The First Frontier

Row row row your boat

The posse slowed up as they approached the river. Orgutz and Martine hung back while Sybaris moved up. “It looks like a sewer backup” Sybaris commented cautioning the rest to stay where they were.

“What are they?” Lilly asked, not sure she would like the answer.

“They’re ansilus sporadum ochrus”. Sybaris stared at Lilly’s dumbfounded look. It wasn’t often that she looked confused, so Sybaris, a bit taken aback explained “It’s a mutant spore that leaps, phases through various dimensions and sucks the soul out of the living. Just your usual great divide denizens. I thought everybody knew about these.”

“Do they burn” Odeina asked? “Well I suppose if you…” Sybaris started. About then Lillies shimmering form released simmering fire out upon the water.

“Guess we’re not going around them” Luke smiled, at least until they started leaping out of the water, black, soul sucking shadows, chilling the air around them. Sybaris faded from existance and Lilly’s protective spells flickered to life around Luke.

Sybaris struck at them repeatedly, great bursts of divine energy radiated out, bursting the swarms like little bubbles they would play with as a child. Except these bubbles were mutant spores, connected directly to the negative plane of energy and possessed with a preternatural cunning to hunt and kill anything that moved. It reminded Orgutz of playtime growing up, and he had a moment of sadness that he couldn’t join in the frolicking.

Lilly put her craftsmanship to work creating a giant sailing ship for them to ride. Of course she had no idea how it actually worked, so the first couple of experiments with Hydra furling sails went poorly until Sybaris whiped out his Admirals Bicorn, strode behind the ships wheel and started quoting Hornblower.

Shortly thereafter they crashed into the beaches on the other side, and strode for the towering wall. Lilly worked her magic blasting steadily through the side to make a walkway until two flying outsiders appeared. Things were going well as Sybaris engaged the first until a giant rock slide crushed two of the villagers alive. Two time stopped revivifies later and an aerial charge and they started their journey anew, this time from the bottom up as the earthquake had carried them back down the cliff face.

Shrugging out of his parka Luke asked Sybaris “500? Really, was that necessary? I’ll be scrubbing outsider guts out of my hair through next week”. Martine pipped in, rather defensively “Hey, they killed two already, I didn’t see you doing anything”. Luke was going to retort, but decided focusing on four failed attempts to punch through their resistance was a bad idea.

Finally they reached level ground and continuing the Dino train towards civilization.

Once again Orgutz was reminded of the school yard as three big bullies (oh about 60 feet or so) stopped them in their tracks. The biggest, meanest one (ie the one Sybaris said could resist spells was laughing at them). He was still laughing as Orgutz cleaved into the first one. Sybaris made chopping motions and yelled over the bone crunching noise “Hit him again!”. Orgutz gladly obliged beating the giant repeatedly.

Sybaris closed in, flying at tremendous speed and evading the attacks of the giant. His sword, wreathed in unstoppable power cleaved an arc through the air. It made solid contact right between the third and fourth rib and made a solid

dink

sound. The giant was still laughing. This was not a good sign. Luke blurred through time and space and appeared next to Sybaris “Need a light?” he asked. “I’ll take a hot one” he replied. The two remaining giants pounded on Sybaris and Luke, creating huge divits in the ground.

Lilly snapped through time repeatedly summoning three giant Baleen whale, then morphed them into 12 headed, strength enhanced hydras. Surrounding him on all sides they bit, tore, and chewed. As the frey ended the giant waited patiently, then commented “Ow, I think I have a hangnail now”.

Martine, unimpressed, closed in, her tiny blade striking a long shallow gash clear round him, she circled him several times until it looked like he might slide apart.

The giant was making much louder noises now, and as Orgutz closed in he swung at him like a giant baseball. Orgutz spun as the impact twisted him in mid flight, but as he tumbled through the air his greatsword flew from his grasp. Martine, having freaked out the giant already flew up next to him and quietly said “Boo”. He stumbled back just as the sword burried into the side of his skull. Martine high fived Orgutz as he went by. Unfortunately she was a good fifty feet up, and Orgutz, well, he resembled first base after a home run slide… by an elephant.

