The Tree of Life (TS)
A chair flew over Wizard’s head. He twirled his staff around rapidly, knocking ruffians to the floor. Others he sent flying across the room with a wave of his hand. He felt rejuvinated after his rest. Shanadar was quite a good fighter, and had already handled more ruffians than Wizard.
Wizard looked up for a moment. Everyone was fighting ruffians. There seemed to be hundreds of them! But why were they here? Wizard’s mind went back to earlier that night, before a single ruffian had even appeared. . .
The Tree of Life , Wizard mused. There is an interesting subject. Wizard was remembering something Shanadar had thought about earlier. It seemed to be a quiet night, so Wizard decided to speak with Shanadar about the matter.
Grabbing his staff from where it rested against the wall, Wizard made his way to the bar. He took a seat next to Shanadar. After ordering a water to refresh himself, he thought for a moment to determine what was best to say. He decided on something short, “The Tree of Life.”
“You heard that I guess,” Shanadar couldn’t help but smile.
Wizard threw his hands up defensively. “I - I couldn’t help myself. I just hear these things. I don’t try. . . usually. Anyways, I thought that if you were waiting for someone to say something, I might as well be the first.”
Shanadar was listening carefully now, “You know about it?”
“A little. You’re not going to find much on it, wherever you look.”
“What all can you tell me?”
“Well, a few hundred years ago, I decided to do some research on it. I was looking for three primary things: if it existed, where it was, and what it did.” Wizard paused to take a sip of his water. “From all the scrolls, books, visions, and prophecies I could gather, I only found very little relating at all to this ‘Tree of Life.’ Some don’t even refer to it by name but by inference.”
Wizard continued his story, “I was trying to find out if it actually existed at first. I couldn’t find an answer to that. Everything I found spoke of it as though it were true. But there was never any solid evidence. It may be legend or it may not.”
“Hmm. . . what about the second?”
“The second. . . well, it’s difficult to say. Most of the people who wrote anything about the Tree of Life agreed on one thing: it is somewhere in the mountains. I don’t know exactly where, but they all say that somewhere hidden high in the mountains, a sole tree grows, taller than any other. Not much, is it?” Wizard looked away suddenly towards the door. He felt that someone was coming in a moment. Sure enough, the door opened and someone stepped inside.
Bang The door slammed shut as the cloaked person entered the tavern and sat down in the back. Everyone glanced at him, but soon returned to their own business.
Shanadar stared at the cloaked man the longest, wondering who he might be. “What about the third question you were hoping to answer?” he asked as he turned back to the old man in front of him.
“The third question left me where I had started. Some believe that the Tree gives eternal life. Others say that it gives unimaginable power to all who eat of its fruit.”
“What do you believe?”
“I believe that, if it exists, then it has some unique purpose completely different than those. I wouldn’t even try to guess at what it could be.”
“Why did you never try to find it yourself?”
Wizard was taking another drink of his water. “Oh. . . I guess I missed the most important part. Everyone who wrote about the Tree mentions something in common. They all say that anyone who seeks it, will find death first. They say it is set apart, not of this world. Some say that it is guarded by the heavens. Personally, that is why I never speak of it. If it does exist, I am almost certain that it is left well enough alone.”
Shanadar was about to say something when a window suddenly shattered. A few ruffian armed with clubs and torches climbed in.
“Ruffians!” Wizard nearly chuckled. “You guys never attack places like this—especially ones with as many fighters as this tavern! What are you doing here?!”
Shanadar readied his club. Everyone in the tavern thought they were in for an easy fight.
“Oh dear” was all Wizard could say before the door flew open and dozens of ruffians poured in.
A fight ensued.
Wizard was snapped back into reality when a ruffian slammed a club into his stomach. The old mage was out of breath and had to sit down. Fortunately, Shanadar was beside him and dealt with the ruffian that had hit him.
Tables were knocked over, glasses shattered, chairs broken. Someone knocked a ruffian with a torch into the curtains and a fire immediately started. Shanadar expertly bludgeoned every ruffian who got near him. Sécundus, who had been quietly resting most of the night, did his best to keep the bandits off of him. Other fighters, much more skilled, were having a good time, enjoying the fight.
Wizard was recovering his breath. He threw a whole bottle of alcohol at a ruffian across the room from where he sat, much to the frog-bartender’s dismay. From where he sat, Wizard could see the cloaked man who had entered earlier still sitting in the corner. He seemed completely unconcerned by the fighting.
“I’m getting pretty tired of this. Aren’t you?” Wizard was standing again but beginning to faulter. A ruffian managed to punch him in the face.
“Yes, I’m certainly prepared for a break,” Shanadar replied as he struggled with a ruffian trying to push a knife into his throat.
Wizard had been bumped back into the the stool on the counter by someone running by. The flames were spreading across the whole tavern. The ceiling was already beginning to burn.
Closing his eyes, Wizard held up his hand and stood back up. “Enough!” he shouted as everyone froze. He strained to hold each ruffian in a telekinetic field. “Why are you here?”
No ruffian was willing to speak; they were preoccupied with trying to struggle free of Wizard’s telekinetic hold.
“You don’t think I’m serious, do you?”Wizard made a hand gesture and one ruffian went flying into the wall—through several tables—certainly with enough force to break every bone in his body. “I’ll ask again: why are you here?” Shanadar seemed surprised by what this old man was capable of; he’d never seen him quite this angered.
Without warning, Wizard’s staff left his hand. Wizard was still able to hold every ruffian in place, but it was harder without his staff. The staff flew across the room and into the corner where the cloaked man had been sitting. The cloaked figure was now standing, and the staff came straight into his hand.
He moved toward Wizard with amazing speed, he did not even slow down when he across fire. Rather, the flames seemed to die before him. Wizard tried to stop his approach but was unable. His eyes were closed and his hand twitching, but still the cloaked man came nearer.
The man in the cloak was focused solely on Wizard and never looked away from him. Several tried to leap out in front of him or onto him, but they were thrown aside into a wall or up into the ceiling without even a glance from the cloaked mage.
Wizard’s eyes widened as the figure drew close to him. “I know y—” was all he could say before he was slammed against the bar by his own staff, unconscious. Shanadar quickly tried to hit the man with his club, but he wasn’t able to reach him before the end of Wizard’s staff rammed into his stomach and sent him reeling over a barstool and onto the floor.
Everything went quiet for a moment. The cloaked man stood silently staring at the unconscious form on the ground. This old man seemed so fragile. Tossing Wizard’s staff carelessly into the fire, he reached down and took hold of Wizard’s robe.
