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 A Magic User's Tale 5

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Number of posts : 761
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: A Magic User's Tale 5   Thu 21 Jun - 13:30:45

So there we were, our hearts in our boots after the unexpected descent. Roscoe the rascal showed a deft hand picking the lock and Aaveneir stepped forward, glory hunting, but then others seemed quite happy to let our new little gnome friend take the first hit. In the chamber beyond, the squat distinctive form* of one of the teleport pillars was revealed. There was also a chest, and a pile of old cloth. Perhaps the most eye catching feature was a large spherical creature floating five feet over the gnome’s head. It had a central eye and a number of others on stalks, but not as many I’m pleased to say, as a beholder, which by now would probably have slain the whole party with its many different attack methods. It looked at Aaveneir, and he looked at it, and there was a brief hiatus whilst everyone suddenly remembered important reasons why they should not move and distract the guardian from the gnome who was first in line for whatever was coming, and the gnome’s short (!) life flashed before him.

*Two squat distinctive forms together then. Who says only dwarves can be victims of shortist jokes?

After a few seconds, it became apparent that telepathic communication was in progress and it became apparent that the monster would only attack if we chose to take the treasure from this room. A few simple experiments quickly revealed that the cloth was a no – go zone but everything else seemed up for grabs, including the thousand gold pieces in the chest. Meanwhile, I took a look at the teleport, trying not to be distracted by the hovering presence above. There was just one indentation to receive a crystal, but no handy pentagram in evidence for the transportee. Perhaps if I put the crystal in, a hidden one would be revealed. I duly did so, and …everything went black.

Well. Turns out the reason there was no pentagram was that the whole room, and the one next to it was the teleport pad. We all found ourselves in a sealed room with no doors or windows. All our equipment was gone including my precious spellbooks and I realised that I had no spells memorised. Nor did any of the others amongst us. We weren’t sure how much time had passed, but we were all ravenously hungry and thirsty, and could not resist tucking in to a sumptuous banquet laid out for us in our rather comfortable prison. As we did so, further refreshment was brought through a magic door by unseen servants wearing servant livery that bore the characteristic ragged staff motif of Krim, City of The Mage. I tried to pass through the door, but clearly magical it repelled more and more strongly the closer I approached. Nor could anything be seen through it. I gave up.

The city of Krim: This was interesting. The Mage of Krim is a legendary figure, quite literally. Most people assume that the ruling mages of the city appoint one of their number to the post and that there have been many mages with the title, but I’d always subscribed to the theory that the mage was a long lived elf. Either way, we were back in the Treaty States, though probably as far from Estagrad as it was possible to be within the states, and in a nation friendly to my kind. Perhaps things were looking up?

We were abruptly summoned before the Mage of the Valley. I should probably explain here for the non magical reader that names have power, and powerful mages tend to adopt titles and avoid use of their true names as a protection. Just as a powerful magic user can summon demons and bind them with their name, so a magic user’s very name may be a weapon against him or in this case, her. She seemed a relatively young woman, but her eyes held power, and several times during our questioning I felt that we were on the verge of destruction. Gordon, who can be a little quick tempered* was frozen briefly for some belligerent remarks. Aaveneir, attempting some embroidery of the truth was also threatened casually with death, and none of us doubted that it was an earnest threat.

*No, only Thorri, Aaveneir and Roscoe are short tempered

She was concerned at how we had entered the citadel, and how much we knew about the teleports. We realised afterward, that she suspected us of being connected with the teleport builders, and our ignorance was the sort after response. Once she was satisfied of our lack of knowledge, which we were able to covey with great effectiveness and sincerity, she swore us to a great oath of secrecy, and told us the story of the Allerzoi, a race that brought magic and enslavement to humanity in equal measure. Ruling the known world for centuries, they had eventually disappeared after being all but destroyed in war amongst themselves. Humanity had risen up to finish the job, and the Allerzoi vanished. Interestingly, the elves and dwarves historic enmity dates from choosing different sides in this war, also, many of the fell creatures of the world were created, summoned or otherwise brought into existence by this strange and terrible race. The peculiar semi magic inscription we had been so puzzled by in the tomb was a rare surviving non magical Allerzoi writing.

