By Xullrae Zauvir
Chapter 2 - The Web Begins to Weave (part 2)
Each one had been visited by the bald-crowned human during the predawn hours, after the fiasco at the Web of The Spider Queen. No one of the group got much sleep before they were ushered off through a simple portal when ready. All save the Malaugrym, but the human figured that said creature would know when and where to meet the others if it so desired.
As of now, the collective whole stood in the midst of a vast, rolling plain. Tall, wispy grasses billowing all about them. The wind was rather chill, with dew still fresh on the willowy blades of brownish hue. For as far as the eye could see, there was nothing but gently rolling hills of that very same grass, though one with exceptional sight could perhaps view the makings of a mountain range along the horizon to the north.
Accompanying them this day was the male who had been magically subdued the
afternoon before, the Bladesinger known in these parts as Vesz'aun. Though the
compulsions had been lifted, he was thus far rather quiet, one could only hope
it would stay that way.
Drazoul stared in awe at all that was around him. Never had he ever seen such a place he only heard stories of the surface and he was rather impressed it was a far more scenic place compared to the dull caverns of the Underdark. He took care to remember every sight, sound and smell he felt.
Xull'rae studied her surroundings with sharp calculating eyes, a little and refined hand pushed back strands of red hair from her face as the breeze caught hold of it, she had been to the surface a few times and needless to say she was not impressed. Her beautiful face showed a frown of dislike as she put her piwafwi on to block some of the chill on her very bare legs, the cloak covering the very outstandish white spider tattoo on her left thigh.
Horock, like Drazoul stared around in awe around him. How could such a place exist? Only in the deepest and darkest of his thoughts had he ever imagined such a place. Looking at Drazoul, he could tell that he was just as shocked as he was. As he looked at Xull'rae however, he could tell she was not impressed. He started to say something, but stopped. The breeze felt so cool and light, and he enjoyed it. What must it be like to live up here all the time? He wondered. His dragon side began to take hold, and he longed to fly free in the winds, dodging the trees, the clouds, the birds. Instead of those stalactites and stalagmites of the underdark.
As he continued to look around, he became angry, knowing that he could never be free and live up here. He knew that as long as he had the death mark on him, he could never truly be free. So, he was just content to stare and to feel the wind on his face for as long as possible before they had to complete their dangerous mission.
Groggily, Vesz'aun's gaze wandered, note taken that the hated sun would soon rise over the horizon, taking away the precious dull gray tone to everything. Then, his twin pools of crimson fell upon the others, and he had to blink in disbelief a few times. Shaking off his astonishment at their stupefied stares, he also reigned in the compulsion to slap them.
Instead, that gaze came to rest upon the drowess for a moment, though he let no hint of any emotion crease his features at this point. Sighing inwardly, he then cleared his throat loudly, and took a few steps forward, shifting his dully illuminated orbs skyward, seeming to peer intently. "We need to go up....
"Well then..up we shall go." Xull'rae, too looked up with her amber colored eyes, peering at what was to be their supposed destination. "If idiot and twit would stop gawking at the landscape like it was a naked woman we could get on with it. Or I can go back underground and go back to bed, telling my superiors that my charge could not take the sun and the snake shed his skin." Xull'rae gave the others an obvious look.
Finally regaining his composure, he asks, "and how do you propose we do that, Oh Great One?" Looking at Vesz'aun with annoyance on his face. He was not being rude, only just a little sarcastic. He just ignored Xull'rae's other remarks, knowing it was her character to act like that. He was having a good day thus far, and did not want to ruin it by getting pissed so early.
Drazoul just turned towards the direction the drowess and drow were heading and started to walk.
"Ye climb or levitate oh slow one," was Xull'rae's equally sarcastic reply, her eyes narrowing on Horock in warning not to start things with the other drow male.
"How in the Abyss am I supposed to know that? I'm just the hired firepower, not the resident finger-waggler." Vesz'aun too was a tad sarcastic, but not so much as usual, his orbs still searching the muted cloudscape for any sign of the floating fortress.
"Speaking of finger wagglier, the Shadowed One should be here already or will be shortly, he wanted to speak to the demon we are after so lets just wait for him to arrive or you can help scout the area for him Vesz'aun." Xull'rae suggested.
"Mm, I'm not the scout either, least not out in this." Vesz'aun responded as he swats at some of the wet grasses which dampened their forms on a constant basis. "This whatever it is. Least there aren't any damnable trees with pig-sticking Elves around here." He muttered in disgust.
Xull'rae shrugged. "Fine I will alone. The rest of you stay put and try to find some cover from the upcoming sun, those that are drow anyway." She headed north, looking up at the sky, trying to spot the Fortress.
