Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 65/3 975 Posts
"Hmpf", the bald dwarf puffed as he whirled around and saw the second illithid slump on the ground. His swing would've carried the heavy blade of his axe through the other mind flayer's body as well, but now he had to stop the strike in mid air. "Hrmpf". Killing the monster had required just as little effort as Gortag had suspected or actually he hadn't thought about it all. Sometimes combat required some planning, but most of the times the Slayer only had his instincts to guide him through a battle. This time the lithe body of the illithid hadn't even provided any resistance for his potent axe or the dwarft's mighty muscles.
Seluraiiel beat Gortag to the third opponent using the incredible powers of her mind and magic to halt the human's escape with a snap of her fingers. The odd duo had fought the evil together before on a number occasions and no longer was the tattooed dwarf surprised by the display of the elven sorceress's might. Still he considered himself fortunate to have her standing on the same side of the thin line that separated the good from the evil. Gortag Grimnirsson had slain more wizards and witches than he could remember, but never had he faced anyone as powerful as the elf. Not that fighting anything or anyone would scare the Slayer anyway.
"A beheading?", the beautiful sorceress asked with her singing voice. "Gortag I would have thought one such as you would have found a much more creative end for the vile thing. Perhaps splitting it in two... groin first."
Even in the near darkness, the orange-bearded warrior could see the hint of a smile in the corner of the elf's mouth. It was like it had always been between the two heroes. They were teasing each other with nasty remarks, but in all honesty Gortag had to admit he liked the pointy-eared woman. He would not go far enough to call her a friend, for all the friends he once had had perished long before he had entered the Temple. And if anything, Gortag hated losing a friend. Having friends on his line of business was dangerous, especially so for the ones he let close.
"Groin? When was the last time you looked under one of those ugly robes the squids wear? They don't even have a groin like the one you mean here. They're frigging self sufficient on that department… or so I'm told." Gortag humphed again an continued in his deep and somewhat raspy voice: "And besides that thing is one of the lowliest creatures out there and does not deserve to experience the beauty of the exquisite Gortag swings… Naah… But you're right. Cutting its head off wasn't what I should've done. I should've bashed its slimy tentacle face in with the butt of my axe instead and ripped those suckers off one by one." Finishing his rant, the dwarf spat on the illithid's body and turned his gaze at the seized human.
"The two illithids have been dealt with but one question remains. What to do about him?" the faery punctuated her words with a gesture towards the unmoving man. Gortag rubbed his beard and shrugged. "Probably doesn't matter. The flayers have sucked half of his brain out anyway. Don't think he'll go running for help and even if he does, they probably wouldn't listen to him." The dwarf wiped the blood of the illithid on the monster's robe and shrugged again. "Just tell him to stay here."
Gortag took a couple of practice swings and rolled his shoulders to get his blood running. It was more out of habit than need, since the divine power in his Axe had been providing him energy beyond the levels of even the strongest of dwarves warriors for a hundred years… or more. It was probably one thing that had kept him safe over the years or centuries that had passed since the day they all had been put under the spell. With the thought, the dwarven warrior turned to his elven companion. "It's been centuries, probably even millennia since we last set our feet outside this temple… How long, it doesn't really matter. Everything we knew is dead and gone. But if there's more of the squids around, then we've got our hands full of work, you and I."
7 yearned for the light, for escape from these monsters, but most of all for the voice. The reasoning power which remained his, told him that if he alerted the other thrall herds, the voice would return, albeit from a new master. But all his attempts to escape were in vain, some force held him immobile. 7 couldn't help but recall seeing a slave try to escape once. The man had yet to hear the voice, othherwise he would have known better than to fear the masters. Before he had run nine cubits, a force paralyzed him holding him still, though his face continued to register his terror. 7 imagined he looked very much the same as that man, with only his facial muscles under his control.
