towards the dwarf and a bolt of lighting shot out, striking him in the chest.  Galthia took a mighty leap from the staircase and landed upon the beast bringing her sword down upon it. Haennah lashed out with her glaive using its reach to her advantage, while Norgarth threw javelins from his vantage point, but the beasts tentacles were long and it was able to strike out against the party.



Galthia was shrugged off the beast and fell into the shallow water. Resolute she picked herself up and ascended the stairs again to leap once more upon the creature. Haennah continued to strike out with her glaive. The Octoholder  once again summoned a jet of water to pummel Haennah, and washed her off the steps and into the water. It wrapped a tentacle around her, and dragged her under crushing her. 

Haennah struggled against the hold but could not break it, she was face up looking up through the water at the dim light of the room, she could see the shape of the creature floating above her and distorted glimpses of Galthia and Norgarth battling away. Out of the corner of her eye she thought she saw something else swim by.



Norgarth threw the last of his javelins at the creature trying to keep his distance from the tentacles. The creature tuned it gaze towards Galthia, she expected to feel the shock of lighting but nothing came, taking her chance Galthia once again leapt upon the monster and struck with her Holy avenger at its body. Haennah struggled free and stood up out of the water coughing and gasping for air, she then felt a stabbing pain in her legs as a swam of tiny razor toothed fish started biting at her. Blood pooled around her legs as she tried to kick them off.




The beast though injured seemed to be getting the better of the three, Norgarth remembered his bag of holding and reached into it, and threw out 5 skulls and they landed in the water. Silently from where each landed there was a ripple and a humanoid skeleton with sword and shield silently rose up to face the octoholder.
But before they had change to attack, Haennah cast a spell, with a 'pop' and whisp of smoke she disappeared out of the water and re-materialised upon the balcony, and then without hesitation unleashed a lightning bolt upon the creature, aiming below where Galthia stood upon it. Electricity shot from her fingers and ripped through the beast, its great eye burst open as it collapsed into the water below.

The party rested an hour in the upper hall , to regain thier strength before continuing on. Galthia thought that the octoholder was the master that the kobolds had spoken about, but Norgarth was not sure, and they had still not come across Vapario's spirit. If down here it might have taken another body by now, or be long gone.








The hall lead to a curving corridor with passages coming off it each side, and a circular door ahead up the top a long flight of stairs. Water ran down channels each side of the corridor and stairs, and it was this that had fed the pool behind them.


As they walked to the first junction, Haennah felt a piercing pain in her chest. She could not stop herself form stumbling., Galthia steadied her, 'what's wrong? what is it?'
'Its my heart, it's nothing it will pass.'
'This is not nothing Haennah, that demon heart of yours needs to be dealt with. There must be a way to get it out of you. When we leave here, I vow to help you of your burden.'


A strange feeling came over the three, an uncertainty of which way to go. It was as if something was trying to manipulate thier thoughts again, though at first they did not realise it. Galthia's will was the strongest. 'I will not let these thoughts cloud my mind' she thought to herself. ' know where I want to go, and whatever this magic is it will not deter me from  my path.'
Norgarth faltered at first, trying to argue against Galthia persuasiveness. He shook his head as if to unloose the demon thoughts and uncloud his mind, and so doing they eventually faded as Galthias steady words came through to him.

The first room was bare except for an elven statue in an alcove, so they moved to the next.

Haennah however seemed to have succumbed to the thoughts, no matter what was said to her. ' We must not go in there, we must .. I must go up  yes up to the round door.. only that way is safe, sister.

'No come with me Haennah,,stay together we must., here take my hand.'
Galthia gently led Haennah as the three went to the next passageway. Ahead was a room, set out like living quarters, and seemingly recently used. Dead coals sat in a fireplace, there was a bed and bookshelves, and a table with some sort of sword laid upon it. As Norgarth and Galthia went to look at it suddenly Haennah slipped out of Galthias hold. 'No I mustn't', I have to go up!' She ran up the staircase as fast as she could before the others could act.




