Featured Item: CURELESS [+] Devilkin Wings (11:11)
L’Deil regained his staff in the guard chamber outside the hideous lab he had been imprisoned in. It was leaning innocuously in the back corner beside a pile of torches and firewood. As he slid his hand around its smooth lacquered surface, his fingertips felt a tingle of the power that lay dormant until he touched it.. The consciousness within the staff awoke at his touch, and L’Deil could hear its thoughts in his mind. **What is amiss, master? How may I serve?**
L’Deil had been held prisoner inside the laboratory dungeon for weeks. He had almost lost count, but believed it to be about five weeks, despite the lapses in his memory due to drugs or mental domination spells used by his former master, Darhyantalis. L’Deil was angry, and frightened, but determined to grab what he could and escape. But could not leave yet; not without the cure or a way to reverse what had happened to him. And if he could find out what had happened to his master to turn him into the path of darkness and evil.
** We are going into battle, and I will need you to defend me at times, while I concentrate on the magical wards and counterspells to get us into my mas…into Darhyantalis’s study. **
The staff pulsed an affirmative, and it felt good to have the reliable, sentient tool in his hands once more. The staff had been a companion to him in the long hours and years he’d served his former master, an heirloom from his own father D’Leigh. But now, the staff was his only ally. He hoped it would be enough.
He had left dead guardian creatures in his wake, a half dozen or so, managing to destroy them with a combination of his wits and careful applications of the spells he had been able to project once he got out of that infernal prison cage.
He could hardly believe the chance he had been given, when the newest apprentice had dropped the jar of green slime on the experiment table, and the fast growing monstrous algae had started to eat everything, including the former apprentice. It had been horrible watching the amorphous slime creature melt the poor young woman. She’d actually been quite nice to him in his captivity, and in the aftermath of the experiments that Dahryantalis had conducted on him.
L’Deil could still not believe how or why his master had turned on him, and used him as an experiment, trying to merge him into some hybrid of an undead dracolich and a living mage. It was just ghastly, and threw his loyalty and commitment back in his face. The old mage had become such a strange man in the past two months. It had all started when he had returned from that expedition into the Fane of Drooblik.
Now the old arch mage was using mind control spells on all of his retainers, making them virtual slaves, and doing the same to the small village around the keep that they inhabited.
Before his imprisonment, L’Deil had broken the mind control, but his master had sensed it right away, and captured him immediately. And then the horrors of the experiments he’d been forced to endure.Now, he was going to escape, and try to reverse what was done to him. He lurched and shuffled his way with the help of his staff supporting him down the halls, from the laboratory and dungeon, upwards to the higher levels of the tower – towards his master’s study.
He rushed as best as he could, drawing strength from his staff, and getting stronger and stronger as he did. He could feel his back flexing, however, and the bony little wings of the baby dracolich that his master had tried to merge with his flesh, trying to dominate his living form. He was being made into some hybrid creation, and those wings unfurling and tearing the skin they had been beneath, were leaving bleeding welts along his back. It wasn’t something he had full control of at the moment, but he didn’t know what else to do about it, until he knew the spells his master had used; what rituals. He needed to find out what and how it had been done, before he could try to reverse it.
He reached the Master’s study, coming around the last turn of the tower’s circular staircase. As he came up on the landing, he saw Bordok the Warrior, his Master’s retainer. Bordok was almost seven foot tall, and heavily muscled, wrapped in gleaming steel and leather armor, with a bastard sword in front of him, unsheathed, and standing guard in a blank way.
This was a far cry different from the Bordok he remembered, the one that loved carousing in the ale house and chasing wenches. The man-at-arms that served his master was a strong and fierce warrior, and his face now looked ashen gray, his long black hair was lank and oily, and he smelled like he had not had a bath in a month. But his sword was sharp and clean, as was his armor, and the burly mountain of muscle was between him and the Master’s study.
