Episode Twenty-Three: The Chornicles of Klarn: Sphere of Influence ( 8/03/05)
Lorel, Hal, Silent Pete, and introducing Jack and guest
staring Freya, Arty, the Silent Companions, Caretaker and the virgin maidens]
Chronicles of Klarn
(In the words of Jack)
I hold the knife to my throat hard enough to draw blood which trickles down the sereated edge of the blade.
“I really think it would be better for us all to just leave this unsafe place and check out the statue in the center of the garden.” I guesture with my free hand to wave the others in the direction of the crack in the pedastal that we had come in thru.
Lorel looks worried, “I think we need to listen to the boy. Clearly something is bothering him.” And to me, “Jack just put the knife down and we’ll gladly go with you to check out the statue.”
Most of the others have either decended or are decending the pipes. The maidens and the monks and Arty have yet to follow.
The day started out fine.
We left the camp the next morning feeling refreshed and renewed after a night of celebration and wine (made with goodberries no less, though perhaps not aged long enough, more like potent grape juice).
I was excited to be adventuring again. Even more exciting was the prospect of getting to go on an adventure with the great hero Lorel. Not only was he a great elven hero, but he follows Corellon and carries the great elven Bow of Corellon. Calaglin and I were honored to be in his presence. It felt good to be reunited with Calaglin. I had felt naked (both literally and figuratively in the past few months) without him.
We decided to have Silent Pete, Lorel and me scout ahead while the bulk of the party followed a few hundred feet behind us. It was a good thing we did so as before we got around the corner of the wayhouse we ran into trouble.
Ahead of us was a gargantuan snake. We headed back to the party to advise them
to skirt the reptile. As we were doing so however, we ran into the dreaded weasel.
Luckily the weasel had to pass by the snake to get at us and the two of them
squared off as we snuck past them both.
The orb was gargantuan too. Not just in size, but in power. I had dived under
the water to start searching the smaller pool for the sphere. The water was
stagnant and completely ocluded. I was searching by touch alone. At first all
I found were some small spheres that eventually turned out to be large pearls.
Frustrated at the lack of success but sure that there was more to be found,
I activated one of my wands. Using it, I called upon the divine guidance of
Corellon to help me in my search. Within seconds I found what we were looking
for. The sphere was about 20′ in diameter and perfectly smooth. When I touched
it, I felt a surge of power course through my body. Suddenly there was a presence
with me. It was old, very old and powerful. The presence struggled against my
will eventually overpowering my control. I felt myself slipping down into a
dark cold chasm. When I hit the bottom I was caught in huge scaled arms. ‘You
will not die this day,” said a voice in my head. “I am the Elder Orb
of Dragonkind. You must leave this place it is not safe for you. The foolish
mortals with you must be convinced that there is nothing of value for them here.
You will do this for me won’t you.” I was convinced that the voice was
the most rational thing in existence; of course I would help it. It was right,
there was nothing of value for my friends here. In fact it was very dangerous,
we need to get away.
We needed to get away from the wasp too. We were almost halted by a tangled briar that we needed to pass through. We had decided that we needed to start looking for the orb from the fountain. It might either be there or at least we’d have a good view of the garden to determine where to look next. The god statue was a clearly good second choice. Anyway, as I was saying, we were almost stopped by the tangled briar. We though we might be able to traverse it, but it looked a bit like a maze. I initiated a Easy Trail which gently pushed aside the brambles allowing us easy passage through the briar.
We continued along until we reached a bench not too far from the fountain. As we began to pass under the bench we noticed large holes in the ground. From one of the holes, errupted a giant wasp. Lorel quickly shot it down, but as it died it made a droning sound. Fearing that we would face a whole hive of the creatures, we backed up into the brambles and backtracked a bit so that we could cross the path and approach the fountain from a different angle.
Confusion rains down upon us all. While I hold the knife to my throat, thinking it is the best way to convince the others to quickly leave the area, I can hear Freya and Talon fighting in the pipes that we had just come down. I cann’t make out everything they are saying. Lorel pokes his head back into the tunnel and fires an arrow at Talon, I think. I will find out later thatt Talon had transformed into a man and attacked Freya from surprise. The arrow shot leaves Talon nearly dead and he withdrews from attacking Freya.
I can tell that Arty has also come under the influence of the Orb. Above he is fighting with Pandora and the monks trying to get them off the upper level. His efforts are in vain however as they cast grease to make his footing unstable and then Pandora suggesteds that he jump off the edge of the tower to avoid the area of the grease and come at them from a different angle. In his confused state, this seems reasonable to Arty who begins his crawl across the greased area. In moments he pushes his stone, wood, and metal form from the precipice to fall slowly to the level below where we currently are.
