Serpent's Skull in Eberron

Six Months Ago

Zol the 3th of Nymm

Place: Trolanport, Zilargo. Ambassador’s Residence

Good, good. I think tonight will be the night. Months of waiting has finally paid off. It looks like my parents will be engrossed with their new elven court bard for the rest of the evening and I can make my getaway. My brother Boliiar and my sister Aluthiel are out at the ball for the new Mror Holds ambassador to Zilargo and they won’t be returning until late. The court wizard has returned briefly to Sharn and is attending some gathering to discuss the expanding Mournland, so I need not fear any arcane searches for a while yet, at least not untile my parents have realized that I have left. I had the servants bring a cask of wine to my rooms and I’ve made it clear to them that I plan to drink it all myself – again. They have been instructed that I am not to be disturbed until early in the afternoon tomorrow. I am saddened at the good wine I’ve been throwing out in my ruse these last few weeks, but I am tired of living my life at the commands of others. Subterfuge is required if I am to make my way out of these walls and become my own man. It is the perfect time to go.

Down the wall, using the vine creepers growing upon them to keep me up, I climb to the gardens (a skill probably not too different than climbing the rigging on a ship at sea). I wrap my dark cloak around myself and the long bundle I carry and move away. Stealthily, I creep through the mansion grounds to the western corner where the mausoleums and tombs that hold my forebearers sit and I stop to pull open the door guarding my uncle’s final resting place. The door opens with barely a squeal and I give a quick smile; it seems that my previous covert trips to lubricate the doors have been fruitful. The lantern I left several months back takes long moments to finally light; the oil seems to have been sitting too long. The alcove where my uncle Salreon lay, clutching his scabbarded blade, materializes as the lantern thrusts the darkness away and I stop to look at his shrouded form.

I hesitate to continue. To bolster my courage I quietly recite to myself all the reasons why I am here; the dead have always given me nightmares, plus, this is my uncle’s body I dare to disturb. I remove a sharp knife from my belt and begin to cut the burial shroud from his hands – I cannot bear to look at his wrapped face for fear of a silent reproach for the deed I am committing. Grave robbing, there is no other word for it. My hands shake. No one will believe my tales of my uncle’s wishes when he died earlier this year; my mother went even as far as to burn the document penned with his own hand stating them, so there is no proof. I must do this alone. The hands clasping the bound blade and scabbard are grey with age, but the cold has made them strong and I am forced to break a finger or two to finally release it from my uncle’s grasp. I dare not look back up at him as I bend down to replace the sword with a wooden replica and try to cover any traces of disturbance. I am the first to come here since he was laid down to his rest and, barring some sudden tragedy to my family, I doubt any others will have reason to come down here as well. The dust of almost a year will accumulate again, so long as no one comes to look closely.

One last look and I quietly make my way to the walls and deftly climb out of the mansion grounds. Heart thumping so that it can almost be heard from out of my chest, I rush my way down into Trolanport to get lost in the crowds, every step I fear to hear my name being called out or to run into someone who knows my face. Citizens of Zilargo are a nosy sort. But, to my relief, that does not happen. A few short minutes and I am standing inside a wine merchant’s shop as he searches in the back of his store for the supplies I’ve stored here. I can tell his business has seen the sudden uptick in clientele because of the nobles, or actually, their servants, I have been directing here. The moneys he has gained from my subtle glowing reviews of his wares will more than offset the small amount of space unused for this trade to hide the items that I have quietly gathered over the last few months and stashed here.

I duck into the back and spend long minutes climbing into the unfamiliar leather armor I purchased months ago and I strap on my gear for my final trip to the docks. My precious map of Xen’Drik goes into my pack along with rope, flint, and the sleeping blanket with my identification papers rolled within them at the bottom. Other odds and ins, the list I gleaned from the stories and books I’ve read that are indispensable to adventurers, goes on top. I buckle a couple of matching throwing axes to my legs (matching because there are appearances that must be kept!). I leave the sword, still wrapped in my cloak, to be donned later when I am away from the shop; the sight of the flashy, expensive sword may make the wine merchant greedy to supplement his income with the news of my presence if they come searching for me. Last, a hat, feather and all, completes my outfit. I look like a dapper young swashbuckler to the hilt.

