Mysteries of Golarion
The four of us have explored the tomb thoroughly: the man known only as Torch, our leader, the finesse man; Maria Rosewater, cleric of Pharasma, our healer and specialist on all things Osirion; Gloria Kaijitsu, Paladin of Shelyn, our muscle and my wife; and me, Astlanias Kaijitsu, journeyman of general information, binder of planar beings and miscellaneous arcane support.
The last spot to be explored lies behind a heavy stone doorway in front of us. Our explorations and divinations revealed to us that this door is heavily trapped, with several powerful undead on the other side. To bypass the trap, we simply press two buttons simultaneously, one at this door and another several rooms away. Then all we need to do is deal with the undead.
I cast a simple cantrip to allow the four of us to talk while in different rooms so that we can time our actions properly.
“Lani,” Torch begins, “You will go to the other room and trigger the release there. Gloria will go with you for protection. Maria and I will do the same here.”
“Maria, you’re sure you can handle the undead on the other side of the door by yourself?” I ask.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure. But why don’t you leave one of your pets here to protect us just in case?” she replies.
I agree and spend the next 10 minutes drawing a diagram on the floor. I cast several protective spells on the diagram and then begin my calling. I want something powerful to protect my comrades, so I summon a Glabrezu. It’s dangerous but it’s nothing the four of us can’t handle if it breaks free. Besides, I’ve bound this particular creature before without much difficulty. The instant it shows up, I can feel it try and break through my protections and bindings. I focus my will upon it and command it to cease its struggles.
“Stop,” I say. “We’ve been through this before, and you’ve never been able to overcome my will. Complete your service to me and I will send you home as I always have. You will protect my companions and I until we have finished exploring this place and all of its dangers have been overcome. Only then will I send you home.”
“I will not comply,” the creature responds. I can feel its will pushing against mine. It is a familiar struggle with this one. It still hasn’t learned that it cannot win in such a contest.
“You will,” I respond, and refocus my will upon it. In moments, it submits and I allow it to step out of the circle to begin its service.
“I’m always amazed that you summon evil creatures to do your bidding, given your natural tendencies Lani,” remarks Torch.
“I’d rather risk harm to an evil being than to a good one,” I reply. “If the universe must have evil in it, why not use evil to better the forces of good? Besides, the spell forces the subject to do my will. I’d rather not do that to an angel.”
At this point, Gloria and I take our leave of Torch, Maria and the Glabrezu. We move down several corridors to a small room. The perimeter of the room has columns with statues to several gods. In the centre of the room is an altar with an idol of Nethys on it. The release is hidden at the base of the idol.
“We’re here,” I say through the message spell.
“On three then,” replies Torch. “Three, Two, One, Now…”
I push the release and the next thing I know I’m lying face first on the ground and the air is filled with silt. I feel drained and extremely weak. There’s a ringing in my ears and a sharp pain in my finger. I look over at my hand and see that my ring is cracked and digging into my finger. My ring, which is the focus of my power, my ring, which was sanctified by a cleric when Gloria and I were wed, my ring… is cracked. It takes several seconds for the significance of my ring’s condition to penetrate my addled brain. It means that casting just got a hell of a lot harder. It also means that my ring’s twin either fell off of Gloria’s hand, or she’s dead.
I push myself up onto my elbows and look around. All of the columns have fallen over. Near the door, Gloria lies on the floor unmoving. I stare in horror for several seconds before I see her shake her head. Relief fills me. She’s ok. She gets to her feet and begins moving toward me. Her movement is awkward as she makes her way to me. She too must have been hurt by whatever happened here. I see her mouth move, but I hear nothing due to the ringing in my ears. I point to my ears, then cover them with my hands and shake my head to indicate I can’t hear her.
I turn to the altar to inspect the damage and try and figure out what happened. Part of the wall behind the altar has fallen away revealing a passage. I guess we didn’t explore as thoroughly as I thought. I cast a simple cantrip to try and detect any magical residues from whatever just happened, except that’s not quite so simple anymore. It fails to go off as expected. I refocus, concentrate and manage to cast it the second time. As I’m concentrating on the altar I feel a mind numbing pain in the side of my face. My head turns to the sight of my wife’s hand scratching at me. Except I finally realize that it’s not my wife. There’s ice in her hair. Her eyes are no longer deep brown, but pale blue-white. They look right through me. Looking into her eyes I see the eyes of undeath.
I recoil in horror, thinking that this can’t be happening. She follows me and begins clawing at me again. My mind panics and my thoughts flicker every which way. I feel another numbing pain in my shoulder, and again in my side. The creature in front of me is hitting me again and again. I feel the life draining out of me. I’m alone, and have no one to protect me. Instinctively, I react by stepping back and unleashing a thin green ray at the enemy in front of me. It hits her/it square in the chest. She/it freezes for a moment, hatred filling those blue undead eyes. The room shakes in an aftershock of the event we unleashed minutes ago. The frozen form in front of me collapses into a pile of dust. I stare uncomprehendingly at the pile for hours, seconds, days? I do not know. My mind no longer works.
I know my hearing is beginning to clear because I can hear the voice of Torch. He’s screaming at me to come to his side and help him. Strangely, the voice seems to be coming from the passage behind the altar. I begin making my way into the darkness and moving towards the sound of Torch’s voice. The ground is still shaking; dust and silt are still raining from the ceiling. Every so often a block from the ceiling falls near me. This place seems to be coming apart at the seams.