Sybaris looked at the giant them in a nightmarish swing of his blade cut across and downward. As the giant fell to the ground Sybaris commented “Good thing the fire worked, but next time, we need to use force Luke.” Unperturbed Luke pointed at the giant, now dead on the ground “You sure he’s dead? That only looked like 800.”

Later that day they strode into town. Lilly handed the travelers a bill for services rendered, when they asked if that was a thousand copper each or total, she mumbled some comment about underpaid and overworked and just walked away.

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A hike through the great divide

Luke looked over at Sybaris. “So you’re sure about this? I mean, we’ll just… walk there?”

“Well you’ll have to walk, it’s natural for me to fly” commented Sybaris

Luke slung his massive shield over his back. This is going to be a long walk he thought to himself.

As they peered over the great cliff wall Luke’s sense of vertigo kicked in. “Okay Lilly get to work on the…” his words were interrupted as a giant landslide… no mudslide rolled in a diagonal streak down the cliff face. As the ground shook Luke stumbled a little to close to the edge, a rock slipped out from under his foot and he teetered over the edge.

A blue beam, streaming like fireworks from an eye stalk kept him from going completely over. Slowly he backed up onto solid ground as the Beholder strained to keep him from falling to his doom.

About half an hour later they’d made good time down the cliff face, mud sliding their way down large swaths and kept in the shade all the while. “It’s going way to smoothly” Michael commented. It was then that the flying beasts appeared. Luke looked at the edge again and backed up, trying to reach safety, he feverishly waved Orgutz forward who diligently obeyed, leaping forward off the cliff… and directly into the mouth of one of the approaching behemoths.

Sybaris freed him shortly thereafter and he plummeted… and plummeted… and plummeted until

WHAM

“Boy that is one deep canyon” Asher commented. “I think I’ll fly down instead of jumping though”.

Soon they reached the bottom, and after healing up Orgutz, briefly renamed Face Planta, they continued on their way.

“Uh boss… I think I found tracks”. Luke knew Orgutz was smarter than most Orcs, but he was sure this was yet another one of his stupid moments.

That’s when Luke froze. The track Orgutz was pointing at wasn’t ahead of him, it was around him, and Luke. Judging by the size of it must be one heavy beast. Following the trail they came to a group of dragon/dinos grazing peacefully by the shore.

“They look non-threatening” Martine said encouragingly.

“Oh, in that case I’ve got this” Luke commented.

After a brief altercation involving the particle accelerator and a dinosaur that was less pliable, or very very pliable depending on how you looked at it… they were off again. This time on howdahs and riding in comfort.

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What are the odds?

In the grand scheme of things Luke figured it was a good day.

As another orc came through the portal, his wheel barrel laden with glowing items, heaps of gold, silver, and platinum, and gems galore he realized this was finally it… the great haul.

They could retire, settle back, and relax.

About then a mud pie hit him in the back of the head.

It was Orc mud bowl season again. Having the unpaved courtyard he’d known he’d regret, but it was proving far too useful for Sybaris’ Omni Battleship. Luke turned to the Orcs and shouted, “That’s it, I told you heads would roll if you guys started another game!”.

Fire erupted across the mudbowl field and burning Orcs ran in all directions. Luke was beginning to realize he had to be careful what he said. Turning to the giant multi colored dragon beside him he said “Let me explain about diplomacy, you see when dealing with Orcs its not a conversation unless you threaten to kill them. You can even rough them up a little bit, but we don’t burn them alive”

The dragon stared blankly at him until Luke finally added “Most of them, okay, a few Orcs slip through the cracks, that’s a necessary sacrifice they’re happy to make”.

Luke was being called over by Lilly to inspect the latest round of wall construction. On his way there Asher pulled him over and mentioned something, pointing at the dragon. Luke turned to the dragon and shouted back “Or electrocute… or claw, maim, disfigure, crush, bite, or cause grievous harm”.

Like a wounded puppy the giant dragon moped and meandered away, head slung low. Lilly was pointing out one of the walls that needed to be moved, apparently some new trees were in the design that he’d “forgotten” about and the wall needed to be moved. They were debating about how to remove the rather thick stretch of wall when a screech erupted from behind them.

Diving to the side the giant Battleship came speeding forward with Martine at the controls, struggling to hold on as the Battleship went crashing through the wall. After it came to a halt Sybaris casually came over to inspect.