The ruffians were able to move again as soon as Wizard lost his consciousness. The cloaked man walked towards the door, just as fast as he had moved toward Wizard, dragging Wizard behind him. Everyone watched, too amazed to move. Shanadar was struggling to regain his breath and get up. By the time he had his head up, all he could see through the flames and open door was the cloaked figure tossing the unconscious Wizard onto horseback with a single hand. The old man’s several hundred pounds did not seem to disturb him in the least.
“No!” Shanadar ran to the door but was too late. The ruffians, the cloaked man, and their captive Wizard had already ridden off. Shanadar turned and watched the flames engulfed the tavern.
Sécundus felt around under all of the burnt chairs and curtains. The tavern itself had already begun to magically repair as soon as they had put the flames out. Most of the rubble was still there, though.
“Aha! I found it,” Sécundus held up Wizard’s somewhat blackened staff. “Hmm, I’ll just wipe off some of this ash here. . .”
Shanadar had gathered his things and was heading out the door.
“Are you going already?” Sécundus seemd surprised, dropping Wizard’s cleaned staff back into the rubble it had been under.
“I’ve waited too long as it is, I’m leaving now so that I have some hope of finding him and bringing those thugs to the justice that’s coming to them.”
“Well, I know I’m not exactly very helpful to you, but I’m coming along.” Sécundus leaned over and picked the staff up again. He hesitated a moment before saying, “I didn’t know the old man very well, but I have traveled with him. I owe it to him at least to rescue him from whatever those ruffians have planned.”
“Very well. I’d be glad of company. I can’t fight all those ruffians alone.” Seeing others who were known widely for their adventures, Shanadar spoke loudly, “Anyone who is willing to come, we’d appreciate the help.” He didn’t wait to see who all was prepared or preparing to go. He had already turned and started on his quest to find and rescue Wizard.
This post has been edited by The Wizard : 17 November 2007 - 07:58 PM
The hunt is all was his thought as he examined the trail.
It was the same thought that played over and over in his head throughout all the ages since it had been implanted there.
Still, he was patient: good hunts, after all, usually took time.
He was not an expert tracker although perhaps skilled enough. In any case, the trail was not yet hard to follow. As he studied the ground, he took care to leave no sign of his presence.
Patience was something that came easily to him: after all, it had been designed to. It was one of the few things that did—one of the few that had not been burnt out of him so long ago. Pity, love, joy, fear, hope—all removed in the quest to make a perfect killer.
Only in the hunt could he find any semblance of enjoyment.
He wondered if the ability to care about that fact had also been burnt from him.
He found it ironic that many considered him an amusing and friendly person. When he was not on a hunt, it was a persona that came naturally to him—he suspected it had been built to do so.
From his kneeling position, he glanced up at the sky, scowling. He could not hide so well in the open sun. Fortunately, the trail had already entered the forest.
Here, where strange sounds abounded and thick groves offered shadow, he could easily hide. Through the shadows he moved. No weak-minded ruffian would spot him he knew, and his inbuilt resistance to telepathy would hide him further.
He had to confess disappointment that his orders did not yet tell him to kill but to watch for now. All his latest hunts had seemed so disappointing, especially given the number of heroes about. Pnyx had been the closest he had come to having a good hunt. He had been careless there...
Scourge was the name he had taken in Cythera. Taken from the bodyguard of one of the crimelords that he had killed some months ago during his campaign to deliver Rapierian control of part of the Cytheran underworld. It was a name that he had used elsewhere and had seemed fitting. Outside of Cythera he had long been called the Nexus Lord.
The thought of Rapierian disturbed him. Something was wrong about that one and he thought it would do well to keep an eye on him. The necromancer was somewhere about, plotting to join the group that would soon follow.
That disappointed the assassin. Perhaps, he would not get to kill at all...
This post has been edited by Selax : 15 October 2007 - 12:54 AM
Bly was searching. He had never forgotten his journey into the mythical land of Cythera earlier that year, when he had saved a King-- and a land-- from destruction. When he had returned-- or been returned to Earth, he couldn't quite recall-- he had felt it. An aching, a longing, a need to go back.
So, he had searched. He had explored deep within the oldest of books, searched everywhere on the Internet, delved through every scrap of knowledge he could lay his hands on. But nothing he could find spoke of Cythera as anything more than a myth, or a dream.
He groaned as yet another search came up empty. All he had found so far today, in a book of, of all things, alchemy, concerned a mythical "Tree of Life", supposedly hidden deep in a mountain range within the 'mythical land'. The book stated,
'Verily, the great Tree is not of that worlde of darkness and of dreams; nor is it of our owne. He whosoever eats one of the red apples that grows on it, he shall gaine the capacity to see beyond; he who saves the apple is better off still, for he--'
Bly slammed the book shut. Poppycock. Absolute poppycock. Why was it that he couldn't find something, any thing, that told him--?
The pieces all fell into place. Once had had returned to Earth, he had never been sure whether his adventure had been a dream. The book in front of him referred to Cythera, in passing, as a "worlde of darkness and dreams". In Greek mythology, 'Cythera' was the name of the island of the goddess of love, Aphrodite _-- and what was love but a jointly shared dream?
_ Everything, from the research he had been doing to the book in front of him, had been pointing in the right direction. There was a way back to Cythera. It was not a wide way. Not a visible way. Not real. But perhaps, it was there. Perhaps, there was a path back. Perhaps a pathway of thought itself...
Bly closed his eyes, sat back in his chair...
...and dreamed his way to Cythera.
Shanadar stood at the road, searching. Thinking. The horse the the Wizard's kidnapper was mounted upon left a clear enough trail at first, but disappeared as soon as it reached the worn cobblestone pathway, and on the other side there was no sign of the trail continuing. His quarry had clearly gone on the pathway to lose his would-be pursuers, and for the moment he was successful, as Shanadar had no idea which direction that the horseman had fled.
But that would hardly be a deterrent to the Enforcer. It would inadvisable enough to cross Shanadar at all, lest his wrath be visited upon you, but the mere possibility that one under his charge--an individual the Enforcer should hope to consider a friend--was well enough to drive the man to swim through Scylla-infested waters for vengeance. If his mark sought to circumvent his ability to track him, he would find another lead to follow.
The first thing to come to the Enforcer's mind was the ruffians. As Enforcer by trade, peace-keeper by vocation, and city-guard by profession, he had had a great deal of personal experience with Cythera's criminal underworld, and almost none of it was friendly. However, he realized well enough that the scum which infested Cademia's alleyways were hardly an entirely malicious entity, as the members of the city's many gangs were often beggars-turned-bad out of hunger and desperation. They were hardly the sort to attack such a stronghold of adventurers as the Tavern, being so ill-equipped and under-trained, and they would have to be deathly desperate to accept such a suicidal charge. Or else-wise they were certainly mad.
