The Jackal’s Price: LoF Session XXXI
With the collapse of the masters of the manor, Khatovar, Faharid, Glarthoblavott, Ce-tan, and Seurbhan search the manor properly without distraction. Stuffed trophies adorned the great rooms morbidly portraying victory over animals, insidious creatures, and magical beast alike. A blue dragon poised as if breathing white hot lightning, a mummy rasped and bandaged, a sand giant in position to strike, and an ogre whose hideously had not left him in death stood glassy-eyed an unblinking. Along the animals head mounted for sport on the walls that adorned this hideaway hunting lodge, the head of the Gynosphinx stared toward the middle of the great trophy room, its face snarling and its teeth bared in a growl. The sadness and pity the Heroes of Kelmarane rose as her head with plaque was removed from its unceremonious alter and placed within the bag of endless room.
Ammar and Gabriel slept in dark silence as Faharid had relinquished 2 keys from a key chain, various weapons, armor, the peculiar black powdered weapon known as a musket, potions, and coin. Khatovar finding the bedrooms of Game Over’s huntsmen, studied over each room, relaying their uninhibited owners preferences in style and perhaps martial prowess.
The last door of the hallway grew closer. Locked. Seemingly unperturbed by addition security measures, the lock clicked with a clean welcoming sound as one of the keys opened Ammar’s room. Lavish with the finery of the head of Game Over, dressers and armoire decorated his room. The silken sheet blew gently with the breeze created by the door opening. In the corner a semi-ornate iron chest was set and drew the eye of Khatovar. It remained steadfast, locked and unyielding to the second key. Ce-tan, intrigued with the rooms and the silken sheets, stepped forward into the room with a glint of greed in his eye; though Khatovar had not seen it. The fiery tempered sorcerer desired the knowledge of what lay inside watched as Khatovar moved casually downstairs to perhaps use the iron chest’s masters hand to open it.
Eyes fixated upon the iron chest, filled with piercing magic. Strong magically emanations pulsated outward; the auras of conjuration, abjuration, and evocation mixed and intertwined within the box undetectable of their true purpose. Glarthoblavott rummaged through the bedroom, caring for what may or may not lay within the iron chest. Ce-tan unamused at the chest, placed his hand upon his chin contemplating the way to open such a box of magic fortunes. Patience eluding, Ce-tan whips his hands through the air whispering incantations of persuasion to the inanimate iron. As if complying to his whims, the lock clicked…
A whistling and tearing howl ripped through the silence of the manor. The gait of air lurched and flew streaking into a translucent to opaque horror. Loose items that strewn the bedroom were suctioned into the vortex. Bursting forth from the unlocked chest like a sandstorm the cyclone careened everywhere and nowhere. The violence of the wind tugging on the Gnome with a natural force and calamity. Starled by its arrival and the items whirling fiercely in the winds, the rune emblazzoned Gnome and his companion were pummeled mercilessly and acted like it moved toward Ce-tan trying to pull him in to the center of the storming tornado. Ce-tan uneased by the radical change from curiosity to peril held onto the door frame, pulling himself further out of the room as Glarthoblavott was no match for the sheer force and pressure exerted on every inch of his being, are sent swept and spinning inside the windstorm. The dawning of enlightenment, Ammar had kept a tornado caged within the wrought iron box.
The explosion of air and loud thuds of bodies colliding with their surroundings, the noise reached downstairs to Faharid’s ear. Perking and anticipating another enemy, he dashes up the stairs without hesitation and sees the opaquing sandstorm lashing violently outside of the room toward Ce-tan. Cornering himself, Ce-tan sees the master swordsman and sends crimson waves of pure fire undulating at the howling monstrous wind and what ever lay in the path. Though it did little to deter the whirling air, the bed and surrounding furniture began to burn with the help of air feeding flame.
Faharid charged down the hallway without delay but broke fast in front of the vortex, startled and perplexed, as he nearly is run over. He watched as the Gnome from seemingly nowhere bursts forth through the lacerating cloud encased in an aqueous sphere with his Otherworldly friend. Bits of debris and tinder and items strewn from the room began to drop with a lackadaisical thudding on the wooden hallway floor as the cyclone ceased. In it’s place floated a cloud-like being with darkened hollows for eyes, resentful, appraising the unprepared fighters. With a reverberating howl, the clouded figure rushed at Faharid, barreling over the gnome within the oceanic bubble.
The water growing heavy and stifling any attempt at air, Glarthoblavott’s water jail, while good for the time, was slowly crushing. His spell worked too effectively. Unable to release himself, he turned his attention to the now visible Air Elemental. Controlling the sphere with will alone, he rushed toward the being of element and finds his effective spell enveloped Faharid as well. The two careening at the elemental on a collision course.
