Karthan 06 - New Directions contd

Vampyre's combined Rolemaster ICE / D&D 3.5 fantasy campaign.

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K632 - Hellioss XVIII

Postby vampyre » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:23 pm

K632: 2Thardeth16 Hellioss XVIII

Later that evening after dinner Alcaris joins Mak with a decanter of wine and pours two glasses. "If we are to wait 12 days, why not see what else is to be found on this peninsula. There is evidence of other residences like the one we have found...it would be interesting to learn more of the people who reside here."
Mak agrees, equally intrigued as to learning more of those who dwelled here and how extensive this community is, considering the evidence is that whoever lives here is planning on returning at some time in the future.
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K633 - Hellioss IXX

Postby vampyre » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:50 pm

K633: 2Thardeth20 Hellioss IXX

The next few days Mak finds himself immersed in what they uncover along the northern peninsula of the bay. Extending towards the peninsula tip they discover another forty residences, all sealed and denying initial attempts at entry. The walls that enclose each residence and gardens are seperated by narrow pathways of white marble, the edges only partially overgrown and the walls seemingly are constructed of a fusion of both rock and living material giving it a vine like feel and look. Climbing along the rocky peninsula tip they sight below them, about 20 metres down are openings into the rock on both sides of the peninsula looking out over the bay southward and the sea northward. The openings are reached by climbing down with some difficulty helped by ropes and pulleys from Alcaris's magical home.

Mak and Alcaris traverse down the south side first and see a rectangular opening over 150 metres long and 5 metres high. Within they see 6 metal mounts upon which is...what only Mak can describe as canons, each about 10 metres in length. Alcaris has not seen anything like this before and they scramble inside. What Mak sees he can comprehend but is shocked all the same, the canons are mounted on azimuth cogs which seemed very advanced, easy to change the canon's direction yet when examing the canons he sees no firing mechanism nor an opening for what it fires. The barrels are about a metre in diamter and scarred red along its rounded edge. The canons are made of bronze but Mak detects other metals may enhance the barrels strength and resistance to whatever it was designed to fire. Behind the canons is a wall that Mak determines is a massive door that conceals what lies behind. and above him there are circular shafts in the roof, shafts that Mak determines could enable whatever the canons fired had the abilitiy to shoot the projectile through the shaft and high into the air and he could see that the edges of the shafts were blackened. Mak takes some time to explain to Alcaris what these devices are as Alcaris has never seen them on his world at all. Mak wonders whether Karthan has such technology and thought if they did, it would be in Monorovia, where the people are known to have steam trains. They both agree that perhaps the opening on the other side of the peninsula is similar.
"Perhaps this sealed wall conceals a underground cave network that connects through to the other side." Alcaris says. "Let us return here tomorrow and try to find a way to open it...or if not, there has to be an entrance way for people to enter this place. Hylor and Isabella could try to find the entrance way while we take this on."
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k634 Eksharan Forest

Postby vampyre » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:00 am

K634 2Thardeth 20: Eksharan Forest

"Contemplative this morning." Alnuathor remarked smiling passing Lianna in the blue glazed gardens. Wind rustled through the mauve and silver foliage of the massive trees that surrounded the gardens which beyond in a special glade the Quiseraen Council met.
"Ever since this new alliance by Kam I have been trying to find out what Mak has been up too...I cannot. Hellioss is shielded from me."
Alnuathor stopped and thought for a moment. "This means his path has been given to him...and we have been prevented from knowing this."
"Is this the work of our friends on Khalitur as I suspect it is how do we tread from here?"
"First message we have been given as that his path is not to be known to us. This means any future contact with Mak, do not ask the path he is taking or refer to such in any way. While you have been trying to keep watch over Kam I have been watching Hylor and through him the path confirmed my suspicions. His path will meet with ours and most notably Stormwing."
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K635 Hellioss XX