Another of many puzzling revelations: The Mage gave an approximation of an Allerzoi accent when describing them to see if we had met anyone with such a lilt, yet could not actually confirm their appearance. This struck me as odd at the time and odder still later.
She theorises that Allerzoi survivors, or even undead Allerzoi are plotting to regain their empire, and the teleport network is part of that plot. The fact that the cult of Moloch was freely using the system evidenced by our friend Devro, and had avoided the teleport to Krim, which has been modified as a snare by the Mage suggested the hand of a higher power at work. She asked us to investigate the network further, and find out if the Allerzoi are indeed emerging again.

We decided to rest up and carry out training, as many of us were in need of it, me included. The Mage herself assisted, and I spent several weeks under her tutelage as she helped me with mental exercises, practical and theoretical studies and even some combat training. Draegon went off on a wilderness trek as part of his studies, Roscoe and Thorri disappeared into shadier parts of the town, and Dagnar spent a very gruelling month being beaten and humiliated up at the local monastery. Gordon and Zionestes studied with their respective temples and all in all we shifted nearly 50,000 gold pieces, largely obtained by selling the mage several of the teleport crystals and a number of magic items we
had collected along the way. At the end of it all, we were a more formidable force, even having acquired three war dogs to increase our strength. I had a bulging spellbook and could now retain two spells at a time. As we shook hands before our departure, I deal feel slightly faint, but the feeling quickly passed.

We returned as we had hoped to the tombs in Koss: The complex remained only partially explored, and we had cached large amounts of our treasure there. The teleport had some sort of temporal factor according to the mage, and it did indeed seem as if everything was as we had left it more than a month before. We arrived outside in a new location and made our way in through the eastern entrance, Aaveneir once again in the lead. He paid for this with another near death experience as he was almost skeleton fodder in our first hostile encounter, then nearly drowned in an oil trap, and then had to flee a pack of skeletal dogs. In between, Gordon amusingly acquired a spear that is impossible to put down which should prove interesting. Having memorised spells of limited use, I played little part in these engagements apart from trying to stop the gnome’s dog running away; besides, I had a terrible headache.

Our assassin, Thorri then demonstrated how effective his training was by discovering a gas trap on a door, and how much further to go he has by setting it off whilst trying to disarm it. Fortunately it merely made those affected feel weak and tired for a while. We also found another statue of Moloch in what had probably once been a temple. We split up at this point, not through any reasoned strategy,* but because the gnome wanted to go one way, the dwarf another. Both ran into trouble needless to say. The gnome had hardly gone twenty feet when he fell through an unsafe section of flooring. The dwarf, lasted a little longer, having burned some old webs he fell through a trapdoor onto spikes and had to be pulled out by the half orc and halfling. The gnome probably trying to link up with the other group as shown by our map, pushed on past some alcoves on his own. I was trying to keep an eye on him from a distance, but lost contact with him. I was certain that something bad had happened and called up Roscoe for assistance.

*What a ridiculous idea

Roscoe took a little more trouble about his surroundings as he followed the gnome, which turned out to be potentially hazardous in this instance: Looking into the mirror in the third alcove he became trapped in it and had to combat his own reflection. Fortunately he proved to be a better swordsman than his doppelganger and I smashed the mirror with a magic missile as he escaped, unfortunately injuring myself in the process. Possibly because of this, or perhaps it was my headache, I forgot to pick up the three potion bottles from the second alcove. We all moved up to the next and seemingly final chamber, no sign of the gnome yet. Entering, we found a plush well furnished room with a man bearing a staff waiting for us. He said his name was Sevrek and we had a brief exchange of pleasantries before it turned nasty; Dagnar, Calenderiel and I were teleported outside and I was greeted by the sound of wolves howling nearby.

The three of us fled back into the dungeon and made our way back to the camber, where it was all over. Draegon, Zionestes and Roscoe had also been teleported to other parts of the complex, Aaveneir outside like us and Thorri had been paralysed and turned invisible. Our old friend Devro had put in an appearance that hopefully he would regret as he had taken a couple of arrows for his trouble before he and the other thing had disappeared too. Before the teleporting started Devro had pointed out Zionestes as ‘the thrall’, Roscoe seemed to feel it significant that the first targets were definitely the original party members, but perhaps he was just paranoid as he had just had to make a forty foot climb out of the underground chasm where he was sent without the aid of light or a safety net. So, that was that. My headache got a little better and we transferred our secret stashes back to the teleport, said hello to our old friend the spectator there who still guarded his cloth and returned to Krim. All in a days work, now where’s that headache remedy?
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