Protectors of the Silver Marches

Reaching towards Despair

So, Barracks…those are fun right? Well not when they are filled with soldiers that know you aren’t who you are trying to masquerade as. We cleared them out rather quickly, Carnifex got it all together by throwing a noxious fume stick or whatever it is, in there and gassing the guys out. The battle was short and the only thing that was truly interesting was the twin fire pillars that erupted to either side of me, and the horizontal tornado that blew the bad air out, thanks to Serenity. I’m always kind of surprised by the strength of her magic for her being so young. Settling in for the night, it was weird, but Demi said she would guard the door…instead of looting. I’m starting to worry about our little pixie friend. She continues to go on about how certain people or things can’t be trusted. She seems to be keeping a harsh eye on our cleric right now. Not an hour into resting, a large explosion can be heard. The only thing I can liken it to, is like a mixture of a catapult and a cannon. The explosive power of the cannon but the heavy feel of the catapult slinging giant pieces of earth. The entrance to the barracks had been covered over with what looked like a part of the cliff. Carnifex just told us to not worry, so I decided to take him at his word.

When I next woke it was to see he had transformed it into an intricately carved entrance way with a door that even had hinges. How he managed to do that without waking the rest of us I will never know. I respect his ability to work with the stone though, I have not seen another with that great of skill. As we set forth again, it was to the realization that the snow has stopped falling. In this kind of place I don’t know if that is really a blessing or not. Truthfully, I find it kind of terrifying, it makes everything seem much starker. More depressing, and definitely makes everything seem more oppressive. Just as I didn’t like the ashy snow, I don’t like the lack of it. Not in this place anyway.

We made it to the creepy murals. The artwork was everything I would hope that it wouldn’t be. The artist had obviously spent a lot of time to make it seem like a giant throne room, and seemed to be larger than it actually was, with lots of demons starring down at us. Our light sources seemed to make the mural scatter, and become less clear as it passed over it. Serenity, Demi (after some coaxing), the cleric and myself took a candle and put it on a pedestal near the center of the mural. Standing with our backs to the candle light, shadow forms of ourselves appeared and after a moment took on a life of their own! It was something else to watch, and I stood transfixed as we watched those shadow selves take on the demon horde and then finally going against and defeating the dusk lord that had been sitting on its throne. After he was defeated a door way opened up. Serenity and I stepped towards it though we didn’t exactly trust it. The darkness was absolute, and we couldn’t see into it. Using the rope I keep with me, we tied it around her waist and she went into the darkness, with me holding the rope to pull her back if need be. It didn’t take long to feel a tug on the end of the rope, I tightened my grip just for a second, not sure what she meant by the tug, then it went slack. Well…that could be either good or bad, so I dashed on in to the darkness myself, coiling the rope back up as I went.

What we saw on the other side was surprising. We found Despairs horde, his treasure room, where all his shiny and useful items were stored. Our pixie was acting like her usual self for once, oohing and awwing over all that sparkled. I stood off to the side, letting the others do the searching, I didn’t want to let my guard down to much, especially in a place that I thought Despair might show back up to at any time. Serenity had picked up a scroll and started to turn it this way and that, at one point holding it upside down. A frown marred the mages face, and even after Carnifex went over to inspect it, they didn’t do the little, ‘ah hah’ motion. Shrugging at it, I went over to see what they were looking at. Serenity handed it over, and as soon as I was turned it to look at what was there, a grin spread over my face. It had been a long time since I had seen anything written in my native language. It was almost like a breath of fresh air to see the familiar characters written so carefully. What was actually written on the scroll was even more surprising. It was the location of the Muramasa…the legendary sword that had been lost many generations ago. It said it was to the North, closer to the Silver Marches than the Unapproachable East. I hadn’t been expecting that, and I don’t think I will pass up this possibility. Even if it was to just see the sword, I wanted to go to this place. Tucking the scroll into my pack I made a vow to check it out once we got out of this place and the rest of us were safely back at Silvery Moon.