She reached the top where the circular door, an ornate metalwork gate ,with a room beyond. Again the pain in her chest hit her. She dropped to her knees in front of the gate, one hand upon the handle.
Looking through the gate, eyes clouded by pain she could discern two figures. Reaching out with Divine sense.... they were undead!
Norgarth and Galthia raced up to catch her, and found her kneeling at the gate. Instinctively Galthia reached out with her divine sense also,  two undead creatures, one corporal, one not. Looking through the gate she could see only one figure about 30 feet away. This being was one of them, the other she could not determine where in the room it was.


Placing her hand over the Teifling's  Galthia helped her open the gate. Struggling to her feet the three of them stepped through.


The man before them looked familiar, he looked like a palace guard. But what would a guard be doing down here? Galthia realised straight away! Vapario had possessed another guard and made his way down here. It was his undead spirit she could sense in the guards body.


Haennah tried to push forward intent only on casting a spell upon the figure before them. Witch Bolt leaped from her fingers but Vapario was too nimble and the arc of electricity missed and struck the floor harmlessly. Galthia raised up her holy symbol and attempted to turn the undead, but it had no effect.
Before anyone could move any further Vapario acted.!
He rushed forward and reached out with a touch attack against Galthia. Necrotic damage spread from his fingers into her and she felt the cold chill touch sap her life force.
Norgarth had scanned the room in the few moments that had passed. He noticed seven canopic jars arranged along a long table and seven daggers next to each one. Suddenly he realised he had seen these before. These were the seven daggers of the Apprentices of the Lich Zhang, and those were the jars that had held his internal organs. And now. now Haennah was here with the last part , the Black Crystal Heart of Zhang!

..... Next... Revelations Part 3 the final chapter.















Revelations Part 1


'Heed this revelation.. I am he that was alive and then was dead; Now behold, I shall now live again... Vapario.'


 Revelations Part 1


The party descended into the mist filled dungeons below the palace and came across a red door at the end  of a long corridor. It was guarded by a talking dog which somehow had been down here for longer than it could remember, loneliness and isolation had driven it mad, but the party were able to persuade it to let them past. Heading down broken staircases and ruined corridors they found themselves in a ancient citadel, buried below the human city.


 Water from the canals above was finding its way down here, falling from the high ceilings, the stained glass windows holding back the waters, murky daylight barely filtering through from the surface above.


 Mist became steam as heat from the earth below cause the waters to evaporate, encourage strange plant growth in the unnatural light. There was still magic here, long buried but active, and nature was surviving upon it.


 As they pressed forward overgrown plants and vines started to take over the hallways as water continued to trickle and splash down from vaulted ceilings. They found an octagonal vault in the centre of a large hall with a stone door. Prising it open inside they found a sarcophagus, which they decided to open. A skeletal guardian awoke inside, and attacked. It was a hard fight, but they managed to defeat it get away.


 Heading back to the main hall, as sleeping fire salamander broke from beneath the stone floor. As teh water splashed down onto it the steam became overwhelming. The fight was difficult, Norgarth trying to wrestle with teh beast but it was too string, its tough scaly hide deflecting weapon blows, and the heat form the beast burning flesh where they stood.


 Retreating away, Shen Li saw an opportunity as the salamander pursued, and striking with a flurry of blows against teh ancient stonework of an archway brought it down upon the creature, burying it beneath tone of rubble. Injures and with one way now blocked they continued through ornate halls deeper into the citadel.


 Norgarth and Galthia, weary from battle decided to set up camp to rest, It seemed quieter, safer here, and so Shen and Haennah decided to scout ahead confident that they could face any immediate challenge or get away from harm if need be.


 The monk and the Teifling found a trap that was active, spikes coming from floor and ceiling filling a wide corridor. There was a handle that operated it, lit with a faint blue hue. Testing it they determined how it worked and Shen decided to carefully move past the spikes. The monk suggested the trap remained active so teh spikes which they believed were poisoned were visible and could be avoided.




Unfortunately they both had failed to notice the giant gelatinous cube that the spikes were holding in place, and Shen walk straight into it.



 

Acid burned Shens skin deeply, as he was sucked into the cube and held by it. Struggle as he may he could not get free. Haennah thinking quickly formulated a plan. It seemed an age, as she stood there watching Shen struggle helplessly, as if he was simultaneously drowning in teh goo of teh cube and being scorched by its acid touch.


