02:41- 02:56 -Beyond the wall is a vast chamber of dully polished Durium. Almost 40' across and two and a half times as long, it is not empty. At the right hand end of the room, loom a massive set of double doors covered in corrupted angelic glyphs. They stand shut, though it is from beyond them that the group can feel the distant throbbing of whatever magical alarm currently sounds.
At the left hand end of the chamber loom three huge golems; two massive humanoids of mithril, and a third of iron. Ormid immediately recognises them as incredibly dangerous constructs, possibly beyond even this troupe's ability to cleanly defeat. Behind them are a pair of huge double doors, covered in more corrupted angelic glyphs.
“Holy masters!” Spits the paladin, “those sigils are the purest blasphemy, perfect for containing an angelic being. I feel we are now very close to our goal.”
“What are the circles?” Asks Shadevia, pointing at the ground around the golem's feet where three semicircles are carved into the metal, encompassing the three constructs as well as the double doors.
“Hmmm, I think I might need to have a better look.” Replies Ormid, adjusting his spectacles with his massive artifice arm and shuffling over towards them.
Llewellyn hugs the edge of the room, almost vanishing into the darkness that pools there, whilst Ardwaine and Zaruel keep an eye on the doors at the opposite end of the chamber, ready to sound the alarm if trouble arrives. Getting on his hands and knees, the artificer considers the carvings, whilst the shadeling watches over his shoulders.
“can you see those carvings under the obvious surface of the channel?” She asks, drawing an annoyed glare from Ormid.
“Well, of course...I....err...have. They appear to be warding sigils that bind several different layers of magic into this area. Give me a moment, and I shall try to sense where the magics lead.”
Entirely aware that the artificer had not seen the symbols at all, Shadevia merely nods her assent, and steps away from him to give him room to think. Giving himself a moment to clear his thoughts and seek inner focus, Ormid once more shifts his awareness and analyses the weave of the areas' magics. After a short moment he blinks owlishly, and reports that the golems are magically tied to both sets of doors, as well as to the circles. Llewellyn trots over, and peers at the symbols worked into the circles, stating after a few moments that they are rigged with “Blocker Traps” - spells that summon invulnerable, invisible walls of force when tripped.
“The idea is that if you wander over the lines, or screw up opening the doors, or even try to destroy the golems, that you get cut off from your allies, and worse, are stuck within smashing reach of one of these ugly fella's. Simple concept, but bloody nasty if you are the one stuck inside.”
A series of dull thumps gong from the doors at the opposite end of the chamber, resonating like a death knell through the gloom.
“We need to move on quickly.” Growls Zaruel, “There are definitely enemies approaching.”
“Fine! Fine!” Snaps Ormid, looking towards both the shadeling and the rogue for help. “Shall we then?”
Ardwaine moves to assist the three adventurer's, and slowly but surely the four of them pick through the powerful warding circle, delicately unravelling its internal spells, as well as those magics linked to the deadly, inert constructs, and after a short while the group sense the sudden end of a subtle vibration that they were not even consciously registering, its presence only felt in its absence.
“There, danger gone!” Laughs the dundorin, stumbling slowly to her feet.
“Err, not quite.” replies the vyrleen, who has skipped up to the doors, casting his eyes over their carved surface. “There is a pretty unpleasant trap on here too that could still activate the golems, and unless I am mistaken, summon more enemies.”
“Well get rid of it and get it open.” Hisses Zaruel, his normal composure suddenly slipping, his face rigid with sudden anxiety, “Our window of opportunity is rapidly closing.”
02:57 – 03:03 - In truth the door's wards are far simpler than those worked into the circles, and the rogue and artificer are able to quickly disable them. As they do this, so whatever spells are keeping the doors closed are undone, and with a ghastly pulse of corrupted silvery light, the glyphs that spider over its surface pulse to life and the vast halves grind open revealing a large chamber of durium and cold iron beyond, every inch of which is covered with more corrupted angelic binding glyphs and foul symbols of infernal magic, all of which seem to link to a huge, impossibly complex series of circles carved in silvery light in the middle of the room. Within this circle, wings spread out like a cloak, rests an angel; a being every bit as beautiful and terrible as Zanoriel. Around the edge of the chamber, almost lost in the painful arrays of runes glow another five smaller circles, each blazing with light.
03:04 – 03:05 - As soon as the group enter the chamber, the angel – Mishazael – looks up, his eyes the colour of mercury. After a moment, he begins to shake his head, the light he emits increasing until it is almost blinding. As he does this, he mutters to himself, his voice painful in its pain, pure and beautiful as the primal light.
“No! No. Just more illusions sent to test me. I do not believe that...”
Zaruel cuts him short, his voice grim, his face a mask of cold rage. His blade is drawn and he moves with deadly purpose towards the trapped angel.
“Mishazael Annar'Vaethri Zaal'Anar, I am Zaruel, chosen executioner of the Bond Eternal, sent to free you from the shame of your crimes, and to take your essence back to the high choir for imprisonment and eternal tormentation.”
Mishazael looks shocked, then horrified. Ormid also jerks as if struck, and begins to move forwards – though the Veteran grabs his arm and grimly shakes his head.
Mishazael stands, the light around him burning with cold effulgence. “NO! No, you misunderstand me brother Zaruel, I was no traitor. I was bound, bound by the very spells you see here still, forced to...”
“YOU ALLOWED YOURSELF TO BE CAPTURED RATHER THAN FACE DISSOLUTION, AND THROUGH YOUR COWARDICE HAVE GIVEN THE ENEMY THE WAYS TO SPREAD THEIR MISERY INTO A MULTITUDE OF WORLDS. YOU ARE A MASS MURDERER MISHAZAEL, AND I AM HE WHO IS SENT TO END YOU!”
By now Zaruel is at the edge of the angel's binding circle. Magic is crawling over him in argent curls, rising from him like glowing smoke, and as the angel starts to comprehend the deep trouble it is in, he inverts his holy sword, and begins to chant. Fiery runes of angelic magic blaze on its blade, and the group can see that the words he says apparently strie Mishazael like heated knives.
However, their attention is suddenly torn away from the horrible spectacle, for the five lesser circles blaze into life, and at once dark forms manifest – one of them the deformed nightmare spotted briefly on the surface – Amued Zor, daemonhost and captain of the Chained Syndicate.
“STOP HIM!” Amued roars, “END HIM AND THE OTHERS BEFORE THEY CAN WEAKEN THE TRAITOR ANGEL!”
The other shapes are Chained Syndicate soldiers; genasai of air, fire, acid and earth, and at once everyone surges forth, most of them heading towards Zaruel.
“Keep. Them. Off. Meeeeee.” He growls, “Unless, you wish to face an angel in its full fury.”
“NOOOOOOOO!” Howls Mishazael, “AMUED HELP! HEAVEN HAS SENT AN EXECUTIONER! I AM NO GOOD TO YOU ANNIHILATED! STOP HIIIIIIIM”
...and the battle begins.