Siberys Seven: Heroes of Eberron

SEGMENT 016
“Iron Orc Gang”

Returning to the hallway the soldiers and Captain Donnerson lead the way away from the Dire Rat infested area. They round a corner and find a door that has been forced open. Cautiously they proceed through the door. Their torches giving little light through the doorway. Most of the adventurers pass through the doorway without thought except for Mania whom pauses. Allowing the light to dwindle he uses his darkvision to look over the door. If he knows anything he doesn’t share it as he then grimly returns to the group.

The group has stopped staring ahead as he walks up to Leeya whom still has her wand of magic Missiles out. Aura notes his return. "Something is coming our way.” Whispers Leeya.

And as if on cue they hear a sudden rush as zombiefied orcs rush them from a dark exit. The soldiers squeeze together allowing no room through their tower shields. It stops the orcs in their tracks. Leeya fires off a round of missiles even as they reach the wall. Mania smirks. “At least I think I know where we are in Undersharn. That is the Iron Door Gang orcs. We must be near the Iron Door Stairway (42)and on the third level.”

Not caring in the least, about Mania’s description or Donnerson’s wall tactics, Bora, Vander and Incarnum breach the wall and plow into the six undead gang members. Bora kills one as she steps through with her falchion. One orc strikes a soldier and levels him into a dying heap with the single blow of his axe. Dura watches knowing she must hurry to save him and steps up to shield the man.

Leeya lets out her wand again which strikes multiple targets. Most of which drop with smoldering holes in them. Mania gives a sarcastic silent clap at the well struck magical blast. Bora takes out the last one by cleaving it in two (max dam). Dura goes to work on the injured man.

Leeya turns and the tip of her still glowing wand is raised to Mania’s face. “WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!?”

“My talents are not very useful against… well zombies.”

“Then why are you here?” she says in anger.

He says nothing but thinks solemnly about it as Aura looks on.
 

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SEGMENT 017
“Surrounded”

Mania’s attention snaps into focus as he hears something coming up from behind the group. “More coming from behind.”

“And from the front.” says one soldier

A dozen or so undead stumble into the limited light given by the soldier’s torches. More can be seen coming through yet another entrance to this room.

“How many are down here?!?” Captain Donnerson says out loud to himself in a failed attempt to not show his fear. “We are surrounded!”

“Then we fight.” Says Vander waving his Falchion slowly side to side trying to determine where the most powerful force is coming from.

Leeya opens up the battle with her wand once more. These creatures take the bolts of energy and remain standing. “Aw Crap”, comments Mania as he sees the holes in the advancing creature, I knew that girl. We….. aw crap.” He readies himself for the group coming from behind. Aura moves next to him as they flank the doorway hoping to use the frame for partial shielding and to bottleneck this group.

The zombie-like creatures and soldiers trade blows even as the rest of the group moves up.

Uncertain of how effective the magic missiles will be, Leeya puts away her wand and pulls out some spell components. A soldier goes down by a terrible slam that nearly knocks the shield away. Dura tries to reach him but finds the battle is keeping her from being able to do anything. The second group of undead officially ht the group. The third is coming into Mania’s darkvision. “Are you ready?” Aura merely nods.

A ball of fire erupts within the second mass of undead. Leeya waves her arms about and the ball rolls over and over one zombie burning it. “Hold the line!” screams the Captain as the adventurers begin to finally dismantle a few creatures. Dura, frustrated by it all, grabs her medallion and concentrates on it. Reaching deep inside for the power of her belief, she opens her eyes and raises the medallion in her arm and shouts loud and clear- “Begone!” and several zombies fall back and crumble.

More undead take their place.

Captain Donnerson pulls back one of his downed men before the new zombies press forward. The heroes hack and slash into the advancement while the soldiers try to contain them with their crowd control shields and tactics. Taking a deep breath, Dura meditates once more and commands the undead to “Begone!” and more fall back and / or topple over.

Meanwhile, Mania and Aura continue to hold back the third group of undead. They are just barely holding them outside of the room as they try to force their way through the ten-foot wide opening. Mania’s weapons are poorly suited for the job on hand. One of the zombies gets a vicious hit in on the paladin but she shrugs it off to hold the horde back. She knows that if Mania and herself fail, the others will most likely also fall, as they will be completely surrounded from all sides with no exit. Then it happens- a zombie gets past them!

Bora screams out in rage as two beams of light streak out of the darkness of a hallway and strike her. Now with a new focus, she shifts her attacks towards that hallway. Another series of magic missiles escape the darkness and strike at her. Now with four smoking injuries she pushes through the horde and charges foolishly into the dark. Donnerson screams out for her to return but stops in mid sentence as he notes that Mania and Aura are beginning to become overwhelmed. “We need reinforcements! In the rear!”

Incarnum revolves around and stalks towards the threat and Vander finishes off another zombie before rushing over. Leeya’s magical flaming sphere covers their retreat, as it burns more undead in its path. The whole time Leeya is watching Bora as she charges away. She sees a thick blanket of webbing suddenly appear and grow at the entrance of the hallway where the magical attacks came from.

She commands the sphere towards the hallway burning down undead as it goes. Bora, knowing these are not normal webs curses and allows the fire to remove the webbing. Risking being burnt she then charges ahead and finds… nothing. “That twice damned mage is pissing me off!” she says aloud to herself with loathing and anger.

She turns and returns to the main group hoping to help them by destroying more undead. At this point, half of the group is either down or aiding downed persons. The others are cutting up the last of the undead.

“We can’t take this much longer. At least not my men. We need to find the source and quickly.” Says Donnerson grimly.
 

SEGMENT 018
“Glyder Freetime”

Glyder Freetime (43) was running late for class again. Professor Graves (44) would certainly punish him this time. It was his third time this month he was late. It wasn’t his fault he envisioned in his mind. His parent’s asked him to watch over their shop since there was rumors of a riot in the Morgrave University (45) area, which was close to Cassan Bridge (46) where the store was.

As he neared the University Glyder saw a mass of fellow students looking over the rails of a bridge overlooking the areas below the school. Getting onto his tiptoe-toes (he is a Gnome) he could see dozens of soldiers and what looked like clerics of the Silver Flame (47) gathering below. Maybe there was a riot but why the Clerics then?

“What happened?” he asks another gnome that shared one of his history classes. “I have heard of a drug raid and also something about zombies. I figure it is the Flame starting up trouble to bolster its numbers in Sharn.” She replies.

He takes one last peek then moves on. A new vision- late because of arrested zombies against the Silver Flame. Nahhhhh…. Undead in Sharn. The professor would never believe it.

As the school’s magical bell rings 10 times marking the beginning of classes he walks quickly by a statue in the park. Another gnome whom looks like a possible House Sivis carrier lightens up when Glyder walks by.

“Hoowie! Are you Glyder Freetime?!?” he calls out as he steps away from the statue towards Glyder.

“….yes….” Glyder says quickly wondering why a House Sivis courier would be waiting for him at the Statue. “What can I do for you?”

“This scroll has been in our office for two years now. The delivery instructions were Glyder Freetime, Morgrave University by the statue in the School Park at exactly the chime of the 10th bell. Also said you would be in a hurry but needn’t worry… What do you think it is?” The curious and nosy Gnome asks.

“I don’t know.” He turns the scroll around to look at the writing on the outside. His jaw hangs wide open.

“What is it? I hope its not bad news.” Says the carrier.

“This…. This is my…..” Confused, Glyder looks at the other gnome again. “Who sent this again?”

“I don’t know. It was placed in our office’s care two years ago.” His eyes wild and excited. Obviously, there was something very special about the writing that he missed.

“This is…. Well it’s MY hand writing.”
 

SEGMENT 019
“The Silver Flame”

Sir David Sensor Williamson the third (47) was not impressed by what he had seen in Sharn thus far. As a senior officer of the Silver Flame’s Nighthunter (48) division he was called on to investigate and aid in any way he could the undead incursion that was taking place in Sharn. Early reports suggested the undead were recently created and unleashed from the sewers below ground or at least in the lowest levels of the towers.

He always tried to avoid Sharn. He had many bad memories here including the deaths of his entire squad of nighthunters against vampires about twenty years ago. Some of those people he cared for greatly. Now however, he was second in command of the division and had returned. The officers tried to contain the undead but had little luck. There were reports of adventurers aiding are the containment and search of the cause. Necromancers. Bad group.

Looking at a list of people involved, he paused at one name. “Elderich?” he says to himself. A bored aid says, “Yes. Dura . Kim Elderich’s grand daughter I believe. She and several others are below ground now. They have a local helping them. Strange chap. Well liked by the ladies I hear.”

“Men like that deserve to be in the sewers. Very well. Let’s see what else the locals have done.” The two gleam as their polished full plate armor reflects the breaking light of the day.

A woman dressed in black leather wearing a hood and dark colored glasses stops them as they enter the epic center. “May I see your identification gentlemen?” Her psionic mind is already washing over their surface thoughts. Before even opening their packets she knows they are Williamson and Drossen (49) of the Night Hunters. She returns their Ids without a second thought. “My associate will be here shortly to help you with your observations. If you require additional information merely ask him.” And she turns and leaves.

Before Williamson can make a rude comment a youngman with dark hair seems to appear out of no where. “I am here to aid you in any way I can.”

“I wish to see where this started. We have on record something similar to this “green mist” that created undead like conditions in our recent archives. (See Creation Schema- Starvos Island around Seg 170) (50) We have never found a proper cure once the magical disease has turned one into an undead but with further research here, we may find the cure.”

“I will push for any fundraising required to do that Flame.” Says a deep but merry voice behind them. The three of them turn. No introduction is required but gives one anyway. “My name is Kim Elderich. I want to help.”

“Sir! Sir! Then you are the one I want to speak to!” calls out a quiet and somewhat frantic voice. The four of them turn again. A frail looking gnome with dark wavy hair and sideburns rushes to them. He has a scroll in his hand and several security officers appear to be chasing him down.

“I have this for you and I would like some answers myself. My name is Glyder Freetime.”
 