Khatovar, blazed up the stairs and found himself attacking to defend his companions – hailing the Outworlder in its native tongue to cease its onslaught.
Twisted in visage, the hollow resounding rapture was felt once more, as the Elemental shifted power into a cyclone, once again lifting scattered objects were lifted and spun maliciously without care. This time the force too great, Seurbahn, Ce-tan, and Khatovar are swept within the sand dusty windstorm; pushing and carrying those now within down the hallway toward the stairs.
The Gnome now in a tougher predicament had not predicted the outcome of his first spell, or his next. Closing his eyes, he swiftly imagined the rift of planes as he had once with Seurbahn. By a twist of fate he called himself forward by will, shunted and free of the water prison, and recited a dispelling incantation staring at the Elemental with hard knowing eyes.
Simply and without resistance, the cyclone disappeared – dropping all from within it with a crash. Haggard and hurt, the Gnome scraped over to the rest of the bodies that were picking themselves from the ground. Looping around into the bedroom again, the smell of char and open flame assail the keenest nose. Pulling the orb through the door, Glarth thought quickly, doused the room as the aqueous sphere disappeared as quickly as it had been made.
“THE BOOKS! THE BOOKS!” Glarthoblavott now uninterested in the wrought iron banded chest stormed and scolded the hazardous mage. Collecting the torn pages he began trying to refit them into their rightful place. The rest took stock of what their ill fought battle had lead them to. Filled with arrows, bullets, and gold, the only thing that was prominent was the scroll case. Under the writ of divinity, the magic to bring back those from the dead. The magic, though not affording those who had past over time was more forgiving to those within a few seconds. The cleric of Sarenrae lead with a grimace and then a smirk at the contents of such a fortuitous item.
Buried intently in the books and ledgers, Glarth discovered the book described in detail the moral good and evils of murdering sentient beings. An amoral book itself; the Gnome fidgeted and scoffed at the authors, Chelish, removed the manuscript from his sight and perused the other gems and items in the chest.
The damage done, the unconscious Ammar and Gabriel were strapped to the camels backs and the rest saddled themselves for the hot desert trek toward the legendary Chass. Slowly, green flecks dotted the horizon amount the flats and dunes followed by birds hovering in the area.
The oasis held a massive green pond limed with emerald and clear to a finger length. At its center an oddity of stone erupted from the sand. Its polished black rose ominous two stories toward the sky, with hale doors watching the west. The blackness made palpable without windows. The view was clear and unobstructed, a small boat lay on the shore close to the weary party. Broken and battered, the wood of the boat splintered at odd angles as if the deep black obelisk had arranged a distaste for visitors.
The call came forth amplified like so many times before, “Chasshagra! Lord of the Oasis! I have a riddle for you. What does an Androsphy…” Suddenly, something quickly submerged into the water. Ripples lapped forth to the shore as a glimpse of a reptilian tail swung back and forth pulling under the murky emerald water. The birds standing within the water had not paid heed to the thing that lurked within the lake. The camels, seemingly started began dancing restlessly. The thought of pressing onward in the current condition worried the fatigued Heroes. In turns, they slept the day and night away uneventfully.
The next morning, they tested the water for the sneaking tail within the pond drinking from it crisp, cool, and refreshing water tho oddly colored. Wishing to fly, Khatovar asked the Wishcrafter this small boon and with his strength ferried all across the pond to the black stone doors unhindered. In front of the doors, Glarth quizzically examined them and pushed without effort. Swinging open with ease, the doors welcomed the newcomers into the hallow house of the sphinxes.
Alabaster lions flanked the entrance as the large hall was filled with sandstone and marble. In its center, a beautifully crafted pedestal held aloft an old and worn tome encase in glass. The balcony it resided on jutted forward overlooking the rest of the complex. Eerily, wails and moans danced on the wind amid the hall – filling the ears of the listener with odd questions. Glarthoblavott, as curious as he had been in his youth sped forward toward the tome and found it held beautiful poetry by none other than the renowned Soukri.
Spent and enraged the lion leaped from its parapet, and pounced upon the Gnome with a deathly fervor. Glarth, pinned and wide eyed but not without reason, began speaking with it in its own tongue. Perplexed Faharid motioned to scratch his head but did not move. The rest would had not been so eager to head to the tome were being watched with alabaster eyes of carnage as the lion statue’s twin raised itself to strike.
Hesitation left Glarth as he told everyone to calm themselves. Though alert, the party remained steady as they readied themselves in case something were to happen to their companion. Glarth roars with thin voices and with odd disillusionment, is cut short as the lion looks toward another end of the hall listening to whispers on the wind. Distracted, the lion leaped off of the small and pale Gnome and regained its statue like position on the marble plinth. Its twin rested again to a forward position. And the moans and wails grew louder without the din of rustling.