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Session 106.5 - A Regretful Interlude

posted Dec 19, 2013, 7:28 AM by Will McCain   [ updated Dec 19, 2013, 8:10 AM ]
While the rest of the Maladroits are resting, Knox and Callon find themselves standing in the middle of a summoning circle in a small run-down building. The building doesn't look like any kind of construction they're familiar with, and neither do the cylindrical weapons being wielded by the only two occupants. Most upsetting of all, however, is the absence of Desangriev upon Callon's back. The two women standing before them introduce themselves as Bettany, the cleric, and Foxglove, the rogue. They explain how they called upon their god for aid in their fight and he had brought them Knox and Callon. Sensing no foul intent from the two and realizing that helping them would be the only way home, the fighter and wizard agree to help them in their cause.

When the group leaves the small building they see that they are surrounded by demons with wings and bird faces. The party begins their assault, with Callon defaulting to his axe. The demons try to overwhelm the heroes with burst after burst of electricity, but bullet, blade, and an unrelenting magical assault from Knox prove more than a match. Taking a few moments to scrounge around, Callon found a weapon that he was told was called an "assault rifle". Foxglove lead them on, saying that they have to go to place called the "mall."

On the way, Bettany and Foxglove explained various things about their world to the vagrant Maladroits. They told them about the things they saw, like "plastic" and "cars" and "electricity". They also told them the history of the war they found themselves in. About 30 years ago, scholars called "scientists" developed a vast device in a place called Europe that used incredible energies to help them in their studies. It had the unfortunate consequence of opening a portal to the Underworld. Horrible things immediately began pouring out and laying waste to cities. There were good things that escaped, too, but they were harder to find. The people of the world had gone into hiding, leaving the task of fighting the invaders to Hunters like Bettany and Foxglove. Unfortunately, their particular fight had been going poorly, and they were the only ones left to contend with the forces in their region.

The four of them reached the mall, where Callon and Knox marveled over the things on display in the empty building. Their wonder was cut short as three more enormous demons appeared. Callon gave a brief thought to trying out his new assault rifle, but instead stuck to the more familiar melee tactics. The demons weren't tough, and again were quickly dispatched. They found stairs going down, and Foxglove lead them deeper into the mall.

As soon as they began to descend, the four of them found themselves separated, Callon with Knox and Bettany with Foxglove. Coming down into what seemed to be a maze, they were glad to find that they could still hear each other when they called out. Each group slowly moved to regroup, slaying minor, weak demons as they went. When they found one another again, another large demon appeared. Through gunfire, blades, and magic, it fell like every demon before it. 

At that point, Knox chanced to explore the dark center of the room. When he did, the darkness vanished and a snake-bodied merilith demon smiled back at him from a throne. It threw up a Blade Barrier between it and Knox, forcing the heroes to change tactics. The central room was surrounded by walls and ringed by lava, but there were four openings in the cardinal directions. With the south end blocked, they moved to the western end and tried using their weapons to snipe the merilith from the opening. She would have none of it, though, and strode forward to attack Foxglove with the swords in her six arms.

Foxglove was soon backed up by the rest of the party. As soon as battle was joined, however, they were surprised to see Desangriev flying out of the room and twirling in midair next to them. It said that as soon as it arrived it sensed the evil power and came to find it, hoping for some fun. Callon reached out for his sword and heard the spirits within it tell him, "Don't grab us if you can't hold on." He responded, "You are a burden and a privilege, and you are mine to wield," and grabbed the greatsword. Now properly equipped, he landed some vicious strikes against the merilith. 

The sword was not done with him, though. In a moment of weak focus, he found himself in a different body. His senses were sharpened, he felt his posture go straight and rigid, and he felt tougher than he had ever been. When he felt a pressure around the lower part of his body, he realized that Des and Griev had switched places with him. He now inhabited his own sword and they his body. The rest of the party was horrified to see Callon spare some of his attacks against the merilith to strike at them. Fortunately, none of them connected, but it gave each of them time enough to see the images of Des and Griev behind Callon's eyes. 

Despite this, the group didn't lose their focus, and the merilith was soon slain. Callon felt himself sinking deeper into a torpor within the steel and adamantine of the blade. At the last moment, he roused the strength of his will enough to reverse the magic and return himself to his own body. First assuring his teammates that he was back to normal, he then glared at his trusted weapon. With a countenance dark with rage at what the spirits had attempted, he walked over to the lava. Holding the blade before him, he growled, "Never again, or you will never taste blood," and plunged the Blade Unquenched into the molten rock. After a few moments, he withdrew it. The blade was red-hot and cracked from the heat, but he watched as the lava cooled on it as it drew the heat into itself like it did with blood. The leather in his glove began to hiss from the heat, but he didn't let go. Knox, disturbed by the scene before him, spoke up, "Uh, Callon?" The leader of the Maladroits responded, "It's okay, Knox. It must learn, not only what is not allowed, but that I will bear its suffering as its master and wielder." He added his other hand to the hilt, and Knox watched the fighter clench his jaw as the superheated sword burned the flesh on his hands. When it had cooled enough, he returned to blade to the sheath on his back.

The four adventurers explored the throne and found ancient Dwarven script. Through their linguistic and arcane knowledge, they realized that the throne had the power to send them wherever they wished. They also found that the portion of the Underworld they were within was fading quickly, and saw the mall begin to crumble over their heads. Callon and Knox wished to return to their quest, but asked Bettany and Foxglove what they wished to do. After some thought, Bettany declared their world a lost cause and that she would like to see Callon and Knox's world and find something else to fight for. Foxglove agreed, and the four of them engaged the magic of the chair. Callon and Knox were taken back to join the rest of the Maladroits while Bettany and Foxglove were whisked to the Maladroit's original cosmology, being changed in the process by their god. Their memories of their world and their sufferings faded as they were given new identities for a new start. Only time will tell if the four will see their paths cross again...
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