SEGMENT 020
“Not All Danger is Undead”

“Umph!” grunts the soldier as he forces open the old door. Peering in from the doorway, the man looks in and after seeing no obvious danger, he moves into the hallway. The other soldiers, Donnerson and the adventurers file out from the spiral stairway. The hallway goes to the right and left. They go left and find a body of a young man dressed for going out for the night. Dura looks over his body suggests he was trampled to death. Moving past him they find an exit going up. Donnerson knows this ladder system. If they climbed it would bring them within two blocks of Adventurer’s Home.

Going back they pass over the body and stairway until they reach a small room with a table, some chairs and stacked boxes and barrels. “That ladder system is often used by city utility workers. This is one of their storage rooms. Looking first at the cards left on the table, Mania checks out the room. He goes to the barrels and moves them away from the wall. “What are you looking for?” asks Donnerson.

“The floor has scratches on it but the barrels have dust and cobwebs. Scratches are new. I suspect there is a secret door here somewhere.” And with that he looks over his shoulder and gives a mischievous smile to Leeya and pushes on the wall. An audible click is heard and the crate that held everything slides out revealing a small hole in the wall. Aura steps up to cover him as he goes to enter the new exposed doorway. “Relax, there is nothing to worry abaaaaaaa!” yells the rogue as the floor gives way throwing him and the paladin into a new dark area below.

Mania hits the ground below with a dulled thud as there is water here also. The paladin falls next and barely misses falling on him.

“Damned trap door!” (52) Sputters Mania as he begins to peer around into the utter darkness. Aura is unsteady as she stands up. The fall has struck her senseless. “Do you hear something?” she asks.

“Shhhhh. Yeah. In the corner… beyond those pillars…..”

“You can see?” She asks.

“Yes and now shut up and pick up your blade. That noise sounds like… either a strange language or… (together they say it- ) a spell!”

Even as the paladin stands up and prepares for a battle a glowing spear materializes next to her and threatens to attack. “Spiritual Spear!” she exclaims.
Mania moves ahead in the water. Something is behind the pillars and…. the sarcophagus? Aura calls out as the spear strikes her. A sudden burst of light from behind Mania startles him and reveals the creature they face to be a large snake or snake – like creature. Mania asks if Aura is all right but refuses to look back away from the creature that is using the pillars and other objects as shielding walls from his possible attacks.

Having used her Lay on Hands, Aura now drives away the magical weapon.

Above her, she can hear the others far above calling out about a rope and a sudden burst of light from below. Aura wonders how much longer she can hide her secret from them as she looks down at where the spear had punched through a seam in her armor.

Mania tries to dodge multiple beams of light that suddenly arc from behind the pillar as the creature moves about. The beams strike him as they follow his unnaturally quick movement. “Damned magic” he grumbles.

Aura charges forward splashing through the dark. Mania decides enough is enough and rushes around the pillar and stabs out and luckily hits the creature. Neither hears Vander curse as he is now climbing down a rope commenting on how he is missing the fight. Bora urges him on as she swings over the edge and begins to slide down after him.

Aura is chased and stabbed at again by the magical weapon. A small glow appears for a split moment as the spear hits her. Mania misses the creature as the creature tries to bite him. It also misses. Aura surprises the creature and hits it hard with her weapon.

Vander drops and side steps to clear space for Bora. “Where the they?” he snarls under his breath. The splashing and sounds of combat are echoing within the chamber. Bora drops with a loud splash behind him and also looks for them. Dura slides over the edge to climb the rope and falls! She catches the rope before falling the entire way. She hopes no one saw that.

Knowing the time to flee is upon her, the serpent creature slithers onto the stone coffin and out of the water looking to escape. Between her climbing and watching for Mania, the Paladin strikes her again. The spear stabs at her again and the blunt side strikes her.

Dura tries to point out where to go as her dark vision (blurred by the overhead light) as she slides down. Vander goes to the wrong corner. Bora charges up and strikes! The creature hisses and drops off the stonework into the water.

Bora looks down at it. “Naga” (53) and spits on it.

Mania looks over to Aura. “Are you alright?”

“I am fine.”

Mania notes the damage to her armor and how some sort of under lying body skin is covering up the damage under the armor. It resembles the color of her eyes.

Searching the water covered room they find a hole in the corner in the direction the Naga was attempting to flee. Very little else is here.

“Comon’ we have to find that source of the green mist.” Advises Leeya.
 

SEGMENT 021
“Large Monstrous Spiders and Aura’s Secret Revealed?”

Continuing on the survivors of Donnerson’s city guard and the adventurers come onto a large locked door. After a few minutes of searching, Mania locates a lever and opens the door. It leads to a long hallway thick with webs. Carefully they go through the webbing and this leads to a huge room also thick with webs. As they go in they discover it has several monstrously large spiders (54) also. The spiders attack immediately.

Leeya starts with her magic missile wand. Vander strikes at a charging spider. One spider bites Bora while the others continue to move in. The others move up and fan out. Donnerson covers Leeya. The spiders do poorly against the adventurers.

From here there are many doorways leading out. Deciding to speed things up, the group split up enough to look briefly into each exit.

Mania and Aura go to the furthermost exit. Mania notes that Aura seems disappointed he tagged along.

“Everything okay?” he asks her.

“I am… fine.”

“Sure? You took some hits with that Naga.”

“Weary. I am merely tired. There have been some tough battles.”

Mania watches her and can not read her well. Her helmet blocks much of her face. Her strange almost glowing eyes are difficult to look at. “It is me isn’t it?” He asks.

“No.”

“You don’t trust me.”

Aura sighs and leans against a wall. “You are….. an enigma to me. You are not like them. You are different.”

“Like them? The group?”

“No. Like most undead.” She says as she turns and stares directly at him scrutinizing his every movement and reaction.

Mania remains silent. What can he say. Feeling a bit on the defensive- “…and you? What was with that bright flash of light when you were stabbed?”

“Magic effect. It was nothing.”

Mania stares at her frowning. “I’ve seen most magical protection spells used on armor. This was different. The light…. Shot out of the hole made.”

Silence

“Look….. if don’t want to talk that is fine but don’t be all preachy with me if you are also holding back secrets.” He turns his back to her, patiently and with hope , he waits for an answer.

“I….. I do not know who I am. I am …. Not human.”

“oh reeeeal-ly. I never would have guessed.” He says sarcastically as he turns. He quickly regrets it. Aura is sagging against the wall, her shoulders shaking. She appears to be crying. “Hey…. I…. It’s okay. Really. It’ll be okay.” He comes over to her feeling her pain and her need.

He holds her for a split moment before she suddenly stiffens up. “Enough! I am not a weak woman. I….. stand back. I need to heal myself and I do not know what it will do to you.” She pulls on her leather and metal plated glove revealing a green swirling delicate hand (55) . “Please….go.”

Mania stares at the hand for a moment. “Is it…. Alive?”

“In a sense. The monks gave it to me. Now please…. Go. This may hurt you and I can see now…. That you don’t deserve that.”

Frowning again in agitation but knowing he will lose any confidence he has gained from her if he persists he turns. “I’ll be just outside.” And he leaves.

She holds up her green hand before her face. She reaches down to a wounded area and the green surrounding the area melts back revealing a bright glow. The green peels back from her hand also adding to the glow. She touching the wound and meditates for a moment. The wound is sealed and the green skin melts back into place covering her body completely (except for her eyes) which glow gently. This too fades away and she stands up.

This is the time she has ever revealed her secret, no matter how small the amount of it, to a person before. And the person is no even human himself. He is not truly undead either. He is ….something else. Maybe the advice of coming to Sharn was correct. Maybe the oracle was true with other things also. Maybe there is…. Another… an opposite……
 
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SEGMENT 022
“Disaster”

After regrouping, they find nothing within the rooms that connect to the spider room. There remains one last door. The door is covered with webs and large enough to allow three horses through side by side.

“Allow me.” Mania says as he walks to it. He scraps off much of the web and inspects it for traps. Finding nothing, He and Vander pull at it, as it begins to open Mania’s eyes shoot wide open! Close it! Close it! However there are weights and counter weights he missed that as designed to aid opening the large and heavy door and it swings open easily with the two pulling on it.

Thick green mist sweeps and spills into the room and immediately covers the entire party!

They have been exposed to the zombie creating gas!

Aura, a paladin, yells for everyone to hold their breaths and retreat. The warforged stands there feeling helpless. He doesn’t breathe but can not do anything for the others. Donnerson’s surviving guardsmen drop to their knees coughing. Donnerson is next as the adventurers attempt to move away.

Mania, Aura and Incarnum remain upright. They are immune to disease or do not breathe. They are safe. As and after thought before passing out Donnerson realizes he should have hired Warforged to do this dangerous mission.

Aura and Incarnum go to everyone whom in on their knees or passed out. Mania looks at the scene. A look of frustration then anger crosses his face. He turns his back on the group and charges into the thick mist.

The mist is so thick that even his supernatural sight has difficulty seeing. The door leads to a short hallway, which he goes through. It leads to a drainage room. Gates sit at each end, one down, one missing several bars. In the center- three pots of fluid that the vapors seem to emit from. He rushes back to the guards and strips them of anything they had planned on using to destroy the source and goes in. Aura watches but concentrates on the group.

Studying what he has, he decides to place everything within the room next to the pots and steps away. He lights a torch and tosses it into the room and hurries out. There is a fiery explosion of green and black that destroys the fluid and the gas in the immediate area seems to dissolve and rain. The rain flows down the gutters and deeper into the sewers of Sharn.

Mania was thrown into the wall and groans as he feels his shoulder pop back into place and an arm realign itself before mending. He feels very bad. He feels… hungry.

Before him, most everyone is beginning to sit up. Looks of horror and acknowledgement on their faces. They have been exposed to the mist.

They will die or worse become undead.
 

SEGMENT 23
“A Joint Effort to Save Them All”

“Any word from my Granddaughter?” Asks the concerned dwarf.

“No sir. Perhaps Lady Nadia could…” begins the dark lantern agent but is cut off quickly by Elderich.

“NO. I mean no thankyou. I am sure they are okay.” Answers Kim Elderich. He is well aware of Nadia’s psionic abilities and doesn’t want her getting involved in his affairs when he is so close (56). No, he will find answers elsewhere.

