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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:52 pm

"A shame..." Ashara muttered acerbically under her breath.

"There is also the issue of how someone is able to maintain control over dominated subjects within a dead magic zone." Following the Abbess' lead, she detailed their previous encounters with these 'thralls' for those gathered, including the molydeus' comment about 'replacing his puppets'.

"We've surmised that an alhoon may be the responsible party and is working with this demon. Since all these strange occurrences seem to take place within the same dead magic zone that's crawling toward the Dawnspire, I can't imagine that it's just coincidence."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:00 am

The lich growled and made a spitting motion, though there was no saliva to give his disgust physical effect.

"Not a fan?" Elric asked with a twinkle in his eye. Something about watching a lich try to spit he found extremely humorous. "I would have thought otherwise."

"Would you?" The glaring white eyes burned at him. "I have given my soul to the protection of my family and their possessions. The ultimate act of community. Allhoon are outcasts among their own kind. They seek only to accumulate more magic for thier own selfish needs. Tell me again, how much do you think we 'get along?'

When the half-elf didn't immediately answer, he spun to the more accomadating abbess. "I know 'of' alhoon in my city, but I have only encountered one since The Fall." Skin stretched tight into a malicious grin. "Trust me, He is not the cause of our problems."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:12 pm

As the lich spoke, the normally cheerful priestess had maintained the unblinking, focused stare of a predator stalking her prey. Too bad there wasn't time for a bath before they left because Ashara felt physically and spiritually filthy sitting there next to it. She prayed that this wouldn't go on longer than necessary...

"Good. One less abomination in this city then," she replied curtly, purposefully blurring the line between the abomination that was dispatched and the one sitting amongst them. Then she turned her attention...half of it anyway, to include the others at the table.

"Now regarding the mission... I have some experience with psionics, illithids specifically...and one particularly creepy boy," Ashara reflected, "but not nearly as much as you all who've lived here and I know little of the nature of these abilities. Do psionics function normally within a magic dead area? It would be good to know what kind of arsenal an alhoon might have before we charge in there."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:11 pm

"If you know illithids, then you know ilithilliches..." the lich said with barely restrained fury. "The differences are minor to say the least. They have the typical resistances one gains when they leave the world of the living behind them... though the process isn't designed for such magic resistant creatures. They do not gain any chilling touches, but they are also incapable of being turned and while they hate bright light... it's not truly a 'weakness'.

"What are the typical lich weaknesses?" Elric asked directly. The baelnorn simply sneered and continued his lecture.

"Domination is a peculiar concept...." His long dead brow managed to furrow. "The mythal prevents any spells that read or influence the mind. Always has. That means anything from the charm schools or spheres simply fail."

"Yet we've seen..."

"Yes, and i have no answer for it. Perhaps they control their servants with threats or promises? Wizards are tricky. Perhaps some have found a way around that limitation. After all, the mythal is not what it once was.... But I do not know how such a thing was done...

"More so, I question this Alhoon's agenda."

"How so?" The abbess spoke up.

"The alhoon arrived shortly after the elves retreated from the forest kingdom. Their purpose... their LIVES, are the pursuit of magic and magical treasure. When the Phaerimm were already here... the Alhoon manipulated the priests of Bane into summoning forth the Baatezu.. The priests were destroyed, and the demons and Phaerimm battled it out. Thus leaving the Alhoon time and freedom to loot to their unbeating hearts content. They opened the gates to the abyss purely for a distraction.

"Creatures like this... have little reason to be in a dead magic zone."

"The dead magic is centered on a wizards tower... A very powerful one from Kaldric's stories..."

"Perhaps... " The lich replied noncommittally. "What I'm most curious about is the notion that there were mental control being asserted inside the dead magic zone... "
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Kaldric

Post  The Sub-Creator on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:06 pm

Kaldric actually shrugged. "That one could control another's mind even within the Mythal isn't necessarily hard to fathom any longer," he said. "I've found a spell that permits one to work magic despite her prohibitions; there's nothing to say that whomever is doing this--alhoon or otherwise--doesn't have the same magic.

