Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chapter 6 - Raid

A silvery sphere came into existence in Coelwyn's study, disappearing as quickly as it came and leaving behind a pair of gogtzulu and two invisible figures. Coelwyn leaped to her feet at the sight of the gogztulu, but was quickly laid low as Porphyria, unseen, swung the handle of her flux spear into the back of Coelwyn's neck, rendering her unconscious with a satisfying thud.

"Gogtzulu, guard the door. Kill anything that attempts to enter." Porphyria's order in the alien language of ngaathgl rang harshly against the alabaster walls of the tower, and the two gogtzulu went to stand by the door.

Porphyria quickly searched the prone form of Coelwyn for the artifact she sought. Porphyria longed to put the Justicar to death, as the death of this important figure in the Justicars' organization would no doubt diminish their capacity, but she stayed her hand -- if she could not find the artifact, she might have to take Coelwyn with her and attempt to extract that information forcefully. Nothing was to be found on the body of the Justicar. Porphyria swore under her breath. This would not be as easy as she had hoped, apparently.

"Work fast, agent. I hear someone coming. There must be some sort of ward here to alert the Justicars of intrusion." Even as Lethik spoke the words, Porphyria could hear the footsteps outside the door. As she looked over at the door, it opened, and a trio of armed figures came bursting in, their weapons glowing with the power of Tyr.

"Lethik, now!" Porphyria gave the order, extending her psychic senses so as to perceive the interplays of chance and to see the near future. Porphyria felt a slight feeling of vertigo as her psychic senses opened up to the dim echoes of future possibilities. In her mind, Porphyria could see the possibilities for each moment in time coalesce into a single concrete probability an instant before the moment passed, and she focused her attention slightly beyond that, so as to be able to react to the most likely possibilities even before they arrived. At the same time, Porphyria felt herself gaining an almost instinctual insight into the various unknowable factors which affected her destiny, and how to insert her own actions into any given situation for the best possible outcome.

At the same time, Porphyria created a field of psychokinetic energy around herself to turn aside blows, giving her added protection beyond the impenetrability of her chaos-forged armor. The psionic fields within Porphyria's matrix strained to keep up with the new demands put upon it, but held admirably.

The two gogtzulu had moved to block the way of the three Justicars, even as Lethik raised his ring-hand and pointed at the closest Justicar. A bright bolt of energy came bursting from Lethik's ring, striking its target with a small concussive force and knocking him back. At the same time, ripples of disruptive energy radiated from the Justicar at the point at which he had been struck. Porphyria felt for a moment as if the air had left the room as the local aether became strained to the breaking point and finally snapped. The Justicars' weapons ceased glowing. Porphyria smiled, hoisting her flux spear and subvocalizing its activation word, a faint feeling of glee filling her as the glowing blue blade sprang to life. For the next few moments in this space, the calls of the Justicars upon their god would go unheard, the aether too wounded to carry their pleas to the ears of Tyr.

"This is goodbye then, agent. I look forward to learning whether or not you survive this, as I have a few bets out on the issue." With that, the ringwielder sprang through the wall of the tower and into the night.

The two gogtzulu fell upon the Justicars with vengeance, and Porphyria could see pain cross their faces as the gogtzulu channeled mental energy flux into their minds, all the while attacking with their sharp claws. Satisfied that the gogtzul would be able to handle this wave, Porphyria went back to her search, tossing items around the study carelessly. Porphyria's frantic search turned up little but useless knick-knacks, books, icons of Tyr, and other personal effects of Coelwyn. The ELF agent fumed -- time was running out. Even if the anti-magic field did not give way soon, the army of orcs below could lose their nerve at any moment, sending the bulk of the Justicar defense force up to meet with her.

Soon, the sound of more fighting distracted Porphyria from her search, and she looked towards the door to find six more Justicars fighting against the two gogtzulu, delivering severe wounds to her servants. Although the Justicars could not call upon their god at present, they were still heavily-armed professional soldiers who could take their toll upon the raiders, and they were doing their best to take down the two gogtzulu, scoring several hits upon the two horrendous creatures. Porphyria decided that it was time to get her hands dirty.

As Porphyria strode into the fray, one of the gogtzulu took a mortal wound to its neck, the sword of a Justicar striking nearly clean through and spraying the strange green ichor of the gogtzul onto the wall. Porphyria ducked a mace blow fluidly, sensing it coming. In the next moment, Porphyria used her psionic senses to guide her spear between the Justicar's mace and shield, and caused the Justicar to scream in agony as she jammed her flux spear into the Justicar's chest, disrupting the nerves around his heart and causing him to die in the most incredible pain imaginable. Porphyria found herself exposed to the wild swing of another Justicar's sword, unable to dodge, but she turned the blow aside with her psychokinetic field at the last moment, feeling the force of the blow as a strange pressure somewhere in her mind that was quickly dissipated. Porphyria reversed her flux spear's direction and skewered the Justicar's leg at the kneecap, disabling him.

