Keeping Up with the Kestrels - 5117-11-04 - The Bleaklands, the Talon, and the Elemental

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Eoantos 4-5, 5117

by Leafiara Autumnwind of the TownCrier


Summary

  • Dennet opens the portal in the Lower Dragonsclaw this time instead of at the Outpost, keeping the creatures further from town but making it more likely that they'll get through.
  • In the Bleaklands, Dennet and Raelee prepare the area around the black sapling for the ritual.
  • Golems deliver the plinite, the Talon, and the coffin with the fire elemental as blood rain begins to fall.
  • Dennet begins to siphon the fire elemental with the Talon and it lashes out at everyone gathered with fire.
  • Ysharra believes that the elemental is still under the effects of the Long Suffering, saying that the poison has a spiritual component and wondering if that too will become a part of the Talon.
  • As the fire elemental is almost drained, its final attack is unleashing lightning elementals.
  • The floating nebulous maggot covered in eyes and teeth is spotted approaching the group in the Bleaklands.
  • As Dennet nears the end of the ritual, a small crack appears in his obsidian ring and several raise concerns that Quinshon will be able to screw with his mind now.
  • After returning to the forest, the ritual seemingly complete, Dennet collapses and is returned to the outpost by the golems, with a visible ripple appearing along his face.



Log

Preparing the Portal

[Town Square, East]

Here in the center of a broad plaza near the commercial area of the bazaar stands the impressive facade of the slate-roofed Moot Hall, where the citizens of Wehnimer's Landing hold various official, religious and social functions. Facing the square are some of the town's more prosperous shops, still doing business with the many customers who still frequent the streets at night.

Dennet fades into visibility.

Dennet says, "Grand Evening...."

Dennet says, "Thank you for your patience."

Speaking to Dennet, Ysharra says, "Another night, another turn of the stars, and your destiny will be before and behind you."

Magister Raelee just arrived.

Raelee nods slowly at Dennet.

Speaking to Dennet, Ysharra says, "With company aplenty, it seems."

Dennet grins.

Dennet says, "Indeed."

Dennet nods at Raelee.

Dennet asks, "Perhaps you would all join me?"

Maylan just arrived.

Maylan says, "It appears that I'm just in time."

Maylan wiggles her eyebrows.

Maylan says, "For what, I have no idea."

Speaking softly to Maylan, Beldannon says, "To die probably."

Maylan says, "Ah, excellent."

Maylan says, "Today is a good day to die."

[travel time]

[Lower Dragonsclaw, Forest]

There is a break in the trees here, several charred trunks bearing witness to a past forest fire or act of nature. A modwir lies across the ground, the scars of a lightning strike etched into its blackened trunk. Just near the remaining tree stump, you notice a dirt footpath leading south. You also see a rolton and a clearing to the east.

Goblyn objects, "It is -always- a good day to die..."

Goblyn says, "Especially if I do get to kill you."

Goblyn smiles.

Dennet holds up a hand.

Dennet says, "Allow me a moment to explain a few things, then address any questions before we begin."

Nearby, beyond the trees of the forest, Sir Thadston can be seen upon the stone ramparts of the Outpost, as rigged and unmoving as the parapets themselves. Black mein golems stand around him, their eyes to the forest.

(Leafiara glances toward the outpost.)

You hesitantly ask, "I thought Sir Thadston was going to be with Lady Reannah?"

Dennet says, "He will be with her."

Dennet nods to you.

You nod at Dennet.

Dennet says, "We shall proceed into the Bleaklands. It will take me a short time to establish some semblance of workable room. I would ask that you aid me in cleansing the area of any foul beings, as they will in time learn of our...arrival."

Telum says, "Dennet do you need some to stay back and block exit of the folks you plan to make trouble from."

Dennet says, "I will help guide us through the remaining steps as we proceed."

Telum says, "Or are we better suited to all go through now."

Dennet nods at Telum.

Dennet says, "That was my next comment."

Dennet says, "The portal was once created inside the Outpost, in my controlled environment."

Dennet says, "I am creating it here, tonight."

Dennet says, "It is further from town and the outpost."

Dennet says, "But that leaves one vulnerability."