He had to take his mind off the sure death which was quickly coming for him, so 7 did the only thing he did that ever freed him from fear, doubt and pain. He imagined a building, but this time, not one from scratch. Instead he imagined the temple as it must have looked before time had eroded its perfection. In his mind columns rose and statues reassembled themselves. Earth eroded away from the stained skylights and the room bathed once more in multicolored hues. As he saw the arches reassemble he learned the techniques the builders had used, he learned why it was that so many domes in modern cities collapsed. They were simply to low. If the dome was higher, steeper then more of its force would be directed inward at the keystones, and less downward in the direction of collapse. But amazingly this dome's keystone was nothing of the sort. Instead at the center stood that bright portal to the sky, daring 7 to understand what supported it. There was only one answer, the glass. That glass whatever it was, had been stronger than any they had today and now it was... His vision shattered like the skylight itself whose, jagged remnants were littered across the stone, like pieces of a dream long since forgotten. Deprived of that dream he stood, once more, in the dark, alone and at the mercy of monsters.
Posted on 2010-05-01 at 01:47:20.
Edited on 2010-05-01 at 01:50:25 by madscirat
"Probably doesn't matter. The flayers have sucked half of his brain out anyway. Don't think he'll go running for help and even if he does, they probably wouldn't listen to him," Gortag responded to her inquiry as he cleaned the illithid's blood from his axe. "Just tell him to stay here."
Seluraiiel nodded at this but shot a glance towards the immobile human. The dwarf's suspicions echoed her own though unspoken. If he had been with the illithids then he was a thrall. There was no question of that. Illithids were quite skilled in mind control but they lacked the subtlety and finesse to manipulate the mind without breaking. She remembered finding herds of thralls who even after the death of their illithid masters remained empty shells waiting for the next command. This man was likely no exception and that meant his mind would be little more than an echo of consciousness.
"It's been centuries, probably even millennia since we last set our feet outside this temple…" Slayer's gravelly voice interrupted Seluraiiel's reverie and so she turned to face him as he spoke. "How long, it doesn't really matter. Everything we knew is dead and gone. But if there's more of the squids around, then we've got our hands full of work, you and I."
The faerie nodded in response, "It seems likely that while we slept the passage of years became millennia, and the look of this temple only confirms that. You are right Gortag, the world we knew has long since faded even from memory. Before we embark on any path we must learn what we can of this new world, without that knowledge we might as well return to our lithic slumber."
Seluraiiel paused a moment letting her amber gaze drift from the dwarf to the human. A sudden use for the man dawned on her and a sly smile curved across her lips. He might only have a shadow of a mind but for the Sight that would be enough. In that shadow and in his body would be memories, and from those memories Seluraiiel would come know what world lay beyond the temple doorway.
"I think our human here may have just become useful," the faery said as glided over to the yet nameless man. "And that usefulness I think shall be twofold. He surely will be able to tell us not only what lies immediately beyond this temple but also what has become of the world."
A cool look came over her eyes as she studied the man. His terror was clear and evident, it held his eyes wide like a caged animal but behind that fear lay a gleam of intelligence. That she had not expected. At this the intensity of her gaze softened and her eyes took on an almost comforting light.
"I'm not going to hurt you child, just try and relax."
With this Seluraiiel led her amber gaze upward to stare into the human's eyes. Letting the power of the Sight take hold she took a breath and readied herself to follow wherever the oracular vision led her.
Seluraiiel's vision of the temple quickly fades to black as her consciousness plunges down as if into a deep dark cave. The only light in the subterranean world are the spiraling glyphs of numbers and equations that rim the rock walls like lines of crystal in otherwise gray granite. Beyond their glow all is darkness and unconsciousness.
Suddenly after miles of descent through this cramped tunnel, her perspective explodes out into a vast chamber, actually more than just a chamber, a metropolis, an underground city that would dwarf any surface habitation of her day. Twisting towers make columns that join the stone floor to the roof. Upon them multitudes crawl up and down, looking like termites from Seluraiiel's high perspective. Other towers hang upside down, steel stalagtites, their tips serving as the launching points for ships that fly not by propeller or balloon, but by sheer telekinetic force.
