Journal Posts

Tag: boss_battle

Chapter 7 — First Confrontation
"Wake up! It's Samber!"

   The figure raised his hand, palm forward, and shouted, "An o stobadh!" Then, the cloaked form moved so quickly that it appeared as a blur. It moved the sixty feet to Leokas, passed behind him, and then could be seen in the elf's peripheral vision. Before any of them had even sat up all the way, before Leokas could even turn his head to get a better look, they all heard an extremely high-pitched voice that sounded like a rat or a berrygobbler. Leokas saw a rip in the fabric of space open up just at the base of the hill, and he was gazing at stars. He knew he was trying to move, but it was as if time were moving slowly for him.

   More strange squeaks came from the person behind him, and all of them felt themselves falling, sideways, toward the opened gate hovering in the air, as if gravity itself had been altered. Mythlos frantically reached out to grab onto anything, but his bag of holding thumped him in the chest, and he and the sack slid off the floor of the gazebo and tumbled through the air into the opening and vanished. Kamil nuzzed and thrashed, nearly kicking Belvin in the head, as the poor camel joined Mythlos in his fate. Stormshadow followed, barking loudly. Even the armored guards from the castle fell from their posts toward the rift; however, they did not pass through. Instead, several of them seemed suspended in the air on the back side of the opening.

   Cassiera yelled out as she fell sideways, twisting in the air and grabbing hold of the nearest thing she could reach, as her bag of holding plummeted away. She caught hold of Hakam's ankle. He was floating slowly, parallel to the ground, away from the gazebo, as his ring of feather falling slowed his fall towards the fissure. Leokas found himself hanging from one of the columns of the gazebo, which from his perspective was now horizontal. He glanced around quickly. Looking "down" he could no longer see stars through the rift, only darkness. Twigs and pebbles and leaves were flying, falling, all around him. He saw Hakam floating slowly toward the magic hole, with Cassiera hanging from his leg. "It's freezing!" she called out. Szordrin was trying to prevent himself from falling between two of the columns. Belvin, strangely, was suspended, looking like he was hanging by his leg from an invisible rope. "How? What? Why?" the wild elf was mumbling in Elven.

   Just over the top — or side — of the pillar from which he was hanging, Leokas could see Samber, in his maroon cloak. He had three limbs in contact with the ground, sticking to it like glue so that he was not falling. With his free arm, he held onto Ilthian by her wrist, as she dangled sideways through the air.

   "Are you... the Maker?" she asked. "What is happening?"

   Hakam shouted out and held up his hand as he floated farther and farther away. A beam of searingly bright radiance shot from the cleric's open palm, and the ray struck Samber in the chest, enveloping him in light as bright as the sun. Samber gasped out and dropped Ilthian. She fell like a stone and plummeted directly toward Hakam. In a moment of rare agility on his part, he caught her. Moments later, the Calishite and the two women vanished from within the dome.

   Leokas took this opportunity to pull himself up atop the pillar in a feat of strength to balance precariously along its length. Samber glanced over at him, but a ray of fire shot from Szordrin's magic wand. The fire, however, seemed to pass completely around Samber's form, not affecting him at all. Then Szordrin slipped between the two columns. He caught himself again, hanging with one hand on each and using all of his strength to not plummet.

   With Samber distracted by Szordrin's attack, Leokas leapt from the pillar onto Samber's back, pinning the latter's arms in a tight hold so he couldn't use them to cast any more spells. "Toras gné!" Samber shouted, and the man vanished from within Leokas' grasp. Leokas now fell through the air, but he flipped himself around like a cat to fall feet first, kicked himself from the floor of the gazebo — which to him was a wall — and landed on one of the far columns. He wobbled but managed to maintain his balance. Unfortunately, he also stepped on Szordrin's hand.

   Szordrin cried out on pain. He could not hold himself up with only one hand, and he started slipping. As he fell, he shouted out, "If we go down, we are taking your secrets with us!" and he took one parting shot at Samber, who was now "standing" on the ground near Belvin. Once again, his aim was true, but the blast of fire from the wand simply passed around Samber, and the tiefling wizard fell through the fissure.

   "Why are you here, druid?" said Samber. "Why have you followed me? What do you plan to do?

   "I was sent by my god," Belvin answered. "I do not yet know why."

   Samber began chanting in another tongue for several seconds and then touched the stump of Belvin's hanging arm, as he dangled sideways. "Perhaps this will make you think differently of me," he said. Belvin felt a pleasant tingling sensation, as a white energy flowed from Samber's fingertips.

   "Now, farewell!" Instantly, Belvin dropped, shooting head-first through the air toward the rift.

   Now only Leokas remained. He jumped from one pillar to the next, just in time to see his friend fall. Now he balanced deftly and removed his darkwood bow from his shoulders and drew an arrow, but he did not shoot.

   "You are impressively agile, elf!" Samber called up, as he stuck firmly to the ground.

   "You must cease what you are doing here!" Leokas called back.

   "By whose authority?"

   "They sent me back from the grave to stop your meddling."

   "Why? What right do the gods have to stop me?"

   "They created us; they know what is best for their creations!"

   "Likewise, I know what is best for mine," said Samber.

   With that, he simply pointed a finger at Leokas, and everything went black.
Session: 60th Game Session - Monday, Oct 19 2015 from 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Chapter 7 — Dance with a Devil
"...I look forward to a different flavor than that of goblin children. Let's dance."

   Before Mythlos could respond, three giant animals appeared before him, golden-haired bison with shaggy manes and sparkling silver horns. With deep, angry grunts, the celestial animals charged the creature of evil on the other side of the cavern chamber. The devil avoided the first two with unnatural dexterity but was gored by the silver horns of the third. It lifted the devil a foot in the air and shook its shaggy head, before the osyluth freed itself, dripping black blood to the cave floor where it sizzled.

   Mythlos held his sword defensively and rushed to the right behind a large boulder for cover. There were the hobgoblin children, two of them, one with bows in her hair. They were hugging each other tightly in terror.

   The osyluth shouted out something in its beautiful yet frightening tongue. Mythlos made out the word baator again. He charged past the two children and with a heroic lunge, leapt onto the back of one of the golden bison, swinging his silver sword down at the nine-foot-tall monster before him. His blade struck the osyluth on the top of its elongated skull, and more black blood splattered.

   The bone devil gave a hissing cry and raised itself to full height, showing its claws and fangs. The bison panicked and fled, and Mythlos found himself flat on his back as the animal he had been standing on pulled from under him. The next moment, the moon elf found his sword arm in the devil's jaws. He screamed in pain and struck its head with his left fist. It released him and then slashed him across the face, gashing his cheek and getting his own blood in his left eye. A second swing from the devil's claws seemed to have been deflected by an unseen force, Hakam's spell of protection. He tried to stand up, but found himself pinned to the ground by the creature's scorpion-like tail. Fortunately, his armor took most of the force of the blow, and he was spared the effects of hellish poison entering his bloodstream.

   Over the devil's left shoulder, Mythlos saw the faint image of a floating sword appear. It struck at the osyluth and was disrupted into nothingness by the power of the devil. Even so, it distracted the devil for long enough for Mythlos to roll to the side and launch back to his feet with a rising handspring. He swung his sword again at his enemy, but the monster dodged the blow while laughing. Then it swung its skeletal claws and snapped down with its jaws. One of the claws struck Mythlos soundly, tearing through his leather armor and flesh. The elf touched his blade to his skin to heal the wound, while dodging a stab from the monster's tail and deflecting another swing of its claws. He retreated to his left, placing a tall shard of omlar between him and the devil until he could figure out a better strategy.

