Vassel of Bahamut

****Part One****

Jherrek looked out over the city. The slums were affected the most, while the middle and upper portions of the city were completely untouched. The tsunami had really did a number on Sharn. It couldn’t be coincidence that, they had tracked Darius here, and the city was flooded shortly after he was supposed to have arrived.

“So, what do you think, Malek?” Jherrek asked his traveling companion and closest friend.

“There is a lot of magic in the air, but it’s of the elemental plane of water. So it may just be coincidence. Can’t be sure until after I do some investigating.” Malek answered.

“Very well, let’s go see what help we can give.” Jherrek announced.

“If we must.” Malek grumbled.

Luckily the northeast gate to Sharn was situated on a hill that sat higher than the reset of the city, so that entrance wasn’t underwater. Which meant that there was a very large crowd of people trying to get in and out of the city through the gate.

“Looks like we may need to find a different way in.” Jherrek assessed. Maybe there is a break in the wall or something.”

“Jherrek, my friend, you do realize that you travel with a mage, correct?” Malek shook his head. “Come.”

Jherrek and Malek followed the wall. Once they were out of sight of the crowd. Malek turned to the large stone block wall, pulled out his enchanted kris and made a small cut on the tip of his index finger. He then drew, with the blood flowing from the wound, a circle on the wall, and the on the outside of the circle he drew a few runes. Then he placed his hand on the wall in the center of the circle, closed his eyes, and chanted a few words. The dark purple stone embedded in the back of the hand he placed on the wall, began to glow. The circle and runes began to glow, and the light began to imitate from the circle and then fill it in, finishing in the center where Malek’s had been. When the energy dissipated, there was a neat circular hole in the wall. And the two walked into the city with no struggle.

“Master Flying Crane, said his student would be at the temple of Bahamut near the docks. It seems that the water in the northern part of the city is receding.” Jherrek informed.

“Then let’s be on our way. I wish to find what information I can and be on my way.” Malek remarked.

Rebuilding had already began on the north part of the city. The streets were busy with cleaning crews, mason workers, and carpenters. They were also filled with undertakers. The bodies seemed to be piled on every street. Just stacked there, because there was nowhere to put them, or not enough people to dispose of them. Clerics of various gods would stop at each stack and perform a blessing ritual on each pile to give them their last rights. Jherrek and Malek picked their way through the streets. Jherrek stopping to help when he could, with Malek calling after him to hurry.

“This is terrible. I’ve been around for a very long time, and seen a lot of things, but nothing quite like this.” Jherrek said. “The clerics and magi helping said that the tsunami came without warning. There were no earthquakes or any other natural disasters that occurred before hand. It may be nothing, but I think it’s worth noting.

Jherrek patted a small girl, no more than 8 years old, on the head, and then went down to one knee. He pulled a parcel wrapped in parchment, a days worth of trail rations, out of his pack, and handed it to the girl.

“It may not be much, but at least you won’t go hunger today little one.” Jherrek smiled.

The little girl ran off. Jherrek turned to Malek, who was clearly fed up with the constant interruptions.

“Fine, no more side trips.” Jherrek sighed.

It took them nearly three hours to travel the distance to the harbor where the temple sat. The courtyard was littered with the wounded. Clerics, priests, and even paladins were hurrying about, trying to tend to them. Others of the clergy were busy cleaning the streets in front of and around the front of the temple. The High Priestess Orim had done a good job protecting the temple from the tsunami with a barrier. It had come without warning, so she had to hastily put one up. So there was minimal damage, but it was only to the exterior wall that surrounded the temple.

“I’m going to go in and find Orim, and see if she would know where our monk is. Then I’m going to see what I can do to help around here. Take that time to do your research. My gut is telling me there’s more to the tsunami, than just a natural disaster. To much residual magic in the air.” Jherrek informed.

“Very well. Not sure why you insist on always helping everyone, but I won’t complain this time. It gives me plenty of time to get done what I need to get done. I will meet up with you tonight at the Gold Dragon Inn. Do try to stay out of trouble.” Malek instructed.

Jherrek waved Malek off, then headed into the temple. The inside was just as crowded as the court-yard. All the pews were stacked to the side. In their place were cots and make shift beds. Jherrek grabbed the first clergyman that passed by.

“Pardon me, would you know where Lady Orim is?” Jherrek asked.

“She is currently in a meeting with the high priests and priestesses from the other gods of the Pantheon. They did not wish to be interrupted. Speak with Cleric Davin, he’s second in command here.” the clergyman informed, pointing to a stocky built, bald man, with a goatee.

“Thank you, I will do just that.”Jherrek responded.

