Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Long Game: The Iron Tower Part 5

It seems like our adventurers have been in this Iron Tower forever. All of that is about to end, especially as the three have awoken the dragon, the mutated, angry, charging Iron Dragon.
Dallas Kasaboski

Leaping at Tong with her six arms and four wings, the Iron Dragon grasped his head between her tentacles. Half-inhaling the human, the dragon then slammed his body against the tower. All around the party, the Iron Tower shook beneath their feat, causing Alvyn to fall to his knees.

With renewed effort, Tong si Gong pulled himself free, falling to the floor. Staring at his hands, he realized that all his psionic abilities were stripped, that his attack on the dragon's captives rendered his mind clear. No longer clouded by potential, Tong si Gong was but a man, once again.

Rising from his knees, Alvyn grabbed a couple of vials and smashed them on the back of the dragon. Glass shattered, but the dragon, whose attention was still focused on Tong, experienced no effect. Alvyn, however, felt strange.

The first feeling starts in his eyes, which shifted to the side of his head and up on stalks. Alvyn could not see this but felt his perspective change. His throat thickened, tightened and felt horribly inflamed, he grew wings, and his skin became green and rough.

Kalgar moved closer to the dragon and unfurled his wings. "Now we're talking! Taste my steel you monster!" Drawing his foe's attention, Kalgar recalls the lessons of Shizuka, an old ally, and shifts into a better fighting stance. Immediately afterward, the dragonborn paladin reared back his head and shouted, "You and your blasphemous nature will soon meet the power of the gods!" With that, the air in the room felt very dry as lightning struck the dragon's side. Taking a knee, Kalgar placed his hand on the tower, commenced praying in Draconic, and every few words, the others could hear the names of Kord and Melora.

Paying Kalgar no heed, the dragon attacked both Alvyn and Tong. Coiling around them, she snapped her pincers, clawing at them. Immediately, light shone as if from nowhere and the dragon recoiled from Kalgar's divine retribution.

Wrapping his keffiyah around his face, Tong touched his Farslayer's Mark, a tattoo gifted to him from his master, Ting Tang Wong Gong. Feeling stronger, Tong shifts away from the Ironness and runs toward the door. Kalgar's matching tattoo shone on his left shoulder, empowering him as well.

"Look at me!" Alvyn demanded, his voice thunderous and shrill thanks to his recent mutations. Spreading his wings, the mutated gnome abandoned his usual cold logic and gave in to the savage within. Flying higher and higher, he clawed at the dragon's face, hoping to rip out her eye. Swinging her head from side to side, she could not shake loose the gnome who had become a wild animal, relentlessly attacking. Lightning flared from Alvyn and struck the dome, searing a thin line in the iron.

The tower rumbled.

Shifting into a better position, Kalgar drew his jade dragon-bone katana and quickly slashed back and forth, tearing strips into the Iron Dragon's side. "They say lightning doesn't strike the same place twice...they were wrong." And with that, lightning emanates from the katana deep within the dragon's hide.

Continuing furiously, Alvyn struck at the dragon with every action, every limb. Every fall was another attack, every climb was an attempt to blind the dragon. The Ironness could not shake the gnome loose.

Kalgar's praying grew louder, "Melora, this creature has been dissecting the wilderness, it has not been respecting your creatures. Kord, this is a fight worthy of spectacle and yet no one can see, except you." Recalling an earlier divine vision, the former Aesian feels a drop of rain fall through the thin crack in the dome's ceiling.

Finally getting a hold of Alvyn with her front claws, the dragon raises him up and throws him past Kalgar into the wall. Peeling her tentacles back, the Iron Dragon's teeth lit up with fire which she breathed at Alvyn and Kalgar. It soared over the gnome but hit the dragonborn.


Pressing his ear to the door, Tong could not hear the creatures below, however, he sensed a presence, the Iron Tower itself! Kneeling down, he whispered to the floor, "Creature, listen to me! I know there is life within you, I know there is self awareness. Release yourself, relinquish yourself from this form. You do not need to be what your creator wants you to be. You do not need to exist only to hold without. Open to me. Open to me!"

Beams of energy shoot out of Alvyn's eyes and out of his mouth. Purple energy rebounds off the dragon's iron hide and slices another hole in the tower. The floor shakes. In all the chaos of the battle, Alvyn whispers, "You will tell me everything!" and he roars back his head and breathes lightning and fire right into the Ironness' face.

The dragon's eyes pop, and she stomps the ground in confused rage.

Raising his katana toward the ceiling, Kalgar's eyes turned white as he channeled the power within. "Your strength is mine." What starts as a whisper becomes a booming shockwave which slams into his foe. Thunder booms inside the tower as Kalgar kneels again, placing his palm on the wall. "Kord, your time is upon us. Melora, we are not far from the coast. Ick 'nasht Avok, ardur" he continued in draconic.

