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Stormbringer - episode 22

 
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__Mikeythorn



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The adventurers slew the many limbed creatures with some ease and moved even deeper into the inter-dimensional space created by the Planar Knife. They wandered inside the strands which were said to extend from the knife until they came to a large cavernous space. Various strands led into this space and in the centre was a shimmering lens. Between the party and the lens were moving platforms which drifted above molten lava.



Progress across the platforms was going to be difficult. Ashraful and Vermius used their magics and transformed; Ashraful into a bird and Vermius into a long-limbed giant. These two flew and strode to the lens with ease. The others were forced to jump between the platforms and did so only with difficulty. Dirk fell into the “lava”, only to find that it was not molten rock but some kind of life-form which clung to him and stung at his flesh. Surly soon followed him but both were rescued before the life-form could claim them. Their wounds were great however and for a while the adventurers feared Dirk would die.



Vermius had been gifted a glass apple by the captain of the Rogue Mistress and she had told him this would provide healing in times of need. Unsure what to do with it Vermius pressed the apple into the worst of Dirk’s wounds. The apple began to hum and after some time the dapper adventurer’s eyes began to flicker and his pulse steadied.



The apple took time to work its charms and Ashraful grew bored well before Dirk was restored to full health. Indeed the adventurer was barely conscious before Ashraful began to tamper with the shimmering lens. The mage’s tinkering swiftly drew the attention of the strange spiderlike creatures that lived between the strands and the party came under attack once more. The creatures were fended off but the adventurers decided to move on quickly before more arrived.



Ashraful’s tinkering had shown the lens to be somewhat malleable. He pushed himself through the porridge-like surface and found himself in another plane. In this place his body had been turned inside out so that his organs lay on the surface and his clothes, skin and weapons were trapped on the inside. Ashraful did not feel any adverse effects from this dramatic transformation however and returned through the lens to encourage the rest of the group to follow.



The transformation actually had some restorative effect on the adventurers and when they adjusted to the new plane it did not seem as unusual to them as it might sound to us. Despite eyes, ears and noses being on the inside the adventurers were somehow able to sense the environment around them. A thin strand led from the lens into an inky darkness. They were able to move along this strand without too much trouble and after travelling for some time began to see other strands alongside which seemed to be converging to a single point. Some of the group sensed that there was a huge presence lurking somewhere in this plane so they did not dally and kept moving ever forwards.



At a point where the strands were only twenty feet or so away from each other, they led into tunnels that were somehow even darker than the rest of this plane. The adventurers followed their thread into the channel before them and began to become concerned as the space around them grew smaller and smaller. Eventually they could go no further. Ashraful tried to push through the walls of the tunnel at its thinnest point and was surprised to feel the walls give way between his hands. The walls were made of something slimy and vile that kept moving beneath the hands of the adventurers and it took most of them some time before they were able to force themselves though.




Ashraful was the first to break through the tunnel wall and on the other side he saw the point where all the strands met. At this point lay a two-bladed dagger that shimmered, despite the lack of light. The demon heart in Ashraful’s breast began to beat and the mage felt an overwhelming lust to hold the blade in his hands. He began to run towards the knife and did not even notice another figure on a nearby strand until he was tackled. A voice spoke into Ashraful’s head warning him not to touch the knife, but Ashraful was overwhelmed with desire for it and attempted to overpower his tackler.



Ashraful’s companions pushed their way through the goo and stood upon the strand. Dirk and Amra felt somewhat unsure of what to do, but the demon hearts in the chest of both Shurly and Vermius told them exactly what they should do.



Vermius was first to reach the Planar Knife. As he reached it the stranger tried to fight off Ashraful and yell a warning, but he was too late. Vermius plucked the blade from its place at the centre of the web and held it triumphantly above his head. Light from the blade gave a demonic cast to the mage’s inside-out features.



The blade shuddered and a pulse of power burst from it which sent the strands vibrating wildly. Some of them began to drift loose and float free. A flicker of uncertainty crossed Vermius’ face.



“Come” yelled the stranger, “we must leave this place at once.” The adventurers set off back down the strand they had come followed by the stranger. After pushing through the slime and running out of the tunnel they again sensed a presence. The party kept running, but all of a sudden a spider the size of a house was on the strand before them. The spider chittered angrily and moved to attack, but Vermius stepped forward and slew it with one mighty blow of the Planar Knife.



The adventurers ran on and reached the lens. They stepped through this and found themselves inverted once again. Skin, clothes and armour were again on the outside. The adventurers looked nervously at Vermius and guessed that the Planar Knife must now be inside him. A blue flame flickered in the mage’s mouth and there was something dark and empty in his eyes.



The stranger joined the party and they recognised him as Justin Carrick, the man they were supposed to be helping. He said that Vermius had been changed and that while he would not harm the adventurers, he would prove a difficult companion.



There was still a sense of urgency as the adventurers made their way back along the interior of the strands. This urgency did not seem to be shared by Vermius who paused to attack the many frightened spider-creatures which scittered across their path.




The adventurers returned through the portal which took them back to Gollia and the Ruin of Law. Amongst the ruins and ambush broke, and it broke upon Vermius – who was first from the portal – like a torrent.



Five creatures attacked and all five were monstrous in their strength and vitality. None however could match Vermius and he set about himself with unrestrained fury. Along with mighty blows from his greatsword came waves of energy that rent the flesh and caused blood to burst through skin.



The battle was long and great and there were times when the adventurers thought that they would not prevail. The end, as it often does, came quickly though and within a couple of minutes only one of the ambushers was left standing. This man was covered by black worms that deflected most blows, but he had been weakened by Vermius’ pulse attacks and stood swaying on his feet as blood continued to gush from his wounds. As the adventurers moved in for the kill though a pulse came from Vermius which made the air shimmer like a pond in which a stone had been dropped.



Everything went black.



The adventurers slowly came to. They were on a beach beneath a dark sky. Waves made a sound like whispering voices as they caressed the shore…
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