L’Deil saw the warrior turning towards him, his ice blue eyes glittering with a film of strange green that seemed to fluoresce on the surface of his eyes, as he lifted the sword and took up an attack posture. L’Deil raised his staff, and mentally commanded it **Lightning!** as he pointed the black stone on the staff’s head at the advancing warrior.
A blinding blue-white arc of intense electrical energy lept from the staff, and hit Bordok’s sword, and the blade grew red and then white hot, and the smell of burning meat could be smelt as the lightning coursed over his whole body. The force of the bolt threw the warrior backwards onto his back with a clang of metal, and left him in a convulsing pile.
L’Deil walked up to the warrior and poked him several times with the foot of his staff, and the warrior did nothing but groan. Strangely enough, the green film was gone from his eyes now, but the warrior wasn’t moving much now, except tiny judders of muscle reacting to the last remnants of the electrical attack jangling his nerves.
L’Deil turned and looked at the Master’s study door, and he held his staff before him. **Scan the door, please, for wards and glyphs** he told it, and he muttered a spell of his own to reveal magical energies.
The door burst into glowing glyphs and sigils and wards of many sorts, most of which he already knew about. His staff mentally said, **There is one new ward, master. It is at the top of the doorway arch. It is a death ward. If you touch the door, without deactivating it first, it will kill you**
L’Deil took a step back, and examined the ward carefully with his magical sight, and saw how complex and powerful a warding that was. It was like a knot of snakes writhing, waiting to strike. He thought a moment, and then nodded, as he saw the shifting patterns of negative energy seething within the structure of the ward. He muttered a spell he had developed a while back, that would accelerate the decay of a glyph or a ward, and cast it at the knot of dark energy. To his horror, the warding grew MORE powerful. And he wasn’t sure but it looked like it might have just begun to trigger.
With a gasp of dismay, the young mage leaped backwards, but was surprised to find that Bordok was standing behind him; somehow the mighty warrior had recovered and was on his feet again, and the green film was glowing more intensely over his eyes. He growled and swung the sword at L’Deil, the young mage dancing backwards in just the nick of time. The air from the swords passage actually blew L’Deil’s long white hair back in a gust you’d expect from a wind storm.
Another jab and slash by the warrior, and L’Deil got a cut, just as he tried to hurl another spell at the armored man. He gasped in pain, his left arm bleeding on his bicep, but the cut was more superficial. He had to get away! That death ward was going to trigger at any moment!
Bordok lunged at L’Deil with a grunt, and the young mage tripped the big man with his staff, sending the warrior sprawling towards the master’s study door. The big man turned fast, and raised his sword, when the death ward exploded its dark energy on the closest target. Bordok. The warrior was enveloped in a black nimbus of black energy, that seemed to suck all of the light and life out of the man. After a few moments, the nimbus of darkness dissipated, and the warrior collapsed, his skin drained of color, and his body lifeless.
Panting, L’Deil gave a forlorn look at the former jovial retainer, and sighed. “I’m sorry, Bordok. Its .. I’m sorry,” was all the young mage could say.
He and the staff worked on the remaining glyphs and door defenses, and in the next few moments, they entered the study of Dahryantalis. The room was strangely quiet. No owl hooting, no cat familiar, no chittering creatures in small cages. All of that had been removed, and now all he saw was a new wooden table spread with maps and books and scrolls of various kinds, beside a pot of ink.
L’Deil strode quickly over to the table and scanned its contents, trying to make sense of the mess, as he searched frantically for the experimental notes. He found a canvas bag, and slung it over his shoulder, and started stuffing rolls of the parchment notes into it, knowing he needed to get out of this place fast.
But what caught his attention was a massive tome open in the corner of the chamber. His little dracolich wings started to flutter and whir at his back as he moved, his arm was throbbing with the wound, and he was quickly trying to fight the urge to get drawn into the trap of spending too much time in this place. If his former master returned, he would be in great danger. But that book – it was something new. He had to find out what it was.
