Man-of-the-Cranes writes "What remains of the party that descended into the depths of Hell-on-Oerth faces down the foul form of the Lord of Pain in an epic battle, one worthy of being sung by bards for ages, one with a bit of prodding from a mysterious figure from the east. And, yet, things do not quite turn out as expected...
Iuz the Evil
by Man-of-the-Cranes (email@example.com)
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Continued from Part 2
The Rod of Law sang a killing song in his hands. He imagined he could hear the vaati's ballads sung again, as he had heard them during his time in the Valley of Order, and his heart filled with hope, but it was a hope powered by an all-consuming rage.
"Now your evil ends. Now you will die!" he cried, advancing grimly towards the Lord of Deceit.
Iuz took to the offensive immediately, his great sword was swung around his massive body in a web of death that could kill in an instant. Michael, the rod held before him in both hands, anticipated Iuzs' attack and he lashed out. Iuz reared backward, as the rod passed beneath his guard and caught his shins. He screamed his pain in an oerthshaking bellow. The demigod crouched now, hunching back. Adjusting his defence.
Good! Thought Michael, Iuz had learned to fear the rod! As the combatants paused momentarily, their eyes locked. Both Michael's terror and Iuz's confidence were forgotten now. They were united in their solitary purpose to finish this, here and now.
Iuz stood with his back to the Obelisk surrounded by the magical beams of energy, like a spider in its web.
Iuz lashed out toward Michael with his blade, and again the rod came forward. Iuz reared up to his full height, pulling away from the deadly rod. Then his red eyes suddenly turned, and stared towards the passage by which they had entered. A momentary look of uncertainty passed across his features, like a stormcloud passing in front of the sun. His massive brow creased.
Michael did not pause to give this thought: he acted. With his nemesis seemingly distracted he leapt forwards, striking rapidly with the rod, lunging forwards towards the demigod viciously attacking with all his strength again and again.
His ferocity may have stunned Iuz, but the demigod's sword flashed back and forth, blocking each deadly thrust of the rod.
As the deadly volley of blows continued to fall, as Iuz blocked each one; the demigod hawked up phlegm in the back of his throat and spat a fiery ball of acidic spittle at the attacking sword-knight.
It struck his breastplate dead centre with a sudden explosion of crackling flame that threw Michael violently backward, knocking him to the ground amid the slaughtered demon horde.
"You die, mortal!" Iuz said quietly and spat again.
The flaming acid exploded inches from Michael's unguarded face, plunging his left shoulder and upper arm into agonising pain.
Michael stumbled up to his knees, sobbing. His fingers desperately clawing at his armour, to release his breastplate and shoulder guards. The acid was burning through his enchanted armour, almost to his skin. Michael felt the heat and shrieked in a high pitched wail of panic. The flames were almost black, Abyssal fire! And the acid was unpure and unholy: anathema to his very being.
His fingers caught the clasps and his breastplate fell away to clatter on the gravel. From beneath it the links of his chainmail vest spilled out like loose coins and the jerkin against the skin of his chest was smouldering.
The sword-knight sobbed plaintively, crying with a deep, primitive panic. He crouched on his hands and knees, badly burned now, and fumbling for the rod he had discarded in his panic. The sight of the god lumbering towards him as he floundered, prostrate and vulnerable, awoke within him a primeval, nameless terror that knew no bounds. With a soft moan of despair his gauntleted hand found the rod, and clasped it as he stood, staring awe-struck and disbelieving at the abominable enemy that loomed before him.
The power of the Rod of Law surrounded him like an aura in an oasis of calm. The dark god seemed to recognise this power, for Iuz came straight towards the sword-knight. Michael knew that his death was at hand.
Armed again with the Rod of Law, Michael backed slowly away from the dark god and its obelisk but held the upraised rod before him like a shield. He stared at Iuz, feeling a deep and slow burning rage, but he filtered his anger through a haze of calm detachment. This was the enemy. This was the goal he had expended so much to reach. Now he glared at the Demigod of Pain and Oppression, understanding the risks he took by attacking it but needing desperately to see this thing slain.
Michael stared upward and desperately tried to be brave. With a strange detachment, he looked full into the hate-wrenched face, distorted and leering. Iuz lumbered closer, and still the valiant knight awaited him. This was it!
The Rod of Law glowed with a silvery blue light, shining with a brilliance that was blinding in this darkest of caverns. Unlike during his battle with the demonic horde, the holy might of the vaati did not compel Michael to attack. Instead, it remained ready to respond to Michael's own will.
