In retrospect, we probably should have known better.
As soon as Ceor drew his sword in the center of the spiral, two beings made entirely of crackling energy snapped into being, one on either side of us. They seemed to be entities from the plane of storms, sacred to Mavros and Thor and a couple other deities. Reeshka thought they looked rather tainted, and Miaako seemed to think they had traits reminiscent of the symbol of the Order of the Pure.
One tried to punch Ceor, and thankfully his shield didn’t seem to conduct damage. Another smacked him with a tendril of lightning, and shook it off. Unfortunately, Ceor managed to miss it. Reeshka did a little better, and inspired Ceor to remedy his failure. He then received an object lesson in why striking a creature of electricity with a long metal object was generally not a good idea.
This is why I use things that don’t physically connect me to the creatures that conduct electricity. After I pointed out their weakness to water, Miaako tried something clever… which would have been far more impressive if he’d actually hit one of them with the flask of holy water.
Meanwhile, Ceor seemed to be the primary target; one would expect because he triggered their arrival.
Kallistra was far more effective with using water against them; that is to be expected of someone who can cast create water. Ceor managed to take one of them out, dropping a small black disc when it expired. Reeshka ended the second one in a similar way to Kallistra’s attack.
It was a bit impressive.
The black discs (the second one had one as well) seemed to be some sort of control talisman that had been introduced to the elementals, which presumably was why they attacked. As Reeshka and Kallistra were examining them, I noticed the spiral seemed to be softening. I suggested moving back, Miaako pranced around in the middle.
That was about the time that the hilt of a sword started poking through the softening stone. Miaako tried to grab it and narrowly avoided being shocked by it. So I suggested Ceor try it. He was shocked himself, but didn’t manage to pull it out. Just for fun I tried it myself, since I didn’t particularly care if I got shocked.
As I took a step back, I noticed a string of runes around the perimeter that indicated that the blade was for “a Champion of Mavros who invoked the name of the Storm God”. I suggested Ceor try it while invoking Thor.
That did it.
The stone exploded in a shower of sparks and lightning, Ceor went flying with the sword in his hand, and all that remained was a smoking crater in the middle of the room. Once he got to his feet, he seemed to have the impression the only way the sword would be sheathed was in the bodies of his enemies.
I expect we can work with this.
Meanwhile, Kallistra and Reeshka seemed drawn to the glowing chasm. Kallistra insisted she could smell baking bread, and Reeshka thought she smelled drake steak. Miaako was drawn to the dark chasm; according to him, it seemed remarkably clear and somehow lit. It wasn’t.
That was about the time I started thinking it was time to go.
During all of this, the spiral in the center had reformed. Meanwhile, I started feeling itchy, a sensation that only increased the longer we stayed. The feeling was less in the middle of the spiral, but it seemed stranger than it had before. There were more runes; they seemed to indicate that this was built by someone other than the priests of Thor, to focus the forces of life and death into a center of power. There was an indication that someone would be able to channel energy into it and might be able to take control.
Unfortunately, Kallistra seemed to be getting irritated. She yelled that she was getting really pissed at Thor, slammed her hammer into the spiral, and disappeared in a burst of lightning.
Just fucking great.
It seemed to be a teleport effect, but I was distracted trying to get Reeshka away from the glowing chasm; she insisted there was steak down there and ignored logic until I had someone pick her up.
Fortunately, that was about the time Kallistra showed back up, on the other side of the chasm. Convenient. I meant to see if I could do the same, but of course that big idiot moved me away from the center. Reeshka triggered it, and she, Ceor and Anusk vanished. That just left me, Miaako, and Kallistra’s horse here. I thought about it some, and since the spiral seemed to have been created to convert divine magic into arcane, cursing the gods probably wasn’t necessary.
But it was fun, so I did it anyway.
It worked, either way. We found ourselves by the flame arch, and departed. The crowd was waiting for us, and Miaako promptly drew their attention. Naturally.
And of course, as soon as Ceor stepped off the dias, the arch collapsed into a column. The crowd surrounded us, and seemed focused on the sword Ceor had retrieved. Ceor was pointedly ignoring them, trying his damnedest to get back to camp to get a drink.
As we made our way back, we encountered the dwarf we passed on the way up… Reeshka was in favor of killing him, but that would have been a poor life choice right here right now.
Reeshka was mollified with a steak, though the people at the tavern seemed inclined to treat Ceor with reverence and wouldn’t charge him; granted, they also did the same with Miaako because they’re too dumb to know which one was the cause of all of this.
Ceor wanted to eat and drink and be gone as soon as possible. I want to study one of those discs that was inside the lightning elementals. After some thought, it seemed to me the only way to use them would be to have something already bound in place, then getting close enough to shove it in, after engaging in combat.
So, near as I can figure, the lightning elementals were guardians, which makes sense, since Thor was venerated by the builder of the tunnels. The Order of the Pure then invaded the place beyond the arch, engaged the guardians, used the discs, then withdrew… or I suppose committed suicide in the chasm. That, or there was a connection to the Order of the Pure in the first place.
Neither is particularly comforting and the first is frankly baffling as well.
Kallistra wanted to find out if anyone could tell her about the merged symbols of Mavros and Thor, but the only one who anyone thought would have any idea or moreover have any knowledge of Thor was… the dwarf. That dwarf. It would be a tremendously bad idea to consult him, I think.
Not, of course, that my objections stopped Kallistra. She went and saw him, and he said that it was an abomination, the result of an ill-advised attempt to merge the two gods, and it carried a curse; supposedly anyone or anything devoted or tied to either Mavros or Thor would attack the bearer on sight. Naturally, I don’t trust him; even Kallistra sensed that he seemed to be keeping something back. While there might be wisdom in not brandishing that symbol, I don’t think he was honest in what he said. I’m sure he left something crucial out, and was misleading in what he did say.
It seemed like a good time to leave.
We decided to go north, where there’s supposedly the remnants of one of the Mage Kingdoms. Might prove profitable. And it’ll be nice to get away from the crowd.
Ceor certainly seemed to think so.