Magiia immediately whipped out her short-spear and threw it with all her might in the surmised direction of the invisible lich but missed by a mile. The spear disappeared over the battlements into opaque blackness. The Blue-Hand’s grip tightened on the sword dubbed the Anvil and stuck close to Vorwulf. The ranger/dragon-slayer pulled the sword named the Hammer and sent the sonic orb from among the small magic spheres that were orbiting him from the still active Ring of Orbs spell to strike the unseen enemy and when it did he knew exactly where the monster was though it did little but elicit a hideous, dry laugh. The lone Hill-lander warrior surged forward blindly and Canohk remained by the trap-door and started to play his pan-flute to inspire bravery in his companions.
Gil (Grom the shaman’s player): “He WHAT! What good is that!”
Cris (Vor’s player): “Well, it’s something. He’s a bard after all, we might need that bonus.”
Gil: “Useless bard.”
Grom called to the spirits of the sky, the distant rumble of thunder answered but he failed to call down the lightning on the skull of the still invisible lich. Suddenly, the lich appeared and called out a strange name in a draconic tongue. In answer a fierce and strange roar cracked over the snow-choked battlements and a giant undead dragon leapt sluggishly over the crenulations landing heavily onto the battlements among the slayers its leathery black wings fully spread. Its black scales were like lumps of foul coal with large openings and tears in its mummified hide exposed white bone and the shriveled brown fibers of long-dead muscle.
Jenn (Magiia’s player): “Ooh! A dragon! Does it have any blood?”
Cris: “No. It’s some kind of undead dragon-thing.”
Cris (to me): “That’s a draco-lich isn’t it?”
I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled.
The dragon unleashed a line of putrid acid-breath aimed directly at Maggi. She dodged easily and charged the undead black dragon striking at it with her axe chopping straight through a rack of steel hard ribs. Olf used his telekinesis to grapple the draco-lich to try to hold it still to allow Maggi’s hungry axe to do its terrible work. Vorwulf ran at the lich of Blackbrow swinging wildly with the Hammer landing the blow, his hands rung with the hardness that the blade met. The Blue-Hand followed suit striking at the undead mage with the Anvil but missed. The Lich took a step back and unleashed a bolt of lightning from his hands striking Vor. It rippled through the unfortunate ranger/dragon-slayer zigzagging over the area of the battlements to strike the other slayers one-by-one. However, the Blue-Hand was uncannily able to avoid the chain lightning. Olf was sheltered by the Shield spell that originated from his magic bronze open helm which disappeared immediately after absorbing the electricity. Maggi on the other hand was hit hard and hurt badly. Grom was struck and injured. Vorwulf however had taken the worst of it (Natural 1 saving throw) and was in the worst shape. Fortunately for him the lich, using his Teleport I eldritch talent, blinked out and appeared on the opposite side of the battlements.
Grom shouted to the sky-spirits again this time calling down a bolt of lightning that crashed down onto the draco-lich’s serrated back but which dealt no real damage. The Draco-lich roared with supreme wrath as it was unable to free itself from the healer’s telekinetic grip. Maggi took the time to drag in a deep breath and recover from the shocking blast she had just endured. The lone Hill-lander clan-warrior struck at the grappled dragon landing a blow with his claymore which did little. Vorwulf ran across the battlements to close with the lich but the grinning monster remained just outside of his weapon’s reach. Grom cast another spell granting his companions Bull’s Strength. The lich called another bizarre name into the black sky but nothing happened. The draco-lich however was able to break loose of the healer’s power.
Magiia struck at the dragon again chopping into its petrified hide. Parkannis the lich shot a bolt of pitch black energy at Grom which the barbaric shaman was somehow able to avoid. Vorwulf again charged the lich and landed another blow the lich teleported again in a failed effort to avoid the blow reappearing on the opposite side of the battlements. Grom activated the Heal All ability on his mithral helm restoring his companions to very near full health. The draco-lich snapped the lone Hill-lander up in its jaws chomping into crimson pulp in a single bite, thus passed the last of the Achaánal clan. Vor swigged down a potion to ease his still existent wounds.
