“Are you alright?” Jalissa looks at me with deep concern and asks.
“No, I’m not.” I respond with a hateful look that was unintentional but I find myself struggling with the emotions of the latest attempt on my life.
The Soul devourer – that is what it’s called I’m told – ate my essence, touched me where none are entitled to go, and it disturbs me greatly. And the voices that I heard… My own inner reserves trying to motivate me, or were they external? They certainly referred to me as something… outside… “I have use for you”, and “I’m not done with you compose yourself”. I want to scream at them, that I am no one’s puppet, but I cannot deny that I am still breathing from being able to draw upon that inner reserve to extract myself from that … thing… and then to find out that it is a servant/protector for this Iounian temple… a cruel joke, that my Jalissa is a designated seeker for that order… cruel indeed.
Inside the room is dimly lit but I can clearly make out three large alcoves situated to display tokens of honor… HOW THE HELL DID I GET HERE AND WHY IS THS DOOR OPEN? !
I ask myself, as I withdraw my hand from the door handle, and step a few feet inside. More puppeteering… fire burns in my chest – fueling me – giving me power – making me careless…
I sample the magics of the area, what I felt earlier was over here. Now that is odd… Instinctively I throw my right arm out and grab a tunic… How I realized Sheldon was there I do not know but yet I have him…
“Careful. There are primordial magics at work there, there and there”, pointing. “It’s difficult to discern their entire purpose and function. Looks like that is extra-planar, but also a place of replenishment, like perhaps these alcoves could be manipulated to rejuvenate the weary, possibly heal, but I do not find the proper auras for that… definitely something that interacts with peoples personal vitality… perhaps magically infusing them…. But like I said it’s difficult to read, be careful what you touch and how…”
Sheldon looked at me with the ‘of course I’ll be careful smile’ and moved forward with a much slower and thoughtful posture… looking for any traps, triggers, or things that go ‘click’. As he did so he moved towards the first alcove as the rest of the party entered behind. I must say that it disturbs me greatly that I just found myself here… although I am trying mightily to maintain my normal calm demeanor, I’ve just been ‘moved here’ like a chess piece for some purpose – my companions following my lead as well… something is definitely NOT right here. I examine the magics more closely with the assistance of the Little Master. Hmmm, perhaps we can use these rejuvenative magics to re-energize the weave to shift the monastery back to the prime?
I hear Sheldon quickly move back from his position, quietly whispering , “I didn’t trigger anything”.
As I come back into reality from examining the primordial, a planar gateway of some kind opens in the center of the middle alcove. Before we can react, a giant ice covered behemoth blinks into existence,
followed by three smaller ice-covered dog sized spirits, and a wizard.
Before I realized what was happening I had moved forward and let my lightning lure fly, pulling the behemoth to me and to the side, I dropped my hex upon him as well.
The wizard said something to the effect of, “Grab the seed and lets be gone”, then stepped back and cast a spell that looked very similar to the fire protections spells I’ve seen in the past… these are ice creatures though, and I am using lightning… why the protection from fire? Gil moved past me in a blur, moving with remarkable speed for a man his size, straight to the wizard where he hauled off and pasted him with his great sword, causing an impressive look of surprise and considerable open wound in the wizards front torso.