As I continue onwards towards the docks I am surrounded by the bustling port of Trolanport, Zilargo. Gnomes are everywhere, their dark little eyes watching everyone and everything. Gossip and knowledge are ambrosia to their people and I am sure my presence has been noted by several passerbys. Even the humans, and the fewer dwarves, that make up this country may have noticed me for this society’s foundation is the gathering of knowledge, the making of deals and the ferreting of little webs of deceit. There is nothing to do for that but to continue on through the evening’s cool air towards the smell of salt and the waiting sea.

I stop at the first sight of the bustling port below me. A myriad of ships are docked there and I search for the location where the Jenivere has tied up. Then I see her! My heart races! Although she is just a merchant ship, a Wyvern-class one at that, she is the most beautiful thing I have seen. Ships like her have made claims to have sailed around the southern tip of Argonessen. Although she is not a warship like my uncle described to me, her lines show her seaworthiness; plus, I could never deal with the order and discipline that a military ship would make me fit into. I am to be a passenger aboard her, for when I last spoke to her captain, a man called Kovach, he would not hire me on as crew. That will not stop me from learning every inch of her, of course; my last few coins handed to right crewmen should get me some action pulling ropes, swabbing the decks, and a bit of steering, maybe. Anyways, who has ever heard of a sailor who would not prefer to shirk some of his duties? I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty with their rough sort, though my clothes will be a bit tougher to keep clean.

The Jenivere’s first mate, a man by the name of Alton Devers is waiting to take my coin and move me aboard. I have a few good stories to tell the man in the hopes of getting on his good side. I’m off to live the adventures that my uncle described – adventures that await any brave soul – and I hope to live up to the expectations he would presume of me. On the evening tide, the Jenivere will depart this place. Sharn, then Xen’Drik are ahead of me; my old life of idleness and indolent duties as a third born child will be behind me.

Finally, I buckle my uncle’s sword, no – my, rapier – to my side. I start my walk down to the docks and the Jenivere. I am ready to meet my fate.

Kreshton Rel’Astra’s first log

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A Song of Women
Dadak's Tales

The darkness and stillness is welcome for a change. I sit guard at this slightly ajar door listening, looking, and waiting for trouble in the corridor outside – none is forthcoming. My companions sit about a darkened room and a small campfire, waiting for fatigue to ease them from this world for a few hours. I don’t need much sleep to recover my wits and spells, thank goodness, and my dark vision suits me for this monotonous task. I don’t mind the sentinel’s task, and I don’t mind sitting here alone with Kailia. It is peaceful.

DadaK (gruniting): Yes… it can become boring though, can’t it Kailia.
Kailia: Puuuuurrrrrrr…….

This task does gets the mind to drifting. Hmmmm…. <smile> How did that song go….?

DadaK: “Hhhmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmmmm….” “Hhhmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmmmm….”

Kreshton (quietly): Dadak, what are you humming up there?
Dadak (not so quietly): Just a nonsense song, popular in my tribe.
Kreshton (quietly): Oh, a song? What is it about?
Dadak: It’s a nonsense song used to irritate and attract females.
Kreshton (not so quietly): Reeeeaaally? How does it go?

Kreshton, always interested in relations to women, sits upright to listen better.

Dadak: I need a moment…. It is a chant, to a double beat. Boom, Boom.. Pause.. Boom , boom.. Let me see….

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Arms strong (boom boom), Legs strong, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Dadak (boom boom), See me.. Come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton (not so quietly): Hahaha… that is great! It has a catchy beat.
Dadak (smiling): Ha, we sing it to entice our women. Usually they mock us with playful spite. But when they run they don’t get far.. haha.
Kreshton (not so quietly): Do you know more to this tune?
Dadak: Yes, some. And usually we do a warrior dance to the song.
Kreshton (not so quietly): Reeeeaaally? Show me.
Pol raises an eyebrow.

Dadak performs a quick thumping, stomping, jig, which Kreshton, with his seamen’s skills, quickly jumps up and masters.

Kreshton: Sing more!

Dadak (a powerful orc performing chest thumping, leg slapping, stomping, and jumping in rhythm):

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Arms strong (boom boom), Legs strong, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Kreshton (boom boom), See me.. Come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton joins the dance. Pol sits up.

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Tusks large (boom boom), hair long, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Kreshton (boom boom), I see you.. I come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton dances vigorously. N’ Ketchi and Ja’Redd clap in unison. Even Pol, ever ready and focused, taps his foot to the song.

