Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 38

Lynch’s Journal #153

Trying to figure out how to place more trust into Aeomere, I ask the northern to come with me to search the upper stories of the prison. There is no objection as we head up the broken stairs.

The trip through the remaining jail cells is quiet. As we go through each looking for traps or signs of evidence I wait him to break in questioning. Surprisingly, the druid does not. His will is strong much like the wilderness in which he lives.

Once we reach the roof I start my questions. Have you seen a massive orc? What about an elven druid? How about a man with a metal arm?

The answer to each is no.

We watch Vax as he enters one of the outer compounds. Motioning with his head toward the elf, Aeomere states he does not know him but admits to seeing him days ago. After realizing the rogue was not a wondering zombie, the druid and his wolf had stalked him for a few days to outside of the town Diamond Lagoon. Once there he figured the Raven Queen’s champion would be no threat to the folk.

Looking back at the carnage caused by the undead butcher, I bite back a retort. There was no way anyone could have known what was going on in the town without being there firsthand. Knowing it took all of us just to kill the damned thing I have no doubts those two could have done so. Then again thinking back on the elemental form against Seto makes me think otherwise.

With that in mind I inform Aeomere what happened at the the lagoon and how we came upon Vax.

Anger swells up in his face at the mention of the lives that were lost. Reading his features, I can tell the druid would have defended those people with his life. It is clear to see he has just as much of a distaste for the living dead as myself.

Before I can tell him not to beat himself over it, the northern tells me a tale of how a horde of undead assaulted his tribe over a year ago. That he and others would call upon the power of the elements to defend them. For days after the assault, they had sought and destroyed what remained of the skeletons and zombies in their mountains.

That was when Nathanos had lost all of his power and raised all of the dead in the North. His mistake gave Novak and The First Breaker the army they need to lay siege to Icewall. For months afterwards undead who were attacking villages were hunted down and destroyed.

Aeomere and his tribe are just another victim of my cowardice to not kill Novak sooner. Not wanting to keep any more secrets, I tell him the truth of how his troubles came to be.

For a long moment the large northern stares at me emotionlessly. There is no shift in his face, no telling sign of what he is thinking as Aoemere digests what I revealed. If he is to punch me so be it. I can understand his frustrations more than anyone.

Finally the druid release a sigh accompanied with a short, small nods of understanding.

I let my own sigh of relief.

Dodging that arrow I answer my own questions about those we are searching for and why. The tale of Tuskgutter sickens Aeomere and is a firm reassurance of his allegiance to our cause.

Seeing that Vax is done with his search, we head back to the others as I continue.

I warn him of Amon’s enhanced sword and the teleporting property. Informing him there is no sign to when it send him to battle demons, I decide to further the cautionary tale. Laying it all out there, I admit to believe the prince is drawn to weaponry of immense powers, almost as if it is a curse.

And as if some cruel god was playing some joke, the very thing happens in front of us. With a soft pop Amon appears before Seto’s corpse. Fresh blood paints his armor and blade. Exhausted from his battle he falls to his knees as his sword clatters to the stone floor.

Once again, he has been teleported away after a hard fought battle only to fight harder against hordes of fiends. When will it be too much that he falls against them?

He needs to think about his wife, his children and his kingdom before being called upon the next time.

My rage boils at the thought of him not being there for them.

Panting heavily, Prince Frost reaches for his sword. Being the fresher and quicker of the two, I step up to kick the weapon out of reach.

This needs to stop.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 37

Lynch’s Journal #152

With Seto dead the whirlwind beings to slow. Its howling battle cries begin to die down. As the massive white wolf paces just behind the vortex, the form of a person begins to take shape. As winds fade to nothing a man in thick furs stands before us.

From behind, Lithia ask the strange ally his name. Hobbling on one leg as Amon supports her, there is pain in her voice. Hopefully her leg is not as bad as it looks.

