Elder Players' - Interlude Eighteen
THE DEATH...AND LIFE OF ZEEK
(by Chris, edited by Mark)
Zeek found himself sitting by a pool of water, in a perfect setting of Seiwa-en, an oriental garden of pure, clear harmony, and peace.
"Welcome to eternal peace and harmony," says an elderly, but somehow youthful man.
Zeek replies remorsefully, "It is so beautiful here. It will be hard to leave all of this behind."
After a long pause..."I will do this, that which you ask."
"Oh, my dear child. I am not asking you. Heironious asks you!"
"Your physical body has been severely damaged. You will go back as a Celestial Being. You are now and forever more, otherworldly. This comes to you with many powers and, however, some drawbacks."
"The areas of your mortal body too damaged to repair are gone. Your etherealness of your celestial body will make-up those areas. Half of your head and right eye, parts of your arm and abdomen are affected. Unfortuneately, most mortals will flee from you, as they will not understand what you are." (Fear 60' radius when uncovered to the light. Will save DC 20)
"When you contact us, you will be between worlds.(Duration 10 hours unless one Will save DC 30) During this state you will not be able to contact your friends. You will be able send messages through dreams. (as 4th lvl spell) Also, you may contact them through commune. (Commune Spell) However, you are at risk of being communed by anyone who might be communing! You will be able to affect the material world using Telekeneisis. (as the Cantrip) Lastly, in this state, you will be able to Wind Walk, once per week.(Spell Wind Walk self only.)
"Your laying of hands will aid others as well. You are not to attack unless provoked. But once provoked, let the wrath of god be your guide. Rebuke those that attack without warning. Announce yourself as a messenger of god. Once announced and your purpose stated, if you or your friends are attacked, a flame strike will be the word of god. (Spell Flame Strike, once per day...only damages those of evil OR chaotic alinment).
"The touch of a celestial being on those not pure of heart causes intense pain. (1d12 dam, this is NOT in addition to damage caused in hand-to-hand combat) So, be mindful of the hands you shake. You will be able to detect good and your hands will seek evil and no longer detect chaos. A circle of protection from evil follows you."
"Good does not follow evil, evil begets evil. The 'means' DO NOT justify the ends. Those close to you can hurt you the most, including Javair. You will feel their sins. (Damage 1d8 per sin) Some sins will hurt more than others. So beware! Speak the truth and be true to your calling."
As Jeremiah begins the resurrection, he receives a message from Heironious. "This one is beyond my help. I am sending you a Protector. It is Zeek, but it is not. He is from me. Listen to him. Speak the truth and be true to your calling..."
AZURE KINGDOM DEATH SONG (by Chris)
Javair is completely and utterly dismayed, disdraught and otherwise demoralized. Everything he has worked for
has come undone. Birchmont should not have been breached. What had he done wrong?
He is sitting at the steps to Vendra's Castle. He is dirty and dishelved. Lightning strikes in the background and rain begins to drench the bard. This is not the Javair we know and love. His eyes are filled with hate. Streaks from tears run down his face. He stands there and thrusts a fist into the air, shouting, "Vendra! We need to talk!
When Vendra does not answer, Javair begins his death song:
People fleeing...Demon hoards... twisted lust...
Wretched Humans...Gutteral Goblins...Dead DemiHumans...
My People. My Kingdom. My Nightmare.
It is time to be AWAKENED!
Time is not to be Hearkened.
Break the Seal to end the deal.
Make the Seal to mend and heal.
Away with you! My friend of blue.
Another hue doth hath replaced you.
Blood hath been spilled over mountains blue.
Return, I might, I assure
To turn alight, the Azure
With his song complete, Javair calls to Vendra, "Is it my blood you require?" Javair pulls forth a jewel hilted dagger and slices his palm. Just then lightning strikes very close to Javair, causing him to slice his artery with the dagger. He doesn't realize what has happened and falls, more in sorrow than from the cut. As the rain falls, Javair's blood streams down the worn steps of the ancient castle. A darkness stirs within.....
(by Scott with input from Kevin)
Kit could feel she was being watched. She felt like she had just closed her eyes after her talk with Jarlaxle
but the light filtering through her eyelids told her the sun was up. She slit her eyes to see Eytai sitting cross-legged
staring at her. "Was I snoring?" She asked. Eytai smiled "No you were resting quietly." Kit
sat up and wiped the sleep from her eyes "How long have you been sitting there?" The Elf responded "Only
and Hour or two." Kit sighed "What can I do for you?" Eytai looked off to the side. "I wanted
to catch you before you memorized your spells. I would like for you to take me back for The City Of Hope so I might
have a better chance to make my way back to my home." Kit looked a little shocked "Are you not going
with us to Sona-Nyl?" Eytai looked back into Kit's violet eyes "I left the Forest of the Ancients it
was with the purpose to end the long winter that it had been locked in. That has been achieved. When I fell in
battle my spirit was lost being so far from the spirits of my ancestors and now that I have been brought back I
know that I do not wish to die anywhere but in my beloved home. The Demons will surely try to destroy the forest
and my people and I must be there to defend it. If the Azure Kingdom is sealed off I will not be able to do that.