   The osyluth slowly approached the moon elf. "I see you realize now the foolishness of taking me on in combat, mortal." Mythlos heard the melodic voice in his head. "You cannot hide behind rocks forever."

   There was the sound of shattering ice and Mythlos looked over to the right and saw the hand of a being of fire punch through. Then the bison, who were cowering at opposite corners of the room, vanished. The osyluth glanced back at the sound. Mythlos rushed out from behind the omlar and swung with all his might at the towering fiend, but the hellish creature darted aside, unscathed, and again it laughed at the elf.

   Behind the bone devil, Mythlos saw the fire elemental come through, followed by Leokas. The osyluth took a swing with his claws, which Mythlos blocked, and then turned and obliterated the fire elemental in a series of savage blows with claw and tail. Leokas darted to the right to get out into the open, but the osyluth's long neck brought his sharp teeth down unexpectedly on the wood elf's shoulder, biting out a bit of leather and skin. Cassiera, however, managed to sneak past the osyluth as it focused on Leokas, and she ran beyond them to the large boulder.

   Leokas heard the devil's voice. "So, you've made your way out of my first trap, I see."

   In response, Leokas sprang backwards and loosed two arrows, one silver and one magical, with the same pull, but the devil anticipated their flight and leapt to the side like a jumping insect.

   Cassiera spotted the children behind the boulder and ran to them.

   "They aren't worth the risk!" Leokas shouted at her.

   "The elf speaks the truth, serpent-spawn," she heard. "Wherever you take them, I will find them — and you."

   She ignored this. She reached the children, took one under each arm, and jogged as fast as she could to a pile of rocks she spotted ahead.

   Mythlos stepped forward again and swung. This time, his blow found its target, and more black blood splattered. The devil hissed, spun, and struck Mythlos in the head, nearly tearing off his ear, but Mythlos had a trick up his sleeve. As the devil pulled back for another blow, he called out a magical command. He had set the marble elephant on the ground between him and the outsider. The elephant grew into its massive size, knocking the osyluth back with its expanding mass. The moon elf healed his ear with his magic sword.

   Two more arrows whizzed past the devil, as Leokas shot and missed. He was careful not to strike the elephant.

   The summoned beast trumpeted, gored at the devil, and kicked at it, but even though its attacks were accurate, the devil didn't seem hurt by them at all. Then, just as Leokas was about to loose another shot, the osyluth vanished. The elephant began to shake and stomp. The outsider had appeared upon its back and dug its sharp talons into its hide. Leokas re-aimed his shot. The arrow struck true, finding its target in the devil's forehead but unable to pierce through its thick skull. The devil did not even flinch.

   Leokas heard the fiend's laughter with his ears and then its voice in his head, "Do you really think a tiny arrow will...?"

   It was interrupted by a surprise attack from Mythlos' sword. The elf had stepped on the elephant's trunk and been launched up to join the devil on its back. The swing left a black gash on the monster's chest.

   "You really want to die, don't you?" the voice said. "Why would you sacrifice your life for evil beings?"

   "The only evil I see here is you," said Mythlos.

   "So be it, fool" said the devil. "I'll gladly kill you now." Then it hissed, spit splashing from its maw. Mythlos' blood sprayed as the osyluth slashed, snapped, and stabbed with its weapons, every blow striking true. The elf was knocked like a rag doll and fell the nearly fifteen feet to the ground, landing on his back for the second time. He tried to get up, but he felt the devil's poison weakening him.

   "Mythlos!" Leokas began shooting rapidly, but the arrows seemed to deflect off the devil's body, as if he were shooting at stone. The elephant could not get the monster off its back; it only dug its lower claws in more deeply.

   Szordrin had just made it out from under the ice. "Belvin! We need you!" He sent two magic pulses through the air, but they did nothing.

   The wild elf appeared and called down a bolt of lightning from the dark cloud hovering above. It struck the osyluth as it was about to jump from the elephant's back. Both the devil and the poor magic animal convulsed from the shock. This gave Mythlos the time he needed to get back up on his feet. He stumbled forward toward Hakam, who had just appeared again from behind the ice wall.

   "Hakam! Help me!" moaned Mythlos, but just before he reached his companions — on gelug! — a second wall of ice formed, cutting him off. "Not so fast, elf. A devil always keeps its promise."

   Once again, Mythlos was alone with the devil.

   Behind the second wall, Szordrin drew his wand and began melting through the ice with a stream of fire.

   "There's no time!" shouted Leokas. "We need another strategy."

   "It's hopeless," said Hakam. "Even if we break through again, it can simply teleport."

   Belvin shouted out, sending down another bolt at his enemy on the other side of the ice, hoping it would save his friend. "Patience, elf," he heard in his head. "I'm killing your friend now; I'll come for you next."

   Back on the other side of the ice, the osyluth leapt from the elephant's back. Mythlos turned, and it was as if time were running more slowly. He saw the sharp point of the devil's venomous tail aimed directly for him, as the monster plummeted down on him. It was going to hit him directly in the chest. This was it. This was his last breath.

   Then there was a strange flash from his sword, and the next instant he found himself standing behind the devil. It had struck the ground with a thud, and its stinger was thrust deep into the earth where Mythlos had once stood. It was stuck.

   There was a new rune on the blade.

   With a shout of victory, Mythlos plunged his moonblade deep into the fiend's back and clear through to the other side. A hellish shriek came from the monster's mouth. It twitched and shook and collapsed to the ground. Ripples of light pulsed through its crumpled body, and then it exploded into a cloud of ash and smoke that instantly dispersed. The two walls of ice vibrated and shattered into tiny crystals. Yasheira's prophecy for Mythlos was fulfilled.
Session: 58th Game Session - Thursday, Aug 27 2015 from 10:45 PM to 1:45 AM
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Epic!
Chapter 7 — Trapped Beneath the Ice
"...Send forth servants of great strength!" Hakam finished his summoning, but its result was hidden from him by the wall of ice.

   Belvin immediately began summoning a fire elemental, since he had requested no fire-based spells from Thard Harr that morning. Thankfully, Szordrin had prepared a single fire spell, and he launched a flaming sphere at the ice. Cassiera threw a vial of alchemist's fire at the same spot, which shattered and ignited. Water began pooling at the floor, as the heat from the flames began to melt their prison.

   Hakam touched the wall with his hand. "Magic begone!" he commanded, but the devil's evocation was too powerful for him to overcome.

   Suddenly, they all felt a dreadful chill, and it did not come from the ice. They felt it all around them, a sense of evil in the very air. Instantly, they found themselves surrounded on all sides, as molten blobs of sickening flesh appeared in their midst. The creatures vaguely had recognizable faces, locked in a look of agony, and they had stubby arms, ending in sharp, black claws. They oozed across the cavern floor, moaning and swinging their claws. There were so many that they overflowed into the open tunnel from which the adventurers had come. Hakam now found himself cut off from the others with two of the monstrosities between him and the others, and the creatures cut off everyone from the wall as well.

