Dark Shards

The Speaker in Dreams 6

Brindinford, Goodmonth 1.5-1.6 BCY 14500

Session 23

DM When last we left our heroes, they were escorting two beleaguered knights to safety, having escaped the dizzying madness of the Reality Wrinkle. Will they succeed in rescuing these unlikely damsels, or will the insane masters of the bookstore spell their doom? Read on and find out!

Shael Shael walks alongside the knights, plodding along pensively. Occasionally he says something comforting to the elder paladin.

DM Alein mutters to herself, only half aware where she is.

DM A mental bolt explodes the ground in front of them.

Shael Shael jumps in front of the others protectively and looks around for the attackers.

DM On the roof nearby, two more cultists flank Jellik, who seems slightly recovered from his wounds. A purplish wyste explodes forth from the angle between the building and street.

Julian “Someone wants their victim back?” Julian draws steel. “Torea, get Alein out of the line of fire. A battlefield is no place for her in this state.”

Jellik “You cannot escape Madness so easily, fools!”

DM One of the cultists, an elderly creepy looking lady, cackles. “You’ll feed my dear departed husband tonight, pretties!”

Julian “Who says we’re running, Jellik? We beat you once you off once, and we’ll do it again!” Julian’s eyes flash.

DM “The Blessed won’t let you go, hee hee!”

Shael Shael smiles jauntilly, “Aw, they missed us, Julian…” his advance is dauntingly quick, “…I’ll go give’m a hug o’ welcome.” He leaps into the air, easilly clearing 2/3s the height of the building, but not quite reaching the roof. He clings to the side and attempts to carry himself the rest of the way.

DM The buildings are not difficult to scurry up.

JulianYOU let ME go.” Julian’s eyes flash darker now, fingers twitching to release pent-up power. “You won’t escape me this time.”

DM The two cultists take the brunt of it, the power shattering the old lady’s hip like a stray peanut on the bar floor. Jellik sways back, giggling through his drool, although the effort of avoiding the blast causes his nose to drip blood like a faucet.

Julian Kryss hurls a throwing axe at the laughing madman.

DM A thought shield forms around the man, blocking the axe. The wyste moves in and snatches Kryss. Mental bolts lash out from the two cultists, in heedless disregard for their own life. Jellik slips his mind tendrils into Shael’s consciousness. And Shael kicks them right the fuck back out.

Shael Shael smirks, “I’ve been doing you the courtesy of respecting your mental power; I’d appreciate the same in turn, Jello.”

Jellik “It’s Jellik! Jello doesn’t even make sense when that isn’t a food stuff in this world! No one but me even gets the insult!”

Shael “I don’t even get it, but it is in your mind so I know to say it.” the diviner tilts his head to the side, “Understand?” he says menacingly.

Jellik “I am as far beyond understanding as it is beyond you! I am overstanding!”

Shael Orcshy slips from its sheath in a fluid motion and slices through the old lady in the same motion, the distance between the two dissapearing between one instant in the next.

DM She falls in half, her bisected body tumbling off of the roof to land below.

Julian Julian looks about, as Kryss gets wrapped up by the beast and Shael faces off against two foes alone. Out of spells and too far for javelins.

Shael Shael wanders around the remaining duo slowly, flicking the ichor from the blade as he appraises each. “You’re next.” he says to the unammed one, “Did you save your name for this?”

Julian “…Damn you, Jessik. Tal knows they all say just this once, I’m sure of it, but…” The forsaken magic has been burning a hole in the back of his head ever since they first found that spellbook. It comes surprisingly easy. Even the thunderclap seems somehow more powerful than normal.

DM The short mentalist lunges at Shael…and disintegrates as the blast rips through his body.

Jellik Jellik falls back himself, his lower jaw hanging loosely and an eyeball tumbling out of the socket.

Shael “Too late.” Shael mourns the unnamed assailant. He tsks and glances at Jellik, “I hope you still have your last name, you’ll not make it out of here with anything less.”

Julian? Julian stares up at the rooftop, his face bloodless white. “I don’t have to stop, Jessik.”

Jellik “Jell! Jell! Jell!”

Julian? “I can keep going. Or if you give up now, maybe we’ll live out the night.”

Jellik “Give…up?” Jellik laughs, ripping open more wounds on his face.

Kryss Kryss struggles with the mentalist’s pet beast.

