3rd day of the third month of the season of renewal
Headmaster Bastion, Chosen of Azureen:
We stood ready to take the challenge. There was little choice; we are still convinced that if we had left the artifact here, those with evil plans for it would also have been able to breach its defenses. And that would have been bad for the world for sure.
We stood ready to fight for what we believed in, even to the death.
Little did we realize how true that would be.
The challenge appeared before us, six beings which we had to fight, and presumably vanquish. The final guards of the artifact: A Halfling, a chain fighter, a Tiefling, a Warforged, a Witch, and a dwarf. They all looked quit competent, powerful, and trouble. They move rapidly to assault us, the halfling hits me with a crossbow before any of us can even react. And he has some form of poisoned bow – I use the power of my new armor so he suffers the same as I. Perhaps premature, but I feel that we will need all the damage we can dish out to finish this fight.
Indeed, this battle looks to be EPIC.
I also note that the chain fighter is so outdated; I mean who uses a spiked chain anymore? Really?
Glespo reacts quickly, as usual, but pretty much the force arrayed against us goes first. Blows are traded rapidly. Asalie knocks down the spiked chain guy with a huge strike, and the halfling hits him with an arrow which poisons and slows him. The chain fighter can go insubstantial, the Tiefling flings fire to and fro (mainly to little effect early, thankfully). The witch pours out darkness which does serious damage, and provides great cover. They fight under a standard, one which appears to be an archaic Hero’s Guild formulation, and it appears to increase damage.
The chain fighter falls early. Cautious of the ranged power of the poisoning, slowing dwarf, we focus on him and take him down. Rolan fires to great effect. I have taken great damage, and Asalie encourages me to fight on. Glespo lands his powers and lights up enemies, making them easier to strike, which Asalie loves. Dalaan lands his contagion, which does terrible things to people. And Asalie dishes enough damage to the commander to bloody him, finally.
The battle is really rough though, and our enemies are shaking off the effects we land on them like a light rain. Suddenly Rolan begins screaming something about fog and snakes. It might have been frogs and snakes, I’m not sure; He thrashes around and falls limp to the ground. The work of the Witch.
The warforged and I argue the finer points of saving the world. I mean if this was a test to make sure that if in the future a force for good needed to be powerful enough to wrest the artifact and subsequently guard it from evil once it has returned to the real world, I would agree. But these heroes or simulacra, or whatever they are, seem to think that the artifact can remain safe here, forever.
Those who hid it had great foresight, true. Just not quite enough. The warforged falls.
Dalaan bites the eyes of the Halfling, who tried to move. Glespo stops that. In return the witch blasts Dalaan, while Seltzer helps Rolan back to his feet. The Witch is serious trouble: her necrotic cloud moves with her and it hurts. It hurts like DEATH. The Tiefling gets smacked around and teleports into the cloud. Asalie continues her beat down and drops the Halfling.
Two left, both in the death cloud. The Witch must go, but even so the Tiefling may be the death of us all. Trying to get to the Witch I fall, in the cloud, on fire. I feel the end is very near. At the same time I hear Dalaan blasted by the Witch and he falls cursing her as he goes down.
I vaguely remember getting up and fleeing the death cloud, but the fire won’t go out. Battle rages around me as I fall to the ground again. I later learn that Glespo and Asalie flanked the evil Witch. Glespo misses, but Asalie stabs with serious conviction and DROPS THE WITCH.
Still it is not over. Glespo is dropped by Tiefling fire, but he will not be stopped and surges back to consciousness! As it turns out, this is critical. The Tielfling, however, is unimpressed and then drops Rolan with fire. Finally Seltzer mocks the Tiefling to death.
Bastion, I was so close to death I could see Bahamut calling me to the afterlife. Glespo saves me, and the image of Bahamut fades and is replaced with Glespo’s instead. He then proceeds to save Dalaan. We try to save Rolan, but it is too late, and he dies the final death.
Rolan I am so sorry to have failed you.
We recover the box which has the artifact in it. It has a sacrifice lock on it. Someone must die to open it. The box is cold, and when you hold it you both love it and hate it. Evil.
The dungeon fades and Arroyo appears, under siege. Time is critical, and we must now push four days to the border, and will switch horses in a town halfway there. The town will fall, there is no doubt. They give us their last heirlooms. Edward shows us an escape route, which requires climbing and chasm crossing. And a fair bit of falling. We emerge in a hidden clearing, and horses are waiting for us.
We ride as hard as we can.
As always, your student,