   "Lemures!" shouted Szordrin and Hakam together, as they separately recognized the new devilish fiends that had appeared in their midst. Neither had ever seen the lowliest of baatezu before, but many tales were told of the pitiful state of the mindless souls of the Nine Hells that composed the largest part of its armies.

   The lemure nearest Hakam recoiled because of the protection from evil that Hakam had cast on himself and could not approach any closer to him, but none of the others trapped under the ice had such an advantage. Fortunately, the heinous creatures were nearly as slow as a typical zombie, though they were persistent. Cassiera soon found herself scratched and bleeding from the swipes from the three lemures that had her completely surrounded. She and Belvin were slashing desperately with their magical scimitars and Szordrin with his dagger, but every deep gash they left in the fleshy devils quickly resealed in seconds.

   "Belvin, use your silver dagger!" shouted Szordrin over the droning sound of the devils' moanings.

   Instead, Belvin turned his side toward Leokas, and the wood elf drew his friend's dagger from the latter's thigh. Leokas swung down at the nearest devil and left a deep gash through its head and between its eyes. The cut glowed silver and the creature's head fell open like a split log. The devil slowed a bit, but it was still alive and just as eager to slash and cut at anything else living.

   Belvin's fire elemental appeared and glided over to join the flaming sphere in melting through the ice. It looked like they had melted through four inches.

   Since Hakam could not be attacked, he continued trying to assist Mythlos, who he hoped was still alive on the other side. The cleric summoned a spiritual longsword, though he could not at all see where it would be appearing. Then he stabbed at a lemure with his longsword and had the same problem as the others. His blade plunged into its soft flesh, and when he pulled it out, the flesh healed back immediately.

   The lemures continued pressing around them, crowding them in with constant groans and slashing. Belvin joined Cassiera in taking wounds from the devils' claws, but neither was badly hurt. Szrodrin's spell of shielding deflected the vast majority of the lemures' blows, and he had no trouble dodging the rest. Leokas, too, deftly avoided injury, yet while they were not suffering great harm, they neither could inflict any on their attackers, for the lemures' amorphous forms made them harder to target, and many swings missed, as what was once a five-foot-tall blob spread out and flattened.

   Kamil was nuzzing loudly and kicking at the foul creatures surrounding it. Then one of the lemures managed to leave a cut on his hide. Belvin screamed and began raging like a barbarian, but still his blows were ineffective as he struggled to rescue his animal companion.

   Szordrin gave up using his dagger and returned to magic. He shot a jolt of electricity from his fingertips at one of the lemures. It convulsed and then continued slashing.

   "Electricity can hurt them!" shouted Szordrin.

   Despite his rage, Belvin seemed to have heard Szordrin's shout. He began waving his remaining arm and began a frenzied chant, calling a storm to form. The lemures swung at him, but he ignored the scratches and kept concentrating on his spell.

   "We've melted through!" Szordrin called out. He was closest to the door, but a lemure and the fire elemental stood between him and the exit. His flaming sphere had faded away, and the fire elemental immediately turned and tried to pummel one of the lemures, but its fire did nothing at all to the creature.

   "You thought you trapped us? Well, you missed one of us," said Szordrin. He was trying to use magic to throw his voice through the opening in the ice and confuse the osyluth, though he had no way of knowing if the ploy was effective. Looking over the elemental and a lemure, he thought he could see a golden-furred bison right at the opening, bucking wildly in terror at something. "A... bison is blocking the exit!"

   "Get away from me, fiend!" shouted Hakam, as he splashed a vial of holy water on a lemure, which melted its flesh like acid. Since he had stabbed it, it seemed no longer repulsed by his protective magic. Still it came toward him, he shoved it back with a violent push and bought himself enough time to wave his hand and dismiss his summon. Szordrin saw the panicked buffalo vanish.

   Leokas was about to attempt a tumble past one of the lemures to reach the exit, but two moved together and blocked his way. The fire elemental blocked the other route. He cursed in frustration. "Belvin, now your elemental blocks the way!"

   Belvin could do nothing to dismiss his summon as he was still casting.

   Cassiera hacked one of the lemure's arms nearly off, but it reattached itself right afterward. She turned her head and called out at the fire elemental in its crackling tongue. It obeyed her voice, stopped swinging at its target, and charged out the hole it had melted. "Clear!" she shouted.

   Leokas heard her call and saw his opening at last. With a bound, he front-flipped clear over an attacking lemure and landed soundly on his feet on the other side. The path was indeed clear to the exit. "Szordrin!" he called and tossed Belvin's silver dagger to the wizard, who caught it on the handle. Then he reached the exit and began ducking and passing through. Cassiera passed between Belvin and Szordrin, dodging the fiends' blows, and followed behind the wood elf.

   Just then, a dark, billowing cloud filled the chamber in a matter of seconds, and everyone's hairs began to stand on end. Belvin pointed at the lemure nearest Kamil and shouted, and a flash of light with an accompanying crackle nearly blinded and deafened all of them. The lemure convulsed violently as electricity pulsed through its body.

   A gunshot immediately followed from Hakam's weapon, as Hakam and Szordrin continued trying to fight their way out from under the ice. Belvin's only concern was Kamil. Another lightning bolt fell from above, and the first lemure was at last destroyed, melting into a pool of ooze and vanishing. Szordrin cheered. A second gunshot followed. Still the lemures pressed in on the three adventurers. There was a third flash of lightning, and then, as suddenly as they had appeared, all of the lemure vanished. The bone devil's summoning had ended.

   Belvin rushed to his camel; the other two charged for the opening in the ice, hoping their companions were still alive on the other side.
Session: 58th Game Session - Thursday, Aug 27 2015 from 10:45 PM to 1:45 AM
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Chapter 5 — Yrevkethend's Children
"Ready yourselves," said Rinald. He began sprinkling some silver powder from his component pouch in a tight circle around himself to protect from evil.

   Hakam followed suit and removed a scroll from its case and read it, imbuing himself with magical endurance. He also cast a spell upon Mythlos to boost his strength. Belvin readied himself with magical resistance to electricity, and Hakam granted the same protection to himself and Leokas. Leokas drank a potion to remove fear. Mythlos read the two spells from the scroll they had been given by Kyrin to protect himself and Jayce. Jayce also drank the potion vial that Kyrin had given them. Rinald continued casting spells upon himself; they saw him sprinkle carrot powder in his own eyes and saw a long, thick animal hair vanish from his fingertips. He granted Mythlos resistance from electricity as well.

   "I have an idea," whispered Jayce. "If you can protect me from at least a single breathing of a dragon, I will offer a 'gift' of our marble elephant to them."

   "That will never work," replied Rinald.

   "No, but it might give the rest of you a chance to spread out and get me close enough to release the elephant. I've also drunk the potion of sanctuary, so I'll have multiple protections."

   So Hakam read a scroll to protect Jayce from electricity. Jayce then cast upon himself the gift of tongues.

   Rinald clutched a tiny wooden archery target charm in his fingers. "Strike true," he said to the others. Then he nodded to Jayce.

   "Stormshadow, stay," said Leokas.

   Jayce stepped out of the tunnel into the large chamber, the elephant figurine in his palm.

   It was such a large room, that Jayce could not see the ends of it in the dim light that came from Mythlos' sword behind him in the tunnel. After walking ten feet in, he could make out two massive columns, that held up the ceiling 40 feet above. About 40 feet ahead of him, there was the opening to another tunnel. He approached it.

