Blights Edge: Above and Below

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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October 12th, 2012 Session
"Not the celestial giant bees! Anything but the celestial giant bees!"

IN SUMMARY:
p. The battle between the party and the ferret-monsters continued. Archers attacked the group with arrows, and there is a mysterious magic staff in the fog (that seems capable of mind-control). Most party members took considerable amounts of damage. The unconscious dwarf woke up for a short period, only to trip and pass out once more. Uguu fell into critical condition. The captain was killed and many of his subordinates retreat. Augen healed Uguu, but Loka was entranced by the strange staff. She follows the shaman into another ship. Timeout makes a trail of webbing to lead the party to the ship. The ship takes off with Timeout and Loka.

The party is located on a cloud, fighting mysterious, armed ferret-monsters within some mist. The ferrets are lead by a high-rank figure who appears to be their captain or leader.

Loka is slashed by the short-sword of a ferret solider. Loka retreats and hides behind Koshka. The unconscious, unnamed dwarf finally wakes up and hears shouting coming from inside the mist. She is strapped into a sleeping bag upon a strange spider’s back.

The ferret captain slashes at Ssophi with a scimitar, dealing six damaging and zapping him. The captain’s back is to a solider.

The dwarf inspects the sleeping bag. The spider is attacking one of the ferret-monsters who is wearing armor. She continues to look around to see the other players currently in battle and the ferret captain and another panicking soldier.

The dwarf begins to use her dagger to cut herself out of the sleeping bag. She remains on the dagger. The dwarf is a typical entertainer with a very bardic look. Timeout, the spider, notices that the person on it’s back is moving. However, it is unable to do anything due to its engagement with the ferret. Timeout tries to keep the dwarf from falling off.

The captain gets his tail caught, and the panicked solider runs into a wall. Ssophi attacks the soldier with a club, dealing three damage. He stumbles away.

Koshka sends her giant celestial bee to attack the captain. The bee stings is reflected by the captain’s armor. Koshka uses her crossbow and hits the captain, doing four damage.

One of the soldiers attacks the bee with a short sword, slashing the bee for four damage.

Ssophi yells to the dwarf, hailing her and explaining that she is “just as confused as [the party is]”. The dwarf replies, recognizing the confusion. Timeout tries to get the dwarf off its back. Ssophi tries to flank the captain with the bee. He deals two damage.

Loka fires a magic missile at the captain and does nine damage.

The captain attacks Ssophi. Uguu was off being zen, but magically warps in by the wall. UGUU PUNCHES THE SOLIDER IN THE FACE (like a boss) and one tooth goes flying. Uguu tries to hit the solider again but misses.

Timeout has helped the dwarf get up to the top of the wall/column. She does a perception check, but can see only darkness. She continues to hide behind Timeout.

Koshka and Augen are suddenly hit with arrows, taking damage. Timeout senses something moving in the left-hand corner of the field, but it is unclear.

Augen lunges to bite the captain. Koshka’s bee attempts to attack again, but skitters off the armor of a ferret. The party is clustered around the wall/column. Koshka attacks with a long-sword to a solider, who begins to bleed. A soldier and the captain are now back-to-back and panicked. They switch to a defensive tactic.

Ssophi strikes the captain with the Club of Common Sense, but he manages to parry.

Loka yells at the party to move out of the way but holds her action. Augen attacks the captain and starches him in the face, but is hit directly and takes 13 damage. Augen also feels the zapping sensation and screams in pain. The captain tries to slash Ssophi but misses. An arrow flies by her.

The dwarf plays a song of valor and inspires everyone. Uguu attempts to attack the captain in revenge for Augen but misses. Augen retreats behind Ssophi. Everyone hears Loga’s warning scream. Everyone but Uguu retreats, because it would be “not zen” to retreat.

Koshka is attacked, but is fine. The bee is attacked. Ssophi is hit for eight damage.

The captain notices that Loka is casting a spell and warns his subordinates to move. She casts Burning Hands; Uguu, the solider, and the captain all take damage. The soldier has fainted against the wall. Another soldier attempts to run into the fray and rescue his other companion. He runs up to Uguu. Koshka tries to attack the captain, but he blocks. Her bee is dismissed.

The dying soldier continues to bleed. Ssophi charges, trips over one of the arrows, and misses completely. Timeout jumps down from the wall and wraps a cocoon around the dying soldier. He’s no longer dying.

The dwarf trips, falls, and becomes unconscious again. Loga retreats to behind a rock.

Something reaches from within the fog and attempts to hit Augen with a mysterious, blue, glowing staff. They miss and vanish back into the mist. The captain hits Koshka with his zappy scimitar for five damage. Uguu punches a soldier for seven damage, but is then hit by an arrow for six damage.

Augen drinks a potion and regains eight hit points. The soldier attacks Uguu for four damage. Koshka attacks the soldier. Ssophi drinks a Potion of Cure Light Wounds and regains nine hit points while alerting the party about an archer’s location. Timeout scurries up the top of a wall.

Loka tosses a dagger at the scout. A bunch of bugs made out of clouds pop out. The scout jumps forward, attacks Loka, and jumps back. He misses.

The captain attacks Koshka and takes ten damage. Uguu starts to chug a potion while be attacked by a soldier. Koshka parries the blow. Augen gives Koshka a potion, who recovers eight points of health. One soldier runs away. Ssophi poisons an archer. She throws a fireball at the captain, but it does not hit.

Loga nearly falls under the influence of the mysterious-glowy staff. The captain retreats while shouting orders. Timeout is attacked and takes nine damage. Uguu punches the captain for five damage. Uguu takes an arrow for six damage. Augen charges the captain. He is very badly hurt.

Augen takes two points of damage from a crossbow bolt. Ssophi the same ferret as timeout who falls unconscious from the bleeding. Loka does six damage to the staff-wielding ferret. Augen and Koshka attack the captain. He dies. Augen heals Uguu and Loka is entranced by the magical staff. Koshka falls into a net. Loka is taken to another ship. Timeout leaves a web trail for the group to follow while it chases a ferret to the ship.

Mistakes that I made:
1. Didn’t realize that, if I am to use a gender pronoun for Ssophi, it should be female. I’ll try to use “she” or “it” next time! ^^;

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Ssophi's Adventures in Cloudland

Ssophi’s Adventures after waking up.

Ssophi woke up in the village, long after the other party members had left, and feeling rather crabby. They went outside and spoke to Lishi, learning that the party had left without them. With no way to follow them, Ssophi spent some time teaching Lishi the Goodberry spell.

Suddenly, Lishi noticed a dirigible flying overhead, coming towards the village, and crewed by weasel-people. Ssophi used Animal Messenger to call a wren to give the Verona a piece of paper on which she drew “:) / :( ?”

The Verona circled the “?” and wrote a message asking (as Lishi translated) whether they were good or bad spirits. Ssophi replied by circling the smiley face, and drawing a crossed-out arrow for an offer of peace.

