Influence From The Shadows

Rooms of Tragic Suffering

Another floor, nearly endless sorrow.

• There is a flapping of wings as Anya’s raven comes flying the stairs, whispers to Anya, and she tells them that The Wake Spectres are about to murder the animals. They argue about what to do, Andrei says they should save them, BB wonders if they can take them, the others don’t want to fight, just move things. Taiko drinks. Fenix and Jormangander say screw the animals. Shadow, exhausted from the poison, naps, Jormangander eyes the doors, Fenix goes down a floor, opens the fire door and rests in front of it. Andrei, Lynn, Taiko, and BB go to try and save the horses. They see the animals surrounded by the Wake Spectres, Taiko draws his nodachi and the Spectres flee backwards. Andrei begins leading the wagon away, BB suggests they put them in the entrance. Taiko leads Buttercup, Lynn leads Valkyrie, Andrei takes the two destriers, and then Lynn and Taiko lead Steve the ox in. They close the doors, and Andrei notices that the Spectres don’t enter. They try to determine if they could tie them anywhere, BB the hawthorn room, Lynn the puzzle room, then the though that if the summoner dies and the doors go away they would lose the horses, so keep them in the foyer. Taiko groans and drinks about the pointlessness of it all. BB suggests they continue, Jormangander agrees, the rest think they should all rest some to get rid of the poison. Taiko tries to use a flask of ‘firewater’ whiskey as antivenom, it sure as hell doesn’t work.
• Andrei sits by Fenix, Lynn stays with the horses, BB tries to nag people into continueing, the glares and drawn weapons dissuade him. Shadow sleeps, Lynn rests awake, Taiko plays an Absurd song of Warrior Epic base, all rest while Jormangander complains. They wait until past nightfall until the poison burning stops.
• They go back to the second floor, Taiko wants to go dead centre, Andrei and Fenix want first door on the left, Jormangander goes in the first door on the left. They have weapons out, except Fenix who has his fists in his belt sash.
• They enter The Vault of Blood and Souls, they creep through to reach the bowl. BB suggests a horse, Taiko wonders if only they had a big fat guy with lots of blood. BB offers to transmute water into blood. Taiko prefers his idea, in Yamato. Lynn guesses the bowl would hold 5 litres, and suggest they can split the blood loss between many of the group, and the animals. BB combines the water and creation path to generate 5 litres of blood. It fills the bowl, and then the blood drains, until only a few words are left of the bowl, saying “That is the blood, but where is the soul, the soul, we need.” Taiko tries to write in the blood, has the bowl carve into him and has it begin to suck out the blood from his hand and he tears it away with great work. T “I wouldn’t recommend doing that.” He pokes it with Zelna’s old rapier. The same message is there. They suggest they sacrifice one of the animals, BB hopes for Steve since they don’t need the cart. Taiko and Jormangander begin dragging the ox up the stairs, Joramngander in front being licked by her, J “Enjoy it while you can cow.” They shove Steve’s face into the bowl, with its fluids and soul sucked out in extreme pain. Shadow vomits in his mouth a little bit. Taiko is impressed by how quickly it can dry out a cow, BB agrees and T thinks they should start a business. Lynn shakes her head. They find the bloody key in the bottom, J takes it. T “Looks like I proved my father wrong, animals do have souls.” Taiko takes one of its legs.
• They move onto the next door, Halls of Demons. Shadow asks for a swig of firewater from Taiko to clean out his mouth. They see the creatures, and the lever. Taiko puts his hand on it, Lynn votes she doesn’t think they should pull it. They move towards the lever. Jormangander slaps Taiko’s hand away. T “You aren’t the only one that gets to pull the death traps.” J “Last time I did something I wanted to do, I was bitched out for 2 weeks.” T “It exploded!” S “Do you know whether that lever will free it, or make the pillars fall on us.” T reaches again and gets slapped away. Lynn detects minds, and senses three minds. She attempts to psychically assault their minds, but the chains repel them. Taiko pulls the switch. The chains knock them back and free the beasts. Fenix was examining the pillars.
