Second Darkness

Summary 21: Into the House of Shadow

Chapter Six: Decent into Midnight

 
The Fetid Palace was their next destination, and after a few healing spells, the Immortal's were ready for whatever Allevrah had left for them to face. In mist form, they scouted out the giant hollowed out mushroom, which contained an enormous worm-like creature. A separate hollow contained their goal: the glyph of Vigilance. There was no doubt that the creature, known as the Moldering Emperor, would have to be their immediate target.
 
As they materialized, they threw metal barbs, and fiery blasts, in the hope that the fight would be a quick one. The Lord of Mushrooms did not gain the title by falling to a few meager adventurers however, and when the Immortal's initial momentum played out, it blasted nearly all the adventurers with acid. Citrine had been lucky place herself behind the behemoth, taking her out of first spray. From there, it blasted away with mind thrusts, and psychic crushes, and even swallowed Ruil in its gullet. Yet the Immortal's slashed on, and when Ruil finally cut himself out of the Moldering Emperor's stomach, he found that his friends had finally slain the beast.
 
A few healing spells got everyone up to full health. Gunderhoff looked at the counter upon the rod of life and noticed the indicator was getting lower and lower with each passing fight. He prayed to Torag that when the battle with Allevrah finally arrived, there would be enough healing energy to keep all of his friends alive.
 
As the Immortals' approached the Glyph of Vigilance, a magical gate appeared. Out of it walked a drow whom none of the Immortal's recognized. She said her name was Allevrah, and demanded to know who the adventurers were. She then promised them all death for interfering with her plans. Despite the drow's sudden appearance, the warriors were not at all fazed, nor did they even believe the drow was real. And as Citrine's sword passed harmlessly through it, they were indeed correct.
 
Yet, this was a project image spell, meaning that magic could be cast through it. Allevrah began casting a firestorm. Citrine tried to dispel the image, but Allevrah's magic was too powerful to be knocked away. Corthana went to the glyph and began trying to find a way to disable it. She felt its inner thoughts and believed she could bluff the glyph into thinking that there was nothing left to defend against. Ruil knew that a bath of fire was imminent, and so he flew out of the small room. As he did so, he felt the heat behind him, and heard the cries of pain from his friends. Corthana however danced away from the raindrops of fire.
 
Allevrah blasted Citrine with lightening, grazing her hip. Corthana tossed a daylight stone that blinded Allevrah. She then cast a spell to purge invisibility from the area, but saw no one appear. In fact, it was through the glyph itself that Allevrah was viewing everything from her place beside the master glyph. Gunderhoff didn't know what to do and decided to guide Corthana's thoughts as she attempted to destroy the glyph. And indeed the glyph finally listened to the spellthief and shut itself down and ended image of Allevrah. As she did so, she felt part of the glyph's power empower her ways of perception. After which, yet another beam of light speared off in the distance.
 
They followed the beam of light to the Rotstone Hollows, a very desolate and sandy area. Many rock formations sprouted from the stone, and it was at one of these that Gunderhoff stopped in mist form. He found a secret door in one of the stone columns, leading to a set of stairs going down.
 
Gunderhoff led the way, where he soon came face to face with a large green creature with four arms and massive claws. This was the charda that the genie Haiten had said might prove to be an ally. After a tense moment, the Immortal's learned that the charda's hatchery was being guarded by a pair of babau demons, and a troglodyte. Within that same chamber was the glyph of Watching. The charda led the way, past its fellow brood mates to the location. Corthana came up with the idea to go within a cloak of invisibility to take out the eggs before taking out the threats. They also planned on using their new cold iron armaments against the babau's, whose flesh was vulnerable to the metal.
 
Corthana took the lead, and picked up an egg. As she looked up she saw the babau's blades slashing into her lungs as their eyes saw through her spell. A savage twist brought further pain from the wounds. The troglodyte, name Orrn seemed utterly surprised by the situation and just stood there stupidly as he watched the intruders enter into the room he was supposed to be defending. From behind, he felt a greatsword imbued with lightening slash him from behind; and then nothing as his soul went to join Urazra, God of Brutality. After seeing the explosion of blood that Ruil left in Orrn's wake, the babau's simply teleported away, wanting nothing to do with the elf.
 
The Glyph of Watching now looked upon them. With the charda knowing nothing of the glyph, it fell to Corthana to bond with it. As her mind wandered, she noticed that the glyph was in fact more a device of magical construction. Corthana was more than up to the task as she deactivated it, and absorbed the glyph's power, giving the woman the power to see through all illusions. From there, a blast of light shot towards the center of the Land of Black Blood, where it illuminated a small basilica; the Throne of Abraxis.
 
Upon the wisps of a windwalk the Immortal's scouted out the area. There was a small army of drow, driders and dire bats blocking the bridge to the main gate. These were obliterated by a firestorm from Citrine, destroying half of Allevrah's entire force. There remained only the five guardians standing before the gates to the interior. These were enemies they were used to as four vrocks and a glabrazu blocked their path.
 