"Granted, maintaining this magic within a dead magic zone should be impossible . . . unless the dead magic isn't what it seems to be. I'm curious if--and I promise you I'm merely thinking aloud here--dead magic created by the Mythal may be surpassed somehow as a 'Mythal prohibition.' That's speculation at best, however, though something I'm most interested in learning the answer to. Should that be the case, it would explain how those orcs were dominated within the dead magic zone."

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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:30 am

"That would also explain why the Arm of Valor works inside the area..." Ashara nodded, pursing her lips as the fog of confusion cleared ever so slightly. "It may also explain how the dead magic zone is being purposefully moved. If the instigator has discovered some way to manipulate the Mythal and these DMZs are a product of the Mythal, then he could wield a terrible amount of power within the city!

"But," she stressed, "this is all only conjecture and time's a wasting!"

Yes, the priestess was antsy to get back into the Gemblaunt area and see who this trouble maker was. Yes, she was worried for the Dawnspire and very clearly felt the sun climbing ever higher in the sky and the dead magic creeping ever closer, but she'd be lying if she said a large part of her desire to get a move on wasn't to get away from this undead anathema sitting only a few feet away. Get away from him before she smote him there and then, infuriating both the Abbess and Vailis no doubt... Though... She was sure they'd forgive her in time...

"We know there was a molydeus down there when last we visited and that we can prepare for at least. Cold iron weapons and holy water are essentially the only things that will harm it, so we'll need to take as much as we can comfortably carry.

"Alhoon however, if that's indeed what we're up against, are not susceptible to either. A good old fashioned beating is what they need. Trouble is getting close to them. Just like those cursed phaerimm... He'll likely have a number of thralls to wade through first, but if his ugly squid head is caved in then they can't obey his commands anymore.

"The other issue is of course the psionics thing... If we're in a dead magic zone then we can't very well protect ourselves from such attacks, but by the grace of Lathander we have a weapon that will aid us. The Arm of Valor grants immunity to all psionics! Those of us not wearing it however, will be vulnerable to Domination if all of our conjecture is true, which could be devastating if the right target falls victim."

Ashara's gaze fell square on the half elf seated beside her.

"I'd suggest that Elric wear the Arm. If he doesn't, and the alhoon takes hold of his mind...we're done," she said flatly.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:57 am

Elric stiffened as he listened silently. That he hadn't expected... Nor did he like it one bit. First the idea of wearing armor at all, went against his training... Secondly, the thought of taking that protection away from Ashara just seemed... soooo... WRONG.

However, she wasn't wrong....

The thought that some monster could turn him as a weapon against them. That he may attack her... If something like that happened?! He shuddered at the implications.

Gently he squeezed her knee as he nodded. "If everyone agrees, I'll take the protection."

"I would think the bearer of Dawnspeaker should have the most protection..." The Abbess began until the Prior interrupted.

"Sister Ashara has split her training between martial and magical, Abbess. Elric is entirely martial. The others will be at a disadvantage... Him less so."

The Abbess' mouth tightened as she considered it. She had heard the rumblings that the prior and Elric has 'sparred'. She wished she had seen it. All she had to base an opinion on was the Prior's opinion. Though in the ways of combat that was usually enough for her. She shrugged in surrender.

"As much as I wish I was accompanying you, I am not. I'll not try to dictate strategies and rules over those who are.

"Just fix this problem. Bring the arm back."

"Guaranteed." Elric state confidently. He looked to Ashara and offered a weak grin that didn't quite reach his eyes. He'd be protected from the mind control... and she would not. In his mind, he knew it was the right move. After all, if she turned on him, he had the ability to stop her without serious injury.

He'd done it before.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:11 am

She smiled back at him...one that did reach her eyes, and nodded in approval. She was so very glad he agreed to go along with the plan. With Elric wearing the Arm, Ashara got everything she wanted on this mission. The Arm was safer, the team was safer which made the Dawnspire safer, and Elric himself was safer! There was no downside to this.

