Black Spire III: A Twisted King
So… Empress, it is. It worked, so no complaints here. After killing Shurgath, we took command of the tribe. Well, Alessa was still their chieftain, but she said that she would help us. We also knew that dangerous assassins would come after me, now that the necromancer knew we were coming. If need be, I was prepared to face them alone… They are coming after me, no one else should suffer for that. Iron Crow wisely stayed with the tribe, the rest of my party went with me, however. Red I assumed, we’ve stuck our necks outs for one another some time now. And Alishia is my sister. And while their decisions warmed my heart, none more so than Calin. We had only known each other for a short time, but she chose to assist me with the undead assassins, for this I very greatful. We had been given horses. My horse had belonged to Shurgath, his name was Crescent. Horses were very important to these people, so I must take care of him, to honour them.
Scarge had told us about a blessed spring, that would aid us against the undead creatures. While we were there, Red went about an set up traps, I believe. He was very busy, anyway. Alishia was mostly meditating, she said this sacred place was very quiet and perfect to meditate in… I’m sure it is, wouldn’t help me anyway, I figured.
They came during the night… Hideous creatures. Just looking at them causes you to be paralyzed. They did not seem to like the water… Maybe Red said something about that? I wouldn’t know, either way… Wrestling underwater was a very effective way to dispatch them. Four in total, me and Alishia made quick work of two of them, and we turned around to see how our companions fared… I could not see Calin. I am unsure if it was the effect of the creatures, or the realisation that she may be dead because of me, but I could not move. I could only watch as Red and Alishia expertly destroyed the last of them. Calin had been hurt bad, but she was alive. We took care of our wounds, and bathed in the water, to help stave off the corruption. Scarge joined us after some time. We went back to the tribe, and told them of our victory. We continued our travel towards The Dragon’s Neck, and reached it in the morning.
The Prison Break
Since I joined the pathfinders my parents have entered my thoughts two times… When I nearly died during my third mission… And when my sister appeared in front of me. But now… It seems they have taken residence in my mind. Ever since we entered Triliania they are all that I think about… I need to know that they are okey. In my haste, or simply because I was unlucky, hard to say, really… I stumbled into a pub with some of the warriors that attacked Tilak. They thought me one of their own… That would soon prove a fatal mistake for them, I wagered. I am not a good liar, nor am I good a actor… But normally I would have at least tried to remain “incognito”, as Red always suggests. But anger was flowing through me… I’ve never something like this before… I am always angry, that is my strength… But this was something different, it frightened me. I tried to hold it back. But, after my conversation with the gentleman wielding what can only be described as a slab of metal, I would not dignify it by calling it a sword, a felt an axe rip into my flesh… As a barbarian this may seem strange a sentence, but for the first time in a long while I lost control. When I opened my eyes again, the two dancers, or whatever they were doing before, lay bleeding in front of me. The dwarf, for a split second I considered putting my axe in him as well, but I soothed my anger. That is when I recalled, I had made sure to let the dwarf know that I was an ally to his kin. He stuffed me into a hole, to hide me. Some time passed, and I believe I fell asleep… I enjoy sleeping after a good raging, I must say. I slept uneasily now, however… Again, my parents cloud my mind.
Sometime later, the dwarf opened the cloth covering my hole. He showed me a tunnel network that stretched throughout the city, and even outside of it, and brought me back to the Bannered Mare, the inn that was our first stop in the city. I marked the exit into the wine celler, and ran into my companions. They had more information regarding the execution… Red seemed to have a personal stake in this, I believe he may have known the elf lady in question. If Red feels strongly about this, then so do I. Plans were made, and we would set out the following evening. Alishia had news of our parents, my heart skipped a beat. They are alive, but most likely to soon be captured and publicly executed, much like this Korinra.