I have also been slowed by my injuries and that may jeopardize the mission." Kit's eyes swelled with moisture.
"I envy your love for your home for I do not have one other than the Azure Kingdom and my feelings could in
no way measure to those of yours. With our parties success rate I understand your fear of being sealed off from
your home. I will teleport you to the City of Hope as soon as I am able. You might want to say your Goodbye to
the others while I memorize my spell." Eytai stood "I am grateful for your understanding and will tell
the others, thank you." He turned and left Kit to here book of spells.
Kit and Eytai appeared in the square of the city of hope. They were surprised to see over a dozen armored men close by. Many drew weapons or aimed bows at the two elves but a command echoed out from one figure in ornate armor, made of a blue tinted metal, to hold. Kit recognized him to be Gungkrot Stoneface the last Azure night who had been bespelled by Cameo to guard the Keys to the Storm gate for 500 years but had relinquished them to her as she posed to be King Seneca, the man he had sworn to serve. Gunkgrot came up to Kit and explained he and his men had been here protecting and organizing stragglers to move out of the Azure Kingdom. Gungkrot seemed concerned that no word had been heard from Javair and he and his men were getting ready to take the last of the people out of the land before it was sealed. When Kit told Gungkrot of the quest for the Tear he became exited since he had heard of the item and might have some information and a description of it he heard of as a child that may shed some light on it and its powers. He then expressed he wished to join on this quest that might save his homeland from the demon hoard and being sealed off from the world. Kit agreed to take him back after he spent almost an hour describing why he should go. Eytai gave him a bundle of weaopns and items that might help him on the quest stating he would have weapons provided by his people at the Forest of the Ancients to combat the Demons. After a tearful goodbye all parties went about their separate ways hoping to one day meet back in the City of Hope in a more joyous setting.
Finally Kit was able to sit down and rest. She had spent the entire night with the rest of the Finders searching
the Abbey for the Sonnet and now she was spent. Laying on her bedroll in a small sleeping chamber, no doubt used
by the monks when this place had still been a monastery, she stared at the ceiling. Despite her fatigue she was
just to keyed up to sleep. She took to watching a spider in one of the ceiling's the corners, building a web.
It was amazing how industrious the creatures where. After the web was completed the spider retired to a corner
of its trap and waited for it to be sprung. In short order its dreams were no doubt fulfilled when a fly crashed
into the web, entangling itself in the sticky strands. The arachnid did not pounce on its hapless victim, however.
Instead it approached slowly, multiplying the fly's frenzy. As the spider closed with its prey it extended on
wicked fang and in a move more sensed than seen, it plunged it into the fly's abdomen. It was a cruel stroke,
mortally wounding the creature but leaving it to writhe in pain.
The blur of the web seen at a distance seemed to come into focus and take on an extra ordinary clarity for Kit. Each strand clearly delineated and vibrating with the fly's struggles. The fly itself was huge, its compound eyes giving it an alien and grotesque appearance. Kit's gaze as if of its own accord traveled to the equally alien visage of the spider. Only now in place of the arachnid's head and eight eyes, it sported the head of a beautiful Drow female. The creature turned towards her and she heard: "Do not think I have forgotten about you little one."
Kit felt faint as everything went dark and then quickly back to light. The sudden change having been precipitated by Jarlaxle's hand as it swiped the spider web from the corner. He threw it down at his feet and ground the spider into the stone floor with his boot. Looking at Kit with an amused smile he said, "Do not let the Bitch-Queen trouble your dreams my lady."
Kit sat up on her bed roll, placing her hands over her eyes and rubbing them, then ran them back over her smooth head. She still had not gotten used to her long white hair being gone and paused before outstretching her arms and arching her back as she stretched. "I fear my dreams have been haunted for some time now and not by the ' Bitch Queen' as you call her. I have always been too insignificant to bring her attention my way though my recent notoriety may lead other enemies from the underdark to seek me out. Of late I have had dreams and visions that have later manifested them selves in the material world. I dreamed of paladins lying dead at the hands of Demons and warned my friend of my fears, I saw the face of a mad wanderer in the wilderness with the truth to a puzzle only to fear others think I a fool to believe it. I saw my adopted city fall to demons in a vision and not have the strength to make my friends go to its aid. These visions started when me and my party had our bodies and spirits split in to on a quest, but the others were joined back together while still strong but I was not able to rejoin my halves till the lesser one was on deaths door. I feel this might have linked me to the spirit world for since then my dreams and visions are getting stronger. Of late I have had a reoccurring dream where black figures have come for me...I at first took these to be demons but lately they have become more clear. These faceless beings in black robes come to take me away...and I do not struggle though I know they are going to take from me something precious. I fear they have come to take my soul."
Kit sat there trembling slightly then looked up at the young drow mage. "I know not what to make of this dream but till now the eight legged Demon Queen has never shown herself to me and since you seem to have been aware of her attention I can only guess you are on guard for her scrying. I would like to know more about this quest you are on and about this Spider relic and what we may face in trying to retrieve it. I sense you have not told use all there is to know about our mutual goal and would ask you now to tell us everything you know so that we might have a better chance of surviving and even retrieving the relic or relics we are in search of. Knowledge is a powerful weapon but to wield a dull sword can get one killed. What say you my lord, can you give use the edge we need for a chance to succeed?