Floating stairs…why did they have to be literal? It was interesting to see these things and how they progressed. Carnifex led the way, and I basically followed suit, not really expecting to immediately be made all but useless. Just as I landed on the second step, a wraith swept up to where I was and touched me. I felt a shiver run down my body and had to catch my sword with my other hand to keep a hold of it. My legs were all but shaking and it took all of my ability to just keep my sword where it was next to me. The creature stole my strength! I haven’t felt this week since I was just a child. It was unnerving and I promptly sat down to try and get my wits about me. Serenity did me the honors of shooting that particular wraith out of this plane with a fire spell. The cleric started to go to jump to come to my aid when he didn’t quite make it. Elia just managed to grab the large dwarf with her whip and went crashing down onto her back as well. Okay…Keiji, this isn’t a time you should be acting like a child! Taking a fortifying breath I sheathed my blade and made the two jumps that were needed to get back to the beginning, shaky legs and all, I managed to make it, grabbing a hold of the whip as I landed so that Elia wouldn’t be dragged over the edge by the others weight, and hopefully the cleric wouldn’t fall do his possible death.

Serenity came to assist simply saying, “hold him hon” at which I had a moments confusion, then remembered that I was basically hovering over Elia. I got an “oh, you’re-” and Elia snapped in with “yeah, she’s talking to me BITCH!” Such anger…she should really do something about that. I can truthfully say I have never been called a bitch before, and really, being called that by someone who barely comes to my chest isn’t really all that tasteful. Serenity cast ‘fly’ on the cleric who safely made it back to solid ground, and I stood up and gave Elia a hand up as well, which was only proper, though her icy response (or the lack thereof) was far from proper. Such anger…

After being healed up from having my strength drained by the Cleric we made our way out of that room and on to the next. The library. I must say there was something odd about the lights in the library, and I didn’t really know what bothered me about them until Serenity skipped into the center of the room and snatched up a book from a shelf. The light sources came to screeching life, as flaming skulls…oh…that’s what I didn’t like about them. Carnifex walks up to the first skull near him and with one sweep of his sword, kills it. I wanted to complain that they really shouldn’t just do as they please, and my desire to do so was escalated as the remaining four flaming skulls turned their sights on those of us who hadn’t really entered the room. Almost all at the same time they blew fire balls at us. It took quick reactions on my part to side step them as best as I could, but the Shar that we had been forcing to travel with us, didn’t make it. As it was, I wasn’t sure if I would make it for much longer, as fatigue from injuries was made known to me. Carnifex had just stood in place as the fire balls came at us, and stood in the blazing inferno as if it wasn’t there. It was one of the…coolest things I have ever seen. Definitely would have to tag it as being ‘awe inspiring’. I stride up to the nearest skull and swing down on it with my sword, not at all pleased by the fact that it is still there before me. Serenity finishes it off as Demi flies by heals me. The rest of the spell words seemed to float away as she darted back to the other side of the room. I was about to thank her when I was hit with a magic missile. All the health I had just regained were gone again. Okay, I’ve had it with these skulls. Going straight for the one that had just done me damage, I struck it, though once again it proved hardier than I was anticipating. Serenity healed me, and I thanked her for the assist. She looked almost ill. I wonder if she has been overdoing it with her magic. May hap we should take a small break if possible after we clear this room of enemies. We finished the enemies off rather quickly and we had to collect the broken pieces and Serenity did a spell on them to make sure that they wouldn’t reanimate again. Thank goodness for that, I would have hated to try and fight them again. As it was, we were all lucky that we got out of that fight as well as we did. Both paths out of the room led to dark water. The paths had sloped down into the murky looking water substance, which we quickly learned was acid. Well, we found our way to the lair of Despair. Now to just bolster ourselves before this fight. This was the moment that we knew was coming. I just hope we can make it through this dangerous encounter with all of us in tact.

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