DM When last we left our heroes, they had knocked out the dominated dupes Ember and Lidda, as well as dispatching their enchanters. Now, only Devis remains to be rescued. Battered but not beaten, our heroes push on towards their friend and no doubt the Blessed…
Julian Julian glances at Shael and Kryss. “Ready?”
Kryss “I am.” Kryss replies gravely.
Shael Shael chuckles brightly, “Yeah, that sounds like me.” he gathers up the ‘learning aids’ he used to show his friends the various magic that may be employed against them during their short rest. “The usual plan?”
Kryss “Works for me.”
Julian Julian nods. “It’s more or less worked out most of the time so far.”
Kryss “Ok then, usual plan, see what happens.”
Shael “No plan, got it.” he motions for Kryss to take the lead this time – though he’s not mentioned it, his companions likely know he’s low on resources after being unable to rest through the night while he performed the ritual to bind the building to his will (tenuous though that binding may be.)
Kryss Kryss is happy to take point.
DM As they head up the stairs, a foul yellow smoke billows down, clouding their sight.
Shael Shael immedietely retreats, trusting his companions to follow along while holding their breath.
Kryss Kryss follows behind.
Julian Julian falls back as well. If this is a spell, it seems best to let it fade before pressing on.
Kryss “So much for the usual,” Kryss says.
DM While the smoke sticks to them in cloying pieces, it does not, in fact, do more than cloud their sight.
Kryss “How long before it passes?” Kryss asks, wishing silently for massive wings to fan the cloud away.
Shael “This? It’s probably just a fog cloud, could be an hour if they don’t make another move first.” Shael responds after a few minutes to make sure.
DM A few minutes later, the cloud remains roiling.
Julian “Should we just head through then, or wait it out?” Julian defers to Shael’s expertise.
Shael “My guess is that it’s to hide traps…” he judges the time involved, “…or cover a retreat. Less a matter of tactics and more of priorities; what do we want to accomplish? I say charge like usual.” he grins.
Julian “All right with me.” Julian wonders if they have a ten-foot pole among them.
Kryss Kryss immediately charges back up the stairs into the cloud
Julian “Guess that was all right with him too!” Julian waits just a moment for any horrible screams of pain to signify traps, and failing that, rushes after.
Shael He chuckles suddenly and says, “I have an idea…” he says, “…Kryss, wait up.”
Kryss Kryss tumbles into the bottom step trying to heed Shaels instructions.
DM A massive seven tentacled alien worm erupts forth from a yawning maw to the Far Realm. Alien spittle gets in Julian’s eyes.
Shael “Huh, interesting…” he says, observing the tactics of his enemy curiously. “…not quite a nemesis yet.” he murmers. “And the bastion looked into the abyss and spat upon madness, the feeble grip was cast aside in the firmament of faith and knowledge.” Shael incants, pressing his hands together prayer-like.
Julian “Damn it… two can play at this…” Julian vanishes. The bard’s footsteps can be heard stumbling forward.
Kryss Kryss lashes out at the creature nearest him.
DM Chucks of alien slime fall off the thing. “Rollingwavesofprimeroastribinbluemerrygoroundribbonwheelslahdeedahmuthamoohas” The creatures gibber maddeningly as they mindlessly attack. The alien creature lunges towards the invisible Julian, snatching him up unerringly. The smoke clears, revealing…nothing. A purple tentacled worm is grappling with nothing in the middle of the room. No one else is here. Which is obviously where the magic missiles come from. And the flung statue. The statue bounces off Kryss and tumbles to the floor.
Shael Shael withdraws a scroll from a case hidden at the bottom of his beltpouch and purses his lips and carefully incants the foreign magic. Tilting his head and standing on his tip-toes he looks around the flailing Kryss to see if the enemy witch has been revealed.
DM Devis and a foreign looking exotic woman shimmer into view.
Shael “Ah!” he says excitedly. He dusts the burnt dust of the scroll from his hands. “Um… Miss, who are you? You’re not the blessed.” he hollars.
Shael “Blessed? Whatever, you’re not her.”
Psychic “My occultic powers will put you in your grave.”
Shael “I… well, I mean, they won’t.” he points at his third eye, “Diviner.” he shrugs apologetically.
Julian Julian struggles against the beast that has hold of him.
Psychic “My phrenic pool will drown you, Diviner.”