Farther down now she can see the citizens, not just mind flayers but drow, drider, duegar; every evil denizen of the dark she can recall and some she can't. They walk together without violence, allies in some perverted mockery of civilization. Then she notices, they are not alone. Humans and dwarves are there to, thousands of them. Naked apart from rags and worker's tools, they march in lines. Their eyes are blank, soulless, without mind enough to recognize their plight.
Now the sorceress's spirit plunges deeper down, toward a huge domed structure. She passes its walls, intangible within the thrall's memory, and enters a place of pure horror. Here she sees the heart of the slave economy, where people are not born but bred. It descends down fathoms beneath the dome, level upon level of torture, where flesh is created without love and minds without will.
Her journey, driven by the mind she's entered, then takes a sharp turn into a long chamber. Here young thralls are strapped to tables, their heads, surrounded by psionic crystals. They scream as knowledge is force fed into their brains and all twist and squirm in their bonds, all but one. The mindflayers circle about this child probbing his skull inquisitively with their tentacles. Seluraiiel recognizes his face, and the bliss of tranquility upon it. Though horribly out of place, she knows happiness when she sees it. Glancing up at the crystals that flank his skull she sees the very same series of numbers and equations she had seen on her descent, they fill her vision, blotting out all the horror around her, until she stands no longer within the dark subterranean hell, but within a great unfinished cathedral. She see's the boy sitting in the midst of a flurry of workers. He's holding in his hands a scroll with precise geometric plans and giving orders to all around him. As Seluraiiel draws nearer she sees the same face as before, the thrall turns and looks at her, their eyes meet and he smiles.
Instantly the chapel collapses into the Star Shrine's aged ruins and she is standing looking not at the boy but at the man and on his face that same look of happiness, a look lost to the reality around him.
The first thought that comes to her mind after, a thought that holds a secret fear, in all her tour of the horror below she had seen not a single elf.
Posted on 2010-05-12 at 16:13:15.
Edited on 2010-05-12 at 16:15:58 by madscirat
Zirt stepped back from another warning flyer and gave it the unhappy look of an artist defeated by his canvas. Around the poster on the message boards were so many advertisements that the red letters of the Mayor's orders could hardly be seen. Not only did it have too much competition, the competition was... steep.
The bulletins were mostly about the districts many brothels. They advertised the arrival of new.. merchandise along with the most lurid images. One even used a projected illusion which had a tiny elf bending over and showing her backside to the viewer. "No one will ever see it here," Zirt grumbled to himself; so he yanked it down and began looking for a substitute. 'Why not where they can't miss it...'
Zirt pinched his nose with one hand as he tacked up the notice with his other. When the work finally demanded all his digits the waft of stale urine and other fluids that wafted up from the waste trough nearly knocked him out. A scary proposition considering he was leaning over the putrid moat and would surely fall in if he allowed himself to faint. When he finnaly finished however he could stand back and feel proud. Five posters spanned the wall over the urinal right at eye level,'err, atleast goblin eye level.'
When the guard emmerged from the latrene he noted the matriarch leaning over the front counter. The wide goblin woman's enourmous bosom practically flowed overtop the desk. "How long those things gotta be up for?" she asked rudely. The Madames ruled Gleech's Red District and if they didn't need to be polite to passing ogres they surely wouldn't show any respect for a humble guard.
"Just until the region is safe again."
"And how long will that be?"
Zirt turned back at the door. Through the gossamer curtain cutting off the rooms beyond, he could see a slender shadow with pointed ears move amidst larger cruder silhoetes. Seeing the figure's grace in motion, he couldn't help but feel an attraction, the attraction all monsters felt for the fair folk, the attraction which turned to violence in some and lust in others. "..Well.. you can never tell about these things... you'll hear from us." Zirt banished the unprofessional thoughts from his mind and rushed out the brothel's swiveling doors.