Postby vampyre » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:38 am

K635 2Thardeth20: Hellioss XX

Isabella who had accompanied Hylon in investigating the residences as they were discovered remarked on how each of the residences had astrological markers pointing to a variety of constellations. “Hylon confirmed this while I was interested in the preservation of the gardens. There is magic keeping them from becoming overgrown over time which thinking on this is surprising. No preservation spell exists in the empire that could last the time these have. Such spells are reserved in Karthan by the Church.”
“Hmm, you are right Isabella.” Hylon nods. “Even in Daishur preservation spells do have their limit, no more than a year at the highest discipline.”
“On my world such spells do not exist at all.” Alcaris remarks as he brings in a large pot of stew for everyone to enjoy, then returning with bottles of wine. “What about yours Mak?”
Mak thinks about that and cannot think about any spell that directly correlates. “We have spells in the arcane called permanence, that would make a spell effect permanent, but it can be either dispelled or done away with by a wish. Of course it is not possible to make any effect permanent only some. Typically that is not the same effect as preserving something, more like making wards and such permanent.”
“We have the same.” Hylon replies and Isabella nods as well. “But this spell affects living matter. I know during the Solisse season the livestock is preserved to last the year as food for them does not grow. It is easier to preserve then to create food for them and try to keep them alive in underground pens.”
“It is the same with us, the livestock needed to feed us or to keep for the next breeding season is kept alive through preservation that just lasts the Solisse.” Isabella adds.
“So if a longer duration is required can another spell be cast to make it continue.” Mak asks.
“No more than another 6 months.” Isabella replies. “Given that this spell is required empire wide…and only those servants of the Church can cast it…well Mak you might be around to see what happens as the Solisse begins at year’s end. However this Solisse is going to last much longer.”
And Mak knows that is not common knowledge at all. “So, what can the empire do under that circumstance.”
“I do not know Mak.” Isabella replies. “One must question as to whether the Church knows of the coming Long Solisse, I would say they do…we seemed to have survived the last one, but at what cost.”
Hylon says. “Daishur recorded empires and kingdoms falling throughout the last Solisse. Indeed the kingdoms that surround Daishur evolved after the last Long Solisse. The war did not help either. Great numbers of people perished in the Solisse let alone the war that raged through that period as well.”
Mak asks. “So it was war more than the weather conditions that killed the people. Or was it the destruction of the resources.”
Isabella replies. “The Solisse blankets the entire empire in snow. Only the forests are clear of its effect. So imagine what 400 days of constant snow cover does to crops and to communities rural and urban. No merchant trains can move during the period except those who have levitation spells on solid covered enclosed wagons and they are few. So each community has to stock up for the Solisse and it effects the cities much more as they are rationed during that period. But people have become use to it and over time the empire has worked to adapt to this very harsh season. And it can be harsh, blizzards covering entire provinces is not unusual during the Solisse”
Hylon nods. “Yes even in the desert kingdom that is my home, they too are fully covered in snow and the effects are harsh indeed. From what I have learned the entire southern continent is affected.”
“It must be a mixed blessing for the desert, an opportunity to collect and store water.” Mak comments.
“Oh yes, they do indeed make use as you say Mak. There are massive reservoirs beneath the ground that is replenished during the winter, using the wells.” Hylon replies. “It is said that there is a permanent region of ice and snow and that it lies in the far north of Karthan’s continent.”
Isabella looks surprised. “That is interesting. I have no idea what lies north of the Tarascon Mountains…it could well have been sea for all I know.”
“Oh there is vast lands beyond leading to the ice. Daishur has pyramids in these areas and I have seen the ice wall from one…many hundreds of feet high.” Hylon says.
Alcaris adds. “My world has ice caps in the far north and south and every winter they spread southward then retreat the following season. Now lets eat before the stew gets cold.”

Following the hearty meal they head outside and walk along a beaten path they had created the last few days to the peninsula. There is still much dampness after the recent storm had passed. Then Alcaris who is leading stops and motions for the others to do so as well. He looks around and even Mak can feel everything had become still around them. Mak hears the air crackling around him and ahead of them emerges from the surrounding forest a humanoid creature 8ft high that Mak recognized was a elemental…its body sizzling and crackling with charges of light that coursed and arced across its form.
“Oh my…” Hylon breathes surprised. “Where did that come from?”
The elemental proceeds towards them and attacks.

