The End of Eternity: LoF Session XLIX
400 years ago the War of Fire and Gnolls was extinguished by the Templars of the Five Winds. Vardishal, Templar of the North Wind left the war to the mortals. The remainder of the Five Winds had been searching for the Scroll of Kakishon for one purpose or another. Zayifid, the West Wind, yearned to learn the Wisdom of Solomon – the Wishcraft to be set free perhaps. Pahzvan, the East Wind, desired the scroll because he believed mortals could not be trusted no matter their intentions. Jhavul Al-Bahzhan was a family name known unto Zahir due to his years in servitude and somewhat noted within the book On the Court of Stone and Flame. The time On the Court of Stone and Flame, written by a Djinn, contained the pointed histories about the nobility of Ifrit and Shaitan. However, the past 500 years had been wished away like a swallow’s feather blow easily from the palm of a hand, the majority removed from the world and minds therein. The Gnoll Sharak, a noted figure within the passages, was an old wizard for the war.
Ce-tan laces his fingers around the heavy and intricately carved golden horn, breathing deeply, and blowing hard within the tube. With a responding sounding call, the horn echos deep into the distance toward the hostel. With the horn’s call, all remains still. The call for the boatman requires a port. Moving through the swamps and jungles, killing pythons and other carnivorous beings, the Gnolls lead the entourage back through to the sanctuary of the brass palace.
During the walk to the palace, the Gnoll leader Roark felt more friendly and bared their Heart’s Desire to Ce-tan and his political mind. For now that they have done all the red-tinged sorcerous savant had asked, they wished power to overcome their enemies. Ce-tan’s enchanted response was a suggestive remark and silver-tongued effort, kill your comrades – only the strong survive.
With a howl, the leader Gnoll grabbed a dark and jagged sword and rushed to attack his underlings. The Follower of Irori stood and watched as the control and skill of self should be paramount in any culture unphased by the bloodsport. The Gnolls began a death battle, so brutal and torturous and utterly savage that Faharid could not stand to watch their slow deaths any longer. With two clean swings, the underlings were executed leaving Roark alive. Roark stared at Faharid and turned to Ce-tan for guidance. With an apologetic face, Ce-tan without a signature smirk splays out his fingers and sets his arm in position, “Well, if it’s a pact of fire you wish…” The Gnoll chief’s son would have learned a valuable lesson, do not deal with the genies – especially those of the Ifrit bloodline because they will always find a way to twist your heart’s desire. Roark was set to the setting sun on a gout of flame so heavy his ashes were mists into the wind.
As the party walked toward the docks, an Osirani galley ship wound between rock and landscape to the shore, displaying an ornate guilding with a rams head on sail and as a figurehead. Coming aboard the unfurnished galley, a boat man made of brass whirls and clicked with dead eyes set in an ornate goats-head. It extended its hand slowly waiting for payment and direction to destination within the magical isles. The egg was placed therein. A ripple emanated from him, shuttering the boat and caused a ripple through the water. Its eyes changed to a sickly emerald green and an eerie wind changed from one direction to another as the Brass Boatman stowed the egg and began steering with the wind. Heading into the lagoon, the boat continues to head North following the coast, past Soror and Gilamesh and away from all the islands.
Long hours had passed, yet the boatman continued his vigil at the helm. The islands passed by and the horizon was much closer than was thought. Darker and darker and more midnight the distance becomes. The sun still visible, but long and intense shadow loomed outside of its range. Silence within the blackness continued on the long voyage. Suddenly, the boat stopped and lurched forward from a mighty swell. With what light was left and those around the boat, moving from underneath the hull a massive black stained shadow stormed and rushed within the water away from the boat. Noticed by Faharid of the direction, he alerted the others to caution. Zahir grabbing his master flew upward while the sorcerer prepared himself to fly even higher. The shadowed stain grew and grew and grew until the impossible became extraordinary.
The shadow swelled blossomed as a colossal stone-skin ladened whale rammed the side and hull of the old and maintained boat shuttling it up into the air. For a brief time, the whale crested the water, looking ominous and deadly and voracious. The force, so stong broke the hull, throwing the boat and its occupants stories into air while the boat keeled and rolled to its side. The gargantuan sperm whale, head blunt and fortress-like with skin greyed and shaled like stone dashed back into the water diving deeper into the darkened abyss that was. Pushing the limits of his magics, Ce-tan set a haphazard wall of pure force underneath the capsizing boat to stop its contents and passengers from sinking. The surprise of the malicious attack however caused Zhakmed, Faharid, and Khatovar were plunged into the water, with ruined sail and mast, and contents. The whale jumped again from the boat side, cresting easily and crashed into the boat tearing it asunder – bestrewing flotsam and pilings and green eyed brass boatman to the ocean and moving down into the depths of water. Much of the force of the blow, however, was mitigated with the confines of the wall. Unable to swim and quickly, Zhakmed found sinking almost inevitable until Zahir swooped to grab the Servant of Sarenrae. The the whale’s crest, Ce-tan was ready and brought about the white and blue ball of fire causing it to freeze around the creature instantly. Faharid too, getting his bearings climbed onto a bit of wooden hull left.