As the god closed with his mortal adversary, Michael wondered how human will could match the might of the awesome and terrible god.
Iuz suddenly lunged, striking again with his blade. Instinctively Michael raised his rod, knowing that if he was too slow he was dead.
The god's sword met the Rod of Law with a sound like breaking thunder. Michael reeled back from the blow, dazed by the explosion of sound, but he still stood! And Iuz, too, staggered back, shaking his demonic head in shock and confusion.
Iuz recovered first and advanced again. Michael raised the rod before him, poised to parry another lethal blow. A surge of hope dared to flow through him. He could do this...he could defeat Iuz...
Another thunderclap shook the cavern. Michael staggered beneath yet another blow from Iuzs' sword. Iuz threw back his head and bellowed his own pain, but this time Michael was ready and had struck back. Feinting beneath the huge sword, Michael cracked the gods forearm just below the elbow.
The thunderous smash of god's steel against man's artefact again wracked the Cavern of the Soul Husks, but this time Michael stumbled to one knee. His lungs strained for air as the fight steadily sapped his strength. Once again he had landed a counter blow, striking Iuz viciously, but once again despite his cries of pain the demigod showed not a sign that he had suffered injury.
Yet again Iuz pressed the attack. Before Michael could regain his feet the sword flashed down beneath the rod and ripped viciously at his unguarded stomach. Blood gushed from the wound, and Michael was knocked onto his back landing with a low grunt.
Miraculously Michael regained his feet. Without daring even to glance at the wound in his belly for fear that his innards would be spilling down around his knees, he lunged with the rod, holding it like a spear and striking a blow to Iuz's chest.
Iuz cried out but did not flinch and Michael faced another attack, barely managing to dodge aside. His evasion cost him his balance, and he sprawled once more face down in the gravel.
How long can I hold out? He wondered, forcing himself back to his feet.
Michael was staggering now with fatigue, he was light-headed from the loss of blood, and nauseous from his burns. The strain of his desperate evasion tactics threatened to bring him down.
"By the legacy of the Vaati and all that is good, give me strength!" Michael whispered in a desperate prayer, and sudden vitality flowed through his limbs. The rod glowed anew before him, but the physical form of Iuz towered above him and the god's shadow darkened the rod's light.
Iuz launched a vicious and deadly volley of rapid blows at Michael, but the sword-knight parried each with the rod, which moved more quickly than the eye could follow. He fought on pure instinct now, trusting in the rod to parry blows that came too fast for his own reactions.
He saw an opening as the god paused for a split-second. Michael hurled himself forward and swung the Rod of Law in a great sweeping arc. He had never delivered a more powerful blow. The rod seemed to sing through the air with the speed of its flight as he summoned all of its holy might behind the blow, and the heavy steel hit cracked hard against the side of Iuz's head.
Iuz roared in pain and rage, and collapsed onto his knees, his sword sinking to the gravel floor.
Michael yelled out an almost ecstatic bellow of victory as he saw his enemy finally fall to the ground, the rod was swung again in a death-dealing blow to Iuz's face. He hit the god about the head, once, twice, three times putting every ounce of strength and holy force he could muster into each of the blows.
Somehow Iuz brought his taloned hands up as if to ward off the attack, and he clawed at Michael's left eye and gouged red furrows across his forehead and down his cheeks. Michael staggered backwards, off-balance. The rod rose and beat futily at the air.
Iuz was on his feet again and he arrowed forward, his hand held out in a straight wedge, poised to deliver a neck-snapping blow.
Still, Michael was almost too quick for him. Blood flowing from his temple flooded into eyes, and the knight was all but blind, but the staff came up again, and thrust forward like a set spear, and Iuz cold-bloodedly performed the only action that could turn events at that point. He stepped forward rendering himself vulnerable to the rod.
Michael's bad eye now bulged blindly from its socket. Iuz delivered an almightly punch to the side of Michael's skull, connecting solidly. It should have ended it; Michael was so weak now he could barely stand and blind too, it still should have ended it. It did not. For a moment Michael's face went slack, and then the knight lunged, going for Iuz's gut.
Iuz leaned back and the blow missed, but the rod tangled between the god's feet. Iuz went down asprawl.
Michael was there, ready to fall on him and finish it. Iuz had lost his advantage. For a moment they looked at each other, the mortal standing over the immortal, with gouts of blood pouring from his scalp and forehead, the bad eye now closed except for a thin white slit.