Earlier, a strange gnome named Glyder Freetime came to him. He held a scroll dated two years ago that was given to him this morning. It had a list of ingredients and people to gather. The ingredients were not inexpensive and the people to be contacted were not the easiest to reach. In truth, except for Breland’s government, Kim Elderich may have been the only one with the resources and will to do so. 100,000 gold had been used already and now the gathering of specific people was nearly complete. There were members of the Dark Lanterns, The Trust (57), Silver Flame and specific doctors and professors. When asked, Glyder had no idea what this was about but Elderich noted the lie in his eyes. He knew more than he knew. It didn’t matter. His granddaughter was caught up in this event. He was going to see it through.

Then he was going to Xen’drik to retrieve the Creation Schema.

The strangest person and hardest to bring about was a member of House Ghallanda. Siedon d’Ghallanda (58) This Dragonmarked member of the house of hospitality was in the Shadow marches (59) exploring an area said to have a magical tree. Even stranger, the instructions specifically said for him to bring back a few leaves from the tree. It took several favors with House Ghallanda and House Orien to get him here and as quickly as we did.

They were in a lab looking at the scroll given me and hard at work. The Silver Flame was casting various blessing spells on the workers themselves. It was very unorthodox. Then it was done. Then came the House Lyrandar (60). They were to create a rainstorm that was centralized to the area of the mists and drown out the mists.

The rain was just beginning. This must mean they have finished the formula. “Where is she?!?” he grumbles out loud.

Then he hears a commotion. Looking there are people rushing to a grate leading down. “Get the Silver Flame NOW !!!” he commands and three separate runners leave him to locate the clerics.

As he arrives there are several guardsmen men on the ground. They are curled up and not looking good. Their skin is pale with patches of yellow. They were exposed to the mists!

Slowly the members come up. Leeya, her eyes are yellow and her hair wiry, Vander, gasping for air and not doing well. Bora, also with yellow skin, insists on the others to be seen first. Dura is next and seems fine (passed). Donnerson finally comes up. He is obviously infected. His skin is pale, his eyes yellow and he stares at the hands that help him up.

There is no sign of Mania.

The Silver Flame members begin their enchantments on the survivors. Some of them, especially Donnerson, look to be in pain. He requires being held down. Shortly all is calm. The rain still falling. It is a driving rain, designed to wash away the horrors that were set onto the city of Sharn.

Hundreds were infected and killed in the past few days. Innocent people.

“You should go and talk to her.”

“Huh? Oh you Glyder. And just what are you talking about our mystery man.?” Kim looks at the gnome trying to figure him out. Looking at him, the gnome seems… older and more mature somehow…

“She loves you and wants your acceptance. Go to her …. Tell her you care.” And with that the Gnome turns and walks away to Kim’s right heading deeper into the city.

Kim ponders this for a moment. There is something about that gnome that he both likes and distrusts. He looks up and far away, on the other side of the adventurers he can see Glyder watching within the crowd. “How….” Kim begins to wonder how he got that far to his left when Nadia approaches him.

“There is something to him. A secret.” She answers after habitually scanning his mind for thoughts.

“Out of my head Mindbender!” shouts the dwarf as he raises his mental shields. “I want to see my granddaughter now and no assassin spy mindbender is going to stop me.” And thus he storms off very quickly away from her. She watches him with renewed interest.
 
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SEGMENT 24
“Aftermath”

One day has passed.

The six adventurers rest under the watchful eye of the halflings of Jorasco and the Silver Flame. Donnerson and his men are given a leave of absence as well. Though not treated as city heroes they also are given recognition for doing their jobs so well. A moment of silence has been ordered for the dead and grieving by King Boranel (61). Not wishing to miss an opportunity for recognition and a reason to throw a large party Celyria ir’ Tain (62) has begun setting up a party for the heroes of Sharn. Strangely enough, Kim Elderich has become very quiet during this time. Most would expect him to try to steal some of the spotlight but has not.

Epilogue one: Elderich Family

Dura is caught day dreaming when there is a knock at her door. She refuses to answer it as there have already been three reporters and several florists that day already. No, instead she is day dreaming about the recent events. The undead. The foe behind it. Her new friends.

So caught up in her inner thought, she doesn’t hear the click of a key in the lock. The opens and closes quietly and it is only when a ring covered pudgy hand softly touches her arm. “AHHHH!” She exclaims.

“Hello gran’ daughter. I did not mean to startle you.” Kim Elderich walks to a chair near by and stares at, as if deciding if it was safe to sit in it or if it may present some sort of unseen danger. “You have been busy.”

“Yes Gran’ Kim. It has. What brings you here?”

“I own this apartment. Do I need a reason to come to it?”

“No. I’m just….. This isn’t like you. Is there something wrong? Do you need help?”

He sighs and sits down gently allowing his wide bulk to slowly sink into the Aundairian made chair. “Hmmmm Comfortable.”

Dura watches him, her eyes begging for him to get on with it. Though she knows he loves her, he has always been distant. He was always too busy with his schemes of grandness to ever take time to see her…. Unless he needed her help. “What brings you to Sharn then?”

“I…. Nothing much. I am merely traveling about looking into my various projects and other activities I fund.”

“Anything interesting?”

He fidgets briefly like a child caught his hand in the cookie jar then smiles. “My Kyber Crawler is almost complete. I am looking for a crew to act as guards to the professors that I have employed to travel within it.”

Here we go she thinks to herself. He wants her to go and watch over his project while he does something of more interest to him.

“I unexpectedly bumped into an old friend of mine. She was attacked by the diseased people but another group protected her. I have asked them to go. They agreed.”

“That is wonderful gran’ Kim. But you didn’t come here to tell me that.”

“No. I did not,” He looks at the plants from Talenta Plains including the cacti from the Blade Desert he bought just for this apartment, “.…. may not see you again. At least for a long time.”

Dura listens. He has a habit of not being in touch for months at a time. She remains patient for him to say whatever he believes he needs to.

In a rush and with a brightness in his eyes that startles her Kim quickly says, “ I am on something big! Possibly the biggest thing I have ever researched and sought to attain.”

“Tell me more. Is there danger involved?”

“Danger…. Yes. Many groups seek the same items and I fear look to misuse the artifacts. I have a group seeking it now. They will need to go to Xen’drik. I…I will be going to Xen’drik also to join them.” He waddles his large frame to the edge of the chair and holds out his arms in a pleading manner. “There is so much I want to tell you. So much I must tell you. But so little time.”

“Then begin with the most important.”

“I would like you to travel back to our ancestral home. I want you…. To know more about your family…. Your clan… your history.”

Silence

“I know enough already. We are it. We are the last of the Elderich family.”

Kim can not look at her in the eye suddenly. A forlorn look washes over his face. “Please promise me you will go.”

She thinks about it. She thinks about the new unwanted fame she has in Sharn. “Very well gran’ Kim. I’ll go.”

A wide broad smile crosses his face. His eyes sparkle more than the ruby earring he wears. He gets up and begins to leave. With his hand on the latch to leave he stops and pauses. He thinks about what the strange gnome said to him. “There is something else I need to say. Something more important than even that. No matter what I have done in the past, present or even in the future… I… I love you Granddaughter. You made me proud yesterday.” That said he abruptly leaves.

Dura stares at the door and wonders what has brought this on. What has he gotten himself into now and what awaits her in the Mror Holds.

Epilogue Two: Mania’s Curse

The sewer is quiet.

The undead are destroyed. The living are hiding. And the others…. Are also staying out of harms way.

Mania is tired. He has been burned, stabbed, crushed, poisoned and many other things in the past few days. He is hungry.

In the past he has fed mainly on vermin. Rats mostly. Occasionally a street worker or the such. But now he wants to feed. He left the group mainly because his urges were becoming stronger. He …. Was ashamed of this. He has never wished he were normal more than now. But of course if he was normal he could not have destroyed the mist creating the undead horde.

He searches for a specific secret passageway. One used by the slavers of Darguun. He hates them and has decided to feed on some goblinoids.

But then what?

Epilogue Three: The evil behind it all

The dark figure gazes at his crystal globe. His black hands and fingernails play over the smooth surface of the glass globe looking at half- vampire as he hunts down a fleeing hobgoblin. The images twist and churn an apartment appears. The mage is here. She is talking to a dark clad man. They seem to be fighting then stop and hold each other. She is crying and sobs onto his chest. The look on his face is dark and filled with anger.

“So much confusion. So much Chaos. It is a shame they do not work for me. I know not how they came up with a means to neutralize my magics so quickly but it provides excellent entertainment. The rare sweet emotions….. the uncertainty… the mayhem.”

The completely black thin and gaunt figure leans back into his chair. An eerie smile crosses his face. New plans and schemes cross his mind. Many of them involve these seven heroes.
 

SEGMENT 25
“Celebration”

The flying coaches slowly rise from the Central Bridge region of Sharn and rise towards Skyway a large floating island where the rich of the rich live to look down on the rest of Sharn. People shout for joy and appreciation as the parade progresses. Within the several cars are politicians, city workers, nobles and Dragonhouse members looking to bask in the glory of victory. Within decorated cars are the royal coaches surrounded by law enforcing Sky Mages (63) Also are cars with Donnerson and some of his men and finally the six adventurers that have been played up as the heroes of the city.

From down below, a seventh figure watches them. Still shaken from giving into his baser needs, Mania waves and smiles along with the crowd. His thoughts are his and his alone.

They spiral around Morgrave University going under some bridges and over others. Magical lights and effects are given off in signs of gratitude. Then finally the parade shoots up to Skyway. They level out over the southern section referred to as Azur and travel north to the section referred to as Brilliant. The Tain Manor is the final destination. Royalty and the rich of several nations have already arrived to greet the heroes and watch the spectacle. Some hope to enter the “Heroes Ball” even though it is an invite only dance and celebration.

Hovering above the world, the hero’s car awaits its turn to disembark. From here, they can see all of Sharn’s tower tops and the Dagger river. Sail ships are anchored off shore in the Hilt. It seems like the entire world is celebrating. So why are the heroes so glum?