Horock thought about the idea that had just come to his head, tested it for weaknesses, and decided to consult Drazoul on the idea. "Hey, Draz, come on over here. I would like a word with you."
The Yuan-ti turned towards Horock and walked towards his direction. He would have much rather enjoyed to watch the sun but he supposed it would only anger his volatile companions since they were all drow. "How can I help Horock?"
Horock looked a little unsure but asked anyway, "I would like to ask you what you would think about me changing forms and looking for this floating city. I would be able to cover more ground, and I could even probably carry you all on my back once I found the place. So what do you think?" He hoped that he would get a favorable response.
The air was indeed cool. However the coming of the Shaded One brought a stiff breeze to flow throughout the area, bone-chilling would be one way to describe it. Tendrils of shadow lifting from the ground, entwining and lashing till eventually it all came together to form the disguised Malaugrym. His Drowish figure, those coal-crimson orbs taking a moment to peer over those gathered, not that his scrying orb didn't tell him enough already, he muttered, "It appears I'm a bit late, though if my presence is all it takes to keep the group moving, then so be it." He made an idle swing of his arm in the general direction they needed to head, a chosen staff of tenebrous hue was tugged forth from what would appear to be a dimensional pocket, leaving him otherwise waiting afterwards.
Xull'rae stopped, looking at the shadow creature with irritation. "Yeah yeah, girl, mage makes no difference they all have some excuse for being late. Ya entered just like I knew you would." She moved in the direction in which his arm swung without a look to the others. Xull'rae wrapped her piwafwi tighter around her, it was the only indication that she had felt the chill in the air at the Malaugrym's arrival.
Drazoul kept a smile suppressed. Quietly he was pleased at least someone here was not as dull as the stones of the UnderDark. "I wouldn't mind an overview of this place but it's their call not mine."
Vesz'aun too took notice of the Malaugrym's entrance, a soft scowl creasing that ebony visage as his gaze swept in said direction, one of his twin wineskins being lifted to lips as he regarded the Shadowed One, a long draught taken. "So this the finger-wagglier?" He asked in no one particular.
Xull'rae's moving should be the answer to the Bladesinger's question as the "finger wagglier" pointed them in a direction, she kept moving now muttering to herself.
Drazoul decided it would be better just to follow for the moment he signaled for Horock to follow and followed the others. Horock sees the others begin to walk off. Deciding that the ability should be kept in reserve, he begins to follow after them, looking for the quarry that threatens his life and livelihood once again.
Shrugging, in his usual manner of not wanting anyone to think they have gotten the better or him, or that he feels anyone is superior, Vesz'aun nonchalantly wanders off after Xull'rae.
What else can be done? Plenty, but the Malaugrym choose to walk a little ways behind the group, keeping up with the pace the leader set.
"So, Mage, any good way to enter? And please, TRY not to be snide, coy or clueless, because if you want my cooperation I don't want my time wasted so just get us in. Okay? I'm in no mood to be here or help, but I am, so any thing to get us inside soon would be very good for limited patience and growing irritation." Xull'rae said in a matter of fact tone, looking over her shoulder to gaze at the disguised shadow creature.
"Yes, yes... One moment..." Szordrin's eyes turn upwards at the sight above them, his entire frame seemingly frozen in place, unmoving except for the occasional gust of wind, sending his articles of clothing to waver. In truth, he was formulating a counterspell of sorts to take care of the minor warding surrounding the small castle, though those not so magically inclined would only hear a few gibbering phrases from his person, nothing overly fancy happened, but it left a hole in the defenses, his attentions shifting to those around him. "Gather close, our next stop will be up."
Horock nodded, anxious to get a real move on, "sounds good to me," he calls from the rear of the little group. "I just want to kill this thing and get it over with, AFTER I find out who it was working for."
Xull'rae stepped forward swiftly, eager it seemed to get this task over with as well.
The Malaugrym muttered a few arcane incantations underneath his breath, the world around them becoming a sudden blur, only to reform in a completely different area. Their once dim world is suddenly and irrevocably thrown fully into one of utter, brilliant daylight, or at least a magical version of such. Those who are overly sensitive would indeed be blinded for a lengthy moment, to be sure. For those who could adjust faster, they find themselves now in a three story tall chamber, seemingly a hall, perhaps a throne room of sorts by virtue of a single, gigantic, ornate chair being situated on a raised dais at the northernmost end.
Though no beings come to sight, there are indeed sounds of slithering movement all around, coming from the shaded recesses along the walls, and perhaps the ceiling as well.
Some dozen globes, floating at varying heights within the circumference of the chamber are the source of that hated light. In the domain of a creature of shade, one would find this a most odd occurrence, then again, tis perhaps the perfect trap, laid for other creatures of shadow and darkness. Of their specific quarry, no visible trace could be found, though one able to "sense" such beings could tell that the shadowy demon was indeed present in the chamber at some junction.