The ruffians that attacked, however, were equipped with steel blades, oak clubs, and thick body armor uncommon among Cademia's disparate gangs; mostly such luxuries were reserved for the ring-leaders of such bands alone. And the skill with which they fought, although grossly inferior to the average abilities of one of the Tavern's patrons, was leagues ahead of the skill level that Shanadar had expected. And the tactics used were certainly unexpected as well. A typical Cademian gang would simply attempt to rush and out-number an opponent; Shanadar would hardly expect a quantum leap like burning down the building to even be considered by the half-starved brutes he was accustomed to fighting.
Therefore, the ruffians who attacked were clearly not local. And if this was not some mad charge by the local ruffian populace, then it was an increasingly unlikely prospect that the Wizard's abduction was a coincidental occurrence. In that case, it could be concluded that the Wizard's captor had brought the ruffians himself, which might perhaps give Shanadar a lead as to the captive castor's whereabouts. But the ruffians had so many hidden enclaves along the Titan's Spine that it could very well be impossible to identify the camp of that the bandits at hand had come from.
And the Wizard's captor himself--if he was, in fact, a he--was another enigma. Clearly, the Wizard had known the one who had stolen him away, but the mage was so ancient that there were clearly few who he didn't know, and he likely had a lengthy list of enemies.
Was the cloaked figure, in fact, Rapierian? Perhaps. Kidnapping such a notable individual did seem like something that the Necromancer would do, but the utter lack of boasting ran well against the grain of the villain's character. Not to mention the power to subdue an angry Wizard seemed well beyond even Rapierian's formidable abilities. As much as he hated to admit it, the usual suspects might not be guilty in this particular instance.
His would-be leads were cold as stone, it would seem, but that too would not stop him. On a hunch, he proceeded a short ways down the road, and found a set of fresh horse-tracks diverging from the beaten path. His foe had sought to elude him, but his search would not so easily be halted. Such pitfalls and dubious trickery would likely be commonplace following the trail of his enemy, but by Alaric he would be ready for anything. No one threatened his City, or those within it, and lived to escape his vengeance. In time, he swore, even that damnable teleporting assassin would be set ablaze by perdition's flame.
He turned back for a moment, towards the city of Cademia, his home, his charge. Last time he had left it, in a brash and unprepared manner, two people were killed in his absence. He would not let that happen again. What blood he needed to shed would be out upon the rocks before the week was out, and he would return before any assassin could dare to interfere. That too, he promised himself. This affair would be settled as quickly as he was able.
And between him and the mother city came a number of indiscernible figures back-lit by pyre-light in the pitch-dark of early morning. Such figures were the adventurers who had come to help rescue the Wizard, likely among them the Wizard's friend, Sécundus.
He prayed to Thera that they would be able to keep the pace; he would not rest until the head of the one responsible for this inconvenient sojourn had his head mounted firmly on the western palisade.
He charged onward, the basilisk would soon follow..
It hurt, it would slow him down, but I musn't..
It filled the air, he must soldier on.
Stop. Not yet.
Stop. Why were they there, he-I'm too close now!
Heat. Not yet!
It was hot, to hot. He awoke. What was a cold breeze from the open window had turned into an inferno from below. Something had happened, there was no time to think- and like that time was gone.
The floor had colapsed along with Yomu's only belongings, his pouch and it's contents.
The window. He ran to, than through, the window. The heat he had felt was now cooled by the night breeze. No sooner had he felt the cool air, had he felt the harsh ground. Luckily he had hit a wine barrel with a loose cap that had broken his fall.
Coming back to his senses Yomu remembered what exactly had been going on, but before he could make it back to the front end of the Tavern he saw a hooded man ride off followed by a group of ruffians. One caught his eye, a rather large fellow with a peculiar large growth on his head. This ruffian was holding something that was not his. A leather pouch.
Yomu ran. It was all he could do, for, before he could reach them they seemed to had disapeared.
sigh, Yomu huffed out. Putting his hands into his pockets he headed back to the tavern- However he was interupted by what seemed to be a group of misfits that looked like they had no buisness with each other, yet did. One of them walked over to Yomu and said, "Hey your quite fast for your size..." the person paused, "Hmm you don't say much do you? Thats alright. Hey listen you should come with us, you see a friend of ours has gottin' him self into a bit of trouble, and were fix'n to get'em out of it. What do you think?" Yomu paused and considered it, he was drenched in wine, acking with pain, had lost almost all he had, and had also nothing to lose. "Hm." Yomu hummed as he nodded his head. "Good! Glad to hear it!"
And so, Yomu joinded the ranks of this strange lot, who knows, maybe this is where he belonged.
This post has been edited by Two Jacks : 16 January 2008 - 06:51 PM
Five minutes earlier...
Spectre had been woken up at some point in the fight, and she was, not to put it too delicately, extremely pissed off. She had a splitting headache, which didn't exactly enhance her bad mood. It also killed her concentration, so the biggest time stop she was able to achieve was barely enough to prevent her attackers from hitting her.
Then things had happened, and other things had happened, and here she was, sitting beside a table which was, on observation, re-growing, and she couldn't remember. That was the scary part. A handful of minutes, maybe even half an hour, had just vanished, and she couldn't place why. And the old man, the one who had managed to freeze the whole tavern, the way she used to be able to, he'd been kidnapped by the other man.
It was too hard to think. Her instincts told her to follow the others, and she'd always followed her instincts. She should follow the others.
She hauled herself to her feet, swayed and blinked until the floor had stopped rocking, and weaved towards the door.
The headache was going to be a problem.
Aster looked back into his grape juice, and sighed. Although it would probably be a good idea to follow the others, he didn't feel he was quite ready for adventure yet.
He fished a piece of the roof out of his mug and took a sip.
"Do you wanna go help save Wizard?" asked Enna.
"Only if you do." replied Retsy.
"I will if you will."
"Only if you will."
"Yes, but I will if you will."
This post has been edited by CrazyChick : 16 October 2007 - 04:48 AM
**_ Bly awoke. After a few moments of disorientation, he remembered what had happened. How he had tried to dream his way to Cythera. As far as he could tell, it had worked-- here he was, curled up in a partial fetal position, in a circle in-- a forest?! What had happened? Why hadn't he appeared in the circle in the LandKing Hall?