The Verona came down to parley with Ssophi, Lishi and the sky folk. Ssophi

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D&D Feb 15

Within the warm tavern, the travellers, the fiend known as Lucky (actual name Mita), the tengu Saya and the dragon Argent all poured over Lucky’s mysterious book.

One thing is made absolutely clear: While the language of the text is poetic, the guy clearly does not know how to write properly.

The dragon bard known as Argent (by the commoners and those who found it too difficult to say her full name) studied the book curiously. …the Sosoeliri tomb, hm? She did know a few songs written about the Sosoeliri tomb. The oral history of the Soesoliri was as old as the dragons’. In fact, it was even older than the start of the Dragon Factions. She remembered that the Sosoeliri has a very rich bardic tradition…and a rather colourful one. She could recall several raunchy, rather “steamy” songs about being lovers, and a lot of strange tragedies. Even the tragedies are entertaining.

The determined cleric of the travellers, Koshka, skimmed over the pages of the book. He noticed that above the words of the text are barely visible, faintly glowing, blue runes. Koshka can tell from the text and his knowledge that the elves do have something about them and some strange mention of a clan of mystics that the family was possibly descendent from, signified from the “liri” in their name. He can’t tell if the runes are of that Sosoeliri family’s specifically, but Koshka knows that some of the runes signified Galderos, signifying protection. He knows that humans build tombs because they don’t have sand, and some of the older, weirder sort of families bury more than just their dead in there, they put in facilities for the living, places the living can go, often involving a few traditions that have to do with Galderos.

Mita is a little bit stumped herself. She did try to look through the book with Loka, but this guy’s lyric is terrible. Very reputable former tomb explorer…but quite frankly, he is an asshole who can’t write for shit. The book is so full of purple prose they miss the blue runes completely.

As all they could possibly get out of it is gotten out of it, the travellers, Lucky, Saya and Argent all decided to stop looking at the thing and go after the tomb. (Lucky, Saya and Argent decided to join the travelers, Argent citing an eagerness to find new musical instruments.) Lucky took the book with her, and the group exited the tavern, and found themselves in the center of Brustuko, the famous trade town, known for being the place to find just about anything. (That means, yes, anything). It teemed with people, and the noise of people attempting to make a buck.

Ugu declined to go around town, opting to continue on the lengthy and epic task of masterfully writing his…her…their paper. It is very important. A very important paper on Zen.

Koshka decided to mosy about town, thinking he’d check for mystics. There was a guild, mostly Saris’ run, and in the monastic tradition.

It is obviously a guild of clerics. But…well… Koshka’s gets the vibe that they might possibly be ripping people off. …It probably was the kitschy decorations, or the really ugly flashing sign…with the paint peeling off, or the obviously plastic columns. Kind of like Las Vegas hotels, but worse.

As Koshka contemplated the garishly plastic-thin exterior of the guild, he couldn’t help but wonder about the reputation of the tombs. After all, typically, the last few tombs faded from the historical records. Perhaps they would know something. “Okay,” Koshka deliberated, “I’ll make up some excuse to talk to them. I’ll just ask round about where that tomb might be.” Decided, Koshka entered and attempted to converse with them.

But…, well, these cats don’t like Koshka’s Feledan Saris, so they gave poor Koshka’s attitude. Lots of attitude. They make it expressly clear that they do not like uppity, oh, so, honorable Feldan folk. At all.

To put it one way, attitude is rather a drastic understatement.

Meanwhile, Lucky, Saya and Argent decided to directly investigate the tombs.

One of the tombs was buried in a rock slide, and a couple were just way too creepy to even try to venture into. Some looked like refurbished dragon lairs (“Not quite as beautiful as the ones in my homeland”, commented Argent) and one looks like it’s been broken in recently.

And…there were some people in the distance.

And one of these people was ghostly figure… which looked vaguely familiar.

Saya deliberated and decided to talk to them, hovering lightly to land on the ground. Her albino peacock rode on Argent’s back, grooming itself and ignoring both of them. This person appears to remember Saya. In fact, he used to fold her paper animals when she was a chicks. He was a human fighter who missed his kids a lot, who had died in the war 100 years ago. They made small talk and caught up. Argent… sheepishly let Saya do the talking.

The Small Talk went something like this:

“So what have you been up to in the world of the living?”

“Oh, I’ve been trying to find some work as a scout, but they seem to be wary of us. I’ve been trying- but , well that hasn’t worked out, because the only guild that will accept me is a bit chaotic at the moment due to the battle of Atlantis. People in the living world, they just don’t get it you know? ”

(Historical Note: The battle had happened recently, but a lot of people died, and as a result the jungle is infested with undead.)

He landed lightly on Argent’s back, and complemented her on her vivid, gorgeous scales.

(He’s a real charmer. Does this to everybody.)

“I’d been doing some hunting, because apparently that sells well here.
And starvation is rather a terrible way to die, isn’t it?”

“Really unpleasant, yes,” smiled Saya.

“You see, I’ve been doing this for a month, and I can’t find very much game, and I can swear that that tomb wasn’t blighted a while ago. So what are you up to?”

“Oh, we’ve been looking for Sosoeliri.”

“Oh! Sosoeliri. Love wizards! Always so cheerful. He mentioned something about an island, but people don’t really talk about tombs, you know,” said the spirit companion. “I mean, I don’t even know if my family had a tomb. But who knows, I’m poor as dirt.

…You know, Saya, I’m proud of you. Your mum said you’d be a scholar, but here you are, a warrior.”

His voice was warm and proud.

“But anyway, I’ve got to be going. I have to meet somebody in a bar somewhere.” He went on to talk about bad breakups and chocolates as gifts, before bidding them goodbye.

Saya and Argent waved and flew off..

“If you’re going to be a warrior , don’t get blood on the scales,” sighed Argent to Saya.

Koshka’s werewolf claw gave a heroic tint to his gorgeous luxurious mane.
(An Aside. It’s Very Important.)

Meanwhile in town, the gloomy nameless dwarf, went shopping for …things… in the rather shady area of Brustuko (the part of Brustuko in which deaths are no longer classified murders by the police, just suicide), and came upon a rather suspicious looking hunchbacked dwarf selling a multitude of strange and rare goods of vague and dubious legality.

She browsed around, and came upon something that interested her greatly— Dragon bones.

The unidentified dwarf offered a trade. “Do you have a card?” the hunchbacked dwarf asked her, leering. She showed him the card, and he gave her the discount. They bartered back and forth for a while, but she managed to negotiate down to half her gold, and some treasure.

“These are very good quality. Verry, Very good.” the hunchbacked dwarf hissed, his breath rancid. “Have a nice day,” he chortled at her mockingly.

“May your mines flow well with gold,” she murmured. “And the B’vertorgh in your tunnels,” she muttered under her breath as he departed.

