Interrogation and Intrigue: Prath's Errand

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Interrogation and Intrigue: Prath's Errand

Post by Thoril » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:40 pm

This is just a little short story, written about Prath Armgo. Started writing to pass the time and it kind of came together. I hope you enjoy it!

Always another way:

Drip...drip....drip... the noises of the Underdark, once comfortable, have become a cacophony of sound to his transfigured ears. The patter of moisture, originating from the cavern's ceiling, sound like the steps of a patrol in the tunnels about him. Even the air smells wrong, his nose picking up on the sulphurous vents and stale air about him. He looks from his alcove, to the tunnels that attach to the Dominion proper, waiting for an unseen enemy to strike. His eyes seems to shimmer, as he looks around the area, looking for any indication of danger. He can hear the squeak of a rat in the distance, the sound seeming to reverberate from his left, though with the acoustics of the Underdark, he could never be sure of the origin.

Looking around warily, he begins a complex series of movements with his left hand: he starts by crossing his index finger and his middle, proceeding to cross each, until his ring and pinkie finger cross. Pausing the space of a few heart beats, he makes a circle with his thumb and index finger, casually swooping up and towards himself. A small patch of magical fire appears before him, casting a harsh light in the small alcove he is hiding in. Flicking his fingers, starting
from his index and thumb, moving through the rest, his brow is furrowed in concentration; he begins to whisper under his breath. The flame's color turns from reddish orange, to a flickering blue and lavender. He smiles as he looks over his handiwork, the light from the flames now more subdued and blending to the environ around it. Hopefully, to any passing patrols it would look like a flare of faezress radiation or an errant interaction between wards.

Gazing over the flames, his mind shifts towards thoughts of revenge: the flickering of the flame reminiscent of the faerie fire decorations of Menzoberranzan. Breathing in deeply, he allows himself to slip into a reverie like trance, a form of meditation he mastered during the first year of his exile: his reverie no longer was as deep and refreshing since the thinning of his blood. Born out of necessity, the trance allows him brief respites, despite uncomfortable terrain or distractions. The Underdark was no longer his home, the constant coolness, once refreshing, now chills to the bone. His ears are not as sensitive, so he can not pick up on the subtle sounds of approaching beasts; even the darkness has become too much, his transfigured eyes straining to see, they are much weaker than his former counterparts.

After a quarter of an hour, he opens his eyes and looks around the alcove once more. He crouches over the magical flames, which still crackle merrily on the stone floor: his hands are shaking from the cold of the Underdark, and he tries to steal as much warmth from the small flame as possible. Frowning he realises something is a miss: the Matriarchy had warded most of the tunnels about the Dark Dominion with security divinations, triggering alarms within Arach Tinilith, whenever unauthorized magics are used. He looks at the flames he conjured, worried that even this cantrip would set off one of the wards. Shaking his head, he begins to rummage through his robes: the robes are almost floor length, tailored with many secret pockets within; simple in ornamentation, the piece of clothing is heavily enchanted, giving the wearer protection from all but the most potent spells and blows.

He pulls out a rather curious looking object from the inside of his robes, it looks like an ornate magnifying glass with two dark steel rings, one slightly smaller than the other and set on an axis within the larger; you can see the smaller ring has a faintly glowing lens of quartz crystal, etched with potent divinations around it's edge. The larger ring has a piece of leather wrapped metal jutting from it's bottom, acting as the handle. You see that dark runes are etched into the metal of the larger ring, seeming to drink in the light emitted from the lens. Whispering a command word in draconic, he peers through the lens at the alcove around him; he sees that his suspicions were correct, the wardings of the tunnel did not extend to this alcove.

Smiling, he tucks way the lens, emboldened by the mistake of the priestesses; if he was careful, he could use more potent magics, possibly spy from and protect his little outpost. Taking a deep breath, he takes pinches of phosphorous and sulphur from his spel lpouch. He was quite impressed with the spell work he put into the small container; housed within was an extra dimensional space; which would replicate any foci it sampled and kept them from mixing with each other; it also was coupled with a divination, one that would assess what foci was needed at the time, and put it foremost in the pouch. The enchantments needed for the replication alone, set him back many thousands of gold coins, and were extremely time consuming.

Taking the powders in the palm of his left hand, he places his right hand over it: he then steeples his fingers and brings them upright and in front of him. He then begins to chant in the abyssal tongue, folding each finger briefly, before bringing them back to their original position. As he is moving his fingers, he allows the mixture of powders to trickle from his palms, to the cavern floor. Without breaking his chant, he moves his hands in a circular motion, the powder making a small circle. After a brief moment of laying on the alcove floor, the powder seems to congeal, then liquefy. After the last of the powder hits the ground and transmutes, he waves his hand, and the liquid forms into a complex, eight sided star, bound within a thin circle.

Snapping his fingers, the star bursts into violet and blue flames. After a moment of burning, the flaming lines of the star seem to lift from the cavern floor, merging into a rough outline of a small humanoid. Completing his chant, he watches the outline form, a look of mild amusement on his face. The outline holds together for a moment, before it starts to blur, as if it lacked an animating force.

