While they waited, they began to discuss courses of action they could take to fight a mature dragon. As they did so, Desira snapped out of her waking dream and found that she was in the hallway with the rest of the group. Some of them didn’t look in good shape. She immediately channeled a healing spell.
“Nice of you to join us. Care to help us figure out how to take down what lies behind the next door?” One of the adventurers asked with relief obvious in his voice.
They continued to discuss different actions they could take, asking Salestrus for any information on what they may be facing.
The once mighty blue didn’t have much information for the heroes. The best he could give them was a description of what the room was said to be like beyond the double doors in front of them.
The room was circular. Cut roughly like the inside of a geode. And like geode’s, there were said to be crystals growing from the side’s of the room. It was also said there were four pedestals arranged in the middle of the room, much like the ones that required the artifacts to let them through the door a few minutes ago.
Deciding to verify this information for himself, Al’ev “Olive” Reldin took a look through the slightly cracked open doors. What he saw matched what Salestrus had told them.
The room was circular. There were pedestals, though one was knocked over. But there were no crystals on the walls as it looked like they had been scrapped clean. He could see two men with white hair standing near the middle of the room. Both wore robes that appeared to have wings embroidered in them. One was digging around in the ground while holding a bag that appeared to be full in one hand. The other was casually flicking small stones into the other object in the room.
It was the large crystal from the mural. The stones that hit it were instantly turned to sand which was shot up into the ceiling vents along with the ever constant stream that appeared to be caused by the crystal itself.
Al’ev took this information back to the others. Their plans had not accounted for more than one enemy. They were only expecting to face Aerolous. It was obvious that these men were more than they appeared. It was likely that these were dragons who had assumed the shape of men. This sparked another round of discussion and Crim took this opportunity to slip away and take a closer look around the room beyond the doors.
While invisible, Crim found a small alcove carved into the room’s side. He took a peek inside and found a third man in white. This one was on his knees, chanting. In front of him lay an archway, somewhat similar to the one they had seen in the Brine dragon’s cave in the seas south of Crustakin Hold. Crim promptly took this information back to the others.
This was clearly a portal archway. The third man was in the process of trying to activate it! They had to stop him right away.
Garyuu Reddaile had heard enough. The monk burst through the doors and ran to one of the two men in white. With an animal like bellow, he took a swing and connected, only to find he felt like he was hitting pure steel.
“Where the hell did you come from?”
The two men were now aware of their presence. They yelled to the third who replied by telling them to keep the adventurers busy while he finished the portal.
The rest of the adventurers ran into the room and the battle commenced. After a few seconds it was apparent that it wasn’t going too well. Shots with bows were going wide. Blows that normally connected seemed to be missing completely.
It was as though they had stepped back to the battle of the botch.
Garyuu heard Caramel’s translation of what the man had said at the beginning of the fight. He knew that if the portal was opened, they may be facing more than just the three adversaries in the room. He rushed into the alcove, abandoning the fight around the giant crystal.
The man holding the bag was a caster. Al’ev watched as his adversary suddenly appeared to lose focus and became blurry. Then, he watched as he made yet more gestures that he recognized as another self empowering spell of some sort. He was alarmed when an arrow fired by Eremes flew through the man and then again as his sword should have connected in a solid blow flew right through air.
Garyuu, in the mean time decided to do what he could in the alcove. The other man in the crystal room, the one he had just punched, would surely be following him. He took a shot at the kneeling channeler and connected…but once again, it felt as though he were punching steel. He aimed another blow at the runes on the portal.
This proved to be a mistake. The portal’s defenses, much like the defenses on the brine dragon’s portal, were still active. He saw a bright flash and felt searing agony as the portal flung him back into a wall where he lost consciousness. It was at this point that the second man in white found Garyuu’s still form smoking in the corner. He decided to make sure he wasn’t getting up again for this portal was their ticket out of there. He pulled back his fist in a mighty blow…
The rest of the group heard the roar of triumph from the alcove. Desira confirmed what they had begun to fear. Even with the assistance of a summoned eagle, the were-fox was out of the fight. It was at this point that the man who was channeling yelled from the alcove that the portal was open.
The adventurers had failed to stop Aerolous. Garyuu was down, though they didn’t know how bad of shape he was in. The man who was holding the bag heard Aerolous call for him and was about to run to the alcove when Crim managed to slice the bag the man held wide open.
Crystals of different colors and sizes spilled out. He attempted to scoop up as many as he could and turned to run to the alcove.
Eremes shot him twice. But the man kept running as though he hadn’t even felt the arrows.
Al’ev didn’t let him get too far. His blood burning with the anger he had come to recognize as his father’s blood, he let out a string of taunting obscenities. One of them must have struck a cord, as the man turned around, murder in his eyes, and ran back to Al’ev who merely smirked. The man then punched Al’ev solidly in the gut, nearly doubling him over.
Eremes saw this and once more let loose with a couple of highly empowered arrows. One flew through the man as he was still blurred. But the other connected solidly. This gave Al’ev enough time to recover. He cast an acid spell and took a swing at the man. Both connected. But he appeared to still be standing with little ill effect. Desira took this time to cast a grease spell on the floor in front of the alcove as Sindri fired a scorching ray at the man and connected.
Seeing the adventurers starting to focus fire on him, and knowing that Aerolous wouldn’t be happy if he didn’t get to the portal soon with at least some of the crystals, the blurred man turned and ran to the alcove again. He didn’t see the grease until he landed on his back in it. Crim took a chance and tried to connect with a pair of spinning blows, using the grease instead of fighting it, to accelerate his spin. He missed on his first shot which put his second swing out of line and into the ground. The momentum he had caught on the ground and flung him out of the grease and into the alcove.
Eremes fired another pair of shots as the ninja landed. These connected as Al’ev closed the gap the man had opened and cast a simple spark spell on the grease, instantly setting it aflame.
The man stood again, appearing to struggle to do so as he now had several arrows sticking out of him and was on fire. He was unable to find solid footing and fell back down into the conflagration once again.
Eremes fired a final pair of shots and the man was unmoving. As the shots connected, a loud roar sounded from inside the alcove. Aerolous turned to use the now fading portal and could distantly hear the yelling of Al’ev.
“Complements of the red flight.” Al’ev had yelled.
He then departed, the portal dying in his wake.
The group picked through the room finding several interesting stones of note. Most were pocketed by those who found them without the knowledge of the others. With the grease fire finally put out, Desira and Al’ev found Garyuu in the back of the alcove.
The were-fox was clearly dead as Desira confirmed.
Al’ev felt his blood boiling in anger and crossed his arms as he looked down at the corpse of his friend. He had gotten someone killed by leading them all here. He should have just let go of his past and cast his mother’s soul from the stone. It was the only reason they had come to this forsaken place. Was it irony that it was Garyuu who was most vocal about not coming to this place? He started scratching his now oddly itchy elbow in agitation.
The rest of the group arrived in the alcove and found the dead Garyuu. The mood was suddenly much less jubilant. They had managed to kill one of their adversaries, yes. But they had lost one of their own in the process.
With great effort, Sindri was able to open up a portal to Trinity. It was difficult to make out what lay beyond. But as Al’ev stepped through the portal, he knew that whatever did lay in the future, it was much darker now…