Kit stood alone on the deck, gazing at the stars in the western sky as the ship plowed thru the waves toward
them. The sun would not rise for another few hours but Kit could not sleep. She sensed Jarlaxle come up behind
her but continued to stare across the moonlit waves. "Does sea sickness deprive you of sleep miss?" the
Drow leader asked. "No, surprisingly I feel very comfortable with the rocking of the boat unlike the last
time I stowed away on a ship that brought me to the south shores of the Azure Kingdom. I was sick the whole way
and swore I would never sail again." She turned to face the young mage "I can't trust a word I tell myself."
Jarlaxle chuckled, "My men tell me you were a slave in the underdark of this world In my world the Drow never
allow their property to get away alive." Kit gave a slight smile. "That's another reason I swore not
to sail again, you see I drowned." Jarlaxle looked perplexed. Kit took a deep breath, "Let me tell you
about the day I died."
I found my Father sprawled across his bed clutching a vial of poison. I took it and with one whiff I knew he had been murdered. He had been a renowned alchemist and the poison was from the Last Breath Moss. It paralyzes the lungs and you suffocate to death. My father had told me a number of times over the years if he ever decided to leave this world he would take a large dose of Purple Salamander gland extract. In small doses it's a strong aphrodisiac and narcotic but too much can send you into a euphoric state of stimulation and let your mind believe you are living out your wildest sexual dreams till your heart gives out, a much more pleasant death than suffocation. My father had told me for years I should always be prepared to flee should he be killed or take his own life since his age and mind were slowly slipping and his worth to my stepmother was fading. I had planed for this moment for over ten years. I cover my father with a blanket and slipped his signet ring from his finger. I was his only blood relative and it was mine by rights. I went strait to his lab where we had worked together for most of 40 years. I had secretly watched him in a mirror opening the secret panel on the wall and listen to the words he murmured to neutralize the magical safe guards upon it. I followed his moves and repeated those words and the panel sprang swung forward to reveal its contents. There were two books as I had expected but on top was a letter with my name on it.
I slowly opened the letter and read it to myself in a whisper. My father wrote that if I was reading this he must be dead. He continued to apologize to me for using me to continue to fantasize about the love he had for my mother refusing to give it up with her death. He expressed his love for me that he could not show for the wrath it would bring from his wife down upon me. He said he had saved his old spell book he had used in his early days for me and hoped I might use it to make my way in life. He also wrote that I should leave his Manual of Trans Alchemy for it would only make the hunt for me more relentless and they would use it to find me. He told me to seal it back in the safe and turn a lever to release a mixture of chemicals that when the door was reopened and exposed to air the resulting explosion would destroy the book. I folded the note and tucked it in the spell book then went over and took from the stacks of manuals two similar in size and placed them in the safe, closed the panel and turned the lever on the wall. I heard the faint sound of breaking glass and a faint hiss. I clutched the books to my bosom and fled down back passages only my father and I knew of to tunnels where we grew and gathered herbs and fungi for his elixirs.
I ran thru the maze of tunnels I had come to memorize till I emerged into a large cavern with a strong pungent smell of mint and the sound of rushing water. In the center of the room was large pool of water with water plunging from a hole in the ceiling into the far side of the pool and the water exiting thru a large opening to the left causing a whirl pool effect. I had watched items I had thrown in float in circles for days before exiting the cavern. The walls around the pool where worn smooth and it was a good ten-foot drop from the floor of the cavern to the waters surface. The room was damp and cover with the mint smelling moss I had gathered for years to help make the creams my father made to remove the lines of age, more pleasant smelling. I went to a small alcove where I had store my cache, a small raft made of large Giant Tunnel Worm skins and two matching bags. I placed my two precious books into one bag and sealed it, the second bag was already full of clothing, food and a knife. I took off my fathers ring and placed it in this second bag. I lowered my raft into the water by a rope then climbed down into it with the two bags and cut the rope. I let the current take me out to the center of the swirling pool where I removed my clothes. I took out a vial of oil extracted from the moss in the room and covered my body from head to toe. I paused looking at the dark waters. I had practiced for years swimming at the edge of the pool but the current was much stronger here. I secured the bag with the books over my shoulder and removed the knife from the other with the cloths, food and my father's ring and placed it back in the raft. I cut the side of the raft and sank into the fridgid water with it. I swam toward the side of the pool with all my strength and only just made.
I clutched a handhold I had carved into the side years before and caught my breath before slowly climbing out. I was shaking from the chill of the water as I climbed a sidewall to a small tunnel where I had a second cache of clothes, food and a knife. This cache also had a prize I had pilfered from one of my stepmother's guards, a finely made hand crossbow and 12 darts. All where permeated with the scent of mint from the moss in the cavern and I donned the clothes sat back and silently waited for the trackers that would soon come. I had to know if my ruse was successful here for to run would only leave the fear of being tracked always in my mind.