The new ram on the front had not a scratch. It glinted in the late afternoon sun, narry a line or dent on it after crushing through 3" of solid steel.

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Fey Rites and Unforeseen Consequences

It seems that what we know of humans is mere fantasy, that which we deluded ourselves and spun as truth.

Fate, it seems, drives their actions. They are not actors on a stage, playing out a story – instead, everything is interwoven into one grand narrative, where they share the masks of roles amongst themselves. For one day a man may be a mere farmer, a common person at best, the next he may don the role of the hero and slay a beast plaguing the lands. What we consider to be a fundamental reshaping of our very beings is a simple chapter in the destiny of that human. They freely move between tales as if it were as natural as breathing.

From the humble beginnings of a settler, we forged a path, an expedition through the wilds. We encountered allies and many enemies, some of which were beyond our wildest plays. Through the collapse of the five nodes, we uncovered a great evil and destroyed it.

We are now upon a new adventure, a chapter beyond the tale. I write this to the Sunlit Court, That Which Eternally Shines, to inform that I, along with Martine, the Petal warden, have taken the Rite of Shaping. As per tradition, we send back our fantasies, the Faceless Drifting Child and the Lantern Into the Unknown, and craft our own.

We shall henceforth become,

The Wayfarer of Celestial Directions, and,
The God Eater

It is by our authority that we affirm these to be truths. May they forever be written upon the annals of the Shining Court.

Sybaris & Martine

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Don't touch me!

Michael shuddered as another of the flying evil horrors touched him. A step forward, and a mental twinge adjusted his point of view. Not as large as he would have wanted, but it would do. With a swing of Galavrata, the first of the creatures shuddered in return, as acid and electricity competed for the creature’s body. Suffering through another bout of feelies from the flying evil squids, Michael concerned himself with the fact that he had blown his two most powerful effects. But with that mental thought, Galavrata informed him that he still had energy missile within the sword. Motion at his side, showed Luke, who was clear on the other side of the enemy just a second ago. With a nod of his head, Michael cleaved the beast in two. His perfect swing was halted by the armor of the being in from of him. Not that the armor really mattered. Another adjustment to Galvrata and Michael swung again, needing only to touch the armor for the effect of his weapon to affect the creature.

Michael’s ears were ringing. As useful as that hammer was, it got on his nerves sometimes.
The gonging of the hammer on his armor abated when he pointed out the bug approaching them. The big bug. Michael started preparing himself for battle. He decided that since this thing was nice and large, setting Galavrata to drain the creature’s life force would be appropriate. He was about to enlarge himself when Sybaris commented that it was about to get very windy, and we should stay low. A column of air started to twist between them and the bug. Michael was aware that Martine was infront of the thing by the blasts of magic that appeared out of nowhere to hit the thing. Sybaris yelled something, then the grass started to sway, as the little sprite dropped to knee level and blasted towards the group.

The magic used by Martine became apparent when the bug met the tornado and was thrown backwards. They started after the creature only to have Sybaris bounce it back even further. Michael fell behind as just about everyone was faster than him, thanks to the heavy armor.

Michael was just thinking that this battle was over, when Orgutz went into the air. Michael smiled. He couldn’t help it. Orgutz hit the cyclone and was sucked in, howling as the bug plucked him out of the air and slammed him into the ground.

The bug was starting to rock, from the wind and the effects of the team, as Michael approached the creature and broke into a run. He charged into the fray, headless of the vulnerable position that it left him in. But his wild, crazy charge paid off as Galavrata severed the bugs legs from its body. The tornado threatened to tear the blade from his hands, but he adjusted the swing and split the creature in two.

Orgutz snapped that he had it where he wanted it as he got up.

Then they played in the tornado a bit. It did not act like a normal tornado, and since Sybaris was controlling the winds, the damage was slight.

Being lazy, with the addition of the shark turned hydra and the treant, Michael climbed up and rested in the treant’s branches. At one point, he looked down to see a column of stone that they were trying to talk to. The wind kept the conversation down. Then the left most stone pillar went down as well. It had to be some form of sleep, because the it started awake as the group pummeled it while it’s friend watched. Not to be outdone, Michael jumped from the treant onto the pillar, shattering the stone and flinging it everywhere.