Vander watches the griffin hover with a guard on its back. He wonders if the creature understands any of this. Bora looks out and sees a flying mage whom smiles at her and waves. He tries to mouth something to her. I…. Love….. then some of the Sky Mages arrive to pull him aside and back to the mainland below. She smiles and thinks how this is nothing like her home within the narrow valleys of the Demon Wastes. Leeya is smiling ear to ear. She enjoys the attention, the glamour and the regalness the events. But those close to her know she is in deep thought. Aura is aware of it and knows what troubles her. Her husband returned from a mission for the state. He was not happy with her actions. She is uncertain what to do or even if she is expected to do anything. But anything is better than this display she is expected to go along with. Both she and Vander refused to give up their armor. They merely had it cleaned and shined. Dura absent-mindedly waves to the ground as the air coach begins to lower itself. Her grandfather has never been so…. Open to her. What prodded him into talking to her? Why was it so important for him to speak to her. Why go home? And Incarnum.… No discernable emotion can be seen behind his glass eyes and metal face. He watches and absorbs it all. The whole time wondering how mankind has made it so far in life.

They finally reach the red carpet where the ships are disembarking. The Tain Manor is large with shifting images of past events magically portrayed on stain glass. Everything here speaks of power and wealth. Even the earth for the potted plants was rumored to have been flown in from the Talenta Plains. The pots are from primitive tribesmen of dark skin (64) that live in Xen’drik. As rehearsed, each person waits until the elf calls out a name with a quick and wondrous depiction of his or her role in the Undead Epidemic. Mania is left out.

The six of them slowly walk down the carpet to a gauntlet of people. Each hold out their hands to shake and give a quick word of thanks. The people are ambassadors, Dragonmarked house leaders and politicians that were not invited to the party.

As they enter the main building they walk down a hallway with portraits of past Tain family leaders. Each of the half-elves looks regal and all-powerful and confident. Incarnum wishes to study each painting and read the blurb below giving the proper name and notable deeds. After his third one Vander and Bora take him by each arm and lead him down to double doors. Leeya takes a deep breath and forces a smile on her face. The others try but can not pull it off. None of them consider themselves to be heroes. They went about the sewers like children and nearly got themselves killed. Mania saved them. He and Kim Elderich’s money and influence.

They can just hear a caller on the other side giving new descriptions of the heroes and their deeds. Then the doors creak open and a thunderous roar of approval and cheers come rushing out. The caller motions for them to step into the ballroom. Hundreds of people, all the most respected and richest within Sharn and Breland are there wearing their best dresses and suits. A live band of elven musicians play a marching tune. Halflings from Ghallanda prepare food and drinks with little notice. A large table has been set up where the Tain family would normally sit. Instead, they are standing and also applauding the arrival of the heroes.

The heroes arrive at the table and turn and wait for the final guests. Royalty.

The King has not come but his son has as well as some wards. He is applauded also but nearly as much as the six adventurers.

Discreetly, Celyria ir’Tain places a magical leaf into her mouth. After letting it dissolve into her mouth and onto her tongue she waves for silence. It comes slowly. Then with a magically boosted and commanding voice she welcomes one and all. Most will forget what she had to say by the next day but will remember how charmingly wonderful and poetic it was. Then she herself sits and all begin to murmur amongst themselves. Vander nearly backhands a halfling that thought he could move his helmet from the table. He doesn’t even ask Aura for her helmet that she still insists on wearing. The halflings are especially uncertain at what to do for the warforged. He doesn’t eat nor drink. He has no concept of comfort beyond not taking damage. They decide to merely smile at him and concentrate on the others.

The food consists of the best from the countries of Breland, Aundair and Karrnath. The Dragonmarked house of entertainment- House Phiarlan (65) provides a show that even brings a smile to Vander. This show ends and there is time for mingling and dancing while the next show prepares to give its performance. As expected, many are drawn to the table of Tain to speak with the family and the heroes. Guards allow some but few to approach the table.

When they do they are introduced. A tall woman of possible elven blood and a tall elf approach the table. They are introduced as Mistress Muy (66) and Major Tunnard Gray (67). They are polite and gracious to the heroes but Aura is still bothered by them. She senses something is incorrect, unnatural about them. Risking insult, she speaks up.

“Major. For an elf you seem to have a very Karrnathian name. It is most unusual.”

The elf turns slowly in a way that is intimidating. “I was found as a baby by a Karrnathi adventurer within the jungles of Xen’drik. I take no offense at taking his name when I knew not what my birth name was.” He explains how he should be going, there are others to see and excuses himself. The woman he travels with also excuses herself.

“Who was THAT?!?” Dura also laughs out loud at their ridiculous manner.

“If I may, that was Major Tunnard Gray. He is very rich and well set from his sales of dragonshards from Xen’drik. The woman I have seen a few times. I hear she is… promiscuous.” A halfling server meekly adds.

“Good thing Mania did not come then.” Adds Bora thinking on how she had seen him eyeing the young women at the tavern several nights ago when their lives were much simpler.

Another few persons of nobility introduce themselves to the heroes including Vurry d’Cannith (68) whom is quite curious about the crystal nodes that protrude from Incarnum’s outer shell. He asks more questions than the warforged feels comfortable with. He himself is uncertain at how he came to be. Finally the music stops and the dancers and various people return to their seats. Celyria once more speaks up magically. She introduces the next entertainment. There is a hushed excitement throughout the crowd. The heroes look at each other in bewilderment. They have never heard of the Muse of Moonshadow (69). Hearing also the word Valenar (70) they expect an elf to arrive. They could not be any more wrong.

The doors open and out comes a brightly colored woman. She appears to be part snake, part bird and part elf. The scales and feathers have a blue-green glitter or sheen to them. Her skin has an exotic copper tone color to it, which also seems to shine or glow gently. She wears little to cover her chest and body but carries a golden harp. Her large wings gently flap keeping most of her body off of the marbled floor as her tail topped off with feathers hypnotically slithers to and fro. Magical balls of light follow her across the floor as the rest of the lights dim within the ballroom. She stops about thirty feet from the table of the Tain and honored guests. Then she begins to sing.

The song is magical. Celyria has a tear fall from her smiling face. The song comes to an end and she bows. There is an applause that may rival the one given the heroes then it becomes quiet once. The Lillend bard clears her throat quietly and begins to strum the harp once more as she begins her new song. I can not ever capture its magic, some say there is magic intertwined within the song that makes it this way; this is roughly what it had to say.



Six heroes and one came to Sharn, each with their own mysteries and riddles to be solved. These seven came together to enjoy the things the great city of Sharn has to offer. When the great city was threatened they answered the call. They battled the unnatural ones and stopped the False one from victory. These seven saved all, they saved nobility, they saved the poor, they saved the innocent and they saved the less than innocent. They saved the Great City.

Who are these seven. A mage with a fascination for things terrible. A barbarian seeking the evil of her home outside of her home. A cleric seeking truth of her god and her family. A warrior whom is noble but never far from evil and the danger it brings, a paladin whom outshines all other paladins and seeks the past, present and future, a creature not dead nor alive that lives life rather than succumb to it, a warforged that brings the outside world to the inside.

Who are these heroes? Who are these seven? They are the Siberys Seven.



She finishes and seems to sag a bit. There is little doubt that magic was at work here. She did more than sing praise to the adventurers. She came to touch and know each of them, including the secret and hidden member. She seemed to hint at knowing things about each of them. Things unknown or denied by each of them. The things that are either missing or broken within each of them.

It is a full five seconds from when she finishes the song before there is a weak clap of hands then as if awakening everyone, a thunderous roar begins that ultimately could be heard outside of the great hall.

And this folks and readers, is how the Siberys Seven were formed, not in tavern after all, but through a song that shown a kindred between them, and may have begone a bond.

It is now after midnight and the ball is beginning to breakup. The older people are first to go. Then certain political leaders and ambassadors. Eventually the heroes begin to leave. They discuss much and try to decide where to go next. Dura mentions her need to return home. All but Leeya agree. Her husband has returned from work afar and she wishes to spend time with him. There are soft giggles at the interpretation of these words.

She is dropped off first. She waves goodbye then faces the ground for a long 5 seconds then turns to enter the tower where her apartment is. From a balcony two towers away a lone figure clad in black watches. His thoughts deep and secret.

The others arrive at the Elderich penthouse and they go inside. They too are watched. The man dressed in crimson and silver clings to wall under a bridge. Crimson Silver watches. The guardian of Sharn has renewed hope for the city. He then seemly drops out of sight, gone.
 

SEGMENT 26
“Dangerous Incentive”

Mania stared at the stars and then at the four moons that were out this night. Bored, he turned and walked through the rooms from the balcony he had stood on. He re-locked the front door so that the sleeping occupants would never know he was there. He walked down the stairs to the exit then crossed a bridge to another landing. He looked up at the one tower a final time and whispered a short curse before walking again into the deeper shadows on the levels below.

Though the clubs and taverns were open, it was quiet. The fear of the undead was not yet forgotten. A few women working the streets came to him as he walked. He would allow his eyes to glow and they were quick to return to their stairs and alleyways. He was in no mood.

He wanted to be with his new friends. They had excepted him, which had never happened before. Even the paladin did. But most importantly, the mage did. There was something about her…. Something enchanting but also dark and dangerous. Could undead love? Another curse is let out.

He finds the doorway that enters the sewers where he lived. How long has he lived here? How long has he hid from the world and also from the world below? Coming to a stop before a door with no handles, he pushes in on a brick and reaches in to pull a combination of levels. The door opens and he stops. Someone was here!

“Hello …. Evil creature.”

Mania turns slowly and spots a man holding a crossbow wearing a cloak that shielded him from his dark vision.

“I wondered if you guys would ever come to visit me.” Mania says as he looks for other Silver Flame agents. Seeing none he steadies himself. He stares into the young man’s eyes. “I have no weapon on me. And I mean no harm. I merely want to go home.”

The young man’s brow wrinkles as he realizes too late what the vampire is doing. “I…. Can not….”

“Release him by the light of the Silver Flame!” declared an older man.

Mania creases his brow in pain and discomfort. “Time to go.” And he leaps backward into his room and closes the door.

“Hurry! He will escape!” Using a magical wand, a third knight opens the door. Inside a trap door is open and the half-vampire has escaped. “Find him. He must not escape.”

