A Friend Restored, an Enemy returns
Kord’s Deliverance spent a difficult few hours pondering their mithral dilemma. Little was said of Morgan’s lack of ritual knowledge; little had to be, as Morgan blustered out his own embarrassment for all to see. He gained a small measure of redemption when, upon perusing Gwydion’s ritual book, the party discovered that even the eladrin mage hadn’t bothered to learn the necessary ritual that would restore Gwydion to normalcy. It was short lived, however, in the face of their still unsolved predicament.
The companions finally opted out of trying to locate Mithrendane, or anywhere in the feywild they could find a ritual caster, and settled on the grim task of destroying the statue, and raising Gwydion from the dead. There was a small chance it would not work; but it was the best chance they had. Asha insisted that all damage be confined to below his head; Kord’d Deliverance began by removing his head with one clean stroke from Gheshkan’s heavy axe.
Morgan completed the one ritual he knew, and the hundreds of shards of mithal statue that lay piled at the party’s feet began to glow and coalesce together. Gwydion blinked his eyes.
“I’m back. I’m back!” Gwydion sat up, and shook his arms and legs, reveling in the feeling. “My goodness. That was an odd feeling, as brief as it was. Well, I’m glad you managed to find a way to get me back, whole and hearty! And-what? What is it?”
Gwydion stared at the solemn faces around him. He was suddenly aware of a strange itching feeling, like the annoying ones that crop up directly in the middle of your back. Only this one was all over. He looked down.
His entire body, he discovered, was a criss cross of translucent blue scar tissue, very faintly marked. Where each shattered piece of mithral had fused back into the whole of the statue a blue, jagged line was left behind. His skin was entirely smooth; however, the web of scar tissue left him marked for life.
Gwydion gazed at his torso, tattooed with thin delicate strips. Then, he looked back up at his companions, a big grin on his face.
“Top this one, Morgan,” was all he said.
Kord’s Deliverance rested in the Exodus Knife, and emerged to re-examine their surrounding. A cliff wall rose to the west, on top of which they could make out the walls of a building. Also rising up to the another platform was a spiral staircase. Swinging in the breeze above them were three rope bridges that linked one platform to another.
Slyron scampered up the building easily, taking with him a rope. He’d scarcely tied it off, however, when the shound of grating stone caught his eye. Whirling around, he could see a figure emerged from one of the several gravemarkers on the plateau opposite the pillar from where he’d climbed.
He dropped the rope down to his companions, and gave a low, quick whistle. Alerted, the others immediately started to make their way up the rope, with the exception of Asha, who flew on her translucent wings.
A second later, a startled Slyron plummeted sixty feet to the ground landing in a painful, spinning roll to absorb as much of the shock as possible. Gwydion caught sight of Slyron’s attacker as it floated out from the edge of the plateau. He hissed in shock.
“A bralani! Raised to undeath! That’s impossible!”
The others had little time to ask the mage the significance of his statement. The grim bralani fired out terrible blasts of psychic energy that pulled them from the edge. Asha was the next to suffer, shortly after her wings winked out. Morgan managed to get to the top of the rope and across the bridge to safety; Ghesh and Gwydion both abandoned the rope and headed for the spiral staircase, hoping not to find another trapped surprise. Even from the top of the stairs, though, there was still at least one rope bridge to cross before they would be safe. Fortunately, Ghesh managed to resist the pull of the bralani psychic call.
Slyron, meanwhile, ran up the stairs, across one bridge to the building on one side of the plateau, took a quick peak through the door, FINALLY resisted going ‘just a little bit too far’, then ran back across the other three bridges to where the bralani and the graveyard was-all before Asha had even gotten halfway back up the rope.
“Damn speedy elf,” she muttered.
From two of the four obelisks in the graveyard rose two more constructs, exactly like the one that turned Gwydion to a mithral statue. The battle looked grim.
But, once Kord’s Deliverance had managed to get all together, safely from any long drops, the fight did not take long. Gwydion’s lightning construct kept the bralani from keeping away from the companions, and Asha was able to pull it down to the ground where she, Ghesh, and Slyron knifed the undeath out of it. And the constructs, tough as they were, lacked much in the way of tactical precision, and the group were able to quickly destroy them. Not without one scare, though; half of Gheshkan had been turned into a mithral statue, just like Gwydion, before he was able to shrug it off.
A quick rest, and the party examined the building opposite the graveyard. Another bridge, this one stone, lead across the river and waterfall to a second door, this one on the south door of the building. Slyron slipped inside, seeing yet again the strange carvings that covered the walls, floor, and ceiling of the rooms. Also in the corner sat a sundial with a burning brazier very slowly circling it.
“Gwydion,” he whispered back to the door. “Come and see this-”
Beetles exploded through the walls from the various nooks and crannies of the carving, and began swarming towards the elf. Their screeches filled the air.
“Everyone!” he yelled. “Come and see this! Now, please!”
And as Kord’s Deliverance came running in, even more beetles came pouring through the walls. Half of the beetles formed two vague swarms. The other half, however, began pilling together on top of themselves, creating two legs, a torso, two arms, and then finally-
The lamia laughed as her full humanoid shape coalesced into the shapely female fey-demon.
Asha launched herself at the creature, yelling out at the eladrin mage.
“Gwydion, drop all your bombs! Quick!”
Even as Asha sword exploded through the lamia, scattering beetles, Jelvistra quickly reformed, and laughed again. “You won’t be quick enough, not this time.”
She was right.