Blinding snapping Alvyn up with her jaws, she slammed him down onto the floor. Bracing himself, Alvyn was able to right himself just in land onto the table of extracts. A sudden heat erupts from his body, giving him the legs of a centipede. A spiked tail rips out of his back, his forearms broke in half and formed hook hands, and a shell popped out of his back.

Looking like this!
Slashing its tail at Kalgar, he was struck by poisonous barbs which burned and corrupted his blood. He could feel his bones and muscles weakening.

Tong continued his pontification, "Beings! You did not create each other! You have no quarrel with each other! Just above you, resides the creature of pure horror and destruction that made you the misshapen mass that you are. Cease this quarreling between you! Your victory lies beyond these gates. And you! Womb of this carnival of disgust, you are not created to feel this torment. This pain was brought upon you by one creature, and one creature alone. Wise up, claim your life, and crush the soulless ant which resides in you!"

Spinning around, Tong launched a war bead at the dragon; it bounced off harmlessly. Alvyn's cries crossed fury, madness, and pain as he continued clawing, piercing, stabbing, biting at the dragon's face. Some of his energy attacks ripped new holes in the dome. Thunder, heard from outside, joined the rumbling of the tower.

Raising his katana high, he brought his shoulder to bear, hoping to combine all of his strength, and the divine power of the gods, but despite smashing into the dragon, it did not move. Kalgar closed his eyes, and looked to the heavens.

Outside, the sky darkened, clouds formed, and swirled around the tower. Touching Alvyn, Kalgar passed some of his strength to his gnome friend. The dragonborn then shifted away, took a knee, touched the wall and said, "Melora, wash away some of his sins."

The dragon turned her attention to Kalgar, opened her mouth, and blasted cold breath over him and Alvyn. One of Alvyn's hook hands froze, and snapped off in its nose. Rearing up, unfurling her wings, the dragon dumped a glittering dust all over them. Coughing once, twice, then Kalgar and Alvyn fell unconscious. The Ironness then turned and charged Tong.

Reacting, reaching, Tong grabbed a random vial from the shelf and threw it. As the vial spun in the air, Tong could just make out the label, "Iron Dragon", and he thought, "I've made a huge mistake." The vial missed the dragon, hit the shelf next to Alvyn, knocking another vial down onto him. The impact woke up the gnome, just in time to feel his jaw unhinge, his teeth flooding into his mouth, his skin toughened, and suddenly he couldn't breathe! He had gills, he had been hit with extract of shark!

All drawings by Alex Adams, playing Tong si Gong

Bracing for the inevitable, Tong si Gong closed his eyes and thought of the Reverie, "I have failed you."

Leaping from the floor, Alvyn dove at the dragon, attacking with his jaws, hooks, and other appendages.

In a moment of clarity, Kalgar's eyes glowed white, he could feel in his heart a message from his gods. It's ready.

Before he could react, the dragon lashed out again, ballistically hitting all of the party. Claws, teeth, tentacles, wings, and breath weapons.

With little left, no war beads, and no psionic abilities, Tong hit the dragon with the only thing he had left, the Codex Caduceus. An instrument of knowledge, never to be used in violence, Tong sinned so that his friends may live.

Throwing both arms into the air, Kalgar shouted, "Melora! This is an aberrant creature who has mixed together and created more foul creatures than I have ever seen! We need to wash this place, rid this tower of this foul presence and bury it in the depths of the sea. And Kord! Give me the strength I have been working toward!"

With that, he ran toward his friends, toward the dragon. He leapt at the dragon, grabbed Alvyn and Tong and, with a newly formed reflex, his wings unfurl, caught the air and pushed off of the beast. The dragon lashed out with everything she had but it was too late, Kord's lightning struck the tower.

Bolts of lightning arced through the room, bouncing off tables and shelves, and concentrated on the iron plating of the dragon. Her body was entirely electrified and she collapsed dead on the floor. The door and the hole in the floor open up.

Kalgar landed, his wings parted, and he stood up. Looking down, he saw what was left of Alvyn reverting to normal, and he watched as the Codex Caduceus turned to dust. The symbols fell away leaving only a simple staff.

Breathing heavily, feeling barely alive, Alvyn crawled up to the dragon and whispered, "Even if I have to dissect you myself, you will tell me EVERYTHING!"

The fight was over, the dragon slain, but there was much left to do, and our three adventurers had a lot of loss from which to recover. But for now, they caught their breath.

Thanks for reading, we hope you've enjoyed our latest adventure. Stay tuned for the next part in our story as Alvyn, Tong, and Kalgar try to escape the awakened tower and make further plans in The Long Game.

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