Loose Ends – Chapter Nineteen

4th Day of the Claw of Winter: (February):

The End Torleth Mindulspeer:

Suddenly….The Shoppe Keeper appears Lightning Bolts blazing.

An Orb of Inky Darkness still stands between the Dias where Torleth Mindulspeer – Arch Mage, acolyte of Talos: the thrice feared God of chaos and disorder (blamed by the pious for losing odd socks and single jig-saw pieces) – had sat using his cunning to outwit our Noble Heroes.

Galan Tara, Elven Ranger and master of Bowmanship, stepped around the nebulous Darkness, expecting to find Greenish, the happy-go-lucky, light-fingered urchin and his mentor, the stout hearted, guileless Dwarf shield maid, Thora Gird El.

Magic Item - Portal - Lightning Bolts
Magic Item – Portal

Their absence drew a concerned exhalation. For where they should have stood, was instead a shimmering Portal, the size perhaps of a common doorway; but common was the very furthest description one would draw. Swirling and hypnotic traces and whorls of extraordinary colours, strange magic’s woven within the rectangular frame, like giddying oils upon sunlit water.

Galan: “Perhaps this gateway leads to the Northern mines we have been hearing about?”

Galan pondered, silently.

Instead, the danger of still being locked in combat with Torleth Mindulspeer and now being two fellows down, elicits a shrill cry of concern.

Galan:” They are not here….they have departed….but why?’’

Mirafir then relates the taunts of Torleth Mindulspeer: ‘(original quote please) I have your friends etc.

Mirafir: “I believe we must step through the Portal and twy to find them. Though before we do, let’s quaff our potions!”

As the remainder of the party do so, the gate through which the stinking little pot-bellied Manes had spewed, finally disappeared.

The mysterious Portal though, still awaits.

Monster -  Mane - Lightning Bolts
Monster – Mane

Sigune: “I vill lead uz through!’

Offers Sigune. But behind the Orb of Darkness cast by Torleth Mindulspeer, is an almost impenetrable ‘Fog’ that now slows her movement to a crawl. Sigune forces her way back out, hacking and cursing furiously at the noxious effects of this vile and toxic trickery.

Mirafir: “It is Death Fog and I believe the damage it catches accumulates the longer you wemain within….also it slows movement to a fraction. We mutht find a way to get wid of it, else we cannot get to the portal within!”

Mirafir: “Yeth, it can be dethtwoyed, not with Lightning Bolts but with a Fireball! And that vendor of cheap brick-a-back must be nearby…aren’t you Torleth….maybe even thirty feet away, so that you could cast Death Fog!!”

PC - Sigune Feldscmlachter
PC – Sigune Feldscmlachter

Torleth Mindulspeer: “Ha! Mirafina Roven….you will neither outwit me nor damage my home. For you have the aspect and demeanour of a mere woman….hahahaha!”

Sigune’s bristling is audible; her oath of vengeance is silent but utterly deadly

Galan: “Mayhap he is invisible and hiding within the sphere of protection?”

Galan steps forward and pushes the dagger with ‘Continual Light’ cast upon it towards the Darkness, which is temporarily diminished.

Galan steps within the aura of the ‘Sphere’ and strikes blindly hitting nothing but the thinnest of air, ably assisted by the Paladiness.

Lightning bolts at Dawn:

But as that flurry of futility ensued, Mirafir was suddenly assailed by a five knuckle shuffle in the guise of a giant hand …’Bigby’s Forceful Hand’ no less. Gigantic digits that started to force our Wizard from the Chamber. But as the probing fist forced Mirafir to submit, he pulled a masterstroke by firing a ‘Lightning Bolt’ into the advancing hand. The tactic worked and suddenly the thrusting fist was no more. Mirafir seemed to gasp and squirm as the first released him.

Mirafir: “Ha! You are not an entertainer you a dullard. Your mind is addled and confused just like the shelves of your pathetic market stall.”

Torleth Mindulspeer: “You would try and use the thing that I worship, that I manipulate, against me!? Hahahaha.  You laughable fool Lightning Bolts are mine to command!”

The voice a taunting cackling laughter which echoes disembodied around the chamber.

Mirafir: “Come forward and battle me, your God against mine! Let us be the earthly vessels of Zagyg and Talos…..if you dare!”

As these words of challenge leap from Mirafir’s cleft palette a mighty ‘Fireball’ bursts from his outstretched palms and into the large chamber beyond. A tactic that Mirafir will claim was designed to catch his mercurial opponent off guard knowing that his allies are safely protected within the ‘Sphere of Protection’.

An answering scream reverberated from the epicentre of the ‘Fireball’. Torleth Mindulspeer has been sore wounded and Galan and Sigune look to press home the advantage.

But Mirafir urges them to stay within the confines of the protective ‘Sphere of Protection’ less they be be by ‘Lightning Bolts’ or other Magic’s.

The final screams of the three remaining child doppelgangers also ring out as the flames subside.

Mirafir: “Well Torleth, I hope that’s warmed you up a bit! It’s awfully cold down here!”

With no bite to reward his pithy bait and no obvious physical sign, Mirafir again casts ‘Detect Magic’ and immediately scans the Chambers in segments. He gasps as all around is revealed to be a ‘Permanent Illusion’ cast upon the chambers and their environs. Giving the Illusion of finery and status but in fact revealing a chaotic and shabby cavern….much like the emporium of broken dreams far above their heads. But still no sign of Torleth Mindulspeer….where be he!?