Bly quickly unrolled and stood up, taking a mental inventory, as he had trained himself. Pocketknife, one of. Misc. Earth effects, including keys and wallet, one of. Nothing else. Before he had left Cythera, he had stored his Cytheran effects, including, most importantly, his spellbook and his oboloi, in an out-of-the-way cupboard in LandKing Hall. Bly decided to get to higher ground. Then, at least, he could see generally where he was. Bly strode to the edge of the circle...
...and bounced. Actually, got thrown back into a heap would be more like it. It seemed that not only had this circle attracted him while he was 'incoming', it was designed to keep him in until such time as whoever had created it dissolved the circle to let him out.
Bly bent down to examine the runes that made up the magical text of the circle. He had never been very good at reading runes, but he was sure that at least some of them were exact copies of the ones on the circle in LandKing Hall. He had no idea what the others were. Unfortunately, whoever had drawn the circle had put the runes on the outside , where they couldn't be erased by the occupant of the circle.
He had one last card to play. It was hard to remember the Spell of Directed Nexus at first, but after muffing a few times, Bly managed to activate the teleportation spell. He vanished.
**_ Bly awoke. After a few moments of disorien-- _oh, no.
_ Bly was still in the circle, in the forest. Apparently, the circle had been made to be the target of any teleport spells in the vicinity, as well as the 'landing strip' for anyone coming in from Earth. Bly groaned. He was well and truly trapped for sure, this time. Whoever had built this circle wanted to keep him-- or whoever came from Earth-- in. Now he just hoped that the circle had an alarm of some sort written into it, to summon its creator on use. Or that the creator of the circle was watching it right now.
Bly, (un?)fortunately, got his wish, as a cloaked figure came through the trees...
This post has been edited by SoItBegins : 14 January 2008 - 12:50 AM
However, as the cloaked figure got closer, Bly realized that he could not be the circle's creator: it was a ruffian who was soon joined by two others striding from the trees.
"Well, what have we here?" the lead ruffian sneered. "Looks like a poor lost adventurer...should be easy money."
Laughing, the three drew their weapons and closed in on the trapped Bly, only to suddenly stop.
Someone else had started laughing too and in a way that sounded quite mad.
The sound had started out a chuckle, which still echoed through the clearing. It grew quickly, sounding as if someone were absolutely howling with laughter. It echoed and reverberated through the trees, causing many nearby animals to flee.
"What is that?!" one of the ruffians yelled, backing worriedly toward the trees.
Momentarily, the sound ceased, and a voice from behind the two ruffians closest to the woods said, "Sounds like somebody having a lot better time than you are about to be, although you will contribute to that entertainment."
The ruffians wheeled around. The source of the voice had stepped out from the trees and now casually waved a hand.
The two ruffians that had joined the first suddenly backed up, fell onto the ground, began to clutch their heads, and scream madly.
Bly thought he recognized the spell: a Fear spell. Then, he noticed something. The strength of the spell seemed to be increasing. In moments, the men had quite literally died of terror. The spellcaster had laughed all the while and, chuckling, stepped toward the last ruffian.
The man, face white with fear, backed toward Bly.
"You!" he stammered. "I can help you—pl—please!"
"Yes, you can," replied the other, sounding strangely calm. He gestured again, and a bolt of lightning struck the ground next to the ruffian, knocking him (and Bly as it happened) down. The mage crossed to the fallen thief and put his hands on the man's head. "Your life will sustain me."
A green flame burst from the mage's hands and covered the ruffian completely before fading. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, the mage began to laugh as a white light started to pour from the man and into him. In moments, it was over, and all that remained of the ruffian was a vivisected corpse.
The spellcaster stepped toward Bly and examined him for a moment.
"Hmm, you're about two feet shorter than you ought to be," he stated. "You seem to have survived intact (as intact as anyone ever is, I suppose)—quite a feat as such travel can be quite taxing and/or painful. In any case, I am Lord Rapierian, forty-second (since someone knifed my uncle, you know) in the line for leadership of House Strymon (you may now express sympathy on that point if you wish). I apologize for your captivity (or not, it depends on which you prefer, I guess), but I think that you could be of some help to me." He did not pause long enough for Bly to speak before continuing, "You see, there are some heinous rumors about me going round, and I think I would be jumped by 'heroes' if I entered the city openly (there's been an explosion of those and beings from outside of Cythera in the years that you've been gone, after all). Currently, I have offered the House leaders, the mage council, and the Land King a deal (I have information they will be needing shortly, you know), and I think you could be most helpful to me in this case. What do you say? I help you: you help me."
Bly took a step back. Mages were one thing, but this... Rapierian seemed to be something else entirely. Such as completely mad. Bly was suddenly glad he was in the circle-- It kept him in, but it would keep this madman-- and his spells-- out. Hopefully.
"A. No matter what the chronicles say, I was never 8 feet tall in the first place," he said. While his demeanor appeared calm, Bly's mind was working very quickly. He was trying to mentally remake the Directed Nexus spell into one that could get him out of here, bypassing the circle.
He continued talking. "B, What 'information'?" (Bly settled on a phrase he hoped would work) "C, What exactly has changed while I was away?" (under the pretense of taking a deep breath, Bly whispered all but two syllables of his improvised spell) "And D. Why have you caught me in this circle, and why do you need my help?!"
Rapierian sniffed the air for a moment and glanced at Bly.
"Hmm, you seem impatient to leave," he mused. "Of course, you could be trying to fry me. In any case, Land King Hall is my destination as well. Come along." The necromancer lifted his staff, and the two materialized in the glowing triangle at Land King Hall, surrounded by guards.
Curiously, no one seemed to notice Bly as the group walked down the halls and into Alaric's throne room.
Here waited the leaders of all major Cytheran Houses, all master mages, all city judges, and Alaric himself.
Bly watched from the rear of the room as the questioning began.
What he learned was horrifying: Propontis murdered? A vast undead army lurking about Cythera?
He soon learned that Rapierian had stolen some sort of Amulet designed to control the army. The necromancer's defense was that he took it to make sure the army would not be used, and he pointed out that it had not. He stated that his only "crime" was being overzealous and agreed to surrender the Amulet to the mages (which he did immediately), although he stated that he believed that they would be forced to return it to him at some point in the future. Rapierian also offered a deal: he had information on the operations of various criminals and dark mages. Most importantly, he had information on a great danger that would soon threaten Cythera. He offered this knowledge in exchange for a pardon.
It also seemed that his name had been heard in connection with the death of his uncle. The necromancer denied any involvement and pointed out that at least one source was a criminal. He sought to cast doubt on the other.
