To Err Is Divine

An Unexpected Showdown

What is even happening

The path to the scrolls the king sent you after is wide open. Nothing is stopping you from jogging to the bottom floor, grabbing as many as you can, and hightailing it out of here…except, in the opposite direction, something clearly nefarious is going on. You don’t fully understand who’s perpetrating it, or what they’re trying to do, or even how you might be able to disrupt it, but…no one else knows it’s happening. You are the only people who could possibly put a stop to whatever it is. But then again, if you take too long trying to deal with the machinations upstairs, the scrolls you need will burn up, along with the rest of the knowledge stored here, and your quest will fail. So, what’s your plan?

…Split the party? This could be the single greatest danger Partyocalypse has ever faced, compounded by the staggering number of unknown factors involved, and your plan is to violate the cardinal rule of dungeon delving?

Alright then, let’s see how that works out for you.

Veren is the fastest, so he rushes downstairs to get the scrolls, while everybody else heads upstairs to confront The Chronicler. The library is bizarre, every floor filled with decorations and illusions that give them very different characters, not to mention obstacles to overcome. Wild sea waves, some kind of marketplace, a raven-filled graveyard, on and on…it’s all so complicated! Whoever designed this place went way overboard.

Two floors up from the entry level, The Chronicler is manipulating some kind of spell dynamo with his bloat-headed accomplices. There is something horrible hovering in wide-open space above, invisible but terrifying beyond comprehension. The bracers you never did fully test out float in the spell energy, opening enormous portals on either side of the library. Inside their gold and violet rims of smoke, totally alien forms twist and distort, seeking escape. Shit. Is. Fucked.

All four of those who ascended launch into a full on assault, but the old man’s body bursts into dust upon taking even the slightest wound. It can’t be that easy, right? Sure enough, even as Rodnee rushes upstairs, splitting the party again, The Chronicler reappears in a burst of caustic obsidian ink, laughing maniacally. Over and over Starkad and Sunflash cut him down, only to fall under his furious assault after another acidic restoration. Rodnee tries to ascend towards the creepy body invaders, but the library’s strange displays confound quick progress with shifting floors and illusory crowds. Jory flies straight up under Treatise power, brazenly flying straight towards whatever terrifying entity lurks there. When he should collide with it, he is instead captivated by a vision of an un-place, where a negative reflection of himself reaches out with a wicked grin.

Veren isn’t faring much better. Even after 434 guides him to the bottom floor, the drawers he needs to open are trapped shut by strange, metallic vines that pulse with magical energy. He claws at them, but they won’t budge, he shoots two bolts point blank, but the vines aren’t even scratched. They’re snaked everywhere, all over the shelves full of ancient manuscripts around the outer wall. As the glow out there grows brighter, the books and scrolls disintegrate. Veren redoubles his efforts as this wave of destruction slowly works its way to him.

Starkad falls under The Chronicler’s devious spells, and Sunflash rushes to his aid. Feeling victorious, The Chronicler follows the other two heroes upstairs. This leaves Sunflash free to revive his endangered comrade, and together they work to address the spell dynamo. It’s disintegration power has already worked its way down this far from the top floor, twisting the decorative illusions into deadly, horrific displays of very real danger. The machine is controlled by a set of cone-shaped devices, the instructions for which are written as a riddle involving wise men and hats. Starkad guesses wrong, and the resulting blast sends him back into a gravely wounded state.

Words shake around and through Jory in the un-place, “SO THAT’S WHERE THEY HID YOU…” but then he’s through, back in the library, and he moves quickly to help Rodnee dispatch the alien creatures. The Chronicler appears as if from nowhere, throwing ensorcelled parchment and shouting words of binding. Over and over he dies, reviving instantly from somewhere above.

Veren focuses all his efforts on cracking open one drawer, successfully pulling out a single, radiant blue scroll. It will have to do. He dashes up, up, up the treacherous library floors, intent upon the escape portal, but the entry room has lost all its gravity! Spheres of rock fling themselves round and round a great ball of fire in the chamber’s center,and Jory’s basket of kittens is on a collision course with it! Veren’s acrobatics don’t fail him, and he snags the basket, managing fly through the exit portal on the same arc. At least one of you will survive and fulfill the quest.

One more guess at the riddle. No good, and now it’s too late. Every tome is destroyed in an instant. The being in the air rips apart The Chronicler, feeding his dust into the portals. They explode with power! A scream of infinite voices drowns out all thought. A light unmatched by any sun bursts forth, shattering the walls, flattening everyone to the ground.

All is silent.

A glimpse…just a glimpse of…a face. The perfect face…shining, smiling, wreathed in its own light. “Yes,” a voice promises, radiant and enveloping. “I think I shall make you mine.” Then, darkness.

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TheLowestTurtle

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