Last Time On… Episode 6
The good people of Torun still had hope in the first few years after the Impact. Their magic protected the city, and their faith gave them the belief that the earth would heal. Their heroes were dead, but so was Rellos Zek – in a strange way, they were comforted that the war was over. To memorialize the war, the people of Torun built the Hall of Heroes.
Never once did they imagine that their heroes would set foot inside of it.
Their footsteps echoed in the expansive hall. The hall’s cathedral-like ceiling, tall enough to brush heaven, had cracked and crumbled over time. Discrete shafts of afternoon sunlight poured onto the granite floor, casting tall shadows from a long row of pillars. It was completely silent.
It was a peaceful sight, and the heroes stood still in reverence, gazing upward and trying to take in all of the graceful architecture at once. Slowly, as their eyes adjusted, they began to see the faint outline of people milling about the great hall. They were spirits, no doubt, dressed as soldiers. Though transluscent, the heroes knew that these were the very soldiers that they lead into the final battle of Shokahn. They even recognized some of the spirits: captains, generals, and footmen alike. There were hundreds of them, perhaps thousands.
The spirits parted for the heroes with a solemn respect. The soldiers saluted, bowed, and knelt. Even thought their heroes had returned, their faces showed sadness and pity.
The heroes entered a chamber off the the main hall that was inscribed, “The Memorial of the Final Battle”. This chamber held detailed, scaled-up statues of the five heroes facing Rellos Zek and his minions. High on the wall above the statues was a mural of the sun, the moon, and a meteor.
The sunlight from the main hall entered this chamber and threw strange shadows across the statues, disguising the evil spirits that waited inside. The evil spirits were tangible enough to draw blood as if they were real. They looked like the footmen of Rellos’ army – skeletal soldiers and a wight. They ambushed the heroes amongst the maze of statues, using the shadows to their advantage.
The heroes were split, but Rosey and Hack struck quickly and banished the spirits. Though travel-weary and worn down from their earlier battles with the gangs of Torun, the heroes fought cohesively. Their skills were diminished, but their trust and teamwork was not.
The second chamber off of the main hall was labeled as, “The Tomb of the Lost Warriors”, a mass grave dedicated to the warriors who died in the final battle of Shokahn. Inside, an enormous, continuous slab of white marble covered most of the floor. Four faceless and nearly formless statues stood in the cardinal directions around the marble slab, all facing inward. Four silver and gold ornamental weapons – staff, spear, sword, and mace – were piled in the center of the slab, each one obviously going with one of the statues.
The heroes paused and reasoned. To Rosey, it looked like the east and west statues were both designed to hold two-handed weapons. Hack’s historical knowledge told him that lowly spearmen were usually depicted in paintings as facing the rising sun. Gaebriel’s knew that most religious mass graves positioned the cleric and knight across from one another… with all of these clues, the heroes were able to eventually reunite the weapons with the correct statues.
Upon placing the the final weapon, a deep rumbling shook the chamber, and the main hall grew dark. They could hear doors opening, but they also felt an evil prescense waiting to greet them.
The great hall was now black save for three shafts of sunlight, the pillars and arches swallowed by darkness. The blackness moved and shifted with a swarm of shapeless evil spirits. These spirits gnawed and gnashed the heroes as they ran towards a cone of sunlight, draining their blood and seemingly their lifeforce.
Rosey arrived into the beam of sunlight first, but he was badly injured and stumbled to the floor. Blackish blood from numerous cuts sprayed across the floor in front of him. Hack ran to Rosey’s side, but a horrific sight froze his effort to aid his wounded friend. It was Borel.
Borel was Rellos’ High Necromancer. This wasn’t Borel exactly – to Hack, it looked more like an impression of Borel, crafted from shadows. Borel emerged from the shadows at the end of the hall, his wild hair standing out above his black and blue robes, brandishing his devilbone staff. All as if painted from a palette of various shades of shadows.
Hack had slain Borel once before. It wasn’t something he was anxious to repeat.
Borel summoned whirling scythes and blasted the heroes with necrotic magic. Orra and Gaebriel ran through the gnashing darkness, protected by their faith and armor. Charley, Rosey, and Hack were constrained to dart from sunbeam to sunbeam – though even the sun did not protect them from Borel’s magic.
In the end, it was a short fight. They were surprised at how quickly Borel’s shadow surrendered and faded back into the wall. The evil spirits left with him, and light returned to the great hall. Hack had a feeling they hadn’t seen the last of him…
After a rest, the heroes ventured down a spiral stairway. The stairway lead into a long, ornate room, complete with balconies, massive structural pillars, and a winding pathway across a deep pit. There were several archways and doors leading into adjacent rooms.
- And, I can’t adequately describe how poorly this battle went for the heroes. I’m out of time and out of steam. There were three skeletal archers, two skeletal soldiers, and one blazing skeleton. Suffice it to say, due to a combination of bad luck, superior monster tactics, and room geometry, the heroes got a severe beatdown but eventually won the day. Perhaps others can embelish a little bit! *