Looking around, Horock narrows his eyes and tries to see more in this room. For some reason, he is afraid, though rationally, he has really no reason to be. He knows he is with powerful friends who will help him. As he continued to look around, he slowly moves away from the group, trying to get a better view of the place.
Drazoul didn't like the feel to the room and started the arcane gestures that would obscure him.
Being a creature attuned to darkness, and very much hating the light, Vesz'aun's blade was quickly drawn and held aloft defensively, against whatever foe was sure to come, the words of a familiar spell on the tip of his tongue, though if he did not regain his vision soon, it would matter little.
"Lead on mage," Xull'rae said as she blinked away the bright lighting, pulling the hood of her piwafwi up, "from what I gather you're not all drow, that demon seemed to know you and seemed to respect you. Whatever you are, I know you can sense him, either by Shar's magic or by demonic means, it matters little to me. Just find him." Her tone was a little on edge, even demanding. Looking around warily, something was making her skin crawl and feelings like that made her get snappish and violent.
"Yes, well, Szordrin's voice also had a hint of frustration in it, "Bare the light, we will need to travel in it, unless you wish added trouble." He didn't enjoy it himself, but lived an extensive life, studying the various ways to manipulate one's surroundings, and this was such a case. He began a slow walk toward where he felt the presence, maybe straight into a trap but he took the risk.
Horock, knowing better then to even lose site of his party, drew his sword, and cautiously began to follow the mage. Staying as close as he could to the others without looking like a coward.
"I can bare the light fine, such is the power granted to me," Xull'rae responded. She followed the mage closely, her step quiet and light, sensing for traps. She was right dead behind him, that she literally was his shadow, so if a trap did activate she could help him avoid it.
They didn't have to wait long for the trap to unleash itself, as they were already within it, since the desired end was not met, a loud hiss of sorts permeated the room and some dozen armored humanoid figures came rushing towards the small group. Three, from each of the cardinal directions, all bearing blades of various sorts. Of the Shadow Demon, there was still no sign, though the Malaugrym was indeed getting the impression that it rested along the eastern half of the room somewhere.
The group was ready though, all of them were. Horock attacks the first enemy with his magically enhanced Long Sword Defender. Xull'rae being one hard to surprise let her dagger fly. Throwing it from her side instead of straight ahead, knowing it would hit one of the targets and return on command once struck. Drazoul pulled out two daggers and in a motion that was too fast for the normal eye due to his boots of speed he let out a devastating attack towards the nearest target.
Not that Szordrin was abandoning his companions. Though with what appeared to be a deft leap, he went into the air, to inevitably hover there, facing the very direction in which he felt the creature, his tone stern, and words were spoken during the little altercation. "You waste your time demon, to send your creations against me, is to become my enemy." There was a minor pause in-between sentences, "call this off, and answer my questions, or else," he left it to linger with a classic line, he was more than a little irritated.
Vesz'aun's eyes still had not adjusted as fast as the others. He had started moving, upon hearing the sounds of their feet scuffling, though he moved the wrong way, of course. Squinting against the damnable globes, he remained clueless as to the encroaching enemy at the moment. In his mind, there was a more important problem anyway and as such, he quickly pulled a scroll from within the confines of his favored rucksack, and began to read. The words familiar to some in the room, those being of a sort to dispel magic's. One could guess he meant to quell the light globes.
As the group had been heading eastward, the closest foes were now underneath the Malaugrym and the hidden daemon shade. Restricted to melee weapons as they were, one of the swordsmen fell beneath the piercing edges of Drazoul's twin daggers a few moments before Horock's blade clashed with that of a second armored warrior. Quite surprised at the offbeat tactic, a second being fell prey to the drowess' move. This one having come from the North, his torso exploding with the burst of acid that had been unleashed. His first blow parried, Horock manages to make a deep cut into his assailant's torso, 'ere finding himself going toe to toe with a second attacker now.
Airborne, the Malaugrym did not receive an immediate answer, perhaps due to his quarry fuming in a fit of frustrated rage, whatever the case, it had not made itself visible just yet.
"Demon, do as he says. Unless you want my dagger to seek you out." Came Xull'rae's growling proclamation.
As soon as Horock heard the mumbling, he immediately recognized it as a spell to distinguish light. "No," he cried, trying to fight his way toward Vesz'aun while at the same time get his attention to stop the spell. "Don't put out the globes!! We need them to see the Shadow Demon!"' As he fought back his second assailant, he realizes that he may have misjudged the situation. If things didn't turn around soon, he would morph.
With her dagger already back in hand, returning after hitting and corroding it's target. She whipped around, ready to attack again. In frustration she said through clenched teeth, "stop panicking Horock. We can still kill him without the globes if he decides to be foolish."
