Shadows Rising

Thoghouc's Bane

Ruptures in time and space??

After Nibil had finished adjusting his new armor, and Marduke had picked up one of the swords dropped by the hob goblin captain (his own had been destroyed back in the pedestal room), the group went through the narrow hallway that led into a dark chamber.

RIp_in_space.jpgThe chamber was the same size as the two above it, except the walls were scorched and the dwarvish writing completely illegible. At the center of the room was a great mass of dark purple energy, flashing and flickering wildly about.

As they investigated the mass of dark energy, they suddenly noticed a small, old dwarf sitting against the wall. At first she said nothing to them, and then she looked up and asked them what they were doing here.

Silent at first, and not sure how to respond, they eventually told her that they had come to destroy the Rune of the Grey. Slowly shifting in her seat, she told them that she wasn’t sure if it could be destroyed. Branan asked her how the rune came to be, and she told them the true events of the disaster that befell Thog Tahrir.

She began.

The war between the elves and the dwarves had been going badly for us, and many of our leaders believed that defeat was inevitable. Against this pessimism stood Thoghouc Greyarmor, the great leader of the dwarves, who believed that the magical powers of this place could deal a final, devastating blow against our enemies and turn the tide of war in our favor. Thoghouc Greyarmor consulted with mysterious persons who advised him to construct this room and all the rooms above it in order to channel the energies of the deep so that it could be turned into a weapon to vanquish the invading elvish armies.

He was given that rune and a book of spells that I was to chant from while standing in the pedestal room, along with six additional priests. We were told that as we chanted, a great force of energy would be brought forth from the deep, that it would be focused through the crystal, and then sent through the seven canals to the exterior of Thog Tahrir—a powerful burst of magical energy that would destroy the dark elf army standing on the other side.

But we were deceived—the spells we had been given, although in ancient dwarvish, were of dark elvish design, and so it did not go as planned. The energy flowed from the deep, and into the rune, and along the canals, and did in fact destroy the forward forces of the dark elf army. But a subtle enchantment, undetected by all of us, had been placed on the rune—as more and more energy poured into it, there was suddenly a bright flash of light, and a horrible screeching sound. The energy that was being channeled through the grooves in the floor suddenly stopped, and a feedback loop formed that forced the energy back below, killing all the priests on the lower floors and creating a dark tear in the very fabric of space and time.

After the summoning failed, I heard the explosion, and I ran down here to this room to see what had happened. Drawn to the dark energy and to the rift it created, I have remained here ever since, a silent punishment for my ultimate failure.

A heavy silence hung in the room. Quietly, Serine spoke up and wondered aloud if throwing the rune into the rift would seal the tear. The dwarven priestess did not know the answer, and as they debated their options, they came to the conclusion that they could not allow the rune to fall into anyone else’s hands, and that since this was where it was created perhaps this was the place where it could be undone.

Marduke and the group formed a circle around the twisting ball of dark energy. As he began to chant to his god Halmar, Serine unsealed the rune from its protective container and threw it into the rift. The room began to shake violently, matched only in intensity by Marduke’s fervent chanting. The others begin to chant as well, and as the room seemed to be shearing itself apart the ball of energy suddenly disappeared, leaving behind a small floating scar in the center of the room.

They looked over at the dwarven priestess and saw that she lay motionless on the floor. The room already seemed lighter, and they were all glad to finally be rid of the rune. A long, purple scar ran from floor to ceiling, the only remnant of the rip in space and time that once consumed the room.

Only the thought of facing Tharos a second time could ruin this moment…

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From the Diary of Serine Callings

Day ??:
Peace at last. Peace for the priestess guarding her dark secret, peace for this place that echoed with darkness, and peace in my mind from the constant battery of power.

It was a tear in the very fabric of reality, leading to… I know not where. If only Vance could have seen it! How many times had he spoken of such things, from books and his own theories, and how I wish he could have been here to see it! He would have been giddy with questions!
But perhaps it is for the best. He would have insisted we leave it for study, but I know, in my heart, that it is best we closed the rift and sealed the rune within.

