Sorrowstones and Shardstorms

The Seed of Life and the Shadow Lord

6

A little window into history would not be complete without at least mentioning the mythical Golden Age. At the height of civilization, mortal beings lived in amazing cities, forged from the power of the magic of the Gods, who had grown powerful on the souls of the faithful. Let me tell you a little more about magic. All magic, be it primal, divine, or arcane, has the same ultimate source, that same source as the energy of life itself. How it is used is what differs. Primal magic is nothing more than the whims of the spirits. It is the rawest, and least controlable of all the magics. Divine magic is the magic of faith and soul – when a life is pledged to an ideal, to a deity, the energy of that life aligns itself, and eventually passes to the god and in so doing, becomes a part of that gods power. Arcane magic is the manipulation of magical energy that is forcibly tapped from its source. Psionic power too, works like this, except no one knows where the energy for it comes from – it is a power of intelligence, not of life – the two are not as intertwined as you might think. Anyway – it was during the height of this Golden Age, that mortal kind, jealous of the powers of the gods, sought to master magic without the intervention of the divine. The technique of defiling was born, giving the power of magic directly into the hands of mortal wizards, and paving the way for the Red Age. But that is another story.

Ramsee directed the salvage of the wood of the now dead Tree of Life. I imagine his kind are used to working with wood, and he fashioned a small weapon, a Heartwood Dagger, as well as salvaging and preserving other wooden pieces. It is not a bad idea, as the wood of a Life Tree is certainly possessed of power, even beyond the tree’s lifespan. I have collected a few nice pieces, with which I may be able to assemble a new pommel and grip for my sword. I still prefer the obsidian for the blade however.

I asmed Maximus to teach me a little about martial fighting. While I wield a blade with some skill, truth is, when I fight, I mostly just use the weapon as a focus for my demon magic. But if I am to master my magic, one of the things I will need to do, is master the art of not using it. I also need to avoid the complications of primal magic interacting with my arcane magic. It will take some time to sort it all out.

Time that will have to come later – as on leaving the underground grotto, we discovered that agents of the Sorcerer King Hamanau had managed to locate and enter the caverns. Not too surprising, as with the tree gone, the spirits that once chose to protect the area had ceased to do so. Ramsee attempted a parlee, but we all knew that the templar was here for the seed, and not even a shonky attempt at deception would see him leave without the real deal. I know that the templar’s options are get the seed, or suffer unimaginably, so it was always going to come down to conflict.

I warned the others not to take Hamanau lightly back in Alturak. I suppose I get to say “I told you so”. The battle was murderously fierce – we were technically out matched, and once again I find myself owing my life to the halfling Ramsee. The enemy consisted of a Templar, a mighty defilier, a powerful animated salt golem, and several half giant mooks. The templar, golem, and defilier were all powerful and dangerous foes, any one of which would have been a challenge to us. Collectively however, their power threatened to utterly overwhelm us.

Two things conspired to pull us through. First, coincidentally, Ramsee’s cousin found and joined up with us moments before this titanic battle, and secondly, the Mul for what ever reason, was tarrying behind, and acted as an unplanned reserve force, bringing fresh fighting capability into the fight just as we were otherwise on the verge of collapse.

Oh, and one other thing. Something, and I dont really know what although I have my suspicions, offered it’s assistance in exchange for a bargain. Frozen in a moment of time, it spoke of offering to befuddle our foe with its power, in exchange for ‘riding our shadows, and collecting the souls of the slain’. It promised we would not be endangered by it’s presence. I do not know if any of the others agreed to this (I suspect they must have, as something halted that golem) – but I certainly could not. Each tiefling carries a blood debt already – to allow this thing to claim credit for my kills would fly against my own repayments on my curse. Besides, I have no intention of getting what is left of my soul into any further debt. I will free myself, not further enslave myself.

The tide of battle was narrowly turned, with the defiler fleeing through magic and riding beast. Although it took a moment to set up, Ramsee’s magic conjoured phantom steeds of great speed to pursue the fleeing sorcerer, and we trailed him back to a base camp. We set upon the camp with surprise, and focusing our attacks on the enemy caster, subdued and captured him for interrogation. His half giant allies fought hard, but without the murderously powerful magics of the defiler being levied against us, we prevailed.

We have gathered quite a bit of useful information from the doomed defiler, before we left him to water the sands with his blood – information that I think will see us travel to Gulg once we have found a safe location for the Seed of Life.

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