There goes Beltran as he walked through the rifts with us in tow… just looking up the bend of the rifts are as chaotic as ever and seem to split and undulate wildly, however the our destination inside of the Rifts somehow are at an impasse. They end! And oddly do not exist to where we need to go… perhaps removed? But I’m not sure anything could do that? The only option from here, to be as close as we can get.
A few miles away, according to our anxious guide, we should be somewhere close to the Valley of Lost Children. The map of the Worldwound shows and Artemis’ know-how of the region, we should be somewhere near Storasta, at the very least by the West Sellen River. Being spit out of that oddly intestinal byway, we find ourselves on a grassy knoll, the hillock with a massive fissure in the ground. Our exit from the portal find ourselves at the foot of the chasm. The Valley of Lost Children… somehow, we need to go down that black schism.
Valley of Lost Children
To note; the grass of the knoll is dead, not rotting like shambling or dehydrated corpses, but the natural course of things fails to continue. Artemis finds that an army of mounted knights had rode through, the horses shoed with cold iron and perhaps the knights of Mendev travelled this very pathway. Do to the lack of cyclic decay, time of travel was quite irrelevant. Another natural phenomena, the sickly yellowed clouds cover the area, yet somehow these clouds shift suddenly and violently… like an eerie gaze. “Everyone get down.” Artemis flatly yells, “We’re being watched from the sky… best chance, get down into the fissure and find cover.” The bottom of the fissure can be seen, but it’s a bit of a way down and personally… I have not been the best candidate for climbing as my records show. As Artemis so pointed out the cloud, it remarkably moves in shivering and chaotic wisps and is a dark steel red and rolling toward us with I assume a high velocity or stable equilibrium motion within due to the constant changing of positioning. Artemis looks like there is something wrong with the cloud like it roils with tumult, but his stare says it’s closing in quickly. I had my theories regar- And it’s a giant swarm…
Mind you the fissure at the bottom is about 10 feet wide by my estimation and 7 stories lengthwise. And of course trending continues, just like the time with the gnomes, my footing and grip isn’t so nimble. The rocks moved and I fell… multiple times. Aldrick found his way to the bottom quickly with his air walking spell which would have been nice if everyone had such a easy spell. Standing back up with less dignity intact, and well, hiding now, the chittering… maybe the insects? No no, thats teeth… a lot of cold people chattering … but I’m reminded of a resident of the Abyss… a bat which has leathery styled wings but a giant toothy maw but are born of just chaos and just consumes things. Makes sense when a giant fissure has opened up and perhaps given the circumstance and time they fly through. If so the gluttonous bastards wont stop eating and have bottomless wells of gullets… so if I’m stuck in the middle of these things – everything is eaten, all matter… like mimic bag of holdings? Abyssal piranhas? And it doesn’t help that one could go mad when listening to all those chattering teeth swarming around you… AH! A Band of Vesicators! That’s it… or Apocalypse of Vesicators! That sounds right. Oh.
An Apocolypse of Vesicators
As usual the arrogance of Aldrick and the stalwart terseness of Lucius concerned with their martial prowess believe they are immune to poison and resistant to some energies and mind affecting spells. They have the entirety of fighting swarms… Well it doesn’t help that no one is ACTUALLY prepared with fighting swarms as far as myself and now Artemis which can take down those insects from the caverns. They are very difficult to fight and we wont be able to go through swarms of Vesicators let alone – And they’re following us. Following us… hmmm. Most likely because either we have a scent of blood, one of the hive caught us moving, or because we’re alive…
Looking up… now that we’re actually looking at it… I don’t think we can fight them ALL. I’m pretty sure there are the Kenabres courtyard full of them spread… And unable to see beyond the surface layer in the sky, I’m not too certain how deep they go. Luckily Artie knows what he’s looking for and there is a hole in the wall of the fissure. Aldrick took a look and as usual, you need to see in the dark. Artie thinks it would take 2 miles in direction and perhaps hours because of terrain. Unfortunately, we need to find somewhere rather defensible or a way to not be eaten. Although it would be wonderful to study these monstrosities further, I’d rather not be apart of the Apocalypse… even though I’m in one currently, I don’t believe I need another; we all have enough on our plate.