The priestess turned her attention back to her superior, though the smile did not leave her face.

"The Morninglord has provided the means to see this problem resolved, Abbess," Ashara concurred with her husband's statement. "We will not fail."

She peered around the table at the volunteers. "So Tirtero, Adaldo, Mairlen, Jorelon, Kaldric?" Finishing the final name with a questioning inflection, she looked to the mage for confirmation that he planned to come along. "Let's get suited up and meet at the gate in about twenty minutes.

"By your leave of course, Abbess." Ashara tilted her head in deference.

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Kaldric

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:58 am

As the representatives began to slide out of their chairs, Kaldric spent a moment studying the baelnorn. There would almost certainly be none left alive that harbored true revelations about the Mythal, but perhaps one that has escaped to undeath and survived within the power of the unmatched artifact might have some depth of understanding. The unique lich would have useful answers about his plight, which made Ilrune a lucrative, untapped fount of wealth on his most adored subject.

The Veil Initiate sipped long from his goblet as he rose and hurried over to where the Morninglord and her husband resided. He doubted the baelnorn would linger here long, so needed to say his farewells quickly.

"I just wanted to wish you the blessings of your god on this most imperative journey," he expressed sincerely. "Unfortunately, I'll not be accompanying you. We've already met one foe within the dead magic zone that I'm of no use against, and I fear there will be others as powerful. My presence will more get in the way and give you one more body to fear for, while providing you no real benefit on the flip side. Essentially, I'd be more hindrance than help to you, and what's the point in that?

"I've seen you two working together and am willing to concede that my presence is unnecessary anyhow. You'll succeed in this mission because succeeding is simply what the two of you do. In the meantime, I shall continue my work here. Perhaps, if there's more to this than simply some disgruntled egotist enemy seeking to stroke his narcissism, I'll come across additional information that may prove useful in the long term."

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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:49 pm

"I've no doubt you will, Kaldric." As she stood, Ashara squeezed his shoulder in encouragement. He was right. If it had been just a foray into the city then his skills would be...and already had been, invaluable! In a dead magic area though?? That simply put him at risk when his insights into the Mythal could yet greatly aid the Seekers in their god-given mission here.

"There's a good chance we might find something else of interest down there that could aid in your research on the Mythal, either hidden away in Gemblaunt itself, or among the effects of the alhoon. If we do, we'll be sure to get it to you post haste!

"Until then," she bowed slightly, "good fortune in your study and don't forget that perhaps looking at the problem with fresh eyes might reveal new insight." The priestess grinned and glanced at the small amount of spiced wine in his goblet. Considering the time, it wouldn't at all surprise her if that was the last of the entire bottle!

After saying her goodbyes, Ashara wasted no time gliding from the room and well out of range of that cold chill of undeath! She hoped its invitation came only due to the unusual circumstances. If not, their stay at the Dawnspire might be shorter than she'd originally believed...

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:51 pm

Elric watched his wife vacate the room and hurried to catch up.

"Good luck with your research, Kaldric!" He said quickly, as he waved at mage. "We'll try not to have too much fun without you!" Then he was gone.

Ashara had made it half-way down the hall and the half-elf quickly bounded up to meet her.

"Sooooo..... Liches for breakfast huh?" He said making light of the situation. "If that's how we start breakfast, I wonder what OTHER surprises we've got in store for us today!

"I don't think I made much of an impression there... "
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:18 pm

After escaping the room, Ashara's body was wracked from head to toe with a shudder of utter disgust.

"Ugh..." She gagged. "If there is anything that could be more surprising than sharing a meal with such a creature and not slaying it on sight, I don't know what it could be. NOR do I want to...

"I'm going to need to do so much atoning for this later...."

With a helpless sigh, she took Elric's hand as they headed off to Halamor's study to retrieve the Arm of Valor.