The hunchbacked dwarf ducked back into the dark alley, vanishing into the shadows. Koshka, who had caught up to his gloomy companion and witnessed the end of it, decided it was best to be oblivious. Some things weren’t meant to be known about it.

And by the tavern in the middle of Brustuko, win the throes of Zen, Uguu doggedly continued to put pen to paper, and wrote, and wrote and wrote, absorbed completely in their most important, pressing task. Of Zen.

For Zen.

The chat with the gheist over, Loka decided to wander around with Lucky and Argent about the main parts of town to see if she could pick up any information.

She decided to ask the first random passerby about the tomb. The first random passerby happened to be a very elderly gnome and a young girl gnome, possibly her granddaughter, arguing heatedly.

“Now where is his report- ” demanded the old woman.

“I gave you this report, when you were drunk off of carrot juice,” the girl retorted, exasperated.

“That was your mistake, then, isn’t it sweetie?”

Lucky giggled helplessly at the two passersby. She approached them, and inquired, “Um, excuse me ma’m, but I could give you the report. I hav’nt been drunk. But we’re actually looking for something else.”

“Well, Hello, dearie! How are you doing today, you cute little fiend?,” cooed the three-foot tall grandma gnome to Lucky. She looked perilously on the verge of pinching Lucky’s cheeks.

“Well…,” Lucky gestured frantically for Loka to get over and prevent any imminent cheek pinching. “We’re looking for a tomb…”

“What sort of tomb, dearie? A funny one, a strange looking one or a-?”

Her granddaughter Tithy hid her face in her hands in exasperation. “She means are you looking for a human tomb, or a tomb just full of dead things? And then there is the tomb guardians, and the dragon tombs which are full of gold but don’t take it, which grandma knows because she WENT in there and STOLE everything!”

To explain, dear reader, this grandmother gnome goes by the name of Cherry. She is a perfectly normal, upstanding gnome who runs a guild of exploration.

…We apologize, that sentence was a lie. But she is certainly a gnome, and she does run a guild of exploration!

Cherry insisted to her granddaughter, “I didn’t steal it dearie, I was simply redistributing wealth.”

“But it belonged to them, Grandma!!!”

“No, it belongs to the people who can use it," the grandmother gnome insisted.

“…Anyway,” interrupted Loka, “Do you know a human tomb by the name of Sosoeliri?”

“Ohh,a human tomb. Oh, I knew one of those.” She gave Loka a particularily disturbing eyebrow waggle.

“Rumors aside,” groaned Lucky, “Do you know where it is?”

“Oh sure! Oh sure! Tithy, will you look in the library? I’m going to get another drink.” Cherry turned to walk back to the bar counter to make good on her word.

“But!”

“You’re my apprentice. Go do it!”

“Fine!” groaned Tithy, running to follow her grandmother’s orders. A few moments later, Tithy returned with the revised notations of the exploration record for the Sosoeliri tomb.

“Looks like it’s on an island,” mused Grandma Cherry, new drink in hand. “Hm… could be because it’s Ralph who explored and did the notations for the Soseliiri tomb. It’s a shame he got arrested for murder. Horrible tragedy, hope he comes back alive."

“…properly alive. Actually alive.” She added, hastily.
-

Lucky and Loka and Argent poured over the notes and the map. The island was shaped like a scorpion. It was also familiar to Argent. The tail of this particular island has been very important to dragons. The mountain ma be full of undead, but to fly over that mountain is the rite of passage of Dragons- when a dragon flies over it, they are considered an adult.

In the meantime, Tithy and her grandma continued to argue. “You want to go find it, eh? ” said her grandmother. “Why, there was this dragon- ”

“-Let’s not talk about that dragon. It was a sore spot for them. Grandma… it was a very tragic event.”

“…You three are welcome to use our library all you want. Just be sure not to let anything fall on your head,” said Cherry to the travelers, winking one aged eyelid.

“Despite our best efforts,” muttered Tithy.

They thanked her and went on their way. So did Loka and Lucky and Argent go off.

And so did Koshka and the nameless dwarf go off to regroup and travel to the tomb as well.

“Apparently there is an island south of the Scorpion Isle, and we should probably find a way to get there. Any ideas?” asked Lucky eagerly.

“Well, I could carry some. But not everyone,” said Argent, flicking her wings elegantly.

After some discussion, it was decided Argent would carry Uguu.

And thus they departed.

The Scorpion Isle is known as the everything basket, a beautiful place full of apple orchards and all sorts of things. It was one of the few productive areas of Aeredoth, not corrupted by the Aegis at all. It was shaped like a scorpion from the aerial view, and absolutely gorgeous. (The commonfolk knew the aerial view of it from the dragons.)

They decided to take a portal to the Scorpion Isle. When they arrived, the weather was lovely. It was a semi-tropical, pleasant, large island. The place where they landed had facilities for dragons. There was a ship to journey onward way to the south, and there was no portal at the south of the island because it was a small fishing town.

Unfortunately, that ship was the only ship to the tomb. There were plenty of ships incoming and outgoing (because people sometimes couldn’t afford portals) for military or trade, but this ship was the only one free to go where they needed to go, and the only one they could afford to charter.

The dragon and tengu of the travellers did not need a ship, but Argent and Saya did want to stay together with the group.

The road south to the small fishing town was well travelled. Argent flew at an easy pace, the beat of her wings soft and regular, Lucky, Ugu and Saya riding on her large back. Meanwhile, the gloomy dwarf, Loka, and Koshka walked on the path, at Loka’s quite relaxing pace. It was a comfortable day’s walk. For noon they had a good lunch of venison.

They all sat around the fire to eat the delicious food. Argent’s snake familiar whined about not having food, whom Argent managed to placate (eventually.) Lucky tried to tell Argent a story, but the dragon was too busy being absorbed in herself and playing a song. Lucky eventually gave up and listened to the music.

After lunch, and Lucky had scarfed down more food than Argent and Saya could imagine (she was so thin!), so they continued on.

It got to be around early to mid afternoon, the village visible on the horizon when suddenly, Argent, Lucky and Saya heard a ROAR.

Something huge dropped down out of the clouds and nosedived towards them. It appeared to be a gigantic dragon… once.

It was a dragon, flying with magic, ripped hide and dead skin flying from it’s bones. Its eyes gleam with a fiery, unholy, sickly light. Its bones were a sickly pearl inscribed with eerie glowing green runes. It screamed. Its shriek was nails on chalkboard, scraping and horrible, like agony and nightmares and memories and everything that had ever haunted, the sound of everything that had ever died and lived. It reverberated through their bones, made them hiss in pain and clutch their ears, turned their blood and bones to freezing ice.

Koshka felt it resonate through his bones, his shield shaking with the vibrations of the monster’s scream as he noticed something behind the bushes. A righteous fury rose up within him, and he was filled with courage, even as the shriek rattled his bones and and made sharp knives shoot through his ears and the tips of his fingers.