Davin was calling out commands, and assigning tasks to the various clerics and priests in the temple. The man was squat and square, could easily mistake him for a very tall dwarf. The man had a scar that carved its way from just below his right eye and stretches across his nose, the corner of his mouth and ended at his left jaw. He had various other nicks and scars on his face, head and forearms. He looked very rough and battle experienced, but his eyes showed a hint of compassion. Jherrek approached him, and at first Davin gave him a look of bother. Then, as he realized who was approaching him, he grinned.

“Ah, well met Jherrek Drakehart.” Davin greeted.

“Well met, brother. It’s been a long time. I see you are finally of some importance around here.” Jherrek assumed.

“Ah, temporary. We lost the High Cleric, and the Paladin Commander in the deluge. So I kind of took up the command role. So what brings you back here, Jherrek?” Davin asked.

“I’m actually helping a friend track down someone. And we were sent here to pick up someone who can help us in our journey. Was hoping you could maybe help me, old friend.” Jherrek requested.

“I can try. Who is it you were sent for?” spoke Davin.

“Looking for a young monk by the name of Shimiro. His master told us he was sent here to help with the recovery and clean up. You know of him?” Jherrek asked.

“Don’t know of him, but we only have one monk here. And that’s him over there.” Davin pointed.

“Good. Has anyone noticed anything suspicious about the tsunami? I heard that there wasn’t anything that seemed to have triggered it. Malek also senses an abundance of residual magic here. My gut seems to be telling me things are out-of-place.” Jherrek questioned.

“I haven’t heard anything official, but the magi over in First Tower are in a tizzy and the High Clergy are meeting. Our priests are having a difficult time contacting the Astral Sea. So something is definitely amiss.” Davin informed. “Hate to cut this short Jherrek, but I need to get back to work here. I will catch up to you and Malek later. At, the Golden Dragon Inn, right?”

“Aye, wouldn’t go anywhere else. Don’t think Bindy would appreciate us coming to town and not paying a visit.” Jherrek chuckled.

Jherrek walked away and headed toward the man Davin pointed out. He was a medium height  man, slender but muscular. His head was shaven clean. Clearly of Easterner decent. He wore loose fitting pants and a tunic, but didn’t look like they hindered his movement at all, and a pair of slippers. He was helping the clerics bring in the survivors that were worse off.

“Hello, I’m guessing you are Shimiro? Master Flying Crane said I would find you here.” Jherrek spoke.

****Part Two***

Shimiro saw the elf approaching out of the corner of his eye. He was unusually tall and muscular for an elf. He  had bright red hair, red like a cherry. He wore a suit of ornate plate armor. It was polished silver in color, with polished red accents. Hanging from his next was the blue motif of Bahamut. Strapped across his back was a great sword, bright red in color, with silver etching and silver running along the edges.

“Yes, I am. Master Flying Crane sent you?” Shimiro asked.

“Yes. My name is Jherrek Drakehart.” Jherrek bowed. “I know Master Crane from previous adventures. We asked him if he could suggest anyone that could help us on our journey.”

“And he suggested me?” Shimiro questioned.

“Yes, He told us that he had dispatched you here to help with the relief. I believe our quest is in some way connected to the events that have happened here. My friend Malek, is currently looking into it. We were looking for someone who was light on their feet, and  adept in getting into places unseen. We needed someone trustworthy. The person we are after, can be pretty persuasive, and we need someone who has the integrity to withstand his temptation. So he gave us your name and location.” Jherrek Explained.

“If Master Flying Crane expects me to help, then I will.” Shimiro answered back.

“Good, we have some time, let’s see what we can do to help until Malek returns.” Jherrek smiled.

Malek left the temple and headed in the direction of the Golden Dragon Inn. The inn was on the other side of the city, near the north gate in the dry portion of the city. It took him three hours to get to the inn. The tavern portion of the inn was packed tight. With most of the other inns and bars under water, everyone had flocked here. Malek weaved his way through the crowd. Most people rushing to get out of his way. Malek saw Bindy tending the bar. She looked out-of-place behind the bar. Malek thought her to gorgeous to be stuck in a place like this. She was tall and slender, deep lavender eyes, long shimmering blond hair. She wore upper class attire, with a bartenders apron. Bar tending was a messy job, especially at times like this, but there wasn’t a stain on her. She was wiping down the bar when she looked up to notice Malek.

“Ah, Malek. A face I’m finally happy to see.” Bindy smiled. “Have a seat.”

Bindy went to the end of the bar, where a passed out drunk man was hunch over the bar. She placed a hand on the middle of the mans head and shoved him off the stool and into the floor. Then nodded at a very large gentleman in the corner. Whom promptly came over and drug the man outside the inn.

