Savage Tide: We Stand or Die Together!

So, it all comes down to this.

Demogorgon’s final stronghold. We’re all ready to go- as much as anyone can be, anyway. With a bit of backup, we assault the shores, taking many a demon down with us. One of them, an annoying monstrous demon flinging lightning, had to go. I bring him down, Juni finishes him off with her Daggers of Everything-Killing. All told, we were successful in securing this shore, in any case.

That’s when we get a call from Tico; her contingent is in some pretty bad trouble, by the sound of it. It doesn’t take much for us to answer the call; we needed her to be successful in her offensive, or else the whole thing would fail- or so I understand. As it turns out, I’m not much of a tactician, so I could be wrong. But what I’m not wrong about is that Tico is our friend, and if she’s calling for help, we’re answering!

We get teleported to this plain, and all we see are a bunch of bodies. On a sinister totem on the shore, we see Tico’s head, tied to the damn thing. Though I didn’t know her very well, she was a friend to nearly everyone in our little war band, That someone could do this to her…

Not someone. Some thing.

It’s one of Demogorgon’s monsters. I think I heard someone say that it’s one of his mad experiments, but that sounds a little off. I thought Demogorgon was just some ravening, maniacal demonlord. To think that it’s smart enough to carry out its own experiments doesn’t ring true. But what do I know? Honestly, it’s out of my area of expertise- that being women and and magic- and I don’t think I should be worried about that little bit just now…

I slip on my Ring of Dragonform. It’s time for Baelong to smash.

As we approach the almost indescribable monster, it is clear that there is a zone of magic nullification that, if we step inside it, it will nullify our powers and our equipment. The creature seems to be aware of the effect, which seems to be centered on the hideous totem itself. It stays within the radius of the anti-magic effect, but Ben- my oldest friend since time immemorial!- has a great idea. With my new dragon form, I can simply fly over the whole effect, and then drop down right beside it. It’s a little risky, considering I’ll be falling pretty far. Good thing my best buddy is also our best healer.

I swoop in as the others antagonize the beast, and right when I pass through the bubble, the magic on my ring ends, turning me into regular ol’ Baelon again. I come down right beside the hideous totem, and the look in Tico’s dead eyes makes me wonder how much she suffered in her final moments.

I have to focus, though. The fall didn’t actually take a lot out of me, which is good. I fire up the muscles, and begin to rip the evil totem out of the ground!

Or crap myself.

Turns out, the totem is in there pretty solid and tight, the thick wood unmoving against even my stupendous strength. I try it again, and nothing happens. Damn it! Even worse, the creature itself is turning towards me, so I place myself on the other side of the totem. If the creature wants me dead, he’ll have to take the damn thing with me!

I moved just in time; I think Casidhe hurls a giant boulder at the totem, cracking the wood. If I put all my strength into it…yes! I’m able to wrench the top of the totem completely off, and the effect is negated. The creature turns towards me, anger in its eyes and—-*

Whoa. I’m pretty sure I either died or almost died. I see Kira and Juni standing over the dead corpse of the monster, and I’m just glad that its dead and I’m standing up. There isn’t much time to rest, though- we have to reach the Interdiction Zone and soon, or this whole mess will have been for nothing. There will be time enough to mourn the loss of Tico later, if any of us are alive enough to do it. Besides, I think I hear someone say something about her giving strict orders to finish the mission first anyway. I check to make sure all my parts are in the right place, and then Cass whips up a teleport…

After a small, gutwrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach, I realize that from where we’re standing, we can actually see the faraway battle between Demogorgon and that Whirling Fury woman whose name always escapes me. I’m sure she told it to me, but with all the whirling and breasts and hotness, I’m sure I missed it. Anyway, we need a distraction, and we debate upon how to do it. At one point, I offer up my orb to summon my own father, but instead Kira’s idea wins out- he summons a Lung Dragon that is supposed to be one of his ancestors. As the dragon joins the fray, we make our way into the Interdiction Zone.

Not far into it, we’re assaulted by more Moob demons (I think they’re Moob demons, I could be wrong), and some insect guys that try to put us to sleep- except, I’m a bit on the immune side of that. This is one of those long and grueling battles, and we lose more time than we should have thanks to these damn things. On the plus side, Ben seems to be unharmed, dancing around the battlefield like a moron.

That’s what it looks like, at least.

Instead, he summons a bunch of big helpers that begin grappling all the smaller demons, which gives us enough time to finish off the peskier guys. We all get a little scratched up here, but it’s all in a day’s work, really. The hardest part is yet to come- breaking into Wat Dagon.

Well, actually, that proves to be pretty easy. We only encounter one demon-thing that tries to impersonate Lavinia, and fools nobody. It does hurl a man-headed slug at us, but I don’t recognize him. All that matters is that we dispense with the demon, and Juni steps on the slug. I use myself more or less as a battering ram to open the door and hold it open. I know something is wrong the moment I try to step on the tiles. I resist a powerful magical effect that I believe is actually a version of the Savage Tide. Lucky me.

