Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Karavakos - The end of a tyrant?

Immediately upon your arrival at the Sanctuary of Light, Karavakos knew you were there, and for what purpose.  His minions arrayed and at his command, the gauntlet is thrown down and arcane energy blasts in all directions.  You are blasted hither and thither, the life force being hammered from you like nails beneath the mallet!

After the initial assault, you stand bloodied but resolute.  You grip your weapons and wade into the minions of Karavakos like the scythe through the wheat.  What follows is a game of chaotic cat and mouse.  Karavakos flits in and out of your reach unleashing devastating powers on you at every turn...and you waver, but do not fall.

Eventually, you remove Karavakos minions from the game and it is only you and your pray that you have sought these long days in this accursed place.  He stands...alone upon the top tier of the pyramid within the sanctuary of light.  You climb and strike him...he throws you down, you climb and strike again, only to be thrown down again.

When he finally realizes that you are no mere group of glorified peasants, but a real threat...he does the only thing that remains in his bag of tricks...he calls upon the power of the pyramid itself, and to deadly effect.  Standing surrounded, he is infused with the vast power of the pyramid and he unleashes it upon you.

You are all blasted to the edges of the see your comrades fall, unable to withstand this new onslaught that Karavakos has pulled out of the engines that power the pyramid.  After several harsh attacks, Karavakos can no longer withstand the massive influx of power....he is just a mortal after all and the inevitable happens.  The power consumes him and he explodes in a spectacular and deadly fashion.

3 more of your members fall...unable to withstand  the deadly end of Karavakos.

Vyrellis runs to the top of the pyramid and uses the power within her to create a portal to the mortal world, but time to escape is short.  How will you escape with so many of your party on the knifes edge of death?  There is simply no time.

At that moment, Ragner, Kallak and Dalin come up with the refugees, Kallak heals 2 of your members well enough so that they can struggle to the top of the pyramid, Gilgenor heals the 3rd, but the exit is not an easy one.  The pyramid is failing...collapsing upon itself.  With its prisoner finally gone (?) it has no purpose....Vyrellis can not hold the portal open and it begins to fluctuate chaotically.  One of the refugees sees the portal and the promise of freedom and runs headlong into was his final mistake as the fluctuating portal slams shut in an instant and his body is cleanly cut in half...legs still in the pyramid...his torso and head had secured their "freedom"...for what little good it did him.

A few more of you take your chances and pay a high price...a hand lost...a foot removed...a prized weapon destroyed.  The rift is will be trapped in this collapsing dimension...

Vyrellis' orb begins to crack...she will be overwhelmed by the strain of holding open the portal and...a decision must be made.  There are a few of you that could help her maintain the level of arcane power required to keep the portal open for a few more moments...but you know you will most likely be lost in the process.  Forward steps the most unexpected volunteer....Xiphos.  While some of the more arcane inclined people might have used magic to sustain the portal...Xiphos does not...she merely stands within the portal and, through brute strength, and the touch of Lloth upon her, she is able to brace the portal and hold it open...only for a few moments, but it is enough time.  Spectral spider legs emerge from the scar on her face to brace the portal open.  To those of you that see this happen, it is a disturbing image that will haunt you for all your days.  The rest of you flee the portal and then in a scream and flash of light, Vyrellis is no more...her orb shattered in a hundred shards and the full force of the portal slams down on Xiphos.  It is at this moment, when Xiphos is on the verge of distruction that the only person remaining within the pyramid throws himself into the grinding maw to give her a chance.

Ragnar uses his arcane power to lash himself to the portal.  Arcane tendrils of power snake around the pillars in the sanctuary of light and then hook into both edges of the portal forcing it open for a brief moment...but it is enough and Xiphos launches herself through to freedom.

You glance back into the portal and the last thing you see is Ragnar, suspended in midair and light as if the tendrils are supporting his total body weight and then the portal slams shut with a deafening finality and Ragnar is destroyed in a gruesome display of blood, and fire and then he is gone.

You look around and all you see is burning...everything is burning...

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Shard - Part 3 - The Evil

When the Palace of Bones finally lay silent and this third incarnation of Karavakos lay dead, you see a red, almost congealed mist seep into the pyramid floor.

The pyramid jolts and then you hear a triumphant laughter, but not with your ears, you hear it with your mind.  It is powerful, violent and intrusive...assaulting and violating.  You know that Karavakos has assimilated the remainder of his life force...and this piece was the most powerful of the three.  This was the face of his evil.  It lacked any semblance of care, compassion or concern, and now it has rejoined the source.

Shortly afterward, the pyramid begins to give off an audible hum, as if it is straining to hold itself together.  Now that it's primary prisoner has regained the full use of his faculties, how much longer can the pyramid remain shut?  How much longer will Karavakos be contained?  Not much longer, you are certain.

Prior to trying to sleep, you tend your wounds and talk about the recent events.  You are joined by Kallak, Dalin and Ragnar.  You decide that the 3 of them will go and prepare the various "good" residents in the pyramid, for whenever the door opens, if ever, haste must be made to exit by all those that wish their freedom.  These 3 will work to get any stragglers prepared.  Who knows what will happen to those that remain behind?

Xylina shares her concerns about her sister and the strange illness that is plaguing her.  She has never seen anything like it before...her sister is very tired, sluggish and only wants to sleep.    Strange for a dryad since they sleep so little.  This condition saps her strength leaving her weakened.  Her skin has begun to darken and brown...almost like a tree that is slowly dying.

Xyphos sit in a corner, polishing her maul that she calls Even Hand and talking to it in a low voice.  Of all of you, she seems to have the worst time sleeping...there is more than an ancient tiefling lord rattling around in her skull, but you are grateful for her strong hammer and hope she can hold it together, at least until you are free.

Vyrellis tells stories of her and Karavakos, back when he was good.  She seems to have gotten lost in her memories.  You see sadness and longing for a time that will never come again and a love that still lingers through all the ages and hurt and pain.

As you all lay down for rest, you find only restless sleep between the hum of the pyramid pressing against your ears, and the dreams of constant, maniacal laughter that creeps into your mind.  You see visions of Karavakos, working tirelessly at his studies.  He is close to freedom...he knows it and so do you.  Behind him, you see many faces...all blank, unconcerned faces with empty eyes.   Upon a second glance, they all have the SAME face.  How can this be?  There must be 20 of them?  You hear Karavakos talking, and you hear low, almost inaudible whisper from an unseen source.  You can only make out the words "betrayer", "his sword", "secrets".

This is the calm before the storm and there is a silent tension and an understanding that...not all of you will see tomorrow night.  You awaken, much the same as when you drifted off to sleep...tired, battered and bruised, but your freedom awaits...

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Shard - Part 2 - The Soul

Upon defeating the abomination that was, upon a time, the shard of Karavakos' passion and emotional self, you see a lurid green mist rise from his dead body and rise through the ceiling.

Upon consulting with Vyrellis, you found the reason for her running out of the room.  She felt the emotional torrent of this shard...she felt the love the once knew, the lust for power that drove Karavakos to strike his devilish deal, she felt the anger and hatred that consumed Karavakos at the end of his life and she felt  she quiet madness that he endured in his struggle for power.  She felt the uneasy presence in the corners of his mind.  Vyrellis could not withstand this onslaught of raw passions of her once and beloved lover.

On your first rest after your victory, you are plagued with disturbing visions of your quarry.  He is gaining strength.  As you slay each shard, their considerable power returns to join with the original source.  Karavakos has grown strong.  Soon he will posses the power to escape, leaving you trapped here for eternity.

Always, in the shadows of your dreams, there lurks a dark presence...always watching...always...