Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Urban Adventuring- The Tale of Ujin Tohl the Viridescent part 7







When the statue called my name I knew I was busted, I had no idea how, but the next half hour or so of game time was some of the most exciting I can remember. Summon Shadow is a badass spell...

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Ujin had survived many years as a thief, and one of the reasons for that was that he planned ahead. In particular, he had plans for various contingencies. One was being made. If he thought that the jig was up, he had a plan for what to do that required no thought, no contemplation. 

He just acted.

As soon as Ujin heard his name from the statue he knew he was made. He immediately grabbed a scroll and began to read the second spell on it (the first, wraithform, he had read earlier). 

“Prázdnota přichází ke mně“, the words were uttered softly as he read, repeated over and over, once, twice, three times, Ujin felt a pressure at the back of his head, this spell was more powerful than his existing spells, he was saving it for transcription later...

There was a sound like a sizzling, then a snap, and three shadows appeared in the room, each one appeared to be the shadow of a humanoid figure that was stretched across the floor, wall or ceiling when it moved, but when it stopped it detached from the surface it was on and appeared to be three dimensional and take up space, though it was still ebony and without surface features. Each one flickered and twitched, insubstantial but radiating extreme cold.

Ujin reached into his belt pouch and drank his potion of plant control, there were ample plants here, and outside, he might need to do something with them.

The statue was repeating, “Ujin Tohl the Viridescent is here!”, over and over. The statue was alerting Imiran’s guards to the fact that Ujin was here, the trap was sprung… but there was no one here. The guards would normally hear the magic mouth and come running, but they had not. The guards must be occupied below, which gave Ujin a few moments at most to act.

He looked at the statue with the ring on it, he was tempted to pick the lock to get in but it could be trapped and he didn’t have the time. He could smash his way in, but that would also take up too much time. He could probably reach through the bars, but that was too obvious. Ujin inspected the floor in front of the cage, it had no seams or apparent breaks, there was no sign of a pressure plate or a trip wire. 

The decision was made for him as he heard footsteps, and barking, on the stairs. 

Ujin hadn’t unlocked the door so it was still secured. There were no burning torches in the room, and the window was curtained so there was no light from the moon beaming in. Ujin drew weapons and retreated to the shadows where his cloak concealed him completely.

He had the shadows disappear into the darkness as well.

He heard the sound of keys and the door lock tumbling open.

A group of men surged in, Imiran Shinn was at the rear of the group, he had one of the two headed dogs with him, two of his mercenaries had the two other dogs. There were 8 mercenaries besides those, and all were armed with broadswords, axes, crossbows and knives. 

Then there was a man that Ujin could only assume was a warlock. 

The man was short and bald, not a halfling or dwarf, just short. His eyes were closed. He wore a loincloth and his body, including his head, was tattooed with ancient symbols,. Ujin recognized a few of them, most related to hunting and warfare.

His body was tattooed with death.

He floated several feet off the ground on a round, glowing disc of dark violet energy.

The rest of the disc was taken up all around by a mass of bleached white bones, each one covered with inked inscriptions, a pair of drums and drumsticks on his left side, and a small red and orange lizard, about the size of a cat, with two tails and six legs, curled up on his right.

He held a wand in his right hand, and had a ring on his left middle finger.

A pair of wands floated in the air beside him on the right side of the disc, held there as if by an invisible hand. 

The lizard creature lying on the disc beside him scrambled up to his shoulder and looked directly into the room.

Imiran Shinn spoke.

“Ujin Tohl the Viridescent, meet Gulltin the Krohthnak, scourge of the…”

Ujin knew immediately what Imiran was up to, parley with Ujin for a time and hopefully the warlock would find him, Ujin was having none of that, he compelled the shadows to attack and they collapsed down flat, slid across the floor and returned to three dimensions in front of the three two headed dogs that Imiran had brought up.

Three shadows crackled and snapped in and out of tangible reality in front of Imiran Shinn’s eyes, and his men all flinched as they saw them, every man in the room was frightened, and several had felt their chilling touch. The shadows attacked the dogs, and the dogs snapped, snarled and tore at them, but to no avail.

The mercenaries formed a half circle around Imiran Shinn and his warlock, both of whom had backed off immediately. Gulltin the Krohthnak poured a ring of powdered iron and then a ring of powdered silver around the edge of his floating disc and chanted the words, ” Védelem a gonosztól” three times.

It was all over in a matter of moments for the dogs, they were unable to harm the shadows and they fell silent on the floor.

