Into Hell’s Fire (flash story)

There was another character I played that I did a fair amount of writing on, a half-human, half-demon (called a cansin) rogue and smartass named Karamus. The recounting of his adventures were written as a storytime/flashback from a much older and biter man. I admit that some of the story may be lost in translation from events that actually transpired during the game and the way they are retold (and Karamus padded his retelling of the story to make himself look better anyhow). I’m told the collection of stories is amusing though, so I thought I would put them out there. Also, a quick note on the language. There is a fair amount of planar speech mixed in with the writing. Definitions can be found here – http://nwsigil.tripod.com/lexicon.htm.

-Lucas

Karamus gave a grunt as he took a seat at his favorite chair. His hair, now more gray than multi-colored, fell in front of his eyes, which he pushed back up with an annoyed growl. The rumbling sound of a herd of children crashing into his den a moment later brought an even deeper scowl as nine kids took up seats all around him. “This is what hell truly is.” he muttered to himself before giving a gentle fake smile to the children.

“Tell us a story papa! One of the old days when you where a planewalker!” pleaded one of the children.

“Only if it will get you all to bed where you belong,” he said as he settled back in his seat. The children all gave nods and giggles, as they too got comfortable.

“Well let me see… How about the time that I was traveling through a plane, a pocket plane really, with the Silver Phoenix compa-” he started to say before he was interrupted.

“The Silver Phoenix! You were with them?” asked one of the other children.

“Avragal, if you rattle your bone-box out of turn again, I will feed you to Sparky. Now pike it,” growled the irritable old cansin. This rebuke caused immediate silence in the room.

“Now, where was I…ah yes, the planes. Well, ya see, it all started when the group and I were hipped in a desert on the Prime world called Oerth. It was there that we encountered Kaurophon, a canny blood of fiendish descent. Now, this wily addle-cove offered me and my clueless coterie a deal that would get us all out of the desert, which would have put us all in the dead-book given enough time. The deal was to help him pass the Test of the Smoking Eye on the Abyssal layer of Occipitus. Accepting the deal was barmy, but considering our situation, we weren’t really in a position to argue.”

Karamus waited for a few moments to let the introduction to the story sink into their little minds. He recalled quietly the companions who’d been with him during that trek. He had not seen them in quite some time, not since he returned Sigil to settle down to live a more stationary lifestyle. Noticing that the children were getting impatient, Karamus continued with his story.

“Kaurophon gathered the group together and opened a portal to Occipitus. Moments later, we found ourselves in a place spawned from nightmares. The sky seemed to be made of flame, bathing everything in a reddish glow. Off in the distance loomed a massive skull: a white monolith the size of a mountain. Clouds of flame streamed from the skull’s single exposed eye socket and up into the sky. About a half-mile ahead stood a cluster of gently curving white pillars, almost as if giant rib bones had been stuck in the ground. In the distance loomed a steep mountain ridge whose top seemed to touch the fiery sky. It stretched around the entire horizon – as if we were standing inside a vast bowl with a fiery lid. The ground was spongy and wrinkled, seeming more like flesh than dirt.”

“While my leatherhead allies stared around, mouths gaping and trying desperately to tumble to our new situation, Kaurophon appeared to be making calculations. He figured that we were roughly a hundred miles from the Cathedral of Feathers, the site of the first part of the Test. He told us that sticking to the flats would be preferable to delving into the ‘ossaic forests,’ which he indicated were made up of the rib-like pillars.”

“We walked for hours heading through the yawn of a landscape in the direction of this so-called cathedral and the first part of the half-fiend’s Test. I’d been thinking of speaking quietly to the others about using the scroll he’d given Ashton, the necromancer, sorcerer, fairy friend, or whatever the whistles he was, to planeshift back to the Prime, when we spotted what appeared to be a pack of massive hippopotami feasting on the fleshy surface. The creatures apparently noticed us, too, because they began to lumber in our direction. They were bigger than this house, dwarfing us all. Needless to say, the battle that took place was drastically unbalanced and not in our favor. We fled for fear of our lives and escaped by the skin of our teeth.”

A high pitched voice shot through the house like a medusa’s arrow. “Children! Bed! Now!”

The children gave a collective whine and sigh about having to go to bed. Karamus winced as Peresia stepped on his foot and tugged at his pants, “Papa! More story!” she cried to him with wanderlust in her eyes. He had seen that look before in his sister’s eyes when they were young. He gave a growl as he moved to stand, “Move child or your mother will skin you alive.”

The elderly cansin gave a sigh as he shut the door behind the last child. He looked across his room, to the items he had collected over his years of adventuring. He walked over to his desk slowly, his limp becoming more noticeable. Pulling open a drawer he withdrew a golden feather, which he held up to the candlelight. As he gazed his mind wandered and the sounds of battle began to ring in his ears.

 ____________________________________________

 “RUN!” Kaurophon cried as he began to retreat from the approaching demons. The half-breed cansin quickly took the half-fiend’s advice, retreating away from the dance of death they were performing. Kort, with his usual bravado, refused to back down and quickly moved to engage the sodding demons. The paladin, seeing his kinsman attempting to hold the field, rethought his retreat and went back after him. An addle-coved act it had seemed at the time.

Kaurophon, without enough time to heed his own advice, was forced to withstand a blast of demonic energy shot from the fingertips of the demon pack. In response, he’d attempted, and failed miserably, to disintegrate one of the fiends with magic. Karamus sighed heavily when no one else had followed the wisdom in quitting the fight, but he’d paused long enough to watch the beating the demons received. The leatherhead paladin, naturally, fought one of the fiends in combat to a standstill. The berk named Kort and the others took on the other two demons efficiently. The encounter quickly turned against the fiends and by the end, two were dead and the third quickly fled the scene.

With the demons dealt with, the group pressed onward towards the Cathedral of Feathers. Upon reaching the structure, it seemed more of a ruin than a former establishment for worshippers of the so-called “Good” powers. Then again, things like this tended to happen when fiends were left in charge rather than celestials. Regardless, it was a piking big stone structure that had a tilt to it like a bent soldier at tax time. Wide steps led up to a huge set of stone double doors.

Karamus led the group up to the doors and entered the foyer, which contained a pit which seemed completely out of place in the middle of the foyer. The group entered confidently only to spring the trap of a pair of spider-like creatures. A massive web filled the area quickly followed by a lightning bolt, which arced through the center of the group. The cansin had easily ducked out of the way of the electrical pulse, and the rest of the group did not seemed overly wounded by the blast.

The half-breed orc whose name Karamus consistently forgot, moved in ahead of the party and thus avoided the magical assault, quickly advanced on one of the spider-like creatures as it descended from the ceiling. With his odd fighting style consisting of excellent aged bub and a hard-hitting fist, he expressed to the spider berk what a bad idea it was to assault the party. The other creature, choosing to remain in the corner along the ceiling, was even worse off as Bransen used his divine magic to send the creature back to whatever plane it belonged. After the web was dealt with, the group closed in on the remaining creature and killed it swiftly.

 ____________________________________________

Karamus opened his eyes from the memory and placed the feather back down into the drawer before closing it. He reached to another drawer and withdrew a small vial with a violet liquid. He uncorked it and quickly drank the liquid, which burned like fire going down. He gave a violent cough, which required the use of a handkerchief. The old cansin hobbled his way back to his chair and sat down, still coughing, “Sodding paladins.”

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