We had encountered confusion earlier in the day as well, though not as potentially deadly. As we passed by another bush, I noticed that the branches had been tied back to either make snares or perhaps more likely just make walls. We could see whisps of smoke and some kind of noises coming from the other side of the wall. I called out, “You there behind the wall. We are peaceful travellers who are searching for a large orb to release us from this miniature prison. We mean you no harm.”
A warbling high-pitched voice called out from behind the wall, “Timorous nutmegs tweedle spindly.”
We looked at each other in utter confusion. Not one to admit I was confused, I boldly proclaimed, “Negative willow-bark seems greenly youngster.”
This provoked a satisfying response, “Never bolding goes farther.”
I replied with a smile to the others, “I think we’re getting somewhere.” And to the bushes, “Tiny reserve blinking poodles if simple word hats.”
Lorel added, “Dogs duck merciless braided sticks.”
Synkey chimed in, “What stars eat goes smoothly with tiny rocks.”
This exchanged caused a stir of consternation from the voices on the other side of the wall but they quickly responded with more of their gibberish as we determined it was.
We walked away spouting nonsense of our own until we couldn’t hear the voices anymore. We did however, keep a close eye on our backs to make sure we weren’t ambushed by the voices.
I cann’t hear the voice directly anymore; even when I touched the orb the voice was not direct, but more pervasive. I can see that I am loosing what momentem I had on the party when I first told them to leave the upper level and search out the god-statue. They are too busy fighting each other and not trying to escape from the area of the Orb. I dig the edge of the knife into my throat, deep enough to draw a deep gash which starts bleeding profusely, as I yell out, “Stop this nonsense and infighting. We need to leave or someone will be seriously hurt.”
Hal yells out, “Jack, no! It is you who must stop this nonsense. It will benefit you not to kill yourself. We are coming.”
Calaglin whispers into my mind, “Child, this has gone far enough. Corellon will not allow you injure yourself in this way. Relax your mind and bathe in the power of your god.” Things start getting hazy.
We arrived at the edge of the fountain and after much discussion we determined that the best thing to do was to send some scouts to the top of the foutain and then bring up the rest of the party if we found the orb. I went up with Silent Pete and Lorel. Silent Pete, just floats a little off the ground. I hadn’t noticed it at first as he keeps it pretty discreet, but once he pointed it out it was obvious that his feet never touched the ground. I made a mental note to ask Arty if we could duplicate that at some point, that would be a cool power to put in an item.
Anyway, he just walked over the mostly still water. We saw shapes moving in the water so Lorel layed down a barrage of arrows to distract any fish that might be in the pool. Silent Pete had taken a strand from the cord that Calaglin can release. He secured one end with an adamantine sai in the wall of the central bowl of the fountain while I held the other end.
Calaglin continues, “Jack, my child, do not fight the power of the dragon, it is not for you to resist. Let it flow through you; embrace it; let it pass.”
The others stare and later told me what happened next. They could see the tendrils
of my armor bite into my skin, knitting closed the wound that I had made in
my throat. Within seconds it was healed as if it had never been. I was glowing
with a divine light. Freya described it as similar to the way I had looked when
Corellon had first touched me in the temple three years ago.
It was not that I wasn’t there anymore so much as being there more completely than ever before. I could feel another presence. We were three–the dragon, the divine and me. I no longer felt the overwhelming urge to protect the sphere by any means necessary. When I spoke, there was a quality in my voice that the others had a hard time describing, but could only say that it was more than usual. Whatever that means.
“My friends, fear not. I am not bound by the Orb. You must be careful however as its power is great and not entirely dispelled.”
Hal asks, “Jack, are you yourself?”
“Aye, and more. Calaglin has called upon the presence of Corellon to replace the corrupting influence of the fearful dragon. We deal with a great, old power beyond the reach of simple mortals such as we.”
Lorel asks, “Jack, what can you tell us of the orb? Is it able to free us? I am of a mind to see if it can withstand the arrows of Corellon myself.”
“It is an ancient artifact. The first of the dragon orbs. It considers itself to be almost equal to the deities, though a little lesser I think it realizes. It is a tool that grants great power to the possessor, if the possessor is not subsumed by its own powerful will. It has the power to make a caster’s spells permanent. We are stuck in these reduced forms until we can get it to release the magic, if it even can, or until Mondragon chooses to free us. I cannot be sure if it controls Mondragon or visa versa, perhaps it is not an issue of control for a true dragon interacting with the orb.”
He continues, “Can you control it now that you are free?”
“I am free by the grace of Corellon. I would not wish to tempt Fate or Corellon’s blessings by attempting that which he as freed me from. The orb’s power is great, I doubt that any of us could successfully resist its mighty will without the help of the gods.”
Freya asks, “What are we to do then?”
Hal inquires, “Should we destroy it?”
