Eberron - Return of the Lich Queen
The Kael and the Silver Flame - Part 6
The Kael and the Silver Flame – Part 5
Sar, Aryth 14th 998 YK
Saturday (early morning) November 14th 998 YK
Around midnight, Taveah awakens to sound of Skarn barking wildly.
Luminel approaches the guesthouse. He is limping, in his nightshirt, and looks worried. Just before he gets to the door he trips, and begins a tirade of uncharacteristic profane oaths. Kohl gets up and meets him at the door. He is winded and quite frantic.
“It’s Lord…Lord…” he breathes heavily, “It’s Lenorf. He’s gone mad! I think he’s going…going…to kill the bishop! There are creatures with him. Horrible creatures. He says they’re angels! Please you must put an end to this madness!”
Taveah looks out to the villa. Flames dance from the wing holding the bishop and his men. The other sections of the villa are dark and quiet. The front doors are closed. Taveah sees little light and no movement in the windows. She then sees Danbren at the stables. He quickly mounts his steed and races from the villa in sheer terror.
”Cousin! Danbren escapes!” Taveah cries.
Kohl grabs his ax and shield. ”Arm up and head out towards the villa.”
Taveah throws on some clothes and rushes toward the stables. Kohl quickly stops her.
“We need to go after Lenorf cousin, before he kills the bishop. The man acts like a desperate mad man who has suckled on the Queen of Madness’s breast! Whatever we find, Taveah keep the Lord from giving in to his passions, Oggrim and I will keep the ‘Angels’ off your back.”
The three race past Luminel without a further word towards the villa. Kohl tests the door. It is locked.
Kohl kicks the villa door open. Inside the foyer, from the doorway, flames flicker through the open hall leading to the artists’ wing. On the far side of the foyer, four of the bishop’s guards lay dead, propped up in obscene positions on the small couches.
Kohl walks carefully into the room and towards the dining room door. He blesses his axe while staring at the bodies of the guards.
Taveah advances cautiously, deciding to keep her weapons stowed, for the moment. Skarn follows her.
”Careful, cousin. I sense Chaos is at work here!” Taveah whispers.
”Then draw steel or bow cousin,” Kohl curses. ”do not be caught without your weapons. Remember, if you see Lord ir’’Luum, take him down, Oggrim and I will watch for his ‘Angels’. Oggrim, be mindful. You and I will watch for these ’Angels’, Taveah will go for Lord ir’Luum to keep him from doing something he will regret."
“I shall have your back brother.” Oggrim reassures.
Taveah whispers. ”I will not kill the Lord needlessly. He was a kind man… whatever may have corrupted his spirit.”
Oggrim is last to enter. The sound of the mocking laughter of four foulspawn is heard from the balcony above. The hideous creatures bear the sigil of Soruz’na on their bonelike foreheads.
Kohl throws his axe, hewing one of the creatures in two, then returns to his grip. “By the fury of Torval, you have met your end!”
Taveah draws her bow and fires. She slays another foulspawn. Oggrim races up the stairs to the balcony. The creatures continue to cackle fiendishly. Their laughter echoes through each of their minds. Painful thoughts and memories of past failures fill their minds. Oggrim staggers on the staircase while Taveah lowers her bow, each mesmerized by the insane chorus of the foulspawn.
Kohl charges up the stairs. At the balcony, Kohl hits the foulspawn, wounding it.
Taveah makes another attempt with her bow, but is still dazed. Her arrow sings through the air missing its target.
Skarn bounds up the staircase. Oggrim strikes at the nearest foulspawn but the creature gleefully weaves out of harms way.
Two remaining foulspawn harry Kohl’s mind with a psychic wave of destruction. His mind struggles with the attack and unleashes a backlash of energy back wounding them. They shriek in anguish and disappear in front of you.
The two creatures then reappear near Taveah, harrying her mind as well. Skarn, Oggrim and Taveah are dazed from their maddening howls.
Kohl races back down the stairs, wounded but determined to aid his cousin. Oggrim follows.
Taveah spits out a very unladylike curse as the two foulspawn continue their psychic attacks. Taveah defends against one of the psychic attacks, but is hit by the other.
Just then one of the foulspawn teleports back up to the balcony. It giggles at the little cat and mouse game it plays.
Oggrim reaches the bottom of the steps shaking off the mind numbing attacks.
