The Midlands Histories

Ghosts of the Past

The two large wooden doors that stood before the group were not locked, but the doors would not move. Finding them sealed by magic, Lam rifled through the book of spells he had discovered on the shelves of the lab. In the back of the book were several loose leafs of parchment. Arcane scrolls. Shuffling quickly through them, he picked out a Knock ritual. After a brief debate about whether to save the scroll or use it, the party cast the ritual and opened the doors. The magical light of Talendil’s sword illuminated a dense, eerie, and faintly glowing fog awaiting them in the space .1

Uncertain of what lay beyond, the party hesitated. Sounds of martial conflict echoed from somewhere out of sight. Metal clashed against metal over viscous hisses and growls. Cautiously, Lam sent his elemental zephyr in, and promptly lost contact with it. When the rest of the party remained wary, Lam decided to risk the unknown, stepped forward, and vanished into the fog.
Blue fog
Within, a battle raged. Though he could not see clearly more than a few feet around him, luminous spectral figures danced in combat through the mists. Large, reptilian humanoids clashed, as one side pressed towards the doors Lam had just walked through while the other side pressed back in defense. Lam’s companions followed him in, and tried to make sense of what they saw. The defenders wore tabards, bearing the mark of Bahamut. Battle calls and shouts in the draconic language drifted through the air. Listening closely, Lam interpreted cries of " Tiamat will prevail!", “Drive the heretics back!”, and “Crush the oppressors!”

Strange energies within the area caused them to slow down and created a confusion in their minds. As the group began to make their way slowly forward, spirits from both sides turned on them. While Talendil, Mara-kai, and Bree were careful to only attack the creatures un-marked by the symbol of Bahamut, Lam, in keeping with his faith, chose the opposite tactic. Both Mara-kai and Bree made brief attempts to aid Lam, but he would not be dissuaded from provoking the spirits. He attacked again and again, even after the rest of the party had made its way into the next chamber through another, larger set of wooden double doors.

Lam showed no mercy and never faltered, striking relentlessly at the foes of his goddess, until finally one spirit charged him and with its ghostly warhammer sapped the last of his life-force. Alone among the spirits, he fell to the stone floor. As the creature raised its hammer to finish him, it was attacked by a foe and rejoined the ghostly fray.
Db vs lf
Past the second set of doors, the other party members discovered a duel of sorts, frozen in time. Two warriors, one from each side of the battle in the fogs, stood silently facing off against each other. Energies similar to those in the fog moved slowly around the combatants. Upon a stepped dias on the opposite side of the room, they found the rubble of what they determined was once an alabaster statue of a dragon. Talendil lifted a part of the head out of the pile and carried it into the temporal forces. There, the magic began to swirl around it.

Mara-kai did the same, followed by Bree. Bit by bit the statue began to reassemble and as it neared its un-ruined state, it was drawn back to the dias. Once back in its proper place, a flash of pale yellow light filled the room. As it faded, in front of the reassembled statue stood a dozen foot tall soldier, clad in armor like the soldiers of Bahamut in the fog. In its clawed hands it held a sword sized to fit them.
Aspect of bahamut
It addressed the group, observing that they were not his people and asking what their intentions were in this place. It made note of Talendil’s fae nature, contrasting ways of faeries with the more straightforward nature of his people. It explained that the spirits in this place had been allowed to continue the battle they fought in life as a reward for their service. The three explained the prophecy given to them by the goblin seeress and that they sought items that would aid them. Once satisfied of their intent, it revealed a hidden cache of weapons and other supplies.
Oak staff
Within this room were more magic arms, armor, and trinkets than any of them had seen before. One of every five items held a charge of magic. Despite their desires, they were instructed to take only what they needed. Almost every object they examined seemed like it might prove useful in some way. It was not until Bree, feeling drawn to a sheaf of polearms, discovered a dark oak wood staff covered in runes that they knew they had what they had come for. In her hands, the staff emitted a low hum.

As they returned to the shrine room, the warrior emerged out of the fog. It promised them safe passage out of the tower, assuring the group that the ghosts were at peace for now.

When Mara-kai went to collect Lam, she found not the human wizard who had recruited her to Luthien’s, but a changeling in Lam’s clothing. Unsure of what to make of this, the group took him anyway as they left for Lord Larien’s manor. The hidden door in the tower’s basement sealed shut behind them, glowing wards in draconic carving themselves into the stone.

After delivering their report to Lord Larien, they asked if he could help them in some way with Lam. He replied that he kept only a nurse on staff and that the nearest proper clerics were in Arislen. So away they rode, back to the city once more.

Daryn did not take well to being to being told that Lam may have all along been a changeling. He immediately locked up the guild hall and summoned an elven friend of his who interviewed every guild member until he was satisfied that none of them were also secretly changelings. Satisfied, Daryn said that he would handle disposal of the changeling’s body. The group protested, insisting on discovering whether the body they had brought back was, indeed, Lam or not. Daryn balked at this and refused to put up the money as at this point it did not matter to him. When the group offered to pay for the proper ritual cost to speak with the dead, he reluctantly agreed.

Taking the body to the library temple of Ioun, they made their request of the clerics there and paid with one of the ancient tomes they had brought back from the tower’s dungeons. In a small room, they laid the changeling’s corpse out on a table. The cleric spoke words of power and imbued the body with a temporary half-life. They put their three queries to the corpse and quickly confirmed that it had been Lam.

With one question remaining, Talendil spoke up, asking where the mage had hid his valuables. The changeling responded, “In my belt pouch.”

Comments

Brief attempts? I would not call the many rounds Mara-kai spent trying to stop both sides as “brief.” (Yes, I know it’s seconds. :p)

My only contention, and thank you, as usual, for the write up. And, as always, it is well-written and an enjoyable read.

Ghosts of the Past
 

I am more amused that Talendil made a point of corpse looting his fallen colleague.

Ghosts of the Past
digitaldraco

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