With that, the other pillar fled.

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The wind and the widowmaker

Lillywalker was starting to think Martine had the right idea, unfortunately movement had never been her strong suit. After all, that’s what flying Hydras were for, and hers was presently preoccupied.

Automotivator

She wasn’t sure what these creatures were, other than flying, vicious, and immune to fire. A combination she didn’t care for. As another one stung the paralyzed Orgutz she realized she could actually see clear through him, and that Luke and Sybaris had jaunted away.

Thankfully Michael, now towering over the battlefield was striding forward, doing more than her pesky little 30’ tall treant and pet Hydra could.

Then Sybaris blasted through one as Luke suddenly appeared, as if warped through time forward. The trip had taken a toll on him and he almost staggered to the ground. Lillywalker healed up what was left of Orgutz who finally snapped out of it.

Orgutz wound up for the kill, his arms flashing in a blaze of motion as the creature fell over backwards with hardly a nick from Render. At that point the rather disappointed Orc looked around at the carnage. He looked like a boy who’d missed his own birthday party. Little did he know he’d go for the carnival ride of his life in just a few moments…


Martine, blasting over her shoulder at the giant bug monstrosity trailing her returned to the party. It seemed weakened by the tremendous weight of the world, and when Sybaris struck it with a battering wind it was almost pinned to the spot. Ice shot out in front of it, but undaunted Render leapt through the air, only to disappear from sight in a swirling vortex of destruction. Regrettably not his enemies.

Speed

Then the beat down jamboree began as Michael, Sybaris, the ten headed Shark and the walking staff of doom pummeled the bug to death. Orgutz finally finished rebounding off the great divide’s walls and returned in time to see it put down.


Lilly was beginning realize that Luke’s brand of diplomacy worked best on the weak willed. Unfortunately, as the giant stone monstrosities moved forward to pummel them into the ground, she realized these weren’t the type susceptable to his brand of diplomacy. Morphing into a many sphered bouncing ball of joy she put one to sleep and “convinced” the other of the error of his ways.

What happened next involved one helpless giant lump of animated rock being turned into one giant lump of unanimated rubble. The other giant fled through a portal. Luke attempted to warp it back, but it’s power was beyond his ability to control.

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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here...

Sniffles, which sounded suspiciously like belching erupted from the rather large contingent of Orcs gathered around. They were in a mostly finished stadium which Face had been working on with Asher. Like much of the little city they had built up (and Face’s well… Face) it was a work in progress, rough hewn with ugly bulges and unsightly sags and mismatched angles, but it was solid, heavy, and unmistakably the worst eye sore this side of the great divide.

Orgutz carried the body of his fallen friend one last time, then put him back onto the giant pyre. He nodded to Luke who lit the lifeless body aflame and spoke “We will remember Smasha forever for his brave perseverence, and his endless quest to crush his opponents beneath his booted Orc heel”. At this the Orcs let loose with a roar, and as the embers rose from the giant pyre the Orcs rushed forward hoisting the flaming pyre into the air.

It was a great honor, a sign of the tribes devotion and respect as they carried his flaming body through the city streets until they themselves were almost immolated by the intense heat of the magical flame.

The ceremony ended with a great revelry, which looked like a bar fight that skipped all the drinking.

Luke turned to Orgutz and said “That was a nice way to see him off. He would’ve been happy to know you were here with him to see him off into the blaze”. Orgutz nodded and added “Yeah, and the stench was never going to leave if we didn’t burn everything”

Luke nodded and stared off into the distance, embers danced in the night, and out of the darkness walked a man clad from head to toe in glinting scales, like a red lizard or a snake moving across the waters, his eyes shown with a bright intelligence as he walked up to Luke. “I see now why I am here” were his only words before he came to a stop beside him. “My predecessor, I presume?” he asked Luke. “Yes, devoted and powerful, but in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

A caw erupted from overhead as Asher Turindyl descended from the clouds. Luke watched him come to rest, and as his form effortless shifted to human the words already tumbled from his mouth Sybaris is on the horizon and coming in to shore at top speed. That’s not all, it looks like he’s got company behind him… and not of the friendly or boat kind"

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Diplomacy, Angel Style

Luke was tired, his head hurt, and blood was coming out of his nose. Asher looked ready for another round, but he caved in eventually and agreed to the jaunt to the Elements before tackling this rather delicate task in front of them. As the power completed Luke felt the last of his energy flow from his veins, then he realized, it hadn’t worked.