Finally, the necromancer had some sort of altercation in Cademia, which he defended as self-defense saying the other had attacked him without provocation. In any case, he had not hurt anyone; his threats, he said, had been mere jokes.
All during the very thorough questioning, Alaric and the mages had been using all sorts of lie-detecting spells and now prepared to give the results.
Bly watched uneasily, certain that Rapierian had lied, but wary because he had taken a foolhardy risk if he had.
Looking troubled, Lindus stated quietly, "He speaks the truth."
All looked at Alaric.
He reluctantly nodded.
"The Houses will now vote," the Land King said in a tired voice.
The vote was a tie. Strymon and Attis voted against letting Rapierian free while Nicander and Dodonna voted to free the necromancer.
Next, Lindus spoke again.
"This result is most troubling. Either someone is lying to all of us, including the Land King himself, or this one speaks the truth," he sighed. "The former would undermine our entire justice system and perhaps even collapse it, doing more damage than letting this one free would. Until we know for sure, we must follow our laws and let him free."
Alaric stood and gave his verdict.
"You shall go free for the moment. To do else would go against our law. You shall be watched carefully and are required to give us all of the information which you claim to have. If the least bit of falsehood is found in you, you shall die. Return now to Cademia. Those there shall watch you."
With a smile, the necromancer bowed and left the room. Alaric had altered the triangle to take him and Bly to Cademia.
Alaric left the room, and Bly followed him, intent on speaking with him...
Bly, before he turned to follow Alaric, went over to a locked cupboard at the corner of the room. Using the only other spell he had memorized, he removed the magical lock on the cupboard. Inside was his old sword and armor, his spellbook, a few miscellaneous items, and a tidy heap of oboloi. Bly took them all, then closed and re-locked the cupboard.
When he had caught up with King Alaric, Bly turned to the LandKing and said "You wished to speak with me?"
This post has been edited by SoItBegins : 18 October 2007 - 10:08 PM
Wizard could faintly feel the soft riding of a horse under him. He slipped in and out of conscience. He felt tired and drained… The fight in the tavern flicked across his vision… the robed man….
A hysterical laugh echoed through his mind…. And a distorted image of someone he once knew looked into his eyes, yet he was still asleep. Satori…. She looks at him with her face half hidden, tears streaking down her face. “Wizard…… Its not safe being asleep….. There taking you to a bad place my friend… you need strength…. Strength to fight.” Satori looked around in a frightened fashion…. The image blurred and she looked back to him…. “Wizard, don’t die…. Need you…. Need me…… I give you my strength my friend…. What I have…. Wake my friend….wake up..”
Wizard felt rush of strength he felt alive again… he looked around the robed man turned and saw him awake….
This post has been edited by Pippin 3 : 18 October 2007 - 11:28 PM
"Yes," Alaric sighed, motioning for Bly to follow him. They crossed the halls and entered Alaric's study. Alaric turned to face Bly and smiled.
"It is good to see you again, and I thank you again for your service to me," the Land King said. "I am afraid that I must impose upon on you once more."
"It's good to see you too, sir," Bly replied, pleased that the King healthy look, although he noted that the old man's face seemed lined with new cares. "What's going on?" he asked.
"He lied," Alaric stated simply.
For a moment, Bly was shocked.
"If you knew, why—" he started.
"Did I let him go?" Alaric finished. "That's just it: I didn't know. As far as I could tell, he spoke the truth, but I cannot believe that."
"He lied to you? How?"
"Through the aid some outside power greater than me or any other in Cythera," Alaric responded in a soft voice. "Yes, they do exist, my friend."
Bly was stunned for a moment but managed to ask, "What do you intend to do about it?"
"About those beyond? Nothing. What can I do against such? Their agents on the other hand...those I think can be managed."
"You suspect this Rapierian of being such an agent?"
"Yes, but immune to us for now. However, that does not mean we can't make use of him," Alaric looked at Bly for a moment and began to walk around the room. "Much has happened since you left. Many beings from other worlds have found their way to Cythera or at least made their presence here known. These days, any troubles in the land (and they do still exist) are handled by bands of adventurous heroes, some Cytheran and some not. Of late, they have concerned themselves with something known as the 'Tree of Life.' Even now, they seek to rescue one kidnapped for his knowledge of it and to find it themselves. In that endeavor, the necromancer can be of some use. One of the black books he carries—which I do not recommend trying to read—has something to say about this Tree."
"You want me to go this quest with them?" Bly guessed.
"If you wish to do so and aid this land once more, enter the triangle in the Nexus Room. I have configured it to send you to Cademia."
Bly smiled and said, "I'm honored to have the chance to help you once more, sir. To be honest, it's great to be back, even if much has changed."
Alaric's relief was evident.
"Thank you," he answered in a voice filled with gratitude.
Later, Bly entered the Nexus Room. . .and was disturbed to find Rapierian waiting for him.
"About time," the necromancer laughed. "Getting slow, are you? Come, let us go! By now, the 'heroes' are no doubt in trouble, and we will probably face the dull task of saving them."
As Land King Hall faded away and Cademia came into view, Rapierian's laughter continued, and Bly wondered what he had just gotten himself into...
**Previously, in the LandKing Hall
** Bly wandered around the passageways of LandKing Hall, searching for some quiet place. Finally, he came upon a relatively empty corridor.
Bly sat down in a corner and opened his spellbook. Flipping past the pages for spells he had learned, then past the pages for spells he had invented, he turned to a page with no other markings on it than a diagram of a hand. Bly placed his hand upon the page, and it cleared and displayed one simple message:
Bly responded by saying "Cythera." The page cleared again, this time changing to
This time, the password was "Neoptolemus." The page blanked out again, becoming
Spellbook Secured Storage
Experimental/Extremely Powerful Spell Holding
with a number of powerful spells underneath it. Bly spoke the syllables of his improvised teleport spell (out of order, so as not to trigger the spell), and they appeared in the book. He wanted to take a look at the side-effects-- in particular, why almost no one had (apparently) been able to see him after he'd used it.
Bly chuckled as he looked through the other spells on the page. There were three: One could rewind time, but it took 5 times the rewound amount from the user. The second, one of the 'experimental' category, would (if he could ever get it working) protect the caster against harmful magic. The third one was the main reason Bly kept the page locked. It was--
Bly wasn't sure whether to groan or grin. It was Magpie, the king's fool. Bly relocked the page and turned to Magpie.