Shael “Must be Jellin’.” Shael observes, he picks bits of the mentalist off of himself.

DM The wyste struggles back with Kryss, slamming the warrior to the ground.

Jellik “Never gunna give you up,” mutters Jellik, as a mental wave washes out from him.

DM It smashes into Shael like a runaway horse.

Julian? “I mean it, Jessik.” The power flowing from Julian spikes as the roof itself begins to crack and shake apart. “I don’t have to stop!”

Jellik As the blast strikes Jellik, it tears his arm off, and half of his face. He shrieks in pain and excitement. “Yes! Yes! Show me your true potential, paladin!”

Julian? Julian draws a labored breath as he looks up through the miasma of destruction. “…help me, Kryss.” Much quieter now. “I need to stop.” His fingers twitch as he begins to trace another spell.

DM The wyste’s tentacles tighten, snapping bones.

Julian? The dragon warrior is having enough trouble helping himself, it seems. Julian clenches his fists.

Jellik/b> Jellik staggers up to the stunned Shael, chuckling. “And now, feel the true taste of my power!” He touches his forehead, and…nothing. “True taste of my power!” Another touch, and nothing. Jellik mutters. “Damn power points, not around when you need them. Hmph. TRUE TASTE OF MY POWER!” He pushes Shael off the roof.

DM Shael tumbles off, and catches on his coat, dangling. Jellik curses.

Shael Shael goes from lax to rigid in a second. Stabalizing himself with a hand against the lip of the roof, he places his feet against the wall to vault over Jellik. The diviner’s image fades into a mirage which dashes through Jellik. Shael finishes his iajutsu pose, sheathing Orcshy, as a copy of the sword spin-slashes in his wake.

DM Jellik tries to form a thought shield, and it cracks as Shael crashes through.

Shael “Double-Shadow-Strike.” Shael intones as his secret, ultimate move is completed.

Jellik He coughs, an action that throws part of his body out of sync with the rest. A slightly confused expression comes over his face as he falls into quartered chunks.

DM The wyste disppears into a purple haze as the psion dies.

Julian Julian chokes back the last spell that was seeking to force its way up through his lips as he sees the enemy fall. “Good… good hit.”

Shael Sheal peeks over the lip of the roof to check on his allies first, he tips an imaginary hat at Julian before turning to loot the dead bodies.

Torea Torea comes rushing back once the wyste is gone. “My goddess, are you alright?”

Julian “Hey Kryss… Torea?” He abandons the effort to have the dragon go check on her when she reappears. The paladin shakes his head in response to her question. The last eight words seem to have worn him out for the moment.

Torea She lays her hands on his chest, channeling her divine power into him.

Julian The magic improves his condition, slightly.

Shael Cracking his neck, Shael tosses the first body off the roof right after he’s finished looting it. The third soon follows the second and then just before his spell expires Shael hits the ground himself.

Julian “Let’s get out of here… before anything else…” Speaking remains an immense effort.

DM Jellik did not appear to have anything other than a very strange idol on his person, but the other cultists had what seems to be a magic stone, ring and amulet.

Shael “Kryss? Can you carry Jules? Torea, where is Allein? Let’s gather her and head back to your shrine for now…” he glances at Julian with some concern, “…I’d like to heed your wishes… but, for now, it is unwise I think…”

DM Kryss nods and moves to lift Julian onto his broad shoulders.

Julian Who knows whether the paladin agrees or just doesn’t have the energy to argue, but argue he does not.

Shael Along the way, Shael managers to tip a manager to deliver a messenger to Ember asking her to meet them at the Shrine of Serra.

DM Once at the Shrine of Serra, the heroes finally can breathe a bit without alien monsters or worshippers attacking them. Ember arrives in a few hours with Devis and Lidda. They are battered themselves, explaining their injuries as a wererat attack.

Shael “Were you infected?” Shael worries.

Ember Ember shakes her head. “Rapiers, not teeth.”

Julian Julian by this point is curled up in bed under a pile of furs, shivering hard. He cracks his eyes to look at them. “Good. We have wolfsbane for bites though.”

Shael Shael nods, relieved. “If you need a referral to the clergy to have it cured, or money for wolvesbane, let us know.” he urges. “And I have a request…” He describes the bookstore, the danger within, and his concern that people might wander (or be enticed) to enter it. “Can you guard it for us?”

Devis Devis’ eyes shine. “Sounds exciting.”