Unfurling her silk rope form her knapsack she used her sorcerous power to quick cast Mage Hand and commanded it to pull teh other end of the rope into teh cube and tie it around Shens waist.
Shen managed to grab hold and pull upon teh rope as Haennah , using her unnatural strength given to her by the Yuanti Ti armor, anchored the other end firm.


 As he pulled Shen got anther mouthful of cube goo, he felt dizzy, sleepy , as he started to succumb to some kind of magic, as he pulled himself free. Heannah rushed forward and dragged him away before the cube could attack again.

 

With Shen out of reach of danger Haennah used fire magic to destroy the cube. It was only then that she notice Shen was unconscious. Using the last of her spell power she healed his wounds as best she could, but for some unnatural reason he would not wake.


Whatever magic the cube possessed , Shen had fallen into a deep sleep from which she could not wake him. She decided to rest there, hoping that Shen would recover, before going back to the others, but at the end of her rest he still had not awoken.


She wrapped Shen in bandages head to foot, to cover his burnt and blistered skin, hoping that this would help, and then lifting him over her shoulder carried him back.

'You're no good to me dead Shen, I need ally's down here if I am to survive.'

 

While Norgarth and Galthia rested they had time to look more closely at the surrounding ruins. It came to Norgarth, that this was indeed an ancient city, the architecture looked elven, it predated the human city above. He realised that it must have sunk millenia ago, and been built over. Only the powerful Elven magics had allowed most of it to survive intact. Who knew what manner of creatures, or traps they would uncover down here, but it clearly was a dangerous place. Any urgency to follow the spirit of Vapario was futile, this ruin was too dangerous to blindly bumble through.. they needed to be more cautious.

Friday, 25 August 2017

..... wickedness?


Descent into wickedness.

It was decided to rest down there in the old tunnel of the palace before moving further. They had discovered, just beyond, a corridor lit with magical sconces and a gateway at the end, but now it was time to recoup their strength. Haennah slept well while Shen and Norgarth rested less, the dwarf taking some time to explore the nearby passageways while the others slept.

Before they continued, Haennah decided to study what she had found on the Yuan Ti king. His royal garb was precious indeed, and ornate. It had to be worth at least 3000gp, maybe more to a collector. The curious clothing was made of thick copper plate, leather straps and a fine cloth and was deeply carved and adorned in green/blue coloured mosaic inlays, depicting snakes, sun and moon motifs, and interlaced with bold geometric shapes such as triangles and diamonds. There was also a pouch on a leather strap.

The wide heavy girdle was adorned with a large circular disk at the front depicting the sun top half, the moon lower and hanging from it lozenge shaped plates. The wide deep belt was made of thick square plates linked together, carved and inlayed with blue green stones. This was to be worn over a long sash of fine red cloth with gold edging, which when wrapped around created a short but many layered skirt split at one side to the waist. Haennah felt the fabric, it was thick and heavy like a soldier’s tunic but soft as the finest lambs wool.

There were a pair of copper bracers that covered the wrists and half way up the forearms, decorated in similar fashion as the rest of the attire. Haennah recognised the magic flowing from them easy enough - Immunity from Fire. There was a single large thick pauldron, carved in strong geometric shapes that if worn by her would extend from slightly above the top of her left shoulder to just above her elbow.

The necklace was made of chunky square plates similar to the girdle and also decorated with downward pointing triangular lozenges connected by narrow copper links.A narrow copper headband adorned with thin copper chains completed the set.

Her arcana sensed great enchantment in the items. It was strangely simple to comprehend their power, the shapes and symbols adorning them giving hint to the power within, except for the pouch which seemed to be keeping as secret. This made her slightly wary and she decided not to pry for the moment, But as for the rest, she could not hold back her curiosity any longer.

Yet trying on the Yuan Ti regalia was a struggle , as if they had a mind of their own, resisting the urge to be worn against her own clothing. She felt hot and stifled my her own clothes, her skin crawled and nothing seemed to fit right. Her magical scaled bracers and her cloak of the moon were useless now, any magic in them tightly sealed away from her, there was no point in keeping such items on,.... so be it.