Although only four Justicars remained, Porphyria could see that her remaining gogtzul would not be enough to aid her, as one of its arms had been disabled and its wounds were causing it to slow down. At the same time, Porphyria was forced to the defensive as three of the four Justicars focused their attention on their invisible foe, and while she was able to ensure that none of their wild strikes landed on her, Porphyria could not focus enough attention on finding an opening. Porphyria felt a sense of urgency, as the Justicars would soon have the upper hand if she didn't find the artifact soon, and get out of there.

Making up her mind that the gogtzul was as good as lost, Porphyria built up her feelings of anger and hostility and in the next moment released them into a burst of psychokinetic energy. The energy radiated in a single solid burst, causing the air to ripple as it was compressed by the wave of explosive force. The stones on the wall near Porphyria cracked slightly but held, while the same could not be said about the four Justicars and the gogtzul, all of which grotesquely twisted as the shockwave hit them and their internal organs and bones ruptured. Blood and ichor leaked from strange places as the five lifeless figures slumped to the ground.

Satisfied that the immediate threat was over, Porphyria went back to her search, looking around for the artifact. The psychic shockwave had not penetrated too far into the study, but it still left a mess of strewn papers and books. Porphyria scanned the study, looking in drawers and stacks of papers for the object. She could almost feel its presence nearby, but there was no true hint of the artifact to be found.

Porphyria was so engrossed in her search that she did not notice the subtle feeling of the local aether repairing itself and bringing the forces of magic back into the small study. It was too late to react when Porphyria heard the chanting of a litany to Tyr behind her and turned to see a Justicar raising his shield to the heavens.

Porphyria felt a brief pang of terror as her psionic senses confirmed what she already knew, and all possibilities converged into one concrete, unavoidable moment which filled Porphyria's future-sense with a blinding certainty, beyond which she could not see. She stood as if frozen in time as the Justicar's shield flashed briefly and burst with silvery light. The next moment, a burst of silvery light engulfed Porphyria, and she felt the eye of Tyr upon herself.

As the silvery wave encompassed her, Porphyria felt incredible pain as her metabolic processes slowed and the entropy was driven from her body. Porphyria could feel many of the molecules of her body attempt to self-organize into crystalline lattices, causing many of her cells to die as they were choked with foreign structures. Nerve impulses slowed and were disrupted, and Porphyria could feel her focus on her barrier of invisibility slip and falter. The flux spear in Porphyria's hands became brittle and shattered under the incredible power of Tyr's judgment upon Porphyria.

The moment of horror passed, leaving Porphyria wounded and battered, but still standing. Porphyria could see several more Justicars rushing towards the study, some of the higher-ranking ones preparing to bring down the wrath of Tyr upon Porphyria again, their shields raised in defiance.

"No. My turn now." The words were only whispered by Porphyria, but she echoed her spoken words with a wave of telepathic energy, startling many of the surrounding horde and causing them to falter in their prayers to Tyr. In the next moment, Porphyria drew a long, black steel dagger from her belt, and threw it to the ground at her feet.

"Lord Kalkin, undefeated in battle, binder of demons, lord of lightning, manifest your indomitable power, I beseech you!" Porphyria's invocation rang out against the walls of the Ivory Tower, and she could feel herself being transfixed by the awesome presence of the god of lightning. The dagger at Porphyria's feet arced with electrical energy and vanished in a bright blue flash, causing a sphere of arcing electricity to form in its place.

The sphere of arcing lightning expanded in an instant, passing through everything in its path. Porphyria was somehow unharmed by the passage of the awesome power, but the Justicars bore the brunt of a fearsome electrical shock, several of them being knocked from their feet, others simply collapsing in place. The awful smell of smoldering hair and flesh filled the air of the small study quickly, emanating from the mass of figures now lying prone on the scorched ground around Porphyria.

Once she ascertained that there were no further threats from the Justicars near her, Porphyria returned to her search for the artifact, engaging her astral senses so as to hopefully gain some glimmer of the artifact's presence. The whole area of the study was encompassed by blinding silvery light in Porphyria's eyes, revealing the astral imprint of the vile consecrations to Tyr. But at the same time, the monochrome silvery pallet of the tower's astral presence gave stark relief to the glimmer of shifting chaos that presented itself from the crack in a small wooden box, heretofore unnoticed in the corner, and likely blown there by the incredible forces that had been unleashed.

Porphyria sprang upon the box, grabbing it from amongst the rubble and checking to see if it contained the artifact she sought. Inside, she could see through her astral sight the most powerful of chaotic emanations, and so satisfied, she made herself ready to make her escape, affixing in her mind an image of her dwelling in the mountains of Korindim. As she began to recite the invocation to Yog-Sothoth that would deliver her from the Ivory Tower, Porphyria saw a familiar face -- a young elven Justicar who had just reached the top of the stairs outside the door, her gaze falling upon Porphyria a moment before the ELF agent vanished into the silvery form of Yog-Sothoth. Poprhyria smiled at the look of horror upon the Justicar's face as once again, the world around Porphyria erupted into a confusing flurry of concepts.

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