The Shackled City
Karamus Entry 1
Karamus gave a grunt as he took a seat at his favorite chair. His hair, now more gray than multi-colored fell in front of his eyes, which he pushed back up with an annoyed growl. The sounds of a herd of children crashing into his den brought an even deeper scowl as nine kids took up seats all around him. “This is what hell truly is,” he muttered to himself before giving a gentle fake smile to the children.
“Tell us a story papa! One of the old days when you where a planewalker,” pleaded one of the children.
“Only if it will get you all to bed where you belong,” he said as he settled back in his seat. The children all gave nods and giggles, as they too got comfortable.
“Well let me see… How about the time that I was traveling through a plane… a pocket plane really… with the Silver Phoenix compa-” he started to say before he was interrupted.
“The Silver Phoenix! You were with them?” asked one of the children.
“Avragal, if you rattle your bone-box out of turn again, I will feed you to Sparky. Now pike it,” growled the irritable old cansin. This rebuke caused immediate silence in the room.
“”Now, where was I…ah yes, the planes. Well, ya see, it all started when the group and I were hipped in a desert on the Prime world called Oerth. It was there that we encountered Kaurophon, a canny blood of fiendish descent. Now, this wily addle-cove offered me and my clueless coterie a deal that would get us all out of the desert, which would have put us all in the dead-book given enough time. The deal was to help him pass the Test of the Smoking Eye on the Abyssal layer of Occipitus. Accepting the deal was barmy, but considering our situation, we weren’t really in a position to argue.”
Karamus waited for a few moments to let the introduction to the story sink into their little minds. He recalled silently the companions who’d been with him during that trek. He had not seen them in quite some time, not since he returned Sigil to settle down to live a more stationary lifestyle. Noticing that the children were getting impatient, Karamus continued with his story…
“Kaurophon gathered the group together and opened a portal to Occipitus. Moments later, we found ourselves in a place spawned from nightmares. The sky seemed to be made of flame, bathing everything in a reddish glow. Off in the distance loomed a massive skull: a white monolith the size of a small mountain. Clouds of flame streamed from the skull’s single exposed eye socket and up into the sky. About a half-mile ahead stood a cluster of gently curving white pillars, almost as if giant rib bones had been stuck in the ground. In the distance loomed a steep mountain ridge whose top seemed to touch the fiery sky. It stretched around the entire horizon – as if we were standing inside a vast bowl with a fiery lid. The ground was spongy and wrinkled, seeming more like flesh than dirt.
“While my leatherhead allies stared around, mouths gaping and trying desperately to tumble to our new situation (I was certain we’d been peeled), Kaurophon appeared to be making calculations. He figured that we were roughly a hundred miles (before ye ask, it’s a measurement used on the Prime, berk) from the Cathedral of Feathers, the site of the first part of the Test. He told us that sticking to the flats would be preferable to delving into the ‘ossaic forests,’ which he indicated were made up of the rib-like pillars.
“We walked for hours heading through the yawn of a landscape in the direction of this so-called cathedral and the first part of the half-fiend’s Test. I’d been thinking of speaking quietly to the others about using the scroll he’d given Ashton (the necromancer, sorcerer, fairy friend, or whatever the whistles he was) to planeshift back to the Prime (thus giving our ‘rescuer’ the laugh), when we spotted what appeared to be a pack of massive hippopotami feasting on the fleshy surface. The creatures apparently noticed us, too, because they began to lumber in our direction. They were bigger than this house, dwarfing us all. Needless to say, the battle that took place was drastically unbalanced and not in our favor. We fled for fear of our lives and escaped by the skin of our teeth.”