House of the Beast: LoF Session XXI
Earthen walls of woe shook violently. The hard warm colors of heat pocked themselves among parts of the ceiling and walls. Ce-tan unfurls the large scroll to gaze at the foreign rune burnt and damaged from time, Khatovar examined one of the hallways that had diverted from the main chambers. With little light, eyes discerned the hallways held skeletons, where one in particular had four arms resting comfortably over itself naturally. The examination, however, would have to wait.
The blast of heat and vapor shot through the catacombs on both sides. Moving back swiftly to the rest, Khatovar points the curious gnome in the directions of their coming. The sounds of crumbling stone filled the burial chamber as the hot and gushing viscous liquid began pouring into the room. The weary fled the chamber in time as the roof collapsed to fiery heap atop the sarcophagus, flooding the nooks and incinerating everything within its wake. They ran back toward the entrance, long hall of sand where the native kraken had met its end. The sands burning through their soles, a strange sight ahead. Mists had appeared amid the underground lake obscuring the stairs that would lead to freedom. The flood of lava behind did not give them time to ponder this as it surged forth like a living wall.
Shutting and barring the gates to delay the oncoming firestorm, the five stood on the platform to leap between the genie incarcerated obsidian pillars. Brackish water stared back as the obsidian pillars looked small and ethereal behind the veil of steam. The lava behind crept closer; its boiling heat felt through the massive doors held some of the mists at bay. The situation bleak, the pillars standing as an obstacle for most of the group, Glarthoblavott realizes he had enough vitality to push forth another spell of celerity and expelled from his being to everyone a blast of unbridled speed. Jumping effortlessly from the platform to the first pillars the escapees fled for the exit, even the armor clad Zhakmed had been making the exodus safely. Khatovar, with his acrobatic acuity, rushed forward over the pillars as if he were running on the air itself taking the lead with Seurbhan behind him.
The steam began evaporating; the wall lurched. The far wall of pure stone and minerals, torrid with the heat of forsaken divinity, tore from the wall as if it were insubstantial – exposing the meat of magma pooling downward in a flurry, undammed and unstoppable. The crushing wave sped forth at the Outworlder and the Suli, with a part of earthen wall still floating upon the lavawave surface, careened toward them and the pillars they stood upon. The nimble warrior and surreal snake deftly jumped onto the colliding corroding surface of still solid wall and fell down toward the known brackish waters filled with flesh eating algae. Their fall however came to a sudden unyielding stop without wet resistance. As they picked themselves up, they saw the cool blackened crags of lava, the magma which had bore down upon them so viciously and spotaneously met its cooling agent. The algae, which had once enveloped the hand of the gnome, was no more. The heat and light expunged its small existence from the subterranean realm.
The short window revealed the pillared path was no longer an option. The ground below was free of moisture, the way out would now be to climb the rocks toward the stairs. Glaroblavott and Ce-tan jump downward toward the dirt bottom nimbly. Zhakmed, however, could not keep balance as he landed falling prone with bits of lava lapping at his feet. Closer with visibility, black and high, mounds lay among the bottom of the cavern. The lava amassing and continuing its pooling moved around the black mounds, waiting for its chance to rise higher. The Winds of Fate blew through the room as Khatovar sped and leapt onto the staircase, twenty feet over a mans head with a soulful plea. Shouting in the Earth language at the set of enchanted stairs, he beckoned the souls and spirits of the earth people to reform and create a bridge so that his companions may be able to cross. The earthen mound which was the stairs shuttered and groaned, but ultimately did nothing.
The lava climbed higher toward the tops of the mounds. The black outline freed of loose debris bore signs of charred bone and battle. Staring with wonder and surprise the gnome and flame descended man revealed looks of fascination and horror as the mounds of bone relate to a local tale of monstrous despair. Wrath-Blazing Xotani, the Firebleeder Spawn of Rovagug, he who had turned all of northern Garundi into wasteland, he had been no myth. His bones said to be why Pale Mountain is white toward its peaks; his deathbed rumored to be the summit of the mountain, slept his eternal sleep underneath the foot of Zhakmed, Ce-tan, Seubhan, and Glarthoblavott. His vertebrae, now a safe haven against the fireflow.