Arty’s form somewhat softly strikes the ground next to where we are standing and in the moments it takes him to recover we bind him. We slowly start to return to the upper landing where the Orb is.
Using the sign language of the dark elves Silent Pete says, “I think that my training would allow me to resist the orb. Albeit with the protection I can provide for myself due to my mental training and with additional help from blessings from the gods as the boy as said.”
The monks continue to discuss the merits of this plan as I continue in both the drow sign language and the common tongue, “I think, Pete, that you are right that you are the only one who might have a chance of resisting the might of the orb’s will; though too perhaps Heironeous would protect Hal. But should either of you fail, yet another would be lost to the orb. The domination of the orb is not something to be considered lightly. It is not a simple spell. Just as the orb can make another’s spells enduring, so too are its own powers. Were it not for the blessing of Corellon and the strength of Calaglin, I would be forever lost to you. I fear for Arty even as we speak.”
Suddenly Arty speaks, but it is not Arty that we hear, “Foolish mortals, you are not to be here. You must leave immediately.”
Lorel asks, “Is that the orb speaking?”
“Arty, Orb, do you speak for the orb or are you Arty?”
He replies, “My power is greater than your comprehension. You must leave
this place or face the consequences.”
Lorel shrugs, “I guess that would be the orb speaking.”
Hal inquires, “Oh great and powerful orb, we do not seek to remain here.
We wish to follow your advice and leave this place. We ask only that you return
us to our normal sizes and we would be more than happy to depart and leave you
to your self.”
As an aside, we briefly discussed the merits of leaving he orb or trying to
take it with us to the bards of Mendellan.
Orb/Arty continued, “Speak to Mondragon about your size, I care not. You
must leave at once!”
Charly chimed in, “I don’t rightly trust the Mondragon fellow to return
us right proper. He’s the one made us like this in the first place.”
Hal nodded, “I agree, we might be able to convince him, but I think the
prospect unlikely. Furthermore, we have no way of knowning when he’ll be back
or how to contact him when he returns.”
Lorel looked at Orb/Arty and back to the Orb itself, “Orb, your power
sustains us in the shunken form. You will release us or we will destroy you.”
He continued to the rest of us, “I say we use the sack that it is contained
in to pull it over the edge, that way we don’t have to touch it.”
After some debate we were agreed upon the plan.
Arty spoke up in his normal voice, “Wait, don’t do that. It has freed
me. We can just leave, we don’t need to destroy it.”
I scowled at him, “You’ll have to do better than that. Even Hal can tell
that you are faking it, Orb.”
Sapphire added, “It does seem a shame to destroy such a unique artifact.
There is a possiblity that it won’t even work.”
Lorel observed, “Hey that’s a good point. If it is as powerful as it claims
to be, dropping it off the edge shouldn’t even harm it. So there is not harm
in our trying it.”
Smokey chuckled, “I’ll push. You pull towel.”
Having decided to throw the orb from the precipice, we wrapped it in its giagantic
sack and pitched it over the side of the tower. After interminable seconds,
it struck the ground and with a crashing sound louder than would be expected
shattered within the bag. A ripple of power exploded out from the shattered
artifact. As the wave hit us we again felt the vertigo we had expereinced when
originally shrunk. Moments later we found ourselves returned to normal size
sitting, standing, and falling from the top of the fountain. All around us others
started appearing as if from nowhere. First some halflings, then gnomes, ogres,
elves, humans, and others. Within seconds the garden was overrun with creatures
who were resuming their former sizes. Some immediately escaped while others
continued their tiny feuds now enlarged.
We met a satyr, Aubrey, a bard from the college of Mendellian who told us more
of the orb’s history.
Arty however, was not freed as had the others been when the orb shattered. We placed his deanimate, yet not lifeless body within one of the bags of holding. His gear we distribute to the party being especially careful not to let his haversack get placed into the bag with him. Some of our supplies we must leave with the other refugees. Father Lenwe will know what to do about Arty; it is Fate and the will of Corellon that now guards over him. Perhaps not the will of Corellon though as I have never asked Arty who he pays homage to. I will have to ask him when he awakes.
We examine the sack that held the orb and find it empty of any remains of the shattered orb. The artifiact has been removed from our presence and its influence over us is broken for now, but it is not so easily destroyed by mere mortal susch as us.
Hal advocates assisting the surviving halflings against the evil gnomes who
are warring with them even now that they are reached their full stature, but
Talon and Aubrey warn us that such a large congreation of creatures is bound
to draw the attention of the nearby dragons who will come searching for a meal.
We decide that it would be best to be moving on quickly.
Deciding to follow Talon for now, we begin our search for Aerdaluna.
The Silent Companions
Amalamas, The Caretaker
Three young, beautiful
various giant creatures (weasels, snakes, wasps, fish)
The Elder Orb of Dragonkind
Equal Share = ?? gp