Shemeska's Planescape Storyhour (Updated 29 Jan 2014) - Page 102


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    Shemeska's Planescape Storyhour (Updated 29 Jan 2014)

    This is starting off with a prologue and back history to set up the story for folks before the introduction of the player characters. I'm late in getting this written since the campaign is a year and five months in progress already. Oh well, better late than never.




    The wind from the void contrasted bitterly as it rushed with gale force over the burning slopes of Khalas. Beneath its rage, unyielding in its face, an iron city crawled upon legs of grafted flesh over the landscape of Gehenna’s first furnace. Titanic and eternal, the Crawling Citadel had existed since before the rise of Dis in Baator and Tu’narath in the Astral. Of those cities that still existed upon the planes, only Sigil could truly claim to have utterly predated it.

    Within the depths of the city the first Ultroloth, the General of Gehenna himself sat and pondered over a great table of maps, diagrams and figures. He sat tracing out the desired path of the armies of both the Baatezu and Tanar’ri, and the required actions of the Yugoloths in order to balance both sides in the war, yet make it seem as nothing more than the eternal stalemate between the sides. Let no pattern of influence fall to the eyes and minds of the other fiends. Let them remain ignorant of the truth, and even ignorant of his existence. After all, his very hand had played a role in their very creation as the waste left over from his purification of the Yugoloths.

    Around his neck upon a chain of cold iron hung a black sapphire that gleamed with an inner luminescence, the Heart of Darkness, the artifact that he had created at the tutelage and instruction of his makers, the Baernaloths, the Gloom Fathers, the first fiends. The inner light of the Heart shed its faceted patterns and shadows across the maps before The General, the rest of the chamber a study in inky darkness, and empty except for its maker.

    With brilliant ease the prince of Ultroloths balanced armies and tugged upon the strings of power that would profit his race and provide the raw data of their grand experiment into the nature of evil that was the Blood War. This time however, something weighed upon the being of The General, a subtle but persistent tug upon his black soul. For the first time in eons he was uncertain and troubled by this. Whatever it was, it seemed oddly familiar upon his mind as if he had once before felt its touch. The General paused and pondered, his eyes shifting in patterns of malign color, with not a drop of emotions behind them in the cold and detached clinical evil that permeated the thoughts in his brain.

    In the darkness behind the General, the shadows stirred suddenly and took form, congealing rapidly into a figure that stood heads above the ultraloth prince. Milky, cataract filmed eyes gazed down upon the General as the form placed its bony hands upon his shoulders. The General did not react at the touch, seemingly unfazed and unconcerned at the being’s sudden presence.

    It lurked above and behind him, gazing silently across his work with a mad and knowing gleam in its features and its mannerisms. Despite the fact that the greatest Yugoloth since the very beginning of time stood beneath this second being, the chamber felt polluted and sullied by its presence, something more foul than its normal occupant by far.

    “You have a feeling in your brain that you cannot shove to the side, or destroy or dominate or explain. That troubles you my child, does it not?”

    The General spoke without turning to face his better, “Yes it does. And I’ve felt it once before, when I was newly formed from the Waste, when you first spoke to me. It was there then, but I never felt it again till today. Tell me, what is it?”

    The Baernaloth, Lazarius Ibn Shartalan, The Architect smiled a rictus grin down at his creation and tool. Diseased and noxious thoughts bubbled to the surface of his pit of a mind and he spoke once more, “Something stirs my little chosen one, first of your kind. Something that stirs the winds of the lower planes and forces events and processes into being in its wake. Something that would destroy you if we allowed it to do so. But that is not what we wish, and not what we have planned. You are destined for much that has not come into being yet, and neither will this deviate you from your destiny. No, it will forge it.”

    The General of Gehenna turned and looked up at this one of his makers with respect bordering upon awe, “Tell me what I must do then.”

    The Architect leered and replied as The Heart of Darkness dimmed at random, but seemingly in response to his words, “Then listen and do as I instruct. This is what you must do…”


    *****


    In a forsaken corner of Krangath, the frozen and dead 4th furnace, a bitter wind stirred the ash of a vale cut into the flank of the mount. Sitting upon the broken block of stone that was once, and would be the foundation stone of a buttress to the shattered cathedral whose ruins stood before him, Sarkithel Fek Parthis looked up from his musings. The ashes upon the ground stirred in agitation with the fevered thoughts of the Baernaloth as his dead white eyes sparkled with madness.

    “It begins, finally it begins.”

    The Chronicler, 5th of the Gloom Fathers screamed aloud into the sky, a manic bellow of exultation passing from his wasted lips and echoing out across the ravaged foundations of the city that surrounded him. The incinerated and frozen ashes of fiends and celestials alike stood around him as well with expressions of shock, panic and fear patterned across their faces, statues of solid ash all of them. Sarkithel paused in his excitement as a fit of phlegmatic coughing overtook him and several minutes later he stopped and wiped flecks of blood from his sallow lips.

    “Just as we said, just as we planned, everything will fall into place. All that remains to be done is to wait and to watch for the signs to manifest themselves. Isn’t that right?”

    The Baern chuckled to himself and gazed once more around himself to the city of ash and its dead as the wind began to rise and the ashes began to whisper back to him in fear and apprehension of it all happening again.


