Joined: 10 Nov 2002
|Posted: Sat Feb 22, 2003 12:20 pm Post subject: Chapter 1. Epilogue
|After being confronted by a most curious farmer, insisting that a band of orcs stole his daughter, the band of adventurers set out to slay the beasts.
The group left Ansteorra and traveled long and hard to reach the den of the orcs.. But something peculiar was going on elsewhere....
High up on the eastern battlements of Ansteorra, another three were conversing in hushed tones.. "It worked!" A thin, stalky figure hissed out. "Those fools feel for it!" A second joined in the chorus of self praise. "Yes! This will be easy!" The third figure, snorted, lifting up. A powerful backhand sent the two sniveling forms sprawling. "Fools. The job isn't done until its done. Now shut up, and get moving!" Both of the black cloaked figures muttered their apologies and abruptly hushed, jumping down lightly over the battlements, soon followed by the third...
Meanwhile, as the party travels down along the wooded path, they eventually come to the cave that was so described to them. Several skulls remain hanging on poles near the entrance, grim reminders of the fate of trespassers into the orcish lair. Stepping into the den of the orcs, they noticed several things. One, the significant lack of orcs, and two, the stench of death hanging heavily in the air. After searching the deserted caverns, the questers finally reach the throne room, to find the Orcish Chieftan, and two elite gaurds bustling about trying to collect whatever they can and run away. When confronted, all three truthfully admitted they knew nothing about a little girl, and then went on to explain that their people had systematically been driven mad by some unknown force. All the orcs that ventured down into the deeper parts of the caves, never returned. The chief agreed to open the way to the deeper lair, and did so.. But immediately afterwards, all three orcs fell back and clutched their heads. Eyes bled to a bright reddish color, as each of the beasts let out a horrendous cry, and took up their weapons to attack the party, driven into a blood rage. The group was falling one by one; Garrett, Chloe, and many others. When hope seemed nearly lost, the orcs reared back, letting out another hoarse cry of anguish, and impailed themselves with their own weapons, falling to the floor, dead.
And back in Ansteorra, the odd conversation of the three strangers continued, hushed throughout the silence of the ever dimming daylight..
"Hurry up and get over here!" Hissed the tall figure, whom was pressed back into the shadows of a nearby house. The two lackies silently obeyed, crouching low in the gloom of dusk. A faint smirk curled across the features of the tall hooded form, as he reached down and took hold of a small, circlular object. Giving it a strong quarter twist, the device glowed with a brighter blue.. and Teonnyn awoke from a troubled nightmare, with another of his all too frequent headaches..
Deep underground within the orcish caves, the group had spiraled down, confronted with what seemed to be hundreds of dead orcs. All seemed to have commited suicide in some form or another, driven mad... Up ahead, an enormous underground waterflow seemed to be washing away the stench of death, a fresh mist lifting up from the earth. It was a sharp contrast, for all around laid the bodies of dead Orcs, massacred. Some seemed to have been killed with their own weapons, others ripped to shreds. A great bridge once stretched out over the river, but it seemed to be retracted, cutting off the tunnel from the rest of the cavern. Confronted with the dillema of how to cross, the party was halted. after some deliberation, Kojen the Paladin spotted a rope off to the side of the falls. Throwing caution to the winds, he scrambled up the rope to a planking high above. Upon reaching the top, the rope snapped, and came down to the ground. Having no choice but to continue onward, Kojen balanced his way along the narrow plank, and across the river, coming to a second rope. Climbing down it carefully, the paladin found himself on the opposite side of the river, a lever nearby. Triumphantly, he ran foreward and tugged it. Throughout the cavern an enormous grinding of gears was heard, as the bridge slowly extended to span the river, allowing the rest of the party to cross.
As the group ventured onwards, the corpses of the orcs became less and less frequent, it seemed that thankfully, none of the orcs had even dared to come this close.. The group passed by a large, elaborately sculpted statue of some kind of monster. It was depicted to be tearing through throngs of orcs that are all praying to it. This only served to further their unease.. After what seemed like hours on end of traveling downwards through the dim torchlight, the group finally reached the end of the pathway....The way finally opened up into an elaborately carved chamber. Orcish writing and pictographs were scrawled across the walls, and several small air shafts streched upwards into the ceiling of the cavern, providing a fresh breeze, a relief from the smell of death. Up ahead, mounted on a pedistal, lies a large book, kept clean dispite the age of the chamber that sheltered it. The pages of the book are nearly lost to time, but one, is clearly readable:
"The beginning of eternity,
The end of time and space,
The beginning of every end,
And the end of every place.
