Death's End

Prolouge: The Small Package (nights 1-3)

This story began with a humble half-elf named Klatu Fiest who lived in the planes just south of the elven city of Berthomieu, farming with his father. Through the many years of living on a farm, he learned to have hawk eyes and shoot any pest on the farm from a distance – and he was rather good at it. One season after they had harvested the crop, Klatu’s father asked him to leave his home and his girlfriend to take and sell the harvest at the capital city: Vanimavaivavasa (yes, I spelt that correctly). Packing up the carriage, he began the journey to the capital. After weeks of voyaging the Elven countryside, he stopped to rest at a tavern just south of Vuvepennerviot.

Pretty inn-workers aside, he entered a nearly empty tavern. He chatted a little with the only patron in the room, a half-elf with a parot on his shoulder squawking in what Klatu imagined to be dwarven. He learned that the half-elf’s name was Stiglets with his familiar parot: Capt’n Crunch, and Stiglets had a proposition for Klatu that would offer a sizeable reward if he was successful. “I have this small package you see,” Stiglets started, but Klatu interjected an appology. Stiglets continued to explain that he needed assistance in delivering a package to the lake MontCaf, atop the great Mount Trinitas. Klatu was a little hesitant at first, he wasn’t wanting to get tangled up in something that could cause him or anybody trouble – the details were scant. Klatu asked if he could see the package. He showed him the package but wouldn’t let him peak inside. Klatu was still very hesitant, but Stiglets made an offer of payment that would more than double the family’s earnings for the harvest – so he agreed.

So they paired up and for the next two weeks traversed fields and forests, all of which seemed to be perfectly maintained by unseen gardeners. They were just outside of Vanimavaivavasa when they were approached by a Crazy Old Guy, excited as could be. Stiglets paid him no heed, but Klatu wanted to see what the old man was going on about. The rantings were hard to put a story together, but he went on about how he’d finally got what he’d been looking for, and how now he could see and make his way through – and somehow all of this was because of a plain old ring he’d acquired. Klatu found Stiglets behind a dumpster, shaking his small package to see if he could judge it’s contents. He concluded it contained something about the size of a gameboy cartridge. Once in The City, Klatu sold the harvest for a little less then the year prior due to present trends in the market. He sold the family cart for a little extra cash and the archer and sorcerer made their way north towards Trinitas on horseback. About half a day’s journey and they came upon a lone fighter standing in the road – as if awaiting their arrival. They approached cautiously. The half-elf woman dawned in a chain shirt demaned that they state their business, did they uphold good or work for evil schemes? After some aprehension and drawn arrows, they assured her that they held no ill intent. Safer in numbers, she joined them. She shared that her name was Percephone. Luckily for her, she was in top shape – because she had to run to keep up with the two men that wouldn’t let her ride with them.

The lake Montcaf fed the water that supplied the landmark Nagaria Falls, the base of which was Gaudemente. At Gaudemente was a small mounty-outpost composed of three log cabins that the party was approaching. They split up, and in their explorations of the cabins, one found a crusty old man that attacked Stiglets – but was really just a pushover pansy, and Percephone found a national map. Stiglets had been informed by the old elvish man that to the north was a cave that could lead them to the top of the mountain, and they followed the map accordingly. They camped at the base of the cliff, as it was getting late. Klatu had an awkward run-in with Percephone, but he gracefully saved face. Upon the morning bird’s song, they awoke and began their journey into the cave.

They were traveling through this cave for a long time, and for a long while, it felt as if it continued to go up and up and up. Until finally the rocky floor was replaced by set marble and they found themselves looking into a vast, empty stone room. And at the otherside of the room, a stairway beckoned. Klatu walked in and noticed that in various places throughout the room were large holes in the floor. Percephone walked right in and started walking straight toward the stairs. At about the same time, Klatu and Percephone felt like they had walked into solid walls. feeling infront of them, indeed there seemed to be some sort of invisible wall complicating their progression through the room. In actuality, they were at the enterance of a laberynth of invisible walls. They slowly and gradually began to explore the room, wall by wall at a time. Klatu was the first to feel his way down a hallway that led straight to a pit filled with spikes. He planned to toss a silver piece across the pit to make sure that he could jump the pit without having to worry about jumping into an invisible wall, but he flubbed up and tossed it short. Very short. But to his surprise it landed on thin air above the pit. He felt about above the pit and discovered that there was an invisible floor on the left half of the pit that could be walked across rather easily. The party discovered that there were invisible floors in all the pits, but in complicating zig-zags that tested their balance. After steady progression through the maze, the team came to a dead-end, and the floor had an upside-down rainbow pattern in it. Frustrated with the dead-end, they turned around in search of the proper hallway to the exit.