• The two Ignisis ignite into glorious fires. They begin charging combustion, one charges Taiko, surrounding him in the flames and Andrei and Jormangadner. Taiko blocks, but his buckler which explodes in pieces of flames, but he is able to counter, he resists the aura of flame and counters to carve into the demon with his nodachi to carve into it in a shower of ash. As the second comes flying in through the air it brings its claw down upon him, and he blocks with his arm, and the claws tear deeply into his armour, damaging it. Jormangander attacks the first Ignis that was already struck by Taiko, striking it to no effect. BB charges Zeon and keeps the tanks between him and the demons. Fenix resists the flames, and attacks the second Ignis, but the demon just dodges. Lynn attempts to Psychically Assault the three Demons again through the Area on Taiko, the two Ignis avoids the Matrices and resist its effect, while the Baroque takes a solid blow to his resistance. Andrei resists the flame aura, and attacks the Ignis that fought with Taiko and was countered, hitting it but not hurting it. Shadow peers through the veil of ashes on the injured Ignis, and fires an arrow at it, tearing through it’s left foot and causing the great fiery skeleton to collapse in a pile of ash. The Baroque uses its Twisted Spiral effect, which damages all the pillars, and Jormangander takes heavier damage while BB and Andrei take smaller damage. The Baroque lumbers towards Taiko, lashing out with a pair of claws, one being batted aside, while the second claws heavily into him. The Ignis that still stands strikes against Taiko again, but he blocks, it tearing heavily through the armour yet again, but he is able to counter once again, resists the fire and carves heavily into the beast to carve heavily through him. Fenix becomes enshrouded by the flames, begins to try and put himself out and is only burning then. Lynn uses Mental Restraint through the Area, hitting the Ignis but he reists, hits the Baroque but it resists, she gets flashes of their monstrosities committed by them, she is repulsed. Through the Baroque’s aura all the lights go out into pure blinding magical darkness, it then lashes out once blindly in the darkness towards Taiko but he just blocks. BB ducks and hides in the dark. Shadow fires blindly towards the Ignis in the darkness, piercing its chest and causing it to explode in flames. T “Whoever had the idea to pull this lever should really drink more.” Andrei attempts to attack where the Baroque was, and strikes it solidly. Jormangander swings in the direction he believes the creature was, but only feels it strike the great monstrosity to no effect. Taiko swings at the darkness where he believed the blob was with more fatigue, striking it to know effect. Jormangander also swings where it was with full fatigue, pulping its great head in a feral assault.
• Fenix eventually puts himself out as the fire continues to burn him, for another two turns before he is able to extinguish himself. BB walks into Taiko’s back, and then casts Heal on him. The lights then come back on. Jormangander finds the key made from demon flesh from the pulped remains of its head.
• They head into the third room, the Prison of Steel. Lynn leaves Molly outside. They walk down the hall according to the direct path, and upon seeing the chest he moved towards it, but didn’t see the cross shaped spear that burst forth from the floor to impale him and knock him unconscious and slightly impale him upon it. T “This is why we keep him up front first,” takes a drink. Taiko slashes at the metal spike to take a large chuck out of it. Shadow also attacks it with his Sang Kauw twice to finally knock it over, letting Jormangander fall to the ground. T “I guess one of us should have tried to catch him. Now lets get that pole out of him” Andrei “Maybe we should let BB do that.” BB removes the spear from him. He then uses medicine to heal a good deal of Jormangander’s damage. Shadow looks for traps, heading towards the first treasure chest. He doesn’t find any traps, but sees there is no way in without breaking the bars. He realizes that they will need strength to get through. Jormangander volunteers. Shadow goes to the right of the original path looking for additional paths. He finds the first trap, shoots an arrow which does nothing, uses his Sang Kauw after one handed but doesn’t work, he then two-hands it to trigger the trap, which steels his hat. He reaches into the cell to try and get his hat back, which he tears to get back. He