The gravely voice suddenly broke onto the scene, the demon finally deciding to answer, it too hearing the words of dispelling that the Bladesinger began to speak. Once said spell was completed, the remainder of his minions..nay, the bulk of them...would be unleashed in a torrent. "You may kill me, but your companions below will die along with me, so do your worst, Saluraun."
Drazoul felt the adrenaline rush surge through him as his blade felled his first foe. He went on to the next foe attacking again with deceptive blows he learnt as an assassin. Grateful that the scroll Cogliostro gave him, the spell on his dagger was working.
Vesz'aun heard his companion's whine, but didn't really register it at this point, well, it did, but it took him a few moments to stop. Scowling in irritation, he let out a loud growl, and tossed the half used scroll aside. "By all the Abyssal fiends! Why'd ya go and break my concentration?!"
laughed but it was cold and mirthless. She responded to the hidden demon,
contempt in her voice, "Mm, someone sure talks big but can't even fight
his own battles. Keep talking demon and I can just pin point you by the sound of
She was now carefully looking the area over, trying to locate the insufferable beast so she could tear him asunder.
"I'm not here to baby-sit, they can handle themselves, if not.. They shouldn't of bothered coming this far," the Malaugrym responded. He was starting a slow float toward the demons presence. Intending to take it by surprise.
Horock was still fighting the demonspawn in front of him, trying to kill it while thinking of any and all tactical options that came into his head. He was not as confident as Xull'rae that they combined could kill this thing.
had yet to play all its trump cards, but there was a degree of wariness at its
predicament laying within the recesses of its mind. He knew quite well what the
Malaugrym was capable of, and he also knew now that his main quarry had a trick
of his own that could be quite harmful, yet he would pause a few moments longer,
merely using his will to silently direct the minions that were even now starting
to engage the others and those that lay hidden in the shadows. Waiting for the
light to falter so that they may strike.
When Horock's weapon had struck home upon what he thought was a demon, the things helm came partially undone, revealing the lower half of a bearded, human face. It could be surmised that the true demons were yet waiting in shadow, they too hating the light which was intended to hamper the adventuring group's machinations, but didn't seem to have the effect the enemy wanted.
Horock started in surprise when he had seen what he had struck. What were these humans doing here? He wondered. He continued to think, still attacking the nearest enemy, hoping for a break. He desperately hoped that he had been right in stopping Vesz'aun from putting out the lights. He put on a grim face, and continued to fight the enemy.
Drazoul kept on slashing and stabbing where ever he found an opening. The Yuan-ti grew tired of the demons games. "Demon I ask you again who is it that seeks Horock's head?" With what little patience she had Xull'rae waited on the Malaugrym, sensing others within the darkness. Considering the options, perhaps a continual light spell would be useful, so that's what she murmured and made the appropriate gesture, the spell coming to life.
Szordrin was still making a casual float in the demons direction, those crimson orbs now mere slits, his irritance was evident. "How about you answer his question, you are a fellow creature of the shadows. My patience is wearing thin, even if you do manage to defeat my companions. You'll have no chance in finishing me off, and I will see it to personally destroy your little castle, followers and whatever you, yourself cherish. As for you, there are many other fates worse then death."
Listening to all of this going on in the background, Horock dispatches the human in front of him. After the continual light spell had been cast, he could see much more clearly around the room. Despite him being Drow, the way he grew up was different from most. Seeing a horde of the smaller demons that was not close to his companions, he casts the spell Fireball at the highest concentrations of enemies away from his companions so that it would not hit any of them.
Though quite irritated with Horock wasting his scroll, he remained undaunted, reaching in his never-ending pouch for yet another, though this second would be his last such spell.
As it was pulled out and he began to unravel it Xull'rae's added globe of light blared to life nearby, blinding him yet again, though the conversation going on between the demon and the others was of little concern to him, in fact only a drone, he did get annoyed once more by the vacuumous "whoosh" which was triggered by the release of Horock's fireball, causing him yet another pause in his own castings.
Xull'rae side stepped, skittish after a fireball was released, spells like that were dangerous in such close quarters and she didn't want to be fried. Whirling around again she tried to spot the offending spell caster. Overlooking Horock she saw Vesz'aun reading off a scroll and assumed once again that he was trying to extinguish the lights. So she snapped at him, "Vesz'uan just blind fight. Remember you're that good, stop casting. Realize there will be masses upon masses of demons unleashed after the light goes out. Think about it, I actually might get hurt and that will put me in a foul mood."
Able to multitask, the demon was about to offer an answer to both Drazoul and the Malaugrym but its concentration was interrupted, much like Vesz'aun's, by the telltale sound that only a fireball could make. Though the room was already bright, it shrank back in anticipation of the conflagration about to be unleashed nearby.
