Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Revenge of the Giants, Part 8

Godsday, Harvester 25, 552 CY (50 AN)

Running through the forested mountains, Bosabrieln quickly overtakes Bezaldooz and runs past him. He comes crashing through the underbrush to find an eladrin, clad in robes, sitting on a rock. However, it only resembles an eladrin — glowing slightly and bearing great, feathery wings, it appears to be some sort of angelic being.

It gives introduction as a messenger of Corellon, and waits for Bezaldooz to join them before continuing. When Bezaldooz arrives, it explains that their destinies are not meant to end here. Corellon is allied with Pelor, and they have left a servant of Pelor’s behind at the giants’ steading — Torinn did not make it, but Peren and Valna are both alive and are now prisoners in that wretched place. Soon, a group of three travelers will arrive here. They are lost, and seek to return to civilization. Since Bezaldooz can offer them teleportation, if the Shields agree to transport them back to the south so they may regroup, they will assist them in rescuing their comrades. Bezaldooz and Bosabrieln agree, and the angel disappears, leaving them in darkness.

Moments later, three humanoids, filthy and tired, stagger into the clearing. Introductions are made; their leader, Lady Graunwen, was seeking a legendary artifact called the Sammas to cleanse her grove. Along the way, she was captured by infernalists, and was finally rescued by a group of rescuers. However, although the battle against the infernalists went well, the fight quickly turned into a four-way battle as two other factions appeared. Only two of her rescuers — her current two companions, Amasal and Imil’caseti — managed to escape with her.

Bezaldooz and Bosabrieln explain their own current predicament, and the three newcomers agree to assist them if they will aid them in returning to civilization.

The group decides to camp here for the night, returning to the giants’ steading the next morning. When he has a moment, Bezaldooz quietly summons Bonatos, who chides him for allowing him to die.

Watches are uneventful, despite the fact that Imil’caseti perceives the invisible Bonatos and they argue in the night. The next day, the group disembarks. As the assembled party wanders through the forested mountains, however, they note two robed druids hiding behind the trees. Lady Graunwen recognizes their pallid masks and black robes, marking them as servants of the Faceless Thing that has stalked them. They advance and prepare for battle.

As they walk forward, two of the trees behind them rustle to life, and a gaunt, robed figure with no face appears in their midst. Battle is joined.

The faceless figure is extremely disorienting to the senses, causing a mild sense of nausea in observers. Between blinks, it appears to move, teleporting around the field and menacing all with its elastic tendrils. Regardless, the assembled party takes positions. Leaving the Faceless Thing for a bit, the combatants focus on the druids and the treants. Despite the Faceless Thing’s savage tentacles and apparent ability to pull combatants out of time for brief periods, which it uses several times on Amasal, the group manages to make short work of the treants. Everyone is suffering from extreme battle fatigue by the time they manage to defeat the club-wielding, porcelain-masked druids and they can fully devote their attentions to the Faceless Thing.

Amasal manages to draw the Faceless Thing’s attention so that it gives chase to him, ignoring the others. However, it somehow causes him to “skip” through time; when he reappears, he is bleeding on the ground and the Thing has turned on the others. Lady Graunwen summons her Sidhe House guard, Mindartis, who assists her in moving around the battlefield before succumbing to the toxic aura surrounding the monster, forcing him to flee. Imil’caseti, despite heavily cursing the creature, falls in battle and breathes his last on the field. Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Lady Graunwen manage to keep away from it long enough to worry away at it with spells and arrows before Lady Graunwen finally aims one well-placed shot through its throat, causing the monstrous thing to dissipate into a greasy, black mist.

Although there is nothing to be done for Imil’caseti, they find that Amasal still lives. Reviving him, they decide to camp here so that the injured may be treated, and so that they can set out fresh for the giants’ camp the next day.