The elemental surges forward … firing four bolts of light which all strike Mak. REFLEX 17. He falls, as do the others, from this attack. No physical damage is taken, but the electricity has a CRITICAL effect; stunned for 2 rounds by an explosion of fire and 16hp damage.

Alcaris shakes the effect of being stunned and attacks the elemental while everyone else is incapacitated. He is surrounded by smoke and lightning and looks scorched from it.

The creature attacks again as the fallen recover. It misses Mak and Alcaris. Mak will consume a potion of protection from elements (electricity). Alcaris is attacking but looks refreshed, possibly healed.

The elemental attacks again, encapsulating the companions in an energy field and causing electrical damage (reduced) of 14. Mak retaliates and strikes it with the glimmer sword doing 15hp damage, but he receives an electrical shock as he does so realises that his potion has allowed him to avoid serious ongoing electrical injury. The energy field remains, causing persistant damage.

Mak takes another (reduced) 11 hp and suffers a mild frostbite effect 2hp/rnd plus bleeding of 5hp/round which is surprising, and causes Mak to realise the elemental is also using cold effects.

Mak shouts to Alcaris, “let us retreat out of its area of effect. “
He agrees and they both move back. Hylon and Isabella are watching from behind a bush. They join Mak and Alcaris and run together as a group towards the place they have been staying. The elemental pursues them and fires four bolts of energy, striking Isabella who falls but misses the others. Mak reaches down to pick up or assist Isabella while the creature advances. It is nearly on them.

A cold blast strikes Mak and Isabella. 13hp. Plus 7 from cold. She is on her feet and they continue running. The creature targets Mak again but misses. Isabella staggers as she is struck again in her side by a cold blast. She clutches her side and screams but continues moving. “We can make it, keep moving!” Mak tells her and he helps her to move as quickly as possible.

Ahead of them Mak sees Alcaris' refuge appear just ahead of him in the forest, crushing the undergrowth as it does so. Alcaris enters and keeps the door open for the others to follow. They enter and Alcaris takes Isabella to a room and administers some berries which help heal the effects and damage she has sustained.

Hylon sits in a chair gasping for breath and pours a large glass of wine. “Where has that come from?” Mak asks. “Have you seen any of those on this island before?”

Hylon replies “no, nothing like that. But it came from the direction we are heading.”

“Hopefully it is alone. We can't fight more than that.” Mak looks out one of the refuge windows. The creature is not visible, or at least Mak can't see it. He tries different windows. Still nothing. “I can't see it any more, I think it is either gone or has chosen to leave us.”

Mak looks at Hylon and asks “is it possible this creature was summoned?”

Hylon replies “for it to be summoned there would have to be a summoner. It is either that we have somehow activated it during our recent searches.”

Mak says “I have encountered elementals on this world before, usually they seem to be guardian of something. This one is much bigger than others. All seem unfriendly.”

Hylon says “elementals can come in all shapes and sizes. They can indeed adopt whatever shape they want. They can also be used for a variety of tasks though there are specific elementals that have tasks, such as a guardian.”

“How can we defeat this if it is still out there?” Mak asks. “It seems powerful and is using two different types of energy against us. Electricity and cold.”