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Power (boom boom), I take you, with power, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Kreshton (boom boom), Join me in fire.. We come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton and Dadak stop and laugh together, along with Pol, N’Ketchi , and Ja’Redd. Five grown men forget their worries and troubles for a short while, happily telling stories of love conquests and heartbreaks through the night until fatigue finally overcomes. Tomorrow soon to come is another of trials to be borne.

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Draining Day

Sar, the 7th of Vult

In the early morning, Kreshton leads the group in exploring the stone structure. He leads them into a dank, water-filled room and they are attacked by thousands of leeches. After spending some time scraping them off, they venture to the other side of the building. They find a partially collapsed stairway and begin climbing it. Dadak’s companion, Kailia is attacked by a plant-creature and the whole group descends to fight it. Kreshton succumbs to the spores and is wracked by terrible coughing and gagging; his constitution is affected. The day is still early so the group decides to continue on, even though Kreshton is severely weakened. They continue up the stairs and find….

More monkey-men! Their foe begin to throw rocks and stones at the group and as the group rushes forward up the outside of the ziggurat, a large six-limbed ape joins the fray. Dadak trades blows with the beast as Pol and Kreshton rush to assist him. Kreshton and Pol fight against their mighty foe and with a spell from Dadak pummel the creature quickly. More monkey-men arrive to surround the group and Pol is critically injured. Suddenly, above them, they hear a sibilant hiss and a serpentfolk appears looking down at them. It shakes a wand at them and Kreshton, N’Ketchi, Dadak and Kailia are entangled. Clinging to the side of the ziggurat, Kreshton casts a spell and turns invisible, then continues to climb up onto the higher level. Pol runs around the outside of the structure trying to find a way to the higher level but only encounters two monkey-men trying to outflank the group. Dadak and N’Ketchi struggle to escape the web and are attacked by monkey-men coming down the stairs. The serpentfolk wizard creates a ball of flame that rolls down igniting the web on fire on its way towards a paralyzed Ja’Redd. Kreshton reaches the top and moves silently through the group of monkey-men and serpentfolk peering over the edge, intent on the battle below. Kreshton lines himself up and with a mighty push, bulrushes the serpentfolk wizard off the side of the ziggurat, leaving himself exposed to two monkey-men and their attacks. While Kreshton fends the monkey-men off, Dadak and N’Ketchi join together and Dadak causes a large gush of wind to carry them up to the higher level. The angry serpentfolk rushes up the stairs and casts a ray that makes Kreshton almost fall to his knees. Pol, having run all the way around the outside of the ziggurat, follows closely behind the serpentfolk.

Pol throws his mind-blade at the wizard as N’Ketchi casts a cure spell and revives Kreshton. Dadak calls out for this companion Kailia to join the battle. Warding himself from two monkey-men attacks, Kreshton reaches into his Handy Haversack and throws a Tanglefoot bag at the angry serpentfolk wizard. Unable to move, it casts a spell at N’Ketchi in an attempt to keep him out of the battle; N’Ketchi is suddenly overcome by a fit of laughing that passes in an instant. Pol once again summons his blade and throws it at the wizard. Both N’Ketchi and Dadak call lightning down on the wizard’s head but it protects itself with a spell. A severely wounded Kreshton continues to attack the last two monkey-men and pulls his wand out of his haversack to toss to N’Ketchi. Kailia rips the throat out of one of the monkey-men while Dadak changes tactics to fry the last. With his allies all dead, the serpentfolk wizard casts a mirror image spell and summons seven figments to protect himself. The group surrounds the serpent folk and pummels him until he tries to retreat from the battle. He is barred from the stairs by N’Ketchi sprouting wicked spikes and brambles. With a loud roar, Kailia jumps onto him and rides him over the edge to land upon him on the lower level. The serpentfolk wizard dies.

The group spends the rest of the day exploring the ziggurat and find that the serpent folk’s possessions include three of the four stones they need to make the Pillars of Light work. The Pillars of Light will show them the location of Saventh-Yhi. Kreshton speculates that they must be somewhere else and perhaps the monkey-men leader may possess them. Their lair is the only location in Tazion they have not searched. Several rooms of the ziggurat are themed to the various stars and elements of nature, including the sun and moon. They recover Ja’Redd’s burnt corpse with mixed emotions for the fellow, and there is nothing that they can do for him except go through his pockets looking for loose change.

