Yora Baleard held Milo in the unbreakable grasp of her shadowy chains. Her laughter began low and disbelieving only to evolve into a full on cackle at her good luck. She had managed to snag Milo without any one being the wiser and now she could enjoy his agony. Milo thought it was all over. She had him and, after what he had done to her and her guild, she would never let him survive it. That was why he was confused when she didn’t attack, instead she motioned towards the shadows of an alley nearby.
From the darkness of the alley emerged an umbral armored giant. He trudged on the cobblestone, a short distance to Milo and removed his helmet. Beneath, was the putrid, rotting corpse of Dezu. Somehow he had been reanimated and brought back. Yora giggled and thanked her dark lord for allowing her to witness her greatest enemy’s demise. On her command, Dezu donned his helmet once more and began to approach the helpless Milo.
As Dezu began attacking Milo’s body he spoke,
“Did you think you would get away with it? That I would not seek my revenge? I’ve waited all these years for some greater power to grant me the ability to destroy the person that dismantled, in one day, everything I had built. My dark lord has given me his promise that I will get my revenge. I have become his faithful Death Knight, my soul his forever, for this one chance.”
Dezu took his time carving into Milo. He didn’t want the treacherous halfling to miss a moment or end it too soon. After all, this was his only chance. Milo could only die once.
Milo himself was close to the end. His life’s flame flickered and he began to see his life and knew he would never get the chance to make amends. He had realized the error of his ways too late. Now there would be no chance to reclaim his halfling heritage, to try and make up for his crimes and mistakes. That was when Milo remembered the blessing he had gotten from Terra, the earth spirit of Novos.
In this last moment he got one last glimpse of hope. The blessing allowed him to form himself into a giant earth elemental one time, just once. He had hoped to save it for the greater battle before them but he had no choice if he wanted to survive. He focused on his connection to Terra and silently thanked his fortune that he was on stone ground. In an instant he grew in a ginormous earth elemental. He was so big that, though the chains held, his body sank into the street and into the sewer pipes below the city. From his position came a great stench that pervaded the street.
Yora reeled back while Dezu only grinned, thinking this was his final moment before taking Milo’s life. Milo used this distraction to flex his hardened rock body to try and break those awful chains that held him. It took a great amount of effort but after his best, he heard a quick clink as one of the links snapped and the chains vanished. Yora reeled in disbelief and confusion while Dezu roared at his stolen moment.
The commotion outside was enough to alert the rest of the party to the attack and they burst into motion. Before they could move towards the doors, some thugs that had walked in not long ago stood up and began to move on the group. There was one for each of them and they paired up for the fights. Aleera was frantic, she did not want her newly renovated bar destroyed, she had just paid for replacement windows after the last attack! They faced off against their new attackers.
One of them came at Kariss and was about to land a blow when she used her were-hippo abilities to bulk up and throw him out of the window. They flew back in and in a rush of motion, managed to wrap something around Kariss’s neck. In one move she reverted back to her original size and had to fight without her were-powers. Somehow, they knew about her. Aleera was so mad at Kariss that she took it out on her own attacker while screaming about her precious windows. The Hand of Destiny managed to move the fight outside, away from the bar and its patrons, hoping to keep them safe. They fought and dispatched each of their attackers. Aleera was the first to see the giant earth elemental through the smoke and gas cloud that had risen from the sewers. She began moving towards him through the fray.
Outside, Dezu began attacking Milo’s rock body in earnest, hacking at it with a mean looking great axe. Yora was yelling at him to finish it already as she held the side of her body that was missing an arm. She began yelling that it wasn’t fair, that she hadn’t sacrificed an arm and an eye for nothing. She began preparing to cast a mean looking spell. While this was going on, Aleera had been moving closer and preparing the Geas spell to stop the fight. She was hoping to prevent more bloodshed and destruction.
She got to a position on the roof of one of the buildings. It was difficult finding a safe spot because many of the buildings had been set on fire when Hepolita had started slinging her fire magic around. Fire mixing with sewer gasses equaled massive explosions through the sewer systems. When she got a good look at Yora she unleashed her Geas spell and ensnared her in her control. Yora herself went blank in the face and her arm fell, limp, at her side. Dezu saw this and began yelling at her to snap out of it and attack.
With his attention elsewhere and Yora out of commission for now, Milo took the chance and reverted back to his halfing body. Aleera shouted at Yora to stop attacking and stand down. Dezu, seeing that he was being outnumbered and his ally had been dispatched, growled that he would have his revenge and vanished into a puff of black smoke. Aleera floated down from the roof and landed near Yora. She began asking her questions about her new powers and who her lord was.
Milo used Misty Step to get out of the hole he had created in the sewers and staggered as he landed. He was still heavily injured. The elemental body had granted him temporary immunity to his pain but now there was no such buffer. He had arrived at Aleera’s side when he heard Yora answer the question of who her dark lord was. She had answered, Null. Somehow he had managed to reach beyond his domain of dead dragons and take over human deaths too.
At the mention of his name something came over Yora’s face. It darkened and the nasty grin returned. She spoke but this time the spectral voice of Null reached through her. He growled that they stole it and he wanted his heart back. When they refused, because they did not know about this “heart” and would not have told him anyway, he asked Yora for permission. Her own personality broke through for a moment. A peaceful look came over her as she said yes and he took back over. Dark, eldritch words spilled from her lips in the voice of a god and a black energy swirled over Milo’s hands. Then it blinked out. Null’s energy faded from Yora’s body and she fell limp at their feet.
Aleera was stunned. Her spell had not worked against her because a god had interfered. Her spells were finitely helpful, nothing compared to god magic. Milo slumped to the ground as his injuries overwhelmed him and he passed out. The rest of the party, having dispatched their own opponents joined them, dragged Milo back to the steps of the tavern and waited for the city guard to arrive once again. They were going to have a terrible time explaining this one.
2 thoughts on “Death Curse”
The tableaus you post are always cool but this one is especially great
Wow, thank you. The campaign is about half way done at this point and things are starting to ramp up for the grand finale!