"Yes, Magpie?" he said. Magpie looked mysterious. Then again, he always did, slightly. "Magpie has found something interesting, has he not?" said the fool. Bly, who had never been sure what to make of Magpie, decided to go for a straight answer. "Well, what 'interesting thing' did you find?" he asked.
"You! And," (here Magpie bent over to look at the book so that all Bly could see was the top of his head. After a few seconds, he straightened up again) "a book of lies!"
Bly was about to ask another question, but the fool's last statement drove it completely out of his head. He blinked, gaped for a second, then asked "Ummm... lies?! This is my spellbook."
Magpie grinned. "What is magic but a way of lying to the universe, telling it something is as it is not?"
This time Bly did groan. To him, Magpie was like a block of iron: Some of the time, helpful. Most of the time, dense. Magpie continued: "But Magpie also finds you interesting. How is it that you returned?"
"Ummmm... I dreamed my way here, I think."
Magpie's response was less than easy to make sense of. "So, did you dream, or did you think your way here? Or are you a dream yourself? Or had you better take care, to avoid becoming a dream?"
Bly said simply "Well?"
"Magpie doesn't know. He wanted to ask you."
With another groan, Bly closed the spellbook, bid the fool farewell, and ran to catch up with Rapierian.
This post has been edited by SoItBegins : 19 October 2007 - 03:00 AM
As the group went along, Shanadar stooped from time to time so that he could more closely examine the trail.
As he was doing so, he thought he saw something moving in the bushes. The Enforcer rolled to the side, just in time to avoid the gray fist that knocked a hole through the tree trunk next time.
Coming to his feet quickly, Shanadar saw what had tried to attack him: a large golem. Almost immediately, more came striding out of the trees and advanced on the group.
In moments, a fierce battle had begun...
Coming up behind the group, Rapierian and Bly had made very good time. Good enough, in fact, that they were now almost right behind them and walked into the midst of the battle.
Bly charged forward and began at once to aid the group, but Rapierian hung back on the outskirts.
The necromancer searched the ground for a few moments and picked up a rock. Pulling a letter out from his cloak, he tied it to the rock. Alaric had given the letter to him with instructions to give it to Shanadar. (Naturally, Rapierian had already read it.)
He scrawled Hey, strange one, guess what? Alaric gave me a pardon! Enclosed are his instructions to you and his confirmation of my statement! Isn't that funny? on the outside of the letter.
Rapierian scanned the melee for a moment before locating Shanadar. Waiting until the Enforcer happened to come close enough to him (Rapierian was not very strong after all), he threw the rock at him. At the same time, he casually raised a hand and threw a bolt of lightning at the golem that Shanadar had been fighting.
Then, he moved back into the shadows of the trees to see what happened.
In the ruffian party. . .
The vision of Satori faded out of Wizard’s mind as he began to stir. He was slung over the back of a horse, uncomfortably bouncing up and down. He watched the ground as it passed underneath him. It was daytime again.
The cloaked man glanced back at him, then looked at one of the ruffians riding next to him. “Our guest is a bit premature,” he said, signaling with his head for the ruffian to move back with the “guest.”
The ruffian, apparently second in command, nodded and slowed his horse until he was a little behind Wizard. Wizard, still feeling somewhat drained, was about to jump off and run, when the ruffian, without any warning, grabbed his club.
“Whoa, you don’t need that—” clunk Wizard’s unconscious form slumped over the horse again.
Wizard awoke with a start. He examined the room he was in hastily. It seemed to be a small cottage, though it was too dark to really see much of anything. The only light was let in by one of two small windows. Wizard wondered if he could even fit through them.
He was tied up, but maybe, just maybe, he could get to one of the windows and climb out. He tested the strength of the ropes, there wasn’t any give. Wizard grunted as he tried to pull them apart with his mind. “What is happening?” he asked himself as he strained to tear free.
Footsteps sounded outside. A key turned in the door’s latch, and a moment later, the door was flung open. Light suddenly streamed in from the outside, momentarily blinding the old man.
A dark figure approached the small table that was in front of Wizard with swift steps.
“Why have you brought me here?” Wizard began to question.
“Oh come now, you’re a telepath. Surely you know the answer to that already. . .” the figure replied; there was something mocking in that evil voice.
Wizard wasn’t able to hear any thoughts, not from his captor, not from anywhere. He surmised from his mocking tone that the robed man had had something to do with that. “I don’t- What have you done?”
“You remember kesh-crystals, don’ you?” The cloaked man pulled from beneath his robes a crystal. Indeed, it was one of the Kesh-crystals that Wizard had encountered nearly half a year before on his brief escapade to the Ruffian Encampment in the South. These crystals were ones made with a form of kesh that, when hardened, gave the unique property of blocking magic. “The ropes that bind you are intertwined with fragments of this crystal.”
“How did you get that?” Wizard groaned as the large kesh-crystal in his interrogator’s hand came closer. He doubled over in pain as his body began to show its actual age again. Scars showed on his face, his hair thinned and whitened, his skin began to wrinkle, and his bones felt soft and weak. “That camp was destroyed, and the distiller that makes that kesh was obliterated.”
The cloaked man returned the crystal back to its place somewhere in his robes. “Oh yes, it was all destroyed. The distiller was destroyed. Every ruffian in that camp was killed. I was killed!” The dark figure yelled, slamming his hands on the table.
Wizard’s face began to heal more after the large kesh-crystal was hidden again, but he was still blocked by the pieces in the rope that tied him. He looked up into the hooded face with disgust, “Then why are you alive, Altérius?”
Altérius sat down on the table in front of Wizard and pulled back his cowl, revealing his scarred face. “Have you ever died? Weak, helpless, laying in the mud, your life’s blood slowly trickling away, trickling towards your doom? I have. I was. But then, something happened, I’m not sure how to describe it.” Altérius almost seemed as though he would go on, but his expression suddenly changed—he smiled. “You know, if you hadn’t wasted so much of your strength trying to freeze all of my minions the other night, you could easily break free of that rope right now.” Altérius leaned into Wizard’s ear as if to taunt him more and whispered, “Those fragments of kesh-crystal aren’t enough to restrain your wild power.”
Altérius leaned out again, a blood-chilling grin still on his face. Wizard gave him a look of revulsion, “You really are crazy, aren’t you? Well, what is it that you want from me?”
“The Tree of Life.”
“I don’t have it. I can’t give it; I don’t know where it is.”
“LIAR!” Altérius shouted, his voice filled with hatred. “You know more than you told that - what was his name - Shanadar. Tell me now.”
Wizard was still staring blankly at him over his last outburst. “Why are you even interested in the Tree of Life? How did you come to hear about it?”