Dennet says, "It may be easier for denizens of the Bleaklands to cross over."

Dennet says, "Once an area is suitable and secured..."

Dennet says, "Some of my golems will escort the Talon through."

Dennet says, "Along with the Elemental being."

Dennet says, "..and the plinite."

Dennet slowly empties his lungs.

Speaking to Dennet, Dergoatean asks, "Golems? Including Thadston?"

Dennet turns away from Dergoatean, ignoring him.

Dennet says, "The lands will be connected with the portal."

Dennet says, "Your amulets should cross between."

Dennet says, "It is best, we communicate openly."

Speaking to Dennet, Elementz says, "Do you know if our magic will work in the Bleaklands if we pass through? I had issues with the mana weave there last time I traveled."

Dennet says, "Magister, some wards please."

Dennet nods at Raelee.

Raelee nods slightly at Dennet.

Dennet says, "Anything to assist in stabilizing the portal."

Dennet says, "While we cannot control what crosses over..."

Raelee curtly says, "Back up. All of you."

Dennet says, "I do not wish for the exit to snap shut behind us."

Goblyn scowls at Raelee.

Speaking to Goblyn, Raelee says, "Wards. I need *some* room."

Dennet says, "I am not certain."

Dennet nods at Elementz.

Elementz nods at Dennet.

Speaking to Dennet, Elementz says, "Better to not know than to hear it's all completely screwed over there."

Elementz grins.

Telum says, "I'm my own group now, if you want to help defend the exit, stay behind, join me."

Telum says, "If you want to venture in, Dennet's yer group."

(Raelee jabs the end of her staff into the ground and begins drawing some symbols in the dirt.)

Dennet says, "Please, give the Magister some space. She has difficulty with others getting close to her, professionally and personally..."

Dennet smirks.

(Raelee gives Dennet an unamused look.)

(Raelee gestures at each symbol in the dirt after she draws it. Each quickly flares up with fire, then stabilizes with a faint glow.)

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "... that should suffice."

Dennet removes a small glass jar from the folds of hooded blue robes. He uncorks it, tipping some grey dirt and rocks into his hand. Chanting, he walks in a circle, sprinkling the grey dirt to the ground behind him.

Bekke says, "Excuse me. There is something I must attend."

Bekke turns around.

Magister Bekke just went northwest. [note: I wouldn't have left this in if I hadn't gone through the Bleaklands log, which will come up briefly later. Leafi and I assumed Bekke was headed to the outpost for some reason, and while I wanted to follow, Leafiara couldn't for reasons coming up shortly.]

Dennet gestures and chants, and the grey dirt along the ground begins to almost glow, as the air shimmers and sparks to life with a deep red haze. Slowly, ribbons of scarlet energy form out of mid-air, coiling about like incarnadine serpents, threatening to engulf each other as they weave in and out, in and out, slowly taking the shape of a portal.

Dennet says, "Just another moment..."

Dennet slowly empties his lungs.

Dennet chants a final word, and the ribbons of red light bind together tight and stretch into a glowing red portal. But almost a moment after forming, it begins to flicker constantly, yet remains open.

Dennet nods.

Speaking to Dennet, Dalabrac asks, "The portal is stable?"

Dennet says, "It will do."

Grand Magister Dennet's group just went through a flickering red portal.

[not even five minutes later, as we discuss forming up on Telum and putting down webs and vines and such, with nothing having come through the portal yet...]

Telum whispers quietly into the wind, summoning the forces of nature to his call. Telum makes a complex gesture.

Dozens of long thorns suddenly grow out from the ground underneath Telum! Several of the thorns jab into him!

... hits for 10 points of damage!

... 25 points of damage!

Well placed shot pierces knee, that hurt!

He is knocked to the ground!

He is stunned!

... hits for 29 points of damage!

... 30 points of damage!

Well aimed strike shatters bone in right arm!

... hits for 36 points of damage!

... 35 points of damage!

Strike through both ears, Telum is quite dead!

Telum drops dead at your feet!

You remind, "Join Telum if you haven't so you don't get blasted by Nature's--"

You ponder the cycle of life and death as you gaze at Telum's corpse.

Maags says, "Uh."

You say, "Well..."