Posted on 2010-05-16 at 02:17:14.
Edited on 2010-05-16 at 02:30:51 by madscirat
As the Sight gifted vision passed Seluraiiel stepped bak from the frozen human a look of utter disbelief flashes in her eyes before it fades and is swallowed by a cool impenetrable calm. Was it possible that the world had changed so much? Her visions long ago had foretold of the return of darkness but never had she imagined this. The darkness they had vanquished had returned to swallow the world and it left not even the faintest ray of light.
The faerie let her eyes focus once more on the human held before her. This was no mindless thrall, there was something about him that was different. Just as she had seen the light of intelligence in his eyes so in his soul did she find a man fully intact. True his mind had been twisted and molded to suit the needs of his masters' needs but there still remained an autonomous consciousness. It would take time but she might be able to erase his fear and return to him his freedom. A sly smile spread across Seluraiiel's face. If the mind of one thrall remained then surely there were others and she would find them. One by one she would forge the blade that would cleave through the darkness.
Seluraiiel laid a hand on the human's cheek in a gesture that held at once the tenderness of a mother's touch and tempting heat of seduction. With a final glance into the man's eyes she turned from him to glide over to Gortag's side. Locking eyes with the dwarf she wove a simple charm bestowing on the warrior, for a time, the gift of tongues. Although the magic would fade quickly it would still last long enough to suit her needs.
"Be thankful that you have not seen what has just been shown to me," Seluraiiel began speaking not in the common tongue but rather in an ancient long dead dialect of elvish. "This world is swallowed wholly by the dark. Drow, ilithids, duegar and all there ilk have reclaimed their subterranean kingdom. They walk side by side in a massive city far larger than any I have ever seen. The horror does not end with their return, it only grows for they have enslaved the races of man and dwarf in body, mind, and soul."
She did not add that in the dark metropolis there were no elves, only drow. A terrible thought danced in her mind as the possibility of extinction dawned on her. The faerie shuddered involuntarily at the thought, it was a possibility she could not allow.
Returning her attention to the matter at hand Seluraiiel continued, "We cannot allow this to continue and I think our human friend might hold a piece of the key. He is no mindless thrall."
The Illithid's tents stood on the ridge overlooking the gorge which aquaduct would one day span. The dwellings were made of heavy black canvas wrapped tightly about supporting poles in an effort to prevent even a drop of natural sunlight from squelching through. Outside two minitaur guards stood serenly their eyes as lifeless as dead fish and much the same color. Though they had sounded no alarm, the shadows within the tent began to roil with motion.
The mindflayer were a collective race and the death of one in a group could be overlooked as easily as the loss of a finger could by a less evolved species. Normally they would know something about the nature of a threat from their psychic link, but in this case that link had been severed quickly enough to leave them with nothing but the location. However the celerity of their demise spoke volumes, Illithid were not normally easy to kill.
Six of the deep lords very nearly exploded from the tent, their wrath written on each and every writhing tentacle. The leader, atleast a head taller than the others, pulled the minotaurs into formation with but a look. Huffing, the mindless giants strode forward unslinging titanic axes from their shoulders. Most of the mindflayers also held weapons of some sort. Strange staves tipped with crystal or wicked looking daggers. The leader, however, held a staff nearly as tall as he, that pulsated with arcane energy.
At the Dig Site
One of the workers who had stayed behind shuddered as the psychic force of a mindflayer gripped his spine. Puppetted and possessed he crept toward the opening in the rock, the place the collective had last sensed their lost members. With eyes that transmitted directly to the Illithid he peered into the darkness to spy three humanoid shapes, one familiar, two... unknown.
Kal shook her head within the hood she wore, "No means no, I will not put you in danger, not only would your father be heartbroken if anything happened to you. Not only that, but the rest of the camp would demand my head on a pike for "feeding you to the beasts" I'm sure. Now get back to camp before something finds you out here."
