As soon as Jack woke up, he knew his team was going to need another day to recover from their encounter with the Dead God. In addition to the loss of two members of the group, Vel-Linna showed no signs of being able to escape the dazed trance that claimed her faculties.

Vel

Add to this the loss of much of their equipment and extra food and it became obvious that a day of rest along with repairing their gear and hunting for food would be required.

It hurt Jack to think that every lost day set the armies of Darken closer to the camp of the Tezcatlipoca Stalwarts, but some things couldn’t be helped. Theirs was not an easy journey and if they weakened themselves further, they wouldn’t be able to help anyone.

So after they had dined on their meager breakfast of dried fruit and lizard meat, Jack gathered the others around him. He ran his fingers through his dirty hair and figured adding a bath to his to do list wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Jack Dagger

“I know we’ve been through a lot and even with our impossible timeline, I think it would be in our best interest to take a day to reconstitute ourselves.” Looking around he saw mixed reactions to the news, but when no one complained, he went on.

“The way I see it, we have several things that need doing. First off, we need more food, so a hunting party should be organized.”

Stalker nodded, “I’m more than happy to head that one up.”

Jack eyed him. “Okay, but let’s figure the rest of this out. Vel is in a seriously bad state. Instead of having a powerful shaman, we have a walking mentally wounded. If we could get her mind back in working order, she would go from being a liability to a strength.”

Vel-Linna

When no one offered up an easy solution to this, he continued. “I would also like to see some of our gear repaired and other more mundane preparations made.”

Tynilia caught his eye. “I could also try to teach Huth the language spell. I know there aren’t as many as there used to be, but this barrier and the need to translate is getting old.”

“If this is the case,” Shadowknife began, “then I will take up the hunt as well. Fresh meat will aid many of us.”

Jack nodded toward the Xemmoni, although his dark continence left him wanted to find a patch of sunlight. “Okay, it’s settled them. You two will set off hunting, while Tynilia and Huth work on the spell. I’ll try to get the camp in order and repair what I can and we’ll all see what we can do for Vel throughout the day.”

*         *         *

The day turned out to be more relaxing than Jack would have imagined. Vel-Linna ceased her vacant staring when sleep overcame her at last. Knowing she needed her rest, Jack chose to hold off on any attempts to reach her inhibited mind. Instead he focused on fixing their bags and back packs while taking breaks to stretch his legs and gather up some fire wood.

forest-finished

He started a small fire around mid-day. Tynilia and Huth moved next to it, but it seemed like their spell would never be completed. Since Vel-Linna still slept, Jack began to clear them a more comfortable space under the rocky overhang. Rocks we tossed out into a parameter around camp, while branches were either thrown into the fire or used to build up a makeshift crescent protecting their position.

By the time the sun had begun to set, the hunters had still not returned, but Jack had created a three foot barrier around their campsite. With the rock wall guarding their backs, Jack felt more secure than he had in a while.

He was just finishing up a wooden spear for himself, when Tynilia said, “Thank the vacant throne, finally.” She and Huth got to their feet and strolled over to him.

With a rare smile, Huth walked up to Jack and shook his hand. “Good eve to you, Primus. We converse at last.”

Huth-allan-nith

“Nice for us all to be on the same page. It sure has been a long time in-”

His sentence was interrupted by a long drawn out scream erupting from Vel-Linna. When she looked over at them from her seated position, Jack thought he saw that the light in her eyes had returned, but then a moment later she went into a seizure.

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Cannibal

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To be continued next Monday

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Annis

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Find out how Jack’s Adventures Started Here!

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Yig Girl

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Tattered Heroes

October 19, 2015

After their battle with the Dead God, the group was beyond weary in both mind and spirit, but none of them wished to rest in The Valley of the Headless Gods. Despite the sunrise, the lands stayed dark. Grey clouds rolled overhead. Their lead colored edges churned like swirling mists of pure chaos. Their presence threatened to reenact the storm that cost them two members of their party when they sought shelter.

Creepy Ruins II

Jack paused between two headless statues that loomed over him like twin towers. He glanced up at the ancient stonework and saw that no two of the statues were the same. “I know everyone is on their last ebb, but let’s press on. I see a forest beyond these plains. If we can get past this open area we should be alright.”

No one answered him, they just kept marching. Vel-Linna remained in a daze. She might have rescued the party, but that hadn’t changed her lack of expression and staring eyes. Every hair on her head had turned white, and despite her beauty, she looked more like an old woman as Huth helped guide her through the tall grasses.