We made our preparations… Well, they did, I mostly cleaned up and listened to my part of the plan. We set out when darkness was about to fall. Myself, Alishia, and a rogue named Melvin, or something, made our way up the drainage opening in the fort. I waited while my sister and the rogue freed the prisoners. The guard that was walking about seemed to have heard me, but one of the prisoners covered me. But it was not long until commotion started, and I charged in. This corridor was a not a corridor you would want to swing an axe in… And as Red had pointed out earlier, these are not bad people, they are simply following orders, so I did my best to simply knock them out. I kept my rage up, as we freed the last prisoners. Then I charged up the stairs, pushing the templars out of the way, so as to let the prisoners go. I think they were being very tactical, but I managed to knock them out with minimal injury as well. After this, I was completely exhausted, I do not believe that I have kept rage going for that long previously. I felt strength in my arms and legs still, but I was almost dizzy. Alishia had to help me keep a straight line. But we made it out, both druids saved, Korinra and her apprentice, with no casualties. That is what I call a mission well done.
The time had come… We had had our rest, we had spoken to the dwarves, as well as the druids. It was time to charge the fortress, and take out the demonfreak. Me and Alishia wanted to go to Tilak, in order to save our parents. Nothing my companions said could change my mind, or so I thought. Red explained that more than likely going there will paint a big red mark over Tilak, for the lich… And thus ending it, together with us. It was decided that the dwarves, the elves, Alishia and Iron Crow, would go to assist.
We went through the tunnels, being guided by Cohen. He was distracted by a panicky sounding bell in the distance. Before we had time to think much more of it we heard: “DEMON!” screamed from the bell area. We needn’t deliberate. Korinra bestowed what spells she could, and set off… There was a demon, backed up by a couple of archers on the roof… I never actually saw them, but I felt their arrows. I had drunk a potion that made me bigger, and stronger. Getting to the demon proved difficult… And it disappeared, somehow, when I did get there. It had moved back to the building, where Calin was. I charged back… Seeing Red pass by me. When I get to the building red was… Swimming, for the lack of a better term, inside the goo of the demon. I pulled him out, as he was looking greener than he usually would. I broke down the building, allowing golden arrows of awesome pass by me, making the monster explode. In the mean time Alishia had dispatched the archers on the roof. After this she would leave, to go help our family. I would miss her… She was my light in our childhood. And now, some 10 or so years later, we still worked in perfect unison.
Our next target was the fortress. The demon was a distraction, we all knew this… We had little time to waste now. Rapids slowed us down further. So too did a decoy… I had charged into her room, without thinking… I just wanted to end her… But, instead I killed an innocent woman. I have done my fair share of killings in my days. That said, I try to not feel bad about it… When I kill, it is for a purpose, at the very least to protect myself. But this time, it was different… I charged in without thinking, killed an innocent for no other reason than carelessness. I don’t follow any teachings, like the priests, paladins, or monks… But, I still cannot forgive this weakness in myself. It will not make up for it, but I must kill this summoner, she cannot be allowed to live… Too many has suffered because of her and the lich… They must die.
We convinced the paladins to hear our plea, and check the high priest… I didn’t care, what they said or did, as soon as I got a chance, I would destroy the high priest. While the chance may have been there, I was sadly busy with other things. These things being this idiots being tricked by the demon to kill us… I guess I can’t fault them, this was apparently a demon that specialised at this sort of thing, with a thing that surpressed what they needed detect it… Or so I understood from Red, at least. Either, we managed to get the demon to flee, and we found out where the Summoner where.