“Dearest Bindy, get me a glass of the Davien, please.” Malek asked as he sat down.

Bindy produced a bottle from behind the bar and a glass.

“So what brings you back here Malek?” she asked pouring the wine.

“My father is rumored to be in the area.” Malek answered then took a sip of the wine.

“You still chasing after him? When are you going to give up on that, and settle down. I’m sure your wives would be happy to have you back home with them.” she said.

“My father must pay for what he did to Sarah, and the rest of my people. And for what he did to me. My wives are taken care of. I keep in touch. Why are you still in this dump?” Malek shot back.

“Touche, Malek. I like it here. No worries. People pay me to drown their sorrow. I get paid to pour drinks.” Bindy scowled.

“My usual room still available?” Malek inquired.

Bindy tossed him a key.

“It is now. Hey is Jherrek in town?” she asked.

“He is down at the temple of Bahamut. He insisted on wasting time, helping the clerics.” Malek spoke as he finished his glass.

Malek placed the glass on the table and grabbed up the bottle, then made his way to his room. The inn was butted up against the tailor next door. So with Malek’s room being the middle room on that side of the inn, it was the only room with no windows.  The exact setting that Malek needed to perform his rituals.

“Yaksha, you can come out now.” Malek informed.

Out, from under Malek’s robes, came an imp. Three foot tall, long prehensile tail, skin the color of embers.

“It’s stuffy in there. Yaksha no like. What do you want of Yaksha?” He fluttered about.

“I need the name of a demon of knowledge.” Malek demanded.

“Why you want that for?” the imp chuckled.

Malek backhanded the little devil.

“NOW!” he yelled.

“Ok, ok. You no need to hit Yaksha. He like master. Yaksha just curious. Hmmmm….who would be good for master.” the imp thought.”Yes, yes…..Vulgrim. Summon him.”

Malek shook his head at the imp, who only grinned. Malek went about clearing the center of the room. Pushing all the furniture against the wall.  He then extinguished all the lamps in the room, except for a single candle on the table. He then placed a book on the table, so the light from the candle would illuminate it. The book was locked by two chains that wrapped around the book in an X pattern joining in a lock, fashioned into the face of a demon, in the middle of the front cover. He unlocked the book and turned to a page that he had marked. The diagram that was on the page was that of a pentagram with specific instructions on dimensions and runes to use. He pulled out a stick of chalk, that was made from pulverized bone, and began to copy the pentagram to the exact specification listed in the book. It took him nearly two painstaking hours to finish the summoning circle. Once done he blew out the candle, then knelt beside the circle. He then took out his kris, cut his palm, and placed his hand on the outside circle of the pentagram. He then spoke the words of the incantation. Then finishing by invoking Vulgrim’s name.

The circle glowed blood-red, then burst in to flames. Then seemingly through the floor, rose a figure wrapped in leathery bat wings. Once the figure was fully above the ground, it spread its wings and stretched. It’s body looked like an emaciated human body. The skin on its face stretched tight, to reveal its pointed teeth. It had no hair, but its head was adorned with curled horns.

“Yessssss?” It spoke as it inspected the pentagram, that contained him.

Malek stood.

“I need some information, Vulgrim. My familiar, Yaksha, said you may be of some help.” Malek informed.

Yaksha cast an angry glare at Malek, knowing that Malek had purposefully given Vulgrim his name. That way if the information that Yaksha had given was bad, he would have an angry demon waiting for him back in the abyss.

“Possssibly. But What’ssssss in it for me? You may have called me here, but you hold no power over me. I could jusssst sssstay here and sssssssay nothing, until you grew tired and releasssssed me.” Vulgrim hissed.

“You see. You are wrong about one thing. I do have power over you.” Malek declared.

Vulgrim snarled at him. Malek knelt back down put his hand on the circle. He whispered, “Drain.” The gem on the back of his hand started glowing and then energy began to crackle along the outline of the pentagram. It hit Vulgrim and every muscle in his demonic body clinched. He went rigid and growled in rage. After a minute the energy dissipated. Malek stood and smirked.

“Now, I need to know, first, if the tsunami was of natural or magical nature, and, secondly, was my father, Darius Shadowthorn involved?” Malek demanded.

“You will pay for that mortal!”Vulgrim roared.

Malek snapped his finger and the energy crackled and vulgrim went stiff and growled in pain.

“My answers?” Malek asked.

****Part Three****

Jherrek and Shimiro made their way to the Golden Dragon. It was later in the evening and the place was wall to wall full. Jherrek pushed their way up to the bar where Bindy was in flurry, calling orders and pouring drinks. Jherrek squeezed into the bar and ordered an ale for him and a hot tea for Shimiro. It wasn’t until Bindy handed Jherrek his drink did she realize it was him.

