[DaermaDM]: we break fromt he timelime now to go back to a week ago when ivan disappeared…
[Ethan]: ((o k))
[DaermaDM]: The crow flies over the plains of the Shaar, a silent witness borne aloft on the currents of hot air which seem to pulse from the very ground below. As it flies overhead, it peers down with hungry curiosity, seeking a morsel of food as it continues on it’s errand. Strewn about below are broken and battered husks of great dwarven war machines, some of which still sputter aflame. All around, the sickly sweet stench of death permeates the air, but the hungry crow sees not a single body, severed limb, or bit of flesh. Cawing angrily, the crow swoops lower, noting vast bloodstains where armies must have died, yet it still fails to spy any carrion. Finely crafted dwarven hammers, axes, swords and armor lie scattered across the field, seeming as if their owners melted away or stripped naked on the field of battle, then vanished. Boots, belts, teeth and eyepatches are evident in bunches, but no trace of edible stock lies rotting in the dusty plains. Far ahead, miles away, a slender black tower juts toward the sky
[DaermaDM]: like an massive spike, trying to pierce the heavens themselves. If only the crow knew how apt the analogy was.
[DaermaDM]: The blasted dwarven machines below got larger and more impressive looking as it neared the dark spire. Within a mile of the imposing edifice, odd looking pillars of stacked skulls peered at all who approached. Dodging a mosquito the size of a parrot, the crow circled one column of skulls, peering hungrily inside eyesockets. As it darted close to a giant’s skull that faced the black tower, the mandibles of the bony face snapped hungrily at the bird, who flapped away startled, crying mournfully.
[DaermaDM]: As it approached the black spire, the bird could see the tower itself had no obvious windows, nor any noticable ledges to perch upon. A great, twenty foot thick wall, easily sixty foot high surrounded the ominous structure. The crow fluttered down to perch on the wall, and studied the tower, which seemed to undulate as if breathing. Anguished screams and unearthly bellows could be heard from within the evil edifice, and the avian doubted the wisdom of its master in sending it here. Abruptly, the crow felt something strange ooze across its feet. It vainly attempted to hop away, and started flapping its wings to escape. The hand of a small child held firmly to the bird, and the voice of a little boy spoke “Familiar, Crow. Backtracing mental link now” as the crow was pulled into the surface of the wall itself. Moments later, not a feather of evidence remained.
[DaermaDM]: Meanwhile, up in the tower itself, a hellish experiment was taking place. A gore-covered figure busily extracted three eyeballs (a blue, a green, and an orange) from the bleeding body of a beholder, which has its outer carapace cut open and stretched out on hooks anchored to the painrack from which it hung. A slender intestine, filled with the marrow of a BattleTroll slowly dripped blood into the catatonic spherical creature. The gore-covered female carefully takes the eyeballs over to a table where she is preparing Varalla’s gift, mumbling something to herself about “slow regenerative rates of eye-tyrants”. She looks up and affixes her gaze on a seemingly normal human male, looking quite out of place in this godforsaken laboratory.
[DaermaDM]: The human tenses visibly and fearfully meets the gaze of the female. “Yes, milady ?” the man’s voice quavers and he attempts to swallow his fear. Curiosity gleams in the maddened eyes of the female as she says “Tell me again, Wolfgang, why I’m making this gift for Varalla.” Wolfgang sighs with relief at not losing any of his vital parts, even though she’s asked him this same question over a dozen times today alone. “Well, milady, many many years ago, long before you delved into the dark arts of Alchemy, you actually adventured with her. Varalla and Sorvani were companions of yours for a brief time. And I just thought, since Varalla is about to ascend to full daughter after all these years, and there’s gonna be a big party, that it would be delightful to pay her a visit for old times sake.”
[DaermaDM]: Ayla glares at the human angrily, who begins to droop as he loses his shape and reverts to his doppleganger form. “I’m making this gift for THAT ??? WHAT is in it for ME, Wolfgang ?” A small trickle of greenish urine trickles out of the leg of the doppleganger as his soul, or what is left of it, realizes it’s in danger. Thinking quickly, he stutters “Um, er, yes…well Ayla, you see it’s like this. Erm, you’ll be attending a party where the world’s first drow powermaster is in attendance, as well as, er, ah, several deities probably as well. Not to mention, em, that you’ve never even seen what sort of creatures live over on that continent, ah, em, and think of the reagents you could acquire !!!”
[DaermaDM]: Ayla’s brow furrows as she begins to ponder the dopplegangers fearful excuses and slowly the anger fades from her eyes. Wolfgang wipes his brow and sneaks quietly away as she rebegins work on Varalla’s gift. “The last piece of the puzzle is how do I get past that blasted Obelisk” she mutters to herself.
[DaermaDM]: ((pause for everyone to catch up))
[Hosenfeffer]: ((ok, I’m good))
[Ivan]: ((done here))
[DaermaDM]: Hours later, elsewhere in the blasted world of the Forgotten Mess…
[DaermaDM]: [Ivan]: “Hey Erok, you told me you had one of Ayla’s journals?” [Erok]: “yeah, i do Ivan…though i am loathe to loan it out to one not of the Legion…” [Ivan]: “I am loyal to you, as a friend, if not a leader.” Erok grins stupidly at Ivan…“Got you…sure, here’s 'da book…i was just messin with ya…a little payback, that’s all…” Ivan chuckles “I see.”
