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Dear Diary,

Well, guess I don't need to write about the things Ariel covered, though I'm sure peeved that I finally get to kiss Wolfie and I don't remember a thing of it.

In case you are wondering, things that Ariel wrote that are important parts of the story that I don't feel like rewriting are here:

  • Camping Surprise Ariel tells how we went back and got Tindalasse some new clothes.
  • A little adventure Ariel covers the details of our trip through a sky gate.
  • A Second Visit to Starstrands Finally, Ariel tells the story about how we were in a really bad mess and leads into what we actually did about it.  If you want to read about how Ariel and Amber got us all into this mess, read here .
  • Beastiary Entries

And yes, that series does talk about how I finally got a kiss from Wolfie that I remember, thank you very much, and no, I'm not writing about it here. Now that I realize that other people might read this, no more of that!

Now that I'm writing, I'm going to start with the terrible mess we found ourselves in when I found Amber and Ariel. Once I understood where we were and what we were facing, I was figuring Ariel was going to die being pulled home through the void by the mark, that lightwalker was likely to be one of the first eaten by a shadow vampire (he is nice, if a weak sister), Amber along with him. I was planning on cutting lose of Wolfie so he could keep all of his power and really expected him to be the lone survivor to make it through the gate -- maybe.  It was really a bad situation.

Then Amber said: Why don't we take the star path?  The one my dad took?  If we drop to earth like he did, we can walk back to the gate and the worst we will face will be any demons that are left after a few hundred years. When we open the gate, the light will pour through and disperse all the vampires. It should be easy.

Well. Sure. Easier than just attacking the shadow vampires head on. But at least this plan had some hope. Might even turn out easy. (Hmm, I'm writing this like Ariel when she was depressed. I've got to get out of that voice). While I was wondering how we could find it from our side, it turned out that Amber had used the sight and could see the way into the star path from this side.

So, "guns blazing" (now that is a great phrase) we launched the boat off into the star path, breaking through the swarm of shadow vampires clustered there before the rest awoke and buried us. Then, pursued by what seemed like the hordes of you know what, we took off and the boat let us drift to earth without being smashed by falling the almost half a mile through the air that the break dropped us. Wow. What a view, like the milky way or the sky full of stars.

Good thing for those who can't fly that we had the boat. It was a long, long way down. Watching shadow vampires spill out of the sky chasing after us, dissolving in the sunlight, I suddenly realized that there were a lot more of them than we had been trying to tell ourselves. Five were not destroyed by the light, the chaos on them twisting their nature and the light. They did not survive the first pass against us, not with the light and the way chaos faded before us.

We located the library and the gate, shining in the distance. Then it was a matter of fighting with the insect creatures and trolls spawned by the sand until we reached solid rock where the demons lay, still sleeping and waiting after all these years.

Boy, that sounds simple, but it wasn't.  We would move slowly, the lightwalker pulsing the light about him to sense the surroundings. We would be trying to find them before they ambushed us.  Then bang, a cluster of ravenously hungry, chaos tainted creatures would burst out, coming after us. A sharp, bitter fight, then a rest, then another slow, carefull advance. Boredom and terror mixed together in a world filled with light, sand blowing, and eventually, windsculpted buildings.

On the other hand, it was all of us against two or three demons at a time or a cluster of bugs. We saw lots of demon parts, they had been eating each other over the years between the times they spent sleeping or estivating. That there were so few warned us that one of them had done a good job of eating the others.

And it had (done a good job of eating the others), which was obvious when we met it resting against the gate, huge and hungry with evil, awakened and waiting for us.

 This picture is just what it looked like as it launched itself from its curled resting pose, shapechanged and sprang ino the air to glide towards us, ready for a fight, one that we would either win or lose just one time.

  • 102 dodge ranged attacks (magical and physical)
  • 192 whipping attack
  • +1 speed +1 blur
  • +1 faster attack
  • + 51 to dodge attacks (melee)
  • Acid blood, caustic slime, acid venom
  • Constantly shifts color, shapeshifting/confuse 2
  • Leaping area attack.  

Dra Demon as it closed with us. This is how it looked as it came closer, its neck shortening up from long and whip-like to shorter and stronger, its mouth and teeth opening wide, its claws outstretched and ready to rend.  I'd never fought anything quite so, er, pale green, before, bu this creature was a blure of motion and deadly intent.  The multiple shades of green and the constant changing of intensity and hue was more unpleasant than confusing or distracting, but I understand that it has had that effect on others in the past.

I'm not fond of blurry, hungry, evil green things. At least it wasn't equipped with tentacles like one of the Shalgathi, what a creepy bunch they are. But it stunk so bad and the blood coming out of it when it bled was green acid, just like the acid dripping from its fangs. The slime that covered it was alive with power and identities it had absorbed from the other demons this one had eaten. It was so blurry too. Between the smell and the blur, it was hard to fight through the nausea.

When it died, the ruins shuddered and all over the place of books and sleeping memories demons slipped out of their skins and disolved. It had held them through time so that they had not faded. The energy from their passing flowed into it and we had to take it down a second time, but then it was truly gone and we could reach the gate (see below for that story). Standing in a realm of light, with the gate behind him, the lightwalker was able to dissolve all the shadows on the other side and then the gate connected and we were free to go home. And to a bath -- I've never needed one more.

.


ruined city, used with permission City before it became ruins, used with permissionNotes about the City in the Sand. This is what the city looks like today, as the sun sets. You can bet we are in a safe place, warded for the night any time we see this view. The city has several styles of building, and I thought they all came at the same time.

Now I know that the city originally grew from the sea bottom, many, many years ago. That is where the coral buildings come from -- they were once sentient coral growing up and hosting many races.