Hearing the half dragon's words and the finality in her tone Terral hung his head in disappointment. "Oh, alright Kal," he replied sullenly. Turning back toward the village he trudged off, dreams of steam ships and zeppelins still chugging through his mind.
Posted on 2010-05-18 at 16:29:36.
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 65/3 975 Posts
Kill them all.. again!
"Heeey! Don't give me that look, Nik. Remember the last time we met and you ran away? I did tell you I would come for you, didn't I? And I did promise I would kill you." A human general, Warlord Malcissus, was standing a few feet away from the half-naked Gortag and shook his head in disbelief. He'd heard numerous stories about the dwarf slayers and their battle prowess. And he'd been told some of them had been driven insane by the constant fighting and killing. But this was the first battle the huge soldier had ever fought beside one of the small group of dwarves elite.
It had been a long and gruesome battle in which the victory had not come cheap. The side of the good had taken terrible casualties and now only a mere tenth of their original number of one thousand warriors was still standing. And of the survivors only perhaps a couple of dozen were still uninjured. To the general's surprise, it appeared that Gortag the Slayer was one of them. The stout dwarven body was covered in blood and dirt, but if any of it was his, nothing in the bald fighter's behavior let it show. And Gortag had probably cut down more than a third of the enemy's army single-handedly, including their leader Count Nikolai. Lord Malcissus shook his head again. It was no wonder that the dwarf seemed more than a bit weird…
Removing his heavy, adamantine helmet, Malcissus took a look around on the battlefield and noticed he wasn't the only one wondering about what Gortag was doing. Slowly he turned his steely gaze back towards the Slayer. The dwarf held his huge two-handed battle-ax in his right hand as lightly as someone might he holding a stick even though the mighty weapon probably weighed more than a halfling would. In his other hand was some hair and the jet black ponytail was connected to a once handsome head. Equally black substance was dripping from the severed head and its red eyes were staring blindly into the eternity.
"Now what was that crap "You can't kill me. I'm already dead" all about? Did you come up with that yourself? I hope you didn't go about preaching that to your thralls letting them believe vampires are immortal. Just look around you, Nik. How many of your children do you still see walking about, eh?" Gortag shrugged and threw the head of the vampire lord in to a nearby pyre. "Oh well, always thought you blood-suckers were too easy to kill anyway. Regeneration doesn't help much when you've got no head left, now does it?" The dwarf aimed the last question at the black-armored human beside him, but clearly did not expect an answer and continued: "You know, Malc. This was a good day… or night, if you prefer."
The human warlord looked at the dwarf with doubt filled eyes. "What the hell are you talking about, Slayer? We lost nearly a thousand noble warriors to a handful of vampires today. In what way is that a good thing?" General Malcissus snorted in disgust for Gortag's comment. The dwarf nodded in answer and looked across the sea of bodies in which numerous bonfires more than twenty feet high each were making the scene almost as bright as daylight would have. The remaining few still in good enough shape were carrying bodies into the fires. They made no difference between vampires or humans or dwarfs. They could not risk any of the slain to rise again as blood leeching monsters.
Malcissus could see a hint of sadness in the muscular, tattooed dwarf's eyes as Gortag turned back to face him. "True. Things did not go as planned. Nikolai was far more powerful than we had thought. Even our sorcerers had no idea the night was extended by magic and would not die with the sun coming up. Assaulting the nest with the sun cowering our backs would've been better for sure. But the men knew the risk and they were willing to take it. And they died to make the world a better place. Even still, it was a good day. The mightiest of the vampire lords will not breed anymore."
Gortag forced himself out of the vision from the past. It had not been the only speech he'd given in the previous life, though probably the longest one. The Slayer was not a speaker. He didn't have the way with fancy or encouraging words. He was a killer, to heart and bone. Though he wasn't quite certain he still had a heart - other than a one of stone. It had been a good day. When Count Nikolai's luck had turned, so had the tide of the battle between good and evil. It had been the day with the promise of better times for the beings of good.