In the next instant, those armored humans who were not caught up in the fiery sphere gave pause in their advances, perhaps some sort of link with the master having been broken, their own senses of self-preservation able to take hold for the briefest second. Whatever the case, they stopped attacking and all stepped back in seeming confusion, which would leave them open for now. As for Vesz'aun, the roar of the fully blossomed fireball must have drown out Xull'rae's words, for he still held the scroll aloft, blinking furiously to try and regain his eyesight after the triple assault of light.
Drazoul was glad the powerful drow that the demon seemed afraid of implored an answer to his question but the demon either didn't care or was preoccupied with something else. He decided he would have to take measures into his own hands. The Yuan-ti pulled out an onyx figurine of a dog and said the magical words that would summon him. As it materialized from smoke he spoke to it and told it to try to sense out the demon or find it. He knew he could trust his dog.
Xull'rae couldn't take it anymore and yelled at the Drow Mage, "just leave the idiot squad behind mage and make the damn thing answer you. I and said squad will be fine, sometimes diplomacy doesn't have a place in a situation where cruelty and brute force does," she stepped back to grab Vesz'aun's wrist wresting the scroll from him easily enough due to his distraction and familiarity with her touch.
After he gave his orders, Drazoul returned to more important matters and used the momentary advantage to attempt to strike critical points in the hulking humans who seemed confused.
When his fireball had vanished, Horock called out to the Demon, "I can do that quite a few more times you know. Plus, I can do something even worse." While saying this, he continued to attack the creatures nearest to him, while at all times looking at the tactical situation that was unfolding around him. He also cast, as soon as he had the opportunity, the Stoneskin spell, which would help to give him a little extra defense.
"Will you please shut up novice you are NOT intimadating!" She glared at the Vhaerunite. in a cold yet skeptical manner, "if I recall we are in his turf and he kicked your ass last time in dragon form, which is to say the least, is pitiful so just keep your mouth shut and wait." Things were starting to get out of hand and the Drowess was about to lash out at her allies, for the simple reason they were being stupid.
No less than five of the armored human's had fallen prey to the fiery sphere of death, what remained of their charred corpses beginning to lend a sickening odor to the atmosphere. Drazoul and Horock had already dispatched with the remainder of them, save for two, one of which began to flee across the far side of the room, as eager to get away from his master as the intruders. The other stood his ground, striding slowly towards the small gathering. Mayhaps an actual loyal subject? Whatever the case, its stride was determined, a greatsword, which reeked of enchantment, being tested of weight in a single hand. As for the dog, it indeed had other senses to rely on, making its way towards the wall which Sszordrin now faced from his airborne roost.
Its quarry, the shadow demon, began to materialize fully once it backed partially into one of the murky recesses along the wall, offering them a view much the same as they had encountered outside the Inn not so long ago. Arms and clawed hands made out of pure shadowstuff began to reach out of its body in various places, seeming to grasp erratically, wanting release, yet shunning back from the hated light for now. It would be both a bane, and a folly, for the demon to release its own globes of light right now, as he would gain allies, yet it would make the Malaugrym that much more powerful. Aside from that, it would have to contend with the drowess' own light globe, and was some small bit of time and precious energies in the process.
Cursing inwardly, it began to slink back more into the shadows, multi-eyed gaze coming to the Malaugrym once again, its grating voice clearly heard by all in the chamber. "Spare my life and my possessions, from all harm this day, and with no recriminations on any of your parts in the future, and I will tell what I know. Its clear that I cannot win, and your reputation of a penchant for tossing followers towards their dooms is well known, so my trump cannot be played."' In this, he did assume the Malaugrym was the leader in this situation. From some points of view, it was the only logical conclusion. "If you make not the pact, I can still destroy myself before coming under your displeasurable ministrations for eternity. And laugh along the way, knowing that you lose one more chance to gain any insight."
At this point its gaze falls upon both Horock and Drazoul, "and neither would any of you gain any knowledge from such."
The Yuan-ti heard what the demon had to say but he did not trust one word of it and why would this demon surrender though it was logical demons were known to be neither reasonable nor lawful they were chaotic to the last drop of their blood. Drazoul decided to see what the others had to say on this. He put had both his hands on the hilts of his daggers ready to let fly at need.
"Who the fuck is talking so much? Can we get this over with already? And gimme back my scroll, bitch," squinting, Vesz'aun scried the area as best he could, scowling the whole time, still not giving a shit about the demon or any of the deals being slung about.
"You're wise, my friend," the Malaugrym didn't worry overly much of the betrayal. His need for these little bits of information was of a much greater concern, the more he helped those in the Underdark, the quicker his goals would come into play. He remained a slight distance away from the shadowy figure, awaiting the desired answers.