“These creatures are toying with us! We must coordinate our strikes together or they will tear us apart one at a time!” Oggrim shouts. Oggrim charges back up the stairs and attacks the foulspawn on the balcony. His blade severs the beast’s head from its neck, showering gore everywhere.
Taveah shrugs off the maddening laughter and looses another arrow. It runs through the foulspawn’s eye. It thrashes wildly then dies as Skarn pounces on it.
“Remember cousin, what ever we find, save Lord ir’Luum, Oggrim and I will keep what ever else is there off your back.” Kohl smashes the door open.
Inside, the dining room is the scene of a horrifying feeding. Two of the bishop’s guards lie on the table. One guard’s neck is crushed and the rest of his body is shriveled, like that of a zombie’s. The other lies right next to his companion: unmoving but not yet desiccated. Over him looms a creature that appears to be a gaunt, eyeless hobgoblin with an electric blue sigil of Soruz’na emblazoned on its forehead. Unlike those goblinoids, this creature has a pair of tentacles that loop over its shoulder, and writhe about. Both tentacles pierce the body of the soldier, and gyrate strangely, as if they are sucking the very vitality out of the poor man.
They charge in unaware of the two chokers hiding above the doorway. Each bears the Insane One’s sigil.
Kohl is grabbed by one of the chokers. It then lashes out a second time at Oggrim grabbing him as well. It’s foul brother attacks Skarn and Taveah as they enter. Each are grabbed. The chokers begin to squeeze tightly around their necks crushing the wind from their lungs.
Each try to break free, but are unsuccessful.
The choker squeezes Skarn and Taveah inflicting more damage.
Taveah strains to peer through the room. Her vision clouded by the lack of oxygen to her brain. She sees only the mocking face of Soruz’na, laughing maniacally. “Dha’ark beckons you young one… come join me in my madness and you shall suffer no more pain.” she hears.
Air is forced from Kohl’s lungs, the creature’s tentacles strangle the Paladin. Kohl reverses the grip on his axe and swings it up towards the foul creature.
It howls in pain and drops Kohl to the floor.
The choker squeezes tighter around Skarn preventing his attack.
Oggrim continues to fight off the Choker’s attempt to squeeze the life out of him. Skarn suffers more damage as the choker uses its free arm to crush his ribs. The creature then scuttles further up the wall and onto the cieling as if to finish his prey in privacy.
As Taveah and Kohl ready their next attack, the floorboards crack and heave as obscene blue tentacled horrors rise from below ensaring each of them. They each struggle to break free of the tentacled beasts.
The dolgaunt seeing more defenseless prey, pushes the desiccated corpse off the table and moves closer to better inspect his new specimens. One of its tentacles lashes out from 10 feet away at Kohl, but misses as Kohl ducks his head.
Oggrim curses in orcish as he struggles against the choker’s death grasp. Miraculously, he breaks free and falls to the floor landing on his feet. Tentacles writhe towards their new prey.
Kohl slashes at the tentacles that have ensnared him and cuts through the swarm freeing himrself.
“Skarn!” Taveah yells. She recovers, aims, and fires a shot at the Choker fleeing with her precious pet.
The choker uses Skarn as a shield. The arrow strikes the wolf in its shoulder . The other choker scrambles to the ceiling for protection.
“Oggrim, take the tentacles out and support Taveah,” orders Kohl. “Taveah help Skarn, I’ll keep this spawn busy. When those things on the ceiling are dead, join me!"
The dolgaunt retaliates against Kohl, angered by his bravery. It hisses and strikes with its tentacles. The tentacles wrap around Kohl squeezing tightly. One pierces deep into Kohl’s neck, draining him of his vitality.
The Choker with no prey lashes out from the ceiling, grabbing Oggrim. Oggrim struggles against its grasp as he is pulled towards the ceiling. He breaks free and lands back on his feet. The other choker continues to slowly kill Skarn.
Angered by the brash assault from the spawn, Kohl aims at the tentacle that has pierced his neck and brings his axe down hard.
“You shall be cleansed!” the Kael bellows.
The creature’s tentacle recoils from the attack. Kohl’s neck bleeds profusely.
“Mighty Torval, cleanse this filthy wound upon my neck, so that I may continue to serve you by sending these vermin back to the pits of dha’ark!”
Taveah breaks free from the tentacle horrors. Skarn howls and struggles without effect.
