I’ve just completed my fourth mission for the 42nd. This one was by far the toughest and easily the most straining upon my psyche. We were tasked by Master Terrin to help an archaeologist acquire a derelict ship that had crashed somewhere in Asheron. Apparently the ship had planes-travelling abilities and posed a threat to Sigil should a hostile faction acquire it.
We gated out to Asheron and a few miles away from the crash site. We trekked along these weird, floating islands of ice and dirt that quite frankly disturbed me. I’m not used to the ground moving along underneath me and I was a bit distressed at the thought of two of these icy motes smashing into one another. Everyone else made their way across the terrain without much difficulty, but Sindri and I had some trouble keeping up. You know that running was never my strong suit and this githyanki armor is a lot heavier than it looks.
At one point we were beset upon by a horde of demonic minions closing in on us from all sides. We had to beat feet fast to make it to the next mote before it passed by. Thank Lord Kelemvor that Sindri was around because I don’t think I would’ve made it without him. When it became clear that we were lagging a bit too far behind, he cast a Fly spell on me. Being a little thing, he was able to climb up on my shoulders like little Niclas used to do when I’d tote him around Aunt Audris’ house.
Let me tell you, flying is an art more than a skill and I’m not very artistic. Still, it gave us the speed we needed to catch up to the others. They were struggling to get across some narrow strips of navigable land and were being harassed by imps and such as they made their way across. Rather than land and slug it out, I took advantage of my newfound mobility and put this plate armor to good use by using myself (with poor Sindri holding on for dear life) as a battering ram and knocking the little runts halfway across the plane! It was terribly fun and something I’d love to do again. But alas, we had to continue on.
We managed to reach the location where the ship had crashed and the archaeologist set up his gear to gate the ship back to Sigil. Everyone took up defensive positions around the ship, knowing we’d be attacked during the ritual. Oddly, the attack came from a dozen or so orcs and goblins, rather than demons. I must admit I felt some small sense of disappointment at not being able to gut some more of the gods-bedamned things. Sindri and Vaclav made quick work of them while Vox Tagleon, Adolamin Jizaihō, and myself kept the rest off the scientist. I was sensing that this was too easy and felt a disturbing chill just before It arrived.
“It” was quite possibly the biggest demon I’d ever seen. Possibly a lord of some kind. It wore no armor save a large helm and very large shield. It wielded a wicked sword of lightning as it bore down upon us. Lesser men would’ve died screaming in terror, but not we. I was out of position when the beast attacked, but Vox and Adolamin managed to keep it busy until I could get there. Vaclav and Sindri harassed it at range, but their magics did little to damage the creature.
Finally, I arrived and by the blessings of Lord Kelemvor I smote the infernal thing with my greatsword wreathed in holy power. My mind’s focus narrowed to a rapier point focused solely on the unbeating heart of that monstrosity. Seeing a foe it could not so easily toy with, it dropped its sword and shield and drew forth two long barbed chains with what may have been anchors on the ends. It gave the creature a tremendous reach and its powerful misses rended the landscape around us.
I chased it up a broken tower and set to cleaving great gashes in its hide while the others did their best to help. My holy blade seemed to be the only weapon that the beast truly feared and it flew off the tower in a desperate attempt to reach the archaeologist and stop his ritual. I stopped thinking and placed my life in Kelemvor’s blessed hands and lept off the tower; my sword blazing in my Lord’s holy might! My faith was rewarded as I landed in a perfect position to strike the great demon and my blade bit deeply into its unholy flesh! Mortally wounded, it gamely tried to offer a last bit of resistance, but we managed to down the damned thing once and for all.
Vaclav placed claim upon the demon’s sword while Adolamin claimed its helm. I cautioned them to be wary of demonic trinkets, but as Vaclav is a tiefling, he’s already quite familiar with such things. Adolamin was not so lucky as he now finds himself the unwitting possessor of a cursed helmet! Even in death, the demons find ways to mock us! I shall have to take the poor monk to Master Queale to see if we can get the curse undone.
Needless to say, the ritual was completed but the ship was gated not to Sigil proper, but to somewhere in the Outlands, where a team of Lancer support personnel set to stripping the vessel into more easily transportable pieces. I wondered at the wisdom of allowing such a prize to be claimed by anyone, instead of being destroyed. Though I suppose the Lancers are the best group to possess such an artifact, as we won’t abuse its power as others might.
I must confess, mother, that fighting the demon lord was equally terrifying and exhilarating! I wondered if the creature was behind the attacks that sundered father’s body and destroyed my comrades. I knew I should keep the beast alive long enough to query its demented mind. Yet the weight of vengeance was great upon my heart and drove my anger to fuel my power.
I should not feel this way! I knew I was the only true threat against the creature. As I fared, so too would my comrades’ fates be written. In past encounters, I’d trusted solely upon my training and will to see me through, and both have served me well. But this fight…this fight was different. I knew I wouldn’t prevail through sharp blade and strong steel alone.
It wasn’t until I surrendered myself completely to the anger and desire for restitution that I felt we had a chance. At that moment though, all doubt melted away! I knew that we couldn’t lose. I knew the beast would fall to our strength. For a fleeting time, I had become my god’s hand and through me, Lord Kelemvor had brought the sentence of swift justice upon the unholy abomination. The feeling of righteous anger I felt in those brief seconds burned away any doubt that I was not serving my Lord as he desires.
In fact, I believe now that my task is not just to protect the People and right the wrongs inflicted upon the world by those who would deal death so casually. I believe now that our Lord Kelemvor is grooming me to truly become his Sword and through me, exact his righteous anger upon those unfortunate enough to fall under his gaze. I know this isn’t the path you wish for me, mother. I know the Masters raised me to serve our god peacefully and only draw steel as a last resort.
But…what I felt today was not the hurt feelings of a bruised and embarrassed ego. It was the righteous anger of the judge exacting a penance from the irredeemable criminal. It was the satisfaction of being executioner over one for which there was no other verdict.
I have served the Lord of Death most of my life. Until now, I’ve been but a child doing as his parents have directed; not understanding…only obeying. Now the veil is being drawn and comprehension is beginning to take root. The spectre of Death that used to walk beside me is now wrapping the dark mantle of its embrace upon my shoulders. I am no longer the scythe; the tool. Soon I shall become the Reaper! And woe be to those for whom the bell tolls…