In Which the Storm Comes (and Takes It), Enemies of Lovecraftian Proportions are Summarily Dismissed, a Tomb is Opened, and the Party Passes Seven Days in Less Than a Year for the First Time Evar
Godsday, 18 Sunsebb CY 595
Where were we? Oh, right. As usual, all hell was breaking loose. Go figure! This time, hell decides to appear as two enormous storm clouds rising from the mists below and bolts of lightning blasting from the walls themselves. Riddle and Athena are immediately hit with bolts and they brush off a good deal of damage while their riders, Tyrrell and Long Fist respectively, manage to hang on despite the shocking blows.
Since these storm clouds take up large chunks of room beneath the party and have the reach of dire giraffes, they get a lot of free swings as the party attempts to reach places of safety from which to fight them. Archie discovers the particularly stylish means of hanging upside down from the ceiling while Riddle and Athena absorb the free attacks in order to drop their friends on platforms. Scar-Eater’s knowledge of the Planes allows him to inform the others all they need to know about fighting the lightning elementals, and to be honest it’s a bit of a buzzkill.
Luckily, Riddle is in possession of what will henceforth be known as The Best Resource in the Party, a.k.a., the dismissal spell. He knocks one of the lightning elementals home just a few seconds into the battle so the party may focus on just one until he can get the other one. Jane, now squeezed onto a narrow ledge on the far side of the room, sends a fire snake after the remaining elemental as Long Fist lunges at it, Archie fires at it, and Scar-Eater blasts it with a scorching ray or two. When his turn comes round again at last, Riddle dismisses the other elemental and the party gathers on the tallest column as they had originally intended. Riddle places the seal in the indentation and the column rises through the ceiling into an immense chamber lined with magnificent reliefs depicting an epic funeral procession. A white sarcophagus floats ten feet above the floor, carved with the image of a sleeping Wind Duke, swords crossed over his chest.
There are, however, still more guardians left to overcome. The first predictably squelches into existence between the party and the sarcophagus. It is merely a mass of oozing, toothy tentacles and an enormous gaping mouth.
Riddle manages to avoid vomiting all over the nice white room and attempts his old standby, but the thing refuses to be dismissed. The effrontery! Riddle taps into his own knowledge to inform the others that this is a qlippoth, some sort of creature of the Abyss that even pre-dates demons. What is it doing here?! Basically it is one large intestinal sac and if the party manages to pierce its flesh it will spew digestive acid all over them.
This particular qlippoth, known as a nyogoth, surrounds the party with a cloud of acid and closes with Scar-Eater in the front. No one can see or move very efficiently, and ranged attacks have become impossible. Everyone feels a horrific wash of mental disturbance, but all escape whatever its full and probably disastrous effects are.
Archie maneuvers out of the cloud and sees a second creature in the room. The entire party is being hit by effects from all directions and as Archie fires a mostly useless arrow at the new creature, everyone feels the screaming inside their minds, accompanied by a strange sloshing sound.
Tyrrell tumbles to his right but reaches the corner before he reaches the edge of the fog. Jane dispels the cloud so everyone can see the thirteen-foot-long, half-ton sack of flesh boasting a single five-foot eyeball, an impressive ten-foot mouth, and yes, of course, even more tentacles.
Long Fist steps up to initiate an aura of justice that catches Jane, Riddle, and Scar-Eater and lets them make use of his smite ability. He also, quite wisely, protects himself from evil with his wand. Scar-Eater wastes no time making use of the delicious smite and smacks the nyogoth with his flail.
Riddle, now staggered from having to use his alter fortune spell to fend off the many effects from these foes, attempts to dismiss the nyogoth defensively, but loses the spell in the effort. Scar-Eater takes the nyogoth’s return attack, which only makes him angry, but before he understands what is happening both he and Tyrrell are confused by a spell-like ability from the second creature.
