Realm Runners

CHAPTER TWENTY NINE: Shade over Iriaebor

House of the Dead


After finishing their meal the party continues to talk about their next moves. Cassi and Cliff finish their play in the back yard and she returns to let the friends know that she had Peggy prepare the 3rd floor guest beds for their night’s stay at the Solivan house.

When it is time, everyone heads to their bedrooms. Cliff is invited to stay in Cassi’s bed with her. Aces and Ree’vr talk at a table in the next room and everyone else meditates or sleeps in the guest bedroom.

Just after midnight, the party feels a pressure in the air and the shadows in the room seem to get a little bit darker. Mentathenis immediately recognizes the strangeness from the battle in the Arabel graveyard, when Shade appeared overhead.

He alerts the others, and a group of zombies and skeletons rise from the shadows of the 3rd floor inside the Solivan house. No sooner do they begin to hear the tell tale signs of an all out attack on the city of Iriaebor. Over the screams of the women and children of the city, they can hear a booming voice, the voice they know to be Pyraxis’ who yells out “Find the blade, bring it to me!”

Aces, Krushi, Mentathenis, Fanidea and Modreg spring into action while Megilwath, Cliff, Sam, Ehd, Lythannis and Ree’vr help Cassi gather her things and protect she and Oopsee from danger. Terrlen pulls out his map to plot an exit and Cassi quickly brushes it aside to tell him she knows the way out of her own house. Mentathenis and Krushi launch their devastating magical abilities upon the undead intruders while Fanidea and Aces attempt to keep the evil creatures away from the others. Modreg sneaks around in the shadows to help distract where needed for an upper hand. Without too much trouble the mass of undead is destroyed and the party heads downstairs to help Ehd siblings.

On the second floor of then Solivan House, the heroes encounter more zombies, three burning skeletons, two chillborn zombies, and two skeleton warriors. After finding Mana hiding in a corner near her bed, Aces quickly makes her way through the rooms and around the main staircase to locate Brandis and Peggy to make sure they are okay and the rest of the party follows to wipe up. At one point during the battle Aces flies a zombie through the banister to the first floor, it returns with five runespiral demons in tow. Fanidea manages to take control of one of the chillborn zombies and use it against her enemies and Krushi and Mentathenis use their destructive magic to wipe out the evil creatures a few at a time.

As they head down the main staircase to meet Garren, they are spotted by a heavily armored knight of shade standing in the front door threshold, who’s eyes glow a deep purple at sight of Fanidea. It whispers “Drow.” and in the distance the party can hear Pyraxis yell out again, “Get the blade, I am coming!”

Sune’s Intervention


Suddenly Mana stops short and her eyes begin to glow. Her childlike image blurs and is partially replaced with a beautiful grown woman. Hair of orange flame licking about her face and body. Though the light is blinding, the party finds themselves transfixed upon her perfection.

In a soothing tone, it the image speaks, “Stand strong, for even the shadow of the Mistress of the Night can not block out all light. My gift is upon you now. Smite the denizens of the dark and be free of this death.”

Orange flames surround each of the heroes. they feel stronger, faster and more focused, the urge to create a little chaos seeps into their minds. Their bodies change slightly, physical forms are brought closer to perfection for each, clothing and armor become spotlessly clean to a degree they have never seen before. Mentathenis and Lythannis seem unaffected and this prompts the fairer eladrin to nudge the other “There really IS no room for improvement in that department.” he says with a wink.

Fanidea However, howls in pain as the ethereal orange engulfs her. The drow woman’s dark skin begins to wrinkle and sag, her bone structure shifts, she becomes a wretched shadow of her dark elven beauty. She falls to her knees and stares beyond the physical realm in effort to focus. Her eyes turn a blood red just before a web explodes around her, cocooning her entire form. Then, as the fires of Sune are extinguished, the webs turn to black and begin to drip from her body. Creating a puddle of sludge at her feet.

She stands, slightly out of breath. Her youthful appearance returned. “If someone would be SO kind as to warn me the next time one of your goody goody dieties intervenes and throws their…”blessings" around. I would greatly appreciate it. Oh, and don’t step in that, unless you want to be a permanent resident here, it’s a little sticky."

Mana returns to the form of a child. “Oh Sune! Ehd! I think she just talked to me!”

Ehd smiles proudly “That’s my little sister!” he yells.

Symernia, Nightbringer


As the party moves to engage the undead on the first floor with the gift of Sune. They can hear the sound of Pyraxis’ footfalls, moving closer through the city of Iriaebor. Garren fights off a pair of runespiral demons and yells to his family “Take the sewers out! Go! I can hold them!” Cassi turns to Ehd and tells him “We have to get Eve!”

With the blessing, Aces, Mentathenis and Krushi are able to do a lot of damage early on in the fight, though once the gift has dissipated, they struggle to fend off the remaining enemies inside the house. Aces and Krushi are knocked unconscious during the chaos. Sam jumps into the fight and manages to help Aces back to consciousness.

Through the windows of the Solivan house, the heroes can see a glow of flame approaching. Pyraxis stops and looks to the succubus at his side. “Symernia my pet, retrieve the blade, kill any who stand in your way.” She replies in a seductive voice, “With pleasure Pyraxis, the Nightbringers are eternal.”