Everyone administers first aid and Mak proposes that we try going back outside. He does not think the elemental wants to communicate.
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K636 Hellioss XXI

Postby vampyre » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:45 am

K636: 2Thardeth20 Hellioss XXI

Alcaris returns downstairs and says that Isabella is resting and should recover in a day or so. He gives Mak and Hylon bandages to heal their wounds. “This will help ease the effects of the cold.” He says, helping himself to a large glass of wine. “Right, where did this elemental come from and why? I have looked from the windows upstairs and cannot see nor detect is presence within 300ft.”
“Good.” Mak says relieved. “That thing was nasty.” He asks Hylon whether he has any magic that could counter the elemental should it return.
“Unfortunately no.” Hylon replies. “What offensive magic I have would primarily effects the element of fire, which is the most common in Daishur.”
"Hmm, surely fire against cold...would be an effective weapon" Alcaris suggests.
"No not in this circumstance. This particular elemental is only a elemental in the use of its magic, nothing more." Hylon returned. "No opposite element would affect it I deem."
Mak realizes none of his abilities or items would assist. “What about you Alcaris?”
“I have some means to limit the effect of the cold and energy.” He replies. “But nothing offensive to stop it. I do not think ranged weapons such as bows would do much…we need to have the elemental encounter its opposite element and magically so, normal fire would not affect magical cold. And I do not know what the counter element to energy would be. As Hylon says, this is seemingly more than an elemental. I would say it is a guardian.”
“I can only say.” Hylon remarks. “That if he is using a light energy rather than lightning which is more of an element, then a dark energy would counter it. But that is very rare and I do not think none of us here possess such.”
Alcaris shakes his head as does Mak.
“So we are possibly trapped here?” Hylon says more as an query.
“Perhaps. The elemental could be waiting outside…we do not know unless we walk out.” Alcaris replies.
“I am willing to go out there.” Mak says.

Mak opens the door and ventures outside cautiously. He sees the beaten path ahead, from just beneath the door, the refuge between to towering trees. Looking around Mak does not seem to see the elemental noting wildlife noises around him. “It looks clear…things are normal outside.” Alcaris joins you. “The elemental appears to be gone. Hopefully it remains that way.” Mak adds. “I am willing to scout down the path.”
“Go ahead.” Alcaris replies. “I’m still a little worse for wear.”
Mak follows the path approaching the area where the elemental was encountered, seeing scorched ground and trees, where the attack took place. And then everything goes quiet. Mak turns and moves quickly down the path to the refuge, turning once to see if he was been followed and yes, the elemental is following him, light arcing out from his body and impacting against the refuge as he dives inside the open door, Alcaris slamming it shut.
“It looks like that point in the path activates the elemental. Perhaps we can circumnavigate the area around the path and thereby avoid him.”
“Perhaps.” Alcaris replies. “But we have crossed that point over the last few days without any encounter.”
Mak nods. “True.”
“Then what has changed, elementals do not appear at random do they…are they not summoned.” Mak says.
“Usually unless it has been here all along and we triggered it searching the residences or the defences.” Alcaris replies.
“Or.” Hylon says. “That we activated something that was seen at the other end, from perhaps the owners of these places and they sent the elemental through a portal…most of the houses seem to have such as you saw in the first house Mak.”
“I am willing to cut across and bypass the path to get to the peninsula.” Mak says.
“That is not difficult.” Alcaris replies. “The woods stretch up and along the peninsula but I am wondering if what Hylon says is correct that whoever lived here may return to see who has been interfering with their homes.”
“Well at least that would give us someone to talk with.” Mak says.
“Presuming they want too…the guardian could have been a message to simply stay away.” Hylon replies.
“Well, that is a risk I am willing to take.” Mak says. “It would be interesting to meet the owners of this place if they have come back. If we can bypass the elemental I am willing to try that.”
“And if they are not interested in meeting us.” Alcaris says. “They will make sure we do not meet them.”
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k637 Hellioss XXII

Postby vampyre » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:46 am

K637: 2Thardeth21 Hellioss XXII

Another storm front assails the island and lasts until the following day when it abates, dark clouds still hanging overhead and threatening rain. A watch was kept throughout the night and during Mak’s watch he felt quite distinctly that he was been watched, an uncomfortable feeling that sent a shiver down his spine each time. He thought about going outside the refuge to investigate but something within him warned against it. Mak had taken over from Hylon who was deep in thought at the time, and wondered if Hylon had felt the same thing. When Alcaris took over Mak tells him of what he felt and Alcaris nodded saying the best thing was perhaps not to go outside. “It could have been the guardian Mak, but if I feel this through the night I might have a way to discern whether it was or whether it was a true living mind that was observing us.”