Then Michael came down upon him, striking to impale the rod through Iuz's dark heart. The melee was terrible. Iuz felt the rod probe for his heart. He turned it aside, at the same time reaching out his taloned and callused thumb searching for the socket of Michael's good eye. But Michael could never hope to win if the combat remained at these close quarters and well he knew it. He had to do something quickly before...
And then the rod was lost. Torn from his grip. Michael flailed at Iuz's throat with three gauntleted punches but it was like hitting ribbed stone.
Iuz saw the knight flailing with one hand for the dropped rod, and with a jack-knifing lunge, he kicked it out of reach. Iuz knew the fight was won. He hooked one talon into Michael's right ear. The other clawed hand battered mercilessly at Michael's face, making it a ruin. Warm blood splattered Iuz's face, and he smiled, he was going to really enjoy punishing this insolent bastard.
Iuz's knee raised into Michael's chest, shattering his ribs. Again and Iuz laughed as he saw Michael's chest visibly bow under the blow. The knight gasped for breath as the splintered ends of his ribs punctured his internal organs. And still the talon gripped. There was no ear now; only a red hole tunnelling into the side of Michael's skull.
Iuz brought the edge of his fist across the bridge of Michael's nose, breaking the thin bone. Blood sprayed.
Michael's grasping, unseeing hand flailed and beat uselessly at Iuz's chest. Iuz rolled away, finding his sword, rising to his feet.
Michael came to his knees, grinning. His face was curtained with gore. His only seeing eye rolled madly in its socket. His nose was smashed over to a haunted, leaning angle. Both cheeks hung in flaps.
Iuz held his sword double handed.
Michael found his staff and stood. He double-feinted then came directly at Iuz.
Iuz was ready. The sword swung in a flat arc, severing Michael's left leg below the knee. The knight fell on his side, looking at the evil god with a lazy, defeated and unseeing expression. A tiny trickle of bloody spittle came from his mouth.
"Yield and die now Michael, you have fought well enough. Defy me further and suffer for eternity." Iuz's voice was soft and calm.
And Michael smiled. Nearly all his consciousness was gone now, and it was carrying his life with him. In his mind's eye he saw his comrades-in-arms stood behind him supporting him, with their love and their loyalty. Angriff, and Bolan were there. Ponto and Perry. Morgan and Talasek. Hudson and Rondelle. Kirshar, Bladestorm and Mizaab. And his love Leeahn. He had not come this far to fail them all now.
"You do not have an eternity with which to do your worst to me foul Iuz, your days have been numbered, so do what you will. I will not plead mercy from the Lord of Lies." Michael's brave words were spoken in a shaking voice that betrayed his conviction.
Iuz shook his head as if in pity and stepped over Michael standing astride him.
"Forsake your pretender-god, and beg me to release you from your pain." Iuz placed the point of his sword over Michael's stomach so that it rested just a few inches below his navel drawing a pinprick of blood.
"I defy you, and all yours foulest gutter-cambion!"
Iuz applied weight to the hilt of his sword and the blade sank into Michael's lower gut slowly, inch by inch.
"BEG!" Screamed the Lord of Pain.
"I DEFY YOU AND ALL YOURS IN THE NAME OF MY LORD KELANON, PRINCE OF SWORDS."
"YOU WILL SCREAM FOR MERCY I SWEAR IT!"
"I DEFY YOU IN THE NAME OF LAW AND ORDER….Nay, I do not. I defy you in the name of the Balance. And in the name of Johydee. I will defy you to my grave and beyond."
The blade sank lower and Iuz twisted the sword as it sank. Michael screamed in agony, tears flowing freely down his ruined face.
"I DEFY…..AAAAHHHHHHH! KELANON PRESERVE ME!"
The blade scraped Michael's spine before sinking into the gravel below him and still it sank, as Iuz continued to push down on the hilt twisting the blade. The pain was incredible. White hot paralysing agony that immersed every fiber of his being. He tried so hard to deny Iuz his awful satisfaction. He willed himself to die in order to escape the pain. But it would not be so. His dark torturer was the Lord of Pain, the God of Pain.
"I B…I be…"
The blade had passed almost three feet into the cursed earth beneath him. Iuz stared down the length of the blade implacably.
"Yes, Michael? Have you something you wish to say to me?"
Michael, defeated and impaled, looked up at his victor. His mouth worked soundlessly, and his vision began to fail. He knew he was dying, and he was scared, scared and ashamed of his failure, but determined to not surrender to his fear and pain.