Altérius stood up again. “Oh, I have my spies. Particularly around Cademia, I like to keep an eye on what your little group is up to, and when that Enforcer asked Magess Anisa about the Tree of Life, I couldn’t resist looking into it further.”
Wizard’s eyes widened with realization. “It was you. You, the cloaked figure, dressed all in black, who has plagued my every movement. . . You attacked us when we were seeking the Sword of Elements! You were the one who mercilessly slaughtered dozens of your followers!”
“Yes. But I didn’t slaughter them; they died because they failed me. I was merely delivering justice.” Altérius smiled again. “I so had my heart set on obtaining the Sword of Elements, but you tricked me and outmaneuvered me. I just couldn’t keep up. That is why, when I heard about the Tree of Life, I decided to go to the only human who would know anything about it. You. But this time, you are not going to beat me. I have you, and I am keeping you until you . . . tell me. . . where to find it.”
“Why do you even want to find it?” Wizard already knew the answer but was hoping to stall for time.
“Hmm,” Altérius seemed amused. “For the same reason I wanted the Sword of Elements: power. Now, tell me, where is the Tree of Life?”
“If you want to talk with me about something or gloat about how powerful you are now, then go ahead. But I am never going to tell you anything about the Tree of Life or its location.”
Altérius did not seem disturbed in the least by Wizard’s refusal. “Don’t worry. You will. Sooner or later. In the meantime, we will continue west to the mountains, as you told Shanadar that it is somewhere there.”
“What about my ‘little group?’ Surely you don’t believe that they’ll have no interest in finding the Tree of Life before you do.”
“Oh, yes. They are following us. Some of them are actually good trackers. For some reason, they seem intent on saving you, but they will find something else. I have several. . . surprises. . . awaiting them.”
With that, he turned and walked out.
Altérius still alive? Wizard pondered the idea for several minutes. Before long, a few ruffians entered the small building and grabbed him. They took Wizard to a horse, on which they actually let him sit instead of tossing him over the side.
At a little distance away, Altérius and his second in command watched as they hauled Wizard out of the shack and mounted him on the horse. They were in a clearing in the forest that would be very difficult for their pursuers to find. The shack was just one of many old ruffian hide-outs somewhere in the woods that few would know the location of.
“Did he tell you anything?” the burly ruffian asked Altérius.
“Not yet, but we can’t expect him to sacrifice his ideals and betray all of his companions so soon. It will take a few days.”
The ruffian glanced at him oddly. “Why are we even hauling him around? Those companions of his are out there, and my scouts say that they are closing on our position. How are you going to stop them?”
“Don’t concern yourself about them. They are. . . otherwise engaged. I may never have mastered the creation of fire golems, but I can summon a regular golem quite easily. In fact, a horde of my minions, including some of your men, are on there way to intercept that group of vigilantes as we speak.”
“My men? When were you going to tell me about this? They’ll be killed! It was bad enough that we had to lose so many retrieving the old man at that bar, but—”
“Silence! I tell you what you need to know, nothing more! Unless, you would like to cancel our agreement?” Altérius hand was engulfed in a magical flame as he eyed his terrified lieutenant with a malicious expression.
“No! No. I don’t want to cancel our agreement, I’ll supply the men, but please, get that old man to talk and get us to that tree place.”
“Good, I will. It will take some time, but he will talk.” The flame vanished from Altérius hand.
“I’m just wondering, but why will it take so long? Why don’t we just do it the quick way?” He unsheathed a knife he had strapped to his waist.
“That? That won’t faze him. We’ll do it my way.” Altérius stood for a second to make sure that his command had been understood and then walked past the ruffian to mount his own horse.
Back with the group. . .
The group had been making excellent time, and they were hoping to maybe catch up with Wizard’s kidnappers within the next few hours. Then they ran into the golems and ruffians that had been sent to stop them.
Sécundus wasn’t good at tracking or much of anything for that matter, so he had been following Shanadar mostly. However, when a golem punched him in the stomach, he was surprised at how much it angered him. He grabbed his mace and began to swing wildly at the golems. He didn’t do much damage to the golems, but he was able to hurt the ruffians that were with them. He tried to direct his efforts towards the weakest ruffians he could find and let the more powerful fighters and spellcasters deal with the golems.
This post has been edited by The Wizard : 20 October 2007 - 11:26 PM
Bly plunged in.
With sword in hand, he ran towards the nearest golem and swung. The sword bit deep into the golem's shoulder, then stuck fast. D***. Bly had forgotten about how tough golems were. He ducked as a massive clay right swung harmlessly over his head. Bly pulled his sword loose and tried to remember what he had read about golems.
A golem that is made of stone has only the semblance of life... (he jumped back a few steps and swung again at the arm; this time he succeeded in chopping it off) ...given direction by either a wizard with a spell of control, run through an artifact implanted in the golem's body... (both the arm and the rest of the golem came at him; he whirled and chopped a ruffian sneaking up behind him in half, then picked up the arm and threw it at the golem) ...or by a tablet of carved clay, containing the creation's instructions;... (Bly tried running his sword through the golem's head, where such a tablet was usually kept; he barely managed to pull his sword loose and dodge to the side to avoid the powerful kick the golem aimed at him, but failed to see the punch following it;) _...either are usually kept in the head, but can be bound into the golem, at creation, in the center of the chest.
_ Bly, despite seeing stars from the golem's punch, lunged forward and stabbed the golem where its heart would be. He heard something shatter. The creature immediately froze, then fell over. Bly looked quickly at the hole the thrust had left. He could see some sort of crystal inside. Not good. Someone was controlling the golems. The only consolation was that this 'someone' was relatively close, no farther away than you could throw a javelin. He started to search for this mysterious controller, blasting two ruffians with a lightning spell as he did so.
Now, who could it be? The book that had talked of golems had said "Controlling a stone golem is, mentally, incredibly difficult. Most mages prefer the carved-tablet method unless they need for the creation to accomplish some task which it would perform better under control (or that they do not want written down)." So where were the 10 to 15 mages necessary for these numbers of golems if they were under direct control? And why would they need control at all? Golems were usually very good at doing tasks set for them. This was why some wizards (the more powerful ones) used them as servants.
Bly turned and scanned the battlefield. Most of the ruffians were dead by now, and the ones that remained were either locked in battle or running like mad. He thought he saw a pink ( ??! ) golem out of the corner of his eye, but that likely wasn't the controller either. So who--?!
