Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pesh, Aaqa and Icosial

Serindë carefully flexed her arms and legs before settling into a comfortable position around the fire. Feeling its warmth penetrate her body the elf was painfully reminded of the trials they had recently endured. Then Serindë began her story.

“As you well know, Aust and I stayed behind, when Erik, Eron, Amrod and Coraanu went back to the Free City after our rest here in Diamond Lake. Whilst reaching the city walls Coraanu and Amrod took their leave as planned, however, by mere chance Erik and Eron ran into one of our old friends from Saron’s Gorge (she pointed at Sarek), who readily agreed to join our group in their stead. As the three returned we immediately set out from Diamond Lake, back to the Cairn”.

The elf paused to take a quick sip of her tea. “On Erik’s and Aust’s insistence we first spent some time investigating the wall paintings once more. In addition to the room depicting the battle at Pesh, there is another fresco displaying a lumbering creature reaching for a square stone on plate carried by creatures of law. What is more - this wall painting carries the runes of Pesh, Aaqa and Icosiol. Taking note of this we then returned to the room with the magic sphere and the lightning trap. Thanks to Sarek the former was somehow disabled, however, since the latter was not, Erik had to use his magic to get us safely through the room. On the other side narrow stairs lead down to two passages of which we chose the rightmost one. As is, our choice did not matter since suddenly a thick stone fell to block the stairway behind us while two others gave way at the end of each passage, filling both with water. Fortunately, just moments before raging currents swept us all away, Erik cast a spell allowing us to breathe underwater - this probably saved all our lives, since we were dragged along the river many hundreds of feet before plummeting down a water fall and further into a rough vertical shaft. On a ledge where a small lake had formed Aust, Eron, Sarek and I finally managed to break our fall – Erik on the other hand was nowhere to be seen! He had in fact escaped the current further up the river as we discovered when Aust transformed the four of us into mists thus allowing us to fly, where there was no water. Since it was quite obvious that none of us would be able to swim up the river, we began a slow descent into the dark, hoping to find a way out. A few hundreds of feet down we were ambushed by six elemental wind warriors, and since Erik was the only one not in gaseous form at the time he faced up against them alone”. Everyone’s eyes were resting at the silent loremaster. “With spell and sword, however, he not only managed to hold them at bay single-handedly while the rest of us changed back to corporeal form, but he even decimated their numbers, so when we finally caught up with them, it actually proved to be an uneven fight. The wind warriors guarded a secret door, which I discovered by chance, leading into a room with a pair of huge double doors that were magically locked. Here we rested for a while.

Serindë took another sip of her tea, emptying the cup which Allustan quickly filled anew. “Behind the double doors were a huge room mostly consisting of a seemingly bottomless pit and whose walls and ceiling were lined by powerful winds and lightning bolts. Two similar double doors were placed immediately opposite the entrance. A small platform next to these doors and seven pillars of varying heights founded somewhere deep below in the pit were the only evident path leading to the other side. Each of the pillars were slightly different – the seventh considerably larger than the others. All of this, of course, was merely part of a devious death trap. As soon as the first tried to cross the room, two huge elemental creatures of air attacked us. Though Aust’s magic took out one of them, the other creature caught Aust, Erik and myself in its whirlwinds and threw us into the pit, where we fell a deadly five hundred feet into the darkness. Only moments away from dying I regained my consciousness by Erik pouring a healing potion into my mouth. Aust, on the other hand, was killed outright by the fall. Meanwhile, Eron and Sarek fought and eventually destroyed the last air elemental. In the aftermath of the battle Sarek and Erik investigated the pillars carefully and discovered that all but the larger one turned out to be a trap in itself. The larger one was not trapped and had a disc-like hole on top that looked like it would fit a stone plate of sorts. Recalling the painting at the upper level we therefore returned to the shaft to descend further by means of the spell, Aust had cast on us earlier.

In a cave further down we encountered Morato the True Ghoul that Flycatcher had told us about and two mohrgs of Kyuss. Morato tried to bargain with the stone plate, but we had learned our lesson in Tharan, so while Sarak cut down the so called Lord of the River as well as his spectre with almost frightening ease, Eron and I destroyed the two mohrgs. We had recovered the stone plate! When Erik went on to pick it from the ghoul’s treasury, however, suddenly and out of nowhere three djinn appeared to fell him with their blows. As he lay lifeless on the ground, they vanished as suddenly as they had appeared. Having revived Erik and taking great care not to touch it Eron now went on to investigate the plate more closely. On one side it has the three runes of Pesh, Aaqa and Icosiol and on the other side a picture of a Wind Duke holding a plate-like stone sigil in front of two huge black doors. Returning to the pit room, we placed the plate on top of the largest pillar, which began to elevate us upwards towards the ceiling. We passed through it as if it was not there and found ourselves in a room dominated by a large elaborately decorated sarcophagus – we had found the final resting place of Icosial, the Wind Duke. And that was when – quite literally – the Abyss came down on us”.

Serindë sighed. “Erik called it an Oculus Demon and it had been bound to this tomb by the builders in order to guard against intruders. Gazing into its eyes was to invite all the Terrors of the Abyss into your soul and to succumb to fear and panic. One by one, we were all overcome till only Erik was still standing. To our fortune the Demon was more interested in being unbound than to kill us and so Erik managed to pull of an amazing bluff, allowing us to escape unharmed carrying Icosial’s treasures while leaving the abyssal creature still bound by the magic of the tomb”.

Ending to come ...

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