The Battle’s Front

Aragorn2We were set upon by a question: How to retrieve Osiris’ Femur. While in Sinza, CrIsis had learned about the Idrijian and Serelan tribes of Minotaur. Supposedly the Serelan are good, following paths of light, and the Idrijian have the Femur, and use it for nefarious deeds. Would we have to talk to the Serelan? Should we avoid them, and just go after the Idrijian? Should we enlist the help of some other force? We couldn’t come to a decision.

That’s when our Ranger suggested we pray for guidance, and what a suggestion that was.

We all knelt, and offered prayers to Thoth for inspiration, so as to better understand the choices before us. Our minds opened.

The heat and humidity of rotting caves blasted our phantom scrying stones, as we beheld the death and destruction before us. Wave after wave of Minotaur crashing upon a solitary stone in the middle of a killing ground. That stone revolved into me and my six companions. As we fought, a light shone down upon us from high above. Two entrances into the cavern, one on either side, spewed Minotaur from north and south at us. A lone Minotaur from the north pumped his fist into the air, with a vicious bovine yawp, urging his discolored horde onward, and in his hand lay the holy bone. Before his growl faded, the light shining down waned, and CrIsis was no more.

Blackness ensued.

Before we could catch our breaths, the same heat and humidity engulfed us. This time, the room was nearly empty, with the elves, Dwarves and humans of Isis’ Champions at the ready, this time with a handful of Minotaur at their sides. For a near eternity, there was no movement. As if the world were crushed by waves of energy, a gout of Minotaur flesh issued forth from the northern cavern entrance. At the head was the warrior wielding Osiris’ Retribution. As the onslaught approached, a shaft of light shot from the Champions, burning away all of the filth assaulting them. The bone clattered to the ground, without mortal hands to support it.

Whiteness ensued.

We opened our eyes, and Iana and Sir Quixis collapsed, drained – everyone was after that. The discussion then changed to interpreting the visions. Though there was some confusion, we concurred that they at least meant that if we did not side with one of the forces of Minotaur, they both would kill us. As the Serelan were those rumored to be righteous, we agreed to search them out first.

Tomorrow we start out on the trek. We have a new ally travelling with us – The Librarian – and he had to get himself ready, not to mention saying goodbye to the only home he’s known outside the worlds of his imagining.

Late, before I was fully asleep, Xerx’ses came to me seething. He said to me, “Apparently I am to stupid to know what I don’t know. Take it.” and tossed a black leather-bound notebook onto my palette. As he turned to leave, I snapped out of my confusion and grabbed the book. I saw that a good number of pages were burnt out of it, and those that remained were blank. Curious.

Thoth 27th, 111

Old Gregg, the wily old rascal has pulled through again! I still have my misgivings, though that’s probably due to my subconscious racism. Growing up in the Western Empire made it impossible to escape the taint of apparencial prejudice, despite my efforts to cover it. He’s leading us directly to the tribal holding, in the middle of the Rocky Desert. Without him, we would have wandered for weeks before stumbling upon a single Minotaur, and we’d have had a fifty percent chance that they were vile minions of the Tentacled.

He reminded us of Benji today. I had tried to push him from my mind, to no avail. He asked us for some alcohol like the kind Benji gave him, of which we have none, so we resorted to drinking the grapefruit-flavored cactus piss for a break from the metallic aftertaste of magically-conjured water from ancient dwarven flasks. He took us to a damp cavern, where we were able to peruse his works of artistic genius, and take respite from the dry heat on the sand. We’ll rest here for the night.

Benji was called by the gods to help his family in the Vequerrel, but I can’t help but feel frustrated at his short time with us. He didn’t seem to make an effort to fit in with the group. I think I might have been judging him too harshly, though, as he is my friend – probably my closest of any made at the Guild. When we meet again, I shall have to apologize for my harsh treatment of him. That will have to wait for a later day, however. I don’t know where he is, so I’d not be able to send him a pigeon.

Thoth 28th, 111

We finally made it to the Serelan Tribe!

We entered their caves at about mid-day, and they took us – after making us relinquish our weapons – to their Elder, Xixin. My innate magical senses were making my hair stand on end in his presence. I later learned it’s because his ancient staff was once part of the Millennial Tree itself! The spear head made it a force to be reckoned with of itself. We talked, the Serelan and CrIsis. As soon as we were all satisfied, though, that we were fighting on the same side, the talks became plans of war.