"Vesz'aun," rubbing his face cheeks and squishing them together, Xull'rae had a murderous glint in her amber eyes, "shut up, you will not get your scroll back until we are out of the lighted area, now shut up before I give you to the demon to play with. And if you so much as move just to defy me, I will make you into a woman and make sure it will be painful and you'll bleed to death as I shove you fat dick in you mouth got it?" Her tone dripping with ice cold seriousness.
"Hmmmmm," said Horock. "I am actually about to consider what you are saying. However, I must insist that you tell me who sent you after me. Was it my parents? Or was it Drazoul's?" As he asks this, his eyes are darting around, taking in the whole situation. He did not know if the human was going to attack him or not, and he wanted to be prepared. He kept his sword raised, ready to defend himself at a moments notice should the need arise. "Come now, you must have an answer. I really must know, who is after me so badly now?" He looked over at Drazoul, letting his friend know that on his signal, he should be ready to help the hotheaded drow out of whatever stupid action he was about to take.
Face contorted by the fact Xull'rae was grabbing it, Vesz'aun did his best to offer a crooked grin. "So...checked out my package have you? And be glad YOU don't have nuts, or I'd kick you in them right now." He didn't say more as he felt the point of her dagger prick through his pants, the cold still barely brushing his privates. Xull'rae was quicker than him he realized and instantly hoped his flame hair would leave him in tact. So he didn't say more at this time.
The armored human continued to advance, but it was deliberate to the point of almost being slow, as he was still some paces away, it would take a while longer to reach them.
As for the demon, it took heed of the fact that the Malaugrym may break its deal, so in the interest of staying alive a while longer, it decided to answer the other query first. As it turned to gaze upon both Drazoul and Horock, its visage seemed to contort with satisfied wonderment of sorts, "all this time, and neither of you have figured it out...my, my, I'm not so much the apprentice any longer." That much was more spoken to itself, though all could readily hear. "I could answer you, but it would be a long and convoluted story. I don't believe the Ma-- your floating companion here would have the patience to wait through it. So perhaps you should take it upon yourselves to make sure he keeps his part of the pact, so that we may speak on it later." Leaving them to ponder his words, the demon's gaze then turns to the floating Malaugrym, "as for you,"Drazoul saw the demon complying with the others but what had him worried now was the moving human he decided to stop the human. He let fly two daggers both aimed for the humans throat.
Pausing for a moment as the daggers flew towards his last remaining minion, the Shadow Demon watched as the twin daggers were beaten aside deftly and unerringly by that vaunted greatsword, which was hefted about with the greatest of ease. And he took mental note that the human trotted ever forward, undaunted. Then, its glowing blue orbs concentrated on the Malaugrym once again. "Take heed that much of this may be rumor, passed down through the, hm, centuries now," It hesitated, looking at the Malaugrym warily.
Xull'rae released the drow males face stiffly, her amber colored orbs came to rest lazily on the advancing human, drawing back her hood to, she pursed her lips as she looked the human over, her well framed face drained of its anger going quite "soft" and alluring as it were, she was watching him as well as looking over that weapon of his.
"Worry yourself not with a betrayal on my half, and be wary of it on your own, I've grown.. accustomed to such things." He begins to pull away from the demons presence, intent on hearing whatever little tid-bits of information would be spilled here and now. His gestures and bland mood might be a dead giveaway to his current predicament. A Tyrant turned negotiator for the sake of his own agenda.
The demon nodded slowly and continued to speak, "rumor has it that your apprentices and other followers at the time were the ones to carry the act out, which I'm sure you have already gleaned that much on your own. I have heard tales of the disappearance of at least one of the 'seal holders' since you were released. However, they were rallied by an outside force, and given the means to entrap you by the same individual. That individual's identity is unknown to me." There comes a pause now, as if the demon feared the answer would get him killed here and now, by not providing enough information. And so, he added what more he could. " There is one who does know, however, a, hm, mutual acquaintance of us both, though a quite recent one: the human, at the Inn." This would imply that the human was not responsible for the entrapment, though whether to believe it or not was up to the Malaugrym.
While studying the human despite it not looking like it, Xull'rae was taking in the conversation absorbing every word in that unforgetful mind of hers.
The human continued his advance ever so slowly, in fact more slowly as he approached, as if it were holding back from actually killing them right now, but still willing to try no matter the odds if he were so commanded.
"The human," There was a slight muscle twitch beneath his right eye, the thought of dealing with the bald one was almost unbearable, but certain things had to be done, now on a more personal level then anything else. "I will look into your words, demon. You will live, I will visit you at a later date, we've much to discuss." He paused, if only for a moment, "Plus, I believe there is more you are unwilling to share, or produce at this very moment. Hmm, yes, we will definitely have to set up another meeting." Of course that meant the Malaugrym would come around again, when he pleased.