Ujin had the shadows press on.

The first one struck a mercenary and he felt its chill touch, crumpling to the ground. Three other mercenaries bolted at the sight, leaving four more with Imiran and Gulltin.

Ujin contemplated a spell but thought the better of it, he was still hidden at this point.

The shadows now attacked the four remaining mercenaries, each gave it a game try, but could not hit the shadows, where they could hit the men. All four went down.

Ujin knew what would happen to them in a short time.

Gulltin was holding a wand, it was straight and iron and had a small sphere at the tip, he whispered a word that Ujin could not hear and the wand hummed for a moment, then he held it loose while the wand turned and pointed towards the cage.

How! How did that work? Why the cage?

Neither Imiran nor Gulltin was willing to go past the shadows, Imiran was standing behind Gulltin, and the warlock’s body and the protection ward around it blocked the door, making Imiran inaccessible.

In the distance Ujin heard what sounded like a gigantic fire burning, the whoosh of the flame, the crackle, the thrum. Then screaming, a good amount of it.

The three shadows pummelled on the ward around the warlock, but it held. 

Ujin noticed that Gulltin’s eyes never opened, but his familiar was looking around madly.

The warlock was blind, Ujin was sure of it.

Gulltin’s wand trembled again, and this time the wand shifted and pointed to Ujin.

Gulltin smiled.

Ujin racked his brain, what did he and the cage have in common… 

His magic items. The wand must detect magic, the cage had magic in it…

Gulltin took the wand from his hand and it floated away to the spot where the other two wands hung. Then another wand floated to his hand, this one was made of a glistening blue metal, almost liquid like in appearance, it ended in a diamond tip.

Ujin heard guards running up the stairs to backup Imiran.

Ujin dropped his cloak, sword, potion and scroll in front of the cage and dove to the side, hoping the shadows in front of the warlock would block his view.

Gulltin whispered a command word and there was a bright flash like the sun had dropped into the room, and a bolt of lightning shot across the room to Ujin’s last position, but he was no longer there. There was a gigantic crashing noise as the bolt went straight through and smashed the window of Imiran’s room, spraying glass into the air outside the building, and Ujin heard Imiran curse outside the door.

Ujin stayed in the shadows, hopeful that his summoned shadows were making it hard to find him.

Ujin could see Gulltin take out the first wand again, it vibrated, but this time it pointed towards the cage where Ujin had left his magic items.

He winced, they would be destroyed, but it was them or him…

He heard the whisper again after Gulltin switched wands and there was another blinding flash and booming crack, this one hit he cage squarely and left the dummy black, cracked and smoking.

Imiran bellowed from the hallway.

Ujin left the three shadows to attack (and perhaps generate more shadows to keep Imiran’s men busy) and immediately bolted for the window, its edges were still smoking and Ujin leapt out on to the roof below, he ran down to the end and climbed down to the ground. 

He saw the main entrance to the Tavern, and he could see part of the way in, all seemed to have quieted down, though a cluster of men were running up the stairs. He heard noise and turned to see a blazing wall of violet fire in the street behind him, it formed a ring around Jimnir and his saan, on either side was a pair of Ward patrols with about 12 foot soldiers and 8 cavalry mounted on giant lizards between them, and what appeared to be a druid and a giant boar. 

He heard shouts from the window above, Gulltin must have discovered his ruse…

Jimnir sat back in a chair and looked out the window of his second floor room. Varyn’s Inn of Splendors was not as splendorous as promised, but it served his purpose. 

He was remembering a conversation from earlier. Ujin was asking about his charmed black dragon and Jimnir called the dragon “Bhedal”, which prompted a conversation.

“Why name it, the thing will break the charm, then what?”

Jimnir shrugged his shoulders. 

“Well, I set the werewolves to run and I assume the charm broke as they haven’t shown up for service, or to consume me, so I guess they took their leave. If you charm them and make them do things too contrary to their nature they are pretty enraged when it breaks, but if you treat them well and let them run around a bit, the charm might keep them around long enough to like the arrangement. I travelled for a year with a gnoll named Kislup who liked the adventuring lifestyle so he stuck around.”

Ujin had nodded, “So you name it so it will want to stay?”

Jimnir nodded, “The dragon’s young, I can still direct it, and even charm it again if needed, you never know. I have to treat it pretty well though, so I’ve been feeding it a lot, and letting it hunt. The way the magic works, you get a week, and then about once a week it gets a chance to break free. But during the week you are safe unless you ask it to do something too dangerous. So for that first week you really go out of your way to make it happy, it might stick around.”