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We are Finally Getting Somewhere
Sar, 7th of Vult

Since entering Tazion, things have been very surreal. This is a place that seems to be created for adventure since that is what we have had in bushels. From the monkey-like people we came across on our first day to elemental creatures to insects and leeches, it has been a constant flow from adventure to adventure.

I think we are finally getting close to figuring out how to get from here to Saventh-Yhi and our finding out what is happening there. We have discovered a map of sorts, it was more a mental picture of what we need to do to find the location of the City so now all we have to concern ourselves with is finding four gems to activate the Pillars of Light. More adventure I am sure.
That Saventh-Yhi harbors Idarthius is more certain for me now. On this quest we came through a complex of rooms that were waist deep in snakes. Also, it seems that Dadak is plagued by dreams of his father and a possessing evil that awaits us. I think that many questions will be answered (for good or ill) once we find the four gem stones and make it to Saventh-Yhi.

In the mean-time we need to keep ourselves alive. Poor Kreshton is in poor health after inhaling some spores exuded from a strange plant/fungus creature we ran into today. He is mobile but not as spry and hale as he normally is and that will be a huge disadvantage for us if he is under-the-weather for long. Perhaps Dadak or Nketche have some idea of remedy for him that is more herbal since their healing magic seems insufficient. Regardless, for now he will need to take it easy and not get himself into any situations that tax him until he is recovered.
Despite all the delays and hindrances we have faced I am getting hopeful and excited that we are nearing the conclusion of this journey. I have less doubt that we will be facing some aspect of evil and when we destroy it, the world will be made better for it.

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Just Not My Day
Race To Ruin

Sar, the 7th of Vult

(Wheeze) Except for not dying in my sleep, the day did not start off well at all. Pol has been stepping up to the front, doing a majority of the exploring of Tazion while I’ve usually kept to rear guard. Logically, rear guard is an important position in an adventuring party – a position that must be filled by a competent person. Looking back, (cough, cough) I’ve been rear guard more often than not; by my choice, really. I like to be aware of what is happening around me and avoiding any dangers sneaking up, but this keeps me away from the real excitement of exploring.

So, today, I decided to take a bit more of an active role and do some reconnoitering. I “reconnoitered” all us into a pool of ravenous leeches. Great! We entered the room through a door that I had discovered the day before; the day we fought those giant wasps. The stairs lead us down into a flooded room, full of dark, dank water that reached up to our thighs. The moment that Pol yelled out, “’Ware! Leeches!” I knew we were in trouble and I rushed out of the water at top speed, but not soon enough to avoid a large mass of leaches stuck to my legs. I would have felt more foolish had not Pol also been injured. (hack, hack!) I don’t know what Dadak was doing while Pol and I began to scrape leaches off of us. I could hear Dadak cast a spell or two, and he exited the room without a single leech, but he also needed N’Ketchi’s healing in the end. (coughing spasm)

That was that. We left the leech room behind and moved to the other side of the structure. Upset with my earlier attempt, I decided to look out into the jungle for more monkey men or a caravan from Eleder arriving while the rest of the group explored further. Suddenly, I heard Dadak’s companion, Kailia, screech loudly. I rushed into the room and saw her on top of a stairway with a large, “plant??”, creature attacking her. The creature looked like a large tulip with stalks growing out of it – something not unlike the purple fungus we encountered on Smuggler’s Shiv – surrounded by a light haze of floating spores. I rushed in to plunge my blade into its side as Pol and Dadak descended from the floor above via the staircase.

Battle was joined, and it was good! In just a short moment the unmoving shape of the plant creature lay on the floor. Unfortunately, (hack!) I was dealt two minor scrapes and must have inhaled some of those spores for I lay on the floor seeming to be hacking my lungs out of my body. Most of the coughing finally passed but each hacking spell seemed to sap the strength out of my body. I can stand now, but I have nowhere near the constitution that I once had. N’Ketchi says that there is nothing he can do about it until he gets new spells from Gozrah in the morning. Until then, I vow to stay an active member of the group, but stay farther in the back than is my want. I will keep Mischief’s Blade in its sheath and keep my axes and whip handy. (cough, cough, cough)