"Thank you for agreeing to the plan, Melamin," she spoke softly, "...about the Arm I mean. I wasn't sure how you'd respond to that. I don't think it will encumber you at all once the pieces are fused together, plus I think it's high time you had your turn at flight!" Ashara grinned. "Do be mindful of Dimension Door though, it'll turn your stomach inside out as quick as that dwarven battlerager swill. Still useful in a pinch though I suppose."

The young priestess turned to regard her husband, unable to keep all of the hints of concern from her features. She believed with all her heart that they were sent there to aid the Dawnspire in this mission and that they would be successful, but after Elric's near disastrous encounter with the molydeus a couple of days ago, she wanted to know if he was really feeling as assured of victory as he needed to be.

"I understand the show of confidence at the table," she whispered to him gently, "but how are you feeling? Both the alhoon and the molydeus would be formidable foes on their own but in a magic dead area with a potential army of thralls? That's a different situation entirely.

"You know I have all faith in the world in you, Love. You've felt that yourself. I just wonder how your own faith in yourself is holding up..."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:51 pm

He flinched under her gaze. Slowly he forced a grin.

"I'll admit... I hadn't given much thought to an 'army' of thralls... Numbers could be problematic at best..." He hoped there weren't THAT many thralls... After all, an army needed to eat right? Wouldn't someone have noticed if that large a contingent was forming right here?

"Other than that..." he said with a chuckle. "I don't really know. I'll be at a disadvantage, and the last fight was the molydeus was close... a bit too close. You 'DO' have something for the demon poison right?" He said hopefully. Before she could answer, he shook his head quickly.

"No... Not to change the subject... I feel healthy. I feel strong. I'm at a disadvantage, but not as much as the rest of you... If this is something we have to do... I'll not feel any better about it tomorrow then I do today." He squeezed her hand reassuringly.

"What about you? Your going in without spells... and now your giving up the arm? Are you ready for this? Just your morningstar and shield? "
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:37 pm

"The morning exercises over the last months have helped prepare me for just such an event," Ashara smiled up at him. "I have a very good teacher!

"I'm also creating a cold iron mace for myself this morning so I'll have something to use against the molydeus. If it comes to it, I'm prepared to hold him off while you deal with the alhoon. I wouldn't be able to kill it of course but I think if I engage him defensively, I could buy you some time to deal with the psionic threat."

The chatter of the busy priests in the tower faded away as they approached the inner rooms where Halamor kept his study. Familiar butterflies flitted about in the priestess' stomach as they always did before a battle.

"While I have complete confidence that we'll succeed in this mission, now that I know you're wearing the Arm and will be safe from mental control, I'm feeling a lot better about everyone returning home in one piece. That's my biggest concern at the moment. I don't want to lose another on my watch...

"As to the protection from poison," she reached over with a grin and patted Elric's solid midsection. "You just ate a portion of it as did we all! Of course that protection will be suspended once we enter the dead magic zone but I felt that precaution couldn't hurt. I also have Neutralizes prepared if needed. I pray they're not needed!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:05 pm

"Hmmmmm... " he said with eyebrows raised. "That's right, Dead magic will suspend it... but not dispel it. Forgot about that... So worst case scenario... Get back out of the zone." That made sense he supposed. One part of the plan he did NOT care for... but he couldn't think of any alternative...

"So if we come across both Alhoon AND Molydeus... I'm to go for the squid face huh?" He squeezed her hand again and tried to hide the concern on his face. "I've already fought it once... I really have the best chance against it...." Then he sighed in acceptance.

"But I'll be the ONLY one protected from the mental stuff won't I?" His teeth ground a little bit as he thought about the new recruits back at the meeting. "What do you think of the new guys? I can't tell you how much I miss the other Champions right now... I mean... I agree that we need more people to get the arm and run should something bad happen to us... well... I guess 'me'..." The realization of the coming battle slowly settled on his shoulders. The epic responsibility of carrying this artifact into combat. He shuddered a little.

"Still though.... I wish we knew more about them... Definitely want to catch Jorelon for a few minutes before we go out.... see if he knows anything."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:38 pm

Upon hearing the shift in Elric's demeanor, she stopped and turned before pushing him roughly against the stone wall near Halamor's study.