Loka’s sword amulet warmed against her skin.

The gloomy dwarf, gritting her teeth against the pain, used her knowledge of undead to detect any around in the area besides the dragon. There was the apparent undead dragon from above- but what was that?!!!!!! There was an unexpected undead presence from behind the bushes!

The gigantic undead flapped huge flesh-less wings, delicate patterns of dead, mother of pearl bone and grey, rotting skin wafting with the breeze, hovering, and dived at Argent with another bloodcurdling shriek, its eyes glowing the sickly green of a serpent’s skin. Argent strafed back, managing to dodge it’s attack by an hair. She leveled her elegant wings to re balance, as Saya, balancing precariously on Argent’s back drew back her longbow to her ear and loosed two swift shots into the undead dragon.
They flew true. One arrow slipped into the gap between two of his ribs was caught on dead skin hanging in its ribcage and the other struck directly into the rune. It faltered in pain, taking 6 damage.

Meanwhile on the ground, Koshka ambushed the bush behind which the undead were hiding behind. He held up the holy symbol for the undead to sight it and repent, but as the skeletons could not see it, the symbol was ineffectual. The necromancer controlling them started, startled. He turned on his heel and vanished. He had gotten away.

Loka, in the open, targeted a skeleton with a fire spell. It struck one skeleton, which shrieked as it burned to ash.

Up in the aerial battle, Argent breathed a cone of fire at the Blighted dragon as it rushed towards them. It threw up a spectral, skeletal wing to block it but the fire caught at its wing and the dead skin. The runes on its wing glowed. It shrieked again and opened it’s gaping, empty jaw to breathe a sickly green, unnatural fire. It dived and hit them with a spectral wing, which passed through them. Lucky, Saya and Argent felt a horrible chill in their blood and bone passing through them, making small cuts appear on their skin. The sensation was akin to that of frostbite. The force of the blow knocked knocked Saya off, but she managed to unfreeze her wings and keep herself in the air.

Lucky had been almost knocked off and was hanging on for her life. Saya saved Lucky.

By the bush, the undead rushed at Koshka, cornering him from both sides. They stuck him with arrows. One shot Koshka deep in the chest, just missing his heart and lung, as the other landed in Koshka’s shoulder. Koshka went to the ground, gasping in pain, bleeding out and barely alive. He had 3 HP left, and could not move well. They drew their arrows back for a second go.

The undead fired at Loka and the nameless dwarf, but missed. One fired at Loka, and hit Loka in the shin for 2 damage.

Saya swiftly drew her bow, hovering in the air. One missed, but the other flew true, hitting the fleshless dragon directly in a rune in the neck. It was a debilitating blow- the undead dragon was about half-dead.

The dwarf opened her mouth to sing. She sang a gloomy song of dark mines and dead, of miners facing terrors within the deeps, chaotic and horrifying. Her powerful, sorrowful voice somehow filled them all with courage against the terrible things they were facing, as strong and persistent as the hopeless but persistent courage of the miners that faced the great B’vertorgh, many years before.

Koshka stumbled back to heal himself from the deadly wound. He managed to heal himself to the point where he was almost perfectly well. Loka reached for her power and readied three magic missiles, floating in the air. She squinted through the trees and fired them vaguely where she assumed the undead to be.

The missiles landed with a boom.

Flame exhausted for now, the magnificent dragon Argent swooped at the rotting, runed, wrong other, razor sharp claws extended. The blighted dragon dodged, and turned around to dive again to tear Argent apart with its dead pearl claws. The dragons circled each other, going claw to claw. One skeletal claw, skin rotting off, missed, but the other skimmed Argent’s side for a shallow cut, the eerie glow of cold and chill reaching farther and cutting deeper into the light wound.

A crossbow bolt from the dwarf on the ground whizzes past the two dragons and into the sky. The group can still hear the dwarf’s song, propelling them still.

A magical missile landed on Loca, and she gripped the bleeding burns, hissing in pain. The wound was moderate. She perceived that the trees on the other side’s leaves blew out with the passing of the magic missile.

The arrows from the undead hit Koshka twice. He clutched the bleeding gashes in his side.
An arrow narrowly missed the dwarf and another landed in Saya’s thigh. She flew back from the fray, perching on a tree nearby to nurse her leg, as the dragons swooped up together. From her vantage point on the tree, she drew back her bow to her ear and loosed an arrow, but missed the Blighted dragon by an inch. She breathed out, frustrated.

Koshka, weak from blood loss, gritted his teeth and forced himself to turn to face his attackers. The skeletons leered at him with identical dead grins. Koshka clenched his teeth against the pain and forcefully drew his power from the wellspring inside him. Its warmth rested in his hand as he cast Turn Undead upon them. One skeleton shrieked and turned to ash. The other was untouched. Loka on the footpath, drew her power to her, and called on the lightening, reaching to it. She drew her hand down and let it loose as a lightening bolt struck at the remaining skeleton. They heard a yelp and the skeleton was vaporized. The trees started to burn from Loka’s lightening bolt. Argent, still circling her opponent, started to sing a harmony to harmonize with the dwarf’s sorrowful song of courage. Her opponent dived and managed to claw her for a searing gash in her chest. The songs started to meld, earthy dragon lore to the dissonant dwarf lore, and the ringing music reverberated about the clearing, filling it with its power.

Lucky attempted to draw her bow, balancing on Argent’s bescaled back, but missed, her arrow flying into the blue sky.

The undead turned suddenly towards the dwarf, their bows aimed to kill.

One steel tipped arrow hit Koshka for 3 hp in the tail. Another hit the dwarf in the shoulder for 3 damage, but she did not stop her song. The music of the harmonizing song of dragon and dwarf continued to ring.

Up in the trees, Saya drew her arrow back and nocked it to her ear, and loosed another two. They flew true, hitting the dragon for 6 in the runes. The dragon started to falter, moving more slowly.

Down on the ground Koshka forced himself upward and slashed with his holy sword, letting loose a fierce roar. He managed to slice at the skeleton, and the sword glowed with a magnificent light, felling it for once and for all.

Loka muttered an arcane chant, and her power swirled around her hand as she cast flaming spear, causing the trees to flame all around them. One skeleton was felled and the rest took damage.

In the air, the dragons were at a standstill, swiping and dodging and circling, a deadly, graceful dance. The Blighted dragon clawed at Argent for 5 and veered away, leaving an opening for Lucky and Argent to attack. Argent pounced, biting into its bones and breaking the sickly bones some, and dragged it with its neck in a deadly grapple. The skeletal dragon struggled, attempting to dive away towards the bushes, but Argent yanked it back, keeping her hold. An arrow whizzed by them as Argent’s collaborator in song attempted to shoot at it. Lucky, holding desperately onto Argent’s shoulder, managed to draw back the bow with her teeth and loose an arrow directly at its neck vertebrae.