He watches them from under his table as the three knights leap down into the trap door to follow. Once down he quickly races to the door, slams it shut and locks it. “Enjoy the chute since the bottom leads to a known slime pit."

He sighs and sits down on the door. A long of depression and unease rests on his face. He looks around his ruined room. He hears something below him. The knights have somehow stopped their fall and are looking to climb back up. The lock pops open magically the door bumps. Frowning, the rogue leaps off and exits the room. He closes the door and reaches into the secret compartment where the levers are. He purposely bends and breaks a few levels to disable the door and disappears into the darkness.

The knights are getting closer everytime. Looking up to a rain chute, he sees the morning sun is coming. The sun doesn’t kill him but makes him weaker. Much weaker. He decides to venture into it. Maybe he can see his friends. They will make him feel better.

It takes much longer to reach the Elderich penthouse as a normal mortal than as a supernatural creature. He finds himself tired. Not in need of blood kind of tired but physically tired. He had almost forgotten what it was like. He sees Leeya ahead of him. He rushes to catch up with her. She has a duffel bag and two pouches with her. “Hi” he calls out. No reaction.

He reaches her and smiles. She sniffles a bit and says hello. She has been crying.

From the Elderich penthouse Aura looks from her private room and sees them. Each is holding the other. An Embrace. Rigid with emotion she watches them before stopping and calling her ectoplasmic skin to sheath her glow. She gets the rest of her armor on … always watching them.

A sky coach arrives shortly even as Mania and Leeya walk up the bridge leading to the base of the penthouse section. Dura packs a few things and speaks to the keeper of the penthouse when she or Kim is away. Leeya and mania join them as they leave.

The sky coach flies to a tower with several airships attached to it. One ship is destined to the Mror Holds. A small crew along with three passengers awaits them. The captain hails them-

“Oye! Welcome to my ship! All welcome the Siberys Seven!”

“The who seven ?” questions Mania.

“We’ll tell you later once we are away.” Says Dura

“Away. Away sounds good.”
 

SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 027
“Slow ride to the Holds”

DM NOTE: This Segment was done about 3 years ago with my kids (Stab = Tim and Cathy is herself with myself playing the dwarf).

Olarune 28, 999
One of two known air ships owned by Kim Elderich begins to leave Sharn. Several groups are on board. The Siberys Seven members get the best rooms. A large warforged and two others have a room. They also played a part in the zombie infestation. Also on board are three merchants that are getting off in Aundair (71). Kim Elderich seems to appear out of no where along with his personal bodyguard- Ore (72) an awakened Iron Golem.

Kim welcomes his granddaughter Dura and seems very happy. He leaves her to talk to the captain. The members break up into smaller groups to watch the world fly by as the ship soars high overhead following the Dagger River which both Wroat (Breland’s capital) and Sharn are built by. Bora watches the many seagulls fly below the airship as a young lady walks up to her.

“Hello. My name is Cathy (73). We are going to Kim’s home.”

Bora turns and smiles at the young woman. Based on her appearance, Bora guesses this young woman to be a novice adventurer. “I am Bora. I too find myself going to the Elderich home.”

“Were you in Sharn when the zombies attacked?”

“Yes. Many believe we stopped it. Yourself?”

“Yes. We helped a woman survive the attacks by the creatures. She introduced us to Kim whom has hired us to assist some of his friends. He called it a Khyber Crawler. Do you know what that is?”

“I don’t have the faintest idea but if Kim has anything to do with it, it will be fantastical and amazing I am sure.” Bora smirks at her own comment.

Elsewhere, the very large warforged with a falchion walks over to Incarnum. “Hello. I am Stab (74). I am a warforged fighter. Are you a magic user?”

Incarnum slowly turns away from watching a sailing ship on the river to face the warforged. He finds himself looking up at the man-made warrior. “I am Incarnum. I…. Do not know what I am but I am what I am.” Stab waits for an easier answer. With none forthcoming he reintroduces himself. “I am Stab. I will be working for Kim Elderich. I get to be a guard on the Khyber Crawler.”

Cathy has left the barbarian from the Demon Wastes and sees a well-dressed woman whom appears to be a mage. “I am Cathy.”

“Hello Cathy. I am Leeya. Are you going to the Mror Holds?”

“Yes I am. What were you looking at?”

Leeya looks over the railing again and sighs. “I was looking at the water.”

Vander and Dura are talking about the mountains of the Holds when Cathy walks over to them next. After a quick introduction Dura relates to Vander how the young lady and her friends saved the life of a friend of Kim’s. When asked about the Crawler Dura laughs. “Is that what you have been hired for? Well then you are in for an adventure. The Khyber Crawler is something my grand father has been working on for some time with House Cannith and a group of Gnome elementalists. My understanding is the craft is linked to an earth elemental and can phase into the earth. He hopes to use it to explore some caverns he recently located.”

“Awesome.” Says the young adventurer.

The young adventurer tries to get Vander to talk but only gets a hard nod of his head as replies. Taking the hint, she leaves them to themselves.

“That was kinda rude Vander. She meant no harm.”

“Kid is too young to be going underground. Kim has so little sense of what is right or wrong that it often bothers me. Sorry. I know he’s your family but it is true.”

“I won’t argue the fact. He has often done some wonderful and amazing things but he never stops to question them. In the case of the recent events in Sharn that was good. But he has screwed up in the past.”

“His money corrupts him.”

Dura stares ahead and absent-mindedly nods her head with a soft “aye” and losses herself in thought and memories.

Aura watches Stab stare at the roaring fire elemental that powers the airship (75). She doesn’t see Cathy walk up to her.

“Is that your skin? It looks…. Not real. Is it magic?”

Aura snaps out of her thoughts and looks at the young adventurer. “Hello. I am Aura. And yes, this is protective magic that I use to protect my real skin. Who are you?”

“Cathy.”

Below deck, Mania sits quietly in the corner of the room. His unique nature allows him to be in the sunlight but he doesn’t like it. Too much sun upsets his stomach and gives him a headache. Using his keen ears he tries to listen in on the merchants next to his room. They are dealers of Dragonshard (76) magical items.

The ship passes over Wroat at night. The lights of the capital create a beautiful mosaic design. Looking at them, Cathy and Leeya try to “connect the dots” and make shapes of animals out of them.

Over the next few days they pass over the mountains of northern Breland and enter Thrane. In the distance, dark swirling gray mists can be seen. The Mournlands (77).

As Cathy leaves to talk to Torg (78), their dwarven clerical friend, Bora and Aura come over. “It is becoming very cold. Is it because we are so near the Mournlands?” asks Aura.

“No. It is something else. The winds carry a magical cold. It seems to be coming from the west (79).”

Bora looks west. “I wonder if the cold reaches my home.”

“You miss home,” observes Aura, “You said it was located in the Demon Wastes (80). Is it true, there are demons and fiends roaming free there?”

“For the most part- yes. My tribe and others try to contain them from leaving there and entering the forests of Eldeen but it is hard.”

The ship continues north then turns east once in Karrnathi (81) airspace. Dark strongholds and fortresses dot the landscape mixed in with the forests and deep valleys. The ship is forced to rise higher as it reaches the Ashen Spires and the forests give way to fields. Finally after 8 days of flying, the ship reaches the border of Karrnath and the Mror Holds within the southern Iron Root Mountains.

The air ship follows a series of glowing rocks in a line that marks the Lightning Rail (82) line. The rail leads to Krona Peak, the capital of the dwarven nation.

The ship stops here allowing the merchants to disembark. The Siberys Seven members notice many dwarves seem to sneer at the Elderich ship. It is obvious he is not very popular with his fellow dwarves.

Mania, making a rare appearance on the deck of the ship, pops up. He looks weak as if airsick. “Warm reception.”

“My grandfather has always been an outcaste with the dwarves of Mror Holds. They distrust him and feel he may bring harm to them.”

Leeya stares at the large lake between the mountain ranges. She looks ashen also.

Her friends do not notice it as they continue to discuss the dwarves and Kim.

“Why are the dwarves here so unhappy with your grandfather?” asks Aura.

“Many of the locals here distrust him and his money. Our family was always wealthy but nothing like today. Many wonder where the money came from. Some fear he stole it from someone here and it can’t be proven.” Dura answers with a bit of depressed calm. “It’s something I don’t think about much.”

“Wouldn’t the money and riches be missed if stolen?” comments Bora.

“Only if the money was checked on regularly. There are legends here involving a lost clan. Some feel he stolen their money somehow. Dwarves have no issues with exploration and salvaging lost empires gold unless it is a dwarven ruin. Many feel Kim has stolen the legendary Noldrunhold treasury (83).”

“Noldrunhold?” asks Aura

“The powerful mining clan.” Enters Leeya. “It is believed they accidentally entered a tunnel used by fiends or angered the Orcs of these mountains and were wiped out hundreds of years ago.”

“You know of them? You never cease to amaze me Leeya. Yes, the two leading causes involve the Lords of Dust (84) and the Jhorash’tar (85) .” She lowers her voice when saying the name of the dangerous orc tribe. My father and grandfather knew several of the clan before they just disappeared. It is said the slain clan now haunts the mines.”

“ooooooOOOOOooooOOoo” mocks Mania, “Ghosts. Gotta love it.”

“Be nice. The dwarves are superstitious and fear the undead. Karrnath used undead against them when they broke away during the war,”

The ship slowly lifts off again and goes south along the ridges of the mountains. It is another day before they reach the Elderich home. It is a basic looking mine with a few built-in balconies over looking the valley that makes up much of the Mror Holds. Also visible is a large stone wall with a ramp leading down the mountain face. At the top of the ramp is a large item shaped like a Lightning Rail car, the Khyber Crawler.

Stab, Torg and Cathy watch it with glee. Cathy especially is looking forward to it. Stab comments about he hopes they see action and the dwarven cleric looks on only nodding as a reply to his two friends comments.

The ship stops and they disembark. An usually short dwarf and a top-heavy warforged wait for them. “Hooch! (86)” calls out Dura as she spots them. She runs down the gangplank and gives him a big hug.

“Hee hee…. Welcome home child. Come. Come and lets go inside and talk about your adventures in the City of Towers.”

Everyone goes except for Leeya who hesitates. She looks out onto the valley at the large river that leads into the Mirror Lake (87). A look of fear and concern haunts her eyes.
 

SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 029
“Elderich Complex”

“Whoa-Ahhh! I wish I was there to beat on some zombies meself!” hollers out the buzzed dwarf named Hooch.

Hooch is the caretaker of the Elderich clan tunnels and complex. He is untidy and often smells of strong drink but is friendly and caring. Generally he is there alone except for the Security Guard- a warforged named Overbite (88). He is so named due to his enlarged jaw that often is used as a weapon. He has two pet construct dogs, or Iron Guardians that he trains to aid in his work. He and his dogs, Lockjaw and K-9 (89) both watch silently as everyone eats and drinks late into the night.

Bora has taken it apon herself to outdrink the dwarf. Her eyes look glassy but she still remains awake. Aura and Incarnum watch with mixed reactions. Dura is buzzed and snorts through her nose. Vander stares at his mug deciding if he can drink more or be ill. Mania is keeping pace with Bora and Hooch but due to his unique nature, the strong drink is not affecting him much. Leeya …. Well she is ….smashed.

“An thens Duras drops ‘nto the hole wan’ing a figh with the snakeperson. SPLOOSH! SPLASH! Shes all wut’” Leeya exclaims while interrupting Dura’s retelling of their adventures. Leeya leans forward to touch Dura arm and instead over balances and falls out of her chair with a series of thuds. Vander looks down at her and smiles then proceeds to have more drink after all.

It is another five minutes after finishing the tale that Leeya begins to snore loudly from under the table. Everyone laughs including Vander whom holds his drink close to his chest.

“Hooch… is this your private stock drink?” asks Dura.

“Yup.”

“Ah…. Good. Cause I’m seeing double after a mere… ,” Dura stops to count the drinks on her fingers, “…four drinks. I was afraid my tolerance was getting low.”

Bora blasts out a belch that pushes her hair away from her face. Everyone laughs again.

“I wish Kim was here. He needs to let it all out over some drink. He is …. Caught up with life.” Says Hooch as he tries to stop laughing.

Wishing for a serious tone to be established to the late night gathering, Aura changes the subject. “Where is Kim Elderich? He seems to never stay anywhere for long.”

“Heeeee-yo! That izz right. Kim, he a busy dwarf for sure. Between the Khyber Crawler, Siberys Heir and the Creatio….ahhhh exploration he is busy.” Hooch tries to change the subject again. “Where you guys going next?”

“Siberys Heir? What is that?” Asks Dura as she tries to focus on one of the now three Hooches before her.

“Did I say Siberys Heir? I meant ….something else. Heeheehee.” He tries to belch silently then re-asks where the group is going next.

“I believe it is time to call it a night Hooch.” Says Overbite. “The young men and women before us seem to be done in. He looks at Vander whom seems to have fallen asleep holding his mug to his chest. A silly smirk on his face.

Bora stumbles over to where Leeya collapsed and picks her up easily. She stumbles towards the rooms set up for them.

“You okay Vander?” asks Mania. No answer.

“Leave him. He’ll be alllrighty right there.” Answers Hooch.

The women go to their rooms except for Aura whom has her own room. The others get up to go to their rooms leaving Hooch, Overbite and Incarnum.

“You are a most talkative person there Incarson. Even for a warforaged. Urrmmmm.” Hooch says as he gathers up the mugs left behind.

“I find listening to people I learn more than talking to them.”

“Hee….. I thinks the ‘forged may be right there. What say you Overbite? Listening better than talkin’?”

“Emotions and Interaction are strange concepts for many of us.” He answers. “Emotions rule most of the races.”

“Ehhhh I always thought it was sex and money.” Hooch answers slyly.

Deciding their conversation wasn’t worth eases dropping on, Mania moves away. His supernatural eyes scan through the dark hallways. He has seen the dining hall, the greeting rooms, the trophy rooms and the guestrooms but he has yet to travel deeper into the complex.

He thinks about the reported millions in gold and artifacts Kim Elderich has hidden away. Where is it? How did he get it? Never being one to ignore his inner questioning and curiosity, the ½ Vampire walks away.

It seems Hooch and Overbite are very secure in feeling no one would snoop, as most doors are unlocked and even open. He enters a large hallway that has scratched in grooves on the floor. The path leads to a large double door that he has never been beyond. He goes there and pushes open the heavy door. The sound of rushing water assaults his ears. Being limited in range of sight, he wanders out from the door following the grooves on the stone floor. The grooves lead to a rail bridge. Mines he thinks. The grooves are from heavy ore filled carts from the old days.

He walks up to the railed bridge and spots rushing water that falls into a deep chasm. The bridge disappears into the darkness that is beyond his limits of nightvision.

“It is rude to skulk around in a guest’s home.”

Mania turns and sees Overbite and his two construct dogs. “Meant no harm. I can’t sleep.”

“Guessed as much. You strike me as a creature of the night.”

“You could say that. Where does the bridge go?” Mania says looking out over the waterfalls.

“To the other side. It is not safe beyond these waterfalls.”

“Really? Did the Noldrun have a waterfall?”

“You go too far. I can see why Kim likes you.”

Mania is silent as he tries to figure out what he meant by that. “So what is so dangerous over there?”

“ Years ago we were invaded from some under ground. Fiends from Khyber. We fought them back but they still lurk around in the darkness.”

“What were they looking for?”

“What do any evil creature want? Come. We need to return and I will bar this door again.”

Mania walks back wondering if the Khyber Crawler and this have any connection.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Leeya murmurs in her sleep. Her face shows a look of fear. “no…. the people….. oh the people…..” she tosses and churns under her covers. Bora looks up from her bed. She doesn’t remember going to bed. “No….. the people will die……” Leeya rolls over and reaches up to the ceiling. “NO!” and she bolts upright. Bora falls out of her bed and remains still.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Hooch sits and stares at his holey socks. He looks up to the mirror and looks at his reflection. “The things one must do to save the world.” He says. There is a knock at his door. “whoa-ho- enter. Its unlocked.”

Overbite walks in. “I found Mania snooping.”

“He is a young man rogue that doesn’t sleep. Not surprising.”

“He was at the bridge on the waterfall.”

“What of Dura? Kim’s grand daughter?”

“Asleep.”

“Good. She has quite the day tomorrow. Many of them will have quite the day.”
 

SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 030
“Curiosity”

CLANG! CLANG!

Dura walks quickly to the sounds of sword fighting. It is coming from the old rail room. She opens the door and sees Bora and Vander practicing swordship. They are very evenly matched. Mania is watching them.

“Have you seen Leeya?” asks Dura.

“Nope. Say Dura- what is beyond those doors?” He points to the locked huge doors he had ventured beyond the night before.

“Mines mainly. There is also some old research rooms from my ancestors.”

“Strange location for mines…. Next to research rooms.” Prods the rogue.

“There is a bridge that crosses over two great endless waterfalls that were formed when the bottomless lake was split in two. Hundreds of years ago. There are mines there that were once filled with dragonshards. When they were mined out we build other rooms there. Most of my ancestors were adventurers and magic researchers.”

“Ever go there?”

“Hooch always thought the bridge was too dangerous to cross. It is in dire need of repairs or outright replacement.”

“Kim has the money to do that. Why has he not repaired or built a new one?”

“He always found excitement outside of here. He rarely ever stays here. I guess that is why I tend to go to other places also. It gets boring here.”

“Oh.” He answers absently. His curiosity growing with every second. Why does Hooch not want him there. Does he not trust me? Hee. Mania lays back against the stone wall thinking about it some more.

Dura goes to the private room Aura has requested. She knocks on the door gently. “Aura?”

“Yes?”

Dura notes the light under the door. Just how many candles does one need to pray by? She wonders. “Have you seen Leeya?”

“She said something about finding a library.”

“Thankyou.,” Dura pauses for a moment. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes thankyou.”

Dura leaves thinking there is FAR more to the paladin than she is allowing the others to know. Even for a paladin, she is quiet and always wears that magical facemask. Is she horribly scarred? Was she just born ugly? Is she human? She moves away. The library Leeya spoke of must be Kim’s which may not be a good idea…. Even for a mage.

It takes about five minutes to reach the room. She thought it was locked but maybe Hooch forgot. She goes in finds Leeya sipping wine and reading a black leather covered book. “Hello Leeya. Whatcha doing?”

A moment or two goes by. “This is a fascinating book. It talks about the Goblin nation. It sounds marvelous but the writer seems to hint to troubles ahead. I assume he means their civil wars and the invaders.”

“That would be my Grand Great Great grandfathers book. He studied the Goblins and their society a great deal.” She walks over and sits. She waits a moment or two for Leeya to finish reading but when she doesn’t she leans over to read the title. “T’gorn Variorum.”

“Um-hum.”

“Leeya, can we talk for a moment?”

“Sure.” She puts the book down. Dura can see a drawing that has a tentacled elf stepping out of a portal. “What is it?”

“I wanted to talk to you. About your nightmares.”

“oh.” She takes another sip of wine. “They are nothing.”

“But you have them almost nightly now. What is it that scares you so much.”

Leeya pauses and stares at the cover of the book. Her fingers feeling the ridges of the engraved letters of the book.

“As a child I nearly drowned in a fountain. It traumatized me then. I became very sick and had a high fever. My parents had House Jorasco come to treat me. I actually got worse for a few weeks and eventually went into a coma. I came out of it and eventually got better. Ever since then I dislike being IN water.”

“So you dream of drowning?”

“No. I dream of OTHERS drowning.”

“Others? Like whom?”

“Strangely enough, dwarves mainly.”

“That is odd. We don’t like water much. I doubt it means anything.”

“I would normally agree except for the valley we flew by…. It looked familiar. It was in one of my dreams.”

“Mirror Lake was in your dreams?”

“Yes”

“We live in the mountains and underground. We don’t live on boats or stilts like the orcs in the Shadow Marches. They are just dreams.”

Leeya looks uncertain and shaken. Dura gives her a hug and then they change the subject.

Having become bored with show, Mania gets up and wonders about. He likes this place but it is not the same. Plus he worries that the Silver Flame will seek him here next. He should be moving on. Besides, he is hungry again.