"Hey now... Nothing bad is going to happen to you, Elric. I won't let it!" Her stern voice was undermined by the mischief that played at the corners of her lips as she stood on her toes and used her body to pin the half elf against the wall.

"Amin tiruva lle n'alaquel ar' lle tiruva haba ar' lye karnuva ta imya sina vee' lye caele iluve eile, verno'amin. <I will watch your back and you will watch mine and we will make it through this as we have everything else, my husband.>" Kissing him tenderly, she brushed a few strands of hair over a pointed ear. "Eller naa sai am' a'uma. Ta iltyeluva sinome. <There is much yet to do. It will not end here.>"

With a sigh of reluctance, Ashara released him and smiled.

"Well, if we want to find Jorelon and get the dirt on the new guys then we'll need to hurry. I have to help you into your armor yet!" She chuckled as she knocked at the mage's door. "Never thought I'd be saying that!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:02 pm

Grinning they shoved the door open, and froze in mid stride. There before them was perhaps the most unexpected, unbelievable thing they'd seen yet in this wondrous city.


Halamor, the aged robed mage, more accustomed to books and beakers, had the gleaming artifact strapped to his arm and seemed to be shadow boxing in the corner. Elric watched with mouth agape as the wizard swung and punched at nothing.

His form... was atrocious. The mage was as uncoordinated, awkward as... well... a mage should be. But what he lacked in skill he made up for in enthusiasm.

"Ahem...." the half-elf finally managed to choke out. The mage, in mid-swing, turned sharply and crashed into the floor. By the time he scrambled back to his feet, his face was beet red and Elric was twitching trying to keep the laughter in.

"Ummmm, Hi.... We, kind of need to get that back..."

"YES.... yes of course... " the embarrassed mage sputtered... "Just... finishing my process..." The wizard started peeling the armor off as quick as he could. The next thing Elric knew they were outside the wizards lab with the arm in hand and the door slammed shut behind them.

"I.... I barely saw him take it off!" Elric chuckled in amazement.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:14 pm

With arms full of adamantite, Ashara blinked a few times as her brain processed what it was she just saw.

"You know... It wouldn't come as a surprise if all mages' Identification processes came with some time to play with the new toys!" Grinning, the pair started back down the hallway to their room. "After all that time spent tediously purifying and casting, I suppose they've earned it. Poor Halamor... For his sake we should probably keep this to ourselves!"


***

Curled atop the soft bedding, Heren watched sleepily as the Everdawns suited up for the day's adventure.

The priestess, already plated in mithril, had a new dull grey mace hanging from the hip opposite Dawnspeaker, and was strapping a pauldron onto Elric's shoulder. The final piece of the Arm of Valor.

"There!" As she finished, the five artifacts fused into an unbreakable adamantine shell. "How does that feel?"

Ashara smiled up at him as he tested the flexibility of the metallic arm. It looked significantly different... Much larger on him than it had on her, and thankfully the magic was able to accommodate for different body types!

"Do you think you'll be able to work with it?"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:13 pm

Elric twitched as the knowledge of the arm filled his mind. Ashara had hinted... but... He hadn't given this the respect it deserved. He understood why the arm had been seperated and that 'none were worthy' of it's full power.

"Ummmm... Yeah... " he muttered in awe as he flexed his shielded arm. "Yeah, I think I can work with it..."


****************************************************


"Sooooo.... what do you want to know?" Jorelon asked as he finished lashing his weapons in place.

"New guys! Any good?" Elric said casting a discrete glance back at the new group of recruits waiting by the gate.

Jorelon shrugged. "Not sure how to answer that honestly. I mean, we may have different standards... They haven't killed any dracoliches, but yeah... Through skill or by luck, they're still alive.

"That has to count for something, right?" He added with a subtle wink.

"Counts for quite a bit, I'd say," the half-elf said with a smirk. "I was more curious about... umm... I don't know, what do you think, are they going to be a help or a hindrance?" He cringed a moment at the bluntness.