The Blighted dragon seized up, and the sickly serpentine lights in its glowing eye dimmed. Its empty, cavernous jaw opened for one last time as it fell to the ground, a falling pile of bone and dead skin, unmoving, the eyes in its skull dark.

It was dead.

The skeletons started to run, the unseen necromancer as well. Koshka gripped his side and charged at them, determined not to let them get away. He roared and struck them with his sword, felling one and cracking all the bones of the other in one blow. Their bones clattered to the ground, only one left standing. Looking around for the necromancer behind the attack, Loka cast detect magic, searching for the necromancer, but the spell failed. The dragon Argent dived at the remaining and crushed it beneath her. She gracefully pulled out of the dive and too cast detect magic to search for the necromancer. Lucky cast detect magic as well. But although they detected magic everywhere, but they couldn’t find him and weren’t sure if he was still around. The necromancer has vanished without a trace.

But they had prevailed.

The undead turned to ash.

The unidentified dwarf eagerly harvested bones from the dead dragon, as the group recovered from the battle and searched the bones for loot. (All there seemed to be was the dragon.)

As the party walked into town, many people stopped and stared. They then ran out and thanked the party for defeating the dangerous bandits that had been plaguing them, and welcomed them with open arms. Over a few beers, the party told their story, with Argent providing lovely music. The next day, a ship was graciously given to them, since, hey, having some heroes come by and defeat evil doesn’t happen every day!

It’s the next day, a slightly cloudy day, but a nice day for this season. It’s warmer here.

Lucky seems to be okay with being in warmer places, but….

To put it one way, it’s hot.

Too hot.

The kind of hot that gives pounding headaches and makes one start wandering around in a daze.

As a result the travellers are not happy.

The ship they charter is strikingly familiar. Koshka, on a high and full of himself with praise did not notice, nor did Loka, busy running after her errant mouse.

The party, all healed up, got on the ship, the crew friendly and helpful to them, as Argent and Saya fly by. Lucky is having a ton of fun,exploring the ship and gasping at the sea. They fly over the lovely, sparkling calm sea. They notice something odd.

(Koshka did not notice anything. Poor Koshka is busy being miserable being an incredibly seasick cat.)

Suddenly, they all heard a great crack, and the ship was buffeted back by a sharp wind. The deck rocked violently beneath their feet, the ship turning almost vertical. The crew and the travellers cling desperately to anything they can hold onto. Fifteen foot wave crests rise, soaking them in water and winds scream, moving fast past. The dragon loses control but manages to get back some sort of balance as Lucky clings tightly to her scales, terrified. The waves get taller and taller and they all see what appears to see a cyclone full of dark green brown water hurtling towards us.
The sailors wrestled the sails down, hanging on to the winches for dear life.
They manage to succeed and shout at the group to get below. As the travellers get below, a huge wave swept over the deck, and that is the last thing anyone saw before going into the hull. Creaking noises get louder, and louder…

And louder…

And louder….

As a rending, terrible noise reverberates through the air, hurting all of their ears, and all of them fall

fall

To black.

Three unconscious bodies lie in the hull. Two bodies are buffeted away by the winds, struggling to survive.

The storm calms.

The dragon and tengu manage to turn back, wings heavy with salt water, exhausted from fighting against the wind.

The ship is gone.

Lucky cast Detect Magic and looked around. “I don’t…feel anything…?”

They all didn’t… just felt disoriented in time and space.

They saw a mouse, frantically waving, Saris, rubble, but didn’t see a ship. Then they saw it. Land! Saya and Argent flew nearer, their wings heavy.

Argent landed gracefully on the beach and shook the water off her wings. She observed Loka in a tree, the dwarf unconscious against another tree and Koshka in the sand, draped on the dwarf in a compromising position. Argent pokes the dwarf experimentally, not getting any response. Lucky lugged Koshka off the dwarf.

Loka woke up in the arms of a gorgeous, sensual, Nyssian female. Loka flailed and shouted at it to go away.

The dwarf woke up and immediately wished she hadn’t, due to a splitting headache.

Koshka woke up to Lucky dumping cold water on him. “Stop that!” yelled Koshka, hissing at her, fur on end. Lucky gave him a mischievous smile.

They notice Uguu walking peacefully on water with the power of their zen, entranced with their manuscript, still writing and completely oblivious to the world…

Or the storm.

Uguu sits down on the sand and continues to write, oblivious still, as Koshka washes himself with one soaked paw.

(Grumpy cat is grumpy.)

They could see a wreck and some dead bodies.

Argent contemplated looting a dead sailor for the sake of musical instruments, but decided against it and flew away. Koshka suggested to explore the island, and the group agreed. Argent bespelled dancing lights to follow them, and they went on, as the dwarf hummed a song to quell— the headache.

They decide to sleep, and they wake up to a gorgeous meteor shower. Saya watched it entranced. There are no meteor showers much where she came from, there were beautiful things, but no meteor shower.

When they awake in the morning, rested and sound, they find a small chunk of glass where the fire once was. It is smooth and glassy. Argent picked it up delicately with one claw, and gave it to Saya. Saya put it in her pack. The jungle is alive with life, and the dwarf begins to sing.

Lots of stuff happen.

There are mangoes and they look delicious. The mouse nibbles on one, and they all nom happily.

Koshka declares that she likes it.

They soon came across a tablet.

There was a strange symbol of Good- of a sun and moon on either side of a bird, and engraved beneath it was the inscription:
“Walk tall, walk firm, ye of my blood.”

It is the Sosoeliri symbol. Lucky vaguely recognized it. She only knows because she had to see it in evey book she read about channelling.

The dragon exits out of the jungle and found herself in a clearing that leads up to a verdant mountain. She observed a mauseleum built into the rock wall,with vines crawling all over it. The grass is sweet smelling and the dragon rolls happily in it.

Koshka also rolled in the grass, purring. Lucky went to check out the mauseleum but got distracted by watching the dragon happily roll about in the grass.

Koshka decided to try the door, but Lucky stopped them.” Lucky knocks on the door, gave them a thumbs up and pushed into the stone.

The door opened to a passageway leading down.

As they step over the threshold, we hear a sound and the ceiling, made of crystal lights up . They find themselves in a well-lit corridor with normal looking murals on the walls, with absolutely no spiders (or intimidating monsters of any kind, or pests) (that are totally normally looking. We’re seirous.). The light is warm and soothing, shifting colors. On one wall is a procession, and the other has a celebration. It’s in a state of disrepair, like no one has been in there in a long long time. The corridor goes for a little bit.

The tomb is an in-between place, between death and life. It was old. The art of making a tomb between the land of living and dead havs been lost.

This place is an upbeat tomb, an art. The art is beautiful and vibrant with death but the hope and celebration of life. There seems to be a hint of the cyle of life and death. There is a motif of helping. All of the group admires it, and the nameless dwarf and Argent break out into a light disagreement upon the art history of tombs. (Argent asserts that draconic murals and tombs are far superior, and the dwarf disgarees.)