    *****


    At the same time deep in the hinterlands of Pluton, third layer of the Waste, the fiend once called Oinoloth, then and now called Anthraxus the Decayed seethed in displeasure. Gazing across the blighted, dead landscape of stunted trees and despair taken physical form, he felt a surge of purpose. Too much time had passed since he had stepped down from his position as Oinoloth of the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin in favor of the Ultraloth Mydianchlarus. The words that his usurper had whispered to him had, at the time, filled him with fear and shock. At their potency alone he had abdicated the Seige Malicious and surrendered his position to his lesser.

    Those words had spoken of his own doom in the shadow of Khin-Oin, of prophecy whispered by the Baernaloths, and things to come. But none of it had come to pass, not a single bit of those truths had become a reality. He had been deceived and his hunt for confirmation of those same words had come to naught, a chase after shadows, legends and half-truths. His search for confirmation had even led him to approach the deities of the Waste, those spawn of mortal belief, and to abase himself before them in hope of being granted their power as a proxy. All of them had spurned his attempts. The Godless Yugoloth had remained so.

    Anthraxus turned away from his gazing across Pluton and the Hill of Bone and towards the city of Center. There it would start and it would end at Khin-Oin when he reclaimed his throne and rightful position as lord of his race. Lies would not stop him this time. The once and future Oinoloth would come into his rightful place again.


    *****


    The tortured screams and agonized howls of the petitioners molded to form the walls of the Tower of Incarnate Pain were music to the ears of a jet black Arcanaloth who sat and smiled within a chamber at its apex. Vorkannis the Ebon looked with the reddish pink eyes of an albino, oddly contrasting with his shadowy coat, at the projected images of his guests. They were a cross-section of their rank within the Yugoloth hierarchy, the powerful and the influential, all unable to take their proper role under the yoke of the faceless masters of Khin-Oin.

    The Ebon stood and spoke, “Mydianchlarus is worried over reports that Anthraxus seeks to regain his position atop Khin-Oin. Good, that’s how it was meant to be. Anthraxus has a burning hatred now and an eagerness for allies and old connections to fall to his side. He needs to build his base of power before he can challenge his successor.”

    He sneered and bared gleaming fangs, pausing for effect as he looked at the other two looking back to him. “This is where we have our chance to play them both for fools and claim what is ours.”

    The image of the red robed, chocolate furred Arcanaloth to The Ebon’s left spoke, “You sound as if you planned this from the start, or at least know more about this than you’re willing to let on. I can certainly muster a significant force on my own, and you as well from Bubonix’s old position. We all still wonder how you managed that. But again, how can you be so certain of this?”

    Vorkannis smiled, amused at the question, “You sound so much like Larsdana when you have doubts. She would be proud of you, is proud of you. You will tell her I give my regards after our meeting, yes? Such a light upon your work she is still.”

    Helekanalaith the Keeper of the Tower of the Arcanaloths looked taken aback and once again he pondered how in the hells his compatriot knew certain things. He’d been asking himself that question for centuries now as The Ebon had climbed the ladder of power quickly and without question. It didn’t entirely make sense. For starters he’d simply walked out of the Waste without a past, at least as far as he could tell.

    “Indeed. Send me the information you promised and I’ll set the wheels into motion from my own position, only if you can assure me of certain things. And if I receive certain things. You’ve yet to ask my price for aid in this gamble, I’m risking everything.”

    The Ebon glanced away from the Keeper and towards the other image where the 3rd Arcanaloth sat and slowly preened before a mirror, her ears tilted and pivoted towards her colleagues.

    “And my most elegant Marauder, is your self imposed exile in Sigil still as enjoyable a game as ever? I know you’ve managed to advance your self more there than here within the lower planes, and you’ve enjoyed yourself to no end, despite other mitigating factors, despite other persons.” He smiled at her sneer at the last point.

    She turns and regarded him arrogantly, “You know full well what I’m capable of, but you haven’t given me the tools I asked for. You just told me what you wanted from me, and the reasons. Now tell me how to do it and with what. Otherwise I’m content enough here dodging shadows and blunting ogres and titans. And like my erstwhile superior in Gehenna,” she smiled at Helekanalaith, “I’ve not yet been told what I will receive from our little deal. I’ll grease the wheels from my end, but I only give favors in exchange for others. You better than most others should know how we work.”

    “Indeed I do, better than anyone else I assure you I know how we work.” Vorkannis glanced down and smiled inwardly before looking back to his conspirators.

    “I have a question for you both, answer me and you will have what you ask and we will set this third wheel into motion, a wheel among wheels of conspiracy, the wheel within wheels.” His eyes flashed more red than the dim corpse light of Carceri and The Ebon snarled and barked out a series of words that grated the air and caused the walls to ache and distort.

    The other two Arcanaloths looked disturbed at the incantation, “What was that, and in what language, I’m unfamiliar with it.” The Marauder said, dropping her typical pretense of vanity.

    “That my fellows, was a question. Spoken in the tongue of the Baernaloths, the Gloom Fathers. I know it well, fluently in fact.” Vorkannis smiled again.

    Helekanalaith, looking once more at ill ease replied for himself and Shemeska, “And what does it mean?”

    The light of Carceri through the window sparkled in his eyes as he answered that question with one of his own, THE question perhaps, the root of damnation, “What is it you want?”

    The two other fiends paused and answered their future lord in turn.

    And thus it all began, bits and pieces of the puzzle sliding into place across the lower planes, all part of something greater, all the players claiming to know the answers, the plots, the details and contingencies. Thus it began.
    Last edited by Shemeska; Wednesday, 29th January, 2014 at 08:50 PM. Reason: Attempting to change thread title to reflect update

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