Subarashi says, "Damn."

The ghostly voice of Telum says, "Oh ok so why did that happen."

You say, "Join me, then."

You gaze in wonder at your surroundings.

Seomanthe says, "Oh boy."

Jandria says, "Good grief."

Maags frowns.

Balley softly says, "Oh no."

Speaking amusedly to Telum, you say, "Come on, my friend."

Speaking to Telum, you say, "Things haven't even begun and already dying..."

Chamorr heartily says, "On Leafi."

You shake your head at Telum and cluck your tongue.


[OOC notes: That ends our log of the Landing side of the portal for the night, as it was a very straightforward invasion with nothing to report on and almost everything going according to plan, without enough to justify editing the log. A very early and very large wave of enemies did go horribly wrong and killed almost everyone, but as we slowly poked away at them we didn't really have anything else coming through. Three shields and a bow were lost to the itchy curse, but all were recovered before the night was through.

Something might or might not have happened at the outpost. I have no indication of it, since Telum spiking himself was the deciding factor in Leafiara not checking up on Reannah or anything else over there.

Lastly... There are nearly 29000 lines from entering the Bleaklands to when Dennet disappears for the night, so if I missed anything because of over-deleting in the interest of time, well, it happens.]


Initial Preparations

[Talador, The Bleaklands]

The land is desolate and broken, with an endless terrain of fragmented, grey earth that is caked in layers of ash. The air is suffocating, with a thick, rancid odor and a faint heat still lingers in the area. The sky is bleak, resembling an expanse of ink-whorled slate.

[travel time]

Dergoatean says, "All clear up ahead."

Dennet says, "Yes, it may be clear for awhile."

Dennet moves along the area and the fragmented grey earth beneath shifts uneasily, slowing his movements.

Grand Magister Dennet's group just went east.

[Talador, The Bleaklands]

The great northern mountains rise up like a wall of jagged, icy fingers in the distance. Their peaks are obscured by heavy black clouds, and the once fresh mountain air has been replaced by the stagnant, putrid odor of burnt flesh and scorched earth. You also see a tiny oily black sapling.

Dennet says, "Here will do."

Speaking to Dennet, Elementz asks, "Are we expecting trouble while you work?"

Dennet says, "Yes."

Dennet says, "It is only a matter of time until the denizens of the Bleaklands learn of our arrival."

Dennet says, "Is Bekke not..."

Dennet frowns.

Speaking to Dennet, Stormyrain says, "She had something to attend to in the outpost."

Dennet says, "I see."

Dennet says, "Very well."

Raelee squints at Dennet.

Dennet says, "Magister, some wards please, around the sapling."

Raelee nods slightly at Dennet.

Dennet says, "We'll begin doing our best to prepare this spot."

(Raelee jabs her staff into the ground, drawing a series of runes around the sapling. Though these all take on a markedly different shape than those by the portal.)

(Raelee waves her hand in a brought arc, and each runes lights up in turn.)

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "Those will likely do."

Dennet begins to walk carefully and almost with a measure of calculation around the area, crossing back and forth, drawing glowing runes in the air before him. The silver runes hang in the air, floating about. As Dennet passes, he chants a word, and they flash with power.

Dennet gestures sharply, one hand pointing to the ground. The earth trembles briefly, almost rippling, and in many spots it seems to flatten.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee remarks, "Efficient."

(Raelee points at one of the flattened areas with her staff.)

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee suggests, "The main array. There."

Dennet sits down.

Dennet slowly closes his eyes, almost in a trance, placing both palms on the flat ashen-hued ground.

Off in the distance, a small speck of grey floats into view. Perhaps a rock?

From off in another direction, a second spherical grey form appears, floating towards your location.

Dennet lifts his head suddenly, his eyes wide open.

Dennet says, "The earth is awakening."


Spores.

One by one, dozens of more grey specks float into view, like polka dots against the broken, slate-hued sky. Within a matter of moments, there appears to be over a hundred small spheres, floating towards your direction.

Speaking to Dennet, Dalabrac asks, "Magister? Is this expected?"

Dennet says, "No."

Dennet says, "Nothing in the Bleaklands is expected, I am afraid."