Two Angels stood in front of them. They weren’t angry. Luke knew this wasn’t going to end well, but he was just too tired. He vaguely heard Michael the Giant talking with them, but soon all he could remember was lying down on the ground before Martine awoke him flying overhead nervously.

Sitting up suddenly Luke realized what they’d agreed to, he supposed they were going down this path anyway, but the additional pressure of feeling like they were between a rock and a … well a Terrasque kept coming to mind for some reason. It wasn’t a good feeling. He looked over at what Face and Orgutz were eating for breakfast and decided maybe dying without a good meal first wasn’t such a bad thing.

With a snap the Angels brought them back to reality, but this time they were ready. Asher Turindyl had lined from one wall to another with flapping vicious birds of the oversized variety, Michael the Giant was, well, giant sized, and his weapon dripped energy (and acid), leaving little sizzling marks on the floor. This was it he figured, pumping up he pulled together a crude, but large construct to battle the god beast.

Instantly Luke realized he’d made a mistake, peering way up in the air at the floating God he realized his construct would never make it up there. The God started to form as wave upon wave of avian terror descended upon it. It seemed impervious to their attacks, but they flew into it relentlessly. Michael hoisted Orgutz through the air, it was a beautiful thing to watch… the teamwork… the feral yell as Render connected with the God, tearing at its vital escense… the slow realization that gravity was not Orgutz’s friend… and his rapid descent, face first, into the ground.

Luke electrified the air, trying to buy time, but he wasn’t sure what to do. Sybaris maneuvered right through the wall, once again turning the airborne assault deadly until all of a sudden the God seemed to wake up. Poisonous vapors dropped the flying beasts dead on the ground, but Michael, now dangling from a rope persevered in his assault.

Sybaris poked his head out briefly from the ceiling and mimed something about Good. Luke switch on the battery and grounded himself firmly, drawing directly from the plane of Positive energy. He untapped the cork, letting waay too much through, his hair stood on end, crackling and starting to burn. His cloak billowed out and a pure white bolt leashed out. On the other side a dying bird was blasted against the wall, leaving a faint, crisp outline on the wall.

Face fired ray after ray at the beast, but, unable to penetrate its defenses gave up on his attack. Orgutz fell back and was healed by the small army of Unicorns shielding the group.

Finally the continuing onslaught of every expanding summoned animals wore down the God, now split in two. The evil half fell dead, and the good half, while not exactly greatful at the methods of its release, left without obliterating the rest of them.

Leaning against the wall, head pounding, blood once again dripping from his nose, and with a faint smell of burnt hair wafting in the air, Luke weakly asked “Anyone mind if we rest?”

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The Road Less Travelled

Nose Picker turned to Head Cleaver and muttered “Me no believe boss left us behind. We stuck in mud while he gets to fly dere.”

Cleaver nodded in acknowledgement, certain that ‘boss’ was having a much easier time


Luke doubled over in pain as his ring flashed, it’s ebony hue dancing over him as he felt like his skull was split in two. That’s the last time I get discount rings, I don’t care if it does protect me from being dominated

Luke weakly waved forward the constructs as they waded into another room of angels. He commented to Face “Does it not strike you as odd? I mean Angels and Demons working together toward some common goal. And a conspiracy to cover it up, it just seems wrong doesn’t it Face?”

Smasha nodded “Yeah boss, it wrong very wrong.” but his attention was elsewhere as he watched Orgutz getting pounded into the ground. “Dat one stupid Orc, eh boss”. Luke stared at Face for a moment, contemplating a reply about the magnitide of Face’s stupidity and how his common sense seemed to slip with each passing moment, but instead settled for “Yeah… that’s one stupid Orc”.


Nose buried his Pick smack into the center of the Kobold, just as another one lept on him. It was looking like one of those days, up to his knees in mud, a surprise Kobold attack, and worst of all Beatrice was helping with the defense.

Another singing arc of fire criss-crossed the battlefield, this time it hit two Kobolds (and an Orc) leaving all three of them diving into the mud to extinguish themselves.

