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 Game 16 - What were Orion, Coryn, and Audun doing?

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TheDiddler
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PostSubject: Game 16 - What were Orion, Coryn, and Audun doing?    Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:38 pm

The following took place during Game 16 (5 March 2017) and dictates the actions of Orion, Coryn, and Audun during that time.





Now
Orion fled through the dank tunnel moving fast. He slipped at a turn on wet moss, slammed his shoulder into unforgiving stone, and kept on. Lungs screamed for air, skin hot and scarred from the lightning blasts. He was dirty and in pain, not least from the tight vines layered in wicked thorns which refused to return into the blade.

Aurelia’Kae whispered, satisfied: “Only the blessed may touch me.”

“Orion! Up here, I see a way out!” Orion looked up out of the tunnel to see a light above. Audun dug rapidly at the lip of the hole working it large enough to break out. Hanging at his hip, a bag stuffed full of ancient scrolls and notes jostled to and fro. Orion knew little about the thief, but he had served well in the fight.

“COME BACK LITTLE ONES! I AM HUNGRY!”

“Shit.” Orion began to climb.

*****

Then
A red bearded and ancient dwarf sat the bar of the Inn of the Swinging Sword nursing a mug of ale. Robillard Redfish, an Iron Clan mercenary who had been in Port Town for decades. He came recommended by Tyrant, merchant lords, and other adventurers for his quick thinking and skill and exceptional knowledge of the Pyramid District.

Something about him was off. Coryn could not quite pin it down, but every time he looked the scout over his nose wrinkled with involuntary distaste. Granted, the man smelled like week old fish rolled in the carcass of a dead goat, but that wasn’t it.

“Are we ready? The sun is almost up and we don’t have a lot of time.”

Coryn wiped his mouth, shoved the last chunk of wet, raw triceratops into his mouth, and stood.

Audun choked back vomit. “You have a bit of blood dribbling down.”

“Do you think there are enough of us?” Orion’s voice was measured and calm. Coryn looked the paladin over, the other elf’s eyes glazed just a bit. Coryn knew he was listening to that sword.

“If not, we’ll find out.” Audun looked at his half-empty mug and set it aside. “Three of us, our guide, two of Tyrant’s recent recruits and Gunjak. You said you knew him from Ferra’s ship that brought you to shore?”

Orion nodded and looked at the soldier-of-fortune gearing up on the other side of the room. “He was there. Tyrant said he was happy to aid us knowing it would give us greater power against the Admiral.”

“Then, I guess we’re ready.” Coryn stood. Ran the tip of his finger around the bloody plate. Sucked it dry.

******

“The name of this one is lost to time. Holds its secrets close, it does. Oh yes, yes it does.”

Coryn stared at the back of the red-bearded dwarf as the little man hacked and tore at the jungle vines. They had been in the Pyramid District, the Temple District, an hour or more and not once been attacked. Either the rumors of this place were overly exaggerated or Tyrant’s little guide was more useful than they anticipated.

It was easy to get to the Pyramid, the one that held the ancient staff. Coryn felt it calling to him, whispering his name. It was easy to get past the dozen or so minor traps, magical and otherwise, littered about this place. Robillard was exceptional and made it look simple.

Coryn felt a creeping tingle up his spine. He started to ask a question but was interrupted by one of the two unnamed men screaming in terror.

“It’s just a blasted snake.” Audun laughed but side-stepped the massive viper.

“We’re here.”

Robillard’s ragged little voice caught them all a little unaware.

“Here? The pyramid is still hundreds of yards ahead.” Orion gripped the pommel of his sword white-knuckle tight. The voice was loud today.

“Here. Down.” The dwarf pointed at a small hole in the earth covered by leaves and vines. Coryn frowned. He should have seen that. But…ah, magic. He could feel the protective ward, the illusion.

“Down we go.” Robillard slid inside before any could say different. Coryn stepped close and shimmied on after. A wet, sticky substance mingled with the dirt and left a splotchy, muddy ruin on his clothes.