Mak’s sleep is restless, dreaming about the places he had visited since arriving on this new strange world. When he finally awoke the following morning his mind was a jumble of mixed memories and thoughts of his journeys to date. Dressing he joins Hylon and Alcaris downstairs, Alcaris having just delivered breakfast to Isabella who seemed to be recovering. “Should be on her feet tomorrow hopefully.”
“Did you feel any presence during the night?” Mak asks.
“Yes I did, three times.” Alcaris replies, Hylon looking up from his breakfast surprised at hearing that. “A very intelligent mind was observing from within the walls itself. I could glean nothing more however, but I did get the sense that whoever it was, it deliberately wanted to reveal its presence to me…a warning I sense.”
“What sort of warning do you think it was giving us. Was it simply not to interfere.”
“Could be.” Alcaris replied. “It may have well been unimpressed by our own presence here.”
“Well it is clearly intelligent, do you think it will listen to reason.” Mak asks.
“What sort of reasoning do you have in mind?” Hylon asks.
“That it recognized that we do not intend it harm and that we are not a threat to the environment. We simply wish to look around. We would not take anything if that was it’s concern. It could guide us if it was so willing.”
“Look at it this way, would you want strangers looking around your home.” Hylon replies. “It could be a simple as that…we are infringing on their domain.”
“That is a fair point but then until now, this area appeared to be uninhabited. And we are not thieves just merely curious, we are not a threat even if they do not know that.” Mak returns.
“They may know that already.” Hylon adds. “But we have moved through a number of their residences and looks like we have activated wards perhaps that have announced ourselves to them. If they wanted to communicate with us they would have done so by now.”
“Then if this creature is unlikely to be reasonable, then bypassing it will be our only option. If it guards the path then we will head around and over the peninsula. It’s presence only makes me more curious.”
“I think we have received a subtle warning.” Alcaris declares. “If we proceed further with this, I do not want to think what may follow. But if you are determined to do this Mak then I will accompany you and Hylon can look after Isabella. Now let’s have breakfast and we can leave afterwards.”
“Very well.”

A hearty breakfast is consumed and enjoyed and within the hour Mak and Alcaris leaves the refuge and into the rain soaked underbrush of the clearing. “Well I say we go up through the woods and over the peninsula. This thing would be expecting us to use the path and I do not think it would be expecting us to go the alternate way.”
Alcaris is not convinced. “Well let us try it and see what happens.”
“If that creature does confront us again, we will leave it and return here and leave this place as it is.”
Avoiding the path they both begin moving through the forest, slipping on as they climbed higher and deeper into the peninsula. Mak looks around to see if there is any evidence that the elemental has been through here, scorched branches and the likes but he sees nothing. They reach the northern cliff face where below is one of the entrances to the weapon emplacements and further along is where the grouped residences were found by Hylon and Isabella. They scale down a densely undergrowth ridge to reach a thick hedgerow that surrounded the residences and their gardens. At this point rounding the corner of the hedgerow is a 2 foot in diameter ball of red metal floating 4 feet from the ground and approaching them both.
Mak tells Alcaris. “Don’t look threatening it may leave us alone.”
The floating metallic ball stops 8 feet away and Mak discerns not surface features on the ball. It hovers. Mak stands still and looks back at the ball. He looks at Alcaris. “It has not done anything as yet, maybe it is not a weapon. Have you seen anything like it before?”
“No.” Alcaris replies. “Never.” Alcaris looks around and sees nothing behind him.
“Lets follow the hedgerow in the other direction and see if there are any openings..” Mak suggests and they both turn and walk alongside the hedgerow the metallic ball following them and another rounds the corner ahead of them moving in their direction. The hedgerow is to tightly woven to force their way through and reaches right to ground level. Mak keeps walking forward and the ball ahead of them stops about 6 feet from Mak. Mak continues to move towards hands in a non threatening gesture and attempts to slip past it. The metallic ball emits a thin beam of red light that strikes Mak and sears the skin of his right arm through the clothing.
“Ouch that hurts.” He tells Alcaris. The ball moves back and the other behind them stops about 8 feet from them both.
Mak shouts out to the ball. “Can you understand me?”
No answer.
“I am not an enemy. I am an explorer.” Mak says next.
No answer.
Mak takes a step forward. “I am simply curious and wish to look around this place. Nothing will be taken.”
The ball emits another beam of red light and arcs across Mak’s chest through the clothing cutting through his skin, the heat causing no bleeding, but burning pain singes through him.
“Ouch I don’t think it likes us. What do you think these are?” he asks Alcaris.
“Another warning.” Alcaris says.
“Yes, I felt the warning.”