[DaermaDM]: Ayla looks up from disemboweling a blood red gorgatar, a strange beast hybrid of minotaurs and gorgons. “Is that a ringing in my ears or is someone speaking my name ?” Standing up, the bloodsoaked Forsaken walks out the door of her laboratory and into a gruesome hallway, where bead curtains made of teeth and fingerbones sway in the warm breeze which wafts through the living tower. Ropes of intestine are arranged artfully upon the walls, depicting fairly accurate, if wholly disgusting scenes of alchemical triumphs. Pausing before a door fashioned from hundreds of multicolored fingers, all interlocked, Ayla pushes open the twitching portal and strides through. Inside, a vast wall is covered from ceiling to floor with ears of every shape, hue, and size. Furry, scaly, even metallic ears are arranged in some bizarre pattern that she alone understands, around a large draconic pair of lips. “Replay for me, my pretty, what was spoken about me” she tells her Aural Juggernaut.
[DaermaDM]: “Hey Erok, you told me you had one of Ayla’s journals?” speaks the behemoth in perfect imitation of Ivan the Mad. “Hmmm,” says the mistress of the tower as she walks over to a gargantuan head which fills the corner of the room, from floor to ceiling. “Let’s just see who’s reading my diary…” as she speaks, Ayla reaches into the mouth of the oddly shaped head in the corner and pulls the tongue. The single giant eye opens on the undead creature’s forehead and she intones “Reagentball of Monster Seeing, Magical and Look…Someone’s got my diary, show who has the book.”
[DaermaDM]: Mist forms in the undead eye, then suddenly clears away, drawing both itself and the milkiness of death from the orb. Inside the glassy surface, Ivan the Mad eagerly dancing in place as Erok lets him into the Portable Mansion. “Erok, one of Arg’s brats, milady” echoes a sephulcural voice from the doorway. Ayla glances over to see a floating demi-lich skull hover into view with a low whickering buzz noise. “The other idiot is named Ivan, called the Mad by his fellow travelers. He fancies himself an Alchemist, great one.” Ayla looks back into the orb, and mutters “They will both make fine reagents, yes indeed.”
[DaermaDM]: Ivan retreats to the room in Erok’s mansion where he has his lab set up, gleefully clutching the book [Ivan]: “Hmmm… I wonder…” Ivan leaves the mansion, and wanders over to the Obelisk. Arriving at the square, he waves at Vince and lays hands on the Obelisk [Obelisk]: “Yes crazy One what can i do for you?” [Ivan]: “Crazy one?.. Anyways, I’m told you really like magic, and know much of it.” [Obelisk]: “I sense you desire for Alchemy. So yes, Crazy. That is a truth Ivan, I do.” [Ivan]: “Excellent. I was wondering if you could do me a favor.” [Obelisk]: “Ask.” [Ivan]: “Teach me everything you know about magical alchemy, and Greater Alchemy.” [Obelisk]: “The most i know about magical alchemy is simple. and can be summoned up in the school of transmutations. As for Greater Alchemy, I do not understand it very well at all. I know what happened to a few people who followed that path. and they are no longer welcome under my protection except in very extenuating circumstances.” [Ivan]: “So, theres
[DaermaDM]: nothing you can teach me about it? Know you where I might find a teacher?” [Obelisk]: “Seek the one called Ayla. She currently resides on Faerun in the Shaar, near the Great Rift. She is the only master of Alchemy upon this planet that i know of, although the GR most assuredly brought some others back.” [Ivan]: “I’ll do such. Thank you for your aid.” Ivan bows deeply, and sets about making preperations for the trip Ivan then heads back to the Obelisk [Ivan]: “I don’t suppose you could send me there?”
[DaermaDM]: ((pause again))
[Vince]: ((afk for a few, smoke detector’s goin off…))
[Ivan]: ((What an odd coincidence, We get into this and All along thecrooked way comes on. “Young man, hang your head and cry. It’s time to suffer, it’s time to die. She will crush you, she’ll excite you, she’ll destroy you, she’ll ignite you, she’ll take you to a world of darkness and death” Maybe the gods are trying to tell me something…))
[Erok]: (( i’d believe 'em…))
[DaermaDM]: shal i continue?
[Ivan]: ((Yes, please))
[Hosenfeffer]: ((I think vince is gone?))
[DaermaDM]: Ayla looks back across the room at the floating skull. Her eyes clear with a moment of lucidity. “Xan, tell Wolfgang that we will both be in attendance at the party, I’ve found a way past the Obelisk. Oh, and tell Mephistopholes and the Wall that a guest will be coming and I require his soul and his body, though not necessarily together.” The floating skull dips once in the air, as if bowing to her. “Yes my Forsaken queen, at once.” As the skeletal head streaks off, Ayla bellows at it “XAN !!! Tell Wolfgang that I will require sex tonight, and I wish him to don the Spiked Manticore outfit.” The bony head stops mid-hover in the hallway. Grimicing, the skulls color shifts from bone white to sickly green, and it turns and vomits a glob of gooey ectoplasm on the floor. Dizzily, the head whirrs off to find his quarry.