The caves are a perfect circle of borrowed material, 4 bodies across. Aldrick had left to inspect this hole, and graciously left a rope for the rest of us to climb passing it off to Renli and Artie who climbed up rather easily. I swear, Artie… it was like he was at home being in this awful landscape. Renli is just as worse, or he just doesn’t care about it, or it doesn’t effect him, and well I feel a little more – bolstered I guess around him. I wonder if he takes something to do that? Now everyone but me is trying to climb this stupid useless silt filled wall. Where are the caverns? Where are the stone fixtures? Where the HELL is civilization and this disgusting laboratory! That terrific chattering, unnerving as it may be, has Artie looking and taking aim. He let loose the arrows of war and HOW he impales 20 odd creatures with a single arrow, I will never know. Perhaps it’s his patrons gift? A gift as a servant of the Worldwound? Perhaps there’s a pattern that we’re not seeing in a swarm’s movement. And the most disturbing observation, as one of the vesicators dies, the rest devour it without remorse… that’s my signal, we should leave.
An Apocalypse against the Fickle Wind
But we don’t. No. Of course, Aldrick opens his volley with a casting of Order’s Wrath… sarcastically ‘He’s so original’ but effectively… he’s more ‘…son of a bitch…’ Lucious yells furiously at the swarm… which sets a few on fire while scattering more. And Renli… Renli rages forward with some sort of righteous fury but he’s hitting the little bastards. Turns out in my haste to find the new items I needed for this endevour I failed to recognize a new broach on my Halfling friend. The Asmodite’s Fickle Winds stave off the rest of the swarm to allay the bloodletting and the … uuuuuuuuh …. Grhrhhehhdh. Where!? They’re everywhere! Everywhere! The bats… the insects are crawling! Fuck! The boats are crying from the Artemis cannon! THE DEMON! KILL THE REGATHIAL DEMON! And then the law won; and it HURT!
Wait… Artemis looks Dazed and Confused… and I’m… I don’t feel right… BATS! They’re …. What’s that rumble the bat swarm turned into a – Lucious is flying … there … is … a what am I thinking?
A Terrible Sting of the Purple Wyrm
Purple wyrm? … Why is a purple wyrm spawned from law bats? I… think everyone is confused… and Aldrick is a devil in the middle of everything… I think it … I think Aldrick made these things! …. Uuuuugh…. My head. Renli? Renli… where are yo – DON’T RUN INTO ITS MOUTH! RENLI!! We can’t get you out! Renli are you the wyrm?! Were you a soul trapped on the outside trapped on the inside of the Worldwound and went back to your body? Are you a simulacrum? Aldrick is red … there… there are bone splinters… why are they on me? Is that incandescent blood?
…ugh my head… By the Everlight! It is! A purple wyrm! It’s sluggish and carapace is torn… I really must have been dazed or confused or some combination of addled… AH! It jabbed a 3 foot spike into me! AH! It bit me! And here it is, suddenly this burning sensation is coursing through my body but somehow feels familiar to my days of experimentations in Qadira. So potent, so fantastic! This poison may be the best I’ve come across yet… and as I physically and internally fight off this monstrous Artemis? The arrows bounce away but Artemis finds the gaps, Renli simply breaks through the body armor with sheer force, Aldrick and his infernal spells, Lucious and his rage… I suppose the Light of Seranrae is subtle in this encounter… I suppose light bends and becomes adaptable… now… I just need to harness light.
And with 4 arrows, Artemis finished the wyrm… and its poison is mine. Highly potent. And thinking of this further, this is a wonder how we survived…
Well, It Could’ve Been Worse