As the hulking and stone-skinned monster dove and rammed its head upon on invisible wall. And though it was assailed by an icy flame it was not detered. With a sickening splintering crack, the sound of a thousand panes of stained glass broke in a thousand pieces each, was the sound of the invisible wall crumbling from the force of the blow and speed of the whale as it came rising from the depths of the dark abyss. Readied and steadfast, Khatovar atop a piece of floating hull rose the nose of the beast and flew into the air as the whale burst through the boat and wall and surface.
The air danced with the droplets and spray of the salted ocean; the spring of the taught catapult of muscle and sinew and momentum snapped as one whole. The Winds of Fate smiled and pushed the currents in favor of the airborne warrior. And with his ascension far into the skies toward the heavens, the commeting and catastrophic impact of Khatovar’s fist as he beared down all his might into the head of the titanic monstrosity drove through the stoned and shaled skin, shattering its plates and cratered and splintered its stone patina causing the animal to bleed. Flying further backward, Ce-tan followed the onslaught with another cold bearing gout of blue-white flame as Khatovar stood atop the head continuing to hammer unrelentingly the singular vulnerable spot he made.
The monster dove back down into the depths and eluded the fire and onslught of the earthlanders. Faharid, pushed and pulled from the heaving waters stood atop a driftwood raft with Khatovar looking for surefooting. As he gazed into the dark waters, the keen eyed Suli watched as the shadow of the titan stained the waters against with the swift movements. Raising his hand he steadily relayed to his companions, “It’s coming.”
With unexpected velocity the stoned whale came crashing again rapidly and whipped violently around slapping downward with a massive tail. As indicated from Khatovar’s alert and Ce-tan and Zahir steeled themselves for the attack with a counter of their own. An absolute and icy burning and frostbiting arc shot forth from both the master and servant. The cold icing slowed the titan’s movements. Its speed sealed away, its tail crushed by wrapped and enveloped ice. Faharid danced upon the wooden flotsam and brought his weapon into the beast to which was caught on its scale. Within that moment, Khatovar took one last leap forward and careened to his target. With a fist so heavy to break a foot of stone, it landed on the center of the blade and shattered through to the stone patina again and pulsed the shockwave through the beast’s body, breaking limb and bone.
The whale floated and then sank lifeless and limp toward the depths among the wreckage of the ancient Osirani ship. With a burst from a water a tentacle sprouted from the water. The animal’s enormity unimaginable as the survivors now may contend with a monster twenty times the size of the whale. Their relief waxed as the familiar figure of the Brass Boatman appear within the clutches of the deep denizen as it placed the boatman back on a drift raft and slipped back into the watered darkness. The boatman now in place, continued to row and steer towards its task. Gathering to the drift wood, Ce-tan uncorked the Boat of Ling from its container. The mists spilled out and encompassed the driftwood locked group pulling them and the boatman to the helm of the ship. With nothing but whim, Ce-tan placed the circlet on the crown of the Brass Boatman and the boat moved toward its destination.
The horizon continued to become smaller and smaller until the sun’s lgiht was no more, the only light was that adorned by the mistful and floating ship. Suddenly, the ship lurched. The edge of the world had come, its sounds of rushing waters filled the space and to its music the companions of Kelmarane fell into the darkness. The held on to anything as the ship plummeted downward for over a minute. Ce-tan, looked at his companions and that of his proported property and without hesitation, pulled the boat of dreams and the boatman to his surprise into the bottle from the space around those falling. As the mists coelsced into synchocity, the sound of a waterfall continued to fill the space. The minute of free fall into the nothingness dissolved the misty ocean. The question arose as air was thinned as they accelerated toward death, “Can I breath? Will I die?” Their breaths churned faster and faster as they fell in the now porous and misty blackness, the nothingness that was became more solid with a burning friction and palpable blackness of shadow. Through the mist, a turbid expanse for those who could see without light – a gelatenous ooze with a muffled sound the party crashed except for Zahir and Ce-tan as they flew graceful downward. Those who fell in, tried to swim and climb out of what felt of quicksand… an colloid of ether.
Slowly one by one they pulled themselves out of the gel and gazed into a fog cloud of solid dark, a dense blackness but visible. Faharid called calmly into the black trying to find the locations of his dispersed companions. A grotesque rattling screech filled the space and darkness. Ce-tan immediately summoned the boat as sonorous and bleated cries of monsters appeared from the mist. Blinking in and out of the dense fog, the harriers attacked dissolved like apparitions. Unable to make headway toward the telling feel of the wind driven Boat of Ling, Faharid continued to sink slightly but fended for his life slicing a monster. After he pulled himself to the surface, more and more or the monsters are heard pile up as an infinite hoard climbs at the boat. Their purple bodies shown wildly against a wide mouth the length of half itself with monstrous and talons lizard-like legs set against its side. The other planarly creatures swarmed and bit and snarled and bleated and gnashed against those trying to survive.
In the distance of the backness of solid fod, a beacon glowed with a violet-emerald intense light and bent towards the boat. The creatures scattered and melted and dissolved into nothingness as the light touched them without remorse or comfort. All that had been unreal became real. The brilliant green and purple light a lighted blur lands on the boat flowing with robes moving with a unseen and unfelt wind. Taking a more unblurred appearance and of an elven-like mortal form, within an ever-shifting sheer gown flowing in a water that didn’t exist.
“I greet you, heroes from another reality, to Andrukami – the Isle of Naught.”