[DaermaDM]: [Obelisk]: “If that is your wish to be irrevocably altered should you survive to enter her Tower. Yes i will send you.” [Ivan]: “Allrighty then.” [Obelisk]: “Very well.” There is a faint pop and Ivan is gone.
[DaermaDM]: Moments later, with the woosh of a redirected teleport, a very disoriented Ivan find himself standing in front of a three-horned BattleTroll BloodWarrior Chieftain. Just as Ivan’s vision focuses on the enormous figure, his blood crystallizes and perforates his brain, heart, and circulatory system. The last words he hears before the world goes dark is “Sucks to be you” in a baritone from the troll.
[DaermaDM]: A while later, how long he’s unsure, Ivan regains consciousness but seems unable to move or form more than rudimentary thoughts. He can feel a suffocating amount of pain in his lower abdomenal area, like something is moving about inside him, but cannot lean his head down to see. Gathering his strength, more of his mental faculties wake up and his eyes start to move again. Ivan sees that he’s missing some of his limbs, and what appears to be his spine is hanging on an ogre magi horn across the room. His chest cavity is open and he’s being suspended in mid-air by his own intestines, which are hooked to the ceiling. Wondering how he is still alive, or even conscious, Ivan sees various tubes running into him, colored green, blue, black and brown. The gore-covered form of Ayla the Forsaken walks across his field of vision, hold what appears to be an odd-looking set of blue lungs. Atop her head is perched an intact mind-flayer head, with it’s tentacled driven deep into her skull. Its hungry eyes
[DaermaDM]: look into Ivan’s, and he hears a voice, both physically and mentally at the same time. “Thank you Ivan, for now I can attend the reagent gathering. However, I will have to take that pesky soul away from you, as it might cause problems while I’m inhabiting your body.” She reaches forward into his chest cavity and affixes the lungs within. Ivan looks worriedly across the room and spies a doppleganger directly across from himself, also strung up by his own intestines, also with chest cavity opened. However, the doppleganger seems to have adapted better to such treatment, as his smiles and waves at Ivan. “Don’t worry old boy. It only hurts until you die. It’s much less painful once you’re dead. Usually.”
[DaermaDM]: Ayla smiles grimly at Ivan, and the voice once more intones in his head and ears “Time to scream…” A torrent of pain rips through his body, causing every cell to feel afire and as Wolfgang’s voice echoes “For life is quite absurd, and death’s the final word…You must always face the curtain with a bow” Ivan’s vision goes dim once more.
[DaermaDM]: Later that evening, Ayla the Forsaken looks down on the finished Ivan, lying on a golden dragon scale slab, minus one soul. “He should be ready” mutters the alchemist as she spins to face Wolfgang, who stands there idly rubbing his ass. “You are ready as well, Wolfgang. You know what to do once past the Obelisk outer defenses, correct ?” The doppleganger bows, then shapeshifts into the form of a beautiful half-elven maiden. “Of course, my Forsaken lover.” Ayla speaks a long stream of alchemical phrases over Ivan’s corpse, then reaches over and pours a black potion over the body. Shortly, the corpse trembles and begins to animate. With a wicked grin and a twinkle in her eyes, she mischeviously slaps the elven maiden on the ass. “Your date to the celebration is ready, Wolfgang. And don’t forget the present for Varalla.”
(DaermaDM whispered to Ivan): that is wolfgang…
(DaermaDM whispered to Ivan): read it again
(Ivan whispered to DaermaDM): Oh okies. That rocked man.
(Ivan whispered to DaermaDM): I was wondering what she did to me for a moment there.
(DaermaDM whispered to Ivan): Ethos type up the orig, and erok fleshed it… i had nothing to do with it.
[Hosenfeffer]: ((vary good story telling cloud, makes me almost won’t to be there))
[Ethan]: ((yes the dopple ganger turned into a female half-elf))
[DaermaDM]: Halg-Giant and psyberdwarf take some bows… that is their story…, hell their characters…
DaermaDM moons Psyberdwarf.
Erok bows…“Thank ye, thank ye…”
[Ivan]: ((That was damn good))
[Hosenfeffer]: ((ok then, HG and dwarf, vary well writin and play out))
[Ethos]: Ethos bows…“This is why we don’t utter her name aloud!!!”
[DaermaDM]: ((back in characters…at the beer tent…shall we??))
[Hosenfeffer]: ((I now know how sick she is, I have some thing to go by))
[DaermaDM]: (((and we are off)))
[DaermaDM]: you all gather around a table with Ethan sitting on a overlarge chair…
[Hosenfeffer]: ((what time is it about?))
Ethan orders a round for the table
Erok waits for Ethan to hand him a beer…“My, MY this is good beer…MUCH better than my own brew…” Erok looks over his shoulder…
[DaermaDM]: late afternoon/early evening.