Julian Since it clearly can sense him, he retreats with alacrity.
Kryss Kryss suddenly plants a foot and puts his axe into a dizzying spin, circling the gibbering creature while building momentum for a series of razor sharp strikes against the Mouther.
Shael “I… I don’t even… phrenic? I mean, are you coming onto me?”
Psychic “Within the mind of any sentient being lies power to rival that of the greatest magical artifact or holy site!”
Shael “You just… you’re not even talking to me, are you?” with Kryss out of the way, Shael doesn’t have to crane his neck around him anymore. “Are you reading a pamphelet?”
Psychic “By accessing these staggering vaults of mental energy, I can shape the world around me, the minds of others, and pathways across the planes. No place or idea is too secret or remote for me to access, and I can pull from every type of psychic magic!” She looks up as Shael accuses her of reading from a pamphlet. A decidedly guilty look steals across her evil face. And then it is replaced by a lot of blood as Kryss draws near.
Shael “If you have access to all the disciplines, you should use psychometabolism or telepathy as the baseline for your trash-talk. ‘I can see into your mind, twist your soul to my will.’ That sort of thing.” Shael encourages.
Psychic She does not respond, being smashed into a full sommersault that ends with her face down on the floor.
Kryss “Im sorry Boss, were you guys still talking?” Kryss looks back at Shael.
Shael “Oh, it’s fine.” Shael replies, waving it off. “She’s not the Blessed – if she falls short of expectations, I won’t be too dissapointed.”
Kryss “You want me to…” he jerks a thumb at the Wyste and drags it across his neck, “too?”
Shael “Well, I mean probably not…” he says hesitantly, “…she’s still a person. Her madness may be no more than Ember and Lyda’s – something we can cure.”
Julian While the other two heroes clean up, a gurgle comes from somewhere as Julian is dragged off his feet and dangles struggling in midair.
DM Devis chants a healing song, while magic missiles fly in to blast Kryss once again. The psychic woman bears down with her mind on Shael, who deflects the attack easily. She blinks. The wyste snatches up Kryss, taking hits of its own. It crushes Kryss and Julian, seeking to draw them into its maw. The gibberers shuffle towards the fray. Their spittle washes off Jules and Kryss.
Shael Shael mentiones absently, “I’m, like, the worst target for that… what was it?” he wonders, considering the components. “Hold person? Well, if you have that much time on your hands to be more concerned about me than them… I suppose we can increase the difficulty of this little melee.” He slips something from his pouch, winds up, and throws A GIANT, TERRIFYING BEAST OF UTTER MADNESS into the fight. The tentacled monster charges the Wyste.
DM It then avoids the wyste and crushes the psychic into paste. She barely has time to scream before she is torn apart. But she does scream. It’s fairly unsettling.
Shael “Oh… too much difficulty.” Shael says with a wince, he looks sick.
Julian Julian shimmers into view as the wyste’s grip slackens under the attack, the Voice of Tal bursting forth to strike down the remaining foes. As the psychic falls, he redirects it towards the wyste and wounded mouther.
DM It shreds through the creatures, but neither of the hardy pseduonaturals fall. It seems that the word of a god is not as meaningful to those creatures that are as far removed from space and time as they are from morality.
Kryss Kryss pours dragonfire onto the wyste as he roars in defiance of the grapple.
DM In fact, it seems as though the voice is being unwoven as it emerges from the lips of the prophet. Its magic stolen, undermined…countered.
Kryss Kryss’ flame burns hotter as the spell unravels. He focuses on the wyste and narrows his flame to a white hot line, the room is filled with the scent of burning rubber.
DM Its skin crackles and pops, never snapping, as the flames wash over it.
Kryss Kryss’ eyes narrow on the damaged spot, so as to target it later.
DM A white flash rips through the area, searing flesh.
Devis “You’re all going to die up here,” Devis intones in a dark empty voice. A look of panic in his eyes reveals the trapped mind within. He mutters a word to heal the mangled corpse before him. It doesn’t work.
Shael The Strange Thing backs up to the wall and with an unearthly wail charges at its kin, maw agape. Shael advances slowly, searching the surrounding area for the hidden caster. Unable to see well enough into the room, he incants a spell and walks up the side of the wall towards the cieling so he can avoid the melee on the ground.