Now close enough to no longer be concealed by distance and the cover of night, the first ashen grey spore appears, its form shifting, and reshaping as it floats closer.

A shifting ashen grey spore floats in to view.

Hapenlok serenely says, "Wait..."

Hapenlok exclaims, "Don't attack them!"

A shifting ashen grey spore floats in to view.

A shifting ashen grey spore bobs haphazardly westward on an air current.

A shifting ashen grey spore floats in to view.

A shifting ashen grey spore floats northward, dripping a clear substance as it goes.

A shifting ashen grey spore floats in to view.

Hapenlok says, "They'll explode, if they're what I think they are."

Elementz is surrounded by heatless flames of ethereal energy as he draws a glowing circle in midair.

Elementz gestures at a shifting ashen grey spore.

Elementz hurls a seething blast of steam at a shifting ashen grey spore!

AS: +512 vs DS: +173 with AvD: +59 + d100 roll: +16 = +414

... and hits for 209 points of damage!

With a tremendous crescendo of sound, a shifting ashen grey spore ruptures in a gigantic explosion!

Flames whip about Xoryl, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Dergoatean, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Raelee, but amazingly, she survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Mynon, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Yakushi, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Spert, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Rekarth, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Alasatia, but amazingly, she survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Evia, but amazingly, she survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Maylan, but amazingly, she survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Beldannon, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Flames whip about Drumold, but amazingly, he survives unscathed!

Xorus is assaulted by white-hot flames!

... 60 points of damage!

Intestines rupture from intense heat; Xorus dies a slow, painful death.

Xorus drops dead at your feet!

[more of these messages about another few dozen people]

A shifting ashen grey spore is consumed by the flames!

[Cue ~2000 more lines and several more deaths as people figure out how to deal with the spores, which is hitting them only with CS spells that aren't Nature's Fury, UAC attacks that aren't kicks, and Spike Thorn.]


Checking the Plinite, Talon, and Coffin

Emerging from the red portal not far away, some black mein golems arrive, a dark wagon being pulled behind them.

Dennet stands up.

The golems march into view, pulling the wagon and stopping near Dennet and the black sapling.

Slowly, a black mein golem lowers a crystalline coffin from inside the wagon, securely placing it on the flat ground near Dennet.

Dennet nods to a large crystalline coffin.

Dennet says, "Magister, please inspect the coffin."

Raelee nods at Dennet.

Dennet says, "Make sure the wards are secure for the time being."

Dennet says, "We do not need that creature awakening before we're ready."

(Raelee waves a hand over the coffin, seemingly unbothered by the cold it radiates.)

Raelee nods slightly at Dennet.

Dennet slowly empties his lungs.

Raelee raises an eyebrow in Dennet's direction.

Dennet nods to some huge black mein golems.

A golem steps up into the wagon, and returns carrying a long rhimar-lined chest. The golem marches over to Dennet and carefully lowers the box to the ground between Dennet and Raelee.

Dennet glances at a long rhimar-inlaid chest.

Dennet nods at Raelee.

(Raelee slowly opens the rhimar chest.)

Dennet says, "Soon yes..."

(Raelee rearranges the plinite in the chest a bit.)

Raelee reaches out and touches something in a long rhimar-inlaid chest.

A golem emerges from the wagon, carrying a smaller rhimar-lined chest, and hands it to Dennet, who smiles.

Dennet reaches into his chest, and slowly lifts out a crescent-shaped rock crystal that glows with a faint amethyst light.

(Raelee moves closer to Dennet, her eyes focused on the Talon.)

Raelee whispers something to Dennet.

Dennet tilts the amethyst crystal in his hands, both palms cupping the shard as a pale amethyst glow reflects on his face.

[From here on, assume that after every ten lines or so there are 1000+ lines of combat against spores, zombies, vapor hounds, vultures, and bleakworms plus the fallout of healing and lifekeep afterward, and you'll get the picture of what was going on.]

Dennet nods.

Dennet spits out a muttered curse.

Raelee gets a distant look in her eyes.

Dennet says, "We must move more quickly."

Dennet says, "Magister, prepare to open the coffin and ward against any energy blowback."

Raelee nods at Dennet.