NPC - Torleth Mindulspeer
NPC – Torleth Mindulspeer

Tired of waiting for yet another bout of Mindulspeer’s powerful Magery, both Paladin and Ranger make a break from the protective cocoon near to the Dias and towards the vast chamber that still swirled and crackled with dark clouds and pregnant thunder.

Sigune: “He hass been injured, now ve must act – before he flees! He will not cast any more Lightning Bolts at us today”

As the pair enters the main chamber Torleth Mindulspeer appear and casts a ‘Slow’ Spell upon the trio. Galan alone suffers the effects.

But Sigune seizes her moment and launches a brace of Arrows that seem to hit her target. Galan misses with his tortuously slow Bowshot.

While Mirafir’s volley of ‘Magic Missiles’ are repelled by a ‘Shield’ Spell of some kind, knowing the ‘Lightning Bolts’ will have no effect.

Again Sigune hits, giving pious thanks to St Cuthbert as she does so.

Mirafir then casts haste upon her friends; but their many arrows bounce from Torleth Mindulspeer.

Mirafir: “Stoneskin!”

Mutters Mirafir.

Mirafir: “We may have to hit his ten times to bweak through it.”

A ferocious and most deadly game of Wizardly Chess is being played out almost too quickly for the human eye to perceive

Instinctively Mirafir releases a frenzied burst of miniature rocky fireballs, using the spell ‘Melf’s Meteors’ in an effort to overcome Torleth Mindulspeer’s ‘Stoneskin’ that is thwarting them as he can not use ‘Lightning Bolts’ against the Mage.

Torleth looks panicked as he grabs for his ‘Amulet of Blinking’ and jaunts away, again.

Galan: “He can be no more than 60’ feet away, let’s find him!”

Galan declares.

The three head separately to Doors and Corridors that the injured Mage may have fled to. But they find nothing but Illusions and Dead Ends.

Mirafir: “Oh come, come Torleth Mindulspeer don’t be touch a party pooper! Do come back and entertain us!”

Then Galan turns and stares fixedly at vortex of Clouds in the Main Chamber.

Sigune tries to open another ‘Wizard Locked’ door without avail.

Then with Galan’s senses tuning into this scene of chaos above his head, he feels the prickly and utterly uncomfortable sense of a failed Spell fizzing about him.

The Ranger’s instinct proves true and from out of the maelstrom some 50’ feet above, ‘Flies’ Torleth Mindulspeer. To be met with a brace of ‘Magical Arrows’, the second of which strikes with a whistle and a thud of steel into flesh.

Thankfully, still ‘Hasted’, Galan is able to fire an instant later just as Torleth Mindulspeer utters a Spell.

The previously roaring cascade of time seems to slow to a mere trickle.

The Ranger’s arrow finds its mark, piercing wizened throat, body lifelessly slumping mid-flight…..but not before bony hand points and releases a ‘Chain Lightning Bolt’ that arcs around the room in a cacophony of static, brimstone and sulphurous acrid chaos.

Then without warning more lightning bursts from the ceiling, jittering and bouncing in eye-watering arcs of terror. As if alive the crackling energy wraps itself around Torleth Mindulspeer and, brightening still further, engulfs the costermonger, burning him to cinders before seemingly returning him to Talos, for final judgement.

Soon even the Doppelganger Children are no more and anything that is metal also seems to draw the terrible power of Talos’ parting gift.

Calm slowly returns and Mirafir reminds his friends that everything they see is an Illusion. Everything is turned on its head! Dark has becomes light and vice-versa.

Items left within the sacrifice chamber do not ‘Detect Magic’, though the 3 lightning bolts radiate Evocation Magic.

Symbol of Talos
Symbol of Talos

Galan supposes that the any Magical Power that had been in the items was used to channel power to Talos via the Symbols.

Sigune meanwhile is keen to still the Undead Ghouls that were still active in one of the ante-chambers, but trapped by Mirafir’s ‘Web’ spell. Using her ‘Cloak of Arachnid’, she achieves this goal with consummate ease and exultant posturings to none other than St Cuthbert and his swinging cudgel.

But what of their missing friends!?

Mirafir arcane power has been whittled down to nearly zero and he is close to exhaustion, but not before he brings forth his ‘Magical Stones’ and draws on their innate power.

The Elven wizard then casts ‘Wizard Eye’ so as to pass beyond the portal and try to find Thora and Frimly.

Perhaps he can track their trail! Miraculously he does so and declares that must indeed have stepped through the portal

Frimly and Thora have emerged in a naturally occurring cave system, stalactites and their inverted friends, the mites are everywhere. Fruitlessly the pair search for any sign of the portal, but find nothing.

Thora: “Well young laddie, we’re up tae oor necks in it noo! Bie ma rkkenin werr near 9 mile beloo the surface. This has tae be the Underdark! Ahm so excited!”

Frimly doesn’t seem to share the Dwarf maid’s enthusiasm for these stygian networks of ancient tunnels and subterranean awfulness.

PC - Frimly Greenish
PC – Frimly Greenish

Frimly: “There’s bad things down here….ain’t there?”

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