Julian Julian finally succumbs to the twin assault of fireball and wyste.
DM The wyste flails around with its tentacles, snapping Julian’s back and battering Kryss even as the large warrior cuts back at the creature. Greenish ichor douses the area.
Shael As his companions begin falling to the ground, Shael stops his search and gains a position to send healing magic towards them. He remains fully aware of his precarious tactical position and does what he can to mitigate it despite their danger.
Shael Oh, yeah – he’s walking on the ceiling.
Julian The paladin’s eyes flicker, and he half rolls, half falls down the stairs. “Kryss… here… get you out…”
Kryss Kryss twists and roars again, breaking free of the wystes coils and chasing behind his friend.
DM The wyste snaps at him as he flees and gives chase.
Devis “Run like your mother, coward!” Devis calls after the fleeing pair.
DM The wyste pounds impotently against the hallway walls, but Devis’s comments really hurt.
Kryss “Im not… did you hear that?” Kryss slides to a stop and turns.
DM Black tentacles grow out of the ceiling and seek to crush Shael’s life. They swat at the Strange Thing as well. The Blessed shimmers into view as they do. She is also standing on the ceiling.
Shael “Welcome.” Shael says calmly. “It is nice to finally meet you.” he smiles vaguely while slipping a potion from the pouch at his side – he frowns as he considers how to quaff it, in the end he just follows his instincts. “Did you want to talk before I catch up with my friends?”
The Blessed “I’ll send you through the portal. Kay? Or tea?”
Shael “Maybe Tea first – what’s the key?” he asks.
The Blessed “Farther than dreams. The dreams can’t reach.”
Julian Julian struggles to his feet to face their pursuer.
The Blessed “Have you ever seen an algorithim dissolve into component angles?”
Shael “It only dissolves if you can’t keep up with the rate of change.”
Julian A blessed word heals some of Kryss’s wounds.
DM The wyste looks like it is in bad shape. Hopefully Devis doesn’t follow it down to provide the same.
Kryss Kryss takes his assigned position and matches Julians attacks from another angle.
The Blessed “The sun of order lights the surface of the sea, but in the dark depths, the chaos lurks.”
Kryss Kryss runs up the creature’s back as Julian’s assault distracts it. He lops off its head with Shatterspike and the purple mass collapses in a pool of dissolving slime. “We gotta get back in there with Shael!” Kryss dashes back up the stairs.
Julian “Let me… heal… you…” Julian is evidently speaking too slowly, through the froth of blood, to dissuade Kryss.
Shael “Chaos is no more than a component of order, and order chaos. In darkness, order is awash in every twin vertice. In the light, the warmth of the sun sends every component element dancing. We are one, why do you seek to be separate?”
The Blessed “Show him, my pathetic minion.”
Devis Devis does his best to show Shael.
Shael Shael looks down at Devis, tilting his head to the side curiously. “What show have you crafted for me, Devis?”
DM Lights explode and dance before the pair’s eyes, merging and separating in an unending dance. The Strange Thing’s eyes gloss over.
Shael “Ah, lovely.” he praises the bard. “Excellently done, Devis.” his attention returns to the Blessed after he is sure his condecension has not gone unnoticed.
The Blessed “Back to the ooze with you!” The Blessed flings acidic arrows at Shael.
Shael Shael’s mage shield springs forth, the acid turning aside.
Julian “Damn it…” Julian limps after his friend, another healing word on his lips.
DM Ignoring the healing, the Blessed reacts defensively when Julian turns his power on her. His spear is splintered by her mental defense. It then reforms around that defense and plunges through.
Julian “Oh Tal, not this time!” Hints of mana crackle at Julian’s fingers, but he pushes back against the temptation for this time. Now is a time for breaking evil magic, not embracing it.
DM The tentacles vanish in the Light of Tal.
Kryss Kryss starts launching javelins at the blessed
DM One punches through her shoulder, causing her eyes to roll back in her head.
The Blessed “Flames of xormon dul, gullet of the dhole!”
Shael Shael waits for the salvo to finish, then approaches The Blessed. Avenger whispers as he draws it from its sheath, “Tell me the truth; did you dominate her as well?” his head tilts towards the dead woman on the ground by Devis.
Shael “What was her name?” he demands.
The Blessed The Blessed laughs. “She had seen the light! Eyes open! Name? Written in the Akashic Record, Rivani!”