"Yeah.... I know what you mean." the priest said sympathetically. "After Durlan, I'll admit my mind went the same place.

"Ok... Role call..." The priest pointed to the group.

"Mairlen, you've already met. Little better at controlling the giant bugs than me, but otherwise I usually win when we spar. She's got a bit of a temper, but is a pretty good team player.

"The blonde guy there..." He pointed toward a man in armor sharpening his sword. That's Tirtero... Honestly I haven't fought with him yet..."

"I'm seeing a sword... Not a morninglord then?"

"Nope. I think he was with the 'Roving Wanderers'..." Seeing Elric wince at the name he chuckled a bit. "Yeah... I know... But they came in search of glory and gold, and found neither. We helped him out of a tough jam, and he's been helping us when he can. He doesn't strike me as 'stayer'. I give him a couple more months at best before he's ready to go home..."

"Which leaves Adaldo? "

"Yep," He nodded to the dark haired elf, staring back at them. "He's pretty good at tracking things around here. Also, not a morninglord.... But story has it that he sought us out a few decades ago. He doesn't follow the Lathander directly, but when he heard about our goals, he decided to help how he could... We're lucky to have him as a friend."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:43 pm

"A good start." Ashara clapped the man on the shoulder as she looked over their new crew. "No doubt we'll all know each other much better by the end of this day!"

Smiling, the priestess made her way over to the gate where the three volunteers stood.

"I don't think we've been formally introduced," she half-bowed to the group, "but I understand that there's little time for pleasantries this morning. My name is Ashara and this is Elric... I'm sure you all know Jorelon.

"So here's the deal... We were in Gemblaunt a few days ago and within we ran into hobgoblins, orcs, ogres, a molydeus, ghouls and a wraith." Mairlen snickered. "Yeah the last two weren't so much a problem, but we are expecting to meet an alhoon in there as you heard at breakfast, and really there's no telling what else it might have turned into a thrall so its best to be prepared for just about anything. Seeing as you're all veterans of Myth Drannor though, I would guess that the unexpected is just what you expect!

"Gemblaunt's halls are narrow. It's as black as pitch in there without any magical light. With the exception of Aldado, I hope the rest of you brought a torch or two to have on hand just in case. Elric will be taking point and I'll be pulling up the rear with Jorelon and Mairlen in the middle with these..."

Ashara passed out a few of the bombs that Kaldric had given her before their first venture into the dead magic area.

"If we run into groups down there, these will come in very handy.

"Finally, as tasked to us by the Abbess, our primary goal is to take out the ilithilich. Elric will be focusing on that target since he is immune to psionic attack and the rest of us will hold off anything else that's trying to protect it. If by the kiss of Beshaba we encounter the molydeus at the same time as the squid face, please do not engage the demon! I will do my best to keep it busy until you all have destroyed the primary target.

"So!" The braided priestess smiled cheerfully. "Any questions, thoughts, or concerns before I cast some regenerations?"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:13 pm

The three were a font of questions, They asked everything they could think of from what the numbers where, how they'd fought, traps, etc... Soon Elric felt like he had relived the entire encounter again. The half-elf filled in whatever holes he could in their knowledge while Ashara cast her spells. Jorelon corrected and added wherever he could.

Soon the new recruits knew as much about the last trip as they did.

With little more lingering, they soon departed for their second journey into certain doom.


**************************************************************


"COMING BACK!?!?!" A shrill voice echoed over a clatter as a golden rod crashed against a pile of coins.

'Why would they come back..." the enemy wondered aloud. He looked toward his silent companion. The molydeus moved not an inch, but the wounds from the half-elf still scarred it's body. Demon's healed quick, but the damage had been great. While the intruders and that blasted tower was swarming with priests... Gemblaunt isle was not.