Suddenly the earth beneath their feet shakes violently and in the distance is heard a loud booming rumbling sound. Alcaris falls to the ground but Mak manages to remain on his feet. “What the heck do you think that was?” Mak asks helping Alcaris to his feet.
“ I do not know.” Alcaris replies. “It came from the north…the volcano perhaps.” The two metallic balls have not moved.
The ground continues to shake beneath their feet and both fall to the ground as it becomes violent, the trees creaking to the left on the ridge and branches falling to the ground. “We can’t stand here while the shaking is continuing lets run around the balls.”
They both scramble to their feet, the shaking of the earth still continuing and another booming thunderous sound that deafens them is heard from the north. “We have to stay out in the open to avoid falling branches and we have to try and get back to the others. We will have to leave this place.”
Falling again to the ground with further violent movement of the ground beneath them, two trees nearby collapse and fall against the hedgerow and surprisingly does not cause any impact damage. Indeed the trees breaks at that point of impact and as the top half is about to fall beyond the hedgerow into where the residence and garden would be, it literally dissolves before their eyes, the lower half now impacted against the outside of the hedgerow. More violent shaking continues and another deafening roaring, booming sound occurs. Mak and Alcaris try to get onto their feet and looking around, Mak sees the two metallic balls have gone. The shaking of the earth subsides for a moment allowing them to get to their feet. “At least those balls have disappeared. Did you see what happened to the tree when it collided with the hedgerow.” Mak says looking around for loose stones and finding a number that had fallen from the ridgeline bordering the hedgerow.
“I saw it but was rather busy with my own survival.” Alcaris replies breathing deeply. Mak picks up a stone and aiming above the hedgerow wanting to see and hear what happened, even though the booming sounds from the north still continue. The stone disappears and Mak does not hear it land. The ground beneath their feet shakes again with sudden violence and both fall to the ground.

Mak considers that the space above the hedge row is either a barrier that disintegrates items or it might be a shielding effect that allows items to pass through.
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K638 Hellioss XXIII The Volcano silent no more

Postby vampyre » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:59 am

K638: 2Thardeth21 Hellioss XXIII

An opening appears in the hedgerow.