At about then, his elven companion came out of her own trance and turned to face Gortag. The look on the beautiful face was grave. It was obvious that she had witnessed something horrible while looking into the human thrall's mind. There was an edge, a steely ring to Seluraiiel's words as she spoke. It was something the dwarf had never noticed in her singing voice before. A few mysterious words of magic flowed from her lips as the elven enchantress locked her gaze with the dwarf's. Gortag felt no effect in his body and the mighty axe in his hand didn't report any evil magics trying to work their way through its defense. Not that he would've expected any. Right now, the two of them had no one else to rely upon. There were no friends or allies to come to their assistance other than themselves. Therefore the distrusting Slayer would give his life into Seluraiiel's hands if needed.
"Be thankful that you have not seen what has just been shown to me," Seluraiiel began speaking not in the common tongue but rather in an ancient long dead dialect of elvish. "This world is swallowed wholly by the dark. Drow, ilithids, duegar and all there ilk have reclaimed their subterranean kingdom. They walk side by side in a massive city far larger than any I have ever seen. The horror does not end with their return, it only grows for they have enslaved the races of man and dwarf in body, mind, and soul." "We cannot allow this to continue and I think our human friend might hold a piece of the key. He is no mindless thrall."
Gortag stood still and silent for a few heartbeats letting the information sink in. Even if describing the situation hopeless would be an understatement, the Slayer did not feel so. He had already accepted the fact that everyone he had ever known was long gone and would not be coming back. It was another life of another dwarf. He and her were here now. That was all that mattered. And it was easy to agree with the elven lady. What she had seen could not be allowed to continue as long as the two of them had anything to say about the matter. The orange bearded warrior nodded his tattooed head a couple of times and grunted in reply. "Yes. We need to turn this world upside down… Again."
Looking at the fragile human standing beside the sorceress and then at the hole in the rock through which he and his masters had entered the temple, Gortag nodded again deep in thought. "Aye. We need to set the humans and the dwarves and the elves free again even if it will be damn hard. However I'm sure more of the leeches will be heading our way very soon, so we'd better get moving. And even if I'd like nothing more than to kill all of the monsters on the way, we may need to hide for a while… and observe and plan. It's something I've never been good at, but I need to learn quick now, won't I?"
A nasty grin appeared on the Slayer's face. "But let's make sure we leave a sign for all the nasties out there. A warning of a kind. Just enough to install a spark of fear into the corrupted hearts of theirs. That's all."
Posted on 2010-05-19 at 13:17:52.
Edited on 2010-05-19 at 18:19:49 by Raven
Zirt gawked at the twisted towers which peeked over the high wall's. Their warped masonry was all most citizens, and guards for that matter, would ever see of Gleech's Institute for the Arcane Arts. As he stepped up to the gates a teacher glided up to meet him. The bulging eye of the beholder weighed down upon him. "I am Orrixolan, Conjurer, how can we assist the city today." The aberrant mage smiled cordially, a forest of fangs filling the space between his lips.
"Uh.. yeas, well," Zirt stuttered in the face of the great veined orb, "I've been ordered to distribute the Mayor's proclaimation around town." He held out one of the flyers and instantly it flew from his grip surrounded by an enchanting glow. Beholders didn't have hands so they had to settle for magic.
The notice floated up to the aberrant's face where a number of its smaller tentacled eyes swooped down for a look. He read the paragraph in a split second but took a bit longer to consider the words. "I assume the Guard would like the notice posted where our faculty and students can observe the warning. Its not often that the students travel but occasionally teachers will take trips to the Nine Crowns for... reasearch purposes. They should be made aware, of course."
"Uh, yes that would be... um.. nice of you."