(Raelee moves closer to the coffin, casting a few additional wards around herself as she walks.)

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "On your word."

Dennet moves over to the coffin with the blue elemental inside.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "Ready."

Dennet says, "Once the process begins, it should not be long."

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "Just once I would like to attempt this process when not under attack."

Raelee shakes her head, totally at a loss.

The sky begins to fill with huge clouds, dark and grey on the bottom, pale and white atop, their puffy crowns ascending toward the heavens.

Speaking dryly to Dennet, Raelee adds, "At least it is a fair replication of the last time."

Hapenlok says, "Oh, blood rain. lovely."

Speaking amusedly to Hapenlok, Goblyn says, "I did say it would smell like blood."

Dennet gazes up into the heavens.

Dennet looks down at the falling blood rain drops that have landed on his hand.

Dennet frowns.

Dark droplets of blood rain from the grey skies.

Dennet approaches the crystalline coffin and shivers.

Raelee gets a distant look in her eyes.


Siphoning the Elemental... and Ysharra's Theory

Dennet presses his hands against the sides of the amethyst crystal, and for a moment, his own eyes glow with a lavender light.

Blood oozes from the clouds high above, as if the very sky is bleeding.

Dennet presses his hands against the sides of the amethyst crystal, and for a moment, his own eyes glow with a lavender light.

Dennet faces the coffin and begins to chant. The front of the crystalline coffin begins to slowly melt away like ice.

Dennet deeply says, "Be alert..."

Raelee nods at Dennet.

A flickering gold and white glow begins to slowly burn in Raelee's eyes. As the light abruptly flashes to a peak intensity, her hands ignite with a burst of flame, and her entire form is left awash with elemental radiance.

From within the coffin, the cerulean fire elemental thrashes to life!

Dennet says, "The wards should hold it long enough...."

Dennet says, "I hope."

Raelee warns, "... do not attack it. We do require it intact."

The blue fire elemental thrashes and lashes out, whips of cerulean fire scrapping at the air...and everyone!

[cue dozens of people getting set on fire and rolling about]

Dennet chants and the floating silver wards begin to drift towards the fire elemental, but it still thrashes about.

Dennet says, "Contain yourself creature..."

Dennet says, "Accept it....and rest..."

The cerulean fire elemental begins to shriek!

Ysharra says, "Cyph..."

The cerulean fire elemental begins to shriek and it echoes through your head, numbing your senses for a brief moment.

Dennet coughs.

Speaking quietly to Dennet, Raelee reminds, "Focus."

Speaking to a large crystalline coffin, Ysharra says, "It's what's left of you, you poor thing."

Speaking to a large crystalline coffin, Ysharra says, "You've been left here with the Suffering all this time."

The cerulean fire elemental seems to grow in size, almost spilling out of the coffin. It forms a fiery hand and points to the sky. Flashes of blue light appear like stars, and slowly, motes of blue fire fall to the ground...

A slender blue fire elemental bursts forth into existence!

[cue combat, more slender blue fire elementals, and more combat until they're gone]

Ysharra approaches the crystalline coffin and shivers.

Ysharra glances at Raelee.

Raelee raises an eyebrow in Ysharra's direction. [note: unclear whether Raelee was responding to Ysharra's previous comments, especially given how tough it would be to see them (even with a separate Speech window), but I left it and later followup comments intact just in case]

Motes of blue fire continue to descend from the sky, as Dennet sends more wards floating towards the coffin.

An unstable huge fire elemental bursts forth into existence!

[more combat, quickly dealt with]

(Raelee makes a few gestures, adding her own magic to Dennet's wards.)

A slender blue fire elemental bursts forth into existence!

[cue many more elementals and this time things end much less well than usual]

Maiden Leafiara's group just arrived.

[lots more combat, lots more death, and when it's all over things clear up to see (from Leafiara's perspective)...]