Koshka asks what Lucky thinks of it.
Lucky says quietly, “I like it. A little sad, but it’s beautiful. I like it.”

They walk on.

The tomb has the kind of vibrancy, but normally in a tomb, Saya knows that (from class, Ishtara did teach it, and there were cookies from it) and the dwarf knows that- there is always some sort of presence. Because it’s an in between points, there is usually spirits hanging around, doing rotations to keep an eye on things, to keep things safe, touched up in case someone comes in, to ensure that souls that end up here are ferried properly.

But…

It just feels too empty.

It feels too dead.

Even though there’s a lot of vibrancy- it feels abandoned.

Too abandoned.

The mural is falling apart, it’s got a little altar that needs some cleaning, everything needs cleaning but it’s homey, there’s dust.

There is no such spirit there.

Nothing.

Saya and the dwarf feel an unease deep in their hearts.

There is a humanoid statue holding a sword, appearing to block the way. It is made of stone, and it has no eyes.

Lucky feels a little unnerved.
Uneasy, Saya mentions the emptiness to the group.

They try to go past it, and it moves to block us.

“Greetings visitors,” the statue says in a robotic voice, lips unmoving. “I cannot let you into the inner tombs as there have been mishaps. Please do your rituals and such in the anteroom, I apologize for the inconveniecne.”

Lucky goes up to the construct, and says, “Excuse me, I’m of this bloodline may I go back there?”

“Protocol states I can’t. IT IS FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY> IT IS FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY. I’m sorry but you can’t go back there. Thank you and please do your ritulas in the anteroom. I apologize for the inconvenience.”

“You can’t seriously mean we’ll be blocked by this,” grumbled Argent.
“Well, I have invisibility,” suggested Loki. “I could see…”
Loki examines the construct. It’s old. It’s very old, and very badly made, and it can move.

“Please refrain from moving the blocking device. I cannot allow you into the lower tombs there has been a mishap.”

“Would you mind explaining what that is, dear?” inquired Argent to the statue.

“There Has Been A Mishap.”

Lucky looks around furtively. “Do you still want to go in?” she whispers.

They decide to provide a dristraction . Argent attempts to play music, but it does not.

Tengu attempts to go in to fight, and the construct takes non lethal action against it.

Dwarf asks some random stupid questions at it, such as:

“When were you created?”

“I WAS CREATED 500 AND 35 YEARS AGO 14 DAYS AND 11 MINUTES, 2 SECONDS.”

“Statue, the statement after this is false. The statement before this is true. Is this statement false?” offered Loka.

“My Protocols Do Not Allow Me to Answer That Question.”

“Construct, you’re blocking the wrong way.”

“My Protocols Do Not Allow Me to Answer That Question.”

While they distract it ,Lucky sneaks behind it, clambers on the constructs head and disables it.

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The Shadow Battle (03/08/13)
Why yes, I'd LOVE some celestial dwarves!
The rest of the day passed uneventfully, respective party members going about their own preparations for the big concert that evening. Argente diligently polished and tuned all her instruments, teaming up with the dwarf to fix the accommodating grand piano lent for the stage for this purpose. Even Koshka ran a comb through his mane to boost his natural valor. Mita, however, clung to the shadows.


From the peaks of Dralk the sunset was spectacular— and with the death of the sun came the onset of the stars.

Showtime.

Their performance repertoire was divided into thirds; each teammate was given opportunity to shine and show off their talents to the Dralk citizens. Loka, with a stylish sweep of her tail, called upon the celestial gods to bring forth a formidable “opponent”. There was a hush among the crowd as a swirl of mist coalesced onstage, taking the form and solidifying into a gargantuan black bear with starlight in its fur. It yawned, bored, until the Great and Powerful Uguu of the Zen clambered up to meet it. The half-giant clapped its hands together and bowed once in respect, then proceeded to leap atop its head—thus began the wrestling match. The crowd cheered and booed as the two tussled, Uguu and the bear, back and forth until Uguu gracefully left the ring of its own accord. Having parted on mutually beneficial terms, the bear mimicked the monk’s bow and waited for the next act.

Koshka, with a subtle flick of his mane, leapt within Mita’s spotlight and drew his holy sword with a flourish. The celestial bear blinked in surprise, then with a guttural growl charged forth to meet the warrior. The two began the dance of swords, the Saris maneuvering with grace and nimble paw steps around the bigger, bulkier ursidae. The bear eventually conceded the mock battle, retreating to the side of the stage and permitting its summoner mage to pet it behind the ears.

“Psst,” the silver dragon hissed in the dwarf’s ear, “it’s our turn, dear, let’s not make them wait…” Argente finished polishing her new instrument and secured it atop her harness, slinking out to meet the spotlight. The dwarf followed suit, casting a lingering look at the newly-acquired bells but pushing the bad omens to the back of her mind. She sat at the piano Loka and Koshka pushed up and center, cracking her knuckles and setting fingertips poised at the keys. Argente nodded, and her voice soon mixed harmoniously with the dwarf’s playing. The two crossed melodies in interplay of key changes and harmonic dissonance, the sound reverberating in the valley and even making the stars sparkle in the night sky. The crowd began to sway in time, and even the party members whose performances were over for the night moved along to the beat.

Something wailed, mournful and malevolent, and darkness swarmed.

Saya nimbly picked her way down the cliff face, bracing her talons against the stone for a decent grip. She and Enilis had recently taken a portal back from the spirit realm and, following gut instinct and the unmistakable sound of someone enjoying the spotlight too much, rounded the bend in the volcanic valley and came upon the stage.

It was, in essence, in total chaos.

Shadows arced from wall to wall, howling souls mingling with the cries of civilians caught unawares and guardsdragons trying desperately to keep order. Koshka immediately rushed out to do battle with shadows that morphed into humanoid warrior-types, while Loka set about firing spells into the fray. Argente’s body glowed with supernatural light from a spell, and she beat her wings and took to the air to help dispel the growing darkness. Without a second thought, Uguu leapt over Loka’s head, leaving the perturbed fiend mid-casting as it mounted the great celestial bear’s back.

“ONWARD, IOSHIMA,” the monk cried. The bear roared in response and barreled through the nearest swarm of shadows, batting them this way and that in correspondence with Uguu’s rapid-fire punching. They cut a line straight through the swarming mass (miraculously avoiding civilians), made a U-turn, and began mowing through a second time.

The dwarf cast her gaze over the disruption and began humming a diminished scale. Her eyes passed over the retreating form of their young fiend charge, observing with mild confusion as Mita slunk away and crouched deep in concentration. She heard a shout from above and stopped her scale, watching as a mass of sharp shadows clawed straight through their glowing dragon bard, forcing her to remember how her wings worked to keep from plummeting. Argente winced, returning fire with a brief hymn on the peasant-like nature of the shadows. One does not simply insult a dragon bard without receiving reprimand on their clearly uncivilized nature, you see.

