Episode Thirty Seven - Daemons and Demons
Episode Thirty Seven – Daemons and Demons (Level 14)
DM – Kristy
*Vash, Lyda and Carmenith are wrapped up in fierce combat, with a huge Demon and dozens of demon-moles. Lyda takes position in a finished passage that seems to lead upward towards Khuharibifu, shooting into the opening of another cave, where the pack of moles are trying to charge out and overwhelm the heroes. Vash faces off with the huge demon, using his invisibility to great advantage but still taking several heavy blows. Carmenith takes down foe after foe, helping both Vash and Lyda.
*Snowball, out in the jungle searching for danger, can no longer sense Ichtaca through their primal link. She settles for the next best thing, tracking his companions, who may know where her beloved master has gone. She follows Vash, Lyda and Carmenith into the demon-tunnels, making short work of the demon-moles in the tunnels above before she charges down to join the fray with the others in the cave below.
*Ichtaca fights with a far larger demon, meanwhile, hard-pressed to stay alive long enough to escape. Discovering that his spirit-whip works well here in the high realm of the Abyssal throne, he lashes the giant, binds it down in spirit vines, and then runs for his life. He hides in a torture-field, a vast expanse of souls writhing on spikes, inside-out and endlessly pleading with their god for mercy that will never come. It’s difficult, but he manages to lose his pursuer, who takes flight above, searching.
*Since he’s here in the Abyssal throne and, for the moment, unable to return and examine that arch, Ichtaca decides to search for one of the herbs they need, a root called burrow-vein.
*Hearing a voice call out a few curses in Norlythin, Ichtaca approaches a tortured soul and meets the man Farren, a colonial from the initial wars between Teratorrume and the Norlythe, and apparently once a general who slew many Norlythins in the name of Daemoth and Trentsmund and progress. Ichtaca lifts him down from the spike, and the man slowly begins to turn right side in again as he talks. Ichtaca learns little of use from the man, but carries him with him as he navigates the poor souls. It’s hard to hide here, with people reaching out to touch him, begging him for help. He crosses several patches of ground where the spikes are empty, and sees signs of battle here, including hoof-prints from what seem to be normal horses, not demons.
*Icthaca approaches a great thorn tree, with souls impaled on every thorn. In the distance, he sees a great black palace, surrounded by fields worked by countless slaves. Farren explains what an exarch of Daemoth told him on his arrival here; that only one in a hundred of Daemoth’s worshipers escape the torture-fields to become a slave at such an estate. Perhaps one in a thousand is a servant or guard there. One in ten thousand gets what they were promised for a lifetime of faithful service; a palace and a dominion of glory in the Abyssal throne. Meanwhile, Ichtaca finds that the thorn tree is infested with a parasitic root-like vine, like human veins, feeding on the prisoners stuck on the thorn tree. The roots are hostile, and attack Farren and Ichtaca when they try to harvest some of them. Ichtaca gets what he needs, but many of the roots have burrowed into his flesh. Both he and Farren are infected with a growing fever. Ichtaca finds the roots don’t die even when drained of their blood, but he binds a writhing bundle together, wraps them tightly in cloth, and confines them to a pouch.
*Ichtaca and Farren return to the portal, but Ichataca has no idea how to open it. He sees flashes of light and circling demons to the northwest, where someone is waging battle with several of the huge demons. Unsure what else to do, Ichtaca heads towards that fray, planning to join it. The fever, however is fast-working, and delirium has already set into Farren. When he sees that the combatants are five jharric knights in full plate, he runs. Ichtaca comes forward, helping the knights vanquish the last of the demons. With them is Abasi, unconscious across the pommel of one of his comrades. The leader pulls off her helmet, revealing herself as the goddess Iala. She’s brought a small party here, to poach souls from Daemoth’s torture fields and recruit them into the war above Morvugol in exchange for a chance at a better afterlife. If they fight honorably, she explains, even if they fall in battle, they will be raised up and given a better place, and Daemoth’s domain will be lessened by every soul she steals. It’s clear, however, that she is not supposed to be here endangering herself, and she’s a bit defiant about it. Horrified to find a friend here, she offers to take Ichtaca back with her to the bone dragon, where she can treat him for the disease he has contracted. Ichtaca agrees, then passes out at her feet.
*Vash, meanwhile, is working down his foe. He intimidates the nearly dead demon, trying to force a surrender, but the creature instead tries to flee by opening a portal. It gets the portal open, but Vash engages it again before it can escape. The fight is intense. Vash summons up his newborn shadow-vassals, and several are badly injured defending his life by holding off the mole-demons so Lyda and Carmenith can regroup with Vash.
*The heroes are about to be overwhelmed by demon moles, but Carmenith tries to draw them off by assuming true glory form and then running through the portal. This lights up her invisible body but not her clothes, making her appear like a nude jharethil statue made of light. It works, drawing the attention of every enemy there, including the huge demon, who snatches her up, stepping through the portal and vanishing. The moles, in a blood-rage, charge after, leaving Vash and Lyda behind. Vash, his vassals, and Lyda follow, Vash finishing off the big demon in a final sickening crack of his maul, while Lyda uses the narrow bottleneck of the portal to handle the mole-demons more efficiently. With the advantage of a better combat field, the heroes wipe out all of the demon moles that make it through the portal before it closes. They are in the Abyssal throne now, well after Ichtaca’s departure, but on the same metal platform. They’ve drawn attention. Small demons no taller than three feet crawl over the broken ground to investigate the noisy new arrivals. The group make short work of them.
*Lyda examines the portal here, and determines that the runes on it are a ritual. She needs at least eight hours to learn it, perhaps more, with the complexity of the archaic Zhoroch runes. Carmenith, fluent in Zoroc, helps her as she can, while Vash and Snowball prepare for a long day defending against constant danger in a deadly place very far from home. Vash, Lyda, and Carmenith are still invisible for now, but that will not last.