The beholder grinned and Zirt couldn't help thinking it could have just as easily bitten his head off. "Do you have multiple copies?" Zirt went to hand the creature more of the leaflets but they went gliding out of his hands before he could ask how many it wanted.
"Very good," said the beholder mage, the flyers orbiting about him like leaves in a whirlwind. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
"Uhh, no.. thankyou.. good-day." Zirt tipped his helmet to the monster and hurried off, glad to be out of the shadow of those towers and the beholder's singular stare.
Zirt entered the guard tower out of breath. When he'd taken the assignment, he hadn't really understood how huge Gleech was. Now he did, from the soles of his feet on up. He'd been to every landmark in the city: the Arena; the Sunken Temple of Maglubiyet; the Flesh District; the Steam Docks; even the Pit, Gleech's backdoor to the underdark. Now his legs were so weak from walking that he nearly collapsed into his sergeant's empty chair.
A sudden shriek assured he staayed on his feet. Reacting despite his fear, Zirt drew the big dagger which sufficed for a sword and charged toward the noise. Clamoring down to the cells he half expected a prison break. Instead he saw Wyck, the sly kobold guard standing in a pool of blood. Chained on the wall before him, a pale human hung panting. Cuts expertly placed around his body were bleeding in rivulets across otherwise unharmed flesh.
"Find Captain Maldoroth," Wyck snapped, "tell him it talked, he'll know what you mean." The reptilian than cleaned off the guilty silver blade and sheathed it into a hidden nook of his uniform. Zirt followed the order without question. He'd lived long enough to know not to judge a threat by its size and to that end he was more frightened of Sergeant Wyck than the biggest monster he'd met on his tour of the city.
Posted on 2010-05-19 at 20:18:30.
Edited on 2010-05-20 at 01:21:51 by madscirat
No sooner had Gortag spoke than he felt something, not heard but felt. Centuries of roaming the most feared crevices of the underdark, not to mention his dwarven heritage, had taught him to sense vibrations through the stone. It was the secondary reason for the metal plating on his boots, the primary one being obvious.
The sound that traveled through the rock, spoke of a stealthy scurrying, a trespasser in the temple straining to remain unseen. His steps were crudely placed, grinding gravel beneath each tread and clearly advertising his position near the crack which had given the Illithid entrance. However, unless the mindflayers had grown soft in the lack of true enemies, the trespasser could not be one of them. No creature of the Underdark Gortag knew could be so clumsy.
Posted on 2010-05-20 at 15:36:00.
Edited on 2010-05-20 at 15:36:13 by madscirat
The Illithid split its mind, a simple feat for a creature for whom psionics was as natural as breathing. One part focused on the simple task of leading the group to the site of the ... disturbance. The other focused on its puppet. Through the thralls eyes it saw the unspeakable, the unthinkable. A dwarf and an elf, not thralls, or even slaves but free. Moreover he saw its two hive-mates slaughtered near their feet. It scanned the ruins for some monster that could have helped the humanoids accomplish such a feat, it saw none save another thrall, held in what seemed to be a trance. It tried to comandeer that mind as well but found the mind resistant to its entrance. 'A thrall?.. impossible..' It could have, of course, exerted the force necessary to flay the feeble will it found in the thrall but it did not dare alert its enemies with such a move. Instead it urged the thrall it currently inhabited to crawl in for a closer look.
Something was not right with these two humanoids. It had been on hunts before, into the wilds where escaped humans and dwarves were rounded up like lost cattle. They were savage things barely able to clothe themselves. These two however, wore items of power the likes of which Duegar excavaters spent their entire lives hoping to uncover. Moreover they wore them naturally, not like some creature who'd merely stumbled upon them. Then there was the elf; her simple presence, considering her race teetered on the brink of extinction, was enough to surprise, but something else about her shocked the observant mindflayer.