Moving into the shadows for privacy she removed her clothes. Standing there in stockings and underwear she looked down at the new clothes. It wouldn't leave much to the imagination, while the split skirt was long enough to cover the top of her thighs and wrap down to just below her knees, the heavy copper necklace would only just cover her breasts, and even then leave most of that flesh visible underneath. She reached out for the skirt but again her skin crawled. It seemed she had no choice, and so removing her undergarments, folded it all up carefully and placed them in her backpack.

She stood there in the darkness looking down at her nakedness for a moment. She really wasn’t very curvy at all, more lanky than feminine, and a bit too skinny. Her gaze fell on the black crystal heart, the skin around the edge was pale and smooth, accentuating the jagged black facets of the exposed part of the heart in her chest, its new, permanent host.

She wrapped the skirt around her waist, fastening and adjusting it to suit her skinny legs, so the split unfurled comfortably over her left thigh. She lifted the necklace over her head, it sat wide over her shoulders and draped down over her chest, while it just covered the crystal heart its shape barely hid the outline of her breasts. It felt chilly against her and weighed heavy on her shoulders. She could sense a great power inside it, its magic had a heavy reptilian taint that seemed to shiver through her from her neck down to her hips and into her legs.

Fixing the bracers round her forearms she felt the cool tingle of the magic as its Fire Protection settled into her skin. She then strapped the pouldron onto her shoulder, and got a shock as the sensation of the enchantment washed over her. It felt is if her skin had tightened and toughened as if leather.. no steel! She prodded and tweaked at her skin, yes she could feel it,  the shoulder guard had given her body protection is if she were wearing plate armour. Not impervious but far better than naked flesh! She placed the thin light circlet on her head and brushed the chains back over her hair so they sat like a fine headdress over her head, barely visible.

She mused how comfortable it all felt, the sickly crawling sensation had not returned, but also the immediate sensations of the items had also waned as it their power had gone dormant, but she had one more item to go.

She picked up and then fixed on the heavy girdle.  It hung low on her hips, pulling the skirt waistband down and leaving her soft belly exposed, the sun/moon plate resting against her groin.  The belt curved up over her hip bones and draped down the sides and tops of her buttocks, she fastened the last clasp into place. Like an electric shock the magical enchantment ran through her!


Her neck muscles filled out, her collarbones thickening as new muscle wrapped around them, a new shape to her cleavage as her chest muscles began to grow and separate, pushed up and defined. The transformation moved to her shoulders and arms, filling out, thickening with layers of hard dense muscle as the little fat on her body peeled away leaving ripped definition. Her arms move outward from her body as her biceps grew bigger, more than doubling in size and continuing to swell.  She turned her arm and flexed it watching the veins appearing, as her triceps grew and bulged out becoming more defined, and her forearms took shape.

She looked down at her exposed abdomen, watching the growth move down further, tiny cords of steely veins developing as the last remnant of softness burnt away and tiny mountains of muscle pushed upward and became defined and hard. Buttocks grew firm and hips widened and filled with power, along with her thighs, as her quads ballooned outward as bone thickened and muscle expanded. She could see each muscle group lift and separate into their own defined region, followed by her calves as they shaped into diamond hard teardrops.

The magic of the Yuan Ti King’s raiment filled her again. A younger, more na├»ve, more innocent Haennah would have shunned the sensation and thrown the items from her body, but that girl was more a distant memory than a reality. She let its taint wash over her, and smiled a wicked smile, as she boldly stepped out of the shadows, scantily dressed like a Yuan Ti princess.


Friday, 18 August 2017

The Descent into....


Nails scratched along the surface of the stone wall, until the corridor opened out wider. The old lower dungeons of the palace had been sealed for longer than anyone could remember. Age hung like a veil over everything, and yet there were tell-tale signs (for those who could discern them) of more recent activity. If the others noticed Haennah clearly did not.
Her eyes had that distant blue glow that sometimes overcame those solid black orbs, like the light of a cold flame deep within a well of darkness. But now it was more fervent. It was as if she was sleep-walking, her hand now limp by her side, the nail ends raged and split from the stonework. She reached out as if searching in the dark, her hand brushing over the ancient bric a brac on a dusty wooden table, knocking over items that had stood undisturbed for year. Cobwebs clung to her finger tips.