—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Hey, Is Statue Or Me

Far, the 6th of Vult

After the battle with the queen bee, N’Ketchi does what healing he can. Most of the group is uninjured so they continue to explore the building. They enter into a room that Kreshton had previously glanced into. At the end of two stairways along the side of the rectangular room, is a lower section. On the wall of this section are four statues of great age. Kreshton moves in to examine them and his will is easily overcome by a suddenly floating statue that begins to attack him. Pol rushes in to protect the unmoving Kreshton and is also rendered immobile and staring into space by a second statue. The other two statues begin to float around the room as N’Ketchi calls down lightning upon them with no effect. Unaware of the lightning’s ineffectual damage, Dadak calls down lightning as well. Ja’Redd keeps one of the statues busy by allowing it to slam into him again and again. With a roar, at her master’s request, Kailia pounces on one of the statues. A short time later, Kreshton stirs and enters the fray, quickly followed by Pol. Together they smash the remaining statues to rubble. As soon as all four statues crumble, everyone’s sight is filled with the vision of four pillars and the knowledge of how to use them. Their use requires four different stones: moonstone, diamond, onyx, and amethyst.

The group decides to end the day and barricade the doors. One door is left open for a watchman to see into the rest of the building while the rest get what sleep they can so that when morning comes, spells and abilities are refreshed.

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A Fine Blade Indeed

Far, the 6th of Vult

Something has occurred in the last couple of days that was unexpected. I pulled my rapier, Mischief’s Blade, from its scabbard and was struck by its brightness. Something floated up from the depths of my mind telling me of the sudden change in the weapon. I see a new ability that was hiding within it, and is now available for my use.

The ability I now possess is an enhancement to my bardic skill of oration. I see that if I were to have my blade in hand and were to flash it about in a display of martial prowess it will add power to my words. My effectiveness in inspiring those around me will increase when I use it to punctuate my words.

I welcome this assistance as the foes we have begun to encounter in our trek through Xen’Drik have become more and more powerful. I am sure that Ileana\Ysidris has not been idle since we chased her from the temple on Smuggler’s Shiv. Most likely she wishes some revenge on us for that dead as strongly as I wish to revenge for the sinking and destruction of the brave ship Jenivere due to her machinations.

—from the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Buzzy As Bees

Far, the 6th of Vult

The group climbs down off the ruined pyramid and rush into the jungle. They follow Tazion’s wall northward and find another stone building. Kreshton and Ja’Redd stealthily circle the structure while Pol gathers dried branches and leaves. As the rest of the group attempt to force open doors on the outside, Kreshton and Dadak enter through a large pillared opening. They attempt to open a door when I loud buzzing sound heralds the arrival of a huge wasp, quickly followed by a second. The party regroups and takes down the three large wasps and continue on deeper into the building, finally finding the hive.

Buzzing within the hive implies another wasp. Bored with waiting for the last wasp to exit, Kreshton explores the interior of the building, uncovering several rooms. He is drawn back to the hive when Dadak is suddenly attacked by the queen herself. She drags him to the top of the hive and despite his thrashing and wildshaping into a rat, Dadak gets pulled into the hive. Pol enters the lower entrance to find his way in, while Kreshton climbs the outside. Within the hive, the queen is met by Kreshton from above and Pol from below. A battle ensues and Pol dispatches the queen with his sword.

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Almost Lost A Friend

Far, the 6th of Vult

From around the corner the buzzing produced a large, man-sized monstrosity; a humongous wasp. Instinctively, I tossed by axe at it and moved back towards the center of the room. I was joined there by Dadak a moment later. I yelled for Pol and the rest to aid us as another shape appeared behind the first, buzzing just as loudly; it went straight for Dadak as I took on the first. Only my skill kept me from being stung, poor Dadak was stung at least once before help arrived. Our band stayed together as a third wasp appeared. It was only a matter of moments before the insects were twitching their last… breath?… on the ground. In moments we found the hive and Dadak took up a position to attack any last wasps that exited.

Damn! That thing was fast! That giant queen bee grasped Dadak before any alarm could be raised. Earlier, I had poked my head into the room containing the large wasp nest and seen its massive shape. The entrance to the room was blocked by Dadak, Pol, Dadak’s companion Kailia, and a summoned hippogryph, all preparing to take on whatever monstrosity exited from that grey shape.

There was little I could do while they stood there, so I explored about the inside of the ruins we were in. I found several dusty rooms, all with stairs to a lower chamber and some with statues along the walls. I was hesitant to go deeper into the ruins and risk not hearing any call for assistance, so all I did was to reconnoiter the area. There was no room that avoided the jungle’s touch, and one room I found only by peering through some massive vines and clearing them away with my axe.

