Author Topic: Session 43 – Resurrecting Callister  (Read 2985 times)

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Session 43 – Resurrecting Callister
« on: December 17, 2006, 07:25:47 PM »
Session 43 – Resurrecting Callister

Callister was slain at the end of the last session. What did Callister see from his point of view? Well, here’s the actual document I gave the player…

You were surrounded by the heat of battle, the stink of sweat, the glare of the campfire in your eyes, the taste of blood, the clang of steel, the grunts and groans of your opponent, the stench of his breathe…

Your opponent was the toughest you’ve had in a long time. He was a big man, covered in enchanted heavy plate armor, wieldy a magic blade that moaned and wailed he has swung it through the air… you could feel the dark mystical energies of this man, his weapons, his spells… but the worst thing was his skill. This was no mere city guardsmen or lowly orcish soldier… this was clearly one of the best warriors in Duthelm.

The two of you traded blows, back and forth, in a frenzy of battle lust… you had both decorated each other with a half dozen bloody wounds, until you were winded, ragged, beaten. Then the final blow came. You saw it coming, but just didn’t have any strength left to dodge…

There was the crunch of bone, which you heard more than felt, saw the spray of colorful blood and then you suddenly found yourself lying on your back, looking up at thousands of stars. You heard the cries of your friends, though rather distantly and when you tried to answer, found no voice. The stars began to move and that surprised you. First one, then another, then more… The armored knight that had defeated you, stepped over you, blocking your view of the dancing stars, which annoyed you to no end, but he quickly moved on. The sounds of battle began to fade and you turned your attention back to the stars, which were swirling now. Thousands of stars in the sky begin circling each other, round and round, faster and faster. The spinning stars begin to converge into a tight ball of white light that hurts your eyes. It grows, flaring out and fills your vision

… and then suddenly winks out.

You find yourself no where. There is only blackness around you. No walls, no ceiling, no floor, no doors. Nothing.  Infinite blackness in every direction. You can’t feel anything at all. The ache of stiff joints, the burn of sweat in your eyes, the dull throb of deep cuts on your flesh – all gone. You feel nothing.

Meanwhile, back in the realm of the living, the party had just finished defeating the Duthelm soldiers. All was quiet. They stood in the middle of the camp, underneath a starry sky, looking down at their dead companion. They had traveled thousands of miles with him. He had lived an illustrious career which had taken him to all points of the world, through the dungeons of the Citadel, through the Labyrinth of the Codex, through the Siege of Myranor and beyond. Strange that such a colorful career should end so abruptly.

But Ugita had other plans. He was a powerful necromancer. He was handy in battle and could heal any wound with the wave of his hand, but his greatest skill was challenging the gods to bring back the dead. His friends knew that he could do this and they asked him of it now.

“But the Gods demand a sacrifice”

“Here is your sacrifice”. Rothgar said, holding up the limp body of the Death Knight. He’s not dead yet. Heal this one up and we offer him to the gods.

The party discussed this, but only briefly. It was unanimous. They wanted to try. If there was a chance, they decided they would try to get their friend back. Even if it meant angering the gods.

It would take Ugita several hours of rest and preparation to cast such a powerful spell. So, while he slept, the rest of the party went to work rolling the bodies of the Duthelm soldiers.

The Death Knight was stripped of all his possessions and tightly bound and gagged. He was then healed and he soon regained consciousness.

The entire campsite was searched thoroughly. The bodies of the dead were buried, except for Callister’s. The party found much equipment, weapons, armor, food, supplies, etc. They restocked their own supplies and ate. By morning they were finished. They took another dose of the antidote.

Finally, they stopped to examine the few magical items that they had found. These were the only true interesting items found among all of the gear of the Duthelm group. The enchanted items were as follows:

In the hut where the sorcerer and Death Knight had been talking, the party found a chess board that glowed under a detect magic spell. It was no ordinary chess board. Instead of a grid 8x8, it had a much larger grid, 25x25. The pieces were not typical chess pieces. There was a man and ship (obviously Callister). There was a cat with a bow (Rothgar). And there was one other that looked like Martin. But there were no other pieces for any of the other players. The party discussed this and then realized that those three – Callister, Rothgar and Martin – were the only three who had been captured and held in the dungeons of the Citadel some 2 years ago at the very end of their last major quest. Perhaps some analysis of their auras had been done. In any case, this chess set and these pieces seemed fashioned for them.

