Episode Fourty: The Chornicles of Klarn: Darkness Falls ( 11/08/06)
[Featuring Jack, Lu Fang, Hal, Seren-Arty, Aerdaluna, Lorel, Smity, Silent Pete]
Chronicles of Klarn
(In the words of Jack)
After freeing Cicily from the spell that contained her, we gathered our wits and her equipment and proceeded to where we presumed Ezoran to be hiding.
Through another of the gigantic doors we proceeded and followed stairs up to a living area. There were all the accoutrements of a well laid out castle residence: study/den, dining room, kitchen, WC, guest rooms, master bedroom, indoor heated swimming pool, even an arboretum.
We thought that the animated suits of armor might attack us when we had our backs turned to them so as we came to them (they were standing ready at each of the rooms) we quickly dispatched them. They were not the threat however.
While searching the area, we were assaulted by an unseen foe. It turned out that Ezoran had summoned a quasit and had boosted its power somehow (perhaps through magic similar to a magic jar) so that it was able to throw spells worthy of an archmage at us. Smokey was the most injured by this assault as the foul creature caused his blood to overheat (which, he being a cold tempered creature, was especially injurious to him). Serenity was eventually able to use his touchsight to locate the foul little snotling. Once found, he was quickly dispatched to the nether realms from whence it had come.
Clearly though Ezoran now would be aware of our arrival and we could be sure he would be prepared. We also found some skeletons hiding in one of his closets. Smitty disabled them by calling on the power of his god, while the rest of us smashed them into bone fragments that were too small to reform particularly once crushed into powder by Smitty’s warhammer. Smitty also took the occasion to despoil Ezoran’s bedchambers while I took a moment to lighten our heavy hearts with a merry song of slightly less than a half dozen small simians bouncing on the trundle and their misfortune in encountering the floor.
We continued on down the hallways to the doom that awaited us. We were delayed by wards that Ezoran had placed to slow and perhaps segregate us. I demonstrated the power of Corellon by exercising the iron-like strength that he fills my heart with and how it can be used to overcome the barriers to our progress.
Lulled into a bit of a routine, we were caught slightly off-guard when we finally encountered Ezoran. Charley had checked the door for traps and finding none, we searched around for the pattern to open this door and I triggered its opening. The doors opened to reveal a huge area that had been converted into an unholy temple complete with altar and demonic statue. And, there behind the foul altar in front of the demonic statue was Ezoran and an undead being of great foulness. As soon as the doors opened I was targeted by a foul necromancy.
A nauseating feeling started to overtake me and it felt as if my entrails would burst from by body to cover the area in a web of excoriated flesh. As the nausea was about to overwhelm me, I thought on the glorious strength of Corellon and feel his power flowing into me strengthening my bones and causing the necromantic magics to flee in terror.
Instead of trapping me, Ezoran had revealed his hand and opened himself to our attacks. I think I might have giggled as I thought of our most excellently planned out plan. I grabbed Smitty and flew him to the altar, right next to Ezoran and his fiendish servant. Smitty proceeded to cast his anti-magic shell enveloping Ezy and his fetid breathed friend.
Pete moved up to grapple Ezoran and I thought I was helping, but apparently I just got in Pete’s way as when he tried to grab Ezoran, Ezoran was able to fend him off with his staff. Then he ducked around the statue and ran through the wall. Freya quickly went to see where he went.
I noticed Aerdaluna casting a spell to summon an Aspect of Bahumat to destroy the foul altar. I was about to follow Ezoran when the grim faced aspect of death pointed at me and hissed, "I am Grithstane and I am Death. You are not complete, be restored." I saw him follow after Ezoran as, simultaneously, I fell into a confusion as a flood of images, thoughts, feelings and memories assaulted me.
Once the confusion of the new information had subsided, I look around and was surprised to see that I was not surrounded by my unit. In fact, I was not where I last remembered myself to be. Was I still on my ship? It appeared that I was in a magically created structure, not the cold hard reality of my vessel. What had happened? The last thing I remembered was giving the command to destroy the infested compound. Were we attacked? Had I been captured?
There were metas and humans congregating around me as if I were part of their unit, though they were looking at me with apprehension. Perhaps we had all been transported here? They though seemed to be confused by my presence rather than their own here.
"Mother?" I thought as I tried to activate the subdermal to send a signal to my ship, hoping they were still in range.
A voice replied in my mind, "Mother is not here anymore. She has been gone for many of your years and is far, far, far away. How is it that you are trying to contact her again? That should not have occurred. Grithstane must have done something. What is your designation?"
"I am Jack Draco, Commander, Imperial Marines. Who are you?" I thought.
"I am your protector. I have taken the place of Mother. I am Calaglin Telemnar-Gift to you from the Warrior. Your unit was attacked by mindflayers. I am attempting to restore normalcy."
"Normalcy, what do you mean?"
My conversation was interrupted as one of the others, an elf, called out, "Jack, are you okay?" They too knew my name. Apparently I wasn’t just deposited here. I realized that I knew the elf’s name, Lorel. Another flood of memories, thoughts, images assaulted me.
By the time I had assimilated the new information I had been given, the rest of the party had approached the altar which was slowly being destroyed by the dragon Aerdaluna had summoned. There was something wrong though. Both Aerdaluna and Lorel were elves. How had I come to be working with elves? They were my companions; they had come searching for me when I went through the gate. But, Aerdaluna was a mindbender, perhaps he had placed me under some enchantment for some reason. I was sure he was going to let the dragon chew its way through me to get to the altar, it even looked as if it was about to breathe on me. I hopped off and took my bearings in light of the confusing information revealed to me. The others were approaching me and asked if I was alright. The other elf, Lorel, was circling around to get in a position to prevent my escape. I quickly backed up as the mind-raping elf tried to worm his way into my thoughts. I blocked him out, now though aware that they knew of my recognition of their plots against me. They whispered something to each other and made furtive glances in my direction, further confirming my suspicions.