[Talador, The Bleaklands]

The great northern mountains rise up like a wall of jagged, icy fingers in the distance. Their peaks are obscured by heavy black clouds, and the once fresh mountain air has been replaced by the stagnant, putrid odor of burnt flesh and scorched earth. You also see a corroded brass chest, the palm frond-shaped Leafiara disk, a plain wooden coffer, a heavy quartz orb, a heavy quartz orb, a ruff of opaque blue vulture feathers, a shard of purple plinite, a small piece of flesh, a ruff of opaque blue vulture feathers, an iced orange muffin, a long rhimar-inlaid chest, a large crystalline coffin, a dark wagon, some huge black mein golems and a tiny oily black sapling. Also here: Nairdin, the body of Dergoatean who is lying down, Miss Goblyn who is sitting, Mayor Cruxophim who is lying down, the body of Deckits who is lying down, the body of High Lady Titaniae who is lying down, the body of Osloe who is lying down, the body of Lord Desreth who is lying down, the body of Master Elementz who is lying down, the body of Chaoswynd who is lying down, Magister Raelee, the body of Yakushi who is lying down, the body of Spert who is lying down, the body of Lord Rekarth who is lying down, a stunned Dame Evia who is lying down, the body of Xorus who is lying down, the body of Ysharra who is lying down, the body of Great Lord Dalabrac who is lying down, the body of Rhayveign who is lying down, the body of Relic Hunter Ulkov who is lying down, the body of High Lady Cotelle who is lying down, the body of Lady Jeliara who is lying down, the body of Katiesa who is lying down, the body of Marijka who is lying down, the body of Marshal Madmountan who is lying down, the body of Lady Karyana who is lying down, the body of Shinann who is lying down, the body of Bernadette who is lying down, the body of Zosozpage who is lying down, the body of Kipa who is lying down, the body of Mylenna who is lying down, the body of Arnylon who is lying down, the body of Matriarch Berkana who is lying down, the body of Talinvor who is lying down, the body of Great Lady Rendena who is lying down, the body of Lord Thrassus who is lying down, the body of Sir Cryheart who is lying down, Grand Magister Dennet Obvious paths: north, west

Dennet says, "It is...it is almost quieted."

Dark droplets of blood rain from the grey skies.

Speaking to Dennet, Goblyn asks, "The fire, you do mean?"

Dennet says, "Yes..."

Dennet steps closer to the coffin now, as the silver wards begin to sink into the blue elemental's fiery form, securing it almost like glowing bindings.

Dennet holds up the amethyst crescent-shaped shard in both of his hands, and it begins to spark with energy. The blue elemental shrieks, suddenly lashing out, trying to strike Dennet.

(Raelee moves rapidly, reinforcing some of the existing wards.)

The amethyst shard in Dennet's hands begins to pulsate with a bright lavender light, and wisps of the blue elemental begin to peel away from it, dissipating into the air like smoke.

Dennet says, "It is working..."

(Raelee continues working methodically, reinforcing and adding to the wards.)

The blue fire elemental begins to shrink, almost collapsing inward, as tendrils of blue flames thrash about, before one by one snuffing out. The purple rock in Dennet's hand begins to glow brighter, and brighter...

The ghostly voice of Ysharra says, "One wonders what's left of the Suffering...if it'll be fed into the Talon, as well."

The Talon continues to glow, its pale amethyst hue darkening as the elemental within the coffin continues to shrink in size.

Speaking casually to Ysharra, Cruxophim mentions, "Nothing, one assumes it is in the host body, which was probably disposed of."

Raelee nods slightly.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "It is proceeding well."

Speaking to Cruxophim, the ghostly voice of Ysharra says, "I bet you're wrong. Alasatia and I both saw it on the fire elemental, as well."

Speaking confusedly to Ysharra, Cruxophim inquires, "How?"

Speaking to Cruxophim, the ghostly voice of Ysharra says, "The Suffering has as much a spiritual component as poison. I don't think it is just a corporeal Suffering."

The crystalline coffin begins to crack.

Speaking slowly to Ysharra, Cruxophim reminds, "That's not how poison works."

Raelee glances warily at Dennet.

Speaking to Cruxophim, the ghostly voice of Ysharra says, "We saw it glowing in the fire elemental's flames. A dark spread of black through the bright blue."

Speaking amusedly to Ysharra, Cruxophim admits, "Stranger things have happened, one supposes."

Speaking to Cruxophim, the ghostly voice of Ysharra says, "Every day."

