Title: Where Galgiran Wills
Date: Mid Trilan, 1332 Avard
Synopsis: The ME team finds themselves in the ruins of Gil Hala, and face a horde of demons.
Afternoon of the 17th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
The Eye of Galgiran… flickered. Portals made by the gods did not flicker.
The four members of the ME team found themselves alone, as the Eye of Galgiran flickered again and closed behind them. They were each alone, with no sign of the other members of the team. They were in a strange place, with mirror-smooth walls made of some strange composite, parts of which seemed to transmit light from other places.
Aeron immediately intoned prayers to the God of Justice, and drew his longsword. The sword began to glow with a strong blue-white light that burned away the shadows. Aeron saw that the ceiling was nearly a hundred feet overhead, and there were rough patches of the strange composite rock. The blue-white light of Yatindar was transmitted through the rock in many places, absorbed in many others, reflected in so many places, and created distortions that made it difficult to interpret the light.
Aeron realized the other members of the team were nearby. He heard the clip-clop of a horse's shod feet on the glassy-smooth floor, and realized Greff was somewhere in the maze of stone with him. Behind Aeron on his mount was Gril Bandylegs. The dwarf was silent, immediately using the light available to compare the maze around him with his memories.
Gril said quietly, nervously, “We're in Gil Hala. These are the dwarf ruins where I found the statue of the demon god.”
Arkhan sat silently on Bergeron, listening to the chamber of carved rock. The blue-white glow of Yatindar was a comfortable reminder that his friend – and he had to admit to himself that he was a friend – was there with him, wherever he was. The draestrier mount snuffled, and then sought purchase in the glassy-smooth wall. There were imperfections, places where the rock was rough, where claws made for climbing could get purchase. Arkhan strapped himself into his custom saddle, and held on as Bergeron climbed up the wall.
Greff was in a corridor seven feet tall and seven feet wide. The walls echoed weirdly, and there were odd glows from a myriad of directions. The bluish and white color was familiar, comfortable… It meant that Aeron – or, at least, Yatindar – was somewhere nearby. Greff had been mounted when he went through the Eye of Galgiran, and he felt lucky his head had not struck the ceiling, or worse, when he came through the eye. The aging brawler dismounted, and led Buck forward a bit by the reigns, seeing if there was an end to the tunnel.
Corrin, familiar with dwarven workmanship, strapped herself in on her silik. Demon climbed up out of the maze of seven foot high corridors with ease, going straight up the wall. The silik slowly began to glow a faint phosphorescent green, adding its illumination to the blue-white light leaking in from some places. The chamber they were in was near dark, and the soft glow of Yatindar was faint – but it was unmistakeable in the darkness.
Alaire d'Montagne, Thaumaturgist of Lok Magius, Summoner of the Fourth Order, was freaking lost. He had found a reference to the Demon God, Argunas, in his travels; unfortunately, the reference said only that Argunas had been banished, and not where. Further studies narrowed the banishment down to Gil Hala, the ruins beneath Mount Lavanor. Alaire's magics helped him slip by the dwarven guards and through the locked gates, and into the maze of Gil Hala. The dwarves of Gil Hala had been gone for millennia.
Though Alaire both spoke and read the dwarven tongue, the carvings in many places meant nothing to him, and he could only add them to his internal map. 'Flower Way' was little other than a name without some flowers of some kind, somewhere. 'Slash and Shovel to Flower Way' meant even less. Alaire knew the dwarven runes, but his was a book study and not learned from an actual dwarf. He was missing something, and he knew it. And that was why he was lost.
There had been an odd stoccotto burst of blueish light, and then a blue-white light suffused the rock, sending tentrils of light in a maze of directions. Alaire extinguished his mage light, and listened. The sound of a horse (What fool brings a horse into a dwarven cave?) thoroughly added to Alaire's confusion.
Greff was wary. He had heard Arkhan, somewhere in the maze, the sound echoing. He knew Aeron was there. And he had seen the strangely moving glow that reminded him of Demon, though he could not place where it was coming from.
And around the corner appeared a young man in a silvery cape, the hood drawn up over his face.
The two startled one another, Greff thinking Alaire was the man responsible for his loss in the maze, while Alaire thought Greff some demon summoned from Shadareth. When Greff proved the more aggressive of the two, Alaire sought to escape, disappearing in a haze of moon-colored fog. The githzerai leapt blindly, grappling with his invisible opponent, while magics flared in a flurry of silvery haze.
Corrin, leading Aeron and Gril, helped stop the feuding.
Arkhan realized that Alaire knew as little about the maze as he did, and helped keep the two from fighting one another, as well.
Aeron, suspecting evil, brought forth his sword and held it upside-down. Alaire, a mage wary of a priest of Yatindar, knew not what to expect – but surrounded and out-numbered, a paladin and a silik among them, Alaire felt he had little choice but to submit, webbed as his feet were. Aeron's blade, when used to draw truth, would only cut those who lied.