The man announces himself as Aeomere, a druid from the Tribe of Frozen Paths. Giving the large wolf a friendly scratch of appreciated, he calls the beast Fang. In my teaches from Nataku I had learned of those who could become one with the elements. This must be the case with this northerner.

As he begins his tale, Aeomere had needed reassurance we were not the Vecna cultists he had battled previously. Motioning to the plague masks strapped to both Princess Muun and Balasar’s belts, claiming they had worn those. But unlike them, we had not uses their explosive orbs. Hearing our conversation about the slain cultist of Orcus gave him no doubts that were not the enemy but possible allies with the same goals.

That last statement makes my blood boil. I can see it is Lithia’s eyes as well as she realizes what that meant. Before the sorceress can accuse him, I beat her to it, pointing at that Aeomere knew of the dragon and let us walk into the lair purposely.

Amon calls for us to calm down, reminding me that there was a time that I did not trust most people myself. I cannot argue against that. When I first arrived in Red Larch paranoia had myself in a firm grip when it came to anyone being a member of the Restless Hand.

With that fact I ask him to reveal his left arm to the shoulder blade. With our enemies out here it cannot hurt to be sure this is not some trap. But if there is the brand of my former guild, there will be no hesitation from any of us to kill Aeomere.

There is no argument from the druid as he removes his fur cloak and hide armor, revealing the entire upper body as proof that he can be trusted. Though still seething at being used as bait, I nod in satisfaction to Prince Frost.

Not being satisfied with how little we need to trust Aeomere, Lithia throws a fit of rage at her husband and myself. She claims that if he knew of the dangers here, what stops him from leading us into other he may know about?

Balasar finally speaks up, informing Lithia that all of his divine abilities to detect a foe were met with no resistance when cast. With that the princess takes a depth breath to release her frustrations.

Then Vax steps out of the darkness of a hallway, unscathed from the dragon.

Infuriated once again, the sorceress summons her rage and unleashes it upon the Champion of the Raven Queen. Sparks of magical energy flicker in her eyes. Screaming at the top of her lungs, Lithia demands to know why the rogue never aided us against Seto. As a spell takes shape in one hand, Princes Frost questions if maybe it is he who should it be trusted.

A fair point.

Vax is smart and dares not look up at his accuser. It is obvious he feels ashamed as he absently stares at the ground. Taking a deep breathe to steady himself, the elf admits that the aura of the dragon seeded fear deep within him that could not be overcome. Reluctantly, the elf admits that act of cowardice makes him question if he should even be the champion to his god.

Before Lithia can continue berating, Amon motions for her to stop as Vax walks out into the courtyard in silence. As the sound washes over us all, I begin to question if our ally is who he claims to be.

She turns her frustration back to Aeomere, demanding to know why he is out here by himself. The druid answers

that a vision of great evil in the northern glacier had came to the grand seer of his village. Seeking to eliminate any threats to the area, the chieftain sent their best warriors on the hunt to destroy it. Pointing to the fallen Orcus cultists, he mentions battling some of their ranks during his search.

With that the four of us are in agreement that his presence will be beneficial. Not only does the druid possess power but he will be a better guide through the frozen terrain than myself. If he proves to be as useful as he was against Seto, Aeomere will be an ally we will definitely need on our search for Brask, Tuskgutter and Lothric.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 36

Lynch’s Journal #151

A flood of emotions hit me like an archmage’s fireball. Fear and shock draw my attention away from the battle with the dragon.

What have I done?

I was so sure Cindermaw would hear my pledge and except it due to my past deed’s alongside Lothric. With Novak dead, there was no doubt in my mind the neveomancer’s prized blade had lost its enhanced bond to him. Now that the Sunbreaker Gem has fueled it with magic, will it resurrect him?

Then the stinging pain of the tentacles remind me something far more sinister has the weapon. Those guys abnormal….. things… I had encountered when that bastard flung me through their realms. Never will I forget the agonizing torment my mind and body experienced with each new nightmare encountered.