He smelled salt and brine, but when he breathed deeper it vanished on the air.

They walked. Robillard led the way past another trio of traps, spikes, magic, and blades. Near them the ancient bones of failed adventurers who had made it this far.

“The way is down, always down, yes it is, the way is down.”

“I wish he wouldn’t talk like that.” Audun sneered. The thief examined the trail with care. Marked it to ensure their safe return.

The tunnel opened up into one far larger and recently made. The walls were jagged and scorched with burn. More magic, Coryn thought. Lightning.

“What are those?” Audun paused and Orion stepped up beside him. Coryn saw the blade half-drawn from its sheath, the paladin’s jaw set tight as he peered ahead.

Littered down the tunnel for the next hundred feet were the bodies of dozens of elves. Their skin was dark, hair pale or streaked with white. They had obviously been dead for some time, but magic kept them from rotting away. Each had been burned, again by lightning.

“Duava’rhem.” Orion spat.

“Lovely. At least we don’t have to fight them.” Audun picked over each corpse to check for anything valuable.
They walked on.

Coryn could feel it stronger now. The ancient thrumming power of the Staff. It called to him in the darkness in a thousand names. He felt the howl of a wolf, the bark of a dog, the chittering clicking speech of a hundred insects. It called out to him over and over and over so he did not see when the tunnel ended abruptly into a strange, massive cave.

“Holds its secrets close, it does. Oh yes it does. But here they are and all yours my friends.” Robillard stepped aside for the adventurers to enter. Gunjak went first, massive curved blade held forward and ready for the attack. Coryn, Audun, Orion, and the duo of fighters followed. The dwarf entered last.

“This is remarkable,” Audun whispered, eyes wide. Orion nodded, for the first time in this venture his hands were free of the blade. Coryn saw him reaching towards the walls, fingers tracing the vines etched in stone.

A huge chamber lay before them, the smell of salty air filled every inch. Tunnels were burned out of the sides, ripped from the walls in violence and held by the sear of lightning. The ceiling was high over head and the entire room was etched in strange vines and leaves. It had once been a sacred place of worship for the Duava’rhem.

Now it was home to some experiment in chaos. Every where they looked was a table filled with instruments and strange liquids, dead animals, flora, fauna, and everything in between. Hanging from chains and bound to the walls were more of the Duava’rhem, preserved in their pain and death. A few half-chewed carcasses littered the floor. In the center of the room was a cauldron, a long-dead fire beneath.

At the edge of the wall there was a pool of salt-water which must lead out to the ocean.

“The walls are thin here.” Coryn peered at the stone, sniffed it. Stuck his tongue out and tasted. Half in, half out of that water, a huge killer whale carcass was beached. Parts of its insides were exposed, the bones on its back reshaped into a throne.

“Look solid to me.” Audun hopped up on a table covered in insects pinned by needles. A few wriggled, still alive.

“Not the stone. The world. The world is thin here.” Coryn placed his hand on the stone. A second later, he saw Orion do the same. They looked at each other and nodded.

“I see it too. This place is thin between the worlds.”

Coryn nodded. “It would be easy to breach into the Feywild, or the Feydark,” he looked pointedly at the dead Duava’rhem. “Too easy for some.”

“Holds its secrets close, but not to all.” Robillard laughed, harsh and wet and ragged.

“I think we found your staff!” One of the two warriors pushed aside a table with what looked like a parrot grafted to a monkey chained atop it. Two massive bookshelves held dozens of ancient scrolls and notes. Between them, a plain wooden staff hung on the wall.

To me, to me, come to me. Coryn felt its thrumming power echo in his mind. He began to move towards the ancient magic.

“This is weird,” Audun stood on the other side of the room at a wall covered in maps. Most were of the island, some in places the adventurers had not ever seen before. Orion stepped up beside the thief and peered at one that looked to be the Godless Forest from the brief descriptions he had heard.

“No, check this out.” Audun pointed with a dagger at a solid black map covered in little white dots. Stars. It was a star-map. Aurelia’Kae went eerily silent, as if she were afraid. In the middle of the map was a bright white star, a deep red one, and a black star surrounded by white light. Between them all the map was blank.