"Soooooo... they wish to try thier luck twice... so be it." The shadowy figure contemplated with it's tongue dripping with hatred. None had escaped him before... none had done the damage that these have before... The more he thought about it, the more he WANTED them to come....
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Post  Penelope on Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:18 pm

As the team left the safe confines of the Seekers' compound, Ashara turned to look once more to the top of the tower. It came as no surprise that she could see the backlit form of Alaecathra standing in the window. Everything was riding on this mission. Lives. Lathander's plan in Myth Drannor. The potential safety of the Realms if the Arm of Valor fell into the wrong hands... Everything. Ashara felt comforted in the certainty that the Abbess would be in prayer until they returned. They would need those prayers!

She raised Dawnspeaker to the figure high above, calling on its power to pulse a brilliant light in a sort of 'farewell, take heart' gesture and the figure responded with a similarly outstretched hand. Ashara smiled and stepped outside the walls.

It wasn't long before they put the din of the industrious Seekers behind them and the subsequent oppressive silence of the ruins fell upon the priestess like a cold, wet blanket, threatening her confidence in the untested group. Threatening her confidence in herself...

The cold iron mace hung heavy on her right hip and she chided herself silently for not practicing with it this morning. Dawnspeaker was nearly feather light...the weight of the new dull grey weapon was sure to throw her off. And hold off the molydeus?! Who was she kidding?? If it wanted to, the demon could throw her aside like a petulant child to get to its goal, what could she do to stop that thing?! No, not stop it...hold it off. Keep its attention with her holy water and her cold iron until Elric could take over. Keep it from killing the others even at the expense of her own life.

Dawnspeaker would not be lost as Lathander would take it back for himself when he had need of it, even send an avatar to retrieve it from the dead magic zone if that were required. Ashara had no fear for the holy weapon, but she couldn't let anyone else die on her watch... She had so much to atone for and this would be a suitable death if she were to fall here. Yes, helping to save the lives of the Seekers of the Dawn would be a worthy cause for which to pour out one's life.

Elric walked at the head of the group, his arm strangely plated over the blue cotton shirt he wore this morning. Ashara couldn't help but sigh. What a shame it would be to find such love only to lose it after so short a time! Not just a shame, but a tragedy... She knew that if something were to happen to him...if Elric was truly lost to her, she would be broken beyond repair. An empty husk of a life. Hardly fit for service to the Morninglord. And now she worried likewise for her husband. How would he react if the molydeus' poison turned her? If her body and soul were lost...

"Stop it..."

Though the personal rebuke she uttered was barely above a whisper, Adaldo, with his sharp elven ears, caught it clearly.

"Stop what?" The raven-haired ranger twisted his head to the side and peered at her over his shoulder.

Realizing she'd been over heard, Ashara flushed crimson and shook her head. "Nothing," she muttered softly, "I was just talking to myself."

The elf continued to observe her for a moment longer and then faced front before slowing a bit to walk beside her. "I've been in this city a long time," he whispered. "The ghosts of the dead, the pervasive threat from every direction paired with the seeming emptiness of the ruins... All of it can disquiet even the most stalwart mind.

"My advice, if you would hear it?" Ashara nodded. "Think only on what we must do, not on what might occur. If you let Myth Drannor into your mind, it will drive you mad."

The ranger dipped his head briefly and stepped back up ahead of her.

She was struck by the simple wisdom of his advice, and knew somehow that he'd struggled against the despair himself during his time in the city and learned to deal with it. Ashara wondered if it was more difficult for an elf to see such beauty and hope now lying in devastation, knowing that thousands of their kin perished here. Though she barely knew him, her respect for the elf grew a hundred fold in that moment.

"Thank you, Adaldo..."

He simply bobbed his head again in reply as they marched on.

Little else was spoken on their journey. Six sets of eyes shifted continuously from ahead to right to left and above, looking in every direction for possible danger. When they passed over the now familiar bridge, six coins were one by one dropped into the river below. If any wishes or prayers were made, they were made silently.

It wasn't long before they neared the invisible bridge. Gemblaunt isle and the secrets she contained loomed before them.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:15 pm

"Last chance to turn back...." Elric stated at the intrepid crew before him. A grin crossed his face as he realized not one of them had blinked. "So be it. Last time we were here, I stopped the molydeus down below. I don't believe I killed it, but I slowed it down a bit... He had allies. A LOT of them..."