“Jherrek!” she yelped as she dove over the bar to hug him. “I’ve been waiting for you ever since Malek came in earlier.”

“Is he still here?” Jherrek inquired.

“I believe so. He went up to his room about 5 hours ago, and haven’t seen him come back down. But I’ve been busy too.” Bindy informed

“I see your benefiting from the disaster.” Jherrek said looking around the crowded room.

“Yeah, this will certainly help me expand my place.” Bindy answered. “How long you going to be in town? I could use a couple of capable men in here, until the city gets back in order.”

“That depends on what Malek is able to find out and how fast. We may be here for a while, may only be here for a few days.” Jherrek said. “Give me and my friend here room and board, and I will gladly help out while we are here.”

“Now you know you don’t have to ask for that, Jherrek. You two are always welcome here. So who’s your new friend here?” Bindy asked.

“This is our new traveling companion, Shimiro. Came highly recommended by Master Flying Crane.” Jherrek answered back. “Shimiro, this is Bindy Ankarv. Owner of this fine establishment.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you milady.” Shimiro greeted.

“Ah, don’t call me, milady. Just call me Bindy. If your associated with Jherrek and Malek, then you’re a friend.” Bindy corrected.

“Malek in his usual room?” Jherrek questioned.

“Yeah. Your room is empty as well, but Shimiro will have to stay with one of you two.” Bindy said.

“Not a problem, he can stay with me.” Jherrek agreed.”You say he’s been in his room for at least 4 hours?”

Bindy nodded.

“Ok. Shimiro, stay down here. If anything gets rowdy help Bindy out. I will be back down in a moment.” ordered Jherrek.

Jherrek had to shove his way to the stairs, and most of the way up them. He broke free of the crowd and made his way to Malek’s room. It took Malek a few minutes to answer the door.

“WHAT? Oh it’s you. You find him?” Malek said looking around to see if Jherrek had their new companion.

“Yeah, he is down stairs helping Bindy. What are you doing up here that takes 4 hours? Are you taking a nap?” Jherrek asked.

“No, I was gathering information. Which was particularly unfruitful.” Malek thought out loud, thinking of punishing Yaksha for giving him a bad contact.”I was able to find out, that the disaster was caused by elemental magic, and was not a “natural” occurence.”

“Did you get to the mage tower?” Jherrek questioned.

“No, was going to go over there…..” Malek was interrupted by numerous screams.

“Jherrek, Malek, Get down here now!” Bindy yelled at them up the stars.

They could hear a loud commotion downstairs. Jherrek was thinking it just a bar brawl, but why would Bindy yell for them if it was just a fight. They rounded the corner to the top of the stairs, and the stench of death hit them. They rushed down the stairs. The bar was in a frenzy, people trying to get out. Shimiro was already fighting the zombies that had crashed in. Malek stopped on the stairs and went into chanting and moving his hands into specific gestures. Jherrek pulled his great sword from the sheath on his back and cleaved a zombie in two, in one fluid motion. More zombies flooded in. Shimiro and Jherrek worked their way to each other, slashing and punching the entire time. Malek finished his chanting and gesturing, he pointed at the door and spoke the word, “Seal”, and an invisible force blocked all the windows and doors in the bar. Jherrek and Shimiro made quick work of the slow-moving zombies. They stopped to catch their breaths and watched the zombies outside claw at the unseen wall.

The bar then shuddered as if something large had run into it. It shuddered again, and the front wall began to bow in. The third shudder the front of the bar burst in hurling debris in at the party. Shimiro ducked to protect him self from bits of wood and glass. Jherrek had pulled his cloak around and in front of him to block the shrapnel.

Jherrek came out from behind his cloak, and Shimiro stood up from behind the table he used as cover. They now faced a hulk of a zombie. The thing stood over 8 foot tall, and was as wide as 3 men. It was covered in metal plates, like armor that was bolted to its body. It wielded a sword more akin to a giant butcher’s cleaver. It charged at Jherrek. He didn’t have time to defend against the attack. The Fleshgolem rammed into him, sending him into the bar and through it. Shimiro was already on the thing after it barreled into Jherrek. Punching and kicking, dodging out of the way of the zombies unwieldy swipes. The combination of thick leathery skin and metal plates made Shimiro’s attacks useless. Malek had already gone into the throes of another spell. Jherrek got up and brushed bits of wood off his shoulder.

“Alright, Guess I will have to get serious.” Jherrek declared as he unfastened the clamp on his cloak and let it drop free.

Malek was concentration on his spell, to make sure every syllable uttered and every gesture made was perfect. So concentrated on that was he, that he didn’t notice the shadow slip in above him.


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