That was when I heard the call.

I rushed into the room just in time to see Dadak being dragged into the upper reaches of the ceiling, on top of the great hive. The room thrummed with the beating of the queen’s wings and the yells from Dadak as he was being pulled away. I climbed upon the outside of the nest to try and grab a hold of Dadak as he wildshaped into a rat. Unfortunately, the queen kept a good hold on him, stinging him again and again. As I climbed the outside, Pol bravely entered the nest through the bottom opening.

Once I reached the top of the hive, Dadak had been already dragged into another opening on the top. I dove in, lighting my watchlamp so I could see within the shrouded interior. The queen had Dadak in a large hexagonal chamber, grappling him to the ground when I entered the cramped quarters; a moment later, Pol entered from another direction. My light and the light of Pol’s glowing swords jumped about as we fell onto the queen bee. My fighting style is more flips, tumbles, and swift movements to confuse my foes so the tight quarters limited my actions and I was less effective against the queen. Fortunately, Pol, and Dadak back to his real shape, were able to thrash her. The battle was held in a balance for a while.

I am glad Dadak was able to survive this encounter with the monstrous wasp. It was a close thing.

—from the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra


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A Curse, A Warning
Dadak's Tales
A Curse, A Warning
For audio version click here





Hack.. Smash.. Smash. Smmaaassshhhhh!!

Ahhh yes, this feels goood!. Hacking that vile winged wasp to pieces. Yeeesss, it is good to destroy abominations such as these. Even Pol stays behind until this abomination becomes a rotting wasted corpse, no longer a threat to natural……

“Pol….” Dadak’s fury is curiously spent, and he seems to be wavering as if in a light breeze.

“Pol…. Something is wrong…. with…”

Dadak’s face becomes expressionless and his eyes seem to dilate, unfocus, darken, and finally look far away.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The world begins to darken and slowly Pol fades from my sight. I become tired and weak and I don’t feel myself. I don’t feel… myself. I don’t feel… myself. I don’t feel… anything.

Slowly the world lightens again, but it is not lit… It is unlit. It is a world of shadow. Light is vague, bright, stabbing, a painful intrusion. Red-eyed demonic shadows flit about, grasping at my ankles, legs, body, and arms with sharp malicious claws. This world is evil, I feel it flowing all around me, coursing through my veins, beating in my heart. This world is evil, and it slowly permeates throughout my body and mind. I feel it beginning to take control. Though I fight with all my will, I sense it gradually becoming my master. And finally, it does.

Darkest of all in this world is the dagger of malice in my right hand. This is the one which slew my father. It is the blackest black, and malevolent evil emanates from it. I belong to it and know it has become my master.

Before me stands Pol, surrounded by a halo of bright light, goodness incarnate. He sees the danger and summons a weapon of luminous justice. A tower of iron will, a knight of purity and good stand before me. I have no control. Furiously I fight against myself as I lift my dagger and bring it to him. My arm is strong, it is deadly, and it wields an evil of purest blackness and malice. Brave Pol falls before it.

Kreshton responds to the noise and falls as well. I revolt at the joy that surges through my body as his warm blood pours down my arm. The blade inhales his lifeforce too, but is not sated just yet. N’Ketchi runs, but not far; and Ja’Redd’s look of surprise only seems to amuse it.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


The shadows flit around in a frenzy. They know what is about to happen and they violently express their eagerness by swirling in a chaotic vortex. My arm finally lifts the dagger and makes a cutting motion in the air. Slowly a rip becomes to form. A scar in the air before me! Within it is pure and utter blackness. The dagger gleams darkness and continues slicing. Blackness shines from the gaping wound and evil radiates from it.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


A vortex of dark energy whooshes and swirls about the room. The rip is not discernible though it is the center of the darkness. Small vile shadows come from it and join the vortex already created. Finally, a dark omnipowerful evil begins to radiate as well. I feel my body smile, though I cry out in fear.

With insane evil my body laughs at me at length. Finally it gloats with a hiss, “Son, I am still waiting for you.”


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


“… me.” Dadak’s face contorts in fear as his eyes suddenly return. He slumps to his knees. Pol doesn’t know what just happened and wavers between concern and caution.

“Pol”, Dadak says. “I think they know we are coming… and I think we haven’t much time. Let me tell you what I saw with my waking eyes. Perhpas I am going mad.”


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