Jimnir was broken out of his reverie when he saw the saan enter the Broken Sword Tavern right after Ujin, at least he assumed it was Ujin, looking like a bent old beggar, entered first.

Jimnir took out a small sliver cone from his pocket, he held it in his fist and held his fist up to his right ear. He closed his eyes and whispered the words, “Messziről hallom” three times over, and he cone disappeared from his hand, and Jimnir could hear the cacaphony of the tavern. No individual conversation or sound stood out, at first it was just white noise. Then Jimnir relaxed and he started to pick out individual voices and words.

The warlock then took out a pinch of powder from a special pocket, closed his eyes and marked his eyelids with smears of the powder. When this was done he placed his hands at his side and spoke the words, "Ott találkozunk" three times over, then he opened his eyes and his pupils were gone, but the orbs of his eyes were a luminous orange.

In his mind he could see the inside of the Broken Sword Tavern, as if he was using his eyes. The combination of sound and vision allowed him to home in on whatever conversation he wanted, Jimnir skipped from group to group for a moment, adjusting and compensating until he was sure he had the two spells synchronized.

He watched as Kles, Higg, Bato, Minu and the shaman Quass found a table and Higg ordered drinks with a wave of his hand at the waitress. He heard Higg’s obscenity laced tirade against humans, and the not-so-friendly rejoinders. Then he heard curses in saan coming from a human, but he couldn’t place which one. 

This must be Ujin’s trick, Jimnir thought.

He saw a chair fly and the fight began.

Jimnir waited, the lads could handle themselves, and with one short exception (a screaming sailor who lost a shoulder) there were no obvious weapons being used.

Jimnir watched as Ujin transformed into… something, that slithered along the wall and slid down through the door crack to get to Imiran’s suite.

Jimnir shuddered, and then smiled.

Now Jimnir saw broken bottles, chairs, knives, even tables being swung around, and it was quickly clear that at least some of the “mercs” were actually guards employed by the tavern, they took orders from the bartender and protected property as much as they could.

Still, the saan were not in immediate danger, so Jimnir sat back and waited.

The bartender had finally edged his way to the dogs and grabbed one of them by the chain and walked him towards the fray, dog in one hand, sword in the other.

Then Jimnir heard something odd, he moved his way around the room with the clairaudience spell, he focused and listened over the din of the bar brawl and finally located the sound in the stairwell to the second floor at the back of the bar. It was fairly loud at this point.

“Ujin Tohl the Viridescent is here!, Ujin Tohl the Viridescent is here!” 

Over and over again, loud enough to be heard on the first floor.

Jimnir watched as several of Imiran’s men noticed the sound and moved to the door to listen more closely. One of them shouted at the bartender and he blew a whistle around his neck. 

Jimnir heard nothing at all, but the bartender was clearly blowing a whistle.

This could not be good.

Jimnir watched as the men gathered near the door, 8 of them, and the bartender ran over and took out a key.

The warlock focused on his surroundings for a moment, and looked outside at the front of the tavern. He wanted to see if there was anyone leaving to get Imiran, instead he saw two men leave the Inn where he was staying and cross the street. One floated above the ground on a glowing disc, no doubt a warlock, the second matched the description Ujin had given him of Imiran Shinn. 

The thief and his warlock friend had been waiting in the same inn as Jimnir!

The warlock considered a magic missile to the back, perhaps he would finish this off early… no, it was Ujin’s show, and Jimnir reminded himself he was here to protect Jal Bhains’ interests, not his.

He sat back and resumed the clairvoyance and clairaudience on the tavern, he saw Imiran and the floating warlock enter and move over to the bar, join the 8 mercenaries, and grab the two remaining dogs. 

Then the warlock took out a handful of rose petals and spoke the words, “Mély alvás” twice over. He threw the rose petals into the air and as they fell to the ground 12 mercenaries collapsed to the ground as well, asleep.

The warlock took out another handful of rose petals, and gestured in another direction, „”Mély alvás” twice over and petals flew...

7 saan and 2 mercenaries crashed to the ground sleeping.

Imiran snickered. His guards quickly slit the throats of anyone sleeping who was not part of his crew.

The warlock turned a third time and threw rose petals out while chanting, „”Mély alvás”, and a group of 10, with saan and a gang of street thieves that were regulars at the Broken Sword, were hit. When they crashed to the ground along with the rose petals Jimnir recognized Kles and Higg in the pile of sleeping bodies.

