Golden Palace - Ascension

From the view of a Stray

Game 6 : Demon Dwarves, marionettes and getting stoned

So that just happened?? Are we evening going to talk about it!? We discover a secret room with blood leading up to it, ok sure that’s weird, but we’re in a sieged compound. We bash in the wall ( which was built from the inside) to find a small work shop with an obviously crazed dwarf with eyes glazed over, working a mass of black stone amidst the remains of what appears to be a body. He’s emaciated, doesn’t look like he’s eaten or slept in days and yet he still works. I’m no Dwarf expert but last I checked they eat, a lot, and drink, a lot, and don’t work such obviously foul creations as he is making. He ignores my presence in the room, but as soon as the demon dog steps in, they lock eyes. All time seems to stop as the dwarf extends something to the gnoll, a race they have warred with for decades, an almost sworn enemy. After my gaze drops from the disturbing eye contact, I see what the dwarf holds, a ghastly haft comprised of the black stone, and bone and sinew from some pour unfortunate source, capped with a skull and riddled over with pulsing red veins of malicious and very evil feeling magic. I was wary of Grizh beforehand, seeing him wield this new …abomination… gives me pause, and I’ve slit my fair share of throats to lift a purse, I’m no angel.

The scholars of our group, mystical Vesmir and aged Xavardon, seem to have done some dark reading in their studies. Between their knowledge and what we can piece from the dwarves recollection, their race occasionally goes into a trance in times of need, to create stone and metal works, weapons and armor, to suit their Dwarven deities. Homage to the good gods they serve, very very rarely, a dark force besets the dwarf, and at this time, the pour soul is set to his work in a secluded place, and left to die after it is done creating the device. We don’t get much from the gnoll, due to his limited intellect I assume, I doubt he retained much, but he seems to have a new more focused goal in mind, this new weapon of his has a purpose to destroy the earth mage we are slowly closing in on.
p.
With this all too disturbing exchange burned into my young mind, we all move to leave the room after comforting the dwarf a bit and giving him some food and water, we have more work in here, and he doesn’t seem to have anything worth stealing. I’m the last to leave and the dwarf reaches out a frail hand that still holds the strength of his race. He confides in me about his dead kin, his own brother sacrificed to make the evil weapon, and sees his own pain spark something in my eyes when he brings this up. Who does he think he is, to assume that he has felt what I have felt, lost the family and friends that I have lost, lived through the hardships I have? Sure he’s lost everyone in his life, and I can assume that hurts, but this dwarf is probably close to 200 years old or more. He lost everything in the last year at the most, so he still has 199 years of memories that he can feed on, to bring a smile to his face as he continues his long lived life. I was born to poverty, I left my home after watching my mother fade and die in our homes only bed. I’ve lived on the streets my whole life; I’ve been beaten for stumbling out of an alley and bumping into a noble, watched a righteous paladin slaughter my adoptive kin for a minor slight. I don’t have one year of happy memories, let alone 199. Let the world assume my lust for gold is just my greediness, even my companions know nothing about me, what I’m willing to do. Money can’t buy you happiness they say, well if it’s your only option, I sure expect I’ll do my best. Regardless, I accept his concern, I’ve lied my whole life, it’s made me strong, I’m who I depend on. I move out to the group, stewing over my repressed thoughts that have boiled to the surface, sure would be nice to kill something.
p.
We descend down into what appears to be a newly constructed section of the complex, this earth shaper works quickly. He is quite slight at first appearance, in volumous robes, and standing atop a dais in the room. There is not cause for stealth so we approach. A multitude of voices, seeming to come out of the walls boom at us, accusing us of approaching, asking how we expect to beat such a force as him, it has all been foretold, it is legend. I see Xavardon taking it all in, his keen mind taking an ever running account of the world, of this speech, committing it to memory to be passed on to his kin, at least he was, until Grizh charges in to start the battle, you can tell your kin about battle tactics I guess Xav.
p.
