Xerx’ses Returns to “Labyrinth”

Destiny Awaits Part-3.2

Abagail hugged Lurch and KillerVP as they left them in the hangar of the cargo plane. It would seem that another reader of her world’s Books of CrIsis owned a production company. Luther was still asleep nursing a toxin being purged from his system when Lurch and he stopped a bank robbery near the airport they were headed to. Luther, once again, in front of media and cops brought one of the slain cops in the firefight back to life before he was stabbed with the toxin dart. She kept swearing to KillerVP that she could see Durandal watching but not interfering. As the Centurions that had arrived as back up for CPD, they slipped away but not before an EMT slipped her some vials or anti-toxin and a syringe in a bag. PandaJester, her fan with the production company administered the serum and got him strapped in as they made their way to Egypt. After getting the last vision, she was surprised to get another one during the final part of their flight.

It felt like watching a movie!

She began to draw a movie poster and in another world Rod Rambler thought that would be a great idea if he could find a way to mass produce art!

Thinking to himself and trying hard to stay calm Xerx’ses, began a simple breathing exercise considering they had just began to double back for the fourth time.

“It’s not their children being held for ransom,” he thought to himself, “Ursus, gets it because his wife would go to war over this alone! Besides, I have no wish to see my child returned as a goblin with buttons sewn on as her eyes!”

He knew he was being irrational and he knew though he blamed himself he was doing a poor job of not projecting his doubt and fear upon his companions. Once he had called them friends but as he clomped along he realized he had even lost that grace along with the missing children. “If only I had not spent all that time tracking Indaris on his mad quest to rid the world of some kind of evil only he was witnessing.” The Lawgiver had been okay with his progress on the issue, but Isis was having what she referred to as a hard time with her public image on Palladium. Then there were the major events she was helping to come to a peaceful resolution on 58 other worlds. Ra made it clear he trusted Xerx’ses to find his friend and return him to the faith.

Then all of this got up ended when Xerx’ses received word about what Jar’eth had done! Xerx’ses knew he could not trust him to rebuild a labyrinth of some form or fashion. Xerx’ses was continuing to walk near the back of the group as support while Willy and Ursus were doing their best to find the center so they reach the Goblin city soon and rescue the children. As much as he wanted to kill the Goblin King for his affront he cared far more about securing the safety of the children. He was trying and failing to move things forward without leading. Demigod Grignak had apparently not gotten along well with Xerx’ses, the minotaur pondered to himself. He had seemed aggressive to Xerx’ses in his communication to the former member of CrIsis pointing out loudly that he was no longer a member and upon another discourse a piece of profane guidance about how Xerx’ses might seek future ventures.

“Where did I go wrong this time,” he wondered to himself? Trying not to be seen leading or guiding but available and helpful. He thought back a few hours to when he had arrived on a hill temporarily replacing the Demigod Dwarf of Valor. Xerx’ses often wondered how he got picked over the Dwarf when he was called. Thoth, offered to explain it in great detail but said the minotaur’s head might explode. Nevertheless, upon the hill Xerx’ses stood and he knew that No Name would be permanently replaced by Willy, the Gnome Air Warlock, and rumored-but-not-confirmed-twin of Tyvernos. The elf Merkl, Ursus – the Demigod of Monsters, a self admitted bitter, Silent Dream – the Demigod Psychics, and the Demigod of Slavery and Freedom – Grignak.

After some debate CrIsis and Xerx’ses we began to head down the hill toward this newly constructed Labyrinth. Jar’eth appeared and through some of the same verbal mishaps he experienced at the previous Labyrinth the group lost two hours going from 13 to 11 hours to save the children. Both Ursus and Merkl knocked on the door to enter the Labyrinth after Jar’eth had said his piece and left. Poor Ursus was affected by the enchantments and turned into a Bear-like centaur, or Beartuar! Merkl managed to resist any visible effect. When Silent Dream asks for the door to just open it does so. On the outer most ring Xerx’ses kept trying to discern the inner wall of the circular path and yet magical darkness enshrouded it until we came across the first archway to the second inner ring of the maze guarding the Goblin City. However, it was within that first outer circle he apparently lost any connection to the Troll. Grignak found a coin that summoned a Dwarf named Hoggle. When the dwarf begun to bargain for only magic items, such as the Crystal Crown. Xerx’ses began to think of the Dwarf as fleecing the group for the Goblin King. Making them easy pickings when they would face him, or forced us to pay a ransom in some form or fashion. When negotiations begun to break down Hoggle attempted to flee and Xerx’ses was so wary of the Dwarf he was ready and snatched him off the ground.

When six Goblin-Knights arrive on strange two-legged birds with long neck and behave like horse mounts. Grignak and the Godling Minotaur were in the midst of a tiff about how to proceed. The Dwarf kept evading Xerx’ses questions about friendship and trust even after the Godling’s initial offer of setting him free from the Labyrinth. While ignoring the Goblins telling him to stop. He continues to debate, while walking/moving forward, with Hoggle as the two of them become frozen in a green light. The rest of CrIsis launches into battle mode with Sky Captain Willy dropping a lightning bolt upon one of them killing it. The rest run away and Merkl searches the dead body finds enchanted octaganal card Xerx’ses recognized its enchantment matches is capacity with magic. Merkl’s slight of hand made it difficult to determine what he did with it.

During the period of time when they were down to 9 hours. Willy and Grignak were using the torch Torrun gave unto Xerx’ses, and which the Minotaur gave unto them. It appeared to be rod /torch of red ceramic in larger hands and stave like in shorter ones. Staving off the tripping of traps as they made their way to the 4th inner circle. Willy towing a floating Silent Dream behind him like a windblown kite. Acon met up with CrIsis and Xerx’ses was a bit skeptical if Jar’eth was kidnapping everyone he knew or just making others look like them. Then at the right moment turn and betray CrIsis. Shortly after the group avoided an Oubliette trap dream succumb to a mystical trap and became transformed into a goblin! Another group of the weird bird-riding Goblins knights show up and two are killed. However, Acon, cries at the first one’s death and Xerx’ses moves up to test and see if something about the Goblin is innocent. Upon resurrection it turns into Iana!

That’s when the doubling back began to occur. Coincidence? Only time will tell.

Abagail stopped her quiet yet frenzied drawing and writing – that was all her vision had shown her, this time. She knew she needed to write this one as soon as well, especially because it deals with Luther’s chosen symbol of hope and faith.

Reader’s Note: This short vision was seen by a surprised Rod Rambler on an unspecified date sometime after the 25th of Pegasus.

All art by @AZ_Rune.


4 Responses to “Xerx’ses Returns to “Labyrinth”

  • Love the new Ursus pic!

  • I still love the META involvement of the players as characters. So sweet, like worlds within worlds.

    Excellent use of the “Other World” to convey the events that have occurred so far.

  • Since I don’t think I’ll get a second log up before the deadline, I’ll put this here.

    “Once he had called them friends but as he clomped along he realized he had even lost that grace…” From the beginning Xerx’ses was acting as if he wasn’t friends with us anymore. It’s sad, but easy to see that his ascension followed by his separation from CrIsis, combined with his missing child, have caused him to withdraw from us like he has. I think the “old” Xerx’ses only managed to show through once or twice, briefly, but that was it.

    • I agree but he has had to change to the challenges faced before hand. Xerx’ses of old would show up to help as an NPC but the Gods won’t let him to prevent the dark from doing that.

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