The other pieces were carved into the likeness of various Duthelm warriors, knights and wizards. There was also a piece that seemed likened to Caramus. After some analysis and experimentation, the party deciphered the workings of this item. It responded to voice commands and any map could be shown upon the surface of the board. Any map of any place at any scale. When the pieces were placed on the board, they showed the position of their “host” in relation to the map that was displayed. When the pieces for Rothgar and Martin were placed on the board, their pieces scooted over the board and snapped into position, correctly showing their location. When Callister’s chess piece was placed on the board, it cracked and fell over.

The party quickly placed the remaing pieces on the board to see where the rest of the Duthelm forces were. The Death Knight who was tied up at their feet was correctly shown to be with them in the Desolation. The rest of the Duthelm forces seemed to be scattered around Chaddamar, but the bulk of their forces seemed to be massing at a single point outside of the town of Soleth, just south of the Wall. It seemed they were gathering into one massive group before entering the Desolation. This was good news. At least now the party knew, beyond any doubt, that they were in the lead and that all of Duthelm’s people were behind them, and had not even entered the Desolation yet. They put the last piece, Caramus’ chess piece, on the board. However, the board did not react. The piece did not crack. Nor did it assume any position. It seemed that either Caramus had shielded himself from the workings of this board or perhaps he was not anywhere that the board could detect. In any case, this worried the group.

The party turned their attention to the other magical items that had been taken from the Duthelm soldiers. The Death Knight leader had been wielded an enchanted sword, an evil thing called Pox the Life Reaper. This cursed blade had greenish mist constantly rolling off its edge. The faces of tortured souls could be seen in the swirls of the metal. When it was swung, a faint moaning sound could be heard. This blade was very evil. Just be holding the blade, they could see it. Ugita, upon waking, and studying this blade, would demand that this evil thing be destroyed. The party did end up breaking the blade later that morning and when it was shattered, the souls trapped inside were freed.

The Death’s Knight armor was not as despicable. It was powerfully enchanted and seemed to turn blades easily. The party kept this armor. If they were successful in bringing Callister back from the dead, he might enjoy wearing the armor of the man that had killed him. It seemed fitting.

The only other object of interest was the hut itself. It had obviously been fashioned by magic. The party assumed it had been summoned by a spell, but on closer inspection, they found the door knob on the front door was fashioned of polished brass. It was a magic item. If removed from the hut, the hut collapsed, all of the dirt and rocks flying back into the ground where they had come from. The party quickly deduced that the door knob summoned the hut into existence from whatever materials lay underfoot upon command. Anything stored in the hut when it was taken down would be waiting for them when the hut was reconstructed later at another spot. As if the hut were a place that simply went away and returned. The party liked this item and kept it.

Ugita, having rested and prayed, now felt ready to cast his most powerful spell. It was afternoon by the time all was ready. The party roused themselves from napping, suited up and prepared for whatever lay ahead.

Ugita lay out the body of Callister next to the Death Knight. He brought out the holy stones of his faith. He then set out the material components he would need - Fire. Blood. Earth. He began his incantation.. speaking softly at first. The others sat at a respectful distance and watched and waited. Ugita chanted on and on…

After what seemed like hours… a shadowy form arose the ground. It was composed of shadow and smoke and dust. Twin pinpoints of flickering light shone out from his head like eyes. He spread his bat like wings and bowed. It was the same avatar that had appeared so many times before to deliver cryptic riddles from his dark lord…

“Lord Oxalai has heard your prayers, your friend waits for you in the Forest of Waiting…”

With a wave of his shadowy hand, a gaping fiery chasm yawned open in mid air before the party. The flickering flames that rippled along the edge of the gateway were composed of translucent spirits. The party could hear the wailing of countless souls distantly. They peered through the portal and beyond they could see a dark forest on the other side.

“Follow me…  “

Ugita stood to follow.

“Your companions as well” the shadowy spirit said, gesturing to the rest of the party. “They also ask for the mariner back… they must join you and witness the glory of Oxalai… but they must not speak…” The shadow paused to add weight to his words. “Any disrespect shown in this place will have…  consequences.”

The party members exchanged glances. Waves of fear washed over them and they trembled as they stepped forward. None of them even daring to whisper.