Horock, looking very perturbed at all of this new information, looked up at the demon. "Okay, you answered him as best as you could. Now answer my questions!!!" This statement was given with just enough intensity to suggest that he wanted to know, or else he would also have to return at a later date.
Xull'rae interrupted any replies at the moment looking at her magical companion with a delicate frown on her dark lips. "Might I remind you floating wizard ..that the purpose here was to get many eyed ugly here to answer not your personal questions but anothers. I'm getting quite pissy and I have no such deals about not killing him as I don't work for you."
Pausing for a moment, dreading the thought of having to deal with the Malaugrym again, he pushed it aside for the moment, turning to the one who had addressed him so abruptly, also taking note of the impetuous female, who dared speak to the Malaugrym in such a manner, an expectant gleam in its eyes, as if he knew Szordrin would bestow some unkind fate on the woman. He nonetheless answered Horock, but its gaze remained halfway onto the others, "mayhaps ask some more specific questions."
Again Xull'rae spoke, denying anyone else a chance to do so, "you said you were an apprentice who is your master?"
She staring hard at the demon, the Malaugrym too slow for her taste.
A brow indeed did arch at the comment made, luckily for all, he was here as an ambassador, and held back his usual conduct, these questions did not concern him, so he didn't bother with putting pressure on the demon, pushing away from the scene all together with a barely audible chuckle. His feet silently touching the ground below as he came to a full landing, a lingering sigh passing through ebony tiers, awaiting to leave.
"Hmmmm, what would you have me ask? Why am I here, fighting you? If we had not attacked you, would you have come looking for us? And if so, why? What would you have to gain by killing me?" Looking at Drazoul once more, Horock continued speaking, "and if you have any questions, lets hear them!!"
Utterly bored with the whole scenario at the moment, Vesz'aun muttered under his breath, in response of sorts to Xull'rae's question, "I'M you're master, bitch, so down on your knees. Heh," with that, he went back to daydreaming.
Xull'rae in response, just simply back handed Vesz'aun effortlessly and quickly. It was like he merely stumbled instead of getting struck. She never taking her eyes from the demon through the entire process. Vesz'aun on the other hand, offered her a long glare, then simply grinned, remaining silent otherwise.
Drazoul gave the demon a stone cold look, "I have one question that has been asked many times," he kept his calm which was rather odd for his race. "Who is after Horock is it his family my family or neither?"
The demon ignored the female, though it did offer a glare, his mind worked on answers to the other queries. And again he paused, upon hearing the Halfblood ask about their families, a secret, knowing look apparent on its visage. For now, it sifted through the other questions. "First off, I never wanted you dead. And yes, I would have come for you again at a later time. As for why you are here, well, I cannot answer for you. As for why I am pursuing you, well, lets suppose that I say your family sent me. Or his. Either or. And I most assuredly have nothing to gain by killing you. "
Growling up at the demon, Horock glares at him, saying, "that answers absolutely nothing!!!!!!! And if you have nothing to gain from killing me, why have you been trying!?" Horock was starting to lose his temper, and he hoped Drazoul would pick up on it and stop him from doing anything foolish.
"Mage what did I say about my time wasted..have you seen my temper, have you forgotten your deal with a certain group? might I remind you once again what your lazy ass is just watching..and that current situation of you doing nothing needs to change now..the human likes me better than you the group likes me better than you..who I work for likes me better than you. I suggest you consider the odds and what you stand to loose by not getting what we as a group came here for." Again it was Xull'rae who spoke, she too ready to leave or go on a killing spree whichever came first. She of course spoke to Sszordrin.
Drazoul decided to let Horock continue on his path for it may in fact get them somewhere. If Horock got into trouble Drazoul would stop him.
Tiring of games himself, most uncomfortable when surrounded by the current odds collectively stacked against him, something akin to a frown settled upon the demon's countenance. "Very well, answer me a question, and perhaps it will help the both of you," glaring now at the Yaun-ti and the half dragon, "you have both traveled enough to have gleaned that your childhood's were quite different from the norm for both of your races. Did that never once raise any suspicions on either of your parts? Are you so secure in the fact that what you know and learned, is what really is?" It was partially cryptic, somewhat on purpose, though more for lack of a better way to express it with words.
""Oh.. I'm terribly sorry, I didn't realize I had to hold everyone's hand, I thought they could ask their own questions, silly me." The Malaugrym said in a sarcastic tone to say the least, in response to the drowess. He absently turning his attention to the demon, shaking his head somewhat, about to speak, but it'd appear they were starting to get somewhere after all.