As the weary runners using the bones to their advantage watched the lava amassing at their heels, slithering and serpentine objects moved with scornful purpose through the lava with ease. From the fires and thickness of lava sprung forth armor clad half-human half-serpent creatures; Salamanders. The first of brilliant orange, unsheathed two scimitars, the other moving in for combat but halting to throw a javelin. The throw was fierce as the part metal, part wooden object sped forth, accelerating within a split second and boomed and bellowed with a hard crackle. Transforming into lightning, its head burning with hate bit into Ce-tan with a loud and sizzling smack. Ce-tan, luckily, had moved in enough time to not take the full force of the element.
The violet rune pulsed. Wind and fire spiraled like a spinning scythe. The remaining moisture snapped and coalesced into rivulets among the vortex pulling in diminutive pieces of dust and bone from the mysteries of the long dead abomination. The purity and intensity of color rushed like a beam, the air billowing robes around it. The stress and anxiety built amid itself pushing like a spile into a Tree of Knowledge; the sap leaking out. A second violet light burst forth eagerly awaiting the beckoning silent call, resonating with dire need. The pulses set swiftly to each other, crying in louder color and burnt a brilliant red amid the sun colored magma flow. The gnome, grievous with the fright of Ending, clutched his head in slight agony as he released a gritted choke of pain.
The rune on the Outworlder shone with ferocity and passion. The elements swimming through the air burdened the skin and neck of the snake. The eyes pealed away from each other as the head split in a tearing a grotesque sound. Seurbhan’s jaw unhinged and swung wildly as his fangs broke in twain making room for another row. Another head bore through tissue and speared through the opening throat, jutting outward like a fixed spear – ripping the last of the cracked face and splitting the neck toward his base. The ripped heads ballooned out with the rapid regeneration of muscle and bone of symmetry. The runes intensity diminished; its glowing an ordinary hue. With now three heads dancing in front of the enemy, Seurbhan’s maws plunge at the attacking foreigner.
Glarthoblavott, with incredulity scurried away from the miniature titan battle to jump toward a closer mound to the stairs. Calling from the stairs, and with a mighty leap, Khatovar calls toward the Wishcrafter Ce-tan, and lands abreast him to grant their salvation. In turn, Ce-tan touches the warrior with a granted wish and orders him to get them out. Knowningly, Khatovar grabs hold of Ce-tan and flies him to the tall stairway. The lava beneath continuing to rise, the Salamanders battle fiercely, throwing their transformative lightning at Zhakmed and slicing the Outworlder exposing ichor and muscle. The gnome ducking between bits of bone and jumping over the lava patches wishes for the felling of his foes to the Wishcrafter.
The wicked Ce-tan stood nonchalantly with poise and grace as he had before in what felt like days, enshrouded by odd breeze – the opened palm had an exact finality. And with another wicked grin, he spoke. “As I seem to be in a giving mood, I will acquiesce. You’re wish is granted. Now MOVE!”
The bead that was once crimson red and swift in efficacy, was a slower sky-colored opal and dotted the plane with a thin crystalline blue thread of coldlight which dampened the air about it as it brought the fires of the volcano to a halt. Instantaneously the fatiguing air refracted and shattered in sinister freeze, fracturing the opal into iced-flame. From its center, the burst spread forth like a exhausting ice age; its deathknell hurdled forth and as its counterpart had been, shaped by pure force of will. As swiftly as it came, it evaporated in the overwhelming heat of the the tidal lava. The Salamander who had leaped forward with purpose, floated unmoving above the lava next to the bone vertebrae.
The newly formed multiple heads dancing in hypnotic rhythm of the hydra-like Seurbahn were two entrancing as the other Salamander could not accurately make its blows connect; Seurbahn as well, not adjusted to his new form, could not hit the lava creature either. Khatovar, flying furiously toward his companions, grabs Glarth and Zhakmed trying to joist them into the air, away from danger. The weight too much for even the muscled warrior, Glarth uses his wand and increases Khatovar’s strength just within his ability to lift them both. A bolt of lightning hits the Wish-Granted fighter and his friends burning them with scathing and ferning electric burns.
