If it were possible to see the face of Tsubaki the Dwarf, one might say he looked troubled in this moment. Luckily, a monstrous bouquet of eyebrows bloomed from his brow obsuring his face, and leaving a feeling of empathy optional. It was possible that he felt any number of things as he carried his friend who usually stood two feet taller than him, upon his shoulders. A scrawny but friendly looking pyromancer followed Tsubaki up the flight of stairs, with blissfully empty arms. Behind him was a strange woman, her smooth purple skin turning to scales at her temples. Her eyes were reptilian, and let off a soft glow in the darkness. As they ascended the the stairs to the next room, a sigh of relief was shared. In the center of this room stood a ladder, leading up to a small hole- the dungeon exit.
The party walked the familiar path to Zelmo, the air was thick with anticipation. In the small town they would speak to a Wizard of the same name...Sort of
Zelmo was a wizard and a cleric- in two separate bodies. In a slight of hand thirty years back, my fathers friend who ran Zelmo tricked him. My Dad is a DM impervious to nonsense, but was forced to accept the logic of the deception. Zelmo went back in time, and then stopped himself from going back in time- effectively splitting his existence. As one Zelmo grew into a powerful wizard, the other studied the Clerical magics. Both were Chaotic as they come, and a terrible morale roll had been the death of many who dared to knock at their door.
Today Zelmo was thrilled to see Tsubaki, and a hearty bellow of laughter combined from the two greeted the Dwarf. "Nice eyebrows HARHAR brought another dead un huh?" The reptilian lady and pyromancer stood silently behind Tsubaki, mortified at the prospect of another morale roll. Tsubaki offered a small black stone in his bloody palm as payment, the power of it peaking Zelmo's interest. He accepted the black mana from the dwarf and examined the body of his dead comrade. In the instant he placed his hands on the chest of the dead paladin, he jerked back to life gasping. "See you again soon" Zelmo cooed, and the party quickly took their leave of his dwelling.
The loot from their last adventure was worth less than the cost of the resurrection, but such is the gamble of a dungeon dive. No one was upset to give up the black mana, instead they rejoiced that the Paladin Uther was alive! Willow the reptilian had been certain that it had been too long for the spell to work, the journey out of the depths of the dungeon had taken two days! "Hey, is that Maglio?" the pyromancer asked. Indeed, in the distance the gunslinger could be seen headed their way.
As the five of them talked of the events in the dungeon over tankards of ale, Tsubaki couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching them. The low rumble of the tavern's patrons was ordinary, and no one looked out of place- yet Tsubaki's neck tingled with premonition. As the night grew on, the party retired. Wary, yet in need of rest before tomorrow's adventure, Tsubaki fell into a fitful sleep.
Lurching awake expectantly, Tsubaki woke up alone in his room at the inn. Wrestling his way into the familiar heavy gear and eventually his boots, he wondered again why he was so apprehensive. Little Datura found it's place in the sheath at his hip, and the Dwarf headed down to the common room. Touching the dagger always left an odd sensation on his finger tips, and it remained as he dug into breakfast. Two rashers of bacon and three dozen eggs disappeared into the party's guts, and they departed with lighter wallets and high spirits.
As the group rounded the top of the hill where the familiar disk labeled LA sewer district covered the dungeon entrance, two men were waiting for them. The sun blistered face of Don Juan greeted them, exhaling smoke into the cold morning air. "We have returned, with an acceptable trade for little Datura" he proclaimed, taking a drag of his pungent smoke. As he passed it to his companion Miguel, he continued "Will you come with us now to retrieve this trade?" he asked before a coughing fit ensued. Questions were asked, and indirectly answered. A good blade waited for them, it just happened to be in the Lich kings tower. How would they get it? "Just let us worry about that." Don Juan shrugged "You agreed to a trade, let us make one." he insisted.
And so, the seven of them pushed aside the heavy metal disk and climbed down into the dungeon. As it closed behind them, laughter rang out on the hill. Sharp and hellish, it went on and on. The lone laughing man wiped a tear from his eye, and disappeared in a blur. His master would find this information most valuable.
By midday the party came into view of the tower of the Lich King. A thick miasma of evil swirled before their eyes, limiting their view of the surroundings. It was hard to breathe here, and the dust that the breeze kicked up stung their eyes. "Quick, this way" Don Juan urged, as the earth below their feet began to shift. As they raced across the yard the dead woke up, ready to defend their king. Don Juan swung the door to the tower open, simultaneously Maglio called out that at least 50 skeletons had surrounded them. They sprinted through the doorway, clearing it as the skeletons closed the gap between them. Miguel threw a mushroom onto the ground "Help" he commanded. A hissing sound rang out, and a rapidly expanding shape came into being as a toad demon. 8 feet tall and horrifying, the demon looked down upon Tsubaki with filmy eyes. "Run. This way!" Don Juan motioned from across the room, as a wraith materialized between them. Dodging side to side as they hurried towards Don Juan, the room began to fill with wraiths. They made it across, the toad taking the rear and absorbing a few retaliations. "Up now, fast!" Don Juan called out ten feet ahead of them.
The party flew up the stairs behind Don Juan, as several hundred skeletons and a pack of wraiths pursued them. Miguel slapped the toad's flanks as they climbed, causing it's wounds to sizzle and close. "Heal" he said simply as he slapped at the demon, and so it did. "Danger!" Don Juan announced "Faster." he commanded, throwing a flower from his medicine pouch. Invigorated doesn't sum up the feeling that came over them them, maybe it was the adrenaline or maybe the spell... The party was pumped! The distance between their pursuers and them doubled, giving them a bit of room to breathe. As they whipped around a corner at the top of the stairs and into a room, they could see another group of undead coming down the hallway towards them. "This way." Don Juan said as the wall across from them exploded.
Behind it was a small treasure room, an ornate chest standing out in the wealth as the debris rained down around them. Don Juan motioned Tsubaki to the chest "Now!" he said. When the lid swung open Tsubaki was hit by the power within, as his hands met the hilt of a sword and time seemed to freeze. A voice rang out "I am Justice maker, the third sword of Law." the kind and deep voice said, as the Dwarf felt an intrusive touch. He didn't sense hostility in it's nature, instead Tsubaki felt that the sword was simply observing his true nature. Reaching out and connecting with him the sword spoke again "I will serve you, righteous one." and once again Tsubaki was present with his party. If anyone had heard this exchange, they didn't show it. "Quickly, the King has stirred!" Don Juan cried, pushing his way behind a tapestry into a secret room. The group sprinted down a twisting hallway, and gathered around a strange stone at the end. Tsubaki recognized the lith, and was overcome with relief. Seven sets of hands reached out to touch the moss streaked stone, and a flash of green light teleported them to another realm.
Blinking in the sudden sunshine, the party found themselves in a field. "I will now take Little Datura from you." Don Juan said with an out stretched hand. As the Dwarf handed the dagger over, a shift could be felt in the world. "Goodbye Dwarf" Don Juan said, and before anyone could respond the two men of power had vanished. The silence of their surroundings was unsettling.
Three days of wandering brought them to the outskirts of Zelmo, and as the city came into view an encounter was rolled. Out of thin air a pack of hell hounds appeared barking. The flames of their bodies immediately brought sweat to the brows of the party, as they struck at the wretched creatures. In a whirlwind of movement Tsubki swung the sword of law, killing three of them in one motion! In the next round he cleaned up five more. The DM cried out in frustration "Tsubaki! You bruiser!" he looked down at his dice in awe. A mischievous gleam sparkled in his eyes "I'm going to have a lot of trouble killing you now, huh?" he chuckled.