An RT unit addressed me, "Jack, you appear to not be yourself. Will you allow me to use my power to clean your aura of any falsities that may be affecting you?"
He seemed genuinely concerned and it took me a moment to realize this wasn’t my RT-34 unit, but rather it was the spirit of the changling guiding the mechanism.
Perhaps it was the familiar form, in any case, I answered, "This is not an environment where I feel safe discussing that. I would not exclude your assistance out of hand, but, " I glanced at the pointed-eared back-stabbers, "I am not in company that would allow me to lower my defenses at the moment."
It struck me that if I had been freed from some subtle mind control exerted by the mindworm elf, perhaps the others had been influenced as well and were not yet free. Did they not realize that one cannot study the art of mindbending without loosing one’s good side? I had conveniently forgotten it; perhaps that was part of the subtle magics that Aerdaluna was working on us.
We were about to continue our discussion when Lu-Fang called out, "Qrickry, I have rocated te opening to te doo. Preese to stop jibber-jabber and forrow."
We looked down to see a long corridor, which suddenly was filled with an enveloping darkness that swept over us. The others were blinded, except for Sere-Arty who still had his touchsight activated. I discovered that while it created a slight shadow over the area, I could see relatively easily in this mock darkness.
I used the distraction to quickly fly down the hall in search of answers; as I flew away I heard Hal mutter in an astonished voice, "Zounds, he stinks of evil."
To which his sword added, "Perhaps, but he glows of good as well. Fascinating…"
Moondrop cast a spell on Pete that allowed them to fairly easily navigate the darkness and then they chased after me. I was unsure of their intentions. Were they working with the elves or did they have their own agenda. The elves had sowed seeds of misdirection in the party and had convinced everyone that they were working for good and thus had probably duped the silent monk and his fey companion.
"You should come no further. Your rapid pursuit leads me to believe that perhaps you can’t be trusted and are a threat to me. Will you demonstrate your trust and withdraw?" The monk appeared to be weighing my words.
Suddenly a black sphere, 4 feet in diameter burrowed through the door I was standing next to. The monk was not able to avoid it and I saw a layer of his skin and a large chunk of his side vaporize as the sphere of destruction bumped into him. He would have to fend for himself. I waited for the ball to continue its travel and dove through the hole it had made passing through the door.
While the party dealt with the sphere of annihilation I saw Ezoran preparing to continue his assault on the party, Grithstane stood nearby. Ignoring Ezoran, I approached Grithstane. I shrugged off the feeble attempt Ezoran made to weaken my will.
I confronted Grithstane, "Explain what you have done! What is this that you have revealed to me?"
Grithstane appeared amused and gestured. Ezoran appeared to now not even notice my presence. "Be careful how you address Death. I have freed you to be true to your nature. You must now slay him," he said with a sneer as he pointed to Ezoran.
I was confused, "You want me to kill him. He’s working with you. He’s not with the elves." I paused to consider what I was being asked to do. The principle of active morality would allow me to kill him with impunity, as his superior had ordered it, so I asked, "What is in it for me if I do your bidding?"
Apparently I had pushed things too far, "You are not to question one such as I. Feel the consequence." I looked out of the corner of my eye and noticed that Ezoran was again aware of my presence, though he did appear surprised by my "apparent sudden appearance." Realizing my situation and not really caring whether Ezoran lived or died anyway, I turned my attention to him and began to attack.
I summoned a transmogrifier and used it to take on the form of a Kelvezu. The blackheart sorcerer tried to work his most powerful magics on me only to fail–as soon his life would fail him. The power of the Kelvezu gave me a heady rush as I debated toying with my prey or making it quick as it would not take much to slay this weak mortal. He tried again to target me with a spell, but by this time I had begun my blink spell and I wasn’t there when he released his magic in the spot where I had been.
I took a swing with my sword which went right through him as if he wasn’t even there. Also now some of the others were working their way through the hole. Switching to claw attack as it appeared that the metal of my sword could not touch him, my attack found flesh and with the blink guiding my hand, the claw materialized in his arm causing him great pain.
I could see in his eyes the approach of Death–Grithstane’s image reflected off his enspelled eyes. The others surrounded him and Pete, grown to huge proportions, swung his guisarme, first staggering Ezoran, then killing him, and then beheading him. Turning around we saw no sign of Grithstane. I knew that he had collected his payment and was off to work other fell actions.
Apparently those in the hall had spent their energies combating the spells that Ezoran had sent after them before he died. Apparently a huge fist descended from the sky and slammed into them repeatedly and would have killed many of them were it not for the protection of Smitty. However there was one casualty, one of those spells, the sphere of dark death, completely engulfed Cicily reducing her to a pile of ash. Though others were injured, none others were dead. The loss of a fine warrior such as she is always hard on a unit. We would all morn her passing.
As we debated what to do next, we stripped Ezoran’s body of any magical aids that might allow him to recover and attack us. Granted it is very difficult to recover from a beheading, but he was a necromantic demonologist so it wasn’t out of the question. Though with Grithstane’s presence and now absence I very much doubted he’d recover.
Some construct servants
Quasit, Ezoran’s familiar?
Aspect of Gristane
Equal Share = 0 gp