Burning Sky Session 9

Pointing its glaive at us, it addressed the two small flying creatures with a command, “Kill that one!”

Eyvindr cast shatter, but it had a diminished effect on all three creatures.

Torrent cast spiritual weapon, but was too far away to use it.

The cloaked figure disappeared in a burst of flame, and we heard movement in the burning brush to the south. The two flying creatures disappeared immediately after.

We all braced ourselves, waiting for the creatures to reemerge.

“Over there,” Xireas pointed toward some movement to the south, casting faerie fire, but illuminating no one.

Searching the area, I spotted the creature's scaly skin. “There it is!” I alerted my companions, and cast spiritual weapon, dropping the hammer on its head.

Crystin cast ray of frost in the area.

Cyrus through his hand axe, connecting with the creature, before magically returning to him. “Hey ugly, I’ve got a deal for you,” he shouted. “Why don’t you show yourself?”

Torrent cast protection from evil on Cyrus, just as the creature rushed out and swung at Cyrus with its glaive, its spiked beard flailing toward Cyrus.

Crystin was bit by one of the small flying creatures that appeared behind her.

“Slay your master,” Haddin commanded the creature.

Another creature appeared behind Ulfgar, biting him.

Xireas cast magic missile on the other flying creature, destroying it.

I positioned myself in front of Eyvindr.

“We have to protect the scroll,” Ulfgar yelled, flanking Torrent. “Everyone, cover Torrent!”

As the creature charged at Xireas from the bushes, I cast toll the dead, but it had no effect. Crystin hit it with a ray of frost. The creature missed Xireas, but hit Xireas on the backswing, slicing an unnaturally gaping wound into her. Then its spiked beard pierced Torrent’s flesh. Then it disappeared in a blossom of flame, and another flame appeared in the burning brush.

Xireas hit it with a magic missile.

Moving to cover Torrent, I hit it with my spiritual weapon, but it shrugged off my toll the dead.

Crystin missed it with a ray of frost.

Ulfgar used his fist of unbroken air elemental discipline to blast the creature with compressed air, but it held its ground.

“You tottering lout,” Eyvindr mocked, viciously. “You and your bargains! What bargain have you earned, except your own death!”

The creature cringed, and disappeared again in a flower blast of flame.

At Cyrus’ urging, Haddin asked the flying creature, “Who sent your master?”

“I don’t know,” it growled. “My master summoned me here.”

“What is your master’s name?”

“He’s known to me as Kazyk. That is the only name I know.”

Examining the creature, Cyrus pulled out a book, and flipped through it until landing on a picture resembling the creature, referring to it as an imp.

Cyrus put it down with his hand axe.

Torrent cast cure wounds on herself to stop the bleeding from the glaive.

We decided to take a short rest, and Eyvindr sang a song to help revive us. While we rested, we verified the potions we had found below the dilapidated bridge.

After traveling for a few hours, the curtains of flame that licked meekly at the trees at the road’s edges suddenly flared, cinders bursting outward across us all. Behind us, we heard a sudden roaring noise, and looking back we saw the road fifty feet away cut off by a furious wall of fire. The sides of Elfroad were quickly becoming hazardous as live flames reached out at us, and overhead, the ashes and cinders began to swirl and coalesce.
“Cyrus!” Crystin screamed with a dazed look, “Look out! Move!”

Then, with a thundercrack, the ashes and cinders coalesced into a searing spear that drove into the ground in front of Cyrus, exploding around him. Within the smoke appeared a pair of miniature stags whose bodies burned like the inferno, with racks of antlers composed entirely of dancing fire. They pawed at the ground, swung their fiery antlers, and prepared to charge, while the wall of fire at our back slowly moved forward, toward us.

A moment later, clusters of trees on either side of the road careened inward and fell across the Elfroad, blocking the path ahead.

The flaming stags lunged at Cyrus and me, burning us and setting our gear on fire.