The rock in Dennet's hands continues to glow, an aura of lavender light basking Dennet's arms and face as he stands firm, feet dug into the dirt before the coffin.

Suddenly, as the Talon seems to grow slightly in size and darker in shade, the crystalline coffin containing the elemental shatters into a thousand pieces! The blue elemental within thrashes in mid-air, still resisting as it seems to be pulled towards the Talon.

(Raelee watches the elemental with rapt attention, seemingly unfazed by the shattering coffin.)

As the blue elemental is drawn closer to the Talon, bolts of lightning streak between the two, and dance about the ground before forming into elementals!

Blood trickles down from the grey skies.

A huge amethyst lightning elemental bursts forth into existence!

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee remarks, "The elemental shift is quite fascinating."

[combat with now _lightning_ elementals instead of fire elementals, and then they're finally cleared out]

Suddenly, and violently, the last remnants of the blue fire elemental are snuffed out, its cerulean wisps of energy and power dissipating into the air. Just as it does, the shard in Dennet's hand darkens and takes on a blue-violet hue.


The Struggling Dennet and the Cracking Ring

Dennet falls backwards.

Dennet falls over.

Leafiara pulls Dennet to his feet.

Dennet trembles.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee asks, "What do you need?"

Dennet says, "Bring...drag the chest of plinite here..."

Raelee nods.

Speaking to Dennet, Dergoatean asks, "So was that step one?"

Dennet seems to be struggling to hold the crescent shard in his hands, his very skin rippling like water.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee reminds, "Focus."

(Cruxophim begins to drag the rhimar-inlaid chest over to Dennet.)

(Raelee makes a few gestures near Dennet.)

(Elementz grabs the chest's handle and attempts to drag it toward Dennet, obviously struggling.)

Dennet says, "No...still step one."

(Madmountan puts all of his strength into dragging the chest over to Dennet.)

Dennet turns to slowly face the cache of plinite, his very face rippling like liquid. He strains, squinting, his fingers twitching rapidly as he tries to hold onto the shard in his hands.

Dennet blinks, as a drop of blood rain falls in his eye. He awkwardly rubs it away with the sleeve of his robe, still holding the shard as he inches closer to the plinite.

Dennet trembles.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "Let me help."

Speaking surreptitiously to Dennet, Goblyn says, "Any of us can be helping you ... hold... that, Dennet."

In the distance, behind the veil of falling blood rain, a huge, nebulous black maggot creature can be seen floating in the sky, seeming to drift closer in your direction.

Dennet stands in front of a long rhimar-inlaid chest.

Cruxophim paces to his right, moving in a circle around Dennet.

Dennet leans on Raelee.

Dennet leans on Cruxophim.

Cruxophim gives Dennet a strong, encouraging smile.

(Cruxophim gently helps hold Dennet up.)

Dennet kneels before the cache of plinite, drawing the Talon near it.

(Raelee makes another few gestures towards Dennet.)

Raelee settles her gaze on Dennet, watching him intently.

Suddenly, as the Talon is drawn near the plinite...both flash with an incredible brilliant light that sears into your vision, blinding you!

Cruxophim reaches up and covers his black-lensed goggles over his eyes.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee asks, "You are unhurt? Yes?"

Dennet weakly says, "Yes fine...."

Near Dennet, the pile of yellow-gold plinite begins to glow.

Dennet says, "It...it will only need a little bit..."

Dennet says, "Too much and we'll die."

The plinite continues to glow, as the Talon pulses with energy near it.

Dennet trembles.

Dennet continues to kneel before the rhimar chest, almost slumping, using his elbows to prop himself up on the side of the chest, while the plinite continues to glow. The runes along his skin even begin to glow, and a small crack appears in the obsidian ring on his finger.

Dennet says, "Just...a little...more..."

Speaking to Dennet, Thrassus says, "Your ring.."

Madmountan says, "Uh oh, his mind is about to be swiss cheesed by Quinshon in a second here."

Dennet points at a long rhimar-inlaid chest.

Dennet peels away from the chest, and a golem is quick to his side. He places the Talon swiftly inside another rhimar box and closes it.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "... done."