Shael Shael seems nervous at his response and glances at Lidda as if seeking comfort.

Lidda She works a dagger between her fingers. “Yeah, we can do that.”

Shael “Thanks!” he lays out the psionic stones of light, color spray, and burning hands and wonders, “Think any of these’d be useful to y’all? They’re dorje,” he explains to Devis, assuming he’d be the first to understand and Lidda the second.

Ember Ember looks them over. “This stores…the concept of fire?” she asks regarding one of the stones.

Shael He nods, happilly surprised by Ember’s proficiency. “Yes. This is the idea of illumination and the third is the impression of bedazzlelment.”

Ember “I would be honored to bear the firestone.”

Shael Shael smiles and gathers the other two, “Please, accept the gift as thanks for your assistance.” he says formally to the monk.

Ember She bows and takes it.

Shael “Good luck.” he says. When they leave, Ojo slinks from an alley and pads along behind them – she’s the guardian against any real danger, but of course she cannot dissuade any foolish commoners from endangering themselves. “While you’re recovering…” says Shael, “…I’d like to visit with the outlander, the barbarian. Svenson? Do you think you’ll be well enough to join me, or are there other things you had in mind?” he gaze strays curiously towards the waifish warrioress.

Julian By the next day Julian is up and about, slowly, and the dead-looking white scars where wild mana seared his arms are fading back to something like healthy skin. He still wears a long-sleeved shirt before showing himself, though. By the third, his complexion has improved from corpselike to ill, though his hands still shake like an old man’s. His energy is starting to come back, too, though.

Julian “I’m well enough.”

Shael It is the second day, and early in it, that Shael goes to find Svenson at the Courthouse.

DM The two heroes are allowed to sit in on the judgement. It is swift and to the point. Svenson drew steel on the guards. He seems to be headed for a stiff fine of 100 gold pieces and three days in jail.

Shael “Wow… a bit stiff, but entirely fair.” Shael murmers very quietly to himself, impressed. He takes note of the judge.

DM The judge is a middle aged woman, and the prosecution is one of the Baron’s men. Judge Yonla seems quite matter of fact about the entire affair. Svenson, for his part, seems much calmer.

Shael As much as he takes note of the judge, he is taking account of Svenson’s reactions and actions in response to the proceedings.

DM He gruffly apologizes for being too forceful with the ‘weakling southerners’ and too impatient with their insults. The fine is raised to 150 gold.

Shael Shael grins at that. After the proceedings are concluded, Shael finds out whether he is allowed to visit with the newly minted prisoner.

DM He is, the Baron’s man seems mildly surprised but allows the pair access once he finds that they are the ones who aided with the wererat trouble earlier.

Shael Shael tips an imaginary hat in thanks, “I don’t have a hat, yet.” he mentions in passing before he finds himself standing before Svenson. “Greetings.” he mentions light-heartedly.

Svenson “Huh. It’s you guys again.”

Shael “It is. You seem well. Are you able to pay the fine?” Shael does not seem to think subtlty is in order.

Svenson “Not without killing one of these gold ladden southerners wandering around the fair,” Svenson laments.

Shael Shael nods, “What will you do when you are released?” he wonders, his mind subtly tasting the thoughts of the barbarian.

Svenson “I had wanted to see one of these southerner fairs before I return to the mountains in the north,” he responds.

DM Shael’s spell picks up similar ideas. The barbarian intends to drink, eat and fuck his way through the fair. Maybe a fight or five.

Shael “Such a simple thing? Truly? No quest or grand intent?” He seems almost dissapointed, but not disparaging. “I trust you to fight only those who a worth fighting; will you remember when you are released to judge the southerners even weaker than they may otherwise appear? Their ways are not the same as yours.”

Svenson Svenson chews on that a bit. “Ah, you mean take it easy on them?”

Shael He smiles vaguely, “I mean, only fight the fights you’re sure you’ll lose – you will almost certainly win them… there is no honor in fighting the other battles.” he pauses and tilts his head, “Of course, I suppose I know little of the northern tribes… is your honor something you value?” he asks with genuine curiousity.

DM The spell doesn’t reveal any grand quests beyond a vague hope that he might fuck four southern women at the same time…one of each color, it would appear.

Julian “Hey…” Julian chides gently. “There’s tough people in these parts too. Not all gold-laden fools.”

Svenson “Honor is all one has.”