puts the torn hat on his head. Lynn says they could use the metal bar that impaled Jormangader to trigger traps. It weighs too much for her to move. Shadow comes back, and he and Taiko attempt to break the bars to the first treasure chest. Eventually they get into the area. Andrei begins walking on the bars to get through into the cell. Shadow notices that it isn’t trapped, but that it is locked. Lynn gives Sophia’s old lockpicks to Shadow. He attempts to pick the lock, but it does not work. He tries again and it does not work. Taiko inserts the tip of his sword into the chest, and snaps the tip off his nodachi. T “J can I borrow your hammer?” J “No one touches my hammers.” L “Do you break the tip off anything you insert into things.” Taiko glares. Anya lends BB the Zeon for the repairing of Taiko’s nodachi. Shadow then popped open the chest. He sees all the coins and the gem, and they spend hours to divide up all the coins. Between them equally. Andrei walks along the walls and bars in order to reach the key, and he grabs it, he then pockets it. Andrei walks back. Shadow and the rest move up to the chest, Joramngander disarms one of the traps with a hammer. They head to the chest on the right. They break through the bars. After 20 seconds of lockpicking Shadow opens up the chest. They find the Shield of Gorandass in the chest. Andrei brings it out, it is magic, Taiko takes it. Shadow goes off to look for the other chest, searching for traps along the way. He makes it to the other cell. Joramangander and Shadow break into that cell also. It takes Shadow twenty more seconds to open that one. They find the Gladius Lacrimarum, BB can tell it heavy magic, BB holds it and finds it strange, Shadow holds it and finds that the blade waves like water, Andrei holds it and finds that the blade hates him, Taiko also holds it and finds that his Aura has trouble trying to mingle with it. They leave. Andrei “Awkward Weapon.”
• They head into the next room, Chamber of Angelic Judgement. BB can’t identify much about the glorious room’s magic source. After the voice calls out, BB suggests Lynn should do it, since she doesn’t have sin. She disagrees. They begin attempting to argument. Fenix enters the column of light, and the angel speaks to him before trying to smite him, and it crushes him without mercy. Fenix is engulfed in red, orange and golden flames engulf his corpse, granting him a returned life. His pendant cracks, it glows slightly less, and the image of a small crippled bird inside. Lynn says that she should walk in to face it, if someone else goes to grab the key. Jormangander moves into position to grab the key. Andrei walks on the ceiling to eye the sphere of light, but seeing it is pure energy doesn’t attack it. Shadow suggests BB create a homunculus since the new creature can’t have sin. BB said that the angel said that none don’t have sin. J “Lynn wants to go in, let it kill her.” When Lynn tries to walk in, Taiko pushes her aside and goes in with his new stone shield. It stops the light, he is driven to his knees, but survives. Jormangander grabs the key.
• They go into the final room, the Chamber of the Arcana. Lynn draws out the crystal, but it does nothing. They begin at The Fool, which all of them can read. Jormangander reads the second in his head, and then reads them out loud. For the priestess, they are only able to look at the picture. For the empress, only the picture again. Shadow, Lynn, and Andrei can all read The Emperor. None could read The Hierophant, The Lovers. Taiko and Lynn could read The Chariot. Taiko can read The Strength. They could not read the last ones. Andrei doesn’t want 12 or 13, Jormangander thinks that 13 should be the proper choice. Shadow wants The Wheel of Fortune. Lynn explains that this is probably telling the summoners story. Taiko “So he’s a burnt husk in a mess.” L “Maybe, maybe not.” T “So, what should we do here.” J “Maybe we should pick The Lovers.” BB “Let’s pick the one with the halo still behind his family. He still seems to love them then.” T “So are we picking for us, or for the path.” F “I’m leaning towards Death.” T “I like the Emperor myself.” J “I think The Lovers.” S “I feel like pushing The Wheel of Fortune.” L “Why don’t you guys leave the room so that I can hit the buttons.” Shadow hits The Wheel of Fortune Button. The wave of energy pools out from Black Cat that appeared atop the pedestals, stealing power and knowledge from Lynn and Andrei. L “I say that we should be ready next time when someone hits a button.” T “I think