The Reptile of the Lake.

The Terror or the Marsh.

The Slumbering Horror.

And the Lord in Yellow, the one who marked me with a curse that has haunted

my every dream and waking moment. Wherever I travel, whoever I am with, the yellow sign urges me to murder those dear to my heart. Since that damned day in the throne room of Icewall castle it has been with me.

As the violet flash fades and my site returns the pain rushes in, burning within my mind. Looking on as the smoldering dragon climbs to the second floor to face the sorcerer, there is no sound of the walls cracking under his weight. Only the gibbering language of those nightmares given life echoing in my ears. Just outside the corners of my eyes I see that the yellow sign lurks. The presence of it urges me to do its bidding.

It was he, this unspeakable one, who took the sword and gem. The King wanted me to know who answered my plea.

Anger swells within my like an ocean storm. Taking Thoughts and Prayer from theirs sheaths, I march from the rubble of the collapse wall. There is no time to dwells on my misfortune as Lithia backs away from the maw of Seto.

The wind howls through the mountains and rushes over the broken stones. Its frigid touch flutters my cloak and then, to my surprise, lifts me so lightly in the air to move me aside.

What in the godsdamned Nine Hells?

Next, the rubble where I had just been rumbles to life as a whirlwind swoops in from the opening, launching the debris at the white wyrm. With each connecting strike, Seto flinches from the unexpected phenomenon. Through the roaring rotation there is a voice.

It tells me to flank the beast.

Not sure of what I am witnessing, I have no choice but to trust this….. whatever is it. Moving behind shattered columns I make may way toward Princess Muun.

Amon gets to his feet, sees his beloved face to face with the dragon and screams in denial. Ignore the stinging stones flung at him, Seto smiles a wicked, fang filled grin at Prince Frost. He slowly snakes his head back toward Lithia, hissing her a promise of a slow death.

Out to the left there is a white blur past the whirlwind and his barrage of rubble. My body tense at the thought of a smaller wyrm moving in to attack Balasar from above. Before I can shout a warning to the paladin, the beast screams out in pain as a large winter wolf lands on his spine and digs its teeth into Seto’s neck.

The wind howls louder as it twirls forward, pulling some of the rubble within its circulating form. As the aggressive canine causes its prey to thrash around, Lithia leaps from the railing to come crashing to the main floor before Amon can catch her. Much like it had done myself, the living air gently brushes them aside as it crashes into the dragon and wolf.

Despite the gale, the animal maintains its grip on the Seto’s back and lower neck. Blood glazes the snow colored scales. The vortex picks up strength, causing the stones within to crash into the wyrm’s joins and claws. Screeching in desperation, it is finally pulled free and slammed to the lower floor as the wolf leaps to safety.

Seizing the opportunity, I lunge toward Seto’s head as he attempts to get to his feet. Before he can raise it off the cold, stone floor, Thoughts and Prayers are plunged into his left eye. His scream of agonizing pain barely escapes his maw as the whirlwind slams his snout with a heavy column.

Snarling with anger, the white wolf leaps down to attack the remaining eye. With razor sharp claws, it tears and shreds the tough hide. Blood flows from each wound, shimmering in the rays of sun light as it drips to the snow. Before the dragon can thrash away from our barrage it is shoved into the rows of cells behind it, struggling against the strength of the vortex.

Seto pushes off the wall against the force. The sound of buckling iron bars and crumbling stone is lost in the roar of defiance. With all of its strength the dragon refuses to be defeated by mere mortals, refuses to give in to death. Managing to turn its head, a blast of icy shards is unleashed into gale with little affect.

And then the thrashing ceases as Balasar’s blessed greatsword is drove right behind the jaw. Yanking the blade free, the blood flows freely from the throat while we back away from the beast. It turns its head toward us with a gurgling growl of rage. Then the blue eyes go wide with fear as the wyrm’s takes a stumbling, weak step forward.