Shael “Honor is all one has.” Shael agrees. He glances at Julian with a grin, “Perhaps a few…” he agrees wryly, “…else there’d be no fights worthy of Svenson at all.” Turning back to Svenson he concludes, “If you find trouble you can’t muscle your way out of, you’ll find me at the Stony Gaze. Ready?” he asks Julian.

Julian “Yeah. Good luck, then.” he bids farewell to Svenson.

Shael On the way out, Shael pays Svensons fine.

Svenson The berserker farts loudly as the pair leaves.

Julian Julian raises an eyebrow as they head back out into the street. “Trying to make a friend?”

Shael “No.” Shael says with a sideways glance, “It was the right thing to do – I just wanted to make sure the kindness wouldn’t cause more harm than good.”

Julian “Hmm.” Julian chews on that a bit. “Speaking of the right thing to do, I’ve been lying in bed long enough while there’s a murderer out on the streets.”

Shael Shael snorts with amusement, “There is always a murderer on the streets, Jules. There is always an evil afoot, an adventure to tame, a mystery to solve. You can’t fix the world in a day, just do one good thing at a time. And if needed, that good thing can be recovering your strength.”

Julian “Ha. Pick your poison, Shael.” After discussion the pair agree to investigate the bell tower.

Shael “No poison, please.” Shael says, eyeing his companion oddly. His steps take them towards the belltower, though, if that answers Jules’ inquiry.

Shael “So, what’s up with you, anyways? You okay?”

Julian “Not really. It seemed very easy to control at first, you know? But it’s not. Not at all.”

Shael “Nope.” he agrees. “You kept feeling the pull, hmm? The infinite power just beyond your grasp?”

Julian “Feeling it? I could taste it. Still can. Can’t taste much else yet. Anyway. I know you studied it, same as me. You should know what’s waiting if you ever use it.”

Shael “Where did you learn, Julian? The signatures, they’re all over the place… Talvudran Cantos, the Incuvian Reduction, Flladts’ Second Incantation…”

Julian The paladin grins wryly. “I’ll tell you my life story sometime, I guess, if you tell me yours. But not today.” He looks up as the bell tower looms ahead. “Got work to do.” Lightbringer has been heavy in his hands lately, but he fingers the hilt of a black-hilted dagger as he looks the place up and down.

Shael He stops and faces Julian, “My point is this – you have to control it. If you want me to teach you more, ask.” Stoney-faced, he waits for acknowledgement.

DM The door is slightly open, and both men notice the reality bending effect…not enough to sway their minds, but anyone who wasn’t intent on a purpose in the belltower would find their thoughts…diverted.

Julian “Yeah. All right.”

Shael “I’ll always know exactly when to use it, that’s my power… you won’t have that luxury. I care for you and it would break my heart to have to put you down.” he lets it go after that and looks at the belltower. Lightheartedly he wonders, “Think we could go in through the top?”

Julian “I’m sure you will know when to use it. And when to stop. Knowing, and doing…” Julian shrugs, peering upward, looking for a window. “Might be a nice surprise for whoever’s up there.” The heroes work out a plan of attack. They will enter at the second floor to avoid any ambushes and strike from above. Julian lead climbs, letting down a rope for Shael when he reaches a window.

DM Inside the window, an oil lamp flickering in the far right corner offers the room’s only illumination. It rests on a low bookcase, beside a comfortable looking, if weathered, armchair. In the far left corner is a bed, carefully made, and a small nightstand. From a square hole in the center of the ceiling, four heavy ropes dangle, coiling on the floor.

DM The rope is lowered without an issue.

Shael The person who climbs the wall doesn’t look much like the diviner; more like the prisoner they took earlier. Shael breifly wonders whatever happened to the man he looks like now.

Julian “Neat trick.” Julian mutters. “Up, I think?” He lets Shael go first this time to take advantage of the disguise.

Shael “Yeah, for starters.” he takes the lead, his mind probing for thoughts as they search each level.

DM They round the stairs, heading up. On the third floor, they find small rooms littered with debris that smell strongly of rodent waste and animal fur. The two of them hear the man approaching before he comes into view.

DM “Dramer?” the guy asks confused. It is directed at Shael.

Shael “Hey, what’s wrong?” Shael asks, probing the guys mind to find how he is expected to act.

DM The guy is Jaksun, and he is surprised to see Dramer here, alive. He’s really concerned about Squirm, who has been acting strange ever since that hooded guy came here.