The choker squeezes Skarn again. Ribs crush. The wolf whimpers in agony. The other Choker lashes out at Oggrim and Taveah. Taveah deftly avoids the attack, but Oggrim is grabbed.
Oggrim stabs at the Choker as he is pulled to the ceiling skewering it. It thrashes wildly, screeching as it crashes to the floor dead. Oggrim falls with the beast and lands prone amongst the tentacles.
The tentacled horrors lash out at Kohl, ensaring his legs and pulling at his arms. The Dolgaunt whips its tentacle at Kohl and tightens around his neck. It reopens his wound on his neck and begins to drain Kohl once again. Kohl rips it free and the tentacle recoils.
At the sound of Skarn whimpering Taveah searches deep within her for a resevoir of energy. ”Skarn, kill!” Skarn tears into the choker and frees himself, landing on the floor near the tentacled horrors..
The Dolgaunt lashes at Kohl once more, grabbing its prey and sucking his life force from him. Kohl’s skin grows pale, his eyes sullen and sickly.
The Choker lashes at Taveah and Oggrim. Taveah is grabbed. More deep wounds bite through her armor.
The tentacled horrors continue to restrain Kohl \and seek new prey; Skarn. The wolf is engulfed by the obscene appendages.
Oggrim decides against attacking the Choker, realizing would be too dangerous for Taveah. Instead, he turns on the Dolgaunt’s tentacles but misses.
Kohl blesses his blade before heaving it at the dolgaunt. “Torval, guide my axe, may it’s foul soul’s utter destruction please you!”
Kohl’s axe flies through the air towards the creature. It shrieks as sharp steel makes contact with its face. Gore showers the room as its head disintegrates from the attack.
Taveah and Skarn both attack the horrors who havce latched onto them and break free. The choker, seeing that it is now outnumbered, hisses and scuttles across the ceiling towards the gallery. It drops to the floor screeching at each of you before opening the doors.
Beyond the choker, and in the gallery is the bishop. He is naked and bound to the altar in front of the center statue of St. Cirlan at’Gal. Lord Lenorf ir’Lumm is also here, and now has eyes – alien, bulging, green eyes tightly lashed around his head by wiry pink tentacles. Kohl recognizes the strange thing as a dha’ark symbiot meant to deceive the wearer’s vision. Lenorf looms over the bishop with a paintbrush, dripping with caustic paint, about to commit some murderous poetic justice. The bishop screams as he paints his bare chest. Skin and bone boil with each stroke.
“My angels will have their justice!” he screams.
In addition to the Choker, two more tentacled Dolgaunts stand in the room. But behind ir’Lumm and Soruz’na’s minions, is what gives Kohl pause. A wretched foulspawn sitting on a display case plays a wicked flute. It too bears Soruz’na’s mark. The discordant tones of the pipe are faint over the clamoring chaos. Its eerie music threatens to shatter their minds.
Taveah and Kohl fight back the chaotic noise, their minds shielded from dha’ark. Skarn howls from the sounds of the flute and drops to the floor. Oggrim clutches his ears and drops to his knee in pain.
Oggrim is able to break free of the horrors and charges towards the enemy. His sword comes down on the choker, severing it in two.
“ir’Lumm NOOOOOO! What madness is this?” he yells.
Kohl raises his axe, bringing it down on the horror entangling him. He strikes with surgical precision and rushes after Oggrim.
“Foul creature of Dha’Ark, for your sins against all that is just, you shall be judged!” he yells slamming his blade into the dolgaunt. The Dolgaunt crashes backwards several feet into the altar in front of the statue, disrupting Lord ir’Limm’s dark torture of the bishop.
" Oggrim, Lenorf has been tricked by dha’Ark parasites, allowing him to see again, but at a heavy cost! He can still be saved! Take out the spawn with the flute! Cousin, stop Lenorf, he hasn’t fully given over to Dha’Ark! Lord ir’Luum, your angels are creatures from the far realms, beyond that of even Xoriat! Fight DAMN YOU, YOUR VERY SOUL IS AT STAKE!"
Taveah rushes toward Lord ir’Lumm with the intention of cutting the parasite off Lord ir’Lumm’s face
“Skarn! To me!” she cries.
Taveah races through the dining room and into the gallery. The Dolgaunt near the door lashes out at her gripping her leg and sending her to the floor. The creatures hooked tentacle bites into her leg draining her essence.
Taveah bashes at the tentacle, it recoils from the attack.