Shael “And still, it was a light you showed her and the others… I cannot forgive you.” he says apologetically before stabbing with Avenger.
DM The blade catches in the woman’s mystic defenses. It barely scratches her.
Shael Shael grits his teeth and forces the blade forward, forgiveness is not something Tal is fond of, he thinks.
The Blessed “The Sphere preserves.” She breathes out, filling Shael’s nostrils with intoxicating vapors.
DM He ignores them.
Devis “Fuck your mom, Shael.” Devis really knows how to get to the heart of things.
Shael Shael frowns at Devis, “My mom’s dead.” he says, hurt.
Julian Julian turns his attention to Devis, coughing out the words of a prayer. “Remember that Tal freed you.”
DM Devis blinks, looking around in a daze. “What…what happened?”
Kryss Kryss continues throwing javelins.
Julian “Help… fight her. Save Lidda and Ember…”
DM Again, one strikes true, hitting her in the knee. It’s so hard aiming at someone on the ceiling…
Julian The paladin’s bones are slowly knitting back together and the horrible burns have begun to fade.
Shael Striking true, it takes time and concentration. Shael meditates on this, feinting and remaining aggressive to keep the Blessed on guard but truly he is casting a spell to ensure the next swing of his sword will not miss.
DM The captivating effect enthralling the Strange Thing ends with Devis’ release.
Shael The Wild, Strange Thing has no need to concentrate though – as soon as the magic releases him, he backs up and charges at The Blessed.
DM The Strange Thing’s attack shatters against her fully erect mental barrier.
The Blessed “You fools may have won this battle, but the war rages on!” The Blessed hisses a curse and steps away.
DM She is gone.
Shael “Dimension door!” he tells Julian, “It might not be over!”
Kryss “Can you track her, Shael?!”
Julian There is a flash of fear in the paladin’s eyes, but he pulls himself up and hurries over. “Tell me where.”
Shael He casts about, concentrating on his magic and through his magic on the strange domain they inhabit.
DM He finds her presence, far below, in the basement.
Kryss “Shes still here,” Kryss says, reading Shaels features.
Shael “The basement, fleeing for the portal – quickly!” He drops from the ceiling effortlessly, running to meet Julian.
Kryss Kryss chases after.
Julian “Kryss. Get the rest of them out of here… in case something goes wrong.”
DM Devis has enough time to sing a tune of flesh knitting on Julian before he and Shael port after the Blessed.
Julian Julian gasps from the pain of the mana burn as they arrive below, but he bears up against the pain.
DM They appear in the basement, where the portal is starting to open. The Blessed whips around, eyes flashing. “Burn!”
Shael Shael steps through the flames with death in his eyes, “No.” He charges across the field at the Blessed, Avenger singing for Erasmus and Estra.
Julian? Julian is hot on his friend’s heels. “Mistake, witch. You aren’t the only walker here.”
DM She flings herself away from Avenger, and Lightbringer is there to plunge through her heart. An unholy and inhuman scream sounds a death cry, and a blackened sphere falls to the ground. Avenger’s backslice takes her across the throat, and she spurts blood, but remains alive.
DM She shifts away again, but only a short distance this time. Clearly delaying the inevitable.
Julian? “Didn’t know that, did you?” The paladin’s burns partially heal even as hers are dealt.
The Blessed “A…paladin…tainted…” Blood bubbles with every word.
DM Chaos swirls, ruining Avenger’s death song.
Julian? “I’m strong enough to resist it. Master it.”
Shael A song of mourning and loss, Avenger cries even for its foes. Mavaro, a life too short, dead in madness and pain with all his potential lost. Shael follows implacably, not willing to let those deaths be in vain – he advances into the chaos.
The Blessed “Apostate” the Blessed chokes out as Julian moves in.
Julian? Lightbringer lashes out, and Julian leaves it in her guts. He seizes her hair and draws her head back, drawing a hidden black iron blade.
The Blessed She struggles feebly.
Julian? A single swift draw across the throat leaves the razor knife coated in blood.
The Blessed The blank stare on her face is one of horror. What could have frightened a woman who stared into madness on a daily basis?
DM Her death brings an end to the party’s struggles here in the Reality Wrinkle however…all that remains is to catalog the fruits of their labor and perhaps…celebrate. Join us next week for that, Loyal Readers!