“YOUR FATE WILL BE NO DIFFERENT THAN THE REST.”
Samnymian lay broken on the stone floor, blood pooling around him. Gretel reacted without thinking, calling upon the grace of Palor to heal him, but the Anti-Magic Aura he had enveloped himself in thwarted her efforts. Ved’rail couldn’t see Samnymian where he lay, but sensed his brother’s condition but had little time to react to it, the menacing figure of Dinestrae still loomed before him. His Disjuction gambit had cut off much of their enemy’s power, but had left him with Cacophony, his instrument, as the only item of magical power at his disposal.
Ragnork let out a gutteral growl of rage, and brandishing Kel’ethial overhead, charged the fallen celestial. Although nearly slain by the High Priest, he pressed the fight against Dinestrae. Gretel struggled to keep the warrior alive with her healing magics, the power of the recovering Deva within her helped bolster her reserves.
The last of the Knights and Clerics of the Church lay either slain or banished at Alluvian’s feet. She launched arrow after arrow at Dinestrae to support Ragnork’s attack. Phandrea, who had been staggered by the magical effects within the chamber when she first entered was able to refocus and begins healing and bolstering the huntress’ attacks.
“YOU WILL PAY IN BLOOD FOR YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS.”
The party faced off against Dinestrae with grim determination. Wielding her devastating great sword, she would easily stagger one opponent then swiftly move to another. The creature’s movements so swift, one moment she would be at the far end of the hall, locked in combat with Ragnork, the next she would press the attack directly against Alluvian.
Gretel could do little to assit Samnymian as he was, but she knew that he could still contribute to their battle. Picking up his limp form, she carried him to where Alluvian and Ragnork struggled against the fallen celestial. She brought his anti-magic aura into proximity of the fight, just enough to disrupt the regenerating magical defenses and blinding gaze.
“NO! I WILL NOT BE DENIED!”
Ragnork caught her blade with the Elven steel of Kel’lanthiel, while Alluvian struck a telling blow that staggered the evil giantess. Up until this point, their assaults against Dinestrae had shown little effect, save to anger her. But then there was a pause, and it was as if the precarious balance between the blinding flight the fueled her and endless void that consumed her was disrupted.
Cracks from the many blows spread across her alabaster armored form, spilling harsh light in all directions. The sound of thousands of chimes, struck in a great chaotic discord filled their ears. Then, Dinestrae was consumed in a ball of searing light that spread out from where she fell.
Only her great sword, embedded half way along the blade’s length in the stone floor, remained.
Alluvian leaped down the stairs, pulling Phandrea down with her as the blast rushed overhead. Ragnork, Gretel and Ved’rail dove for the protection of the anti-magic aura still protecting Samnymian’s limp form. But any of the fallen church soldiers caught in the blast were incinerated.
With the current threat gone, Ved’rail rushed to his fallen brother. Gretel tended the sword wound as best she could without magics and the elven wizard returned to groggy consciousness.
Samnymian canceled the anti-magic aura, and felt his strength return as Gretel’s magics healed his wounds. He looked up at his much abused comrades and spoke in a worn voice, “Did we win?”
Phandrea and Greteal swiftly restored their friends to health, drawing upon the magics of their respective gods. In the meantime, the others looked around the now, deathly quiet, Cathedral of the Benevolents. The choir had grown silent, low staring listlessly into space, no longer singing. The few living Knights and Priests who were not incinerated when Dinestrae was destroyed lay in a stupor on the cold stone.
The far wall of the Cathedral began to tremble and break away, revealing a opening going further into the earth. A wall of crimson light blocked that path, bathing the room in an unpleasant red glare.
The recovered party realized that they were not finished here yet. This cathedral had been only part of whatever vileness the Church of Benevolents were up to. An examination of the wall revealed it to be a unique spell, combining a wall of force and a field of disintegration. A well worked Dispell Magic destroyed the barrier, allowing them to venture forth.
The passage they discovered was even stranger than the Cathedral. Eventually the work stone look of the Benevolents gave way to purple toned stone with strange skull shaped patterns that appeared suspended within it. They passed a pair of elven statues, one male, the other female that flanked either side of the passage. Beyond was a short flight of stairs leading down into a small chamber with several exists and numerous sharp angles. The chamber was bathed in a violet light with no discernible source, that pulsed slowly.