With a chilling exhale, the life fades from Seto’s eyes.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 35

Lynch’s Journal #150

Sunlight shines off the Sunbreaker gem, catching the attention of everyone. Looks of shock fixate on me at my stupid decision. Seto glares at me with curiosity. Then I get the expected question, how did I obtain it?

The dragon tried to hide his expression but I am not a fool. Now I have the upper hand. We can only hope my plan does not fail.

I claimed to have kill Nathanos, which is not a lie. Surely Seto was aware of the lich’s power. Adding assurance, I inform the white wyrm that my plan is to find the other five and kill Cindermaw. Hopefully sprinkling that lie in with the truth works. But to make Seto think about what I have revealed, the cursed that struck mage is mentioned.

Out of the corner of my left eye Vax steps forward to add credibility to my tale. He goes on at length about the curse but there is something in the way he uses his words I have not heard since leaving Waterdeep behind. The Champion of the Raven Queen is using the code of back alleys, underhanded dealings and black markets.

The tongue of thieves cant.

As his elegant way of speaking enthralls Seto’s attention, I pick up on the message. The elf is very irate about not only me having the Sunbreaker gem but bargaining with the small artifact. Through the code Vax is practically begging me to stop.

Unfortunately, I have went too far to this point. The white wyrm will tear us limb from limb just to get it. If we manage to escape he will hunt us down. Worst case scenario will be that he lays waste to Icewall along with Amon and Lithia’s children. That I cannot have on my conscience.

Silence falls over the prison as Seto weighs Vax’s warning. With a low growl he demands I bring him the gem. This plan might be foolish but I am not stupid enough to climb those stairs and place myself in from of the dragon alone. Now comes the risk of revealing the artifact.

I question Seto if he is afraid of catching the curse, claiming he fears to come get it for himself.

Again, the thunderous laugh shakes the entire prison. As the white wyrm throws his head back in amusement I notice his claws dig into the stone walls. The beast is bracing itself for something. Snow flutters from the lower floors upwards with the massive inhale of breath. Seto’s eyes flare their sky blue hue as a shower of ice rains down upon us.

Screaming a warning, I leap into one of the open cells for cover as Vax does the same. Amon holds his shield over himself and Lithia for protection. For extra measure both cast spells to block the attack. Silent and fearless, Balasar spews his corrosive breath above him to melt the shards falling his way.

With a roaring challenge, Seto leaps down from the third story to crash through the ice that it had just created. Before he can defend himself, the paladin is sent flying through a wall with a flick of the powerful tail. Princess Frost retreats up the stairs to the second level to create space for her magic. Her husband follows close behind to defend her, shield at the ready with his hands set to cast as needed.

Taking note of their movement, the dragon stalks toward the couple. A low growl escapes through its fangs as it promises none of us will leave here alive.

He might be right.

Not wanting to discover the strength of the tail, I recall the spell taught to me by

Nataku to propel myself through the air. After learning my lesson tendays ago, I set myself in a position to land, strike and move. Whispering the words so not to give away my position, the magic launches me above the second level of cells and past the white wyrm’s left wing.

As quickly as I land quickly Thoughts punches out. The quick stab of the magical shortsword catches Seto by surprise, digging through his thick scales and into muscle. I cut down to let the psychic energy flow into his body.

Following through with Prayers turns out not to be so lucky. The beast reared his terrible, hateful head back at me and shifted its body to counter attack. Before I can jab with the blade the fangs snap down at me. Being smaller and faster in the enclosed prison, a leap backwards as the maw closes shut just were I was a second before.

But I am not fast enough.

The attack was a diversion.

Seto slings his entire head my way like a massive battering ram. Not expecting the suddenness of the movement, the impact sends me flying into the rubble of the broken wall leading to the cold outside. It takes all I have to keep conscious from being hit by the raw power of the beast.