   Just passing between the two columns, he called out into the darkness in a loud voice. "Children of Yrevkethend!" he spoke in Draconic. "I come bearing a gift for you, future rulers of Calimshan. Please hear my supplication."

   "Ah, what a delight to be visited by a humble vassal!" A male voice came from somewhere down the tunnel in front of him. "Come forward to present your gift."

   They heard Sseth's voice calling out from somewhere in the darkness to the right, "Don't listen to him, Jayce! Come free me first, and I will fight for you."

   They heard Sseth's voice again, this time, however, from the left, "I did not say that!"

   Suddenly, the horned head of a dragon popped up in front of Jayce. Apparently, the tunnel ahead dropped down from a ledge. Jayce dropped down to his knees. "I am thy servant!" he said. There was a crackling sound, like that of static, and the dragon opened his mouth. A stream of charged plasma burst from between the jagged teeth. Jayce dodged to the side, but the bolt still struck him and continued on, striking the left wall of the tunnel, where the others still waited on the other side of the chamber, and filling the air with a smell of ozone. Electricity traveled around Jayce's body and then dissipated. Thankfully, it was fully absorbed by the invisible magic field surrounding him.

   "Thank thee, my master! I crave more of thy power," screamed Jayce with a mixture of terror and excitement.

   "He has guts, where he lacks wisdom," said Rinald. "Come on, before the dragon can breathe again!" He rushed into the room and scurried quickly behind the large column to the left for cover. Leokas followed him. Hakam charged out with his musket, took aim, and fired, but the shot ricocheted off the cavern walls to the left of the dragon's head. Belvin released a ball of fire from the tunnel. It flew over Jayce's head, rolled forward, and fell off the drop-off to land on the dragon.

   "How long before he can breathe again?" asked Leokas, as he reached Rinald behind the stone column.

   "Five to thirty seconds, generally," said Rinald.

   "I present thy gift!" proclaimed Jayce, and he tossed the marble figurine toward the dragon's head. It struck the ground, and Jayce shouted a magic word of command. The figurine instantly grew to an enormous tusked beast thirteen-feet-to-the-shoulder.

   "Trample him!" commanded Jayce.

   The elephant trumpeted and obeyed, rushing into the tunnel, using the smaller dragon like an access ramp to descend into it. The dragon roared in pain as both the dragon and the elephant disappeared from sight momentarily —

   — but only momentarily. The angered blue leapt out of the passage immediately after the elephant trampled over him. It was seven feet from the floor to the dragon's shoulder. His neck was an additional seven feet, and his head lunged forward and took a bite out of Jayce's shoulder, ripping the clothing and flesh and exposing the bone.

   As Mythlos darted into the open and to the rightmost stone column behind Jayce, there was another intense flash of light in the darkness of the chamber. The dragon's sibling had emerged from somewhere to the right and breathed lightning. Hakam, unsuspecting the attack, was struck directly, and convulsed wildly as the energy pulsed through him. Staggered from the damage, he stepped back into the tunnel and extracted a scroll with which to heal himself from the electrical burns now covering his skin.

   "Make it count," Rinald said, as he handed a jet black arrow to Leokas. "It's my last." Then he sprinted to an opening in the chamber wall to the left, another passage.

   The ball of fire Belvin had summoned obeyed his hand motions and rose out of the chamber behind the dragon and singed its scales again. At the same time, Jayce created a pool of grease below the dragon's feet, which immediately ignited. "Pull him back!" he commanded the elephant. He heard the pachyderm trumpet again in response and saw its massive trunk grab the dragon's tail. The animal pulled back. Standing on a surface of slippery, ignited grease, the dragon fell flat on his torso and was yanked back off the edge and out of sight again. Jayce stumbled backward to lean against the column behind Mythlos to recover.

   "Sister! I am trapped!" the dragon called out from below.

   With a gallop, the other dragon came into the center of the room and opened her mouth, but some unseen force prevented her from breathing again, and she slammed her jaws shut confused. Jayce's potion had warded him from her attack.

   "Mythlos, now! Weaken her scales!" Leokas shouted from behind the cover of the other column.

   Mythlos popped out from around the corner to face the dragon, unfurling the scroll in one fluid motion and finishing the spell written upon it. He held his left palm forward, and a dull ray emerged from his hand, striking the dragon and enveloping her in a gray field of magic, which then faded away.

   "Solonor, guide my aim!" Leokas prayed with bow nocked with the black arrow. He twirled out from behind the cover of the column and let his arrow fly.

   The gods favored them that day.

   The arrow struck the dragon in her long neck, puncturing her magically softened scales. It sunk in deep. Instantly, she flopped over and collapsed to the ground, dead.

   Mythlos healed Jayce with his moonblade, while the others rushed to the flames to be ready if the remaining dragon won his struggle with the larger elephant, who had him pinned under its hooves. He breathed another burst of electricity through the elephant's body, but the attack barely fazed the beast, and it did not release the pin.

   Then Rinald, who had been approaching with his back to the far wall, reached the fire. Using his pole arm as a vaulting stick, he launched over the fire into the air and deftly spun the point around as he dropped out of sight over the edge.

   Belvin dismissed the ball of fire, and the grease burned away. They peered over the edge to see the old man standing over the body of the young dragon, his ranseur imbedded in the creature's brain through his left eye socket.

   Belvin began clapping slowly.
Session: 39th Game Session - Wednesday, Sep 03 2014 from 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Chapter 4 — The Duel
The party of adventurers, with the prisoners they had just rescued, were now escorted back among Gargon's troops. They were talking in low voices amongst themselves, discussing what factors they might be able to use to turn the tide of the upcoming battle in favor of Mythlos.

   "Perhaps we can convince him to allow us a night's rest to replenish our spells," suggested one of them. "Then we can prepare you magically for battle, boosting your strength and endurance."

   "I will lose the special power of my sword in this moonlight," said Mythlos, "if we fight tomorrow."

   "He will be sure to have his own spellcasters boost his own abilities," said another.

   "Perhaps we can convince him to agree to a fight with no magical enhancements from outside persons," suggested Mythlos.

   They sent Jayce forward through the group to request a word with Gargon. He made his way back to them several minutes later. "He agrees to your proposal; however, he also insists that the fight be melee weapons only."

   "No matter," said Mythlos, "I would rather swing my sword than use my shortbow. Surely you know this."

   "You will be faster than he in his dragonhide armor, though," said Leokas. "The bow could have been in your favor."

   "Well, not anymore," said Jayce. "That also eliminates the magic bells as an option."

   "You can wear the periapt of health," said Leokas, "for the odd chance that he has a disease-infested flail head."

   "Or the ring of feather falling," said Hakam.

   "I don't see myself falling any great distance," said Mythlos. "No, keep both items; if I should fall tonight, at least he will not be able to claim the items as loot for himself from my dead body."

   "You will not fall," said Faelar. "Do not talk like that."

   "You should at least carry my healing potions into battle," said Hakam.

   "And mine," said Mick.