Through the years, the sand came closer, the sea grew shallow. Eventually the city was more sand than ocean, and then it fell.

At least for a time.

Sea elves came for a while, building star shrines and a port out of basalt and granite and stone from the bedrock. They would build or activate the waygate that still makes this city of note today, but they gave way when others came to take the city.

Those who came to take the city rebuilt it, this time with strong materials, fused quartz, steel and magic.

They fell, overcome by their evil.

Then, after a long time vacent, the city was rebuilt, one last time in sandstone and in cement. It rose again, at the cross-roads of several trade routes.

Then it fell, to evil reborn and its own sins.

After the wind had it for a thousand years, men  and others came back, drawn by the waygate and the need for a waystation between the south and the north. No longer a port, no longer a true city, men, sea elves and their allies have a small place in it, as it continues to erode in the memories of the wind.

The second picture is the way it looked when it first rose, you can see the differences time has brought.

.
 bound demon This is the bound daemon (a creature from outside, but not chaos twisted) we found. We thought it was a stone statue, but that was obviously misleading. It was right in the middle of the gate and we all kind of thought that it was something left over -- an artifact or something -- that was used to block the gate.

Well, it was blocking the gate, but it sure wasn't an artifact made of stone. It was a demon frozen by stasis magic. We had probed it and there wasn't any obvious, acting magic (it was in stasis, after all) so we were trying to manhandle it out of the gate when it came to life.

That was a surprise, for both of us. The moment the stasis broke, vampires started flooding out too. Of course the light started to dissolve them, and the lightwalker's aura was able to just reach out and wrap them up, so it was like a dark mist flowing out of the gate, dissolving in the light, to cries of pain and hunger, but it was a surprise. Not to mention, the daemon and we were both just a little unsure of what to do next. It wasn't evil, just not good. Not twisted and filled with chaos, but not terribly natural either. Bottom line was that it wasn't hostile, so it did not attack us and we did not attack it. Not everything means a fight. 

The thing, (guess it was a thing) spoke Auld, so I could talk with it. The one behind the betrayal had summoned and bound it to block the gate from use, using its nature kind of like a large magic blockage. In its own realm it had been a prince and a mage. In this realm it was only there to be what Dr. Miller at the university would call a fecalith. Not that it stunk, it smelled more like ether and roses with a hint of vanilla and saffron, but it was quite the blockage. We talked and it took some stones I was carrying and gave me three claws in return.

I'll have to think of something to do with them.

Anyway, after a moment of tenseness, it swirled and then was gone in a haze of magic that cast it through the gate and back to the realm it had come from. I never got the chance to tell it how long it was gone and I wonder what it found. I'm glad we were able to trade gifts instead of fight.

Found in the city and areas round about (the links to other collections are below):
  • Spindles, insect men, that look like spindle-like humans. They weigh maybe ninety to a hundred pounds, about eight to nine feet tall, desert dwellers and nomads. They go armed with javelins, swords and throwing cords (weighted lengths of rope). Brown and mottled tan in color for the one faction, red and black for the other. Often allied with men and sea elves.

  • is a Shadow vampire about to manifest, as it solidifies to strike. The Coral Towers usually have shadow vampires in them. Shadow vampires attack as small or medium shades and they have a temporary "tap" POW and/or "tap" CON ability (effect wears off, one point regained per hour, 25% tap POW, 50% tap CON, 25% tap Con and POW).
  • are the sea demons, Shiressa, that dwell in stasis and estivate in the fused quartz towers. Chaos tainted, elemental, deeply evil, they moved into the city as refugees from their own world and realm. Armored skin, 1d2+1 chaos taints, strong as trolls, bitter and magical.
  • These are the seaborne version of the sea demons, Sha Shiressa, sealed in the fused quarz towers, what they would become if they could escape and reach their kin who wait in the depths. Some have adapted and crawl wormlike in the sand, driven from the depths by ancient enemies and wars.
  • Half-human sea elves, the quaShitheth, they are like sea elves, only not as long lived, not as vulnerable to iron, not as strong with magic.
  • These are shapeshifting, vampric werefolk, cicadas who rise up in great evil. Chaos tainted, kin to the Couranth called "Kja Khada" by the sea elves and everyone else, some are still bound in their towers, sealed there when the city fell around them and their kin left for sanctuary in the mountains and other places. Once they were aquatic, but now the sea rejects them (-1 when near sea water, -62 in contact with sea water that connects to the ocean) .
  • Viadaan, demon slaves of the KJa Khada. Violent, hungry and vile.
  • Blue, teal and orange-yellow factions of NauShalgath.
    • 2 physical strength
    • d81 for 1d3+1 kar manta traits.
    • Iron skin, chaos gifts (d2) hand to hand combat.
  • Shalgathi, sea creatures, great slugs descended from the nautilus, sometimes with shells, sometimes without, this is a Burning Shadow faction Shalgathi.
    • 192 extra range, tentacles
    • 21 quick magics, common magic
    • 22 of one of the following: necromancy, sand magic, artificing spawn (e.g. creating NauShalgath or others out of their own spawn) or demonology
    • 2dominate other Shalgathi, + 2 dominate NauShalgath.
  • This is a Green Water faction Shalgathi, master of poison and illusion.
  • Weor Slavers (Wenelians)
    • 21  Wind Magic
    • 51 Blow Darts
    • 2   Grapple
    • 61 Dominate Slave
    • 19Extra range, tentacles (includes sprout tentacles)
    • - 1(Hampered fungus infections/hampered not native dream world, aided)
    • +3chaos taint.
  • Juvenile Voonith
    • 21 Engtangle and bite
  • Adult Voonith
    • 72 Fast Claws
    • 121 quick magics, common magic

For other creatures:

More text in the future.


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