Citrine quickly sent a sunbeam into two of the vrocks, hurting them and blinding one of them. Two of the vrocks created mirror images of themselves, while the others attempted to summon forth a fellow vrock, with only one of them succeeding.  Ruil created a fireshield to protect himself. He then moved right next to the glabrazu, cutting into its thigh and sending scolding blood pouring down. Corthana threw a volley of daggers, hoping to knock out some of the magical images. Her strategy paid off as three images blinked out. Gunderhoff blessed his friends as was his normal tactic.
 
The glabrezu clawed at Ruil, hitting the duskblade twice, but wincing from the backlash of magical energy from the fireshield. Yet the burns were minimal compared the cuts Ruil received. Citrine again sunbeamed a fresh set of vrocks, blinding them both and causing them harm. One of the vrocks tried to telekenisis Ruil's blade away, but the locked gauntlet held the blade in place. One of the other vrock's screeched in an attempt to freeze the Immortal's in place. Another vrock sent a cloud of spores in the air that attached to the Immortal's and began sending roots into flesh. Mirror images flared up from a fourth vrock, while the last began a dance of death.
 
Ruil wracked his brain for something magic to blast away with, and settled upon a new spell. Somehow he concentrated through the pain and blasted the glabrazu and two of the vrocks with his shout spell, sending sonic energy to melt their brains. Corthana again launched daggers, this time at a blinded vrock. Some of the images disappeared, while one dagger pierced hilt deep in its kidney. Gunderhoff moved in next to Ruil and smashed his hammer into the glabrezu's knee. It retaliated by creating a portal in an attempt to bring its sister to the plane from the abyss. Yet the throughout that realm of fire and death, the babau's from the fight in the hatchery were screaming about the power the warrior of the material plane were and thus to not accept any invitations to that place that was now considered the Abyss's version of the Abyss. And so the glabrazu saw no one come to his aid.
 
Citrine went to her sunbeams again, blinding a fourth vrock. The remaining vrock that could actually see tried to telekenisis both Citrine and Corthana into the water. The former planted her feet into the ground, while the latter found herself flying through the air and into the cold dark waters below. Ruil sent a black enervation ray at the glabrazu, but the demon kicked dust in Ruil's face in mid-cast, nearly causing the ray to backfire as Ruil rubbed his eyes to clean them, with the magic still on the tip of his finger.
 
Corthana levitated out of the water, throwing the wand aside as the last charge from it was used. Gunderhoff again smashed his hammer into the glabrazu. It in turn summoned a chaos hammer that smashed upon everyone's minds. Citrine again sunbeamed the vrocks, blinding the remaining one. That one finished its dance and a wave of electricity arced out, striking everyone within range. Gunderhoff again hammered down, but this time three claws moved down to intercept each strike. It then clawed mightily at Ruil, rending flesh and sinew but sending back pain. Citrine quickly healed Ruil's wounds, just as the other three vrock's finished their dance of death, sending out an even greater wave of electricity and scorching the Immortal's.
 
Corthana was still a ways away, but she continued moving as fast as she could towards her friends. Ruil again somehow found a way to cast through the pain, and sent a ray of enfeeblement into the demon before him, taking way a large piece of life force. In response, it again slashed and bit at Ruil, knocking him to the edge of darkness. It then screamed out in abyssal to the vrocks to begin their dance of death again.
 
Citrine brought forth her mighty flamestrike spell, wounding three of the vrocks even further as well as the glabrazu. One of the vrocks screeched in an attempt to freeze the Immortal's in fear, but all of them resisted. Ruil, spitting teeth, tried to bring the mighty foe before him down. He placed one foot upon the demon's knee and jumped up as high as his sword could reach. The blade cut through the glabrazu's throat and it fell dead to the ground.
 
Corthana finally made it to the battle to see the fall of the large demon. Yet she was still too far away to get her daggers anywhere near the enemies. Citrine cast another flamestrike, wounding three vrocks yet again, but still they continued dancing.  Ruil now moved into range of the nearest vrock, one which had yet to receive much damage. Within his sword he cast a vampiric touch, cutting away at demon flesh while siphoning soul energy to strengthen his own and destroying an image with a second swipe.
 
Citrine took out her scimitar and slashed into the vrock by her side. Her first hit cut its wing off. Her second swing cut its ear off. Yet the dance continued, and this time electricity blasted out from the vrocks, hurting them all. Corthana was knocked to the ground as the concussive force blew her down. Ruil took the worst of it all, not knowing where to dodge and so taking all the kilojoules through his system. Barely standing, the elf got his revenge, his sword cutting the head off of a vrock.
 
Corthana jumped to her feet, and sent daggers flying, eliminating vrock images. Citrine was way to hurt to cast any healing spells to help her friend and threw her holy fire, destroying the conjured vrock. With the remaining vrocks near death, the Immortals waded through them easily with swords of cold iron, ending their lives. Citrine healed up her allies before a decision was made as to what to do next.
 
Going back to mist form, the Immortal's explored a nearby crack that opened into a pool within the basilica. Upon a small shore, a derro could be seen praying to Ndkia. The god was not familiar to Citrine, as unknowingly the derro was actually praying to an aboleth who spoke to the dark dwarf in her dreams. Near the derro, Ruil's elven instinct noticed a secret passage in the wall. They thus opted for this entry. As they materialized on the other side, they found themselves in a wide passage with four rooms on either side. And from those rooms came fourth eight drow priestess's of Abraxus.
 

And they all began casting chaos hammer.

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