Prath barks at the form "Grazul! Show yourself!" he seems to growl the end of the statement.
The outline starts to form again, this time filling in completely. After a moment the glow fades, showing the creature is an imp of the Abyss, a rather small and wiry specimen at that. It's skin burgundy, almost looking like a starved halfling; save for the black, membranous wings protruding from its back; and the matching talons on it's hands and feet. The demon's eyes glow balefully, reflecting the fires from which it thrives in. Two rather large horns jut from it's forehead, to curl back behind the creature's head, looking similar to the horns of a ram. You can see that there are many purple scars over it's body, and an intricate brand, in the form of a spider upon it's back. Looking right into the wizard's eyes, the creature growls a response.

"Ah.. it is Master Armgo.. isn't it?" The creature looks over Prath, a grin plastered on it's leathery face " It can not be, you are not even a full dhaerrow!"
Prath looks over the beast, a cold expression forms on his face. He then raises a single hand; first touching his index find and thumb, holding the digits together for a moment, before curling his pinkie and pointing to the imp; he then flips his hand, palm facing the cavern ceiling, before flicking his ring and middle fingers upwards.

The demon blanches for a moment, feeling the magic take hold of it's body, before it flies up and slams into the alcove ceiling. Smiling, still holding his hand in the same position, Prath flicks downwards; the demon screams and is slammed into the floor. It tried to stand up, then slams back into the ground; the spell holding the creature fast.

"May a glabrezu skin you, use your ash colored skin to hold it's trophies, and take your spine to whip it's slaves!" the imp exclaims angrily.
Prath smiles and shakes his head " I would rather not have to deal with such.. uncomfortable treatment". He looks over the demon and chuckles " Do you believe I am Master Prath? Though I am certainly no longer affiliated with House Armgo, as I am sure you have heard plenty about". He winks and wiggles his fingers "Do not worry, you will not die, as long as you answer my questions, litte demon." pausing for a moment, he rummages in robes, procuring a rather wicked looking dagger; near the edge of the blade you can see runes in the language of devils etched deeply. Chuckling a bit, Prath twirls the blade between the fingers of his right hand, keeping the demon bound with his other.

"Or you can be stubborn, and I can test out this little blade. I have yet to use it, though in theory it drains your taint through any wound on this form, to keep it from returning to the Abyss." chuckling he winks "In other words, it could give you a true death, as if I slew you in the Abyss itself." He smiles, as the demon lets out a pained wail, knowing that it has no escape.

Growling a little, it looks up to the mage " So it seems you are who you say you are...or at least powerful enough to masquerade as such." he spits a little blood on the floor, the last slam had him landing on his face, a few of his ivory fangs were missing, leaving bloody holes. Prath then lifts his hand right hand, negating enough of the force to allow the little demon to stand. Glaring at the wizard, the demon attempts to unfurl it's wings, but finds that they are pinned tightly together and to his back.

"Is this necessary, wizard? It is not like I am able to leave this alcove." It points to the tunnels outside the little area " Those wards would trap me, and transport me to your priestesses.. and that is something that I would rather not have happen." He stretches, flexing his claws and chuckles "Though it would be worth it, to know that you would be hitting an altar as I was enslaved."

At this point, Prath has heard enough; he walks up to the demon and places his contorted hand on it's forehead. A flash of violet light appears, and the imp growls in pain.
"What in the Abyss?!" Grazul looks hatefully at Prath, attempting to strike him with a taloned hand, only to stop half way through the attack. Grazul's claw starts to bleed, seeming to hemmorage from the veins on the back of it. Howling in pain, the imp springs back a few feet, to slam into what seems to be a wall of force. Disoriented, Grazul falls to his rear, panting a little.

Smiling, Prath relaxes his hand and begins to pack a pipe, the herb being used is known for it's narcotic and hallucinogenic qualities. Laughing a little, he flicks the index and middle fingers of his left hand, a small flame appears on his index finger, which he uses to light his pipe. Taking a rather deep inhalation, he looks over the imp, before exhaling quickly in it's direction. As he does so, his eyes seem to grow warm, amusement apparent on his face'

"Now that you know what happens, when you try to mess with me, we can start this discussion." he pauses and takes another inhalation from the pipe, before continuing "You are one of the servants of Wendonai, yes? And you, through your servitude to him, are subject to the whims of Lolth's Priestesses." pointing at the brand on Grazul's chest " That denotes you as a special servant of the Archpriestess, in Arach Tinilith, yes? " he smiles wickedly as he waits for Grazul's response.

The imp winces at the mention of the balor, nodding his head ' You are correct, inquisitive wizard." he sighs and shakes his head "Though you are severely over estimating my role, I am but a plaything to those damned females. Occasionally I am sent to kill a male, though never wizards.. " chuckling a little, he gestures to himself " As you can see, you are quite adept at hindering my kind." He looks to Prath, waiting to see his response.