“There she is!” Saya shouted from the cliff, lowering her bow and unnecessarily pointing at her friend.

“Oh hoo-rah,” her snake mumbled, “now the gang’s all here. What fun. Forgive me if I don’t jump for joy.” Enilis blinked cynically, observing with casual disinterest as the shadows offed two more civilians and Uguu continued punching through them like sandbags. The party was managing to hold on decently to the situation, though their Saris was looking a little rough around the edges.

Unfortunately, the shadow souls began to coordinate.

An apex began to form, drawing the howling souls stuck in limbo into a spiral, faster and faster, sucking in all the terror until with a final shuddering call the darkness materialized into a gargantuan pygmy wielding a long club leaking spectral energy. It opened its gaping, needle-filled mouth and issued forth a cry that shocked the dwarf, Mita, and Saya to their respective cores. The three gritted their teeth and shrunk back to varying degrees: Mita barely missed a beat and resumed concentration; the dwarf stumbled over her words yet continued; but Saya shrieked and clutched her head, sliding back against the rock face and crouching on the ledge.

The pygmy beast took a reverberating step towards the stage. It swept its gangly arm and club to the side, drawing humanoid shadow minions from the ground and setting them upon the party and civilians. Within half a minute, three mages and a Lunos guard fell dead, faces contorted in pain and gasping for air. The team was too distracted to properly defend the innocent, all save the smartest fiend.

Loka glanced nervously around the valley-turned-battlefield. She knew her party wouldn’t be able to keep the shadows off forever…at least, not without a little extra help. Sending a last magic missile against the specters flanking Koshka, the mage clasped her hands together in prayer and raised them to the invisible stars:

“O Istara! O Brobbet, O Alyssa, O Galderos, O Other Gods I Neglected to Mention! We are in dire peril, and we cannot hold back the darkness! I beseech you, nay, I implore you: send us your most formidable, your most majestic servants to lend us aid! From the farthest reaches of the lands, from beyond the reaches of time and space, lend us your strength!”

A cool, sexy voice reverberated in Loka’s skull.

Yes.

The fiend couldn’t contain the grin that spread across her blue-skinned face, waving her hands like a fanatic and doing a little hop of glee. Help was on the way.

Saya, meanwhile, rolled precariously out of the way of a shadow attempting to spear her, dislodging pebbles and sending them plummeting to the valley below. Breathing shakily, she began to regain her composure after the extreme sense of wrongness the spiritual balance had been thrown into. She picked herself up, clinging to the wall (to Enilis’s chagrin), when Argente swooped up, giving her charge a blue-eyed smile.

“Nice to see you back in one piece, darling,” the dragon winked, “Be a dear and hop on, I wouldn’t want to see you fall to your death.” She lowered a wing and nudged the Nessian on with her snout, mentioning a brief comment about holding on tight before diving with incredible speed, banking sharply to the left. Saya forgot how well her companion knew her nuances and rapidly fired two arrows in their patent-pending Swing-And-Shoot-Things-In-Rapid-Succession maneuver (it needed a cooler name, hence the “pending” part). Imbued with healing magic, her first arrow nicked Koshka on the shoulder and dissolved into glittering lights, healing the Saris’ wounds and bolstering his strength as he valiantly continued slashing at the demons with his holy sword. The second flew towards the shadow beast, yet before it met its mark a skeletal dragon appeared from the sky and caught it in its rune-inscribed collarbone.

“Not you again,” Loka snarled, casting lightning at the reoccurring foe and beating it back towards the cliffside. She glanced down and saw Mita crouched by the edge of the stage, stock-still, and was about to hail her when the smaller fiend suddenly leapt up in shock and surprise as something burst from her shadow.

A guttural roar descended upon the calamity as the shade of a Lunos dragon materialized beside her, a forgotten fallen friend, eyes bright in the darkness, the spirit of defense and rage.

“Go, Mel!” Mita grinned, receding to the edge of the battle and praying no one saw her. The pygmy threw up its arm in defense, staggering back before retaliating with a slash of its own. The two creatures sparred back and forth across the battlefield, the skeletal dragon flitting between the two without alignment. The other fiend prepared another spell, but paused. Loka smiled, her teeth broadening when she felt the telltale pull of the gods beyond. She looked up.

Thirteen beings swathed in golden light descended from the sky like comets, landing in swirls of celestial energy in an arc around Loka. They briefly bowed to her, features vague but respectful, then turned as one and posed spectacularly. The combined majesty of their stocky frames and spectral energy blew back the shadows, their cries pained at the glory of the light-covered dwarves. The thirteen simply stood, taking in the scene with an air of importance. Loka stood behind them all, desperately keeping her composure steady.

On stage, the dwarf bard stopped her humming, entranced by the celestial extra-planar beings. A fourteenth, smaller being of light stood beside her, casually leaning against the piano.

“Hello,” she greeted, “I see you are not from this world. What, dare I say, brings you here?”

The light mentioned something about finding food and walked away.

“Oh…” The dwarf’s face fell. She had wanted a chance for conversation, and the little thing had looked so interesting, but alas, it was simply not her day. “Goodbye,” she called after its retreating form, resuming her off-center tune.

Up in the air, Saya’s quick-thinking mind conjured another plan of attack. She turned to her snake, clinging to one of Argente’s back spines as the bard dodged the skeletal beast.

“Cast an ice spell on me,” the Nessian instructed, “and I can dive-bomb the skeleton to slow it down.” Enilis rolled his eyes but obliged, curling tighter around her shoulder-blade as the crow-girl took off and swooped for the circling prey. Once Saya had taken wing, Argente curved and spiraled above the giant pygmy.

“I really hate to do this,” she muttered, “Such a waste of a good instrument.” Her eyes briefly flashed, and with a whisper of a sound the dragon summoned the piano from its place on the stage and conjured it directly above the shadow beast. Letting it fall, she breathed a line of fire, catching the instrument and rupturing it in flame. Unfortunately, the glorious instrument passed right through the creature, yet the flames singed what Argente assumed was its head, blinding it enough for the shade of Mel to strike again.

Below, Koshka dodged the flaming debris with litheness, disintegrating one of the humanoid shadows and severely wounding the other. What he had hoped was a more decisive blow had only felled one of infinite, as another shadow quickly took its fallen brethren’s place. The shadows struck out, catching the Saris under his breastplate as if nothing were there. Koshka roared in pain and defiance, swiping at the apparitions and plucking an iridescent feather from his belt.

“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to use this,” he growled, “but you leave me no choice! Have at thee!” He brandished the feather, praying that it actually did something instead of just look pretty.

His prayers were answered.