Leaving them to their sparring match, he leaves and walks up the long hallway that leads to outside. The great gates are open and Incarnum is standing at the gate. Mania walks to him and looks out over the edge of the balcony. He can see a river that leads to the great lake he saw earlier. “Some view.”

The warforged says nothing but there is a hint of a nod given.

“Miss Sharn?”

Without facing the rogue- “It is simpler here. Nature is easier to understand than the city and its people.”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“Have you always lived in Sharn?”

“Nope. I grew up in Sharn but I spent some time in Thrane before returning to Breland.”

“What brought you to Thrane?”

“I was looking for my family.”

“Do they live there?”

“My father does. My mother died when I was born.”

Incarnum is quiet. They he turns and stares intently at Mania. “Born. How does it feel?”

“Huh? How should I know? I wouldn’t know how…… You really don’t understand humans do you?”

The warforged stares at him waiting for an answer still.

“I don’t know. Generally we don’t remember things from such a young age. I remember very little before the age of four.” The painful sounds of battle and death rattle in the rogue’s memories. “Too much to learn that is more important I guess. Are we going to talk about god or love next? I’m not good on those either.”

The warforged misses the joke and wonders if he does know love.

Laughing, Leeya gets up and leaves through a different door looking for a bathroom. Instead she finds a room with an elegant bed, more shelves and curtains of a rich color. “oh.”

“This is Kim’s room. We really shouldn’t be here. It’s his private room.” Says Dura looking around. Her eyes stop and concentrate on a painting on the far wall.

“Who is it?”

“My grandmother and father. I never knew he had this.” Dura goes to it. Her hands touching the bed and curtains as she goes. The refined cloth and old memories resurface. “I never knew my grandmother. I understand she went through a portal while adventuring in Xen’drik and never returned.”

“She is beautiful. And your father and mother? I never hear you talk about them either.” Says Leeya as she sits on the bed and looks around the room.

“My mother disappeared on an adventure. My father died from drawn out injuries from long ago.”

“What happened?”

“He was on a group that went to explore the Noldrun mines. He never spoke about it much but he was lucky to escape but he slowly died from his injuries there.”

“It seems like your family never was much lucky at adventuring. Why does Kim still do it?”

“Its in our blood. Maybe that is what is bothering me so much. I have been staying in Sharn for the past few years so as to “escape” from here. Its not the same.”

“The halflings have a word for it. Wanderlust.”

“owwww…. You said lust.”

The two best friends laugh then Dura suddenly stops.

“What… hahhah… what is it?”

“There is blood on the carpet.”

“So?” says Leeya whom leans over and sees nothing.

“Someone has tried to open this chest.” She points at the large chest sitting by the foot of the bed.

“I bet it was Mania- that sneak.”

“Speaking of lust……” jokes the dwarf.

“Hey- I’m still married…sorta.”

“It’s been awhile. I think that young stud is hangin’ around because of you.” Dura says as she knells down to inspect the lock to the chest.

“No. He is running from something… or someone.”

There are a few moments of silence. Leeya break s it out of boredom. “What is in the chest?”

“I don’t know but Kim was hinting to something big was happening and he was acting very strangely… even for himself.” Leeya can tell she is considering how to open the lock.

“Should we get Mania in here to attempt to open it?”

“He can’t.”

“I saw him with a set lock picks. I think he could.”

“Nope. It’s a magic lock.”

“Really!” Leeya moves off of the bed to check this out.

“It has a built in needle. To open it, one MUST be pricked. Any rogue will see the needle and jam it thus keeping the lock from working. The needle in truth is meant to prick you and get blood. Magically it then knows if you are a family member. If so, it opens. If not, it doesn’t.”

“So open it.”

“It’s his stuff. We shouldn’t.”

“I dare you.”

After a brief moment Dura smiles… “okay but if its something yucky we didn’t see it.”

She places her finger onto the lock where the needle is. She gives a short and quiet ow and the lock pops open.

“Well?…. open it.”

Dura opens it and exclaims….. oh Gran Kim….what have you done?”
 

SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 031
“Siberys Heir”

“So you seek demons and an evil cult called the Lords of Dust?” Vander asks as he wipes the sweat away from his brow.

“Yes. The shamans of my clan saw visions that they would rise in other nations. The demon lord of the undead – Orcus would be freed and attempt to reign over the world once more.”, Bora continues on- “No one knows where he is imprisoned, his followers nor even the Couatls knew. Those that entombed him either died or were also trapped with him.”

“That would be a battle worthy only of the greatest warriors on the world. If it would have to be, I would be honored to battle them with you.”

“The honor would be ours to fight with you.” And she rises her fist up and motions for him to do so also. Once he does, she gently punches his fist then motions for him to hit forearms. “A warrior’s greetings from my clan.” She says with a smile.

They turn into the dinning area and see Leeya and Dura dropping a handful of books and scrolls on the large table. Bora walks up behind Leeya and looks over her shoulder. “Looks like a map of a fortress”.

“It…. It is. A flying fortress.”

“Like Breland’s mobile fortresses?” asks Vander with interest.

“No. Like an airship we rode on to come here.”

“Only much much larger” adds Dura.

“I am beginning to fear dreaming Dura. As a child I dreamed often of such a ship. My parents laughed it off. Then the first air ships arrived for the military to use. They didn’t laugh it off anymore. The ship I dreamed of had two rings and traveled the entire world and into other planes.”

“There are two arms on the ship- see.” And Dura points to the fact there are two arms set at the side of the ship to contain two fire elements. “The scope of this ship defies reason.”

“and cost. When we were in Breland I had heard some of the captains speaking of sudden increases in the cost of Soar wood due to sudden demand that depleted supplies. Soarwood is used to create the air borne elemental ships.” Adds Dura still.

Incarnum and Mania arrive. “Hooch and the warforged buddy of his are going into town. Said we were in charge until they came back.” Mania says then sees everyone has ignored him to look over a large map. “What’s up?”

“Dura’s grandfather has been building a massive airship for something.” Says Bora.

“Looking at the ballista… I would say for warfare.” Notes Vander.

“He hates war. He has those on for precautionary reasons. Leeya, you said you dreamed he traveled the world and the planes. Where?” asks Dura now looking at the small stack of books.

“Thick jungles with large temples.”

“Sounds like classic images of Xen’drik.” Adds mania smiling to the fact he added something to this conversation. “But why do this if he was so busy with the Khyber Crawler?”

“He funded that project, he had interest in it but he didn’t do a lot with it.”

“What do the books say?” asks Bora.

“Siberys Heir” Vander reads aloud.

“This book is the expenses involved and…… I doubt the Elderich family is still the world’s richest family.” Says Bora. She hands the book to Dura.

“Gods…..” Why? Why? WHY!?!” Her face is red in anger. “Why do this Kim?!? WHY!”

Leeya looks up briefly after picking up the anger in Dura’s voice.

“This ….ship is causing a LOT of money and resources. He has money but …..” Obvious concern is on her face.

Then they look up as there is a screech and the sound of something or someone tumbling near the doorway. Suddenly several mutated short humanoids run into the room. “Give us your treasure!”

They look to each other then Vander and Bora pick up their weapons (though still unarmored), Leeya reaches to her fanny pack for a spell component and Mania shrugs his shoulders and kicks one suddenly.

Dura shakes her head and mumbles “what treasure…. It’s all gone.”
 

SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 031
“Intruders”

Aura’s arm was held up in front of her face. She wasn’t wearing her plate armor but had her whole body covered with a green film. She studied her hand as she slowly turned it. She stopped turning her hand with the back of her hand facing her eyes. She looked at and slowly the center of her hand began to lighten then even glow softly. Her green film covered eyes blinked twice then she rapidly dropped her hand and looked to the door. She could see a shadow of someone standing next to it.

“Who is…” but her question is cut off as someone quickly turns the handle and throws open the door. An ugly creature with two mouths and four arms rushes in. In broken common with sprinklings of goblinoid in it the creature snarls at Aura. “Master wants treasure. Anything else ours. We wants ours.” Without saying a word Aura leaps to her bed where her sword is hanging within its sheath and belt. The creature holds several weapons including a small crud crossbow and it quickly raises the weapon and shots.

Both she and the creature call out in pain. The small bolt strikes her shoulder and a burst of light escapes from the injury. She withdraws her weapon even as the creature recovers from the shock. Two more creatures hop into the room behind him as he attacks her with his mace. She strikes him even as two small bolts scrap her exposed leg causing new lesser flashes of pure white radiance to explode out. The green film closes around the bolts cutting off the light.

“I sense your evil. You have done many evil things in your lives. I will not shed a tear when I kill you and your evil master."” Within the cramped space of her private bedroom, Aura uses the bed and chair to hinder the creatures and attacks them as they climb. The first creature loses a set of arms and dies cursing at her. The other two laugh and giggle before going under the bed and around the chair to attack her from opposite sides. She leaps onto the bed causing some discomfort to the creature under it.

She kills the one on the chair as she stabs through chair back and creature in one powerful strike (near crit but max dam). She takes another hit by a spiked mace in her leg. The softness of the bed makes it hard for her to step away easily but does so. As such she misses the creature as it attacks. It swings to strike her foot but misses. She quickly steps down onto the shaft of the spiked mace and the creature says “oh…” from one mouth and “crap” from the other as she drives her blade down into an open mouth. The creature dies and slides off her blade. “The others….!” She grabs her shield and leaves the room in a hurry.
 

SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 032
“Army of Thieves”

Then they look up, as there is a screech and the sound of something or someone tumbling near the doorway. Suddenly several mutated short humanoids run into the room. “Give us your treasure!”

They look to each other then Vander and Bora pick up their weapons (though still unarmored), Leeya reaches to her fanny pack for a spell component and Mania shrugs his shoulders.

Leeya fumbles in her fanny pack…. “Where are my components? She pulls out her fingers, which have crumbled paper and pebbles within them, only. “Someone was in my pack!” Incarnum moves quickly for a warforged and blocks the rush of the mutated short creatures as they round the table. Bora picks up her falchion and smirks at the closest creature. A double gulp is heard as it reconsiders running towards her. However, the creatures behind it push it forward as the seven of them spill into the room. Mania hops onto the tabletop. Then begins to move towards Vander to help him. Dura is still distraught over her discovery of what her grandfather has done with the family fortune. Vander kills one quickly then steps up to the next one ignoring Mania whom wishes to aid him.