Tynilia 6

Tynilia walked between him and his fellow Yig worshippers, she looked up and gave him a wane smile, but his lover appeared to be the most exhausted of them all. Shadowknife moved like a silent specter behind Huth, and Stalker, as always, brought up the rear. The tall Tezcatlipoca worshipper had been avoiding them as much as he could after he had left the rest of them to their own fate below.

Jack kept expecting another disaster to strike. Perhaps the Dead God might have found a way to survive the hundred tons of stone they sent down on his head, or maybe a new horror would erupt from the sands below their feet. Each headless statue carried the threat of its colossal form somehow beginning to move. But instead of these imagined threats the group only faced more miles of walking.

Join Yig

Sometime, long past midday, the group made it to the edge of the forest. Jack sensed at once the malign nature of the valley diminishing with each footstep deeper into the woods. Rocky moss covered stone, mixed with thick virgin trees and Jack drew in a long breath of sweet scented air.

Soon however the going became more difficult. The game trail was covered with fallen trees, which the group had to climb over. After spotting an overhanging cliff, Jack called for a halt and no one complained.

The damp wood resisted attempts to make a fire, until Stalker threw some sort of powder onto the branches and they burst into flames. After settling in, they used what little remaining Ki they had to heal themselves and heated up some of their rations.

Not much conversation took place. No one offered to go hunting and the group wondered off to find a place to bed down one by one. Huth had laid out an animal skin for Vel-Linna, but she ignored it. Soon only the traumatized young woman and Jack remained up.

He threw a wet log onto the fire. It hissed releasing steam. “Can you hear what I’m saying?”

No response.

Vel Evil

“Can you tell me what happened to you?”

Her haunted eyes gazed forward. Unblinking. Unknowing.

Around him even the forest stayed hushed, like they feared the ghosts that clung to his party. Only the gentle drips of water falling from the Cliffside competed with the crackle of the flames.

“Crap, this is going to be a long night,” he mumbled to himself and threw another long onto the blaze.

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Vel-Linna

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To be continued next Monday

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Bad Woods

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Find out how Jack’s Adventures Started Here!

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good woods

Killing A Dead God

October 13, 2015

As the party struggled to recover from the terror filled scream still echoing through the subterranean darkness. Jack felt like each of his hairs standing on end had raw nerves struggling to sense movement.

Corridors

The ebony form of Shadowknife turned toward them. “She screams because the Dead God comes for us!”

abbb

“Okay hurry,” Jack shouted. “Tell Huth and Vel to become serpents and then fly us out of here!” Huth became a snake quickly, but Jack quickly realized that Vel had suffered too much trauma to follow instructions and might not have even heard them.

“Ty, carry the two men,” Shadowknife yelled and the in a single fluid motion he grabbed Vel-linna and flew off heading back up the pit they had descended down.

Jack hurried to assume serpent form and was snatched up by Tynilia before the change had completed.

Tyn

Wind rushed by his scaled body as he lost the world of sound. He traveled through the dark with only Tynilia’s tight grip grounding him to reality. When they reached the lip of the pit, she dropped down and tossed the two men of Yig to the floor. Both he and Huth hurried to make the transformation back to human.

Arms and legs formed as his body grew and stretched. As his hearing returned, Jack heard the buzzing roar of the Dead God pursuing them below. Tynilia yelled something, but her body had turned away from both them and the pit. Moving his head, Jack saw that the Stalker’s lean body stood not five yards from them. Why the Stalwart of Tezcatlipoca has chosen to retreat instead of helping them, remained unknown, but Jack knew they had to act quickly or they’d lose more of them to the fiend below.

As Jack’s body returned to human, his eyes scanned for anything that would help, but besides a few crumbled benches and the statue the room…was…

“Hurry, Shadowknife, Stalker, get behind the statue of this damn Dead God.”

“Wait, why, we should scatter. Some of us might make it,” Stalker argued.

“If this works all of us will make it, now go.” Jack gestured for Huth to stay where he was while Jack raced around the edge of the pit until he reached the far side of the giant statue. “Tynilia, watch the pit, let us know how much time we have.”

Jack focused in his mystic strength and enacted his most powerful spell. Under usual circumstances Jack could have used his Mold Earth spell to clear the area in front of the statue in moments, but as they had suspected, the ground within the temple remained cursed. Its corruption fought against his magic. Jack struggled on regardless.

Once Huth saw Jack using his Mold Earth spell in front of the statue, he realized the Stalwart’s plan and joined in, but still the darkened earth fought back against their efforts.