Stiglets had explored his way to a back-corner of the room when he noticed a lever on the floor. He went ahead an pulled it and from deeper within the maze, the sound of slate against slate could be heard. Klatu made a look around and saw a lever that they had overlooked at the maze enterance. He ran over to it and pulled it, and the sound of slate against slate could be heard again, but this time closer. He ran back to the dead end to find that the rainbow shape had lowered to make a stairway to a passage that ran under the floor to another side of the maze. Percephone was heading toward the opened passage when she spotted another overlooked lever. She pulled it and once again, slate could be heard, but this time something entered the room. Three centipedes approximately the length of a man’s arm crawled into the room through holes that had opened up in the cieling, and one larger centipede crawled in as well. And two of them were uncomfortably close to where Klatu and Stiglets had just ventured. The centipedes were in a section of the maze that they had not explored yet, so there could have many walls between them, or there could have been nothing but a hallway. It wasn’t until Percephone had fallen into a spike pit trying to help Klatu out that the party had remembered that ALL THIS TIME, they had a fourth party member that had been in a walking coma – which convienently, at this momemt, she awoke from (enter the new PC for the night). And what convienence! She was a cleric!

Xena Cleric Princess snapped to attention and ran through the maze to assist her comrades out of this grim situation, and after some effort – Xena and Stiglets managed to pull Percephone and Klatu out of the pit. After Klatu got healed up a bit in the name of the Savior, the party cautiously advanced through the invisible laberynth, getting close enough at times to touch them – but luckily the walls were between them. Klatu had found his way to the hallway that would lead him to the bugs – infact a bug was in clear-sight …. but it was past a pit. Klatu took some bread, crumbled it and tossed it over the pit, and a small invisible floor showed itself in a 1/4 square of the pit. he went to jump across the pit – yet he made the mistake of not checking to see if there was a wall. If there hadn’t been a wall, it would have been an inspirational jump – but instead he totally ate it and tumbled into the pit. He passed out for a while there – but Xena quickly tended to him. And as Percephone was pulling him out, he spotted a bag that had belonged to an ill-fated adventurer who had fallen into the same pit centuries ago. He nabbed it and once out of the pit, and bandaged – he peeked inside. To you or me, what he saw would have looked a lot like a tootsie pop – but was actually little health-candies.

The comfort of safety was short-lived however, as the bigger centipede attacked at Percephone (and missed) from the other side of the pit, and backed up for safety. Klatu and Xena decided they were gonna sit out on this one. Percephone engaged the monster in combat. and knock for knock, she held it back. After a couple hits, it backed off and reared up on it’s hind-quarters to attack if she came to close. But Klatu came around the corner and shot it in the bug’s soft under-belly with such force that it knocked the bug backwards, and it could do nothing but curl up in a ball. Percephone instigated the double tap and chopped it’s head off. Percephone went after the remaining centipede and it postioned itself between the party and the way out (not trying to stop them from advancing, it WAS just the more strategic postion for it defensively). Xena, Klatu and Stiglets decided they were gonna leave this bug to Percephone and skipped past the bug – however Stiglets was not so lucky. As he passed the bug bit at him with enough force that he was knocked out!