Under questioning, in which the blade did not draw blood, Alaire related that he was a master summoner from Lok Magius. The art of summoning also involved the art of counter-summoning, disrupting summons, and preventing conjured creatures from appearing. There were few demons to learn from, and Alaire had come to learn how to unsummon demons – the signs of demonic works having been seen for months.
Aeron seemed wary of a mage wishing to learn from demons, but Alaire assured him that the objective was good-natured, that the mage wished to learn how to banish demons – but doing so required knowing how to summon them, as well.
Since Yatindar did not draw blood via the blade, Aeron grudgingly accepted Alaire's presence.
Arkhan accepted Alaire much more quickly, the young man's movements and demeanor revealing not a single evil bone in the man's body. Indeed, there was an innocense about him that was endearing.
Together, the six of them began to explore the chasm and the maze, hoping to eventually match something to Gril Bandylegs' prior visits. At last, after several hours' searching, they found a chasm and maze that matched Gril's memory and his maps. From there, it was a simple matter of deciding which way to go – out of the maze, or towards the demon statue.
Corrin was determined to find the last piece of the bloodstone for the Rakanus Clan, and urged them to go after the statue. The rest were in agreement, as finding the statue might help them put an end to the demons in Rakore.
As they moved closer and closer to the statue, through the maze of chasms and corridors, they began to hear sign of tongue demons. The hissing was unmistakeable, and it sent a chill up their spines and set their hairs on end.
In the last chasm, they found demons. There were a score of tongue demons, and when only half a dozen attacked, they realized something was seriously amiss. Alaire and Aeron realized that the statue of Argunas was being used as a conduit; it was how so many demons had been brought in. The tongue demons were worshipping, calling, praying, bringing forth yet another demon through the statue.
The team attacked, determined to get to the statue and destroy it before another demon was brought forth. Alaire summoned a flaming elemental, as Burgeron and Justice crawled over the maze to engage the tongue demons. Demon webbed one while Corrin fired bolt after bolt. And Greff simply leapt up the seven feet to the top of the wall, running along the corridors in the maze from above, his fists and feet raining down on demons like a thousand hammer blows.
The tongue demons lashed at the team with tongues nearly twenty feet long, the tips of which rasped the skin right off and hit with such force that they left a man dazed and incoherent. Fortunately, the ME team were all combat veterans, shaking off the dazing wherever possible. In Greff's case, it was little different than being too drunk to move, and his drunken brawling style served him well as he put his fist through a tongue demon, making it exlpode into a thousand wriggling tongues that smelled of brimstone.
Aeron called out to Yatindar once more, hurling a small blade across the maze towards the statue. The small blade duplicated itself, fanning out, becoming a line of blades near the statue. The tongue demons nearest the statue were riven to shreds as the whirling blades cut them off from the statue to their god.
The rest of the tongue demons tried to scatter, with many of them being cut down by Arkhan and Greff.
Alaire made it to the statue, and used his arcane powers to stop the resonance within. The demon summoning, though interrupted, had transferred enough power to the statue to bring forth something aborted. Working quickly, Demon fashioned lines, and Burgeron and Justice began to haul at the statue. Alaire summoned another elemental beast, and used it to weaken the base of the statue. Within moments, the statue tumbled, shattering on the glassy rock.
The stone of the statue had a strange, soapy feel to it, and was made of some green rock.
The demons hissed from the depths of the maze, scattering.
Alaire, sensing the chase afoot, disappeared in a haze of moon-colored fog.
The ME team, tired and sweaty, drew together for support beneath the familiar light of Aeron's sword, as more demons called from the darkness.
Afternoon of the 17th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Dinner was chili, with delicious Chocolate Lovers' cake from Rao's Bakery. Caileb joined us for a guest match as we celebrated his 12th birthday.
I'm rather glad they interrupted the summoning. I had a demon lord handy, and the perfect miniature for it, thanks to Bill bringing his Bag of Miniature Holding. :)
I wish I had a digital recording and transcription system. They guys were very good-natured about playing with Caileb, and it was funny as hell. If I could only remember it, word for word, writing it down would be a hell of a story.
After Sommer and I got to talking, we looked at Caileb's summoner, and we both wish we could play him! Caileb didn't know it, but he could have summoned up to three creatures per ROUND. The boy really did do a good job of creating his character – he just didn't know enough about the rules to really engage the character's strengths. One on one, knowing what both characters can do, I think Greff would win in the long run against Alaire – but Alaire could put a major hurting on anyone in the party (perhaps save Arkhan).
RPG System: Dungeons and Dragons, 4th Edition.
All characters have 46,000XP (13th level).