   "Here," said Jayce, "wear this potion belt. I have no potions in it at the moment. It will give you quick access to the vials."

~~~~


They walked the rest of the night journey in silence, except for Jayce, who could not resist an opportunity to get on good terms with some of Gargon's soldiers.

   "You seem a nice fellow," said one of the men to him, "but I cannot betray my lord. I am a man of honor, and I have sworn my fealty to him. Surely you must understand this. I will pray Tymora smiles on you, though it seems like you will go free regardless of what happens tonight. No, I fear rather for that moon elf friend of yours; I have never seen Gargon lose in single combat."

   "Is he that great a fighter?" asked Jayce. "Whom have you seen him fight?"

   "I have only seen a couple such battles," said the man. "The opponents were no persons of great import, but they were trained fighters nonetheless, and Gargon thoroughly overpowered each."

   "Is it true that Gargon has slain a dragon?"

   "That is the story."

   "What do you mean by that?"

   "I was not there; thank the gods!"

~~~~


It was now a few hours before dawn. It was still dark, though a half moon shone in the sky. Mythlos' sword glowed more brightly because of this, as he stood in the courtyard of Gargon's keep next to his grandfather, looking and feeling nervous about the combat that was about to begin.

   "Do not be overly confident in your power, my son," said Gargantos, as he saw to it that Mythlos' studded leather armor was tightly strapped around his torso. "Arrogance will lead to defeat. Nor be overly cautious. Be confident, yet careful. Patient, yet powerful."

   On the other side of the courtyard, Sir Gargon stood as his "second", another man in full plate armor, adjusted Gargon's red armor and handed him his large flail. All around the three walls of the courtyard, men (or elves) alternated — one of Gargon's men standing next to one of the adventurers. Each pair stood close together with a weapon at the other's heart or neck, to prevent treachery.

   The rules were thus: On signal, when each of the seconds had dropped a white cloth, the battle would begin. The combatants were not to leave the courtyard, but could use the various items in the courtyard as cover "to make the battle more interesting". The fight would be either to the death or till one combatant yielded to the other. Magic was permitted, but only under the power or command of one of the combatants.

   "Sehanine guide you with her light," said Gargantos, and he dropped his cloth.

   "Your cousin awaits you in the afterlife," shouted Leokas from the wall in the Goblin tongue, hoping to shake up Gargon.

   "Mythlos will cut you in two!" shouted Jayce.

   "You've slain a dragon, lord," shouted one of Gargon's men. "You will slay this elf in a single swing."

   Gargon lowered his visor, and his second dropped the cloth. The onlookers grew silent as the battle began.

   Immediately, Mythlos pulled a scroll from his belt and hurriedly read it out, as Gargon approached him cautiously with his back against the southern wall toward the gate. Mythlos, feeling a surge of strength flowing through him, yelled out and charged at Gargon, tossing the now blank scroll to the ground. With a powerful uppercut swing, he struck Gargon under his right arm, at a weak point in his armor, spraying a small amount of blood.

   "Huzzah!" shouted Jayce from the wall. "First blood!"

   "Well done, my son!" said Gargantos, as he moved to the back corner.

   Their excitement turned to fear, however, as a return blow from Gargon's flail to the chest knocked Mythlos back a yard and nearly off his feet with a resounding thump. Gargon swung a second attack before Mythlos could even respond. Thankfully, this second attack whizzed just over his shoulder.

   The wind knocked from him, Mythlos stumbled back to the base of the stone stairs going up to the walls, touching the flat of his sword to draw healing from the blade.

   "The little elf runs away already, after only a single swing," taunted Gargon. Cheers from his men came from the walls in response. He walked confidently toward Mythlos while swinging the head of his flail threateningly around his head.

   Mythlos retreated across the courtyard to take shelter behind a horse cart that rested there near the pig pen. (Gargantos gave him space by hopping over the short fence into the pen.) Mythlos took this chance to down a vial of healing potion, as Gargon continued coming.

   "He's probably back to full health now," warned Gargon's second.

   "No matter," said Gargon. "Let him waste his potions; I can kill him in a single blow." He stood on the other side of the cart from Mythlos now. "You cannot run from me forever, elf," he said.

   In response, Mythlos took hold of the cart and flipped it over to its side and onto Gargon, tossing its contents of hay and pig feed into the air and all over Gargon's red armor. He rushed around the flipped cart and swung a solid blow at Gargon, whose feet were pinned under it.

   Enraged, Gargon flipped the cart back onto its wheels and off his own feet, but as he did so, Mythlos connected with another blow, striking Gargon under the chin and nearly snapping back his neck. He stumbled backward.

   "Strike him again!" shouted Hakam.

   "Don't test your luck!" called out Leokas.

   Fearing that Gargon could indeed kill him with one blow, he followed the latter advice, choosing to move back and hop into the pen from which he began to cast a sleeping spell. The pigs grunted in fear and moved to the corners of the pen, as Mythlos leapt in and Gargantos leapt out. (The latter stumbled to his knees.)

   "You are a crafty elf," said Gargon, as he chugged a potion of his own and then laughed. The sleeping spell seemingly had no effect on him. "From now on, however, no more games," he said angrily, as he shoved the cart aside and approached the pen, swinging his flail through the air in a tight circle. He struck the flail at the fence of the pen, sending wood splintering in all directions. He now stood a mere ten feet from Mythlos, who was trapped in the corner of the courtyard and the muddy pen.

   "Trip him, pig," shouted Hakam. He hoped that no one else would realize that he was trying to magically command the pig, deciding for once that cheating might be permissible in this case. Belvin, hearing this, also started grunting and snorting.

   The one pig did not respond; however, Mythlos had a quick idea. He grabbed the pig nearest him and tossed the 200-pound animal between him and Gargon. It landed, squealing, and rushed out of the pen through the broken fence, momentarily preventing Gargon from getting any closer to Mythlos for another attack.

   Mythlos then attempted another spell but muddled the hand motions.

   Gargon kicked at the second pig, as it too scrambled past him to escape the pen. "This ends now, coward," Gargon shouted at Mythlos as he swung again. This time, he was not aiming at Mythlos' head or torso; instead, he wrapped the chain of his weapon around his opponent's blade and yanked forcefully. Time seemed to slow for Mythlos, as he watched his sword fly into the air, dim, and land deep in the mud a yard away.

   He dove to the ground, smacking the mud, as the flail struck his right arm. He yelled in pain, but his hands found the sword, and he somersaulted back to his feet, returning a desperate but weak swing that simply glanced off the dragon scales of Gargon's armor.

   Gargon brought his flail directly down on Mythlos' left shoulder with intense force, dropping him to one knee. Before he could even stand straight again, Gargon followed through with an uppercut that tossed Mythlos' body against the wall.

   Mythlos was about to collapse, but he would not go down easily. With all his might he delivered one final blow to the top of Gargon's head. Gargon yelled out and stumbled, looking like he was about to tumble over also, but then he spun around, using the momentum of his spin to strike with extra force. Mythlos was thrown against the wall a second time. His head stuck the stone, and he sunk slowly to the ground, leaving a smear of blood on the wall and dropping his sword to the ground. His body then lumped forward and was still.

   "My daughter's son!" cried Gargantos.

   Gargon tossed the flail aside and approached his unconscious opponent. "Now, old elf," he said to Gargantos, see what it feels like to watch one of your relatives be beheaded." He took hold of Mythlos' hair and pulled, exposing the neck, while he reached down and picked up the elven moonblade.

   Gargantos closed his eyes and shouted to the sky, "Queen of the Heavens, mercy!"

   Gargon raised the sword high, ready to bring it down on Mythlos.