I'm delirious and hallucinating, he thought, as he saw Mort return from the entrance tunnel. Skulking quiet as a shadow behind Iuz, who was oblivious in his victory. Mort stole towards the fallen rod.
After having seen his promised fate, Mort had had enough. This had never been his quest in the first place, he could care less for the Balance, and Istus-be-damned if he knew what he was still doing here in this forsaken plague-ridden den of gods.
Intending to draw from the deck of chaos and wish himself out of the mountain, Mort withdrew back down the passageway to a safe distance.
Iuz's voice boomed and echoed back to Mort from the Caverns of the Soul Husks.
"So you have come to kill the monster? A Paladin of Nobody and a self-pitying dragon whelp? In whose name do you dare such an endeavour?"
The sound of Iuz's terrible confidence was too much for the necromancer, and drawing the cards from their crafted-bone box his hands shook so violently that he scattered the cards across the floor of the tunnel.
"Be fucked." Mort swore dropping to his hands and knees and frantically scrambling in the dirt gathering the blank cards together.
"In the name of Kelanon, Prince of Swords and Zagyg Yragrene, Eye of Boccob!" Michael's wavering voice found its way back to where Mort cowered.
Mort was on his knees, he counted the cards, to be sure he had them all…19…20…21. One was missing. He counted again, sure that he could see no more in the dirt.
"Oh Ralishaz!" Mort cursed, and then summoned a dim light by way of magic to better search the floor of the tunnel.
Behind him came the terrific din, of an almighty combat breaking out. He quickened his search.
Suddenly a man was sat before him, cross-legged on the floor. The man appeared to be a human in his fifties, with a mane of silver hair tied in a pony-tail that reached his waist. Between his finger and thumb, the man held the missing card. He held it up before his face as if studying it.
Mort knew this man. He had met him only recently. Had, in fact, entrusted him with the safe-keeping of his left little toe. But he was so shocked to see him here, that he could not even recall the man's given name. Only his title. The Man of the Cranes.
"Hello friend, Mort," spoke the Man of the Cranes.
Mort was, for once, speechless.
"Surprised?" the Man frowned. "Fleeing?"
"Hey fuck those idiots. Everyone's dead, Michael, Mizaab and the dwarf are too, they are just too stupid to have realised it yet. And Donal's already fled. I was a fool not to have followed him as soon as we left the skip day enchantment. I'm only vexed that Donal fled, with the arrow of direction and left me alone among these idiots."
The stranger's eyes darkened.
"Donal has not fled."
"He hasn't?" Mort was unsure now, he knew not who this man truly was, but knew that he was powerful enough to know what he was talking about.
Did he come here alone? Thought Mort, through the mountain alone?
"Then is he truly dead, I doubt he could have been taken prisoner?"
"He will meet with you again one day, but you will never again meet with him I believe he will very soon be truly dead. His future is history…no you shall not see him again. But your work here is not yet done, necromancer."
They had to speak louder now to be heard above the din echoing from the Soul Husks.
"Torgrim cannot defeat Iuz. Not here, not now. But I cannot blame him for trying, since he came all this way. I always enjoyed a good combat when I was young. We are alike after a fashion, my brother and I…I digress…My brother-in-law cannot defeat the godling - but I can."
"Hush Mort, do you think we have time to parley? I have served the Balance long now, this will be my final duty, and I am keen to be about it. I come to reclaim this site. To purify it of its dark corruption, and return it to Beory. Iuz is immaterial to me and I may even allow him to live, for he has not finished his part in this play either."
"Play? Are you feebleminded? This is no mere play?"
"Dear Mort, but it is. You see this only from your own tiny perspective, you must know that there are people and indeed places (such as this one) which fit into a grand mystical pattern which Lady Istus alone sees in its fullness. Now you must return to the caverns and rescue my brother and his friends if they live, for I would not have my efforts and my sacrifices here come to naught. And then when you have done that, you may take your leave of them, if you choose, I ask only one more thing of you. That you see this delivered to the Sorcerer of the Obelisk, in Greyhawk City. He will not as yet be able to decipher it, for the language is ancient and extremely rare, but he will in the fullness of time. And he will come to understand...what must be..."
The man held out a thin scroll case which Mort took from him.
"And why should I do these things that you ask?" Mort was being petulant now, but seemed resigned to his fate.
"Do not force my hand in these matters, necromancer, I am eager to be about my business and shall not be spoken to you as such by the likes of you." The man's words were somewhat fierce, and although his hand strayed to his sword hilt, his voice remained calm.