In my haste I scared the horse, and it kicked me off… So I went through town on foot. On the way there I drank my last potion of making-me-friggen-huge. In my haste to kill the summoner, I only later managed to notice that my axe caught on fire… Apparently, the steel the dwarves used was cool steel. After a vicious battle, I fell to the ground.. Bleeding. I woke up later, to see that Red had finished it, as I knew he would. I was alive, somehow. But we did not have time to rejoice… The lich contacted us, and taunted us. I destroyed the corpse of the summoner, whom he first used. But, all the corpses around us laughed as he finished lame taunts…
The Boat Ride to Redfield
We managed to get “permission” to take the summoners boat. Red wanted to go through the library a bit before, to research… The lich, I’d assume. He rejoined us after some time. In the mean time I had washed the blood off me. Somehow the blood seemed heavier than usual. I can almost hear Hubert contain his laughter as he psychoanalysed me… Or w-ever Red called. Saying something “wise,” like: Is this a piece of humanity peeking through your angry facade? Is Alice feeling guilt? Maybe I am. So what. Some may look at me as if I’m not, but I am still human. I killed an innocent in cold blood. I know what that means… But, I will have to deal with that later. Right now we need to move. These are the thought that went through my mind as I attempted to meditate as my father taught me so many years ago… Naturally, I ended up falling asleep… How does one not, when your body is completely calm, and you empty your mind? Before my dreaming could make me feel even better, I was kicked awake by Red. Red knows better to disturb my sleep, without a good reason, so I got up, while muttering. In my empty newly awoken state, I could barely understand his shouting… But it sounded like trouble, so I went inside to get dressed. However, before I managed to put on my armour Red shouts again, he needs help with the mast. I drop the armour and rush outside. I still have no idea what is wrong… Something about the water, and needing to get to shore. We get close enough so that I can simply jump to land, drag the boat in. I still had no idea what was going on, but the nervousness and focus came through their words and actions, forcing me to focus as well… Which, of course, was lost as soon as I raged. We moered the boat, and proceed by land towards Redfield. They explained that something called a “landshark” was nearby. So we spread out, as to not attract it needlessly.
The Deep Dark Reminder
We reached the outskirts of Redfield, where a wizard was trying to draw out the landshark, so as to allow the villagers to escape. But he was no longer alone… I stood up on a rocky hill, picked up a large rock… And tossed it into the ground. Seconds later a bunch of teeth appeared in front of me… Landshark in-fucking-deed! I managed to whack it with my axe, which seemed to slow it’s assault. From what I understood these beasts were strong, so I did not hold back… But the speed to which my axe dealt with it surprised me. This lead me to say something very rude, about how this thing wasn’t so hard… After it had decimated the village somewhat. Disregarding that, we found out that the wizard was a pathfinder, along with a couple of other adventurers, stationed in Redfield. Some of the more experienced adventurers were apparently underground, fending off the Deep Dark invasion of sorts. Which reminded me of how much I dislike the dark. Why can’t our foes be in the light? Why must they always be in the dark? Well, we had no choice… We had to go help them. The pathfinders mentioned a creature that was down there. I turned to Red to ask about it… And he looked as if he had seen a ghost… But ghosts he has seen. I have seen Red get angry about what was a head… But never afraid. And that’s why I could recognise it. I asked him about it, but he seemed to not have heard me, so I figured it was indeed that bad, and thought maybe I can ask him about it later. I never realised how much I depended on Red until this very moment… I’ve been afraid, I’ve been terrified… But as long as Red cursed at what ever was ahead, I knew we could take it. Because, if that old bugger had survived it once, he could survive again. Going down a dark tunnel with that was… difficult. That said, we were able to pick up the trail of the pathfinders, which soothed me slightly. Something that did sooth me was going getting a big ball of slime attached to me, as I descended a hole the pathfinders went down. Red had gone ahead, since we knew something was down there. I did my best to punch and wail at it… In the end it seemed to let go. Not, as usual, because I willed it… But because it died. My clothes were shattered… Not that I could see them very well, but I could feel it… The cold steel against my bare skin in more places than before. Also… Sharp edges from the armour? But, it’s made of round rings. How is that even possible? Did it break?
The Darkness Closed in
I noticed that the front part of my clothing was gone… Hugging oozes is a bad idea, noted. Granted it hugged me, so I did have little choice in the matter. Either way, I had to make some emergency repair, in the form of tying the clothes in a manner of covering the important bits. After this short break we pushed on.