"Lets see what weak frail wizard can do with all his fingers broken," Xull'rae shot back in cold utter calm, her eyes narrowed dangerously.
"Who will you get to break them?" Was all Sszordrin asked, with a chuckle, not daunted by the woman in the least.
"I don't need anyone other than you to watch what you do. I'm beginning to really detest you. Keep pushing my temper and I will be sure the human gets more than you do and my full cooperation and the churches. Leaving you to perhaps get trapped again. It was of course a veiled threat, Xull'rae rarely made those but when she did she always turned them into promises later. "You are showing nothing of your worth besides the fact you can talk and float." She added in unimpressed.
Horock, visibly shaken, could think of nothing to say, sarcastic or otherwise. Looking at his friend in a confused manner, he begins to process the information that had just been given to him. Drazoul just thought perhaps the demon was hinting some destiny that was plotted out for him before birth though the thought was absurd. Or perhaps everything of his past was a lie. He decided for now to play dumb so maybe the demon might hint more as to what he meant. "You mean I'm really not a yuan-ti?" He acted out his bluff even more by touching his face.
"Mm, you mock me, young one," The demon now spoke to Drazoul, but turned the conversation back to the Malaugrym,"It seems the youth of today have no respect, Saluraun."
The disguised Malaugrym smiled darkly and nodded. "Yes, I'm inclined to agree, lack of respect and common sense. Not to mention overconfident."
Drazoul merely shrugged and found most of the situation comical but was still puzzled by the demons words.
Despite her arguing with the mage Xull'rae was still very attentive to what was being said and muttered to no one in particular, "yes he's speaking of himself see, all talk, so impressive."
The demon sighed and almost sounded as if it were pleading, "Can we adjourn until another day? There is much to ponder, on all sides."
The Malaugrym shrugs his shoulders slowly. "I won't get into this argument, I allowed us passage into this place, and thus completed part of the deal, without my presence, entering this place wouldn't of been such a cake-walk." That noted, he nodded in the direction of the demon and prepared to leave.
Horock was finally starting to unravel a part of what the demon had said, or so it seemed to him. "Demon, one last question. If I am who I am due to what I have done through my life, then what makes me what I am?"
Xull'rae sighed in irritation indicating to the Bladesinger is was about time to go, but her comment was meant for the mage. "You ARE useless, the human could have done the very same thing." The demon looked at Horock with it's many eyes, dark humor in each of them. "But are you who you are, through what you have done?"
It was still answering with more questions, now definately being cryptic.
"Magic?" Came Horock's own question confusion evident on his face as well as how he spoke. "Or a deeper, more powerful force, could that have shaped me into what I am today?" Looking up at the demon, he wondered if he would be able to formulate what the answer would be. "And, I guess my question was, are we controlled by this destiny that we have supposedly been given to us? Or are we free to choose what we become and how we live?"
While the drowess did not cause the mage fear, she was certainly getting on his nerves. "Hm, should I of went into this situation blasting everything in sight? I don't see the point, you are all here, and have the answers right in front of you." He was preparing the spell that would get them out of here.
"Some of us are free to choose..others, well... Believe what you wish, I know some truths, not all. Whether or not destiny really exists, is among the ones I do not know." The demon left it hanging.
Xull'rae starts approaching the demon light globe in hand. "Exactly so WE have no need of him and the drow always say no witnesses..."
Vesz'aun at this point starts paying attention, as the side arguments are amusing him for the moment.
Disturbed, Horock pondered this. Waiting for the others to get ready to leave, he stood there, thinking, pondering... He would remain there, unless disturbed, trying to shake out why he was that way. Still staring off into space, he simply gets ready to leave. As he stands there, he thinks about all he has done in his life, and what he is going to do. He exits the castle, casts fly so that he does not fall to his death, and walks back to the cave they came up in, still in his own musings. He walks back down into the Underdark, thinking of today's events. He does not know exactly what he has learned, but he would figure it out no matter how long it would take him.
Xull'rae was smiling looking at the light globe, her eyes luminating from the glow..watching as the demon shrink back, she waits there.
The demon casts a glance in the Malaugrym's, giving a silent plea that they should all be forcefully removed and despite any desires otherwise, the remainder of the group was overcome with the familiar gut-wrenching disorientation that accompanies teleportation.
The Malaugrym still had his uses for the demon, as did some of the others, so he could not, and would not, let the drowess destroy it. Each of them was dumped unceremoniously into the street outside the Inn, left to their own devices, he disappearing moments later, intent on returning to his sanctum so that he may ponder all that which had been gleaned this night.
Xull'rae put her hood back up snuffing out her light source and without a word or huff set off for the inn knowing the human would call upon her anyway. Though she now consider the "drow" mage as someone she would entrap in the future as he seemed to hate that more than death.
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