Ce-tan looks at the enemy and as he did with the sacred scroll, wrenched the scimitar out of the hands of the salamander. As it lands in his hand he recognizes it is warm to the touch. Glarth and Zhakmed, dropped next to Ce-tan, stand watching the planar snake fight monster-to-monster with the salamander. Khatovar, again furiously flies back to grab Seurbahn just as without one of its swords, the salamander falls. Seurbahn, with its now many heads, initiated a barrage the devastatingly rent the lava spawn limb to limb.
In an instant, Seurbahn disappeared without warning. Startled, Khatovar wrenched his head around to see what had befell his companion. In the distance, atop the rock landing to the staircase was Seurbahn, next to his bonded friend, Glarthoblavott. The large gated double doors now taking an orange pink color, leaked smalls streams of magma beneath the door frame. Unbelieving, the Suli stood among the bodies, taking the few javelins in the salamander’s quivers, a pouch, and the scimitars. As soon as the weapon was picked up, the barred doors of the gate exploded open with unrelenting heat. Its contents gushing out like a tidal wave. The Suli flew forth calling the earthen spirits to reconstruct the stairs for passage. The stairs shuttered once more, rumbling in what seemed to be panic, and transformed into stairs to lead upward.
Rock and lava taps formed from the ceiling as the entire cavern was coming to destruction at the exact pivotal moment. Khatovar called down the bring the end of the stairs upward with the rest of the stone, higher and farther away from the burning mass of molten stone. Racing upward, the stability of the chamber on its last tether, release a deluge pushing the lava upward toward the heroes in a thick and viscous geyser.
Diving into the shallow room through the stairwell entrance, the enchanted stairs pushed flush to the stone flooring, rippling with anxiousness, but were quelled after they were shut down; the machine lacking the motion it once had. Glarth, still running into the wishcrafted verdant room, dove into the fountain, cooling himself off tremendously. Zhakmed in suit splashed water over himself and his armor – conjuring alcohol within his wineskin, took a heavy gulp and splayed on one of the overly large benches. Khatovar moved under the waterfall, to cool watching as the unsweating Ce-tan – with breeze in tow – sauntered casually forward, admiring the fresco on the wall.
Getting his bearings, Glarthoblavott set his sights and his mind to the items at hand. As both the arcane minded casters put their heads together, the realized the scimitar was that of brass. What should have been a commonplace material, however, was unique. Frequently associated with and traded on the Plane of Fire known as Living Brass, the material heals itself in fire and amplifies heat around itself. Brass itself on the Plane, is a rather expensive commodity. The javelins, knowing what they do first hand, are tucked away for future use.
Ce-tan once more unfurls the scroll he would rather use for power or sell to meet his own ends. Both the gnome and the Descendent of Fire ascertain the scroll needs a trigger or medium in order to properly use or see the contents of the scroll. Waving it over the fountain and speaking arcane babble, viewing it with eyes of magic, the map fluctuates with an odd archipelago. The shifting letters and objects of the map not visible to those without the gift are sharp and damaged from a fire that shouldn’t have damaged it. The inquisitive are met with a history few know. Khatovar, with his study of history has seen the symbol in texts and history books during his journey for enlightenment of Irori.
The dark symbol, marked with ancient unknown writing, was a map held by the king Nex. His arcane studies had led him to make a test for his proteges to overcome; this in particular was possibly his own doing to find solace in a place where no one could enter without his permission. This haven, this map, is to Nex’s created other realm known as Kakishon. Ce-tan and Glarth turn back their attention onto the map, noting locations where an “X” had been drawn. Cities of interest or vaults of untold wealth and power, the map was last known to be possessed by a blue dragon. With the newest artifact in the open and less protected, the power radiating brilliantly, the lurking darkness casts its large shadow behind the veil of the material plane.