"A great many..." Adaldo said softly as he scanned the ground for tracks. "The battle carried quite far outside the tomb I see..."

"I can't say," Elric shrugged helplessly. "I barely got out, and wasn't noticing much around me..."

"There was fire." Jorelon stated directly. "Fire and noise and running..."

"Yet no bodies?" The elf asked simply. Jorelon looked around him. Adaldo was right. There should have been a lot of hobgoblin remains scattered about. A few telltale scorch marks... some traces of blood, but someone had spent the last day or so cleaning.

"What does that mean??" Elric asked the locals.

"It means... something." the elf answered uncertainly. "Either there is something down there that feasts on the dead... There was some loyalty left amongst the survivors, which... if enthralled seems less than likely. My best guess would be that whoever is in charge wants his lair to remain a secret. It would have been easier to simply abandon this hole and move elsewhere letting you think you had won..."
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Post  Penelope on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:39 am

"Well, there were a number of ghouls in there feeding on a corpse pile..." Ashara couldn't keep her upper lip from twitching every so slightly at the mention of undead. "It wouldn't surprise me if an alhoon might create them to keep his lair tidy.

"But I'm sure Adaldo is correct. For some reason the villain has become enamored with this place, though I wonder... Is it simply the location he enjoys or perhaps something he's found here that keeps him from abandoning it. Maybe Gemblaunt has produced some very important secrets that have allowed the alhoon to manipulate the Mythal. Maybe he just thinks it's a good base to launch his offensive against the Dawnspire."

The priestess hefted the new cold iron mace in her hand and gave it a practice spin to get an idea of the balance of it. Much heavier, but weighted well. She'd be sore tomorrow... Sore perhaps, but she'd have a undead squid head in her pack, so she was pretty confident that tomorrow was going to be a good day!

"Whatever the reason they've chosen to stay here instead of flee..." Ashara shrugged. "That's their mistake and they will regret it. All I know is that there's an abomination in there threatening the Morninglord's plans in this city and it's controlling peoples' minds to play its own sick game. Also," she added with a very wicked grin, "I owe a certain molydeus a debt that I intend to repay tenfold.

"I think we're as ready as we can be to take these guys on. They may be expecting the same group they ran into earlier, but they'll be wrong. There's no way they'll be expecting that," she chuckled motioning to the Arm of Valor. "Let's give 'em a little surprise..."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:50 pm

"I like your enthusiasm." Tirtero said with a grin, despite nervously adjusting his grip on his sword and shield. "Let's do it."


*******************************************************************


"GAhhhh..." Elric muttered as he made his way to the bottom of the stairs.

"What is it?" Adlado questioned behind him.

"Last time we were down there, Durlan and I spent way too much energy opening secret passages. This place is riddled with them..." He sighed and looked back in disgust. "Someone shut them again.

"Someone large..." the elf muttered examing the scrapings on the stone floor.

"Any opinions?" Elric asked the group as they all came down the stairs. The soft flickering of the torches bounced off the enclosed room. "I really don't want to open them again, and we've already seen what's down there..."

"Anything interesting?" Mairlen questioned.

"Not much..." Jorelon answered quickly. "Couple tombs,,, Mages study to that way..." He pointed to the north.

"That way." Elric quickly corrected pointing to an identical section of the wall on the east.

"Your sure?" The priest asked and seeing Elric nod confidently, just shrugged his shoulders and continued. "A few demons, a few undead... but no, whatever it is we're looking for THIS time, There wasn't anything like that before... "

"Of course, we know the molydeus and his buddies came running from the hall to the south..." Elric said aloud.

"More than one way south..." Jorelon countered.

"That's what I'm thinking too... "Elric said as he looked at the two closed passages, and the one visible door. " Walking in the front the door doesn't give me any warm and fuzzy feelings... But neither does wandering around places we've already been..."
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