we shouldn’t just hit random fucking buttons.” S “I don’t think anything happened at all.” L “Headache, headache, headache.” S “You okay Lynn?” L “Besides the headache, maybe.” The door behind them has locked themselves into the room. BB “Let’s hit it.” L “No, we wait until we’re ready,” as she glared at Shadow. L “We’re going from beginning to end.” T “What a good idea I had.” L hits The Fool, and the vagabond appears, complaining about their failure and their lack of summoners in the group, it then crawls back under the pedestal. They realize this didn’t work at all, and now they are all confused. Jormangander waits while the others think. L “Well, it could be this one,” as she pointed to The Hermit. F “So he released a monster against you.” BB “But that was where we started, not where we are going.” More analysis ensues, focusing on possibility of Death, The Hanged Man, and Justice. L “Well, if we guess now, we would have a 1 in 12 chance.” BB “Somewhat hit something or I’m hitting this one.” Lynn and Taiko talk in Yamato. L hits The Hermit, and she vanishes into a pocket dimension of the Wake for 22 days (ends on August 11th 990). BB fails to identify what The Hermit does. J “Looks like that one was wrong.” BB hits The Magician button, which appears and blasts him with a dark blast that greatly harms him, but he lives and will be able to recover. F “So, should we just hit The Death and end this.” J “Nope, back around we go.” F “So, The High Priestess.” Andrei hits the button, Fenix takes heavy damage, Jormangander and Shadow also take heavy pain, and BB is destroyed in demonic crows. T hits The Empress, who appears, sends out her attack, but he blocks the strike. J hits The Emperor, and he stops the force of the voice that commands him to kill himself, but he does not. F “I’m sure we’ll get through this,” and then hits The Hierophant, pages of blasphemous writings enshroud the button and keep it from being pushed for an hour. T, S, and F, begin to wonder if they shouldn’t just hit The Death and get everything over with. F hits The Lovers, with him dodging her attempted caress. T hits The Chariot, but is able to block the vacuum that attempts to pick him up. J’s hand hovers over The Strength, sees the fire, and so goes all the way down the line to The Death, where the fires are out. He pushes the button. A voice speaks to them: “Death is all that I have left. So, survive my traps and give me my end. If the traps consume you all then death is all that waits for you.” They get the key made from bones. Anya looks around, and says that “It looks like we have lost the one who has the proper stake in this battle. I’m afraid that I don’t know if this would work, but I will try to bring her back. Be well.” She then touched the Hermit button. In the void that Lynn was trapped in a warmth appeared in her backpack, she reached in and pulled out the great glowing crystal. From it emerged Anya’s voice saying “I think that this might allow for you to return, but I’m afraid I don’t know for how long or how well. All that I ask, is that if I am not able to find you all again then I hope that you would find the people responsible for all the harm caused to me and those that I cared about. I hope to see you all again one day, but if I do not I hope you all can make the world a better place and find happiness.” Lynn reappeared in front of the group. T “Where were you?” L “A place that was very dark, and soundless for obvious reasons. But I’m back now.”
• BB finds himself dead and floating before a great orb of light. The light compliments him on the purity of his heart, soul, and mind, and how unfortunate it is that he was cursed with his unsightly appearance. It asks whether she believes he is done with his life. BB “No, there is much more that I could do for my friends, for they are most assuredly my friends.” The voice, then you would wish to go back, to live and continue on. BB “Yes, that would be most excellent.” The voice, there is one condition that I would insist upon. BB “Certainly, what is it then?” The voice, I would ask of you a favour one day, and I would need you to accomplish it. BB “Certainly, I trust you. I would happily do it.” The voice, Good, then you shall do what I need when the time comes. Now return, and go back to your friends.
• BB returned to his body in a beam of light, with some of his zeon restored as well. BB “I have returned!” J “Holy shit, how the hell did that happen!”

Copyright © 2012 by Jeremy Marshall

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