Bly's thoughts were answered in an all too unfortunate way, as a massive, 8-foot-tall golem, along with 5 or 6 of its smaller brethren, came striding through the trees. The tall golem was made of iron, and its outer shell was covered all over with magical runes. Most still glowed, but a few strings had burnt and blackened. Bly understood at once. Each string of runes controlled one of the clay monsters they were fighting. Most likely, this allowed the golems to use teamwork, to think more creatively, not to mention providing a single mage (if someone was controlling this one) the ability to control all the golems at once. Clever. Very clever.
Unfortunately for Bly, the golems could use teamwork after all. He managed to stab another in the 'heart', but they soon had him surrounded. Soon Bly was dodging more than anything else, trying to avoid the flurry of massive punches and kicks coming at him from all four sides. It was time to play nasty. Magic bounced off golems made of stone, but that one made of iron...
Bly rolled out from between the four golems that were attacking him and ran, till he was away from the fight a little ways. He dredged up his spellbook, then opened it and gabbled his way through the words of the spell for lightning. Then, he aimed at the massive golem, and fired. Again, and again.
The golem didn't take any damage, of course; it just stopped for a second or two to discharge the electricity running up and down it. And all the stone golems stopped for that same second. That was all the encouragement Bly needed-- he concentrated, letting loose bolt after bolt of lightning...
This post has been edited by SoItBegins : 14 January 2008 - 12:51 AM
They had been walking for quite some time. The charge for Wizard which was once brimming was now a slow march. Many of the adventures were growing weary of the travel.
The sun was starting to fall under the hills to the west, but they could not see t for they had entered a dark forest. What light was still outside could not penatrate the dense branches of the menacing trees. The march continued untill abruptly all chatter had ceased, and everyone had started to stand still. "Look!", some one shouted pointing off down the road. One pair, two pairs, three, four- Sets of glowing eyes could be seen coming towards the party. Some readyed there swords and others started chanting spells, and in no time Golems were opon them.
Yomu knew this was going to be trouble, not only had the ruffians stolen his belongings but this area was a bad spot to be in when the sun went down. He wasn't much of a magic user and his fighting skills were somewaht limited, at least without his belongings, but he must do something; the heros had already started clashing with the Golems, and he wasn't just going to stand by and watch.
Looking around near the road he saw an old withered tree, hanging off the tree were a few vones. He grabbed a vine the was particulay strong and pulled it off the tree, luckily it was of good length for fighting. He ran towards a near by golem and slid onto his side right next to the golems leg, quickly he lassoed a loop around it's foot, then got up and ran again. As the golem noticed this Yomu pulled hard on the vine intoducing the golems head to the ground. This had not been enough to knock the golem out of commission, so he then jumped high into the air and came plunging down into the back of the golems head, smashing it into peices. What followed made a few adventures smile. Not being able to see, but still walk, the golem stumbled along the battlefeild swinging mindlessly. Yomu cleverly tided another knot around the golems waste. Yomu tugged the golem to the ground, then start winding him in a clock-wise motion. Yomu was swinging the golem around almost like a giant mace, not to long after Yomu had started swinging him had he crashed into another golem turning both of them into piles of rubble.
This however was only the start of the battle and things continued on, during the fight two strange men appeared and also started to help out, with great results. As the battle seemed to be dieing down ruffians appeared concentrated in one area, and seemed to only to be trying to stall everyone or hide something, something much worse than what they had been fighting.
A Golem but not just any golem this Golem was forged of iron, bore ruinic spell all across it's body, but it size was great, great enough to be compared with a mother polyp. What made it even more strange was that instead of having glowing eyes like other golems it had holes, holes that almost looked like vents. At once Yomu realized that the controller of these golems must be within this beast!
Yomu struggled to think of a way to even try and dent this giant. Clay golems were a challenge on their own but an Iron one... What was he to do? He was going to needs someones help and someone was going to need his help. Alone they could do almost nothing but if they used collaboration The Iron Golem would fall.
"What the?" Yomu muffled to himself seeing some of the golems change colors. Yomu thought that this ment they were stronger but apparently it was just making them look pretty. The golem were also confused by this and sometimes mistaked friend for foe, smashing into each other thanks to their bizarre appearance.
This post has been edited by Two Jacks : 16 January 2008 - 06:52 PM
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As some of the boys fought valiantly or came up with genius strategies, Enna and Retsy skipped around the edge of the battle, trying to avoid getting killed; and also trying, just for good measure, to kill the golems with their minds.
"Oh look!" Enna said suddenly, pointing to a golem that was now a bright pink colour. "I didn't know I could turn golems pink! That's even better than knocking them sleepy!"
Eyes wide in appreciation, Retsy exclaimed, "pink becomes him!"
And the two of them grasped hands and danced in a circle, content that they had made the world a better place by making a mean golem pretty.
This post has been edited by BreadWorldMercy453 : 21 October 2007 - 06:17 PM
Rapierian was idly wondering whether or not Shanadar had gotten hit with the rock when he noticed the golem's bizarre change in color. The necromancer guessed that Retsy and Enna must be about and, sure enough, spotted them dancing around the edge of the battlefield.
He noticed Retsy point at a golem and close her eyes; he figured that she was probably trying to kill it with her "powers." He shrugged and smiled. Rapierian then waved a hand and a bolt of lightning struck the golem, smashing it into splinters.
Retsy gasped and began to dance around once more, convinced that she had killed the golem.
The necromancer then turned his attention to the iron golem. Personally, he didn't favor the use of artifacts in golems, preferring to use the standard golem spell and allow his to be more autonomous; however, this tactic was quite interesting. Upon closer inspection, he noted that Bly had found a weakpoint in the spell and that the iron golem was having trouble controlling the others.
Rapierian began to rummage around in his cloak, examining the various potions it contained. To his annoyance, he found that he was low on potions with acidic qualities. He made a mental note to remedy that.
Suddenly, he began to chuckle. He found it quite baffling that the controller of the golems would be in this golem. The necromancer sniffed the air, trying to sort through the mess of magic "scents" and detect that of the golem operator. This he found quite difficult. Although he knew the "scents" characteristic of the spells cast by several of those present, he did not know all.
He was certain that the master mage was not present, perhaps a lesser adept or perhaps not even a mage at all. It could be that the mage had designed the golem to be able to be operated by someone so simple as a ruffian with some magic talent.
However, Rapierian was willing to bet that the iron golem itself contained protective spells, some of which were undoubtedly designed to protect its creator. Most likely these spells would prevent him from frightening the operator to death, but it might not be enough to keep him from getting scared.
The necromancer leaned forward and cast his specialized fear spell on the operator within the iron golem, curious what the effects would be...