We entered a big room covered in mud. Red motioned that there was Pathfinders ahead, and something unknown to the left. So he disappeared, to check out the unknown. Sometime passes and I hear some mud drip. I grip my axe, while I trust Red wholly, he is shaken just being down here and I won’t let him get devoured by this place. Sometime later I smile when I hear the familiar sign of metal entering flesh, knowing full well that Red is behind it. The battle begins, but is over before I have time to join it. Red and a dark Pathfinder, or at least I assumed seeing as Red wasn’t keeping a defensive pose against her, took out the drow very quickly. We found the Pathfinders. They were weary, but alive. As we retreated to the chamber where we destroyed the ooze we realised that they were a wizard short. The people here was Jen, the shadow council member, Rani, the dwarf barbarian, and Stan… The musician? How useful can he be. I mean, I’ve nothing against tiny people. But this lil-dude looked so out of place. I picked him up to get a closer look at him, maybe I was missing something… Of course this was super rude, something I didn’t realise until afterwards. I asked the barbarian, whose judgement I trust, if he was useful. She answered that he was terrifying… Terrifying? Uhu. Anyway, we made our plans and set out to free the captured Pathfinder, who turned out to be Rani’s husband.
Red and Jen went ahead to secure the wizard. As I heard the first noise of combat, I charged straight up, to make as much as noise as possible… The idea was to let our rogues do what they do best, while we make ourselves the biggest and scariest targets, to draw attention to us. It worked, the spider came skittering over… I really don’t like spiders. So instead of using my normal finesse with killing, I simply started slamming my axe into it’s face to keep it away. It fell. And I charged ahead to the next enemy. I was aiming for the female one, but one of the male got in the way, as he crawled up from the hole, so I cut him in half. The rest is a blurr to me. I remember going up the priest, she was wearing a shield so we were having troubles dealing any significant damage to her, and grappling her… Than I think I threw her. Then I suddenly didn’t have any footing. I fell. I still remember the fall, it felt like a full year. I remembered, there was something in the water… I don’t know what it is, nor would I like to know. All I knew is that it’s very presence shook Red to the core, I wanted NOTHING to do with that! But suddenly… Red is in the water, he needs my help! But the drow are getting in my way! One of them jumped down to grab me, even though it failed, an other one came down and grabbed me. I had never been so angry in my life… Red was dying in the water, with that THING and the drow were trying to keep me saving him. I Turned around to shake myself loose. But wait Red?! What is going on here? No! Red is down in the water, this must be a trick! I was about to get myself free when… What was I doing? I don’t know, but that bloody gnome up there… HE… MUST… DIE! Somehow I get myself up, and now the gnome is gonna get what’s coming to him! He’s not alone, someone’s sitting on me, someone’s poking me with a staff. I can’t even feel the pain… Something is wrong, this gnome… It’s Stan… Why do I feel an overwhelming desire to kill Stan? I have no control… And suddenly it’s gone… What was I doing? Why am I tied up. My instinct is to break free, to resist. But I see Red’s blurry face finally clearing up. He tells me to trust them… I don’t know what to trust, but this is Red. He looks terrified, but calm… I can trust them. I don’t even remember getting out of the cave, I was trying to piece together what happened… I get as far as falling towards the water, than my brain shuts down… I don’t remember, or I don’t want to remember? I reflect shortly on Red’s arm… It’s all but torn to shreds… Did I do that? The mere thoughts makes me very sad. We’re discussing what to do… Well, they are… I am out of it. When suddenly that voice a appears. I hate that voice, but I cannot resist it. It’s like it peers into my mind, scrambles it, and I come out not myself… But wait, Alishia? No! If you go there, you’ll die! I… Must… Save… HER! Pain… Where is this pain coming from? I failed… The Lich… He killed Alishia, Red, Calin… Everyone… We failed… I failed them. I wasn’t strong enough…