Parkannis began to cast another spell still out of the reach of all of his righteous foes, energy gathered between his boney claws then a sudden look of what could’ve passed as surprise swept across his twisted, shriveled visage before the magic went wild the explosion covering the entirety of the battlements save the lich himself in a cacophony of fire, splattering snow and bits of stone shrapnel. Olf’s body was splintered and blackened in the blast and the healer was as close to death as he had ever come. The Blue-Hand again was able to uncannily avoid any damage. The others were all moderately wounded. Maggi without skipping a beat struck with a power attack at the dragon hacking through dried flesh and smashing bone. The creature retaliated by turning its gaze to her the hell-lights that shinned in the bottomless sockets failed to deliver the death gaze to the amazon. The Blue-Hand zipped to the lich, his sudden burst of speed probably attributed to his pair of blue-leather boots, and struck it wounding it and causing it to immediately teleport away in panic. Olf activated the second use for the day of the Shield ability on his helmet. Canohk continued to blow his pipes with a failing wind. He was bleeding out. Grom attempted to cast another spell but failed. Parkannis unwittingly (my bad) had wound up within range of Vorwulf who immediately ran up and struck again chopping out a wedge of the would-be lich-lord’s bone who then teleported away again escaping to the opposite side. Maggi power-attacked the dragon again nearly hacking it down in a single blow but it was still active and snapped at her ineffectively. Vorwulf continued to follow the lich around the battlefield with the Blue-Hand trying to keep as near the both of them as he could.
The lich again called the same strange name to the sky. This time something happened. The darkness congealed and twisted in on itself forming into a hideous winged creature standing near the unfortunate bard. The creature that appeared as if bursting from a blasphemous cocoon stank of rotting flesh steeped in brimstone. It was winged, and horned, and emaciated in appearance. Parkannis had summoned the Death Demon which had struck down Bers in Sawback’s Lair (see The Dragonslayers II Pt.17). It immediately shot a bolt of black-death at the bard slaying him instantly. The Blue-Hand and Vorwulf charged Parkannis at the same time finally able to maneuver to be able to attack him both at once but the Blue-Hand was unable to lodge his sword between the monsters ribs. In response the lich unleashed its cold aura in a blast of withering cold from which the Ring of Orbs protected Vorwulf but when he looked to his side at the Blue-Hand he found that the boy was frozen solid and very much dead. The lich again zipped away to the opposite side near the dragon hoping to gain some cover behind its gruesome mass. Maggi struck at the dragon again causing the thing to collapse and move no more. The pinpoints of evil light in its sockets faded away. Parkannis shot a bolt of black lightning at Vorwulf but to little effect. The shaman cast Bestial Might on himself growing a pair of feathered wings and pulled the Mace of Supernatural Power from his belt. Vorwulf snatched the Anvil from the Blue-Hand’s freeze dried corpse; the hand breaking off into a dozen pieces tinkling to the freshly explosion-swept flagstones.
Vor sent his last orb zipping off at the lich to no effect and started to move in. The death demon waved its arm towards Olf and a searing scythe of black energy swooshed through the healer dispelling his second Shield. Maggi charged the lich but fumbled the strike nearly losing her weapon in the attempt. Grom flew at the death demon striking with his mace crunching bone and tearing the necrotic flesh. The lich shot a shadow bolt at Maggi sapping some of her strength and wounding her slightly then teleported to the head of the dragon’s corpse. Olf used his telekinesis to grapple the death demon catching it easily (natural 20 versus a natural 1). Vorwulf charged around the dragon-corpse and struck at the lich using the Hammer and Anvil as paired weapons slashing into the creature just before it was able to teleport away. He had almost killed the lich with that attack.
Cris: “S#@t! I gotta stab ‘em both into it don’t I?”
Basically had he killed Parkannis without triggering the magic in the swords they would’ve had to hunt down the monsters phylactery which was VERY well-hidden and protected somewhere inside of the tower.
The lich activated one of the rings on his skeletal hands and almost all of the wounds he had suffered disappeared, the bone like wax melding back together to be whole again. Maggi maneuvered to get in position to charge it. The death demon broke free of the psionic grapple and was able to parry another mace blow from the shaman. The lich got off a second casting of Chain Lightning wounding Vor badly (he rolled a natural 1 on his save), zapping Maggi wounding her horribly as well, and dispelling Olf’s last Shield of the day. Vorwulf gulped down another potion. The death demon missed Grom with a twisted black claw and the shaman struck the demon down with his mace before it too leapt into the freezing night air. The creature’s corpse dissolved into fetid black smoke then was gone without a trace. Vorwulf redoubled his efforts against Parkannis and stuck both of the blades between the ribs of the lich (on a double called shot no less). The blades and the lich burst with bright white light. The obsidian gems dangling from his wrists, the phylacteries of his underlings, glistened with crackling purplish light before they popped. Out drifted spirits which surprised at first then a look of relief as they drifted into the sky and disappeared one after the other, the last being the spirit of the draco-lich which majestically soared into an opening in the clouds.
Grom: “Spirits huh? Hmmm.”
After the light faded away all that was left was a pile of ashes, the lich and the swords were gone forever. Among the ashes were several of the personal possessions of Parkannis Blackbrow which the Dragon-slayers immediately began to go through and log.
To Be Continued…