Shael “Took the round about, had to shake those guys. Took one with, though.” he elbows Julian, “He’s one o’ us now.” the disguised diviner snickers.

DM He’s also feeling a bit guilty, because he’s been screwing Dramer’s girlfriend Ulinor for about three weeks now, and he’s not sure Dramer knows.

Jaksun Jaksun looks Julian over, sniffing.

Julian “I thought you said there was gonna be a bunch of us.” Julian grumbles.

Shael “Hey… you looked in on Ulinor for meh? Been a few days hidin’, worried ‘bout her, y’know?”

Jaksun “Ah…yeah, heh, she’s…she’s fine. And the others are here, upstairs. The ones that weren’t taken.”

Shael “Wha’? Taken wheres’?” Shael imitates agitation, making to join the others while Jaksun explains.

Jaksun’s Mind What a fucking moron. I shouldn’t feel bad I’m fucking her if he’s this stupid. Fear as he tries to think about the taken rats

Jaksun “Ah…we don’t know.”

Shael “C’mon, let’s go. I’ma give my report so I can get back to her… I’d just die without her, y’ken? I’d literally die.”

Jaksun “Some sorta…dog. Came out of no where. Grabbed them and vanished.” Fuck he’s pathetic.

Shael “Huh, that’s… where? Attacked here?”

Jaksun “After the hood. Jumped through walls, ceilings, floors…”

Shael Shael has trouble not looking intrigued so he turns away instead. “What we gone do about it, then?”

Jaksun “We’re down to a pack of six. Eight with you guys. Figure we’ll hit a few transients during the full moon, buff up the numbers.”

Shael “Huh.” he considers for a moment, glances at Julian. With pursed lips he intones, “Five.”

Jaksun “Maybe take a kid or two from folks late on their protection payments…five what?”

Julian Julian clubs him in the back of the head with the pommel of Lightbringer. “You’re down to five.”

DM He staggers, but before he can whirl and counter, Shael’s spell takes him out.

Shael “Enjoy dreams so wonderous you’ll hesitate to return to the world of the concious.” Shael requests politely.

Julian Julian quickly disarms the man, then binds him. Last is a gag.

DM Ojo’s impression of the tower indicated that the rats left their important belongings in their own feces. A hiding spot easily enough to keep her away.

Shael Shael relates the news.

Julian “We’ll, let’s take care of the rest of them before worrying about that. After you.”

Shael Shael looks up, slinging shit off his hands, “Huh?”

Julian “The other five?”

Shael With one more wiggle of his hands, they’re clean and he nods. He charges up the stairs like a madman, shouting in emulated fear. When he reaches the level the others are on he throws open the door and shouts, “The hound is attacking again! It got Jaksun!!”

DM The landing grows dark as it drains the very life from Shael. The next level has some dire rats, which are definitely not being fooled by Shael’s dashing good looks. They lunge, diseased mouths open wide, at the pair. From above comes a muffled voice. “Did you hear something?”

Shael Shael makes his way out of the draining darkness and invokes a blessing upon himself and Julian.

Julian Julian moves to dispatch the lead rat before it can make too much of a fuss. Shaking or not, his hands still have strength in them.

DM Two rats fall dead.

DM The third leaps upon Julian snapping viciously.

Shael A lance of flame ignites the creature, lest our dear readers forget how formidible Shael is when not forced to swing a hunk of metal at things.

DM It roasts immediately.

Julian Sparing not a glance more for the creature, the heroes make their way upward. Well, at least Julian spares not a glance. Who can tell what Shael may do?

Shael “Heya!” Shael/Dramer calls as they round the landing to the next level.

DM Upward, there are more snapping dire rats, as well as two wererat thugs lounging about. They look up, confused at the dire rats’ reaction. The large room is crisscrossed with ropes and enormous pulleys, the machinery that allows a single person to ring the enormous bells above with a mere pull on a rope. The agitated squeaking of a rat echoes high above you.

Shael “What’s gotten into them?” Shael says, surprised.

DM “You tell me, Dramer, you fucking layabout? Where the hell have you been? And who the fuck is that?”

Shael “Keepin’ low after that disaster, I heard about this hood and hound – what the hell have YOU all been doing?” He edges around the rats, “That’s Baden – one o’ us after he wouldn’t stop chasin’ me down.”