Archie continues attacking the eyeball monster even though his arrows have little effect other than distraction. Tyrrell, confused, stabs himself. Jane sighs and gives Long Fist, Riddle and Scar-Eater free attacks on the nyogoth. After pinging the nyogoth for a good chunk of damage, Scar-Eater whomps himself with his flail.
Perhaps amused by the displays of confusion, the nyogoth misses Scar-Eater completely as the eyeball waves its tentacles comically and fills the room with a chaotic cascade of dizzying, sickening lights. Scar-Eater, Archie, Long Fist and Riddle all take some damage.
Finding himself not confused for the moment, Tyrrell drinks a potion to heal himself and Jane produces flame but the creature’s resistance to magic makes it fizzle harmlessly. Long Fist smites the eyeball.
Riddle dismisses the nyogoth as the eyeball slams Scar-Eater into unconsciousness with its myriad spiny tentacles. Archie steps up his game with deadly aim and pelts the eyeball with more distracting arrows. Tyrrell stabs himself again, and Long Fist finishes off the eyeball with an impressive concussive smite.
At last, the party is alone with the sarcophagus. Riddle flies to the top of the sarcophagus, says, “ Aaqa, Icosiol, Pesh,” and places the seal into the indentation there. The sarcophagus floats gently to the ground. The air around it shivers momentarily and the top half fades away. The winds rise, and Jane and Long Fist are pushed back against the walls as the others hold their ground.
Suddenly a brilliant blue light explodes from the coffin, blinding everyone momentarily. When their vision clears, Riddle is on the ground, writhing and gibbering in that strange sibilant tongue they have come to associate with the Vaati, the same series of phrases over and over again. Jane approaches him. His eyes are open, but they do not see. Blue light pours from them. Suddenly his voice shifts to a chorus of seven and he speaks different words, which Scar-Eater strains to remember phonetically for later translation. Riddle collapses again, reverting to the previous repetition in his own voice.
Inside the sarcophagus are the dusty remains of what the party assumes was the great Wind Duke Icosiol. Two brilliant swords are crossed within, a longsword and a shortsword. The mithril longsword has a long hilt set with six pale grape-sized sapphires and its edges are so perfect they hurt the eyes to look upon them. The mithril shortsword crackles with electricity and its pommel is capped with a brialliant star sapphire. There is also a heavy platinum ring set with four sapphires, and at the feet of the sarcophagus: a fifteen-inch segment of a cracked rod that appears to be made of mithril and, like a geode, is lined with perfectly formed crystals.
In the meantime, Riddle’s condition is unchanged. The others have a choice to make.
Jane can tell he is improving, albeit very slowly. They decide to remain in the tomb until he returns to consciousness.
Waterday, 19 Sunsebb – Godsday, 25 Sunsebb, CY 595
They wait seven days. Jane (thanks to her ring of sustenance) has no need to eat, but the others go quite hungry subsisting on the scant remnants of trail rations left in the party’s possession. Fortunately, Long Fist is able to create water every day.
Riddle wakes up, having no memory of the time he was unconscious. He sees only his hungry and fatigued companions, who explain what happened and repeat his phrases to him for translation. Most of the time, he was chanting that old standby, “My soul for Order. My service for the Empire. My shell but an instrument. My life for the war,” but the other was new:
“Death was only a beginning.
The way was closed,
Yet a champion of the blood was Chosen.
The War continues;
The path to the future
Lies in the past.
Seek that which has gone before,
And with these weapons
Smite the agents of Chaos,
Wheresoever you may find them.”
With a deep sense of awe but only a fragment of understanding, the party urges Riddle to take the Sword of Aaqa and the Ring of Icosiol for his own. Tyrrell takes the Lightning Sword.
With no other member of the party willing to carry it, and with the weight of destiny on his shoulders, Riddle also takes the seventh piece of the Rod of Law (now the Rod of Seven Parts), a mighty and terrible artifact, as his own. He is just suggesting hiding it somehow when he notices that they are, once again, being scyred upon. Jane dispels the sensor, but likely too late.