Blades of Light

Tal's Journal, Entry 83

What could go wrong?

I got another challenge from that idiot in Friula again. I didn’t even bother to respond this time, I’ve got too many things to do.

Reeshka returned, and we started making plans to go out to the Twisted Tower, to see if there’s anything of use there… I’d really like to not have to go to the planar bazaar to buy the things I need to forge orichalcum. And if there’s anything useful to fight the intrusions of the Outer Dark, we really ought to bring it back with us.

Before we could get going, Ceor heard the bell on the Temple of Mavros tolling, which usually only happens when something big happens… turned out the Champion of Mavros had arrived and presented herself to the high priest.

It was mostly formality, though she did relay a message to me from Mavros… I’ll need to forge three orichalcum blades, though she didn’t know why; apparently Mavros hasn’t deigned to explain. Something to keep in mind, anyway.

And it’s probably best if we introduce the Champion to the army and let them know she’s in command of what is already being called the Grand Army. It was possibly the most awkward speech I’ve ever heard.

So, so awkward.

Though it did seem to do some good; the city seemed to be in a very good mood the next morning as we were leaving. We elected to ride out a ways, then teleport to the edge of the wastes. I’m not sure teleporting into it is a good idea…

The transition between the normal land and the Wastes was obvious and very jarring. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. We elected to give the town we’d passed through before a miss; that place was creepy.

There was a ravine in our path, that did have a bridge… but Ceor said he could hear the stones creaking as if something was hanging from it, and when he looked, he definitely saw something. It was big, but we couldn’t tell what it was. It was alive, and somewhat unsettling… because of course it was. And then Reeshka said that something else was coming up the cliff, fast.

It looked something like a meatball crossed with a spider. I have no idea what it is, but I know what it’s about to be.

Charred.

My fireball just completely fizzled off of it. That’s comforting. It’s a fast abomination, too. It snapped at both me and Reeshka; it hit Reeshka pretty significantly, but missed me. Ceor charged it, and lightly bounced off.

This could get problematic.

And, of course, a second one had been hiding under the bridge. Lovely. It’s time to stop playing with this thing.

Well, an empowered fireball as strong as I could make it did hurt it, but it didn’t kill it. The appearance of the second one did give Ceor two targets to charge at, which really helped… then, of course, the second one tried to bite my head off. They bite hard. I was able to finish the first one off, and managed to get away from the second without further issue.

Ceor hit the second one, and it scrambled down the cliff face… I managed to catch it with a fireball, but it looked like it was going around to come at Ceor from behind. He moved accordingly… and the thing literally exploded through the bridge.

Ceor got clobbered by a chunk of the bridge… and I responded by demonstrating why it is a poor life decision to fuck with a fire mage’s friends. It made a nasty squelching sound when it hit the bottom of the chasm.

Now that we had a moment to catch their breath, I realized they seem to be a form of something called dweirgeists… they’re a sort of dimensionally warped chaos entity. Nasty things. If it had swallowed Reeshka, it would have been unpleasant… its gullet is its own pocket dimension.

The bridge was ruined, of course, but between airwalk and the mule simply not giving any fucks, we made it across. Naturally, it fully collapsed once we were all across.

After that, we made some good time… we cut a little closer to the frozen Old One than we had before, in order to miss the town, and we could see the giant crystalline thing in the distance was noticably bigger.

This is such a lovely place.

We reached the planar gate, where the hundred eyed guardian was still lurking around. It had healed from our last encounter, and it was chattering to itself in a way that made my ears hurt. I am technically the master of the Twisted Tower, maybe it’ll let me past this time.

It was speaking a random stream of nonsense in Caelmaran… and it didn’t seem inclined to let me past.

Oh well, I tried.

The fireball did do significant damage to it. Then it got a lot closer, and the constant babble of nonsense was highly unpleasant, and confused the shit out of Keshemet. Ceor then just slammed his lance into it, and that was the end of that. Its death was a nasty spectacle… and it smelled awful.

This seemed a lot more threatening last time.

We made it through the planar boundary without much issue; Keshemet and Ceor seemed to be disoriented, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else around. I expect the other people who had been here before either fell or jumped through the planar boundary. Though it was a little strange… we didn’t even see the remains of the hydra we’d killed.

At least getting into the tower this time was easy… the entrance was simply the entrance, and there was no bizarre overlapping of reality. The guardian was gone as well. The first floor didn’t seem to have been changed at all, though I don’t remember if we left the doors open or closed, but they were closed when we came back. Reeshka couldn’t push it open, but I could, easily.

I suppose that makes sense… it’s my tower.

The crystal room on the first floor wasn’t the same… lines and grooves had been etched in an incredibly complex pattern, the whole length of the floor. If someone had done this by hand, it would have taken years. It’s clearly some kind of arcane manifestation, and I’m not entirely sure I’m happy about it.

The first room we checked was jammed full of bones. Completely, of all different species. And come to think of it, none of the people who were frozen in time were in evidence. Unsettling. And it wasn’t like that when we left.

Then Reeshka got the bright idea to cast boneshatter, so we could look in the room… I couldn’t hear a fucking thing after it went off. It’s a good thing I like Reeshka, or she’d be on fire right now.