‘Maybe there’s a reason why I’m born again. There’s something going on under my skin. Searching, like a reason, for my soul again, and judge the miracle that I feel inside. Infinite the reasons why I’m born again. Divinity absolved from my side.’
The words slipped from her mouth quiet, yet clear enough for the other to hear in the darkness of the old halls. Shen , Norgarth, and Galthia exchanged glances...unsure if one would speak first or hold the silence...

Lazarus - Part 2



The Queen

Norgarth, Galthia and Shen’s  focus turned back to the flying ship which had now collided with the high balcony of the throne room. The room shook under the force as the ship came to rest, the balcony railing and stonework having partly given way to the brunt of the ships landing.

The giants had already managed to clamber up the vine covered palace walls and stood next to the ship as Queen Enera jumped down fearsome and resplendent in her armour.

Explanations were demanded and the party quickly got to describing what had gone on. They hadn’t left Enera and her people behind on purpose, neither had they left the ship never to return. Shen had asked them to travel back with him, and as could be seen not-too soon as the city and the kingdom had been taken by the Yuan -Ti.

Enera’s anger subsided somewhat as the reasoning became apparent. However it quickly became apparent that Enera had formed some sort of pact. The giant king, now standing with some of his kin in the middle of the room raised his voice above all else, demanding his reward. It seemed that Enera had promised him that his giants could take the kingdom of Fairhaven as their own.

Eneras guards were organising themselves about the room checking the bodies of the fallen Yuan-Ti. Suddenly there was a ghastly scream from just outside in the corridor. Galthia with some of the guards rushed over to see, one of the guards lay dead upon the floor. Galthia suddenly sensed an unnerving presence, focussing her divine senses she felt and thought she saw a willowy mist disappear at the end of the corridor… it seemed familiar but…..

Shen stood there for a while trying to interject in the argument, ‘there’s a gargantuan scorpion not far off , maybe we need to do something about that, and also any more Yuanti.. what about the yuanti? His words fell on deaf ears.’

The challenge

In the confusion and arguing, Haennah slipped down from the balcony. She somehow felt distant as if she was looking through a stained-glass window into the back of her own eyes. Yet her mind felt focussed, empowered almost and she felt a bold confidence that she had not felt since….since  Rathmor.

She calmly sidled up to the empty throne, the corpse of the yuanti king by it on the floor, and calmly sat down putting her feet up on one of the arms , propped her glaive against it, and smiled at Enera, who just stood there mouth agape at what she had just seen the teifling do.

At that moment the sun shone down upon the throne illuminating Haennah as she sat. Norgarth looked in disbelief, clearly Haennah cast two shadows as if two people sat there. Then the light faded and the moment was gone.. had he actually seen what he thought?

‘That ours, we promised, Eemra give to us’ said the giant king.

‘Haennah fixed both Enera and then the giant with a steely gaze. ‘It’s not hers go give…

‘She promise’

‘Tough! She has no more right to this throne than a jelly fish’ retorted Haennah sternly. She then turned her back on the queen and reached down the rifle the dead body of the snake king.

‘WRONG! Shouted Enera, at Haennah’s narrow behind. ‘This kingdoms rulership has been in contention for a long time, and that means the throne is for the taking. And I.. I!! have more right than YOU.. ..GIRL! To be sat in that chair. GET OUT OF IT NOW!’

Galthia knew what her Queens’ temper could be like, she could see what was about to happen, and she felt torn between siding with her Queen, even though she had banished her, and her comrades.

Turning back and sitting up in the throne Haennah smiled at the queen and with a calmness that was almost as shocking as Enera’s rage spoke.. ‘Make me……’

Enera flushed the same colour as her flaming red hair ,and screaming in rage she drew her sword and stabbed menacingly at the Teifling .

Without further hesitation Galthia had already moved forward and placed herself in between, to block the queens sword. ‘Snick’ the blade struck Galthia and somehow found a gap in her armor.  For a moment it was as if the whole room was looking at the crimson stained tip of the sword.

Then that moment was gone and the room exploded into frenzy!

