Even The Chronicle of Secret Times fails to reveal what is scribed herein ...
By: Rasgon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)
Vecna looked up from the stack of maps of the Flanaess and diagrams of the planes of existence he had been writing on. "What is it, General?" he asked impatiently to the man who had been trying to sneak up on him.
In answer, Kas drew his blade.
Vecna looked merely disgusted. "A coup? Is that what this is supposed to be? I have more important matters to attend to. Leave me to them."
Kill him, said the sword.
Kas swung his blade in an arc, fast as lightning, silent as winter chill. It came within two fingers of the lich-king, and stopped as if it had hit the roots of the world.
Vecna released a wave of energy on his second-in-command, all ghostly teeth and lashing tails. Vecna's spell howled in ecstacy as it enveloped the warlord, penetrating his flesh and sinews and digging into his bones.
What is this? Kas silently demanded of his weapon. Have you betrayed me?
The lich's shackles are subtle, complained the sword. Kill him anyway.
Kas had already thrust the blade at Vecna a second, third, and fourth time, ignoring the magic that was eating him from inside. The fifth time he was rewarded by a satisfying crunch. Vecna backed up a step. The spells weakened. Kas smiled grimly at the thought that his own skill and craft were succeeding where the artifact could not.
Vecna had already summoned more allies, semi-transparent wraiths and ur-demons bound to him by strands of magical power. Again, Kas ignored the onslaught to concentrate on their source.
The fires in the lich's skull burned brighter. From the walls of the tower bony warriors grew like pale roots, but at the speed of elementals.
Kas paused long enough for his former master to escape into the next room. With the sorcerer gone, energy flared back into the artifact. What are you doing? demanded the sword.
Kas ignored it. Instead, he looked inward, tracing the lines Vecna had hooked in his own heart long ago, and following them to the ones that had been woven into the lich's present allies.
One by one, Kas broke them, releasing the creatures to their fates in the Underworld. He ran into the next room.
Vecna was gone, of course. Kas concentrated on the geas they still shared. Follow him, he instructed his weapon.
Suddenly they were floating in a sea of darkness and pure cold. The plane sucked hungrily on Kas' soul.
"You are persistent," Vecna admitted. "Fool."
The sword was dead again, but Kas struck with it anyway. The lich seemed to be empowered by the same force that was steadily weakening the human warrior. At Vecna's gesture, great shapes moved toward him, almost indistinguishable from the greater night.
Kas suddenly embraced his lord in a massive bear hug. No longer bleeding off into the plane's chill, his strength fed Vecna directly. Surprised, Vecna drank.
Kas allowed the lich to take most of his energy. He began to wither. As he was losing consciousness, he used the last of his awareness to tie the geas-cord the two shared into a sturdy knot.
Kas' soul transversed Vecna's body in a loop, with the lich-lord neither able to consume it nor release it. Patiently, he began to unbind the clumsy thing. To his horror, he found that Kas' soul-cord had cut off his own channels of magical power.
Enhanced by the womblike energies of the negative plane, the surfeit of power grew. Vecna's spells began to bloat like drowned worms as they struggled for freedom in his breast.
Panicking, Vecna picked faster at the strands. The energy within him continued to build.
There. Only a few more. Vecna freed the channel to one of his hands, then an eye.
Magical energy scattered across the plane, following Boccob's dragon paths to the myriad worlds. The sword of Kas fell through the breach to realms unknown, plotting revenge from the moment it hit the alien air. The open channels in Vecna's eye and hand caught some of the mana and focused it, shaping it along the patterns their owner had built in them over the millenia. They, too, landed far apart in strange lands, where they began to work their way home.
The site of Vecna's defeat burned in the negative plane like an icy stain. The powerful magic eventually attracted seekers of power, who built a citadel and tethered it to the plane of Ash.
The fates of the souls of Vecna and Kas are left for another story.