No. Not blank. It was empty. Bereft of light and power. A hole in space.

“And this is weirder.” Audun pointed with his dagger at scrawled notes on torn scrolls beneath the map. They were written hastily in a strange elvish that Orion could barely read.

Is this Far enough?

Will they hear us if we call?

Will the Diamond do its work?

What if they do not come?


A rumble shook the strange lair drawing all eyes to the tunnels out. Something big was coming.

Orion heard her voice again once he turned from the map.

“These dead fools. Pitiful. Sad. Their world long gone and they with it. They deserve their death, their prison, for what was almost done. What they made us do. The Five would be here now if not for their war. THEIR WAR, not ours! They deserve their death. Any still alive must be slain as well. Kill them all. KILL them ALL. KILL THEM ALL!”


Orion heard Audun tear the maps from the wall, stuff them into his bag. He nodded and picked up a few of the more interesting scrolls and did the same.

The rumble came again. How could he have forgotten? Something big was coming and it had…slipped his mind?
He felt it trying to fade away again. Some dark magic clouded his thoughts.
Robillard chuckled.

Coryn reached for the ancient staff.

Audun filled his pockets with strange items, bones, scrolls, and maps.

The wall exploded.





“YOU THOUGHT ME DEAD?!”

A huge blue serpentine beast ripped out of a new tunnel and showered the room in stone. Orion rolled behind a table, Audun doing the same. One of the two warriors screeched in agony as the massive crocodilian jaws snapped closed around his body. Half went up into the creature’s mouth. The other fell down in a splat.

The creature was more than forty feet long and weighed thousands of pounds. Twelve short, but powerful  little legs pushed it forward in a twisting maneuver. Lightning flared alive all over its grey-blue skin.

“YOU THOUGHT ME DEAD, WITCH? GONE? YOU WHO BROUGHT ME HERE, SUMMONED ME TO DESTROY YOUR ENEMIES, YOU BRING MORE FOOLS TO FIGHT ME?”

Jaws split apart and Orion saw the hard scales and spines bristling with energy. Air in the room sucked towards the Behir, charged with power, and a great white bolt of lightning shot forth from its mouth.

Gunjak and the other warrior were killed in an instant. Coryn was hit as well, but his form twisted into the shape of a massive bear and his body broke the shelf behind him apart.

“YOUR COVEN CANNOT HOLD ME, GRANNY LICKSPITTLE! I HAVE SUMMONED MORE!” Another great rumble alerted the group to the presence of another beast. Orion was up, charging. Audun moving around behind the creature. Coryn roared and charged…in the direction of the dwarf?

Robillard rolled away behind a treasure chest full of preserved organs and bone. The Behir laughed, drunk with power, and snapped its jaws around Coryn’s form before he could get to the red-bearded scout.

“SHE IS MINE!”

“Three Grand Ladies come in the night,” a soft voice echoed about the room followed by a harsh, old laugh.
“Three Grand Ladies here to make it right, this world locked away.”

A cloud of shadow exploded behind the chest and Robillard vanished. Across the room, atop one of the great bookshelves, a hideous woman appeared.

“Three Grand Ladies free it from it pain!” The hag cackled madly. She pointed at the Behir and crushed the skull of a tiny bird his her fist. “I could not control you for long, my beastie, but I can make you mine for a time.”
The Behir roared in protest, its body writhing, destroying everything around it. Books, scrolls, broken tables, bones, and stone exploded in all directions as lightning erupted from all over. When it settled, it turned to Orion and bowed its head low.

It charged.

“Three Grand Ladies,” the sea hag danced a caper atop her shelf. “The Coven is control. With the Diamond, we will bind her. With the Queen we belch a call. The darkness comes, but we will bring it faster.” She hopped down atop a table, picked up the monkey-parrot, danced with it in a little jig.

“Oh yes we will control it. The Duava helped us. They did, they did, they did!”

