As my comrades bandage up the slight wounds from battle that we have, I walk over to the pit and examine the mechanism that dropped the floor. I was able to pull the hinged floor parts back up, and then bend a spring in the gears. The floor is wedged in place, and is in no danger of falling again.
I then spied the locking mechanism for the portcullis, at the very top, half hidden from view by the stone and steel. Denton and I come up with a plan to get me within reach of this infernal door. He stood atop his gryphon’s back, then I jumped up onto his shoulders. But, he was not strong enough and dropped me. I then climbed up the gate, put as I reached the top my grip slipped. Cursed gate.
Thaleia stepped up, she began weaving her arms in intricate gestures. Chanting in a strange language that sounded like winder whispering through tree branches. Then she cried out, and before us the ground started to bulge upward. It formed itself into a roughly human shape. Thaleia told the elemental to get past the gate, and pull the level on the other side.
The elemental sank back into the floor, like a person being swallowed by quick-sand. A few seconds later, he see it poke it’s body out of the wall, right beside the lever. As the elemental pulls it, the portcullis rises back to it original position. I prepare to charge the dark figures chanting before us, but sensing my intentions, Denton puts his arm out blocking my path. “This doesn’t feel right” he says. With barley controlled patience I watch him focus his eyes on the figures, then they widen. “It’s an illusion” he shouts. At that point the illusions wink out, and we see right before us a circular room. Along the wall is a raised shelf, about 10 feet high.
Standing upon this shelf/ledge are five skeletal creatures. Two on each side of the room, and one dead center. The four on the sides are all wielding bows, trained directly in front of us has three skulls, side by side, and is holding a staff made out of a long spine. I can see a frost like mist rising from the staff. I immediately dart to my left before they can act, I shout out to Koth “take the right side”. As I’m running the two skeletons on my side let fly their arrows. One flies wide and misses completely, but the second one goes straight for my heart.
But, thanks to my lightning quick fists, I was able to grab the arrow out of the air, and let it fall to the ground. Seeing this the three skulled abomination raises it staff. I feel invisible claws tearing into my skin, then thin strips of my bones slither out of me and dart to the lich.
I finally make it to the wall, bleeding and terribly wounded. I relay on my speed and momentum to carry me forward, running straight up the wall. I hit the ledge and bee-line straight for the first archer. I hear Thaleia’s voice again, chanting behind me, then suddenly the air to my left is covered in a dense fog, blocking out the archers across the room, and the lich. I rear back and swing with all my might at the archer in front of me.
I miss. As I miss the archer unfolds another pair of arms that where tucked up behind its back. Each arms is wielding a scimitar. The first swing misses me, but the second one bites deep into my side. I feel my blood running down my side. As I begin to whisper a prayer to Zeus, to welcome me into the afterlife. Denton comes charging in, his spear drives deep into the archer, shattering it to dust. As I breath a sigh of awesome, I see the other skeleton leap forward to try and drag Denton and Tevinter down. I last out with my fist at the same time as Tevinter clamps his beak down on the creatures sternum. We rip the creature to shreed before he could even get a hand hold. Right at that point, the lich steps out from the cloud, on the ground, directly before Thaleia.
I hear his hollow echo, as he says “My dear, that was a nice trick. But, let us have a moment of alone time now.” He thrusts his staff in my direction, the slivers of my bone that where orbiting it shoot out, and dig their way through my flesh, and reattaching to my bones. I fall to my knees, the pain is almost unbearable. The lich then snaps his fingers, and a wall of flame bursts from the ground to the ceiling. But, this flame is deep and dark blue. An unearthly chill creeps into the room. Sucking the heat from my body. Ice starts to coat the ground around it.
Tevinter lets loose a screech, as Denton wheels him in mid-air, and charges through those cold flames. I see ice forming on Tevinter’s wings, and Denton’s armor, but they make it through. The tip of Denton’s lance catches on one of the liche’s skulls. Tearing it free, and sending it shatter to the ground. Koth then comes charging to Thaleia’s aid, striking again and again with his pole-arm.
All this goes on with me stuck behind that wall of cold. I try to drag my self to the edge of the ledge, but the cold is to much. I can’t force my broken and bleeding body to go further. I watch in helplessness as my compatriots face this evil. Denton charges again, shattering yet another skull. The lich screams in agony and says “This will not end here”, he steps back into the mists. When Thaleia lefts the mists lift away, the lich is gone.
His wall of cold winks out of existence. I begin to drag my way over to my companions, Thaleia rushes over to me, she calls out to Artemus, and I feel warmth wash through my body. As if I was laid in the sun, with the rays caressing my skin. As she tends to my wounds, notices that the walls are lined in a mural. As my wounds close, and I feel stronger, I join him. I notice the script is in Infernal. The language of Tartarus.
The mural is a depiction if this villages history. It shows that this village has dedicated itself to Hates. That they have made countless sacrifices to their god. Then there is a picture of Hades’ hands rising from a deep pit, holding a huge mound of bones. Then the mural switches to the future. There are two of the liches standing on hill tops. And, all around them the world burns.