Its odd, but when we first entered the room, I could feel myself drawn to the rift, like an old friend. A tremendous urge filled me to run and throw myself into it, like one would run to embrace a loved one lost. I wanted to return to it. It called to me. It was only a small moment of sanity that made me realize it was the darkness, the energies of this place (now coursing through my veins thanks to this cursed staff!) that it called to, as it would call to any dark energy. It was only a small leap from this to the revelation that the rune was a PART of the rift, darkness made physical, and that was why it called to darkness. It was trying to go home. Like a child long lost to its mother, these two parts of the whole were reaching out, calling to each other these long years, drawing darkness to them and hoping it was the other. These two must be reunited again to make the world whole and balanced.

Thank the gods our cleric is a healer, for this is, indeed, a living wound. With my knowledge and his we were able to begin the healing process and cap the energies that were bleeding through. But a scar, a weakness, will yet remain. I can only hope that it will continue to heal over time if left in peace.

I can hope as much for myself as well.

Thoghouc's Bane
 

Nibil’s Survival Tome Entry 140

Goodbye rune

It is done. The rune is gone. The dark energy is sealed. Or at the very least is not obvious to me.

The dwarf and the wizard both proved quite useful during the ritual. I should be sure to avoid getting on their bad sides, especially as my weapon alarms the elf, the bard doesn’t seem well respected by the others and the rogue probably has the ability to cut me down quickly.

Alas this entry must be cut short. Tharos is alive up there and we need to get out before we have a large angry dragon attempting to turn us into acid goo.

Thoghouc's Bane
 

Victory. It’s something that has a lot of meaning to me, every day we lived in spite of everything is a victory for a Grimhammer but I always felt like it should be more. Victory is supposed to be more than just surviving the latest fight, it’s supposed to resolve something, change something. Victory should be a moment you will remember forever. You’re supposed to be proud of victory, and I finally am.

Today every Grimhammer was given victory our first in a very long time. I gave them something that mattered, something that changed things even if no one else ever knows about it. This is a victory I will remember forever with pride. I could go to my ancestors this very moment with my head held high.

I’m a little scared of something, a question that never really applied to me before. Now that I have a “next” what’s next? I need to think, but first Dragon.

Thoghouc's Bane
 

Alatir’s notes:

I may speak harshly of Marduke from time to time, referencing his clumsy nature or his blunt approach to diplomacy (he loves to just start calling holy fire before we even finish speaking).

But this… This is Marduke’s domain, and I don’t mean the dwarven realm. A wound of this nature cannot be affected by diplomacy nor by my sword. Protection and healing are Marduke’s specialty, and this is where his merit shows through the greatest. He and Serine were able to seal up the wound and destroy the rune simultaneously. All I could do was stand and watch, and help chant as best I could.

With the rift contained and the rune destroyed I now have two things on my mind: A Vengeful Dragon, and Bellamin. Bellamin was counting on the rune’s power, so I imagine that he will be less than pleased when he learns the rune has been unmade.

Thoghouc's Bane
 

Amma,

Sometimes I suspect that I’m the only level head among our little group. We finally made it down into the very heart of the dark energies (according to our wizard, Serine), and beheld an ancient looking dwarven woman. She informed us that she was a part of the ceremony/ritual/clusterfuck that used the rune, and that ‘probably’ the best way to destroy the rune would be to toss it into dark tear in reality (?) in the center of the room.

NONE of the others questioned her word. They didn’t ask for elaboration on her tale, they didn’t try to verify her identity, anything! I managed to discretely ask the gnome to check if she were somehow not a dwarf, but wearing some sort of illusory disguise; fortunately the answer was no, but I was ready to plant a dagger in her eye if otherwise.

I was still in physical possession of the rune at this point, and when I expressed my concerns that we were being swindled, or at least hanging our hopes on someone else’s rather than real information, that maybe throwing the DARK ENERGY THING into an EVEN BIGGER DARK ENERGY THING could just make everything DARKER AND ENERGIER rather than destroying both, they turned on me.
Serine especially didn’t care for my stubbornness. When I refused to hand over the rune just because she said it would work, and instead insisted she explain herself in layman terms, things got a bit tense. Once she had actually explained things in terms I could comprehend, and Marduke had agreed, I relinquished the rune. Marduke lead us all in a ceremony that I’m sure could be described more thoroughly than “it worked,” but I’m neither bard nor mage.

I’m a little disappointed, honestly; when the fate of the world (apparently) hangs in the balance, a few minutes of careful debate and deliberation doesn’t seem like much to ask.

-Little Imp

Thoghouc's Bane
jeremy_langill ginsusamurai

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