The Shackled City
Jarvyk Entry 11
Having survived the lightning attacks, we pressed forward, harried but healed. The adjoining chamber was covered in a maze of smoldering rubble, with a large statue at the opposite end. As we approached this visage of Orcus, Kort fell into the embrace of a demonic bitch demon.
Its attempt to waylay or Dwarven brother failed, perhaps prompting the fiery wall that then emerged. The burning divide separated us from Kort and the beast, singeing our flesh as it rose. Ashton, as quick and cunning as ever, dismissed the wall and gave Karamus the perfect opportunity. As the vile denizen released a hiss of surprise “Daystar” flew from the Cansin’s hip and pierced its pitiful ‘flesh’. With a screech its wings flapped and its body ascended. For a moment, I thought we would lose our chance for vengeance. Fortunately, Karamus is as quick with his blade as Ashton is with his mind. A subtle snap of the wrist and the leathery winged hellion fell back down to ….. Here.
Before the creature had even released its final gasp, Elias was charging forward. He quickly noticed a strange creature with a flaming spear and returned to warn us of the danger. The half-orc earns respect and honor for his people with such selfless acts of bravery. Kort, as brave as any Dwarf, took this information and ran forward to engage the newly discovered creature. It was just about that time that an enormous flame demon appeared, or rather manifested out of thin air. I can only assume it was called by summoning.
Kort was quickly set aflame by the beast, just before Kaurophon sent it back to whence it came. The flaming spear, and its salamander master, quickly became apparent thereafter. The rest of the Silver Phoenix then set upon the creature. It was killed quickly, Clanggedin be praised, but not before Karamus was snared by its vile snake-like tail. I do not envy the suffering he endured those brief moments.
With the salamander dead, and Karamus released, we sighed in well-deserved relief. Then, as though this place were not strange enough, everything flashed. The heavens instantly existed in all directions. It was glorious. Then, after the shortest delay, we were back in a vile chamber of smoldering ruins, surrounded by Occipitus. We learned from Karamus that these events, known as “Celestial Flashbacks”, are common and unpredictable.
Having expended great effort up to this point, we all needed to rest. Bransen found himself drained of spells and pushed for the reprieve. Kaurophon wanted to press forward, but realized the impetuousness of his desires and quickly relented. Before we rested, Karamus searched two nearby rooms and found a variety of treasure. He also discovered an enchanted library, which Ashton felt compelled to investigate.
That library was a spectacle of flying tomes, as though the spirit of a small bird had been bound to each one. When Ashton interacted with the bird-like books, they attacked. By all accounts, he should have died. An enormous flash of energy erupted around him, but did no damage. Ultimately, he was left with a small collection of books for his efforts and no ill effects. We decided that this should be the place for us to rest.
We used this down time to plan our attack on the Bebilith we knew to be in our future. Ashton recalled that such creatures could destroy armor easily, but were susceptible to weapons aligned with the forces of good. We were all thankful for the knowledge.
In the morning, Bransen sought the wisdom of divination and brought even more knowledge of Bebiliths to the table. It seems the beasts carry a vile poison that can fell all but the most hearty. After much discussion, it was decided that I should use Kort’s superior armor, along with many enchantments, to stand face-to-face with the beast. Understanding the nature of these protections, I agreed.
As we approached the location of the test there was an elaborately wrapped ‘mummy’. It sat at a desk, surrounded by the smells of a fine kitchen. As we neared, it rose and spoke these words:
“Adimarchus, Most Potent Ruler of Occipitus, bids you welcome to the Test of the Smoking Eye. If you are here, then Occipitus lies fallow, without a strong hand to guide its development. Know then that you are a pretender to Adimarchus’ throne. If you are worthy, step forward and undertake the Test of Judgment.”
Then it pointed to a nearby door and said, “Behind that door lies Thathnak the bebilith.” It then pointed to another door and said, “Behind that door lies Halalia the avoral guardinal. Choose one door, slay the occupant behind it, then pass through the door on the other side. I will meet you there.”
We took this challenge and strode towards the first door. We set our prepared spells and then sought entrance. To our surprise, Kaurophon could not enter. We assumed it was a side-effect of his previous attempt to best Thathnak. Regardless, we found ourselves in a room full of wooden bridges, and unforeseen limitation. One misplaced fireball and the whole chamber would become horribly impassable.
The beast got the drop on us, finding purchase in my borrowed armor. Fortunately, it did not destroy my protection. It was a hard fought battle, with many spells and swords and bows used wisely. The creature stood little chance and so was dispatched quickly. We were all thankful for the ease of the test. Clanggedin be praised.
We proceeded through the other side of the bridged chamber to an elaborately painted room. In that room we found scenes of black-feathered angels in perilous battle with many demons and devils. We also found the words “Know who made you.”, carved in the stone with Celestial and Abyssal dialects. Finally, a strange lantern sat upon a raised platform, attached to a long stick. I approached the item and was met with a brilliant flash of light.
With that light appeared the mummy from before. It grabbed the lantern and approached me. I raised by blade to meet the creature, but it was unphased. It only offered the object to me, and I accepted. Then it spoke:
“Heed the words of Adimarchus. You have passed the Test of Judgment. Attend to the wisdom of Adimarchus! Always deal with rivals first, and enemies second. This lantern shall guide you to the second test: the Test of Resolve.”
After it had spoken, it vanished immediately. Never before had I seen such a strange proctor. We returned to Kaurophon and informed him of what had happened. With the lantern as our only guide, and real questions of safety on our minds, we proceeded further upon this fated path.