Coming from the walls behind us we hear a faint cry for help. Rushing back up the ledge, I find a secret door. I open the door, revealing a long hallway. We cautiously go down the hall way. We come upon a door to our right. Going inside he see Denton’s cadet, Dantu. He is chained to a stone table, with several deep cuts, all over his body. His blood is running down a trough in the table, and dripping into an urn on the side.
I rush over, and begin picking the locks on the manacles. Thaleia searches the room, and finds a diary written in infernal. She also finds this silver, glowing orb. She wraps the orb inside her cloak, as we hoist Dantu onto Tevinter’s back. We consider moving deeper into the hall, but we are just to tried to continue. We have been fighting for 3 days straight, with out a full night’s rest.
We run from the mountain lair as fast as we can. Getting as much distance as possible. As we are making camp, Denton takes the first watch. As soon as I close my eyes, I am awakened by a load roar. Springing from bed, I rush to Denton’s side. We see a skeletal dragon, flaying high into the sky, the stars and moon shinning from between its ribs. It turns away from us, and fly’s deeper into the mountains. Denton and I look at each other, we have failed.
We rush back to Thrace, intent to get Dantu to safety. Upon returning we meet with Zeus’ high priest, and the boltholder. We tell them our tale, and what we have seen. The priest’s eyes go wide, and he whispers one word “Pestilence.” We star at the priest, waiting for him to recover. HE looks up and in a shaky voice tells us the story.
Pestilence is an ancient dragon necromancer. He use to lair in these mountains, and terrorized the town of Thrace, hundreds of years ago. The church has suppressed this story, keeping it hidden from people seeking to plunge the dragon’s treasures and secrets. Pestilence has returned.
Thaleia then pulls out the silver orb, showing it to the high priest. The priest is able to identify the orb as some type of sending stone. Against Denton’s and my advice, Koth and Thaleia decided to use the orb, to try and find out who was talking to the liches.
Koth and Thaleia place their hands on the orb, closing their eyes. I see both their faces go tense in shock. Koth immediately removes his hands, clutching his head. Thaleia’s lips move, but we can not hear anything she is saying. Suddenly the high priest lets out a cry. Leaps from his chair, and knocks the orb from her hands. We quickly utters his prayers, and we will a wall of magic rise around us.
He explains that what ever Thaleia was talking to just scryed us, and now the enemy knows who and what we are. Denton, Koth, and I agree that the orb should be handed over to the church to be destroyed, but Thaleia resists. She wants to keep the orb under lock and key, so that we may try to use it. After awhile, she finally gives in to our arguments. The priest takes the orb and promises that it shall be nothing but dust by the morning.
We volunteer to return to the mountain cave, to make sure all the undead are wiped out, and that no threat sits on the boarders of Thrace. As we return, the former village is empty. No one contests us. We go deeper into the cave, finding nothing new. As we continue down the hallway, we come upon a spiral staircase. We climb higher. Coming to a ladder with an open trap door. Koth whispers a few words over me, making my fade from sight. I silently climb the ladder, looking around. I see the Lich we fought, on his knees crying out. The sound is so mournful and heart wrenching.
I climb back down the ladder and tell my friends to follow me, but to stay in the shute. I climb back up and say “ah poor baby, why are you crying” in Infernal. The lich jumps to his feet, looking around. “Who are you, where are you” he demands, “don’t worry about that, why do you cry, is it for you brethren missing from your shoulders?” I mockingly ask him. “You seem to know alot, reveal yourself.” he says, but I casually reply “No.” “Alright then, have it your way. Two can play this game”, with that said, he weaves his arms, and disappears from sight.
I let out a whistle, and my companions come through the trap door. Using Thaleia’s and my brothers powers, we locate the lich. He has melded into the stone wall, attempting to hide from out sights. Thaleia steps forward placing her hands on the stone, whispering her incantation. The stone Turns to liquid, and forms into a solitary pillar.
Was the pillar forms, Denton comes charging by, swinging his giant mace. The lich is torn from the stone. I immediately pounce on him, trying to subdue him, but he was to strong. Flinging me aside. The others surround him, he drops his staff and raises his hands. We question him, finding out that he was mourning for the skulls we destroyed. Apparently the town had six elders, that Hades fused together. Creating two liches, with three combined souls each. That we had killed his friends, people he had shared a mind with for fifteen years.
He also, believes Hades has forsaken him. They managed to complete the ritual to reanimate Pestilence’s body, but instead of the dragon staying to be guided by them, it told the liches that it had more important things to take care of, and flew off. We began to question the him about the silver orb. He refuses to talk anymore. Not wanting to let this opportunity to learn about possible more enemies slip away, we wrestle the lich to the ground. I grab his head, and with a wrench, I separate it from his body.
We decided to take the still animated skull back to the church for questioning……