Huth-allan-nith

“It’s no use,” Stalker yelled. “The ground it corrupted. We need to-”

“Jack, he may be right,” Tynilia cried. “I can see it coming. Oh by the gods its close!”

Tynilia 5

But then, with a cry, the female Shaman, Vel-Linna, stepped forward and joined her powers with her fellow warriors of Yig. Jack had been told she was a powerful sorceress, but that hadn’t prepared him for the swelling of mystic might that crashed into the ground beneath the titanic idol.

For a moment he heard the buzzing of the Dead God, but then it was drowned out by the avalanche of earth. The massive statue followed it and the Dead God screeched a foul scream as first the earth and then the statue buried him under tons of stone and debris.

Fly God

The earth shook and the members of his team fought to maintain their footing as a dust ridden silence fell upon them. They paused just trying to fill their lungs with air and that was when a sliver of sunshine fell into the chamber.

No words were spoken as the group moved out into the daylight. Vel-Linna had again entered into her trace-like state and needed to be guided by Huth. As one they looked toward the dawn while trying to clean some of the filth off their bodies and clothes.

“Eight went in and six remain,” Shadowknife said.
“Let’s hope it’s enough to complete our quest to enlist the aid of the Lava Dragons,” Jack said, as he tossed his axe over his shoulder.

“We still have to make it there first,” Stalker grumbled.

Jack eyed him, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to leave enemies at my back and horrid beasts thriving in my wake. Yes, the cost was high, but who knows what the cost has been letting that evil linger.”

Angry Jack

No one had an answer from him, so with both weary body and mind, Jack turned toward the north and started walking.

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Yig Girl

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To be continued next Monday

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Jack Offworld

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Find out how Jack’s Adventures Started Here!

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Vel-Linna

In the Fly of the Storm

October 5, 2015

As the three warriors left the pit behind, the last hints of lights died and the darkness devoured them. The wide walls remained difficult to see in the spattering light on Jack’s single torch. What he could see just left him wishing he’d been spared the sight. The porous charcoal colored stone dripped a foul mucus like they traveled down a dying man’s throat. Light reflected off the clinging grey slime and in many places it slowly covered the bones that littered the floor in a chaotic jumble of splintered death.

Tunnel, Creepy

“This place is lovely,” Tynilia said under her breath.

“I suggest we keep as quiet as possible,” Shadowknife reprimanded. “Most likely the Dead God’s hearing is quite acute.”

Jack wanted to speak, but stayed silent as he searched the floor for tracks. A single set of human prints could be seen. Huth still lived, but with the colossal beast following behind him who could know how long that would remain the case.

Jack Offworld

After another five minutes of walking, a small alcove appeared on the side. With a hand motion, Shadowknife drew them into the bone lined room. Dropping his voice, the Darcarre said, “Huth’s prints continue and the Dead God would have caught up to him long before now. So he must have escaped the creature’s notice.” Turning toward Jack, he continued. “I also think, since your mate and I can see in the darkness that it is time to extinguish your torch.”

“Agreed,” Jack said. “Tynilia, please guide me. Shadow, take point.”

Without another wasted word, the trio set forth. They hadn’t gone more than three minutes when Shadowknife froze.

“Something approaches,” he hissed at them. “Two of them and on foot.”

Jack risked relighting his torch. He had a moment of introspection when he used his lighter. He stared at it for a few seconds once the torch flame grew. It remained one of the last possessions he still had from his own world. How long had he been trapped here? Would he ever be able to return? The danger of this world often left him forgetting the strife he had left behind. Without his help, how did his own world fair? Would there be anything for him to return to?

Such thoughts were pushed aside when two figures stumbled into the dim ring of torchlight.

Huth assisted Vel-Linna, but she didn’t look well. Her body didn’t appear harmed, but her eyes stayed blank. As Huth rushed forward talking in his language that Jack still had yet to learn, Vel stood where she had been left. A statue, her wide eyes appeared to see nothing. While the others spoke to Huth, Jack stepped toward the young shaman of Yig. He felt the hackles on the back of his neck rise. Her long hair had turned white.

Vel-Linna

“What happened to her?” he whispered

Tynilia answered. “Huth says the Dead God, had spared her for some reason and had moved into a side chamber for long enough for him to rescue her. There is-”

Ty

Her sentence was interrupted by Vel-Linna letting out an ear rending scream.

Everyone jerked as shivers ran down his spine.

The ebony form of Shadowknife turned toward them. “She screams because the Dead God comes for us!”

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Fly God

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To be continued next Monday

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Vel Evil

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Find out how Jack’s Adventures Started Here!

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Underdark