The feather glowed in brilliant light as he swung, elongating into a sword that drove back the oncoming shadows. Wasting no time he followed up with his holy sword in the other paw, turning on his foot in a whirlwind and slicing through darkness like water. The shadow forms, if they had visible eyes to speak of, would have exchanged nervous glances after reevaluating their opinion of the tougher-than-anticipated Saris. Instead, they rushed at Koshka, driving him back as the Epitome of Zen barreled by.

Uguu and the bear were imitating one of the greatest, most destructive lawnmowers in existence, yet even a machine has its ending points. The shadow pygmy glared at the bulldozer, bringing its club down with a mighty thwack atop the monk and its celestial friend.

The celestial bear had never felt so alive as it did that evening, tearing through tainted evil like butter, ridden by the most majestic and transcendent being it had ever encountered. The bear had reached enlightenment. The bear had reached Zen.

The bear gave up its life to preserve the integrity of Uguu.

The monk stood up abruptly as its ride disappeared, swirling into starry smoke.

“Remember me,” it whispered as it drifted away to whence it came.

Uguu wiped a solitary tear from its eye. “Uguu will always remember you,” it replied, extending a palm in final farewell. The monk closed its eyes in solemn silence, ignoring the clamor around it as it pondered the best way to take revenge for this act. Within it, it knew the answer all along.

It strode to the top of the stage, took a deep breath, and placed its hands on its hips.

“Uguu shall show you the righteousness of Zen…BEHOLD!” Uguu stripped off its undergarment.

“LOOK AWAY,” came the chorus of Loka, Koshka, and the dwarf. Argente raised a wing to protect Saya as the Nessian landed atop her back, turning her elegant neck away from the chaos.

Uguu spread its legs and adopted the infamous stance of Zen, planting its feet on the ground with its hands on its hips. The dwarves bowed in respect and returned to the sky, letting the power of Zen wash over the battlefield in their wake. The shadows recoiled once more, their assault lessened as they lost substance. Even the great shadow pygmy faded to only half of its opaqueness, unable to fend off more of Mel’s blows. Uguu let the Zen flow, and once it was satisfied, it donned its undergarments once more.

The unfortunate civilians that neither escaped yet nor had time to look away were, frankly, confused and more than a little disturbed. One of the Lunos guards twitched an eyelid before a shadow nearby resumed fighting and stabbed him in the stomach. Not to be outdone, the rest of the shadows set about the combatants, and the battle resumed with fervor.

Enilis was bored. He’d encouraged the kid to go back to her ever-moving living family, sure, but this battle was just plain dull. There was no excitement! Where were the rampaging undead corpses, the smell of burned flesh? The snake frowned.

Mayhaps I’ll summon a beholder in the midst of all this, he mused, eyeing the myriad of instruments strapped to their ride’s back, and not a soul will notice, I guarantee it. As he pondered causing more chaos, he stopped short, amber eyes catching the telltale sign of an unfired gun of mischief. Unbeknownst to Saya, he slithered close to Argente’s ear.

“Hey, dragon,” he hissed, ever softly, jawline set in a devilish grin, “those are some nice bells you’ve got there…why not try using them? That silly little piano didn’t do too much, but those bells…you got them from the necromancer, yes? I saw him, he struck his wards with their ringing and they did his bidding…you can make them follow you too, yes?”

Argente’s eyes flickered. “Now dear, that’s a grand idea!” She backed up, unhooking the seven bells from her back and looping their connective string securely around the tip of her tail.

“What are you doing?” Saya asked, but her timid question was pushed aside by her spirit companion’s quicker thinking. He cast a chilling spell on the Nessian, nudging her off the dragon’s back and forcing her to repeat their acrobatic tactic against the skeletal monstrosity. Saya swept back and forth, striking out with her talons and gouging scratches along its ribcage. The beast slowed.

The shade of Mel roared and lashed out with its claws, sending the warped pygmy back a couple steps and within range of the second benevolent dragon. Argente beat her gray wings and swooped up, pausing above the great shadow beast’s head and giving it her most elegant glare. Bringing her tail up, she swung down with all her might.

The bells resonated from solid flesh in horrible dissonance.

All around the battlefield, the shadows took on corporeal substance, and, with renewed strength, continued their assault, dragging civilians to the ground in agonizing cries and rending the souls of those they touched. The silver dragon had but a moment to register her mistake, adopt a shocked look, and search for her Nessian companion before the sheer momentum of her whack sent her long tail arcing up again, and with a second and final ring the bells struck the dragon’s back.

She vanished.

Saya brought her circling to an abrupt halt. She barely managed to keep beating her wings in rhythmic patterns to stay aloft.

No, no, no! she panicked. Dragons don’t just vanish like that, she has to have gone somewhere, she’s got to be somewhere, maybe she’s just invisible—

Enilis snickered.

Saya’s face hardened in rage as she reached up, grabbed the snake with a clawed foot, and held him precariously from hundreds of feet above the ground.

“Where is she,” the Nessian growled.

“Hurk! I have no idea,” Enilis responded as innocently as he could.

Saya’s grip tightened. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you earlier. You tell me everything you know about those bells right now or I’ll drop you here, I swear!”

“I told you, I have no idea where that diva went!” The talons around him loosened until he was held by their very tips. “Okay okay okay! Keep your feathers on, alright? All I know is those are necromancer bells, they do stuff to undead things, never heard of what happens to people who try them on living things! For all I know, she could have turned into a dragonfly.” He smiled unpleasantly. “At any rate, dear, if you drop this body, you’re still not getting rid of me, just this cozy little snake that never asked to get caught up in these sorts of terrifying adventures. You’ll have accomplished nothing while your newfound party gets the rest of their sorry selves beat. Your choice.”

Saya held him there for another few seconds, giving Enilis her narrowest glare before reluctantly slinging him back over her shoulders.

“There’s a good girl, now just rinse and repeat,” he whispered by her ear, casting unholy magic on her instead of the previous ice magic. Saya shuddered but continued doggedly, scoring the skeleton with her claws and perching back on the cliff to regain her strength. The skeleton dragon spiraled downward, crashing into the claws of Mel before disintegrating a third time.

“Good riddance,” Loka muttered, bolstering Mel’s strength. She would have pondered where the littler fiend seemed to have disappeared to (wasn’t she by the stage?) or where their dwarf bard had gone (wasn’t she on the stage?) if her magic did not require her full concentration. With a final roar, the shade dragon pounced atop the pygmy, striking through it with its claws and sending both it and the corporeal darkness dissipating. The humanoid shadows on the ground lost their substance and shattered into mist (a process expedited by Koshka and Uguu’s swords and fists). The moon shone forth amidst groans of pain and frightened cries of the less fortunate.

The team reconvened at center stage, the stars of a performance gone horribly wrong. Saya fluttered wearily down and nearly collapsed from fatigue, leaning against Uguu for support. Koshka sheathed his sword and began cleaning his fur as Loka scanned the area for any sign of their missing members.

The party stood in the middle of gains and loss and, frankly, had no idea what to do.

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