Leeya steps onto a chair then onto the table for the advantage of height. She looks around quickly thinking about what to do. One creature looses the front teeth of one month and a few from another as Incarnum slams him with his forged fists of Mithril and hardened wood. Bora leaps with one step onto the table and moves across the table to shield Leeya and Dura as several creatures go under the table to attack them. As she crosses over a bolt strikes her from a creature’s cross bow. Mania stomps one on the head, which annoys it, and it looks to him to curse. Vander cuts it in two (crit with near max dam). Dura slams the book shut and picks it up. “GET OUT OF OUR HOME!” and she picks up the book to use either as a shield or a clubbing weapon.

Leeya spots cobwebs overhead and snatches them up for a possible web spell. However, most of the creatures are engaged already with her friends. To web one may mean webbing them all. The one creature taunts Bora as it stays just out of her reach as she remains on the table and it steps in and out from under the table. Vander takes a hard hit on his foot from a creature hiding under the table. Mania stomps another from above. Dura slams the creature with her tome as it ignores her to taught Bora. It is dazed from the heavy tome.

Leeya looks out to the hallway….. “Aura…?” Incarnum finds the creatures are actively dodging him now. He is slow for their short quick darting motions. However, his armored body seems nearly immune to their attacks. Vander screams out in pain as a creature strikes his knee from under the table. (crit and max dam) mania misses as his attention is split with Vander’s cry of pain. He has never known Vander to call out before. Vander kills the opportunistic creature when next it pokes out from under the table. Mania and Incarnum pummel the last one into submission.

“What were these?!?” exclaims Leeya looking at Dura for answers. “Intruders.” She spits out. “Dolgrims.” Says mania quietly. “I’ve seen them below Sharn before. There will be more nearby and a master.”

“We better gear up then.” Says Vander grimly.

A quiet sound of running is heard and everyone turns to the door to attack the next wave or the creature’s master. A woman with skin-tight green film over her entire body rushes in. “You were attacked also!”

Everyone pauses wondering what is with this now. Why does everyone have to have secrets?
 

SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 033
“Bad Guy’s Backup”

“Aura?” Asks Leeya in amazement.

“Is that you?” asks Dura in equal amazement.

Vander nods but continues to remove the wretched two-in-one goblin aberrations.

Mania smiles and gives a wave of his hand and continues to out maneuver the creatures.

Incarnum doesn’t react but continues to watch for the creatures.

Bora calls out. “Sister- help us remove these rodents from Dura’s grand hall!”

….and with that Aura does. And faint smile of relief hidden under the green skin.

Mania steps out of the room to see where these things are coming from. Outside of the dining room there is another connecting hallway to a large meeting room and then to the area that leads to the great crevasse. The creatures are coming across the rail bridge. Many, many, many of the creatures.

He charges into a small group that have just appeared from around the corner. He easily takes them down as he strikes at them. Then almost too late, he turns and pushes off with his feet as a green bead of light streaks across the darkness and explodes where he was. The aberrational humanoids do not even have a chance to scream as they are consumed by magical flames. The rogue lands on his feet then drops and continues to use his momentum and rolls to cover putting out the last of the flames. “ouch.”

He looks at his burnt arm and legs. They are slowly beginning to smooth over and the burnt dead skin flakes off. “This blows.”

With the last of the creatures destroyed they turn to the main hall and look for where they came from. Eventually they come to the large crack in the earth that separates the living quarters from the “off-limits” sections of the Elderich Hall. A fireball streaks out and explodes where the six friends are. They leap and scatter as they can. They use any and all cover they can.

“I love your house guests.” Howls Leeya to Dura. Dura is still somewhat disrespondant. The events with her grandfather are still overwhelming her senses. An arrow just misses her as it strikes the rock ledge behind her and bounces to her feet. “How could you? How?”

Having retrieved their armor and the rest of their equipment, the six of them regroup while keeping their heads down. “Where is the thief?” asks Vander.

“I lost track of him when Aura joined us.” Replies Leeya.

“He went outside of the room and turned this way.” Answers Bora as she motions to the area being covered by magic and arrows.

“Alright, then it’s up to us to defend the hall.” Says Bora.

“What defenses do you employee here?” asks Vander

“Is there another way across and what is over there?” asks Aura.

Everyone waits for a reply from a silent and distant Dura.

“Dura?” asks Leeya.

“Why oh why has he done this?” whines the cleric.

“Ask him.”

Everyone turns. It is rare to hear the Warforged speak.

Smiling Leeya turns back to her friend. “Indeed. Ask him. WE will ALL ask him once we get out of here.”

Picking up from where she left it- Bora speaks next with a growing smile. “Ask him once we save his hall and drive back these creatures. “

“Together then.” Says Vander with a hint of a smile.

Dura looks up at her friends, one at a time. She nods and gives a weak smile. Thank you and yes… together then.

The six of them carefully walk to the edge of the area that links the two halves. “They have plenty of foot soldiers crossing on the bridge. They have archers and at least one mage giving them cover. How do we do this?” asks Vander as he looks into the gloom hoping to see answers.

Unseen by the warrior or the others, there is hope. A certain rogue Dhampire is high above crossing the cavern using the rocky ceiling as a means to walk across. He looks down at his friends. Someone has to stop the archers and the mage. And he knows who…..
 
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SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 034
“Mania Unleashed”

Thinking to himself Mania goes on- “From up here they cannot see me. It will be a total attack of surprise. Surprise is good for me- bad for them. I will target their mage first. Then attack the archers. Before my friends come over to praise me, I will, if need be, feed and be fully healed before they arrive. Beautiful plan.

He inches over and sees that the archer is a tall gaunt creature holding a wand. Few are next to him. This will be easy.

Slowly and quietly he shifts from the ceiling to the wall behind the mage. He readies himself for the assault. Smiling, he wiggles his body into a compressed position and springs to the attack. He leaps out and strikes the mage from behind. It howls in pain but doesn’t fall. Deciding to use his own strength to his best advantage he stops his forward momentum and grabs the mage by his wand hand and pulls hard. The wand falls free and clatters to the ground as the mage is pulled into a handful of dolgrims and the four of them fall over the edge into the deep ravine. The archers turn to see what is happening when mania then uses his short sword and his unnatural strength to push and trip more of these gaunt figures into the ravine.

“ERRRRRRRRRRRRGHHH…. Who dares…?” Snarls something from within the hallway leading into the secret chambers of the hall.

“oh crap.” Says Mania as he turns to face the new foe. His wide smile quickly sinks into a frown of dread. “Is this the way to the bathroom?”
 
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SIBERYS SEVEN 002
FAMILY SECRETS

SEGMENT 035
“There is a Black Dragon Here”

“You do realize this is suicide. We can’t just run across the bridge.” Pleads Leeya.

“Why?” demands Bora with a slight hint of hurt of her plan of attack.

“Even if the bridge was not a rail bridge, we are easy targets for the archers and the mage or mages hidden there. We need a means to get across or at least a distraction.” Says Leeya.

“Perhaps if we-“begins Vander but is cut off as a lone scream of agony pierces the night. It is quickly followed by more calls of alarm in the dark.

“What is happening?” demands Incarnum as he strains his crystal eyes to look into the dark.

“Mania… you unpredictable jerk son of a bitch…..” begins Leeya with a smile.

“The rogue is there fighting for us! Let us go!” shouts the barbarian as she leaps to her feet and makes for the bridge.

A lone arrow strikes the bridge near her then a sound of something calling out in alarm answers it. She is uncertain, but Bora thinks she hears a snarl of a large beast or creature. “Hurry up! I think he is going to need us!” She then nearly falls as her foot misses the wood plank that keeps the rails supported and running equal distance to each other. “Damn the builder of this bridge…”

If the rogue could hear her anger he doesn’t show it. He is too concerned with what is a mere ten feet from him. How could something this big sneak up on him? HIM? “So ahhh…. Do you know where it is? The bathroom?”

“I doubt that is what you search for unclean thing. I smell the undeath on you.”

“Some way to talk about the splatter of your minions….” He comments as he pushes blood off of his sleeve. He resists licking it before his new adversary, a large Black Dragon. Options begin to run through his head. At this point he can’t fight it one – on –one. To escape it means climbing down the ravine wall and the dragon can either fly after him or spit his acid (Black dragons do acid right?) onto him. “Since you are suggesting I am lost- what brings you here?” he asks in an attempt to stall the skull-faced dragon.

“As you- I want its riches. I want its secrets. I want the treasure of Noldrunhold. Give it to me NOW.”

“No-old-run-hold…. What?”

“Do not play me for a fool undead worm.”

“Don’t play rough with me wyrm.” He says with a charming smile. “Do you get it? Worm? Wyrm?”

The dragon raises his head in recoil with vapors seeping from his jowls. Mania may not know a lot about dragons but he knows they all have breath weapons and that he has used up his delaying tactics. Time to leave.

He quickly feints to one side then pushes back flipping over the ledge. So surprised by this action the dragon almost swallows the glob of acid it was about to spit at him. It lumbers to the edge to see if it was trick or if the undead thing really did commit suicide.

His anger distracts him enough that doesn’t hear Bora whom instinctually stopped and slumped down when she got close enough to see the outline of the large creature from torches in the hallway leading away from the ledge. She watches the torches disappear as the bulk of the creature blocks their light when walking through the doorway then the light returns… still dim.

“What happened?” asks Aura who is directly behind Bora now. Has something happened to the rogue?

“I think…. I think he fought a dragon.” Says Bora whom is unusually confused on what to do next.

“Hello ladies.” The women scream out in surprise, even Aura. “I thought for sure I was a goner there.” It’s Mania, now using his Spider Climb power on the underside of the bridge itself. “We better hurry up; I think he will be sending out more forces soon.”

He is the first back to the ledge and his foot kicks the dropped wand of fireball. “Hello my sweet. Who’s your daddy?” and he picks it up and pockets it before the others arrive.

Eventually all of the others cross and they turn to Dura for direction. She in turn looks to the others.

Bora and Mania look at each other and turn to the others- “Lets kick some dragon ass.”
 

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