The next room was the one that had large metal orbs with electricity cracking off them… now it was just cooled puddles of metal that had melted, and all of the desks have been destroyed, though the chairs were untouched. I saw glassy bits poking out of some of the brass puddles… when I got close enough to look, I got dizzy and had to back away. I did see enough to see that it was the most perfect crystalline structure I’d ever seen. Possibly, this is our crystallized order. Reeshka was able to get close enough to pull it out; it popped out like it had been socketed in. We need as much of this as we can carry; even if it’s not the crystalized order, it’s something. And if I can’t get closer than five feet from Reeshka, we can deal with it.

Once Reeshka backed off with the crystals, I was able to notice that the coppery puddles had a purplish, twisted mass of crystals… I was able to get them out, and it can be assumed that this is crystallized chaos. It visually resembled the sample we had earlier, though this looks like the natural state. And now I seem to have some sort of force physically pushing me away from Reeshka.

I didn’t want to even touch the next door… neither did Reeshka. I had a mental image of something black and smoky, with too many eyes… don’t know where it came from. Keshemet was able to open it, and we saw that the walls were covered with lines of glowing blue script. Keshemet made a copy of the script, though from what I could see, there were all manner of threats regarding the extinguishing of my eternal existence. Notably, the copy Keshemet made was unreadable…

I couldn’t open the next door, it simply refused to open, but Reeshka could. This room held several humanoid figures with enough features to suggest gender, but every other distinguishing feature was blurred out. They appeared to be made of stone… I’m going to assume they’re statues.

There was another statue at the back, of a figure with six arms that were designed to hold things, but those objects were not in evidence. I don’t remember seeing this last time… Reeshka said that it was a goddess of fate and warfare, but she couldn’t remember her name. And I knew who she meant, but I couldn’t get the name, either.

The last room on this floor was the one where the statues had been… they were all completely destroyed; they’d been broken open, and the bodies that had been inside were petrified. The table was untouched, but the chairs were all stuck to the ceiling.

Something really very bizarre is going on here…

Ceor noticed the pillar; it had been cracked and mostly rubble last time, but now it had smoothed out, and there was very fine scrollwork. It pictured a battle between at least gods, and the disc of Midgard tipping into a chasm.

I can’t tell if it’s history or prophecy.

We checked the basement next, and the pattern scored into the crystal floor above was visible, and mirrored on this floor. Every single statue here had been blown up from the inside… There were even shards of crystal stuck into the walls. One of the doors was shattered, and fell apart when I touched it.

Something came through here and tried to destroy everything that looked like a power source… but that doesn’t explain the scoring on the floors. Reeshka kept complaining of a really offensive musty smell, though we couldn’t smell anything. All of the force barriers on this floor seemed to have gone, at least.

One of the rooms had loopy scrawls etched into the walls, kinda-sorta resembling the script in the room upstairs, but it wasn’t glowing and it didn’t appear to actually be language. There were some gears lying around that looked shiny enough to be mithril, so those are going with us. Reeshka said that she was starting to hear whispers, and was getting increasingly agitated. She wanted to leave, and since nothing has tried to murder us yet, I didn’t see the problem. However, the teleporter wasn’t working for her… and when I went to go trigger it for her, I could hear the whispers too.

They seemed to be several dozen voices all pleading in an ancient form of Caelmaran to be released with a blessing. I suggested Reeshka perform a consecration. When she lifted her staff to do that, all of the gold markings on her scales lit up with golden fire, and the golden fire washed through the entire floor. There was a tremendous rush of wind that almost dragged us to the portal, and I heard a distinct whisper of ‘the way is open’ before it went silent.

The best outcome is that this opened a way out for the spirits trapped hear so they could get to the underworld. The worst is that it finished punching all the way through to the Outer Dark.

Welcome to my life.

The last room on this floor was absolutely encrusted with crystallized order and chaos. There is no way they should have been coexisting like this, it should have been a total maelstrom of conflicting forces. Maybe a god could have forced it into growing like this, but the gods haven’t had anything to do with this place in a long, long time. We did collect enough of both to make as much orichalcum as we can get mithril.

Reeshka was able to use the teleporter this time, which come to think of it was odd, because it’s an arcane object…

We proceeded onto the second floor. All the doors would swing open for Reeshka and swung back shut when she moved away. They seemed to open for me too.

The first room we checked seemed to be completely empty, and the longer I looked at it, the more I got a headache and my eyes wouldn’t focus…like I was looking into an actual void. I tried tossing a piece of rubble in, and I couldn’t focus on that either, nor did I hear an impact. Moving away and shutting the door now.

The next room felt as hot as a blast furnace, and there were glowing red lines carved into the walls, that seemed to indicate a god of fire and destruction ‘who will consume the world in fire’. I couldn’t tell if there was anything worth taking because of the heat distortion, so I just moved to the next one.

The room after that seemed to be containing a veritable hurricane of swirling winds… there were blue lines on walls, but I couldn’t read them. Ceor could, and said it was a paen to a god of storm and rage, ‘who would tear the disc asunder’. And something repeated often about the ‘sunderer of ways’.

The empty room I tried next was really something of a relief, though it was a little chilly. Ceor didn’t see anything out of place, but after the day we’ve had, I want Reeshka to take a look again. Surprise, surprise, she saw loopy spirals that were white. A hymn to a god of winter, who would freeze the world and shatter it, with a repeated phrase about ‘the one who would wreck the ways’.

I remember seeing a repeated pattern in the room that was hot, though the distortion was too bad to actually read it. It was probably something like the burner or immolater of ways…

That is a refrain that is starting to wear on me, and it has not escaped my notice that each of us could read one room… or even see it.

I really don’t like where this is going.

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Kassil RiaHawk

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