   There was an intense burst of light. What appeared to be blue and white flames erupted from the moonblade, traveling down Gargon's arm and drowning him in fire. Gargon convulsed violently for several seconds, as if he were being electrocuted, as raw magical energy consumed his flesh. His body tumbled backward like a stone and landed in the mud of the pen. The moonblade fell next to him and quickly cooled to the color of steel. Black smoke could be seen coming out of Gargon's visor.

   Everyone on the wall was silent and motionless. What had just happened?

   "The sword refused a new master," said Gargantos quietly.

   "Who won?" questioned Jayce from the wall.

   Gargon's second rushed forward, and Gargantos stepped to his grandson's limp form.

   "He has a pulse!" exclaimed the elder Moonspinner.

   "And he... does not," said the man in plate armor.

   A cheer went up from the adventurers on the wall.

   Gargon's second removed his helmet and placed it on the ground before him. Then he placed his axe beside it with both hands. "The keep is yours," he said, "and all the men who reside within it."

   Carefully, everyone lowered their weapons and placed them at their feet.

   Hakam leapt from the wall and floated gently (by the magic of his ring) to the ground beside Mythlos and Gargantos, where he cured Mythlos and brought him back to consciousness.

   "I am alive?" he asked, confused.

   "More than that," said Gargantos. "You have won. It is over."
Session: 34th Game Session - Monday, May 12 2014 from 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Epic × 2!
Chapter 2 — The Courts of the Desert Rose
"This is it," said Mythlos. "The mummy must be on the other side of these doors."

   "Surely, anyone on the other side of this door will have heard our battle," said Leokas.

   "Then why has she not come out to face us?" asked Jayce.

   "I do not know," replied Mythlos.

   "What are a mummy's weaknesses?" asked Leokas.

   "As I said before, their wrappings are generally weak to fire, but physical attacks are not as successful," said Hakam.

   "Regardless, we should explore these side passages between the sand first," said Mythlos.

   "Can you see anything through the crack in the doors, Leokas?" asked Jayce.

   He cautiously approached and took a peek. Sure enough, he could catch a partial glimpse of the side of a figure in robes, back to the door, but he could not make out much more.

   "I hate to say it, but I agree with Mythlos," said Vashti. "We should take advantage of the fact that she is in there and explore what we can while she is distracted by whatever it is she is doing, apparently so intently as not to come out during the din of the battle."

   "I will stay here and watch the door," said Hakam. Belvin and Taril stayed with him, while the others turned to the right and pressed through the piles of sand on each side of an old breezeway. The path led to what was likely a stone mausoleum with an iron door of humanoid height and width. Mythlos tried to open it, but it was locked.

   "Vashti, can you open this door?"

   "I can try." She removed a few tools from her bandoleer and inserted them into the keyhole. Click. "Look at that," she said, "first try!" The door swung open.

   They were struck by a waft of perfumes as they entered the single stone chamber, with dimensions of 25 by 45 by 15 feet. All about were fine wooden furnishings. The room contained two small bookshelves, a round table with four stools, a desk with a chair, three tall vanity mirrors with a stool and tiny tables before them, a clothes cabinet, a nightstand, and an elaborate purple carpet covered in a dozen or so plush red pillows.

   Jayce and Hakam examined the books on the shelves. They were mostly religious texts with a few books on genie lore, but nothing in particular struck them as important or interesting. Mythlos and Vashti examined the perfumes and makeup set out by the mirrors. "These are fine quality ointments," said Vashti. So Mythlos began stuffing them into his pockets.

   "I'd wager some of those...," began Jayce.

   "...are flammable," finished Leokas, as the same idea struck them at the same time. "Help me find some sort of cloth to prepare my arrows."

   "You'll find plenty of cloth in here," said Mythlos, as he opened wide the clothes cabinet. It was filled mostly with ecclesiastical robes and vestments of high quality fabrics and silks. They tore of some light fabric and began preparing a handful of flaming arrows from Leokas' remaining supply.

   Mythlos searched under the carpet, tried pushing the bookshelves, and searched all along the stone walls of the repurposed mausoleum, but he found no sign of secret storage places or doors.

   "What's this on the desk?"

   On the desk were two thin books. One was open, and the second was closed and lying upon the first.

   Jayce read the heading on the page of the open one. "This is written in Alzhedo, or an older version of it anyhow: 'My Lover and My Liege,...'" He skimmed the rest. "It seems to be some sort of prayer journal," he said. "Basically, if I understand it correctly, she complains that Calim doesn't spend enough time with her, but she understands that he is a god and is busy, but she's found a body for him."

   "What?" asked Leokas. "First, Allu, and now Calim is a god too?"

   "She seems to think Calim and Akadi are one and the same."

   "And what was that about a body?"

   "Yes, she says she is building a body of stone and will turn it into flesh for him to possess."

   "I thought Calim's 'body' has been trapped in a prison for the last 8,000 years," said Leokas.

   "It has," said Vashti. "She's clearly just delusional. I suppose that happens when one voluntarily has her brains pulled out through her nose."

   "...And she found this other journal while traveling in Calim's 'home plane.'" Jayce picked up the other book to examine it.

   "That would be the Elemental Plane of Air," said Vashti.

   "Can anyone read these runes?" Jayce asked, showing all of them the leather cover, which contained six runic characters in two columns.





   "It's Dethek," said Leokas, "the same alphabet the dwarves and goblins use, but I do not recognize the words." He paused for a moment. "Wait a moment!" he exclaimed. He drew the Omlar gem out of his pouch. "Yes! They are the same runes as on the stone."

   "What are the letters?"

   "S, A, M, B, E, and R"

   "Sam ber?" said Jayce. "No, it's just one word; the columns must just be design. Wait, I think El Sadhara mentioned a Samber. Yes, she says that Samber knew the spell she needed to turn the stone to flesh."

   "Isn't Samber a common Lantanna name?" asked Vashti.

   "Well, now that you mention it, yes," said Jayce. "I suppose I was not expecting it to be written in Dwarven letters. Lantanese is usually written in Draconic characters."

   "Could this be the stone that Calim is trapped in?" asked Leokas, still holding the Omlar gem.

   "It is supposed to be in a magically protected keep in the desert," said Vashti.

   "But suppose it isn't."

   "The legends all state that whoever touches the crystal prison will absorb the power of all the genies held within," said Jayce. "And I have not seen you floating around and granting wishes lately."

   "Wait, Jayce, how is it that you've never told us your surname?" asked Leokas.

   "I do not have one."

   "After all this time, we deserve to know."

   "I do not have one. I swear I am being honest this time."

   "But you said the Omlar stone was from your family."

   "We've been over this already. I said that it looked like a family heirloom; I was mistaken. I am not Jayce Samber. Besides, Samber is not a surname; it's a given name."

   "What is in the second journal?" asked Mythlos, growing impatient.

   Jayce opened it up. "This one is written in Lantanese," he said.

   "And?" said Vashti.

   "Well, it's rather long; give me a moment. Hmm. He seems to be a prisoner on another plane with floating islands. There are elementals present. No, he's not a prisoner; he's an explorer of some sort, I think." He turned a page. He met with some genies, djinn. It seems to have been a cordial meeting." He turned another page. "Odd. He seems to be some sort of experimentalist, a magician of some sort, I imagine."

   "What is he studying?" asked Leokas, as he finished preparing his last arrow.