Then the rubble shakes as the dragon takes one heavy steps in my direction. Broken stones and snow shakes and slides under me as he takes another. As he opens the mouth all I can think about is the pain brought by dozens of razed sharp teeth.

One thought races through my mind repeatedly.

This is how I die.

Before the dragon can lunge, blinding light flares up followed by the challenging roar of Balasar. With his greatsword surging with divine energy, he thrust the heavy weapon into Seto’s ribs. The loudest roar yet rattles the prison as a whole and echoes through the cold, northern mountains.

Relentless in his assault the paladin rips his blade free and positions himself for another attack. Planting his right foot, he rotates with his blade out wide to open the dragon’s side in his backswing. Realizing his error, the copperborn uses his momentum to throw his sword overhead the intercept the incoming claw of Seto. Despite his strength, it fails to compare to the might of the white wyrm as he is drove to one knee.

Instantly Amon is there to aid him, hand surging with lightning. Rushing forward with all his speed, Prince Frost grabs one of the talons and releases his power to send it rippling up the dragon’s arm. The beast leaps back, howling with surprise and pain from the unexpected attack. As Seto does Amon unsheathes his enchant longsword and draws a line of blood from the thigh.

Pain racks my body as I push myself up from a sitting position in the rubble. There is no doubt in my mind I have ever been hit that hard. What’s the battle unfold in front of me, I can only think one thing.

How are we supposed to defeat this creature?

The dragon bellows in frustration at the damage suffered. Flapping its massive wings, frigid wind whips up to pelt Amon and Balasar with shards of ice while blinding them with snow. Both warriors are helpless against the force and are sent tumbling backwards.

Again, Seta rears his head back and steadies himself on hind legs. The wind he stirred reverses direction as he inhales deeply. Those eyes start flashing their dangerous blue, the only warning to the beast’s deadly breath. Before he can unleash Hell he screeches in terrible agony as a fiery explosion erupts between his wings to send the dragon crashing to the floor.

Above him on the second level, a wide smile comes across Lithia’s face.

The white wyrm sneers and grumbles, driving its claws easily through the stones as it rises to its feet. It turns to regard the sorcerer, claiming that that she shall die first. With a leap faster than lightning, Seto lands between the second and third level, crushing the rails and walkway as it sticks to the icy walls like a spider. Amon screams for his wife to run at the site above us.

Fear grips me as I see my friend facing her doom. My heart and mind fill with desperation. Without realizing I find myself fumbling in my pack for the gem as I unsheathe Novak’s shortsword. Seeing no other choice I call out for Cindermaw fo aid me, that if he will grant me his power I will be forever be his servant to justice.

Hoping for the best I place the gem in the slot in the pommel. Power rushes through me as the gem flares red. A sigh of relief escapes me as I know the lord of the Sunbreakers has answered.

Then the light quickly dies out and shines purple as pain shoots up my arm. I look down to see those dreaded tentacles latching to my arm like they once did long ago. Being caught completely off guard by the sudden change I drop the weapon, screaming in denial.

Before the sword hits the snow it disappears with a soft pop.

The Sunbreaker gem is gone.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 34

Lynch’s Journal #149

None of us dare move a muscle at the site of the beast. This is nothing like meeting Cindermaw. The creator of the Sunbreakers presented himself as majestic and strict. Regardless of our reason for being in the dragon’s realm, it regarded us with a small hint of respect for what we had achieved against The First Breaker.

This dragon is far different. Hate radiates off of the creature. There is no doubt it urges to slaughter us in the same fashion like the cultists at our feet. It takes all I have to fight back my fear. Hearing the heavy breathing of my friends tells me they are enthralled by terror as well.

Finally mustering the courage to speak, I inform the white wyrm we mean no disrespect by intruding upon its lair. I try to insure it that we have no intention of stealing any treasure from any hoard. Lithia chimes in, stating all we were doing was searching the place for a friend.