Cyrus removed his pack and tossed them to Ulfgar, shouting, “Protect it with your life.”

Xireas hit a stag with magic missiles.

I doused the flames and cast spiritual weapon, smashing it into a stag.

Crystin missed with a ray of frost.

Ulfgar ignored Cyrus’ pack and swung his staff at a stag, hitting it and getting burned in the process.

Eyvindr cast bane on the two stags, but only one was affected.

Torrent cast create water over us and the stags, dampening the stags’ flames.

A stag lunged into Cyrus, but he defended himself with shield.

The other stag lunged at me, but my armor protected me.

Cyrus hit one with frostbite.

Xireas hit it with magic missiles.

I missed with my spiritual weapon, but hurt the other with toll the dead. “Come on, you fight like sheep,” I taunted. “Me granny had more spitfire than you!”

Crystin hit a stag with magic missiles, and Haddin scolded her, “I told you not to do that without my permission!”

Ulfgar used his elemental attunement to gather water from the air, and sprayed at a stag, completely dousing it.

Eyvindr viciously mocked the other, but it had no effect. He cast healing word on me.

Cyrus missed the stag with frostbite.

Xireas and I both cast toll the dead on the stag, and I finished it with my spiritual weapon.

We heard whispers amid the trees, as snatches of words came from all directions, growing louder and more intense all around until finally a booming voice shouted from the flaming trees:

“Come!” it roared. “Follow the river. Set me free!”

The flames on the fallen trees blockading the road flared as a draconic face appeared, shaped of fire, its head adorned with a massive crown of jagged horns.

The image then faded so only a pair of eyes remained. A voice entered our minds, deep, fiery, burning with restrained anger.

“Know this: I am the flame; I am a prisoner here. Save me, free me from the prison of this enforced flesh, and you may continue to your destination. Refuse, and never shall you leave this wood. You shall be a prisoner for as long as I. You shall burn forever, and never die.”

“You’re the fire, huh?” I quipped.

“I am Indomitability. No wound shall ever defeat me. No fire shall ever destroy me. My power can be yours if you release me.”

“And how do we do that?” I asked.

“End the song of the deep, the song of agony and eternal vigil. Silence the forty tongues who hold me here, who doom themselves with my relentless flame.”

“And where do we find that?” I asked.

“Rest your flesh now in the ruins beyond the bridge. Then you must follow the river down to the singing lake. I lie trapped beneath its surface. Set me free!”

What reward do you promise us?” Cyrus asked.

“Reward, I reward you with your life,” the flames spoke. “Otherwise you shall have neverending torment in the burning forest.”

“I will ask one final time,” the flames roared. “Do you agree to help me?”

“Well from my point, sir,” Eyvindr chided, “I have no desire to help you. You have threatened us and hindered our way.”

“If you help me,” the flames promised, “I will grant you my boon while you are here. I require your answer now.”

“You begin with a threat, and now you say you offer a boon,” Eyvindr challenged. “Which will it be and how do we know you will keep your word?”

“We will not be pressured,” I refused. “You are worthy of being saved.”

“Very well,” the flames replied. “There is one whose blade shall cross your trail. He shall have my boon, and if you do not fall before him, my fire shall turn you to ash and embers. You shall regret your choice!”

The flaming head dissipated, the flames died down behind us, and the trees that were blocking our path crumbled.

Stretching across the river in front of us was an arc of a bridge seemingly composed of branches and vines of what was once pale, white stone. Several of these vines and branches plunged into the shallow water beneath the bridge, forming supports. Off the right side of the bridge, in the middle of the river sat a tall, narrow tower, only about twenty feet in diameter, reaching up to a roof thirty feet above the bridge. A narrow walkway led from the main bridge to a thick oaken entrance door. The tower, as well as the bridge, was currently flame-free, though blackened from decades of soot. On the far side of the bridge lay a small village built in a wide clearing, its buildings faintly visible through the forest’s ashy haze.

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