Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Altar of the Demon Queen of all Dragonkind

This map below describes the events that transpired at what was once the Altar of Tiamat of Old Khepathia. The date when this went down was the second month of Summer, 2011, 6th epoch of the Raelfaen. Gavin Wel Valley. In the UnderWeb road between Old Fang and Starry Gardens.

click on each image to enlarge. This entry is best read top to bottom.

1. The return of Zarconus and Walder to this space and this time. What was it that wripped them from their continuum some three thousand years before in old Khepathia? The Platinum eye as Zarconus suspected or was it Tyrara, Walder's love, the Titan Magician? Had she saved them? Walder felt it to be true in his longing heart. Back in this room. This terrible place. The Necro lab where they had found the crystal ring that transported them across an ocean of history to be champion of dubious fate. Be that what ever it may, there they were: still bloody, still deeply wounded from the fight with dragon in the ancient arena.
Their nature, altered. With no longer a beating heart but rather an artifact of his ancient diety, Zarconus the knight reflects a dragon magic that manifests in this cold place as a dark visage: close to wyrm kind magics that mortals rarely encounter.

2. The litter of the Dead and the Heartless. Stacked in a pyramid of litters containing the bodies of fifteen men, including Bartok Tigeon and Warren Bessallyn whose bodies had been defiled, hearts removed and then resewn in a particularly macrabre fashion.

3. Dezr the Waiting. "Yeah, I'm still here!" The orcish captain has been unaffected by the wandering cathidic magic that haunts this mysterious chamber. He says it has been three days since the Paladin and the Rogue had found the crystal ring and disappeared and Tim the Ranger and Avari the Waif had left this material plane. Hungry and used to waiting, the smelly warrior is glad to see Zarconus and Walder.

4. Tim the Meditating Ghost. The poor ranger sits in mistform, eyelids half closed. Walder says he had seen this kind of ritual before on marks of his in Femin. Raven Queen priests. It is likely that Tim is deep in the Shadowfel. Dezr says "Yeah, he ain't dead or nuthin, just not here, off on an adventure with only half his body...hope he's got his whole mind!"
5. Avari the Held. More disturbing than Tim's plight is poor Avari who hangs suspended in the air on the other side of the litter of bodies from Tim. A single electric fork massages her blank staring face and seems to be the cause of her catatonia.
6. The Necro Lab and the Altar revealed. Large glass balls hang near brass mechanical compontents in mysterious purpose. Dezr explains that none of the magic in here seems to affect him, "could be a function of bein' an orc, ya know, druid magic is not tiefling, titan, raelfaen or human magic, not by a long bit." Beyond the glass electricity machine is a large crystal down the hall. When Walder investigates a second bolt of eldritch energy sparks from another glass bulb similar to the one holding onto Avari, begins to track Walder, slowly closing toward him. Dezr exclaims "That's it! You say the word Walder and I am ready to smash this dumb machine." Walder obliges and when Dezr busts one of the globes with the Tommyknocker a large explosion reveals a beautiful golden altar under the waxy film coating the walls.
7. No exit. Zarconus investigates Avari's stasis and in so doing hears whispered in a sweet motherly voice "Know me and my love, be of me and mine..." At that streams of green, red, white, black and blue magic envelope him, curing him of his injuries and feeding him power.
9. The Crystal Eye of the Chaos Queen. The Crystal down the hall that Walder investigates is six feet tall and is embedded in a large ceramic base. There are handprints pressed into ceramic, presumably when it was wet and in ritualistic fashion. The hand prints are large and reminds Walder of Tyrara. Pain enters his heart and is foreign to the sometime assassin.
10. The Champion of the Dead. Up through the floor as an enraged wraith springs a champion of old Mitanthea with five crystals in its skull: red, blue, black, green and white. "Am I too fight your champion after you just healed my wounds?" Zarconus ponders as he begins a long sword battle against this enemy wielding a vicious falchion. Upon his demise the creature portends "The only thing you take in my end is my place!"