I hear the sounds of battle somewhere close by. In the darkness ahead, there’s a small pinpoint of light. I move towards the light. It seems to be a peephole. It looks into the room where Torch and Maria were. The scene that I look onto normally would have filled me with dread, but my mind is numb. There are several wrapped forms lying unmoving on the floor. They must have been the undead guardians behind the door. In the middle of the room, the Glabrezu has Maria’s neck in one of its pincers and is holding her several feet of the floor. Torch is in the corner surrounded by a sphere of pure force. The demon looks at Torch, and an expression that can only be a demonic smile crosses its face. It slowly squeezes its pincers. Maria’s head falls from her shoulders and her body falls to the floor. Again the creature looks at Torch and prepares to use some magic of its own. I know the beast can dispel Torch’s force sphere, so I begin to cast. My numbed and battered body is not up to the task, the spell slips from my grasp and the protective sphere around Torch disappears. I have one chance left. I mentally reach into my ring to draw forth the power for a spell to dismiss the demon. I feel a wrenching in my soul and the spell goes off. The demon disappears.
The release of magical energy sets off another small quake in the area. The ceiling around me begins to collapse. Again, instinct takes over. I somehow manage to cast the same spell Torch used earlier to shield himself. It protects me from the falling ceiling, but traps me under the rubble. I carefully adjust the sphere so that when it goes away, the rubble will form an arch that won’t collapse on me. Moments after I finish this task, I feel a huge wave of magical energy flow past me. It dispels my sphere and rips into my soul. My mind feels adrift and I feel my body failing. Everything goes dark.
Lani’s Journal Page 1
I woke up this morning in a cold sweat. The same way I have woken up for the past several years. I am still haunted by those events. Every night at least some part of that day returns to me and plays itself out in my dreams with me unable to change the outcome. I must helplessly watch them die over and over again. The pain I feel in my body is nothing compared to the emotional pain I feel at reliving these events.
It has been said that writing down secrets has a way of dissipating them from your mind, and so, within these pages, I will write about that day, and the nightmares I’ve lived through ever since. Hopefully this will bring me some peace. “The four of us have explored the tomb thoroughly: the man known only as Torch, our leader…”
Lani’s Journal Page 4
I think it may be time to go home. Neither my mind nor my body has recovered from the curse that hit me in that tomb. I’m still unable to summon the tiniest bit of magic, and I tire after firing half a dozen arrows. I don’t think I’ll be able to do much more for the Society. Torch hasn’t recovered fully either. Although he seems to be worse of physically, he’s adapted fairly well. He picked up a lot of information over the years, and I think he’s beginning to put it to use.
Maybe at home, I’ll be able to pick up my jewel craft again. I think I’ll need it as I’ve gone through most of my wealth paying for healing. It’s humbling knowing that I once wielded extremely potent arcane power capable of ripping evil incarnate from the abyss, and now something as harmless as a wolf could probably take me out.
In a way, I think this curse may have been a blessing for me. Before the accident, I was focused on increasing my power and knowledge. Looking back, I can see that my path was heading into darkness. Summoning evil beings for good causes seems like a good idea, but I think it was corrupting my soul. How much evil did I loose in the world while convincing myself that it was for the greater good?
Lani’s Journal Page 5
It has been months since I last wrote in this journal. I’ve been working with a diverse group of people, trying to protect my home from one catastrophe after another. First, the goblin invasion from Thistletop, then those awful skinsaw murders, followed by the unpleasantness at Fort Rannick. Now, my friends and I are encamped with the Shoanti, a stop on our way towards a mountain citadel filled with giants. There are so many people around – I feel so out of place. I’ve found a nice quiet spot so sit and gaze at the stars. The solitude has inspired me to write again. Other than my ledger, and the letter to Shalelu, I haven’t put ink to paper since I came home. Hmm… I wonder if it means something that I haven’t written about that most wonderful woman. But I digress. Something interesting is happening, and I think I should record it.
This morning, I did not awaken with a start. I woke up with a sense of unease, but not of fear and terror. My dreams were not nightmares of my past life, but of something bright and pure. This brightness is threatened, and it’s calling to me. I’m supposed to protect it, to help it, to serve it, and to let it serve me. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m sure it needs my help, and I in turn will need the help it can provide me. I don’t know what to do. Is the dream real, or a product of my imagination? Is it a subconscious fantasy in place of a nightmare? Hopefully, this question will work itself out soon.
Lani’s Journal Page 6
My nightmares were back again last night. Yesterday’s dream must have been just a welcome reprieve from my normal sleep. Maybe sometime soon, my dreams will be the dreams of a normal person.
Lani’s Journal Page 7
The brightness was back last night. Again, I feel that the brightness is threatened and I need to act. This can’t be a fantasy, can it?
Lani’s Journal Page 8
The same dream for the past 3 nights, and it’s growing stronger. There was a new addition last night. I could hear a pair of wings beating through the air. I can see the wings perfectly in my mind’s eye, but the form they are attached to is clouded in fog. Toward the end of my dream, the wings disappeared and were silenced. Are they angel wings? Is an angel calling to me? I hope not, I’m not worthy.