DM “Trying to run a gang here, Dramer. Did you get the others you were supposed to?”

Julian Julian approaches with Shael as if to sniff his introductions.

DM “The big moron and his preachy boyfriend?” he prompts when Shael doesn’t respond.

Shael “Th’ell you think I am?” He demands, “‘Course I did. They’ll turn soon’uff. What’s the plan ’ere, then?”

DMYOUR part of the plan was to recruit three powerful warriors, not one half-halfling. MY part of the plan is to make sure you idiots pull off your parts so Squirm doesn’t have to worry.”

Shael “Yeah, well Jaksun says Squirms gone moon-eyed with the hood. Who’s keepin your parts t’gether then?”

DM “The Hood says we’re going to take this entire town. No more hiding out in the tower.”

Julian It’s at about this time that Julian gets close enough. And Lightbringer comes out.

Shael “Hard to do when there’s only three o’ yas left.” He minds the injured man.

DM “Ah! Holy fuck, Baden!? Kill him Rax!” The leader’s blood sprays all over, he’s wounded and bad. “Why…why ain’t it healing?” he mumbles, as the wound pours.

Shael “You don’ wan’ do that, Rax. We gotta keep t’gether – stick wit me, WE’RE takin’ o’er this town. I got the warriors, not this hack.”

Rax Rax grunts, confused. “He’s got a damn point, Grag.”

Julian “Dramer’s the boss. Get it?”

Grag Grag leaps towards the ropes, descending as quickly as he can. He tumbles from them once he falls asleep.

Julian Julian heads on down and does for him like he did for Jaksun. Plus an extra club to the head once he’s tied up to make sure he stays out.

DM The rats lunge, but cower as Rax glares at them.

Shael “Right.” he looks at Rax after the traitor is dealt with, “Ready to finish this?”

Rax “You planning on taking Squirm?”

Shael “Got to, just ‘till he comes to his senses. That hood is no good, messin’ him up fierce, gotta protect the pack first if we’re gonna thrive.”

Rax Rax nods. “Baden sure likes to fuck around though, don’t he?”

DM Further up the stairs…they end abruptly, and a gust of wind blasts through this topmost level of the tower. Open archways afford a splendid view of the town below, as well as the carved grotesques perched around the top of the tower. Overhead, four enormous bells hang in the peaked spire, each suspended in its own archway. Squirm sits upon a makeshift throne, flanked by two women and several rats.

Squirm “Dramer. So the prodigal has returned.”

Shael “Has it, then? What’s new, Squirm. Heard you found us a new boss.”

Squrim Squirm pops a prune into his mouth and chews. “Partner. Not a boss. I still run this gang, she’s not taking it away from me, no she’s not. Why would you even mention it because that’s crazy. Crazy. We’re going to be splitting a much bigger pie though, right? Only needed a little sacrifice. Can’t make an omelette, you know.”

Shael “She turnt? Cuz if’n she aint, no trustin’ her. You know how they are, those, just out to use us, abuse us, throw us their scraps. I ain’t ’biden scraps no more.”

Squirm “Biden scraps, eh? Sounds like mutiny, Dramer. Is it mutiny?”

Shael “S’right. Them eyes unner that hood so pretty you forget the pack, Squirm? You forget what’s good for us, eh?”

Squrim “I hear them in my dreams, Dramer. They’re one with me now. Always.”

Shael “Gonna sellus up the river for some dreamy skirt?”

Squirm “Skirt, heh, heh. That’s funny.”

Shael “You hear ’im, boys!” he exhorts the others, “This what you want? Followin’ some leader what ain’t ev’n turnt while squirm eats dogfood from a silver platter and thinks it’s a favor?”

Wererat “Who are you calling boy, Dramer?” one of the girls speaks very coldly towards Shael.

Julian “I’m followin’ you, Dramer.” Julian lines up support for Shael’s side. “This guy’s lost it.”

Shael “Y’ken y’got more balls than allus ‘ere, Ulinor. Y’d have to t’fuck that cunt Jaksun. Y’d have to cuz I cut ’is off, see.” Shael/Dramer sneers.

Ulinor “He’s more of a man than you’ll ever be, Dramer. You and your stupid swagger and your big stupid dreams that never came true. Well, I’ve got true dreams now. Dreams that would make your eyes melt.”

Shael “No more and never ‘gin, y’rag. What ‘bout you, Gequa? Y’in the sauce with these thralls?”