Sensing our fear, it lets my words hang in the air for a few heartbeats. It is a clear display that the creature is in control. The dragon’s mouth opens slowly to answer, revealing teeth as long as my shortswords and surely just as sharp. A true sign of dominance.

Not taking is icy, blue eyes from me it answers with a low growl informing us that we have no friend here. Chills race up and and down my spine as it speaks. My muscle tense up but I fight back the urge to run.

Terror clinching her throat, Princess Frost stutters that we promise not to return if we may leave.

Her husband, foolish yet calm, places his hand upon Lithia’s shoulder in attempt to back up the vow. Offering the beast a bow in respect Amon rattles off his titles in the kingdom of Icewall. In a tone as groveling as one can be toward a dragon, he ask the beast for its name.

Seto.

Giving as much pleasantries as one can to please a dragon, Amon claims that all maps that mark his home will be destroyed so none may ever disturbed the peace. The prince offers this promise, by the power of his father the king, that it shall be done upon our release. Sweeting the deal, a fee will be paid from his own coffers for our intrusion.

What can only be taken as an arrogant snort, Seto flexes his wings to their full length as a massive body of armor like scales and bulging muscle slowly crawls from the tunnel. Easily the size of ship sails, the strength of wings pushes into the stone overhead, causing some to crumble upon the dragon’s back.

The wyrm pays no attention to the falling debris as if he never felt it.

Squinting his large eyes at Amon as if there was some game being played, Seto claims this prison was removed from all maps some time ago. A lich named Nathanos had done so, paying a handsome sum for him to make this his lair. Motioning to the dead around us, the dragon claimed they, much like ourselves, stumbled here looking for shelter from the blistering cold. A sin he will not forgive.

Asking Vax’s for the map, I reveal that Nathanos himself gave one to us with the prison marked on it. Seeing that this displeases the dragon, I inform him that the Sunbreaker had intended us to come here. That if we were to purposely be here so must these cultists, pushing my point that it cannot be a coincidence.

Seto snarls in aggravation. Displaying that he is the true master of the prison, one set talons digger into the icy walls. The sounds of splitting brick echoes back into the darkness of the tunnel. Followed by another, then another until the wyrm had scaled the walls to the third story above.

Not once did those piercing blue eyes leave us as the dragon climbed.

High above, the white wyrm begins to question us about why should he believe we are no different than the dead? What reason would stop his claws from rendering our armor and flesh?

Roaring that the answer is nothing, we all cover our ears at the defending sound that shakes everything around us. Dust from fractured stone and dislodged snow sprinkles the air. Hissing hate with every word, Seto claims he sees us as we do a filthy cockroach.

Weak, unwanted and easily crushed under boot.

Much like the others, my mind races for an answer. Without giving it much thought, I motion to Amon, announcing that he is a Sunbreaker of the grand dragon, Cindermaw. With the blessing bestowed upon him, the prince seeks justice and retribution against his lord’s enemies like those given death at our feet.

A deep, thunderous laugh rattles the walls of the prison. Loose chunks of brick fall around us, shattering ice and dusting up the resting snow. Seto mocks the name of Cindermaw as it leaves his fangs. Another roaring laughs shakes the walls as the dragon claims the master of the Sunbreakers is nothing to him but a fool who was banished at the hands of his enemies.

Banished? That information is not only unexpected but interesting. I remind myself in investigate it if we live.

The beast knows it has the upper hand in this direction situation. This is nothing but an exciting game to grow our fear before he slaughters us. Every look in his eyes says it. Seto has made it apparent that he has riches, that he wants to be left alone. Power is the only thing left to tempt him with at this point.

Desperate to escape, I show the dragon the most powerful item on my person.

The Sunbreaker gem of Nathanos.

Seto’s mocking laugher comes to an abrupt halt as he caught off guard at the sight of the ruby.