Laughing a little and shaking his head, Prath looks over Grazul with a smile. "Do not play stupid with me, Grazul. I have spoken to the chaos of the Abyss itself, and I was told that you are no mere play thing. You are a personal messenger of Wendonai, champion of the Spider Queen. The brand you sport, oh so fashionable, if I might add, allows you entrance and safe passage through all lands influenced by Her." he growls a little "I thought that you were going to be honest.. I can make things quite unpleasant for you, and I have very little patience these cycles."

Prath then snaps his fingers, his pipe disappearing in a small puff of smoke, before he starts fingering the edge of the enchanted blade. Looking over the blade, he uses his thumb to test the sharpness, his eyes cold and calculating. He raises his left hand chest height, keeping it vertical, mimicking a blade: pointing at Grazul he curls his pinkie briefly, then his index finger, ring and middle finger consecutively. The blade in his right hand disappears, reappearing at the base of the imp's neck.

Grazul yowls in fear, attempting to grab the blade, yet he can not get any purchase on it; his taloned hands passing through as if it were made of smoke. Looking desperately towards Prath he exclaims "If I die, you gain nothing! And Wendonai will know of my fall!" the demon looks as if it is going lose it's mind: death from that blade meant a destruction of it's essence, a perverted kind of soul, tied to the chaos of the Abyss. Normally the destruction of it's current vessel, would send it's essence back into the Abyss, allowing it to regenerate over a period of time; the enchanted blade would destroy the essence itself, allowing for nothing to be sent back.

The wizard laughs cruelly and shakes his head "I am sure he would not care, for you are one of a legion in service to the priestesses of Lolth. I am sure he would be more disappointed, if a general of his, a marilith for instance, was captured and killed." his left hand has relaxed at this point, the enchantment of the blade could only be broken by a very particular disjunction, one that he was sure beyond the means of a servant, such as Grazul. He flicks his wrist: the enchanted blade drags itself across the back of the demon's neck, leaving a small incision; the runes on the blade glow, as it hungrily drinks the black smoke exuding from the wound, the manifestation of Grazul's taint.

The demon yowls even louder, it's eyes glow briefly as it finally takes a hold of the dagger's hilt, though it fails to budge it. A single tear, comprised of tar, rolls from Grazul's left eye; the creature knows when it is bested. Grazul's face contorts as the yowling becomes full fledged weeping, a cascade of black tears hitting the ground, sizzling against the cool of the alcove floor.

Shaking his head, a look of disgust forms on Prath's face; he expected the demon to have a bit more courage, hell he wanted the little bastard to be defiant to the last moment. Waving his hand, curling his ring and index finger simultaneously, he causes the blade to plunge into the base of Grazul's neck: at once the blade hungrily begins to drain Grazul's essence; the draining takes mere moments, leaving nothing but a quickly rotting corpse. The carcass seems to collapse under it's own weight in mere moments, leaving the dagger half submerged in a pool of foul liquid.

Prath walks over and takes up the dagger, grimacing as his hand touches the remains of the demon. He mutters a quick cantrip, the foul liquid disappears from his hand, leaving his ash colored skin clean. Looking over the dagger, he incants slowly as he runs his hand above the blade; the runes glow much brighter than previously, and seem to shift along the blade. He smiles as he confirms what he suspected: the blade has captured the essence of Grazul, severing it's tie to the Abyss and rendering it impotent. He lifts the blade to his ear and smiles, the tortured pleas of Grazul emanate from within.

Prath lifts up his hands, the impregnated blade secured tightly in his left: he begins to chant; raising his right hand chest height, before he flattens the hand, keeping it horizontal. He then flicks his fingers, index and thumb, middle, curling his pinkie, before flipping his palm upright. He then proceeds to extend his thumb and curl his index finger. Keeping his hand contorted, he begins to chant, placing his hand on the cavern wall. Whispering in abyssal, the runes of the blade begin to glow bright, before exuding a black smoke.

The smoke curls around Prath, making it's way to his hand, placed firmly against the cavern wall. Runes of demonic script flare into being, all up to the edges of the alcove: there the script seems to interact with the wardings of the priestesses, assimilating with each perfectly. The wardings in the tunnels flare white for a moment, before fading from view.

He laughs as he watches a glowing sigil appear on the back of his hand, the key to the Dark Dominions extensive wardings. Smiling he looks at the blade and chuckles " Your essence answered everything, Grazul. You were keyed to the priestesses wards in Arach Tinilith, and by extension their wardings about the city. " he then kisses the blade. The blade seems to vibrate weakly, as if to try to cut the mage; the remaining taint of Grazul was still bound within.

Tucking the blade away, Prath holds up his hands and begins to chant: a sunstone, moonstone and star stone fly from his spellpouch, to begin orbiting mid air, a few paces away; clapping his hands, a misty portal appears within the center of the stones. Prath smirks and snaps his fingers, the portal reorienting vertically, allowing the mage to see within. The glyph on the back of his hand glows brightly, signaling the extensive warding, allowing his magic to go unmolested and unnoticed by the Priestesses.

Whispering under his breath, the portal goes from misty to clear; the image of a surface forest can be seen, with a rather ancient and ornate tower in the distance. Coughing a little, a hint of blood on his palm, he enters the portal. As soon as he enters, the stones collapse to the floor, disintegrating as they touch.

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