Sam, overhearing the demon’s exchange, thinks to throw Sona’s Songblade through the front door, in hopes that maybe it’s the blade they are looking for. It sticks in the ground at their feet and Pyraxis is confused at why people are throwing weapons at him. Symernia walks forward to pick it up and looks it over. She turns to show it to the Balor and shrugs, sticking it in her belt. She walks towards the front doors.

Ehd picks up Krushi and leads the rest of the group through the main foyer and into the kitchen area and out a window to the sewer drain. On his way out of the main entry, Brandis stops to cast a spell. Aces and Fanidea are able to regain consciousness and Mentathenis continues to blast through the undead. When Brandis finishes his casting, a glowing barrier flies up around the house, preventing Symernia from getting through. She begins to pound on it relentlessly, slowly weakening it. Sam runs back through the entry way to meet back up with Aces and Fanidea and Mentathenis. As a group, they slowly make their way through the kitchen trying desperately to keep the enemies at bay. Garren appears to be killed under the attacks of the undead and demons. Outside Peggy removes his wooden leg and pulls out his flute to begin playing a tune. For a few moments, the undead and demons seem confused and start bumping into the walls.

Symernia however is not effected by such weak magic and she smashes through Brandis’ barrier. The front of the Solivan House is blown in under the force of her attacks. In a single bat of her leathery wings she soars through the entry way and into the kitchen to land behind Fanidea. The Nightbringer lifts the drow into the air by her neck and turns her to look into her eyes. The succubus’ bladed wings lash out and skewer her prey from both sides dropping the drow to the floor and holds out her claws as if to catch something. Then, with a look of rage she asks Aces, in a rabid hiss she screams. “Where is the other drow, the one with the Wraith Blade?” Aces feigns clueless, but the demon is not fooled. “Drow! If you do not present yourself to me I will kill each of your friends, ever so slowly, and then when their hearts stop, I will rip every vein from your body and strangle you to death with them. Then I will take the blade, and bring your corpse home to use as a puppet!”

Sam jumps in to ask why the demon wants it, and she replies that it is Pyraxis who wants it. Sam explains that the blade can not be taken without it binding to her, and that the Balor would have to kill her to make it his. Aces continues and tells her “We only have one shard and it’s not even that powerful. The other shards aren’t even on this plane, but one was probably on Athas somewhere.” Symernia smiles and thanks them for the information, then she zips past them to find her way into the sewers, behind the rest of the group. Aces tries to swing at Symernia but she easily parries her attack with a wing. Fanidea regains consciousness by the magic of her medallion. She stands, extremely pissed off.

Sona’s Necklace


Symernia flies into the sewer and makes a quick left at the first bend, she almost misses a second branch back to the right, but the glow of a torchlight catches her attention. She twists back, and ducks under some attacks launched by the pests following her in at the entrance. A magic missile slams her in the back, searing one of her wings and causing her to find footing on the ground for a moment. She beats her wings to lift again, bearing down on the group ahead. From behind her she can hear more casting and quickly dives into a pool below her.

The water is thick, murky, and something large swims past her legs. Squinting through the liquid, she can make out a dark shape. It turns towards her in a flash, and just as it’s jaws widen to snap down, she pushes off the bottom and explodes out of the pool, the giant sewer alligator follows her upward but she whips her tail to swat it’s toothy maw aside. Another magic missile slams into her belly and she feels the pounding of fists on the backs of her legs.

In a blur of six attacks, she rips into the crazed alligator sending pieces of reptile flying across the room and into the water. She can taste the creatures’ blood on her lips and hardly notices the sting of a third magic missile and more beating from behind. Again the Nightbringer cuts into her attacker. This time thoroughly dicing its body into small chunks.

Now only a few yards from her prey, she pushes through the meager attacks of those between she and the drow. Before her feet touch the ground, her claws are tight around his neck. She savors each puncture of his flesh. Her bladed wing tips move in a dance of streaming blood. As she feels his heart begin to slow, she notices a light shining on his chest, something attached to a chain. An unbearable pain rolls over the succubus, she feels as though her flesh is being stripped from her and bones being flung in all directions. She feels what her victims have. Unable to focus, she wildly flails about trying to hit whatever she can in attempts to free herself of the torture. More attacks hit her from all sides, now easily avoiding her defenses.

She flaps her wings to fly away but finds herself quickly thrown underwater, unable to move. She struggles, her breath nearly gone, The murky green of the water starts to darken, slowly fading to black. With her lungs burning up, she attempts one last kick off the floor, and it works, she launches herself up and into the darkness above slamming onto the roughly cobbled passage of the sewer. Her ribs ache, and her darkvison is only slowly beginning to return. She expects to be slaughtered, then and there, but no attacks come.

Panicked she screams out in a feeble attempt to threaten her unseen enemies. “I have all the information I need, Athas! The Shadovar will get the shard on Athas, and I will kill each and every one of you!”

She only hears the sound of footsteps down one of the corridors and tries to force herself up in effort to chase them down. Before the demon girl can move, she feels a snap on her lower leg and is pulled back into the water. Though severely weakened, Symernia is able to kill the second alligator before it can rip off her leg.

She claws her way out of the pool and rolls to her side, catching her breath. Standing up she wobbles and falls against a wall. The vision of the necklace around the drow’s neck shines in her minds eye. She tries to push past the blaring chromatic light and sees a beautiful mystic quartz stone. A woman’s voice sounds in her head. “Take my necklace, let this be a symbol of my love for you. May it protect you from darkness, no matter what happens, I will always be yours.”

Symernia whispers “Sona Summergale…”

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Trysta

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