Dark Heart

An Encounter with an Old Nemesis, How Can He Be Alive?

Shutting off the arcane machine proved to be delicate work. Leonora and Algernon tinkered with the control panel until slowly, the humming of the waves between the two conductors died down and a clear path to the intruders was left. Legion charged the strongest man of the enemies: a human with an aberrant Dragonmark with his long hair scrunched into unwashed dreds. Leonora and Algernon quickly came back to the fray. Leonora kept her watch on Legion, giving him boosts and an aura of cold armor, also assisting in taking down the aberrant leader; Algernon sent his flares of lighting attack the handful of metallic dragon humanoids who were experience heavy punishment from Ash’s claws. The group was almost knocked back by the deafening blow of sonic blasts from the aberrant human; but after a locust blast petrified the dragon-like creatures, the leader became severely outnumbered and quickly overcome by the heroes.

After taking only a short rest to check the dead enemies pockets and temporarily patch up wounds, the group continued into the bowels of the forgehold, heading through the gaping hole in the wall of the room. But could have made such an large opening in the stone? An explosion? A monster?

As they turned the corner in the tunnel, a chasm of boiling lava lay in between their path; and just on the other were four large, grumbling stone elementals. Algernon perked up as he heard them grumble again in the Supernal dialect. Legion readied his sword but Algernon stepped in front of him.

“We don’t have to fight them. They aren’t on their side.”

“They made that giant hole in the tower of House Cannith didn’t they? I think it’s pretty clear whose side they’re on.”

Leonora and Ash stepped in too. “Legion please. I can tell by their actions. They seem upset like they don’t want to be here.”

“Yes, Ash is right,” Leonora piped in, “they were likely summoned here against their will. It is a common thing for a person skilled in magic with an evil purpose to do.”

Legion reluctantly backed down looking quite upset at the consensus of his comrades. “I’ll stand ready in case they attack. Conflict is best settled with swords.”

“Well let me convince you otherwise, Legion. Watch this golden tongue work.”

The group watched as Algernon using a series of hand gestures and snippets of horribly-pronounced sentences in Supernal, convinced the elementals to let us pass on in peace. He instructed that they use their anger of being trapped in the mortal realm against those that had summoned them here. Not wanting to endure Algernon’s gloating, he grasped the amulet around his neck and teleported onto the other side of the chasm.

“Hurry up! We don’t have much time to spare.”

Leonora, not wanting to risk the jump, teleported as well; while Algernon and Ash mounted grappling hooks and swung across with ease. But no item, no preparation, nor even their good mood from avoiding conflict with the elementals could prepare the group for what awaited them in the next room. A couple of familiar dark satyrs were wielding crossbows; a glowing-pastel colored monster glared back at the heroes; and one familiar figure stood at back tampering with the forgehold’s main panel, his aberrant mark glowing red on his face and his eyes grew red in anger as he turned towards the interruption. Aric Blacktree growled in anger and shouted.

“How did YOU know where to find me?! How dare YOU interrupt my plans!” He prepared a bolt of necrotic lightning, a pain that all remembered too well.

WAIT!” Algernon cried.

“What the hell are you doing Algernon?!” Legion stepped up to him, " You can’t talk to him. You know he’s evil. We’re here to kill him."

“Look I just want to clear up a few things. See where he’s coming from.”

“I don’t see what we possibly have in common with him.” A frustrated Leonora answered.

Algernon ignored his friends and addressed Aric directly. “I want to know Aric, what is your purpose? We have some issues with House Cannith-I mean, discovering a working forge after the war. We’re not too happy about this. So what is it you’re trying to accomplish.”

“I want all the Houses destroyed. They deserve death for shunning us aberrant. Death to the HOUSES!”

“Soooo…”, Algernon looked rather embarrassed at the barbaric response, “you don’t have constructive goals?”

“Our goal is to destroy the HOUSES!!!”

“Yeah….you guys are right, in this case at least; talking won’t solve our problems.”

“Finally.” Ash grunted.

Leonora readied her crossbow, but watched as the weird, squat monster shifted and disappeared right into the solid wall. She remembered reading about beings like that-a dimensional dog, is what they’re called and they are bad news! She quickly steadied her focus off the hidden threat to Legion charging angrily at Aric, leaving all bewilderment behind and focusing on expending his growing rage.

“This time Aric, make no mistake, I will KILL YOU!”

“I’ve heard that before.” He laughed menacingly. With a bolt of his energy, everyone except Algernon felt the reeling shock of his power. Legion grappled with Aric and focused all his energy on bringing him down. Ash charged the satyrs engulfing them in a cloud of locusts, making them easy targets for Algernon’s lightning and thunder.

Just as the battle seemed over, the dimensional hound leaped out from the wall and latched itself on Leonora. Far from her comrades and her range attacks failing, Leonora fell unconscious. Seeing their leader fall, Algernon quickly ran to her side as the dimensional dog disappeared again into the walls. He couldn’t revive her and panicked as everyone was spent and had no way to heal their fallen comrade. Ash ran over to assist with Leonora’s revival while trying to stand between his friends and the last satyr; unfortunately, a crossbow bolt seething with dark magic hit Ash and he too was knocked unconscious.

Legion focused his last strength on taking down the injured Aric Blacktree, and with a final blow, Aric yelled in anguish, but disappeared into a cloud of purple smoke. The two remaining heroes turned towards the last-standing satyr, but he deftly escaped through the tunnel; but just as Algernon and Legion were taking after him, they saw 4 familiar elementals emerge and pummel the satyr to death.

Leonora and Ash almost fell into death’s hands, but with some quick teamwork and sacrifice by Legion and Algernon, everyone was safe, a little worse for wear, but safe to fight another day. Exhausted the group looked around the room, searching for clues as to Aric “The Son of Kyber” Blacktree’s plan. Leonora noticed a device and schematics that suggested Aric was trying to upload new instructions into the mainframe of the forgehold, something that would lead to a catastrophic end. Just as they finished looking around, a group of soldiers, sent as backup by Marix arrived. Everyone scoffed at their horrible timing; but presented the situation to them and asked to be led back to Marix. The night was not over yet.



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