Jimnir immediately stood, placed his right palm over his eyes and his left palm over his heart and spoke the words “A levegő páncélja”. 

There was a sound like a hissing of a snake and a brief, fleeting shimmer to the air around Jimnir, and an invisible shield of mystical force surrounded him.

Jimnir sprinted down the stairs and out the front door, Bhedal at his heels, he was over to the tavern soon enough to see Bato, Minu and Quass in a circle around their men. The warlock had departed with Imiran Shinn, headed upstairs to Ujin no doubt, a group of Imiran’s men were approaching the saan, most of the rest of the participants in the brawl had left, been killed or been rolled by Imiran’s men already.

There were no other saan in the place, at least none that were alive.

Quass played his trick with the ventriloquism, making the guards hesitate, but only for a moment, and they walked closer.

Jimnir wasn’t close enough for anything else, and he needed to act fast, he placed a finger on his forehead and spoke the words, “"varázsló nyíl"”, a sizzling purple spike of energy slid out of his forehead, hovering a hairs breadth from his finger. Jimnir twirled his finger in the air, pulling around the spike, while he sighted his target, he then slung the spike at the guard closest to his men.

He was struck in the chest and collapsed, dead.

Jimnir grabbed another spike and did the same thing, except this time he swung his hand in the air in a large circle, and slung the next missile at the next man, he stumbled and collapsed but didn’t die. Jimnir spit a curse and sent a third missile at him, this one fried his brain and he collapsed dead.

The third man turned and shouted, drawing the attention of the other guards who were busy ending fights or rolling bodies.

Suddenly about 20 men were staring down the Warlock.

Jimnir laughed in their faces, “He isn’t paying you enough for this!”

The three saan carried out the other two, slapping them awake as they ran towards Jimnir.

One of the guards pulled a crossbow and lifted it towards Jimnir.

The warlock sneered and shouted, “Sa pagpatay kaniya”, Bhedal scrambled across the floor at a fantastic speed, the guard let fly his bolt and the dragon leapt through the air, landing on the man, his talons tore open the man’s chest and his teeth sank into his neck, almost tearing off his head.

Bhedal savaged the guard into a bloody mess.

The crossbow bolt flew true then ricocheted off of the air in front of Jimnir, as if it had hit a solid wall. Several of the guards stepped back as Bhedal looked up, hissing, with blood dripping off his muzzle to the tavern floor.

While everyone was focused on the rabid dragon, Jimnir had the time to take out a drop of treacle and pinch it in his fingers, he spoke the words, “Az összes lassú”, three times over, while stretching out the treacle between his fingers…

Seven of the guards from the tavern moved as if they were in amber, slow, exaggerated, and unnatural.

The saan caught up to Jimnir and they retreated out of the tavern. Everyone was now awake.

“We leave now, Ujin is on his own!”

They turned to bolt down the road before any of Imiran’s men who weren’t slowed caught up to them. Jimnir had memorized slow twice for today’s job, he was ready for another casting if needed.

Then he saw it, from farther down the road, a ward patrol was charging, footmen, cavalry mounted on giant lizards, a giant boar and what looked like a druid.

Jimnir cursed and spit, and cursed again.

“We can outrun them, just get around a corner and I can set up a spell, conjure up something to keep them busy. Run!”

The group turned to run in the other direction and Jimnir saw it.

Another Ward patrol, this time with more cavalry and fewer foot soldiers. 

Between the two groups there were about 12 footsoldiers, 8 mounted cavalry, and that druid. She was dressed in white, her robe tied by a vine with thorns. She wore no shoes but she did wear leather gloves and wore a mask of a stag with horns on her face, her hair shorn off entirely.

She sat atop a giant boar with a scimitar in hand.

They were blocked, Ward patrols on either side coming towards them fast. 

Jimnir growled, “Kameenon!”

He reached into his shirt and took out a pinch of dark red powder. He smeared it on his fingers and stood in the middle of the road. He held his hands straight out and touched his fingertips together, he then pulled his hands out in a wide arc behind his back where his fingers touched again.

The red powder glowed red, then orange, then yellow, then white.

He spoke the words, “Láng magasan”, then pulled his fingers apart and swung his hands back around in a circle again, as they swung back at the same time a thick wall of flames formed out of thin air and encircled Jimnir and the saan in a raging ring of searing violet fire. His hands met in front again with a loud slap, and the ring of fire was completed. 