Alluvian boldly strode into the room, letting her hunter’s eyes peer into the violet shrouded shadows. Something about the room put her on edge.
A woman’s voice was heard clearly in the room, sounding closeby and not muffled by the narrow exits, “I see the Church and their fallen pet were no match for you.” Then a pause, “What they have said about you is true.”
“Who are you?”, asked Alluvian as Ragnork joined her in the room, followed by Phandrea and Ved’rail.
“Oh, no need for names at the moment, my friends.” The exits were suddenly engulfed in crimson walls of light, “My work here is nearly complete and I cannot allow you to interfere.”
Alluvian spun, sensing something behind her. In the shadowy corners, figures appeared. Tall as an elves, their lean bodies where swathed in blue garments so dark, they appeared black. Dull red witch fire played about their eyes and each carried a sword hilt in their hands, but no blades.
“My minions will not harm you if you do not try anything foolish. I have no desire to see any of you harmed.”, the woman’s voice, pleasent but strict spoke the elven tongue with a strange accent reminecent of the Drow druid they’d encountered in the Vale of the Banshee Tree.
“Drow..”, the huntress hissed.
Ragnork brandished Kel’elthial, the elven blade shimmered with pale blue smoke, the bane of those of elven kind who had turned to darkness, “We fight?” he asked his fellows.
Gretel called upon the grace of Palor, bestowing his protection upon her companions.
Samnymian gaged the tight confines, and the way the woman’s voice carried through the chamber, “To me!” he cried, as the dark glad figured activated the swords, blue-violet blades of energy errupted to life.
As the party gathered around the elven mage, Ved’rail observed, “Brilliant Blades I would assume, they ignore armor.”
The woman’s voice rang out, “The Trierun and their Church believe they are the masters of manipulation, that their endeavors to weaken the barriers between worlds will open the way for the Trirune to enter our world will come to fruition. But they are mistaken.”
Before the dark figures could close in, Samnymian invoked a Dimension Door, moving the group beyond the far wall, in the direction he sermised the voice to be coming from. With a lurch, they found themselves in the far side of the chamber, where they beheld their foe.
This chamber was slightly larger than they one they left, with several narrow exists behind them, also barred by crimson force walls. The far wall was torn, rough stone, exposing a large section of the Eldrasil Root. A violent gash had been opened in the root, and into this gash a black jagged tree like plant was grafted. They were attempting to graft part of the Banshee Tree into the Eldrasil!
There enemy was there as well, a tall drow woman with a toned, luscious figure. Her head was hooded, but the rest of her body was revealed. She was clad in skin tight black leather with long swaths of blue-violet skin exposed. She had a lethal looking long sword on her hip, gauntlets with sharp metal claws on the ends of the fingers, and dangerous looking heeled boots. Although the details of her face were hidden, they all sensed the cruel smile there.
There were six of the dark clad minions in the room as well. As they charged silently, the woman vanished. With the enchantment granting them the ability to see through invisibility, they knew she had moved to another location. Before they could investigate further, the battle was joined.
“The Seven will herald the Revelation of the Goddess’ Truth.”, they heard her voice over the din of battle.
The magical blades made these foes very dangerous, but the party was not helpless. One foe fell quickly, leaving behind ash and fragments of charred bones, they opponents were undead, and while swift, lacked true tactics without their Mistress to guide them.
“The Trirune don’t realize that their efforts are guided by us, and as they strive, they only bring us closer to our goal.”
Two more of the creatures perish. Alluvian moved into the root, trying to lean what she could of the vile grafting.
“The Fate foreseen by Arushnee shall be woven from their chaos.”
Alluvian received a vision from the twin Eldrasil. She saw the infected root, with the burrowing tendrils of the Banshee Tree burrowing into them, of fire searing away the infection in a mixture of pain and purification, and finally of a murky swamp filled with shadows and green.
Although wounded they felled the last of the shadow attackers, only to have the nearest crimson walls vanish, allowing more to pour in.
“All of you shall play your part in forging Fate to her Will.”
Alluvian called for fire and Samnymian complied, taking out their attackers and purifying the root a the same time. The Banshee Tree wailed as it was consumed in flame, the root was scorched, but such wounds would heal. As the last of the foul tree was consumed, the voice of the Drow woman faded, she had fled.