11. Cleo. Through the unsettled dust a woman appears and at first Zarconus is sure that it is the Shadar, Miskatel, a love of the knights left in Old Khepathia. When she gets closer he sees that she is not her, although reminicent. She says "It is an honor to know you Grandfather! I honor you by returning you to the Earth!" At that the girl reveals herself to be a descended made from Zarconus's coupling in the alternate time dimension so many thousands of years before.
12. Pit Goblins. Cleo the grandaughter of Zarconus arrives with two dozen pit goblins who set upon Walder and Dezr like a pack of rabid dogs. Dezr swings his mighty club, the Tommyknocker as a bat to the wretched creatures, smashing them in waves.
13. Tel Omad. Zarconus engages Cleo in combat and is taken by a beath of truth, a voice from beyond. The voice of his true mother, the warrior who bequeathed unto him the Sword of his Calling as a knight of Bahamut, the silver elfwrought blade that he currently wields. "Stikarus!" is the true name of the sword as it cries and pierces the heart of Cleo the granddaughter.
It bright light eminating radiant magic, Cleo's nature is revealed. No real creature is she but made of pins and cogs with constructed illusion. Running the length of the floor and the ceiling is an intricate network of strings and wire. Cleo is a puppet! a ploy to corrupt Zarconus' mind.
the puppeteer: Tel Omad, the Ogre Mage who so plagued Tiki Mumbai click here to bounce to that entry. Angered at his trap foiled, the enraged beast engages Dezr in melee and finds a worthy advisary. Dezr's original command was with the Whistle Skull Orcs who were kidnapped and corrupted by Tel Omad, set upon then by Tim so many days before. Tel Omad proved cowardly after being smacked by Zarconus and his Mother's blade of Light and left the Necro lab in a blast of shadow magic.
14. Snarl Hellwind. Revealed there too was a small creatures. Low and hateful, running to crystal shard, instercepted by Walder who skillfully tackles him. Transforming his body into snakes the apparent goblin wizard cries from the mouths of a thousand tiny serpents still running to the crystal "No one can master Snarl Hellwind! Blight lord!"

15. Revelation. The thousand serpents that made up little Snarl find the handprints of the ancient titan masters and activate the old device to much more terrible ends than any could have ever imagined. Awakened, enraged and called to this world for the mechanations of the world now can not be denied: the wall that was the altar of Tiamat collapses to reveal an ultimate image: Tiamat herself! Glorious, terrible and beyond apprehension.
In the breath that passed, Walder turned his face from the madness image pressing down on his mind to see a vision (?) of Tyrara, his love pulling a lever that she needed help with...an protecting field immediately shielded the once Necrolab from the ferocious demon queen of all dragonkind.

16. Repentance. In a unholy moment of temptation, the visage of Tiamat disappeared and Zarconus was left with a suit of chromatic armor and called with that motherly voice from before: "Come and be with me and mine..." With his trembling hand reaching toward the new calling, he takes a quick kick in the gut leaving him winded.
A booming voice covers him "You of the Platinum Heart do not know your place! The two mother and father were one once but now there is good and there is evil. You can not see the balance, therefore you must be destroyed!"
It is the Concordant Killer: an angel of watching who may or may not have been under the employ of Bahamut. At that, Zarconus kneels and then prostrates himself, belly down infront of the angel. "Please spare me. I serve Bahamut and Bahamut only."
Tiamat, enraged that her new champion is denied her, blast the necrolab and it is only with the powerful and ancient Titan made forcefield augmented by the power of the Concordant Killer does the area survive. The surrounding cavern: the once electric fields are destroyed in an instant. The three heroes sit alone after the angel disappears in a heartbeat. The mistform of Tim remains as does the unconcious Avari. On a plateau in a void of room so many fathoms beneath the surface Zarconus declares: "This was once a temple of Tiamat. Again it shall be a temple, but a temple of the good father of the sky. I shall erect a pillar of platinum light to the stars so far above our heads." All Walder can do, after restraining Snarl with tight bonds, most likely not a blightlord at all...is stare at the inky space and wonder where this adventure takes them next.

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