The Conflict

Guards rushed in to attack Galthia as she drew her sword in defence, Norgarth axe in hand charged in to the paladins aid.  Guards rushed into attack Shen and the giants as well.

Enera raised her sword again, to strike. Haennah thrust out her hand, but no lightning came forth, as would be expected. Instead she had in her hand the three headed dragon holy symbol of her faith. ‘You are the weak, And I am Scythia’s tyranny as She is my shield’

Enera was struck still with fear, a divine fear she could scarcely recall ever feeling before!

It was as if Haennah , this half-paladin of Scythia, a minor goddess, of some cult barely known to Enera, was holding a divine light, except that it was pure darkness, and in that darkness was held the keys of death and the afterlife. The darkness bore into Enea’s soul.

Haennah cast a spell and disappeared from sight. Yet still Enera was struck with fear. The fighting whirled about them, and Haennah lashed out with the invisible glaive at the nearby guards, as they fought Galthia, Norgarth and Shen. She sidled up behind the statuesque queen, still hidden from sight, and whispered .. ‘Majestic queen flies though the air… and finds me…. Ready!  Maybe I should just thrown you off this balcony and see how well you fly then?’  She said viciously.

Galthia’s crisis of loyalty was over. Her queen had wrongly shunned her,  and sown mistrust with this alliance with the giants and now wanting to conquer this ravaged kingdom? To also then attack a fellow paladin and friend. Galthia knew that Haennah was a troubled young woman and clearly needed her aid and guidance, this was not a pledge she would dishonour, after her own queens betrayal, so be it.

As the last guard fell Norgarth turned his attention to the queen still and swung his mighty axe, but he wanted to subdue the queen and so struck with the flat of the blade. This was enough to shock Enera out of her stupor and so she a turned to attack back, but before she could bring her blade to bear she was thrown back by the force of a lightning bolt from Haennah.

The battle turned against the queen, and as they exchanged blows she was pushed back closer to the balconies ruined edge. Galthia saw her chance and rushing forward pushed Enera back towards the edge. Under the onslaught of both Norgarth and Galthia she could not resist and toppled over the unguarded edge of the balcony.

This would have been the end for her surely if it was not for Norgarth heroic effort. At the last second he leaped forward, Galthia calling out in prayer in a big to aid him, and he grabbed Enera’s hand at the last moment saving her form the fall.

‘Swear!’ He said forcefully ‘Swear on your gods that you will ally yourself in Peace with us to save this kingdom from the Yuan-Ti!  Or I WILL let you fall!’

The Alliance

Queen Enera acquiesced and so a truce was quickly formed and she returned to her army below to begin the salvation of the city.  But the heroes challenges were not complete, Yuanti had started to scale the jungle encrusted walls of the castle to reach the throne room and begin the fight anew. While this fight ensured Shen took the initiative and leaping on board the flying ship set sail towards the gargantuan scorpion still ravaging a nearby city block.

Ballista let fly and the ship rammed into the creature, as Shen leaped from the deck to the head of the scorpion attacking its eyes. The scorpion in its death throws crushed the flying ship. Norgarth held back a tear, as his beloved ship was reduced to splinters.

Haennah had kept out of the battle and has spent her time parlaying with the giants. When the rest of the party finally returned to the palace, they found the giant king sat upon the throne, the new overlord of the land, having promised to aid in the restoration of the kingdom and to live in peace and prosperity with the people of the land. It seemed Haennah had also offered her aid and services to the giants in return for knowledge.

Shen was silent in contemplation, Norgarth was feeling more and more uneasy, Haennah’s action in the throne room were more unusual, different to how she would normally speak and act.. and what had occurred to her upon the balcony? Yet there was little time to worry as Galthia brought to the party’s attention grave news.

She had recalled that feeling from before and had realised what the willowy spirit she had glanced was. It was the spirit of Vapario back from grave. He had not died when Haennah had relieved him of his head, but instead his soul had been transported into a Magic Jar from which he could posses the living body of another.

Weary ,bloodied, and drained from the many battles they had fought, the heroes girded themselves for one last effort. Before they could rest easy they had to try and track down the spirit of Vapario, which had disappeared into the ancient depths of the old  dungeons buried deep under the rock that the palace was built upon.