   "I'm not certain. He seems very interested in how genies function."

   "I am going to go check on Hakam and Belvin. We've been in here a long time," said Vashti, and she walked out of the room.

   Mythlos, also, having convinced himself that there were no hidden stashes of treasure present here, said, "Can we just take the books with us and finish reading them later?"

   "But we've finally found a connection to the Omlar gem!" said Leokas.

   "Ah," said Jayce, "he created something, a golem, of stone, and he changed it into flesh so that he or someone else could possess the body. This was what El Sadhara was talking about."

   "We will have to stop her then," said Mythlos. "Stash the books and let us check out the next mausoleum."

~~~~


When Jayce, Leokas, and Mythlos joined the others at the door, Hakam was expressing his disgust at the thought of one turning stone to flesh. "Few gods would permit such an act," he said.

   "It is not necromancy," said Belvin. "No negative energy is involved."

   "Are you not a druid? It goes against nature. The power to restore life is given us; the power to create life is their domain, not ours!"

~~~~


Jayce, Mythlos, Leokas, and Vashti crossed the courtyard and again, this time on the left side, and squeezed past two walls of sand. Vashti was able to pick the lock on the next iron door on the second try. It swung in to reveal a room of the same dimensions as the last, but the decorum was not at all the same. In the far corners were two more gargoyle statues. The rest of the room, all along the walls, was filled with stone chests. One of them happened to have been left open.

   "Careful," said Mythlos, "we do not want to wake the gargoyles."

   "I do not think every statue is a living gargoyle," said Leokas.

   "Jayce, can you persuade a gargoyle to fight for us against the mummy?" asked Mythlos.

   "I would not have much to work with," said Jayce. "Gargoyles are said to kill things for fun. They don't even need to eat; they just do it for pleasure, eating their prey while it still lives. But Leokas is right. Can't you just cast a spell and check?"

   So Mythlos chanted and waved his arms. "The statues are not glowing;" he said, "however, every other chest but the open one is."

   "Do not touch them!" warned Vashti. She stepped over to the open chest. "Gods! That's a whole lot of silver."

   Mythlos and the others joined her around the treasure. Mythlos sunk his hands into the coins. "This is probably tens of thousands of coins!" Most of the coins were silver pieces, but there were a good number of copper pieces and a scattering of gold pieces as well. Atop the pile of coins was a glass potion bottle, which Mythlos took. It was unlabeled but seemed to contain a thick oil, and it glowed with the magic of his spell. He also pulled out from under the coins a simple wooden rod or stick. It, too, produced a magical aura. "A magic wand!" he announced excitedly.

   "I think these are more coins than my carpet can carry and still fly," said Vashti. "Mythlos, do you have a sack in your backpack? Let's fill as much as we can."

   "Let's be sure to take all the gold coins first," he said.

   "I'm not sure we have time for that," she replied. "There are probably thousands of gold coins worth of silver coins here anyhow."

   They filled the sack until it overflowed unto the carpet and loaded it still until it began to drag under the weight. Vashti commanded it to fly out the door, and it moved considerably more slowly that it usually did but still at about the pace of a human.