“Quickly,” Mak calls out to Alcaris. “Let's see where that gap leads us!” They both walk through it, entering a garden area that is well reserved. The shaking stops when they pass thrugh although it can still be heard outside, follwed by another thunderous booming sound from the north. Looking above, both can see that the sky is turning black with billowing clouds that are mostly spreading out away from the north.
“I think the volcano on this island is erupting,” Mak says. “We need to get back to the others. But if we can't do that while this is happening, will the house that you summoned be strong enough to withstand falling trees?”
“Yes they will be pritecetd while they remain inside.”
“That is reassuring. While we are here then, perhaps this is our only opportunity to look around. I don;t know what those metal balls were but they weren't friendly and those red beams of light really hurt.” Mak realises they still hurt, as the wounds aren't healing. They are not bleeding either. It is a persistent stinging pain. He looks around the immediate location. They are at the edge of a well preserved garden where there are some cobble stoned pathways and there is a residence nearby. The residence is a fusion of metal, wood and glass. It looks very exotically constructed. Mak approaches the residence and as he does so can see the two balls reappear. He stops and watches, taking care to stay still. The balls stop. Mak returns to Alcaris on the path and says “let us follow the path around the house to see if those things follow.”
They follow a series of paths that lead around the house through the garden and the two balls follow them. At the back of the house there is a patio area with chairs and a table. He sees a door that is under cover. He attempts to enter the patio area. The two balls confront him and prevent him from doing so. He backs off. There is a path that leads to a hedgerow that would have a gate if one existed.
Mak approach the spot where he thinks a gate should be if one existed and he pushes against the hedgerow to see if it is an illusion. He touches within an inch of the hedgerow but feels some kind of force preventing him from going further. He turns to Alcaris and says “well there's nowhere that we can go from here. All it seems we can do is wait a while until that shaking subsides and then go back to the others. We can't get past those metal balls either. Whatever they are, they appear to be very effective guardians for this fine property.”
“Well someone has let us in here but have determined that the house is out of bounds. I think we should respect that.”
“I agree,” Mak tells him. “So we wait to see what happens.”
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K639 Hellioss XXIV

Postby vampyre » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:56 am

K639: 2Thardeth21 Hellioss XXIV

In the gardens outside one of the residences Mak and Alcaris finds themselves in an area that is very much protected by what is going on around them. Beyond the hedgerow the trees lining the ridge are buffeted by high winds and branches break and fall but none clear the hedgerow, disintegrating against an invisible shield that may envelop the entire property. The earth continues to shake but beneath their feet and within minutes of arriving a black cloud envelops the ridge roaring down and rushing over their heads with billowing fury, blocking the sun both now beneath a fury of clouded darkness…dust and ash.
“I hope our friends are alright, it seems we are safe for the moment. But we are going to have to go back out there and find them.”
Alcaris nods. “I may have an idea.” Alcaris removes a small rod from his cloak he concentrates turning slowly in one direction then another. “I am trying to locate our shelter…if I can do that I may be able to teleport us there, but their will be an element of risk with this.”
“Yes I understand. Yes the spellcasters where I come from face similar risk.”
“It would have been easier if I had done this earlier but well, one thinks of these things sometimes too late.”
“Yes but we would have been caught in the cloud.”
“Father once reminded me that when the shelter is used always use it as a location point…something I did forget to do this time around.” He continues to concentrate and looks up at the cloud rushing over their heads. “I thinks I have it…but I wonder whether this will work through the shield protecting this property.”
“I guess it is a chance we will have to take, I daresay the owners of this property will be glad to get rid of us.”
“I thinks so too.” Alcaris replies. “And if they are users of the true essence then they can manipulate my spell with ease.”