DM The thoughts coming off Ulinor are…fuzzy. Like literally fuzzy, Shael can feel his spell starting to crackle as they come into contact with whatever is going on there.

Gequa Gequa looks back and forth, nervously. “Yeah, I’m with yo…gurk” Squirm’s silver blade protrudes from her chest the moment she turns on him.

Ulinor Ulinor uncoils a chain and lashes it out at Dramer.

Shael “No one had to die today.” Shael growls. “Those who endure in the face of suffering, those whose faith shines long in evil days, they shall see salvation.” he demands.

DM Gequa writhes in pain on the floor from the silver wounds, but Shael appears to have saved her life.

Julian Seeing his callous murder of one of his own, the mutineers find themselves filled with new resolve to battle Squirm.

Shael Dramer whipes the blood from his lip, “You will not be spared.”

Julian Or Julian’s spell might have something to do with it.

Rax Rax rushes in, and Ulinor’s chain lashes out.

DM He trips, as her chain snakes around his legs. The rats rush forward as Squirm stalks in. Rax twitches as Squirm drives his blade through his heart.

Shael Shael winces, gritting his teeth. “Yup, you’re dead, mate. Turnin’ on the pack like that, th’only sentence I can give no more. Yer addled, gotta put you down.”

DM The chain lashes out fiercely. Fiercely, because effectively would be a poor word to describe the attack.

Shael Shael places his hands togethre and invokes, “Next to Grace is Reason, and Reason must be retained. If the web of Reason comes unwoven, madness will escape.” Three shadowy images of himself detach and stand nearby, shuffling until it is impossible to which is which; one lashes out with it’s sword while holding a shield at the ready.

Julian Meanwhile, “Baden” holds his sword high, and a thunderclap bursts over the foes.

DM Two of the rats burst into chunks. Ulinor shakes off the attack due to her sheer madness, but Squirm stumbles and catches it right in the face. The sound of cracking bone is audible. Because sounds are audible. That’s what makes them sound.

Julian Julian takes a moment to reflect on this universal truth as the sound of his own spell fades.

DM The rat pack leaps almost entirely upon Julian. Only Squirm, driven by rage at his would be rival, ignores the pile. He instead lunges at Shael, failing to strike him. Due to mirror image? Insanity? Poor practice? Who knows.

Shael One of Shael’s images continues to hack at Ulinor, but with a crackling surge of power Shael invokes his most powerful attack – MAGIC MISSILE!

DM The missiles smash into the wererat leader’s chest. The shadowy Shael slashes Ulinor across her belly, foolishly exposed.

Julian Julian might work another spell, but after running dry and being forced to extremes once, the knight is minded to be cautious. He hacks at Ulinor with Lightbringer instead.

DM She twists to avoid the attack, and blinks in confusion as the movement is prevented…by Lightbringer, hilt deep in her chest. She hisses and spits at Julian as she slumps to the ground.

Squirm “No!” Squirm groans as Ulinor dies. The final rat goes berserk, biting at Julian’s throat. The wererat leader himself throws himself into the attack on Shael, driving the mage back with a savage fury.

DM A savage fury that leaves one of the shadow images torn to tatters.

Shael The shredded image slices at Squirm before it fades away while the two remaining images crouch between eachother and spin a magical ball of lightning. Shael charges through them gathering the lightning and aiming it towards Squirm’s heart.

DM The lightning strikes the wererat, but he blocks the bulk of it on his silver blade, arcing it away from his heart.

Julian Julian casts aside his shield – much good it is doing him – and grips Lightbringer two-handed. The first slash goes to his rat assailant.

DM Correction. Through his rat assailant. The creature is dead before its parts hit the ground.

Julian He strides forward to strike at Squirm

Squirm The psychotic wererat is befuddled by this assault, and slowly his wounds are bleeding faster than they are healing. He adopts a defensive posture and scythes his blade out towards Shael’s throat. It rings off the invisible force that the mage summons to his defense.

Shael “Well, I have to apologize…” Shael mourns, “…I’m all out of glamorous, dramatic deaths.” the image of sunstrider slashes…

DM Squirm yawns, his head tipping back further…and he topples to the ground.

Shael Looking up at Julian he shrugs, “Might be worth learning more about the cloaked lady.”

DM What will Squirm tell our heroes regarding a lady, cloaked or otherwise? Find out next week, Loyal Readers!



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