We poke our way through this fallen temple, and the evil here is fairly palpable. We find ourselves in a chamber with a glyph of some sort on the ceiling, and I mumble an incantation that gives me my rightful dragon’s wings. I offer to take everyone up, and Elora finds herself in my arms, and Ben on top of my head. With a powerful stroke of my wings, I’m off towards the ceiling.

Instead of being the hero and gliding in through the cracks of the ceiling, I wind up setting off a magical trap that douses us all with holy fire. Silly trap…I’m immune to fire.

I think Elora faints, and she is still in my arms. She’s a soft creature up close, and I wonder how it is that I never noticed it before. Man, if only I wasn’t such a whoremonger, this holy creature could maybe—-

Nah. Best stow those thoughts for later, if there is one.

There is a death knight waiting for us at the top of the stairs through the ceiling, and someone tells us that this guy is the Death Knight. The big cheese of death knights. Juni and Kira walk forward and do something bloody and violent to him, and about twenty seconds later the undead badass is just another dead guy. Beyond, there is a tunnel to take, and Yeferia says that the tunnel is evil. She’s a crazy elf woman, yes, but she’s never really been wrong about this sort of thing. Rater than creep along, feeling for traps an inch at a time, we book it through the evil tunnel and into the room beyond, which is quite hot. Casidhe casts Mass Fly on us, and we float safely towards a door that is locked through arcane means. Juni doesn’t think she can pick the lock without melting her picks, so I do the next best thing- with the help of Arumgear’s crowbar, I begin to muscle the door open, but it takes me longer than I thought it would, and wonder if that energy-draining touch I felt earlier is still affecting me, or maybe it’s the death…it’s hard to be sure, exactly.

But, we do force our way through the door, coming into a room that has brackish water up to our ankles. Rather, it could be brackish water, or acid. Ben tests that theory by plucking one of his own scales and dropping it in- and remembers at the last second that he’s immune to acid.

Oh well.

The more important concern is the spiky clam-thing against the wall that holds a very black pearl in the center of it all, the very object that we’ve come for. When Juni approaches it, though, it clams up. She starts to pry the thing open from its foot, when suddenly something teleports into the room. I glance over, and feel my blood turn to ice, my breath catching in my chest.

Demogorgon.

Oh gods…Demogorgon. And he’s.Right.Next.To me. I’m so scared, I don’t even hear what he says. All of my sound and fury, and I can’t even think of anything to say, or do. Juni is the one who acts first, but she can’t hurt him.I don’t know if I’m gonna make it through this. I should’ve told Elora that I loved carrying her before. I should have said a lot of things. And I get the feeling that I won’t get to say any of them…

I try to get a grip, but the Demonlord proves to be too much. I can’t hurt him any more than Juni could, but I think Kira is making some headway in that respect. We’re not alone, though- that Whirling Fury babe shows up to help us take this dirtbag down. I realize I’m not getting anywhere, so I plan to bash Demogorgon in the face until he dies, but then he casts some form of spell that I’m not that familiar with. Next thing I know, I have no idea why we’re fighting at all. Isn’t Demogorgon our friend? It feels like he is our closest friend in the whole world, that this is all somehow a big misunderstanding!

One moment, I’m convinced this is the utmost truth. Then, some sort of gibbering madness grabs hold of me, and I find myself taking refuge in a corner with Ben and some other little buddy.

So cowardly I am, that I don’t even see how it all ends. I just hear the sounds of screaming and dying, and when I’m in control of myself once more, I see Kira standing over the dead body of Demogorgon himself. It’s fitting, really. Though I am glad for our victory, I recognize that in the end, I didn’t do anything.

I wish I could have at least savored the moment, but I find myself far too troubled. The magic that was worked to revive Tico fails, and she is lost to her people. I think that she has to want to come back for the magic to work, though, so maybe she’s quite happy in the afterlife.

Time passes, as it always does, and even though we are victorious, victory does nothing to bind us together. Juni and Ben head off on their own, and Kira gets married to Lavinia at long last. Elora joins her brother in whatever heaven they belong to. It saddens me to think that she killed herself to get there, and I sincerely hope that isn’t the way of it. I find myself wanting to see her again someday.

As for myself, I have far too many questions for myself. This whole time, I never really knew if it was my time, or if I was in the past or the future. I do feel like a failure, but you know what? A person can’t really dwell on the past, recent or not. I’m gonna look ahead, maybe take a vacation from all the damn weirdness. Maybe then, I’ll find the answers I’m looking for.

Starting with these hiking boots. I never did find out why I share a journal with a bunch of crazy people. Are my parents still alive? I used to live on the Sword Coast, and I don’t even know if it’s still there. I guess that’s where I’ll start.

I adjust the straps of my pack, leaving with the early morning sun. There’s a whole world out there, and it exists only because we few saved it from a horrifying fate. Think I’ll walk in it awhile.

These boots are made for walking, after all, and that’s just what they’ll do…

Savage Tide: We Stand or Die Together!

The Savage Tide astrounicorn Proteangamer