"Understand this, Man of the Cranes," said Mort. "I am not a man easily given to serving the will of others, no matter who they are. If I am to attempt these tasks for you, then tell me in whose name I do them."
"True names impart great power over their owners, as you well now. My mission being what it is, my true name shall remain a mystery to you. It shall become known in the fullness of time, my brothers and sisters shall make sure of it. But for now other names that I have been known by shall have to suffice. Some of which you may know, some you may not. In Aerdy I have been known as Randolph Krimeah and more recently Gwydesion, the Man of the Cranes; in the Sheldomar Valley and Greyhawk City they have known me as the Gray Savant; the dwarves call me Ustnar Urdang; and the elves once knew me as Daedalian Clarendion."
Mort nodded, "I will do these things you ask of me, or at least I will attempt to."
"I knew that you would, Mort, well we both have difficult tasks ahead of us and we must be about them with due haste. I wish a troll's health to you my old friend, and may the trees show you the path."
And with that the enigmatic stranger, with so many names except his own was gone. As suddenly as he had appeared. The card he had been holding fluttered gently to the ground.
His closing reference was lost on Mort, but this was the least of his worries and far from his mind.
"I DEFY YOU AND ALL YOURS IN YOU IN THE NAME OF MY LORD KELANON, PRINCE OF SWORDS."
Michael's voice reached Mort as he began once more to approach the Cavern of the Soul Husks.
Mort could not by any stretch of the imagination have called Michael his friend – there were very few that he could have called such. But to see the torment and pain suffered by a fellow human being, and to be inflicted by a creature of such vast evil, struck within him a chord not often played.
Iuz was clearly enjoying his moment of victory, Michael was almost killed, and the dark god was drinking of his agony. Hornfel had long since bled to death, and although Mizaab's flanks rose and fell, they did so barely, and the mighty dragon was still unconscious such were the injuries he had taken from the demonic horde.
Mort picked his way carefully through the carnage of the slain demons, headed implacably for the Rod of Law which lay some ten feet behind Iuz and the impaled and imperilled sword-knight. If he was to have any chance of saving Michael, Mort was not fool enough to believe it lay with his own magic.
He may not be considered by many the good man that Michael was, although Mort would have argued that that was a matter of personal perspective, but he was certainly a man of law. And what was the rod, but a magical staff? Thought Mort, and no-one could tell him anything he didn't already know about wielding magical staves.
"I B…I be…" moaned Michael as he suffered unimaginable, unbearable agony.
Mort was only a few feet from the rod. Just say it Michael, honour-be-damned! How could you be so stubborn you would carry your ideals to your grave. Mort thought this but he could not help but be moved by the sword-knight's indomitable courage. He knew he wouldn't have lasted a fraction of the time, stone heart or no, and he knew of no man who could say he would have.
"Yes, Michael? Have you something you wish to say to me?" queried the Lord of Pain.
Mort's hand reached for the rod. His fingers closed around the warm steel, and he lifted the weapon that only Michael, Champion of Law had lifted since the elven Kinslayer Wars millennium ago. He could feel its strength, its ancient arcane magicks coursing through him. Yes, he thought, this was a mighty weapon indeed, perhaps this would be his reward his rescuing his gallant leader.
He turned towards the dark god Iuz. Iuz had his back to him as he pressed his seven foot blade into Michael almost to the hilt. Michael writhed like a fish on a hook, his severed leg gushing blood, his face a bloody ruination, nose smashed asunder, cheek bones visible through his lacerated flesh, his ear gone, his chest burned to a purple devastated mess, a hundred myriad wounds and injuries covered his body in an awful red sheen. It was a wonder that he lived at all.
"Please…" Michael sobbed. "Please, end it…"
Iuz laughed a terrible laugh, triumphant and gloating.
"And now you show your true self, you pitiful fuck! You worm!" Iuz let a thin streamer of acidic spittle run down the blade into the dying man's wounds, raising his pain to an almost divinely subliminal level.
But Mort realised what the Demigod did not. Michael was not speaking to Iuz, he had seen Mort approach, and it was to him that he spoke.
Mort had had enough, crouched behind the corpse of a large demon he quickly drew once from the deck of chaos. He dared not try to teleport the three of them out, that was too risky given the bulk and weight of the dragon, let alone the results of their last attempted teleportation in this damned region. So he wished a simple wish. And sent his thoughts thousands of miles south.