Orion dodged the first blast of lightning. Coryn was rolling up, transforming yet again, racing towards the staff. He did not see Audun, but saw the Behir snap its head up in agony, lightning tearing down the ceiling. The thief was on its back stabbing, stabbing ruthlessly.

“Three Grand Ladies, that is we! But that’s not all, oh no indeed!” She vanished again and Orion felt, more than saw her appear at his back. He whipped around to stab her through, but found himself held fast by potent magic.
“The Far Darkness, that great black hole in the sky, will come to call. The Queen will be ours. And the Five,” she yanked free the rapier from the paladin’s hands. “The Five will step out of the Feywild and into our plans. Control them too, yes we shall.”

She flipped the blade up and caught it by the hilt. Cackling madly, she gestured to the Behir to eat the held Orion.
A big curved blade came up and slashed the blue-skinned serpent across the face. Gunjak rose in pain and stood firm against the creature, not at all dead.

“Mine, ours, mine, ours, but never yours, Oh no! Ha ha, hee hee, ho ho, never yours!” Granny Lickspittle waved the thin blade around and around. Across the room Coryn’s yanked the staff from the wall.

“Ours, all ours! All…what is this?” The sea hag stopped mid-caper with a frown. She shook the rapier, trying to throw it down. Vines whipped out of the hilt and held fast to her forearm. “Let me go you little shit!”

More vines erupted from the stone floor, wall, and ceiling. The etched stone itself came to life and bound the hag in an instant. “Hey, you burned turd of a sword, let me go!”

The soft voice of Aurelia’Kae echoed across the walls.

“None but the blessed may touch the sacred blade. You are not a child of the Five. You are not blessed.”


Orion fell to his knees, free. He looked up at the sea hag bound tight with thick vines. She screamed, more in anger than in pain. The sound changed abruptly when the vines exploded outward with sharp silver thorns.

The walls rumbled. The other Behir was coming Audun danced along its back stabbing and yelling. The vines fell in a puddle of wasted meat and blood and Aurelia’Kae rolled into the paladin’s hands.

A bright green light filled the room and Orion turned to Coryn. The smell of summer filled the room. Bright flowers rose up out of the ground and the sun shone down even here in this cave. Orion felt a beautiful world reach out, beckoning, but held firm.

When the light vanished, the world of darkness and stone came crashing back.

Where before the druid had stood, only a lone tree now stood.

“Orion, we have to go. Now!”

Audun leapt off the top of the Behir. Gunjak roared into the great beast’s face and slammed his curved blade up into his jaws. Another wall exploded and the beast’s mate roared forth.

Orion ran. The trio raced through the tunnels back the way they had come, behind them the tree that was Coryn grew terrible roots that reached up through the stone. The power of nature tore that place apart, stone coming down fast and hard and leaving the group some time before the twin Behir could tear through.

As Orion, Audun, and Gunjak rolled up and out of the dirt hole into a world of rain, the Duava’rhem pyramid came crashing down behind them. Lighnting flashed down out of the storm overhead and met lightning rising up from the cataclysm below.

In seconds, all was silent save for the heavy, splashing rain.

“It was all a waste,” Orion whispered and stood. “Coryn is gone, possibly dead. All that knowledge with it.”
He heard a laugh behind him and turned. Audun flipped open a bag and turned it upside down. “Sure, but I bet he’ll come back. That druid is strange. And you killed the hag, so that’s a win. Plus, all this!”

Orion frowned as burned books, half-torn journals, and half a dozen maps fell onto the ground. Gold, bones, tokens of the hag’s power, and a mass of chain mail fell as well. Amidst it all, a tiny [Item for Camille] rolled across the ground.

Aurelia’Kae whispered. “A true knight of summer must be clad in the protective warmth of the Lady.”

He picked up the ancient elven chain and laughed.






Rewards
See here: Rewards from the Orion, Coryn, Audun Interlude

_________________
C Thomas Hand
GM/Storyteller/Swell Guy

The wisest words fit into pithy sayings.

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Game 16 - What were Orion, Coryn, and Audun doing?
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