The bug crawled on top of him and proceded to nomnom Stiglet’s chest. Percephone swung at the beast to kill it, but missed and cut Stiglets too deep. Then something unexpected happened. Stiget’s body began to glow and it split in half and out-came what seemed to be some random halfling (This was me not wanting to interrupt gameplay rolling a new character – bad DMing, I know, and I’m sorry). Meanwhile, Xena is looking at a lever that is right in front of the stairway and trying to decide if she is going to switch it, which she eventually does – and once again there is the sound of slate, but this time it sounds like the sound is being made right next to her – but nothing in the room appeared to chage. Klatu runs over to her and discovers with her that the sound was actually an invisible wall right beside them that had opened like a door – allowing a straight and easy walk to the beginning of the maze. Xena and Klatu make there way up the stairs. Back in the maze, the halfling takes a swing and misses the centipede that is still sitting on top of him and accidentally cuts his face in the process. Percephone cleaves the bug in half with such precesion that she cleaves the bug, but doesn’t even knick the new halfling. She asks him who he is, and he introduces himself with a wink and gives the name: Draven. The details of what exactly just happened to Stiglets were hazy, but (I as the DM was ok settling that) the sorcerer had set a spell long ago that upon his death, and replacement would be summoned to complete the job. (Sometimes in D&D, the best way around a problem in-game is to ignore it. Thats what we did here ^__’ ) The two made their way to the stairs.

These stairs went up a ways as well, and the further they went, the colder it got. And soon the stone steps and walls became crystal clear. As they approached the top of the stairs, they could see a maze of caverns and hallways forming above them – all were crystal clear as they had been carved out of the ice that sheeted the mountain. Even the doors were clear. A ways beneath the maze, distorted by the layers of ice but clearly visible, layed something cocooned in ice – and it glowed yellow. When they reached the top, they were surprised to find that Xena had relapsed back into her coma – but went ahead without her. They made there way to the room that seemed to be directly above the glowing thing beneath them. The closer they aproached, the more it seemed to move, until it could clearly be seen moving through the ice – and getting closer to them! A scaly head poked out from beneath the icy floor and stared at Draven. “Who disturbs my slumber?” It asked very crankily. Draven gave it the same look as he had given Percephone earlier – but the head in the floor did not seem amused. “Explain why you have disrupted my slumper NOW!” it steamed. “We are delivering a package.” The halfling answered. “What sorts of package? I requested and do not wait here for a package. No, that is not my purpose here!” and with that the body of the scaly head erupted out from the ground. It had the torso of a humanoid, but had the lower half of a monsterously sized centipede. Standing upright, it must have measure 8 feet tall, but from head to tail, easily 18 feet. It’s back was lined with spikes that glowed with intense heat.

Draven ran up quickly to it, getting right in between the carapace on it’s belly he carved a nice, deep horizontal line. The three of them fought the foul beast, but in the end – it died. Klatu and Percephone skinned the beast for it’s thick hide – perhaps making a nice set of armor in the future while Draven patched up a broken leg (as the beast had lunged at him from the cieling and landed on him full force). The party made their way to the final flight of stairs, and as they walked up it, they could feel the chilling breeze of the mountain air on their faces. They had reached Montcaf, and it was the moment Klatu and Percephone had been anxiously awaiting – the contents of the box. Draven tried to open it, but it would not budge. It seemed to be magically sealed. Out of frustration of other options, Draven tossed the small package into the lake. All eyes were on the lake. But nothing happened. Anticipation turned to worry, turned to doubt, and Klatu dived in the the FRIGID cold waters to see if anything had come of the box. He found it on the lake floor with it’s flap open. He retreived it and brought it back out to Draven and Percephone. Inside they saw nothing but what looked like black tar lining the inside of the package, and some of the tar floating on the top of the ice-cold water that had been scooped in the box. Draven sniff-tested the boxes innards and nearly threw up everywhere. It smelled of death. Klatu took a little and taste tested it. He DID throw up everywhere. Klatu non-chelantly dumped the box’s contents onto Draven for a laugh or two. Doubt turned to concrete terror as they pondered the ramifications of tossing Stiglet’s small package into the icy-water of Montcaf. Do they go tell someone? Do they run away and try and keep out of trouble? Draven left and walked away (and time-warped back into his REAL campaign time-zone and plotlines). Klatu could not handle that he could have just assisted in something very bad, so he tried to ump off the cliff – jumped about 5 feet early and just ate it. But he continued to crawl toward the cliff and crawled off. Percephone proceeded back the way she had come through the maze.

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