The Burnt World of Athas

Session 14

To Redeem a Defiler

The party used the books at their disposal to learn a great deal about the sorcerer kings. The powerful sorcerers had been allied before they took on their titles, and had all been disciples of a man named Rajaat. They eventually turned against him, defeated him, and split up the tablelands for themselves. Oddly they seemed cooperative, with Kalak being essentially given Tyr because it was the easiest to defend and control. The clues in the books allowed them to piece together the order of their deaths, which the party thought was necessary for them to open the magical barrier.

They also used magic to speak with Sukir's dead body, his mouth answering their questions despite his lifeless gaze. He told the party the spear could kill Kalak. They asked how to use the spear and he said by channeling preserving power into it. When asked what he could have done differently to succeed in his mission, he seemed to put the blame for his death and incomplete success on his allies.The party wanted to ask where the spear had come from, but he no longer responded to their questions. Mulses took his body with them.

As they finished their research and rest, they spotted a walking, vaguely anthropomorphic mushroom traveling past. Kid tried to stop him or communicate with him but he continued along. Although Kid and others took notice that all the books he carried were in halfling or concerned halflings. Eventually as Kid blocked his path, he heard a voice from behind him. A monstrously human-like-yet-not-human woman stood before him. She seemed friendly enough, especially once she learned the party had killed the ones who had smashed her mushroom-children. 

Her name was Myrna, and she chided the party for having taken a shortcut within the library, something she said the library would not abide. She offered to lead them back to where the portal was. First she snapped Bright Eyes out of her reverie, since she had become obsessed with a book entitled "To Redeem a Defiler." She was sure she would find the secret to undoing the "scar on her psyche" that Shivrin had spoken about, but the answer was always just on the next page. Myrna said these ensorcelling tomes were one consequence of taking shortcuts. 

The party continued, with Myrna leading. Along the way they traded information about who they were. The party revealed their origins and goals, which Myrna laughed at, or at least gave a horribly twisted simulation of a laugh. She detailed the obstacles to killing Kalak, the spells he had at his disposal, including a powerful word of death he could continue to utter over and over. Epione assured the group she had a retort, a way to channel her goddess and weaken his spell casting power and stop his ability to regenerate his spells. 

Myrna in turn revealed that she had been a Templar of Kalak. Through questioning they were able to piece together she had not been on the surface for at least a couple hundred years, when she had abandoned Kalak for the library. He had searched, seemingly for centuries, for something within the library, with no success. She said he was unwilling to pay the price the library required, a price of journeying and overcoming physical and mental obstacles to reach enlightenment. He sent her to find what he wanted, and she had wandered the halls ever since, choosing the path of enlightenment she said the library offered. Her task was to find something about the power of creation, the ability to make life. The sorcerer Kings had all learned powerful words of destruction, but not their counterparts. She had succeeded partially at least, and had created her mushroom children with what she learned, as well as extending her own life.

As they neared the arcane gate, Kid caught sight of a tome entitled: Kalidnay: the City that Waits. He seemed convinced that the true fate of Kalidnay and the origin of his company was contained somewhere in the book, though just out of his reach. He became ensorcelled just as Bright Eyes had, until Myrna snapped him out of it. She asked if anyone had tried taking a book from the library and said that was another consequence, so the party returned what they had (except for the tomes Chronicler had spent the night transcribing). 

It seemed the books might have actually existed somewhere in the library, but these books were just traps, they contained no real information, just a projection of the readers own knowledge and their desire for more. The party considered they may want to return some day, and temporarily traded tokens with Myrna, so that they could locate each other. She also said her mushrooms could usually lead them to her.

She wished them well in their impossible task and almost certain death. They teleported back the crossroads with one path leading to the magical barrier. The nausea they usually felt on passing through a portal did not dissipate, in fact it seemed to get stronger as they neared the wall. They feared it a sort of diluted, yet persistent, defiling. They assembled the statutes in the order they believed, failing once and burning DragonPaw in the process. But on the second try they succeeded, the words dissipated and reformed to say: Look how many have perished. Did you think yourself immortal? The party pondered the taunt briefly, but prepared for the great task at hand.

They moved up stairs into a more well formed manmade structure: the base of the ziggurat. Oddly, their nausea ended once they stepped foot inside. They travelled some distance inside and up some stairs to a large room with columns. They heard sounds but saw no sign of Kalak or his bodyguards. Until Malachi used his magic to locate the spear, above them, and an examination by Trigger revealed a malformed, draconic Kalak. In his chest was a sprouting sapling, that called out for more power.

The party fought Kalak and his body guards as Epione attempted to channel her goddess and Malachi used his newfound preserving powers on the tree. The staff / spear / tree was clearly magical, it was easy to preserve and aided Malachi in the process. Every success crippled Kalak's abilities and eventually stunned him. But nonetheless he rained devastation on the party as his golems tirelessly fought back. As Epione's channeling completed, a pillar of blinding light surrounded her, seeming to weaken Kalak further. Hafeeza restored wounded party members. Mulses and DragonPaw bore the brunt of the attack as they and Kid sliced the golems with swords and magic. Bright Eyes had remarkable success opposing Kalak, stopping some of his most powerful magics and hurting him badly. 

As Kalak faltered, a golem succeeded in killing DragonPaw. As Kid retorted and brought the final Golem down, Malachi and Bright Eyes ended the fight, empowering the tree and weakening Kalak too much to resist. It began to grow uncontrollably, subsuming Kalak entirely as he howled. Yet it continued, tearing the foundation of the floor, toppling pillars, and beginning to bring down the floor above. Hafeeza rushed to DragonPaw and tested her newfound powers, with DragonPaw coming to with a gasp. The party rushed out the only doorway they could reach in time. But Epione remained in her collumn of light as the ceiling collapsed around her, the radiant light scorching anyone who tried to touch her.

The party fell out into a passageway that was the opposite passage leading to the room with the magical barrier, stones blocking the path behind them. They gathered themselves, tended to their wounds, and settled on the realization that they had toppled a Sorcerer-King.



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