Pulling his weapon out of his opponents face Nose hollered at Cleaver “Hey! Do I know how to pick ’em or what!?!” then ducked as Cleaver hurled his axe at the Kobold grappling him, or maybe it was at him.


“Alright, we lucked out, this time it’s not a half elemental half undead creature, it’s just a gigantic elemental and lots of walking dead”.

Luke wasn’t sure who had said it, but his sense of security was not improving, he raised up his hands to let loose a bolt of pure power. Instead little sparks of electricity fizzled as he realized he’d pushed himself too far. He watched as Orgutz was (again) pummeled, no wait, that’s electrocuted, no wait, burned to a pulp, err scorch mark, on the ground.

Well, at least I left all my devoted believers behind, they should be having a much easier time of it Luke though.


Cleaver watched Nose get crushed under a giant boulder. The boulder was so big all that could be seen was one twitching hand sticking out from under it at an odd angle.

“Uh oh, boss, I think we in trouble now”. When Beatrice walked up and started addressing the Giants in a tongue that Cleaver couldn’t understand he had a bad feeling he wasn’t going to like this….

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Equal opportunity dungeon dwelvers

“So what do these … devices… do?” Asher asked Luke, moving a piece of metal from the last device that Luke’s construct had pounded to destruction.
“Outerplanar plumbing. For when beings such as these get … stopped up.” Luke answered smoothly. Orgutz used one of the pieces of metal to pick his nose.

Luke looked around the room. “We should go that way.” he gestured towards a passage out of the room. The constructs were already storming down the corridor, Michael, Face Smasha, and Orgutz close behind.

Rounding a bend, the group spotted a large demon, leaning against the wall, idly sharpening his claws on the wall. Or playing tick tack toe. It was hard to tell.
“You chaps really do need to stop destroying everything you come across. The alarms alone are enough to give anyone a roaring headache.” the demon stated, with a rather cultured and proper voice. The demon pulls something out of a pouch, pops it in his mouth, then takes a swig from a silvered flask. Putting these away, he pulls a piece of paper out and hands it to Michael. “A cease and desist order.” He paused, to let the laughter die down, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He skipped the formal introductions. These prime material planers would never understand, nor appreciate the details of his firm’s legal victories.

“My clients are very concerned…” another pause as the giggling resumed, “with the damage you have inflicted on the life support system that is in their care. This cease and desist order…” the interruptions were getting really tedious “is aimed to minimize the damage you barbarians are inflicting.” He popped more of the magic pills his latest mistress had give him. While the blue ones had their uses, the ones from Ty’linol really did wonders for his headache.

The tactical officers also believe that what you want is down this hallway. He quickly sketched out the route to the fey, who at least seemed to understand the lawfulness of the legal system that demon law firm he represented followed.

Satisfied that the locals would go bother someone more deserving of their attention, the demoninc process server teleported to his next task. Time to evict some dwarves from their dingy and dank caverns. The day was looking up.

The next group that was encountered were what Sybaris called Incubi. Related to Succubi, apparently. They used their beauty to seduce the unwary. But, like all of the outer planar scum, they fell swiftly to the power of construct supported evil destruction that the heroes were.

They repeated their performance with the next set of Incubi that they encountered. The larger brothers of the first set. While little serious damage was done, (knocking Michael on his butt besides the point) the group was starting to drag their feet. This was tiring work, and something about the last batch of outsiders really tuckered them out. Face Smasha fondled the stuffed teddy bear that Luke’s daughter Beatrice had given him. But he doubted the boss was going to allow them to stop for a snack and nap.

The band entered another chamber, in the heart of the temple. Literally A giant heart was chained at the top of the chamber. And some elemental of a size never seen before (and made out of several different elementals) stood before them. Their usual tactic of charging their opponents to death nullified, they resorted to their back up plan. Swinging their weapons, they engaged the elemental. With a mighty blow, Sybaris broke the elemental into its component parts. Which fared as well as their predecessors did.

Wiping their collective brows, the mighty heroes looked around (and up) the chamber. Only then did they notice the large group of undead, who were stopping their efforts (pumping some fluids into the heart, by the looks of it) and turning their attention to them.

“I thought this was going too well.” Face sidelined to Orgutz.

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