-- Riddle this answer to see if you are worthy of continuing."
After so long of traveling, the party deemed that this indeed, was a good place to rest..
Back in Ansteorra, Teonnyn stumbled blindly along the path, head throbbing. The dragon whelp eventually found his way to the healers guild, and collapsed onto the bed, exhausted. Soon following behind, was the silent three. The tall figure came to stand over the dragon, chuckling darkly.
Alizon, Goriel, Helgeirr, Path'en, Zagnafein, Dalin, and Kitzibeth, meanwhile, sat in the tavern, taking a few moments leave from their duties to talk over events of the city, and to one another. A brief scream arose from the healers guild, clearly draconic in nature. Alizon's head snapped up. "Teo??" The seven fighters arose, and at once hurried to the healers guild. As they burst up the stairs, they came upon the scene of the three attackers. The tall stranger sneered, and hurridly grabbed hold of Teonnyn, shoving him roughly into a sack, and tying it shut. The bag was hoisted over his shoulder, and an order barked out to the two drow off to the side. "Kill them!" With twin malicious grins, the assassins drew their blades, and advanced.
At this time, deep within the burial chambers of the orcs, the group was taking some time to rest themselves, and ponder the riddle of the book. Treken tapped a paw against the corner of the tome thoughtfully, re-reading over the words in the book for the thousanth time. "..The beginning of eternity.." He absent minedly munched on a few travel rations, thoughts racing. The others around him sat and chatted, enjoying the relief from the opressive stench of decay that they had been so traveling through before. With a heavy sigh, Treken bapped his head down against the book. "Oh by the primes.. lets hope the answer isn't the letter 'e'-" On that note, the enormous stone slab behind the book gave a great groan, and slid away, revealing a wide, elaborately carved doorway leading into the crypt..
The drow spun foreward, coming out from the darkness. Its blade curved tirectly towards the base of Kitzibeths spine. The magess let out a cry of suprise as the blade just nearly missed its mark. Spinning around, she growled. "Hey! Now that was rude!" Having about enough of drow assassins, she promtly conjured forth a firebolt, sending a wave of flame hurtling towards the assassin. With a sneer, and several deftely practiced movements, the drow summsaulted backwards onto the table, narrowly avoiding the strike. Goriel set upon the attacker, trying to fling the dark creature off of the table with a flurry of punches, soon followed by Helgeirr. The avian swung outwards with his great-axe, only to find it expertly kicked from his claws. The assassin let out a cackle, only to find that he had forgotten about the very angry fire mage to his right. There was barely time for him to blink, before the drow found himself incinerated from near point-blank range. Meanwhile, the other drow contented itself by striking out at the other magus, Path'en. Delivering a few swift strikes send the archmage sprawling backwards, probably to his death, were Alizon not nearby to heal him. With an indignant snort, Path'ens staff extended outwards to the drow, a small incantation muttered. The wood floor beneath the assassin creaked. The drow stopped abruptly, and blinked, just in time to fall through the floor down to the first level of the mages guild, the wood beneath him having been weakened magically.
The tall figure struck outwards towards the annoying healer, digging a scimitar deep into Alizon's left shoulder, before turning a flurry of attacks on Path'en. Every warrior bore down on the elite fighter, but found him nearly impossible to strike. Kitzibeth swung around, hurtling a fireball towards his back, and with uncanny precision, the mysterious fighter swung around and caught the spell on his blade, using it to aid him.
Path'en fell backwards with a grunt, and turned his head to notice the second, rather bedraggled drow, crawling back up through the hole in the floor. A mishcevious grin crossed the mages features, and Path'en waved a paw towards the drow, and motioned for it to look up. The drow complied, and its pupils dialated in fear as a large boulder materialized above his head. The assassin was knocked back through the hole in the floor with a thud, soon followed by a sickening crunch as the boulder landed on top of it.