Ugita led the party through the gaping fiery portal. They found themselves in a forest. The trees were huge, over one hundred feet in diameter and towered over them, the tops of the trees appearing to be a thousand feet tall or more. Clouds roamed about the tops of the trees and star filled sky peaked through above that. The fiery portal roared shut behind them. A deafening silence descended. It seemed the whole world was holding its breath.

A dirt path littered with bones stretched before the party. They followed it and the shadowy apparition followed along side them. The path soon come to a large clearing. 

At the far edge of the clearing was a huge stone altar – a massive platform of stone surrounded by four obelisks and a blood stained slab of rock in the center. Standing on the other side of this bloody sacrificial altar was a tall cloaked figure. The thing was at least 12 feet tall and very thin. Long, bony claws protruded from the sleeves of the robe. No face could be seen in the depths of the hood, only impenetrable blackness.

To the side of the altar, suspended from one of the trees, was a cage fashioned from bones. Within this cage the party could see Callister! Or more correctly, a wispy, translucent mirage that seemed to be Callister. This spirit thing gazed back at the party and recognition lit up his eyes. The party knew they were looking at Callister’s soul.

The shadowy apparition turned to Ugita and gestered toward the tall cloaked figure.  “Master Ugita… may I present to you His Grand Lordship, Necromathus, Lord of the Dead and one of the Charobdyn, the Highest Order of Dark Angels, direct servants of Oxalai.” The apparition bowed deeply to the cloaked figure. Ugita and the party followed his example and bowed low.

Necromathus tilted his cloaked head ever so slightly in response.

The shadow then took a position to the left of the altar, next to the cage hanging from the tree. 

To the right, a gathering of shadowy figures of various sizes and shapes appeared. Numberous sets of glowing eyes peered at the party from the forest.

With a deep rasping rumble, Necromathus spoke. His voice was dark and echoed of forgotten mausoleums and

“The Mariner has fallen in battle. Such was his fate. Such was the will of Oxalai. You wish to change that verdict. You wish to have the Mariner returned to your world. What do you offer in exchange for his soul?”

Ugita stepped forward. Rothgar brought forth the gagged and bound body of the Death Knight, who stared around him in terror.

“We offer this man, a champion warrior of Duthelm, a Knight of the Abyss, Death Knight and Dark Paladin of Draxorith and direct servant to the cambion, Lord Caramus”.

There was a moment of silence. Necromathus studied the bound man. The Death Knight stared back.

At last, Necromthus spoke. “So be it. The sacrifice must die by your hand”.

Ugita carried the gagged man to the altar and laid him down on the sacrificial slab. He then took the knife that lay there, held it up and said “I give this man’s soul to Oxalai… may he find it in his infinity wisdom to release the Mariner to me”. With that, he plunged his knife into the victim’s heart. The Death Knight convulsed several times and then lay still. Suddenly, the wispy translucent soul of the man sat up. The cloaked figure grabbed the soul of the Death Knight at the throat and bodily carried the struggled spirit over to the cage. The bone cage lowered to the ground and the door opened. The spirit of Callister walked out and Necromathus shoved the spirit of the Death Knight in. The cage closed.

As the cage rose back up to its former position, the Death Knight called out. “Draabyn!”

Callister’s spirit turned and look up at the Death Knight’s spirit. The Death Knight looked Callister in the eye and with hate in his voice, he whispered “This. Isn’t. Over.”

Necromathus turned to Ugita. “Put the mariner’s body on the altar.” In a roar of green fire, the Death’s Knight body was vaporized, leaving the altar empty. Ugita placed Callisters physical body on the altar. Necromathus then picks up Callister’s soul and placed it INTO Callister’s body. With a start, Callister’s eyes open and he drew his first breathe.

Callister staggers to his feet weakly and then rejoined his party. Ugita and the party bowed deeply to Necromathus.

The shadowy apparition led them back down the path, leaving Necromathus and the caged Death Knight behind. The fiery portal yawned open and as they party stepped through, Callister turned back to the altar and winked at the imprisoned Death Knight. The Death Knight’s furious bellow shook the trees… “Draabyn!!!!!”

The party stepped through the portal and found themselves stepping into the bright afternoon sunlight once again. After the dark night time forest that they had just left, the bright afternoon sunlight blinded them.

They turned to thank the shadowy apparition, but without a word, he and the portal vanished in a puff of smoke.