The ice spirits whizzed past me to the rear, as Co’Bok rushed forward to assist me with the icy behemoth. Swinging his axe with what looks like reckless abandon, but is in reality a carefully crafted maneuver to generate every possible bit of force the barbarian can muster. As I take in that sight another of even greater interest grabs me. Through the portal I can see the sight of a creature of myth… A beholder coming through… this isn’t good. I engage my dual lightning strike to lay a hefty slash into the behemoth and ride the flash to behind the behemoth providing Co’Bok with better leverage against it as it tries to handle both of us form opposite sides, but perhaps more importantly I am in position to greet the beholder as it materializes, depositing my blade deeply into it as it arrives into this plane. Accompanying the beholder is several more icy spirits and an ice hawk of some kind that flies over me to
harass Yamis Jalissa, little master and Sheldon towards the rear, then another behemoth, and another, the twin brothers of the one Co’Bok and I are fighting. This can’t be good. I summon my will and expand my hex…
“By my will you shall all fall!”, I exclaim casting forth my hex, quickly followed by my flame cyclone. My flame burst forth engulfing the ensemble. A icy spirit tried to slip past me and I ended it with a quick clash of my blade, the Beholder gauged the scene and cast its gaze upon Co’Bok sending some sort of ray at him, triggering my hex. I teleported next to it still near the behemoth and swung my blade true. The blade changed course during its flight to find the seam between two scaley plates. The behemoth moved to trample Co’Bok, twirling about like a small child trying to step upon ants, but left itself open to me. I anticipated its dance and when it returned from knocking down Co’Bok my blade met him again I felt the guidance other than my own on the blade seeking a crack in its icy armor finding a molten interior, causing superheated steam to escape the hole I created… most odd., I then dropped my longsword and drew the greatsword of wounding that Gil had given me, a while ago. I summoned the will of the gods to deal a purifying wound upon the great eye before me, but the blade is a clunky thing (I need more practice with it) and I barely scratched the floating orb. The Beholder sensed my intention to end it and cast its gaze upon me. Its eyes focusing, it large eyes pupil contracted to a fixed gaze. On of the smaller eye stalks emitted some sort of ray and I was lifted to the air and deposited in the center of the first alcove. The second behemoth started its way towards me with rending me to bits no doubt on the agenda. The little master cast his flaming sphere, hoping to further damage the ice creatures, but no sooner had it been cast than the mage Gil was fight cast some sort of spell that exploded in a huge area, casting shards of ice the size of small boulders all over, and extinguished the flaming sphere altogether, and made the entire area treacherous to maneuver through. At some point Yamis, Jalissa, Sheldon and McShane had activated the alcove. As I noticed this the Beholder had not finished with me. Its gaze affixed on me again and sent a ray to me that sapped the strength from my body and soul, as one of its other eye stalks also fired a beam at me of pure ice, freezing me to the spot. Jalissa called out something about the eyes all having different powers, and the center eye being the main controller. She flung a bolt of light at one of the icy spirits and with her other hand made a gesture in my direction. The flesh and spirit weakening gaze of the beholder was diminished although I was still firmly stuck to the ground.
At that point the doors at the far end of the hall opened followed by two quick arrows hitting the mage at the far end of the room. Now that I had a moment I could see that Gil had been surrounded by icy spirits the mage and now had a behemoth of his own to tend with. The arrows belonged to Sylen Leafrunner of the free riders… I heard Co’Bok Yell, “You’re late! Welcome to the party!” in their direction. I then saw Ghena step forward and cast as spell that burst forth a roiling cloud of noxious looking vapor in the center of the room, near the beholder… breaking its gaze upon me. The little master not to be outdone cast his own spell of grasping shadows, enveloping the 2nd behemoth coming towards me, and a couple of the icy spirits. The small spirits were no match for the shadow tentacles and exploded immediately. From inside the cloud I could hear the very peculiar sound of a coughing beholder and a couple of ice behemoths.
So nice of the Free riders to show up.
At that moment I felt my hex activate again – the first behemoth has attacked Co’Bok again. I teleported to its side and again felt an unseen force guiding my swing – true to the same hole I had already created. My blade sank deeply into it, and I felt a lurching inside the beast as I hit something critical to its continued life. It froze in place and began whining like a steam whistle through the opening I had made… Yamis pasted the icy hawk with his mace and I then felt myself teleported near the entrance to the room next to the icy bird, the hit from Yamis made it particularly open as my blade found crystalline feathers little resistance as I neatly split it into two. Still stuck to the ground form the icy gaze of the beholder I found myself unable to move, despite having jumped all over the room in short order. I called my longsword back to my hand and tried to use my knowledge of arcane to close the portal bringing more enemies to us.
Then I saw the beholder emerge from the cloud, its gaze affixed upon the tea kettle ringing next to it, and lifted it as it had me moments before and deposited the steam screaming behemoth next to me.