Back down within the depths of the crypt, the party gathered up their things, and finally moved foreward into the gloom. An enormous heat washed over the group as they proceeded into the burial chamber. Flames burned unhindered upon the ground itself, and upon gigantic torches that streched up unto the high cavern walls. Ahead, flanked by two gigantic ebon statues, lay a lone figure, seated on some form of pedistal. A creature that seemed to be buzzing with magic. While at first rather un-opposing, a dangerously slim blackened form, it was surrounded in a caurona of dark energy... a mere hint to its full power. Abnormally long, wickedly curved black claws protruded forth from its skeletal hands, sightless eyes turning towards the group with a chilling stare, mere holes, from which the blackness poured. A dark smirk unfurled over rows of pure blackened fangs, as the group approached. One, in particular, seemed interested.. Hikari, ever the one to think with his sword, and not his head, immediately rushed forewards to challenge the creature. A faint, hissed chuckle emitted, and the creature came to stand. Pointing a long, curved claw at Hikari, it emitted a single word. <<DIE.>> And he did. Hikari fell to the ground, barely breathing. Seeing this feat of power, the necromantress, Catherine, was the next to step foreward. Rather than attacking, she let out a dark smile, and knelt before the creature, offering her services up to it. The creature seemed to find this particularly amusing, and extended a claw towards her. At once, from the pedistal upon which it stood, a cloud of blood rose up, and swathed about Catherines form.. When the mist finally cleared, she stood, a broad grin upon her features. The same dark aura that surrounded the Scrollkeeper, now surrounded her as well. Solinox, growling, drew his weapons and charged, soon followed by the rest of the group.
The tall figure struck down towards Path'en, and then finally jumped back, beginning to wear down from the constant thrashings of his opponents. Within the sack, Teonnyn struggled as best he could, trying to cut open the sack with his tail-blade. An angry growl emitted through his captors lips as he felt this happening, and he swung the sack around, smashing it into the ground, hard, over and over again until the struggles finally stopped. Through with toying with these fools, Elithshar slung Teonnyn over his shoulder, and unwrapped his bandaged right paw. An arcane seal lay upon it. Muttering a curse, he focused all of his concentration into the symbol. At once, a beam of dark energy arced outwards from his paw, spinning towards Path'en. The archmage gave a muffled grunt as the beam tore through him, and he sunk to the floor unconcious, a trail of bluish blood collecting beneath him. With a grim chuckle of satisfaction, Elithshar dodged foreward through the flurry of blows beset upon him by Dalin, and snatched up an anciently bound tome that was once carried by Path'en. Murmering out in perfect arcane, an enormous portal appeared before the tall figure. Dropping the book to the ground, Elithshar jumped through, Teonnyn in tow. As the portal closed, three objects were left behind.. A seal of an elite gaurd of Tharivol, The book dropped by Path'en, .. and a small bag, containing a farmers costume....
Within the crypt, things for the party were not going as planned. They could hardly touch the Scrollkeeper, and Catherines betrayal was an unexpected twist. Treken squinted, seeing the cloud of blood above the pedistal, as almost its own creature. Letting out a hoarse cry, he pointed towards the stone alter. "The pedistal! Attack the pedistal, thats what's making it so powerful!" Realization dawned on the group, and all attention shifted towards the alter. The scrollkeeper hissed out angrily, in an urgent tone. <<STOP THAT!>> It was enough encouragement. Chloe lifted a paw, and pointed towards the unholy alter. Muttering a small prayer to the gods, a bolt of pure white light shot out towards towards the pedistal. A deafening crack echoed throughout the crypt, and the alter shattered. An angry howl was released from the Scrollkeeper, and Solinox wasted no time. Charging foreward, the fighter drove his sword through the arcane manifestation, banishing it. A shockwave of red mist blew outwards from the creature, howling. Soon after, the howls subsided, and all became quiet. Unseen to all, a small trickle of red flowed from the remnants of the alter, and into Catherine. Immediately afterwards, her body evaporated in a haze of red mist.
Solinox picked himself up wearily, looking around. Beneath the rubble of the alter, lay an ancient scroll, bound with a red seal. Taking up the odd object, he tucked it away, making a note of giving it to Path'en later. Heaving a heavy sigh, the fighter turned around. "..Lets head back to Ansteorra."
The group returned, at length, and went about searching for the farmer who had sent them on the wild goose chase for a nonexistant girl, but they found no one. Path'en was healed to unconciousness, and layed in the healers guild to recover. Solinox gave the scroll to Kitzibeth, to hold onto until the archmage regained conciousness. And so, the night drew on, and dawn nearly broke the horizon once more.
A countless distance away, safe from harm, a worn, bedraggled figure sunk down against a wall. His head craned back, and he let out a long, loud laugh to congratulate himself on a job well done, patting the brown sack at his side.
--Antagonism isn't a way of life, its just a profession.