Immediately upon entering we take in the massive room. Around the earth shaper two massive columns form and begin rotating independently of each other, with two glowing ruins on them. The four corners of the massive room have pedestals with glowing plaques on each, depicting runes of different kinds. Lastly to either side of the central dais, flanking the room, a larger than life statue of the earth shaper and a battered and beaten dwarf stand, the ominous observers of our impending battle.
p.
Grizh charges to a far column after his immediate prey disappears, and we soon learn the power of this geomancer. As the symbols align one of the columns flashes to life with the eerie blue magic we’ve seen, and 4 of those tentacle monsters appear from nowhere. As well, glaives, as sharp as any honed metal erupt from the ground around Grizh, slicing into him, and halting his progress. We too join into the fray, the 4 tentacle beasts splitting to engage us and the gnoll. Xavardon and Vesmir deduce quickly to eliminate the columns in an attempt to disrupt the magical effects; I look helplessly at my dagger, sure, smash a stone column, good idea guys.
p.
I glance over to see Xav wield his vicious halberd into a column, cleaving the plate in half nicely; stone rumbles down from some unseen area and he turns to engage a beast. I watch as Vesmir is assaulted by the stone glaives, his robes, providing little defense against the attack. He’s on his own, as my honed reflexes barely allow me to evade a stone hammer, descending from the ceiling in an instant. I look to my own column to attack, just like a finely crafted suit of armor, it has a fault, and with careful precision, I slide my blade home, splitting it down the center. I put a bolt into one of the approaching monsters to kill it, as the other veers towards the immobile wizard, he’ll be alright, I think.
p.
Grizh seems to be useless up in the corner, perhaps he’s turmoiling with his new weapon, or the earth shaper knows its power and is focusing on him, but he is stopped where he is, making no progress. Hopefully normal weapons can kill this man as well. I make a mad dash to a third column, and slash it with my sword, but I have not the musculature to defeat it. I see the symbol, and as I slowly puzzle it out, the rotating columns grind to a stop again, the flash of light around me shows me my folly, and the beasts appear flanking me on all sides. Desperate plans form in my head; I can’t possibly out race these ethereal floating monsters. Before I even enact a plan, Vesmirs shadow magic assaults the area around me, I don’t know what he did, or how I’m still alive, but two of the beasts are down, one of them dead, and the column destroyed.
p.
Grizh seems to have overcome his poor start, and topples his column, smashing the final pedestal, and the true threat appears to our group. I see Xavardon calculate, weigh the odds and walk up to slash at the man, with his halberd, and I quickly dart in and bury my dagger into his back, wait, what, he’s made of wood, and doesn’t have a head. Upon close inspection this “man” appears to be controlled by some translucent strands of magic, suspending him. As soon as my dagger finds hold, a symbol flashes, and he disappears, showing up over by Vesmir. A spell goes off, and I’m instantly cemented to the floor, this can’t be good.
p.
I barely see as Vesmir blasts the mancer into one of the braziers along the wall, his shadow magic lifting the puppet fully off his feet and bursting him into flame. Xavardon moves to my aid, but I quickly dismiss him to help the gnoll, who now seems to be facing the earth shaper and one of the mind control monsters. I see two of the other monsters quickly approaching me where I’m trapped in place, calling on as much dexterity as I can, I spin my torso about, blades everywhere, slicing to save my life. I do, and my part seems done for this fight as I’m stuck in place, I take a brief rest and a potion.
p.
Vesmir has pushed the mage once more into a flaming brazier and with Xavardon’s healing, Grizh’naw the Charred, wielding his new demonic weapon, steps up and doubles the earth shaper over, his stone magics crumbling their hold over us, and our collective sigh of relief is audible in the destroyed room. We won… didn’t we, was he a puppet or the real earth shaper? Whatever we have to report back to our factions, my charge for this “simple task” has now tripled. I think I’ll get Xavardon’s help with my report, he seems good with words. A quick rest in this Dwarven complex, and back to the outside world, I miss civilization and the full pockets of drunks to pick.
Taking out the geomancer burn it down
Taking out the geomancer getting dire
Taking out the geomancer final blow

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