Jimnir now sat on the ground, cross legged, and took out a scroll. He unfurled it and started to read. The saan automatically surrounded him and prepared to defend the warlock if needed.

There was an explosion of noise and one of the second floor windows of the Broken Sword Tavern shattered outwards in a spray of glass.

Ujin scrambled across the roof and slid down to the ground.

He saw the wall of fire and Jimnir and the saan inside.

Ujin had a few choices.

He could flee, he could help Jimnir, or he could stand and fight when Gulltin the Krohthnak and Imiran the Basilisk appeared. 

There was no choice, he was without his cloak, scrolls and his sword... he needed to move. But the shadows would keep his opponents busy for a time.

Ujin took out a pair of opals. He held one in each hand and waved them in an intersecting circular pattern while speaking the words "přízrak oř" several times over. He then motioned upwards with both hands parallel to the roof below him.

As he did a spectral horse emerged from below, ebon with a grey mane and milky white eyes, and Ujin mounted it. He rode on to the roof of the building beside the tavern and turned, none of the guards from the Ward patrol had noticed him yet.

Jimnir completed reading his scroll.

Ujin wanted to help, but he and Jimnir had worked this out in detail, and he was supposed to leave, not stay and fight. He saw Imiran and Gulltin emerge from the tavern with 10 mercenaries in tow. Imiran bellowed at his men and pointed up at Ujin.

Ujin turned the phantom steed around and headed east as fast as he could. He turned when he was nearing the end of the street, Imiran's men had headed to the side of the tavern and returned with giant lizards. Imiran mounted one and they began pursuit. There was about 300 feet between Ujin and the giant lizards, and his spectral horse was much faster than them, so he was at an advantage, but he had to keep moving, and to avoid any further patrols…

The Ward patrol guards were uninterested in Imiran or his men, leaving Jimnir the focus of their attention.

As Ujin rode away, inside the wall of fire Jimnir's dragon paced anxiously, unable to see over the top. 

Jimnir prepared to cast another spell. 

So far no one in the Ward patrols had been willing to test the wall of fire, so they were at an impasse.

"Be ready", he alerted his men.

"’Fer what, we can't see anything!”

"You'll know when it happens", Jimnir said with a smile.

Within moments Jimnir and the saan heard shouting. Jimnir closed his eyes and concentrated.

"Long, hard on top, mandibles, hungry", Jimnir muttered, "anhkhegs, three of them..."

Jimnir was aware of the creatures through the spell and they attacked the Ward patrol to the east of his wall of fire.

Very quickly he heard shouts and commands and the guards that were on the west side of the ring of fire immediately came around to the east side to fight the three anhkhegs. One of the creatures, surrounded by giant lizards, panicked, and squirted acid in a geyser that hit four soldiers and one of the giant lizards, all died instantly but the lizard, and it began to howl with agony.

“NOW!”, Jimnir shouted, he dropped the wall of fire and the six of them bolted.

Once they had made it about 50 feet away Jimnir turned and shouted, “Fall in!”

The saan formed a circle around the warlock, weapons out and ready.

An anhkheg had a soldier in its mandibles and it snapped the woman in half.

Jimnir spoke the words, “Az összes lassú”, he took out a drop of treacle and held it in his pinched fingers and spoke the words, “Az összes lassú” again, then he drew the fingers apart stretching the treacle between them, saying “Az összes lassú” a final time.

Jimnir had to place the spell carefully to avoid impacting the anhkhegs, but even so he managed to slow seven of the Ward patrol soldiers. These soldiers were easily attacked by the anhkhegs, which drew their fellow soldiers to defend them.

Leaving Jimnir and the saan to flee. 

Just then, six shadows emerged from the second floor of the Broken Sword Tavern, flattened and slid down the roof and along the support pillars, moving across the ground flat to return to three dimensions and fall upon the Ward soldiers fighting the ankhegs. The soldiers were now occupied on two fronts, and under the effects of a slow spell. 

Jimnir was now down to three spells, levitate, burning hands and magic missile, so he did not contemplate returning to find Ujin or going back to fight, particularly with the shadows in play. Jimnir had developed a new respect for Ujin after this fight, first he transformed himself into... something, then he summoned shadows to do his bidding.

Perhaps, Jimnir thought, he had underestimated the phantasmist.

They had agreed if they were split up that they would meet again in two days at a rendezvous point in the swamp. Jimnir and the saan headed for the west wall exit, leaving Ujin to his fate…

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