Kyrian Darkstar, Sorcerer of the Obelisk. By Boccob's Brow true summon me now! It is I Mort, summon me now! and Torgrim! and the dragon Mizaab!
There was no time now for hesitation, he would have to hope and pray to Boccob the Uncaring, and his Eye that the message found its intended. If it failed to do so, there was nothing more he could do.
(Save teleport himself away alone, he thought)
Mort leapt forward, the rod held like a lance, he yelled out an inarticulate hollering noise.
"YAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! HAI! IUZ!"
The rod took the demigod in the centre of his back. And he too was impaled. Iuz cried out with a shriek of agony that made his thunderous roars throughout the epic battle seem almost silent. Mort clapped his hands to his ears and fell over backward, deaf and stunned.
Iuz fell forward, landing across Michael and wrenching the blade around in his guts. The Rod of Law was thrust from Iuz's fat chest like an obscene limb; he did not bleed but smoke had erupted from his red flesh, and a dark ichor leaked from the grievous wound that had been inflicted.
That was all Mort saw. He felt a sudden and sickening sense of vertigo, and then within a heartbeat he lay prostrate at the foot of another Obelisk, far, far away, in another, not dissimilar cavern.
The tall and handsome elven sorcerer, stood at the foot of this new Obelisk, he hurried towards Mort.
"Mort what has happened, tell us quickly." Kyrian demanded, the pale elf was a powerful presence, and Mort realised there were others about him too.
"Me be damned, summon the others. NOW! And clerics, we need clerics!"
Kyrian returned quickly to his Obelisk, his hands caressed the smooth surface of its purple-black rock, as he summoned incredible amounts of oerthmagick, and prepared to again perform this most powerful of sorcerous rituals.
The Obelisk of Greyhawk pulsed and crackled with sorcerous energy. The air in the cavern filled with static electricity, and then beside Mort was the broken and dying form of Michael Torgrim, Champion of Law, the dark god's sword still thrust through his guts.
Olbrimmar Thunderwood, the High Priest of Beory hastened forward to heal the crippled warrior. There were gasps and cries of shock from amongst the others.
"The dragon-mage," Darkstar said to the room at large. "I cannot summon him without his true-name."
The sorcerer looked weakened already, but seemed intent to carry out a third summons if he could.
The powerfully built Lord-Mayor of Irongate, Cobb Darg, approached the Obelisk and whispered into Kyrian's ear. Although he strained to do so, Mort could not make out what was said.
Once again, Kyrian drew forth enormous reservoirs of power through the Obelisk, channelling it through his own body, and shaping it to his will. His rituals were quickly completed and the tortured and unconscious form of the dragon almost filled the cavern.
Mort climbed slowly to his feet from where he had slumped against the dragon's prostrate form, as Mizaab's eyes slowly opened.
"What – what happened? We survived?" Mizaab looked around, half-afraid that the battle still raged. Finally he stood, confused but relieved. The members of the Balance who were here, Darkstar, Cobb Darg, and Corinna were gathered about Michael's body as Olbrimmar worked feverishly to remove the sword and staunch the blood flowing from his belly, and the stump of his leg.
Mort stood back, uninterested now, he had done his part, and he studied once again the Obelisk of Greyhawk now that he could compare it to its counter-part beneath the Howling Hills. In his torn pockets, he fingered the scroll case he had been given.
In a moment, the sorcerer, as if noticing Mort's careful perusal of his prized Obelisk, walked across to him.
"You have done well, necromancer, of all the members of the esteemed Company of the Rod of Law, you alone return well enough to stand. Indeed, your appearance is tattered, and I notice you cradle your hand a little, but are you even injured?"
Mort shrugged, and glanced back in Michael's direction, but Mizaab's bulk prevented him from seeing much.
"Don't you worry about me, Sorcerer Darkstar, I can handle myself."
"They think he will live," Kyrian nodded towards the stricken knight. "In case you were wondering. Corinna is preparing to have him transported to the Vale of Sorcery, Olbrimmar and Mizaab are going too."
"Yes…yes…" Mort said, somewhat absentminded. "Never mind that, you and I have things to discuss. Important matters. Concerning the art. Sorcery even…perhaps."
Mort pulled from his robe the scroll case and waved it before Kyrian, but did not yet hand it over. He took the sorcerer's arm as he began to lead him away from the others, and out of the Obelisk chamber, up towards Kyrian's quarters where Mort and Donal had spent so much time in study in recent months.
"But first tell me Kyrian. What do you know of one called Randolph Krimeah…?"
Note: Balance, Iuz, Kelanen"