The Serelan are in a terrible situation – they have taken major losses against the Idrijians, and are now outnumbered two to one. They had no idea why the vile Minotaur were making the advancements they were, with seemingly no losses. Xixin was shocked to learn that they were twisting a holy relic such as the ossal club to such evil purposes.
We decided upon a plan of attack, a variation of hammer and anvil, with the anvil actually slamming down behind them, ramming the hammer through their heads. While we spoke of assets and maneuvers, I couldn’t help but feel a hole in my stomach – I am going to be spending my body’s energy to near-exhaustion before the real fighting begins!

Thoth 29th, 111

I have become accustomed to feeling stupid. There are certain things that you just can’t avoid, and for me it’s stupidity. I sifted through the junk cluttering my bags, and realized that I was missing a live hawk, and a silver holy symbol, both of which are vital to our plans. With frustration at myself burning within I went to Cava, who was preparing his weapons with those of the Serelan that will help us tomorrow. He, graciously as always, agreed to help me with his skills as a tracker.

We slunk across the desert for half the day, and finally made it to a hawk’s nest. Cava rigged a trap, but the hawk barely wriggled out of it. Out of reflex, I cast a carpet of adhesion on the bird’s tiny body, and only after it started to plummet toward the rocky ground did I realize the second bout of stupidity I had had today. Luckily the death’s plunge did not claim our hawk, and we were able to keep it alive, which is more than I can say about myself! In my rush to get down the steep slopes we were on, I slipped on a lose stone, and flew headlong down the rocky decline. I am nursing a few cuts and scrapes, but nothing major is ailing me.

The silver I got from Cava as well. With it, I forged a gorgeous symbol of Isis, which will be able to protect him from evil. As soon as we finish the battle tomorrow, if we survive as the Gods have foretold for us, I will give it to him as a present. Preparations were finished today, and we are as ready as we can be. Tomorrow I draw the circles, and exhaust myself.

Thoth 30th, 111

With my brain taxed, but muscles alive and alert, I pen this utterance of victory! We conquered him!

Xixin and a half-dozen Serelan Minotaur stood with us in the Killing Ground we had seen in the vision. The circles were drawn beforehand, and a force of twenty-five sent as bait for the Idrijian. Cava laid a Tile of Seeing – a gift from the War-Wizard of great value – at a strategic location to tip us off so we could lay the trap. I could have put the ‘Circle of Protection – Undead’ completely blocking the Idrijian’s entrance and exit, but I decided not to. A great war-philosopher once said, ‘You must never completely cut off the enemy’s retreat. A beast fights fiercest when it knows there is no escape.’ For this, I set up a near-perfect wall, a deluge of elemental rain to hedge them in. An anvil, yes, but one made of water, not iron.

Xixin told us, two days ago, that the Idrijian had made a pact with a Vampire Inteligence, and were now counted among the undead. Living in the Western Empire where Vampirism is almost rampant, I’m not a stranger to their vile attributes; as such my heart turned to ice. Vampires are supernaturally powerful versions of their mortal hosts, so a legion of Vampire Minotaur is not something you could never take lightly. It is for this reason alone that an anvil of water was effective, but wasn’t impenetrable. In rain vampires will quickly lose their corpora, but will not die instantly. They could escape with their unlives, but not much more than that.
The bait flew past us, and the trap was sprung. I activated the circle of power, then the circle of protection, and could barely see what happened next, through the fuzz of mental exhaustion that washed over me, almost like you feel when you stand up too fast.

Cava called to me to throw a carpet of adhesion down for the Minotaur, so they couldn’t escape. Angrily I yelled to him – unintelligibly, I might add – that I was spent! I had activated two fracking circles, and was near unconscious! Why couldn’t Xerx’ses do it?

As my mind cleared, I could focus on the battle again. It felt like hours, but was mere seconds, which are the same thing in battle. I saw the great Xixin down, near others of my party. I saw Xerx’ses, bloodied head to foot, charging the Minotaur from our shared vision. I rushed forward to stop the enemy’s retreat, and saw that my spheres of fiery wrath did nothing to him. I called out that it was he, the vile desecrator of Osiris’ body, and the Millenium Spear pierced the filth through. With a final blow from Overkill’s dwarven rage, he died.

It is finished. Magical rain washes my face, and rejuvenates my body as I lay on the cavern’s muddy floor.

Power to Osiris, Glory to Ra.

>>Journal entries from Thoth 26th through 30th in the 22nd Year of Emperor Voelkian Itomas II, from Azariel, Apprentice Alchemist. Acolyte of Osiris and the Lady Luck.<<

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