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.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Lazarus

....



The Yuan-ti king was dead, cut, bruised and scorched from the multiple attacks upon him. The hydra like creature that has risen from the vat of blood also was dead, split in twain by Galthia's mighty blade.

The party's gaze however was not on the aftermath in the throne room, but upon the fast approaching flying ship with her majesty the Queen of Que on board, looking furious. They could see not far behind an army trudging.. (how is the army getting thru the jungle Simon? or did they come to the palace island by ship?) along and the tall powerful figure of the giants lumbering no more than waist high through the vines and trees that had magically covered the lower part of the palace and the city.


Galthia and Shen were closest to the large glass doors leading out to the balcony overlooking the city; both badly injured from their fights, Norgarth and Hawk were further back in the roof having dispatched more Yuan Ti who have swarmed the back of the room. Haennah was still stood on the gallery above Galthia and Shen, looking down upon all.

Most of her magic energy had been spent upon the fight here and the escape form the university, but she still had some in reserve, and her cloak. The joy of being in Novaya had long left her, and now she was back in Fairhaven , and nothing was as she had remembered., and to cap it all off this cursed ring which the monks had crafted for her seemed intent on inflicting more pain and discomfort upon her. .. Every since they had first come across these orbs all she had felt was pain. And before that pain form the black crystal heart. Pain and suffereing bourn to her by others.

The battle against the Yuan-Ti had almost been a clinical affair, she felt nothing as the creatures had writhed in pain and died under her spells. She had aided her comrades as best she could but had stayed back keeping herself out of harms reach, more interested in her own preservation than if they lived or died.

Hannah struggled with the pain. Each time it became too much to bare she closed her eyes tight and gritted her teeth. It subsided and she slowly opened her eyes. The world About her has a blue hue. (Like a blueprint or an ink wash.) People and objects looked in the negative. Hannah suddenly felt shocked, and the pain returned. Grimacing she tightly shut her eyes but on opening the world about her had returned to the green. She looked down at Galthia and then Shen, then the ring on her finger.

'The monks have cursed me with this thing!' She thought. 'Why would they do such a thing? Evil nasty monkses!' The remnants of Zhang's conscious, deep in the Id of her mind, seemed to waken. A living memory of when he possessed her. Stood on the gallery, she looked down upon the monk Shen, the one who betrayed them over the manuscript. A silent rage filled her. A vow of enmity came to her mind, in the name of her goddess she will seek vengeance against the monk who has inflicted this pain upon her, she wants to strike down Shen . Sparks start to flicker across her fingers....

'Don't be a fool!' A voice in Hannah's head spoke. 'At last our connection is almost complete'.
The voice was strong with age and wisdom. Powerful emotions ran through Hannah's mind. The power crackled even more about her hands. The voice was unknown to her, grave , deep with a  rough gravelled tone.

Her head swam with confusion, another voice in her mind another presence trying to dominate her. Just when she thought she had mastered her own inner demon that was Zhang. Just when she had started to feel content in what she now was, accepting of her own state of mind...now it felt that Zhang's hatred for life would overwhelm her suddenly.. And then another speaks and shocked her to the very core of her mind and body!

Zhang pushed back from the edge of her sanity. 'Who will you listen too girl? This imposter, or he who has given you this gift you wield now so readily? Who Controls you little girl..It has always been me....
....now strike the monk down with the last of our might. Rend his flesh with lightning and flame!
Galthia will come to his aid...end her too...for she is weak.
Lord Hawk is nothing but dust in the wind, sweep him away like the hurricane.
Norgarth is no match for our power..destroy him utterly.
All shall look upon you and despair! '

Haennah stubbornly resists, ignoring the taunts and tests upon her ego, trying to shut out the voice she most feared to hear, 'I am not Zhang,  he has no power over me.. help...'


The flying ship collided with the throne room balcony , wrenching the iron railing apart and shattering parts of the floor.. the palace shook with the impact. An angry looking queen , followed by the angry looking crew of the flying ship dismounted from the deck onto the balcony, and stood there framed in the large doorway.


A second voice joins in Haennahs mind. A similar sound a familiar sound. 'I' am Zhang my plans are finite you will not interfere...'

The gravely voice continues.' I have waited for this too long. We have the key, now. Why wait. ?'

The voices in her mind become too much . Haennah calls out loudly for all to hear.
'...Zhang..No! Stay back! ....You are just a memory of a dream long past! My will is my own. I defeated you before and I can do so again!... aaiieeee!! GODDESS !! SAVE ME! Mother!.The pain!'

'Discard the trappings of magic and I will grant power'

The others in the room hear Haennah gasp as she grabs the railings of the galley with both hands.

'*gasp* You are the weak....the goddess is my shepherd...where she is light I am her fire..*gasp* where she is the shield I am her sword...*gasp* where she protects the innocent, I am her vengeance against evil.....and she will deliver me from death.*gasp'.
Haennah falls to her knees as she repeats the scripture of her faith...searching in her for strength.
' Goddess guide my hand, I am forever your servant! '

It seems to Haennah as if she waits for an age...for some guiding word from some higher power... (or at least for a moment of clarity to her own conviction ). As if drawn somehow her hand with the new ring upon it reaches up close to her heart, instinctively her other hand reaches up to stop herself as if in a moment of self preservation.

But she feels no divine presence no soft words soothe her mind.  Her goddess's silence is disheartening. The pain strikes deep in her chest.
Once again the world about her is like a blueprint, a negative .
Zhang stands to her left. Zhang stands to her right. Her heart is in conflict. Her mind is in confusion. Has her goddess forsaken her?

'Your heart and mind are not ready.' Says Zhang to the right.
Zhang to the left. 'Time is now. Why wait. ?'

Haennah reaches out to the left.

Zhang to the right disappearing in an oily cloud. Fading into the world about her. Every magical item on her seems to heat and burn. The gravely voice continues 'You chose POWER. Prepare your body. You are my vessel. My chalice. Your cup is about to brim over.'




Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Time is fire in which we burn

She shook off the dizzying effect of the fall. Looking up the huge purple worm still towered above her, adjacent to the flying ship where it had bit a huge chunk out of its side. She was on her back having once again fainted form the proximity of one of the giants elemental orbs. The unloving black crystal heart embedded in her chest, throbbed unnaturally, the black blood that flowed from it to mingle with her own burnt inside her. Everytime she tried to get close to these artefact the same thing happened. but it was like a instinct. She was drawn to the red orb of fire. And at this moment it hung around Vaparios neck as he knelt on the deck of the flying ship, in front of  Galthia the paladin, but still in sight of her.
'He will be mine!'
She scrabbled to her feet crouching low to steady herself , her breathing rash ragged, the wind having been knocked from her by the fall from the worms back. With a puff of whispy smoke she disappeared from the ravines floor and 'Pafff!' materialised behind the dark elf.
Galthia, Lord Hawk and Norgarth were all there, their weapons glowing from the magna demons they had dispatched. Smouldering remains of the creatures bodies were threatening to ignite the wooden gull of the ship. The battle seemed to have paused momentarily as if some consusion had come over the other three. But the sorceress cared not, her eyes were fixed on the back oif the neck of the vulnerable dark elf.
She drew out her sword and with both hands upon it raised it high above her head.
'Snick! !.. 'Thud' Vaprios head hit the deck and rolled a few feet away from his still kneeling body.
Suddenly light shot out of the neck, streaming like a beam of energy into the sky. Haennah pulled back sharp doing her best to avoid the blinding light.

(fill in other cool stuff about the meteor swarm , the purple worm eating Tom, and the red dragons flying away.. all awesomely written but now gone cos blogger doesn't back up grrr!)