The teleportation spell is cast and both disappear from the garden and reappear in the lounge of the shelter a bewildered Hylon falling off his chair at their sudden appearance in surprise. Mak is slightly disorientated from the effect as is Alcaris who is pleased the spell worked. “Sorry about that Hylon but we could not stay out there for much longer.”
Hylon gets to his feet with the help of his staff and readjusts his cloak. “Are you too alright, what is happening beyond the obvious of course.”
Isabella emerges from the kitchen hearing the conversation and is equally surprised to see them both back.
Mak looks at Hylon and says. “Looks like we are trapped here for a while. The volcano is erupting and I would say it is safer to remain here until it ceases.”
“How long can this cottage sustain us.” Mak asks.
“Indefinitely.” Alcaris replies.
“Is it possible to transport this cottage to another location?” Mak suggests.
Alcaris shakes his head. “Not that I am aware of.” He says.
Hylon says. “Outside the clearing is covered in ash and dust but my main concern is fire…the trees will burn if hot ash continues to rain down upon them and we could be surrounded by a forest fire in a matter of hours.”
“And is the residence susceptible to that?” Mak asks.
“Normally no…but fire produces heat and consumes the air…that could be a problem.” Alcaris replies.
“have you any spells that could shield the cottage and enclose it to be safe from heat.”
“The house is quite well protected but we do need air to breathe and that does come from the outside ultimately…it is not produced from within.”
“Therefore our time here could be finite.” Mak says.
“If the mountain keeps erupting and throwing its ash, fire and dust over the island…yes it could be.” Hylon replies.
“Then perhaps we could seek to move from here sooner rather than wait…perhaps we could make our way to the docks. Is it possible to trek overland, covering our mouths to protect from breathing in the ash.”
“There are spells that could protect us but they are limited by the effect and ability of the user to cast them. Also the elements can very much dictate how successful or not the spells can be.” Alcaris says.
“Well if waiting here is dangerous perhaps we may have to try.” Mak says.
“Navigation is going to be a problem as well.” Hylon says looking out a window. “Outside it is dark, caused by the cloud of ash and dust, I do not fancy chances of making our way through this for very long at all.”
“Then some form of hat and eye protection is in form then.” Mak says lightly expecting no one to take him seriously. “Perhaps light sources can provide illumination.”
“That is easily possible. But if that cloud of ash is hot then nothing we are wearing will protect us against the elements.” Alcaris says. “I can teleport us to another location such as the tower but the risk is greater that we could find ourselves some distance from the tower and in the middle of this cloud of ash. I did not study the tower as a location.”
Mak says. “That is a risk I am willing to take but I cannot speak for the others.”
“The tower lies further south than where we are presently located.” Hylon says. “That does not mean it will be safer by any means. It depends on the area affect of the eruption and wind direction and from what I have seen the cloud is moving south.”
“But the tower is not surrounded by trees is that correct.”
Hylon nods. “The forest is nearby but the tower does stand apart from it.”
“Well it sounds safer than here. If anything its distance may buy us more time.”
Isabella looks at Hylon and sighs. “If we have to do this then let’s get it over with.”
Hylon nods and Alcaris looks rather resigned to the decision and thus prepares to cast the spell. “Get yourselves ready…the house will not be coming with us.” he says.

Mak prepares for the teleportation spell by ensuring he wets a cloth and holds it ready, on the expectation that it is possible they may appear within the ash cloud.
Alcaris says “I know something that may be able to help us. Since Kharagh's races reside in an environment where volcanic activity is part of the demographic landscape then they must have some natural immunity to the effects of ash, dust and fire. I can change us all into Osgeyr.”
Mak looks at him with a dubious expression on his face. “Are you sure that is wise? What happens if we get stuck that way? Where I am from there is risk associated with such a transformation. We refer to it as polymorphing. But it is not always safe.”
“This spell, like many of the spells, only has a certain duration. This one will last for about two hours.”
“Do you know Osgeyr well enough to ensure this will work?”
“My father made it a habit of studying them soon after we arrived. They are similar to what we have encountered on our world. But there are differences and one of those is the immunities.”
“Well it's a new spin on knowing your enemy. Given the situation, if you think this will work then we will have to try. Our survival is important. We must reach that tower.”
“I will try and adapt the spell so that you do not adopt any of the Osgeyr's psychological traits.”
“What, like eat other races? That could be unfortunate.”
Alcaris smiles “They do not eat other races but they are psychologically very different from us. It is the evil aspect I do not want to see come through. You might not be able to control your own form's actions unless you have your own mind.”
“Fair enough.”
Isabella is not very comfortable with this at all. Mak asks “Have you seen this go wrong before?”
She bluntly declares that she detests the very thought of being turned into one of these creatures.
“I agree it is an unpleasant prospect. To think I was once being hunted by those things and now to become one, even temporarily, is a troubling thought.”
Hylon says “Alcaris is right. The Osgeyr and Asgeyr do survive and thrive in environments where volcanic activity is common. As much as I detest the idea myself, there may be no option but to do this to survive the environment that has changed so much around us.”
“At least it is only temporary,” Mak says. “Alcaris I am ready. Let's get this over with.”
Alcaris nods “You will be the first so the others can see what effects do and do not occur.”
Alcaris casts the spell.
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