The foulspawn’s music shifts crazily. Taveah is gripped by pain deep in her gut.
The Dolgaunt near the altar teleports next to Taveah, as if aided by the discordant music. It grabs her around her waist and sinks its tentacle deep into her spine. Taveah goes pale and passes out from the attack. The Dolgaunt then lashes out a second time at Oggrim, coiling tight around his neck. The Dolgaunt at the doorway uses its second tentacle to dig into Kohl’s arm.
Lord ir’Lumm laughs, “Why do you try to stop me? This is the will of the Flame. You will all perish for your blasphemy!” Caustic paint drips deep onto the bishop’s flesh.
Tentacled horrors writhe around Skarn, pinning him to the floor.
Oggrim attacks the Dolgaunt’s tentacle, desperately trying to break free. He hits the creature and it recoils from the force of the blow.
“ir’Lumm you are a fool! These creatures are daelkyr spawn, can you not see you are deceived?”
ir’Lumm’s face turns dark and wicked. “Do not attempt to trick me Oggrim. You are the fool! You are nothing but a lap dog of the bishop’s and you shall be put down as one. Nothing will stop me from seeing true justice! DESTROY THEM MY ANGELS!”
The bishop howls in pain as flesh and bone sizzle.
Kohl enraged by his fallen cousin, spits in the face of the other dolgaunt and levels his axe between the creatures shoulders. The creature shrills from the damage, but sustains its grip.
Oggrim, attacks the creature near Kohl, ignoring the second dolgaunt. His blade cuts deep into the beast falling it dead at Kohl’s feet.
“Aid Taveah now!” he yells.
The flute playing foulspawn, cackles gleefully and moves towards ir’Lumm. The music shifts again. ir’Lumm is driven into a frenzy. The bishop is near death.
Kohl races to his cousin and lays his hands on her chest, chanting a prayer to Ashianka.
The remaining Dolgaunt attacks, fiercely grabbing both Kohl and Oggrim with its tentacles.
The wicked little creature continues to play its sick melodies.
“And now my bishop, you shall suffer true death!” ir’Lumm strokes the paintbrush across the bishop’s face and down his neck. Skin boils and bubbles as sinewy tissue cooks under the caustic paint. It quickly dissolves the flesh revealing bloody bone. The bishop gurgles in agony then falls silent.
Oggrim yells at ir’Lumm, “Noooooo!” and slices into the dolgaunt standing in his way. The creature is severed in two as Oggrim’s blade cleaves across its torso. Oggrim leaps over the carcass towards ir’Lumm and the strange little creature. As he approaches, he drops to the floor, clutching his head and yelling in pain. The warpcaller spawn giggles at the mayhem then teleports to the far side of the room. His flute continues to sow madness within the gallery.
“Play my sweet angel. Play! Your music stokes the Flame to beauteous heights.” ir’Lumm preaches as he looks upon his carnage. He then looks up at Oggrim with a baleful stare “Now blashpemer, you too shall suffer the wrath of the True Flame!”
ir’lumm pulls a short blade from his belt, dips it in the caustic paint and threatens Oggrim.
Kohl looks down at his cousin, and hands her, her bow. ”Cousin, take bow in hand and plant 2 arrows in that wretches skull!”
He then stands and throws his ax. It spins through the air, its hilt smashing into ir’Lumm’s face. He falls over, the symbiot spilling off his eyes. It shrills and crawls across the floor, disappearing beneath the altar. ir’Lumm lays silent.
Taveah rises from her unconscious state and – near delerium – nocks two arrows. Taveah’s arrows sing through the air and embed themselves deep into the foulspawn’s neck and chest. The chaotic music stops as the creature’s wicked flute clatters to the floor. It stumbles back, gurgling obscenely, eyes bulged with surprise then falls over dead.
The horrors dissipate and Skarn bounds into the gallery. Behind him they see the foyer is consumed in flames and is spilling into the dining room.
Kohl searches the area of the altar. " Oggrim, the parasite attached to ir’Luum went under the alter."
Kohl catches a glimpse of an opening beneath the altar. He pushes to altar to the side revealing a 10ft drop into dark catacombs.
The fire continues to rage in the dining room, smoke pours into the gallery. Just then a huge explosion is heard in the east wing.
“We must hurry!” Oggrim coughs over the sounds of cracking flames and timber, “Into the catacombs or we shall be burned alive.”