   They were all in agreement that tinkering with the likely magically trapped stone chests would not be wise.

~~~~


Vashti wanted to send Taril out with the carpet immediately, but Hakam did not want to risk the adept encountering a skeleton or zombie alone, so he stayed nearby, ready for any orders from the others.

   They debated and argued about what to do next. Fortunately, El Sadhara seemed fully engrossed in whatever it was that she was doing, and no one had come to the door.

   "How much do you expect to be able to reason with the undead?" asked Belvin, when Jayce suggested he attempt to converse with her.

   "It worked with the ghost," Jayce argued.

   "The ghost thought she was still alive," said Vashti.

   "And El Sadhara thinks she is Calim's mistress! You yourself said earlier that she was delusional."

   In the end, Jayce's plan won out. He was to enter through the large doors alone and confront the priestess. The others were to stand back ready at the door.

   He pushed open the double doors and stepped in.

   The room smelled strongly of a mixture of spices; it was almost overwhelming. It was a large chamber, with a 60-ft. ceiling supported by ten massive circular columns. The room was at least 50 feet by 60 feet long.

   In the center of this larger chamber, he saw a feminine form, standing upon an elevated, circular dais, fast at work chiseling at the stone of a massive statue of what appeared to be a genie. Her back was to him; she wore an ornate white gown, with a golden sash over her shoulders. Her dark hair hung to just below her jawline, but it was very thin, like that of a frail elderly woman, but she was not bent over with age. The smell of spices undoubtedly emanated from her.

   "Fida'iya," he announced, in the most commanding voice he could muster, remembering her actual given name from her journal. "Calim has sent me!"

   She spun around slowly. There was no doubt that he gazed upon El Sadhara, for her face, neck, and hands were wrapped in gauze. Her dark, haunting eyes peeked from between her wrappings. Around her neck was a large amulet and a silver symbol of Akadi. Above her head orbited a lavender and green stone.

   She gasped loudly, as if in pain, but he soon recognized that it was a sign of surprise. "Thou hast disturbed my work," she said, in a silvery voice. "Do tell me what thy purpose is here? Hast thou come to seek succor from El Sadhara? Dost thou require a blessing of wind?"

   "No, I have come because Calim is angry with thee." Jayce's voice boomed. "He is insulted that thou thinkest him so weak as to require a body of flesh. Thou foolish servant! Akadi is not made of flesh; the gods are not bound by such fickle entrapments."

   Jayce read confusion in her eyes. "Thou must have defeated my minotaurs. I am not deaf; I heard the fighting.... Thou art not a supplicant; thou art a petty thief, come for my treasure!"

   "I am no thief. Nor am I a supplicant. I am a sacred messenger." Jayce managed a false laugh. "And to think that thou called those useless automatons thy guards...."

   "Thou art not alone. If thou art my superior, why hast thou required a retinue? I see thy companions through the door. No, no," she continued, as if convincing herself, "I am preparing a new body for my god. He shall return in power and take back what is rightfully his. And I shall be his queen!"

   Jayce noticed something move behind her and the large statue. Beyond the doorway, Leokas saw it too, but he could not make out what it was.

   Jayce shook off the momentary distraction and opened his mouth, but El Sadhara raised her voice and screamed. "Silence! No more words from thine heretical mouth. I am the High Whirlwind Fida'iya yr Iamar. Calim has chosen me, not thee, and I alone shall be greatly rewarded for what I am doing. I shall not be stopped."

   An overpowering sense of dread flowed through Jayce. It took the full strength of his will to resist the fear and continue to speak.

   "No!" he shouted back. "I am not afraid of thee! Thou hast sinned and hast fallen. If thou dost not repent and cease this idolatry, I shall utterly destroy thee with the power of the wind."

   A look of shock was on El Sadhara's face when Jayce still stood boldly before her. She was clearly trying to figure out whether he was bluffing or not and had lost much of her own confidence, but then she spoke softly. "Dost thou truly think thou canst destroy me? Were I to touch thee, thou wouldst shrivel away into dust. Ye are no challenge to me, and a multitude of minions have I already; I have no need even to use your bodies in undeath.

   "Ye have spoken with me for longer than I care to listen," she continued with growing confidence. "I am bored with you. Ye are not even worthy of my time, infinite though it may be in my undeath. Begone from my temple! Take your sacrilage with you! Or shall I have you escorted out by my servants?"

   Suddenly, there was a loud explosion, and the statue of Calim crumbled. El Sadhara was blown forward toward the doorway and landed prone. Jayce, too, was knocked back by the blast. She rose to her feet, turned, and shrieked. Darting into a corner in the shadows, as the cloud of dust from the explosion cleared, they all saw the form of a hobgoblin fleeing.

   "Treachery!" she roared. "My goddess, protect me," she prayed, clutching her deity's symbol and looking up. Then, with her back to the adventurers, she began crying out in a breathy language a long conjuration, (which Mythlos thought was Auran,) while she waved her right hand and clutched the symbol in her left.

   "She is summoning something!" warned Belvin.

   Vashti and Mythlos rushed into the chamber past Jayce. Vashti veered to the right and readied herself to cast magic, but she hesitated. Mythlos charged right up to El Sadhara and brought a powerful blow down upon her. The blade cut through the back of her silken robes and through multiple layers of her mummy wrappings, but she did not even flinch from the attack; she continued the last few phrases of her calling.

   Behind her, near Mythlos' feet, a swirling of dust began and grew faster and larger. A whirlwind formed and then took the shape of the same kind of wind creature they had fought in the higher level of the crypts, only this one was much larger, a full sixteen feet in height. Mythlos dodged to the side, and Leokas released two arrows that should have struck true but were blown and deflected away by some unssen force. Belvin, Hakam, and Jayce stepped back outside the door. Belvin began summoning, Jayce began strumming, and Hakam called out a rebuke from Anachtyr, but El Sadhara did not seem to take notice.

   "Servant of the winds," she commanded the air elemental, "destroy these infidels! I shall crush the goblin by my own hands."

   Mythlos and Hakam charged the large creature, and each landed a blow, though the monster only responded to the strike from Mythlos with a subtle tremble. It opened what could be considered its mouth, and they could see bolts of lightning within. It spun, and its appendages struck Mythlos and Hakam each with hurricane force.

   Then, El Sadhara spoke a single word and vanished with a flash, reappearing directly in front of the hobgoblin. He swung at her with a morningstar but did not even reach her. He turned and fled from behind the column where he had been hiding and hurried toward the door.

   Still clutching her deity's symbol, she extended her right arm. "Heretic! Thou art condemned by the Queen of the Air. I declare thee anathema! Thou art cursed and banished from the land of the living. Return to dust!" As she spoke, a rushing wind blew against the hobgoblin. They watched in shock as in a matter of seconds, his skin dried and shriveled off his face. By the time she finished her proclamation, his now exposed skeleton tumbled forwards, struck the ground, and shattered, and even the bones themselves burst into ash and were blown away, leaving a pile of clothes and gear on the ground.

   Vashti watched as what she assumed was Barlock was destroyed. In the pile of gear that remained was an ornate black bottle.

   She extended her arm, and the bottle leapt into the air and flew into her open palm. She pointed it at the slowly approaching mummy priestess and popped the metal stopper out.

   A spray of flame launched outwards toward El Sadhara and materialized into the form of a massive fire genie, the efreeti they knew as Allu.

   "Run!" Vashti shouted to the others. "This is the only chance we have!"

   But Mythlos was blocked by the large form of the air elemental, and he was staggered from the blow he had received. He fell back. The beast of wind and cloud struck Hakam a second time, nearly knocking him to the ground. He stepped back out the door, and Jayce rushed up to him to cure him. Leokas stepped back and released another arrow, this one aflame, but the creature morphed its body to avoid the hit.

   A flame sprung up before the air elemental and revealed itself to be the answer to Bevlin's calling. The little fire creature bravely swung its whiplike, burning appendages at the much larger elemental. There was a flash of fire, as flame spread quickly throughout the air elemental's form before being extinguished.

   Then the room filled with light and heat as a ring of red and violet fire, twenty-feet-high, surrounded Allu and the mummy. They heard thunder crackle and light flash as she sent a multitude of lightning bolts into the huge genie, but they could no longer see her through the wall of flame. The wall extended out far enough across the room to almost touch both the air elemental and Vashti. Vashti responded by rocketing up into the air to the ceiling of the chamber. The air elemental responded by trying to force its way out of the building. It shoved aside Jayce and Hakam and was held back for a moment by Leokas before it plowed out the door. The first fire elemental vanished just as a second one appeared. As the one elemental pummeled the other, Vashti shouted down at Mythlos. "This is your chance! Run!" She used the stonework to pull herself along the surface of the ceiling.

   Mythlos made it out the door. Having summoned his two most powerful allies, Belvin was finished and was running toward the crypt hall. Taril, with the treasure-laden carpet beside him, was also fleeing. Vashti descended to the ground, and she and Jayce grabbed the large doors and slammed them shut, as mummy and efreeti continued their epic confrontation within.

   They were far from safe. Behind them, now in the courtyard area, the air elemental began spinning rapidly. Hakam tried casting a spell but was struck by flying debris. Jayce swung at it with a torch, sending flame briefly through its body, but the spinning continued, and soon, a whirlwind rose up to the ceiling of the chamber 30 feet above, and dust was blowing everywhere.

   Everyone scattered, but the small tornado moved with alarming speed. Mythlos and then Hakam were drawn into the funnel and lifted off their feet by the intense power of the wind and carried away. From within the swirling cloud, Hakam could see Mythlos' limp and unconscious form opposite him. He tried to cast a healing spell, but choking on the swirling dust and pebbles, he too fell unconscious.

   Vashti, Leokas, and Jayce looked on in horror, as the tornado traversed the courtyard in rapid circles, and they saw the bodies of Mythlos and Hakam get tossed from the top of the funnel and strike the ground like ragdolls.

   "We must take shelter," said Vashti, tugging on Leokas. "We cannot defeat a storm."

   "We cannot let them die!"

   "It was summoned. If we can survive long enough, it will return to its plane. If Tymora smiles upon us, they will still be alive and can be restored to health."

   Leokas relented. They rushed toward the treasure chamber. Jayce, similarly, ran to El Sadhara's living area.

   The tornado seemed limited to the courtyard area, due to the height of the ceilings. After 15 to 20 seconds, it reformed into the shape of the air elemental. Bolts sparked from its 'mouth' as it charged toward where Vashti and Leokas were taking shelter. It pushed into the narrow passage. Unable to fit, it began pounding away at the sand and forcing its way through. Leokas stood in the doorway and began unleashing fire arrow after fire arrow. Each one lit up the beast, but still it plowed on, closer and closer. "Shut the door!" cried Vashti. They slammed it shut.

   The monster began pounding at the metal, and the door shook on its hinges.

   "It's going to break through!" Vashti exclaimed.

   It pounded and pounded and pounded. One of the bolts holding the door to the wall shot out. Stonework on the other side began to crack and crumble. The door began to bend back into the room.

   And then, the pounding suddenly stopped.

   "Thank the gods!" said Vashti.

   Leokas opened the door again, with some difficulty. They pushed through the scattered sand and entered the courtyard again. Mythlos and Hakam were shockingly alive, but physically spent. An empty healing potion bottle lay on the ground near them. Jayce looked exhausted. "That air elemental didn't expect me to stab him in the back like that," he said. "I showed him."
Session: 18th Game Session - Monday, Sep 23 2013 from 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Epic!