As he approached, he saw that the book was supported by chains that attached to the walls, holding it at waist height. The pages were illuminated with strange purple and pink symbols along the outer edge of the text and the pages themselves looked ancient and pristine at the same time.
As he looked at the ancient text, his ears began to twitch as a melody of haunting beauty could be heard the closer he came to the tome. It seemed to be both wondrous and subtlety seductive. The more he heard of it the more he wanted to hear.
He started anticipating the next movement of the song until his staff seemed to clear it’s mental throat and said into his mind **master, you have been standing still listening to something for 5 minutes. Are we not in urgent need of escape? **
L’Deil shuddered and with a supreme act of will, tried to ignore the seductive tune coming from the tome. .Was it.. In his mind? **Staff- are you hearing this .. telepathically, or is this.. Physical.. The song I mean.**
**I hear it physically, my master. It is unwholesome. Do not listen to it. The song is a curse – that is what happened to your master. The Song of the Curse invaded his mind.**
Desperate for a moment, as he could feel these melodic fingers digging into his brain, trying to gain a hold on him, he spoke a word, and pushed his will into it, and a dome of silence enveloped him and the large tome.
The singing stopped. He glanced over the giant manual, and read over the strange and ancient writings, slowly gaining a picture of what it was on the pages. He found what his master had tried to do to him, and knew what he had to do to reverse it, but it wasn’t going to be pleasant, and it might kill him.
He sighed, but also knew that this tome – this abomination of a mystic work, had to be destroyed. Or at least taken away from his former master. He did the only thing he could do.
He rushed around the study, grabbing things that he knew he could use, and things that would frustrate his master’s efforts if he took them. He found the old magic bag, the one that his master kept in his desk for transporting large numbers of books. ‘A bag of holding’ he’d called it. And he managed to stuff everything that he needed to in it. But the massive tome was far too large to fit through the mouth of the bag.
Or was it? He drew in his will, and recited a spell of shrinking, and cast it on the book. The massive tome shimmered, resisting at first, and when L’Deil pressured his will against it, the book seemed to sigh, and it shrunk down to the size of a normal tome.
L’Deil grabbed it from its resting place, and pushed it into the holding bag, as well, tossing in a silence spell inside the bag, just in case. He looked desperately around, and couldn’t see anything else he needed to do, other than one last thing.
He held up his staff, and pointed it at the master’s desk, and with a sad intonation, he channeled his power through the staff and said, “Incendiare”, and the desk burst into flames, a conflagration that started to grow fast and seemed to build in power the longer it burned. He stepped back from the intense heat, and turned towards the door to leave, when he saw a figure approaching the door.
His master was back!
He desperately clutched his staff, and with a gulp, he spoke a word and made a slashing motion in the air, sending an almost panicked surge of his will and magical energy into the staff, which gripped the fabric of reality, and cut open a ragged, poorly constructed gateway into another plane. The tattered edges were already trying to stretch back together, but before the ragged wound could close itself, he leapt through. He felt the brush of a tendril of the gateway try to entangle him, but it only caught at the skirt he was wearing and the crimson wrap he had grabbed from his master’s cloak hook. The fabric ripped and frayed but only at the edge, as he rumbled down into the vast open space of gray mist on the other side. There was a detonation back in his master’s study, as whatever was in the desk exploded in a horrible fireball of destruction. L’Deil felt searing heat through the remnants of the gate, as he made a clasping hand motion of negation, to close the rip in the fabric of the universe behind him. The already healing rip instantly sealed, leaving him alone, standing on a narrow ledge, in a strange, other world of gray mist,
And then he started to run. If his master had seen him, he would be after him soon.
L’Deil ran for his life.
Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd.
Scratches- CURELESS&DISORDERLY / Blind Angel / Wing Cuts (Store)
Book- 3rd eye The Elder Grimorie (Enchantment)