One: Ordered by Gods
Stumbling Into Depths
An Account by Thalazzar,Written in the Marsh Depths
The strangest image entered Thalazzar’s mind at that point. There were clawed, orange scaly hands grasping the rocky edge of a clear pool and a rasping draconic chanting in the background but it was the pool’s image that was foremost in the wizard’s memory. The image of a city made of tin on the edge of an airy abyss. A city filled with towers and swirls of blue smoke from arcane forges, populated with astral planar beings and their elemental guardians preparing for perpetual war. Elemental servants made wholly of water, enslaved by magic cloaks that bound their essence into timeless servitude.
It was Kijugitat’s summoning through the scrying pool recalled Thalazzar. Rushed, panicked, desperate to call planar allies as the caves of the Khi’Ganad were being overrun, their wicked mechanical traps foiled, the wizard and his minions drawing ever closer to the heart of the kobold lair. Thalazzar remembered crouching in the shadows, awaiting what might have been the final command of his master. He remembered being enthralled with the magic. It had been a devil though that answered the call, and not an elemental. The City of Tin had resisted Kijugitat’s desperate plea. But the devil that came instead had been enough. It had slain the elf with its barbs and battered the great wizard’s powerful abjurations until the Khi’Ganad’s spikes and blades could find their mark. The wizard had failed, the tribe survived, but only just.
It was that fleeting glimpse at distant elemental mastery that rushed through his mind at that moment. It was being crushed between the wave and the hard, stone wall that brought him out of it. Thalazzar knew his wound was severe, he could feel that his ribs had been snapped. Never in his life had he been injured so badly. Through the dark water of the elemental before him, the wizard could vaguely see Calibre’s limbs flailing and the gnome rapidly peppering the being with bolts as fast she could. Thalazzar wheezed, took a step away from the creature and held his sylvan staff Kalthanalas out defensively as best he could. He knew he couldn’t survive another blow, and the pain was such that his magic was beyond him.
The elemental surged again, this time against Frankie, washing over Calibre and blasting Frankie from her mechanical mount. The elemental paused, swirled, and angry white foam was the only indication of its evil intent to recoil and strike again. But then, in a flash of steel and cries of valour, the knight and the dwarf arrived. Their enchanted weapons splashed into the elemental crushing the enchantment binding its essence to this plane. It could only take so much and after a moment, collapsed into nothing.
Thalazzar lurched forward, clutching Kalthanalas for support. It was only a short time, though, before Arek was able to call on his dwarven patron to ease Thalazzar’s pain. The wizard risked a quick prayer of thanks to the dwarven god, hoping Kurtulmak’s unforgiving eye was turned elsewhere at that moment. Without Moradin’s blessing, Thalazzar was sure he would have collapsed. He remained thankful for his companions strength throughout the rest of that day faced with walking dead, ancient traps and bizarre swarms of slime. And when the companions finally emerged into the early evening to rest once more in Folha’s grove, he was thankful for any other deities that might have watched his back in the depths of the marsh. Still though, in the comfort of the grove with the danger abated, Thalazzar’s thoughts again turned to the elusive elementals of the City of Tin. Soon, he thought, soon he too could attempt to call elemental guardians. Guardians that would make the gremlins of Gnarrgyn pale in comparison.