(Raelee briefly plucks a chunk of plinite from out of the chest, examines it, then puts it back.)

Within the chest, the plinite continues to darken, taking on a cerulean blue hue, but keeping a few specks of yellow-gold light.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "The adapted process worked."

Raelee bites her lip.

Goblyn squints at a pile of cerulean blue plinite speckled with motes of yellow-gold light.

Nearing overheard, a huge, nebulous maggot in the sky appears, covered in teeth and eyes, floating towards you.

Dennet points at a long rhimar-inlaid chest.

Dennet says, "...thank you..."

Speaking pointedly to Dennet, Xorus says, "Grand Magister. That lovely Ithzir ring of yours looks like it might have been damaged in the ritual."

The golems hoist up the chest of plinite, and they and the wagon move back towards the portal.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee asks, "Are we ready?"

Dennet glances at Xorus.

Dennet carefully inspects his obsidian ring.

Dennet says, "It..it seems fine..."

Dennet weakly says, "Yes we are ready...."

Lylia looks like she was about to say something to Dennet, but she hesitates, obviously having changed her mind.

Speaking to Dennet, Madmountan says, "Something definitely happened to it."

Speaking evenly to Dennet, Leafiara comments, "As he often is, Xorus is very observant... be sure to look into it when you're feeling better."

Zayp slowly empties his lungs.

Dennet shifts his weight.

Xorus seriously says, "I would hope so. Even a small crack would be, unfortunate."

Speaking to Dennet, Madmountan says, "Watch your mind around Quinshon."

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "Let us examine it more closely when we return. For certainty. Assume nothing."

Speaking to Dennet, Ysharra asks, "It's too late for you, isn't it?"

Leafiara points at Raelee.

Leafiara nods.

Speaking to Dennet, Ysharra says, "Fight him."

Hapenlok says, "You all make it sound so easy, fight him. watch your mind."

Hapenlok scoffs.

Speaking to Dennet, Ysharra says, "You didn't come all this way to get your mind ripped out of your head. Fight him."

Madmountan says, "He knows what I mean."

Speaking to Hapenlok, Chaoswynd says, "One of those moments when the usual platitudes fail to really help."

Dennet says, "Let's...return...."

[travel time]

Hapenlok says, "Yet it was either that man, or someone else in that entourage that so thoroughly scoured my mind, they made me think I killed Sir Michol."

Speaking to Raelee, Ysharra says, "You may have to take over."

Hapenlok says, "So, let's not kid ourselves here."

Dennet suddenly stumbles for no apparent reason.

Speaking to Ysharra, Raelee says, "... I will do what I need to."

Raelee removes a gold-capped thin deringo runestaff from in her silk components pack.

Dennet kneels down.

Raelee offers Dennet a gold-capped thin deringo runestaff.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "Get up. Lean on that."

Dennet accepts Raelee's thin deringo runestaff.

Dennet leans on his runestaff.

Dennet stands up.

Dennet moves along the area and the fragmented grey earth beneath shifts uneasily, slowing his movements.

Grand Magister Dennet's group just went through a flickering red portal.

[Lower Dragonsclaw, Forest]

There is a break in the trees here, several charred trunks bearing witness to a past forest fire or act of nature. A modwir lies across the ground, the scars of a lightning strike etched into its blackened trunk. Just near the remaining tree stump, you notice a dirt footpath leading south.

Dennet offers Raelee a gold-capped thin deringo runestaff.

Raelee accepts Dennet's thin deringo runestaff.

Speaking to Dennet, Raelee says, "I will manage the portal."

Dennet weakly says, "Close it...."

Raelee nods at Dennet.

(Raelee rakes her staff through some of the runes and symbols on the ground before the portal, disrupting them.)

Dennet says, "It can be arr..."

Speaking to Raelee, Ysharra says, "He's not safe."

Ysharra glances at Dennet.

Speaking to Ysharra, Raelee says, "I know."

Dennet suddenly collapses, but a huge mein golem catches him. The golem hoists Dennet up into his arms, and carries him off towards the Outpost. Dennet hangs limp across the golem's arm, his mismatched eyes staring out. As he is carried off, a ripple passes along the flesh of his neck and face before he is carried out of sight.