It had been raised in the mana-pools where as a larvae, it absorbed the essence of what would become its arcane gift. Later on, after it matured in its host, it had been trained by the Ularithid Magi themselves, so it could easily sense magical power even through the dull eyes of a thrall. This elf female radiated with it. Not even his Ularithid teachers posessed such an aura of power about them.
It was in seeing that aura that It first felt something, a feeling reserved for lesser races, reserved for elves and dwarves; he felt.. doubt.
A stilted silhoette played on the corroded walls of the city sewer. Groveling the spawn approached its master still cloaked in shadow. "It has been done, my Lord."
A pale hand tipped with hooked nails emerged from the darkness to stroke the spawns bald head as one might a favorite pet. "Good, the lawyer has made many enemies. It will be long before the truth comes out, if ever, and before it does our time will have come... is that not right my dear."
The figure that shared the darkness with him sat up from an inclined position her body moving with a cat's grace. A pair of wings could be seen rustling in the shadows behind her sloping shoulders. "That's right my love," came the darkly enchanting voice. "Soon the alliance will be forged and everything can proceed as we have planned." She slid off what appeared to be a luxurious bed, strangely placed in the dripping confines of the sewer. Her arms flowed over the vampire-lord's bony shoulders like oil over jagged rock. "Soon you will live above and rule Gleech and the goblins will live below huddled in the darkness where they belong."
Posted on 2010-05-20 at 16:21:21.
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 65/3 975 Posts
Before Seluraiiel had a chance to respond to Gortag's suggestion, the dwarf sent a look of warning her way. The dwarven defender was not certain how much the elven sorceress was able to read of his thoughts with her immense telepathic powers. He was aware enough of his own mental strength to know he could definitely resist any feeble attempt of controlling his mind. The fairy's skill was beyond anything Gortag had met however. She might be able to hide her attempts to capture his thoughts so that he would be totally unaware of it. Then again she might not.
More than a couple of vampires and mind flayers had attempted to turn the Slayer into a mindless slave during the War. None had succeeded, not even Count Nikolai. Gortag had felt the bloodsucker's telepathic attacks trying to wrest the control of his body and mind from himself, but he had been able to force the vampire out. What the dwarf was not sure about, was whether it had been his own power that had blocked the attacks or the Axe. There was a fraction of Moradin's power in the artifact, but enough to probably make it the most potent weapon in the world… At least the world they'd known.
Whatever had entered the temple just now was certainly not a tentacle-head. The Illithid did not make much sound when they moved and though Gortag's hearing was very good for a dwarf, he was not an elf. He would not have heard one of the squids approaching. Then again, the bald warrior wasn't sure he'd exactly heard this one either. It was just a feeling. He simply felt something or someone fairly clumsy had come. The lass is having an effect on me already. It's more her job to feel and know the unseen than mine. Gortag chuckled silently in his mind and turned to face the direction he knew the newcomer to be at.
Generally dwarves aren't too swift in their moves. Sure an experienced warrior of the stout folk could certainly swing his axe faster than an eye could see, but running or leaping wasn't really their business. Gortag however, was made of different stuff than any other dwarf. Moradin's Axe gave him powers beyond those a "regular" dwarf could ever hope to achieve. So now, as he slightly bent his knees and launched himself into a charge, not many a creature could have matched his speed - certainly no other dwarf could have. It took the Slayer half a heartbeat to reach the new enemy and all of his strength to stay his hand from striking down another human thrall.
Lowering his weapon, Gortag looked deep into the slave's eyes. There was little sense left in the empty gaze of the human. He snorted in disgust and pointed his thick fore finger at the thrall's nose. "Tell your master I'm coming for it. And when I find it, I will feed its ugly tentacles to it one by one." Having finished his threat, Gortag raised his muscular left hand and punched the lights out of the thrall. He didn't know if the mind flayer controlling the human could hear him or not, or if his threat had reached it. But he did know they could see through the eyes of their thralls. That's why the squid had sent another mindless creature down - to gain a view at whatever it was that had killed two of its kin.