Chapter 6d - Worlds within Worlds

Lucifer sighed. He wanted to stay and explore, but he could understand the Paladin's desire to move on as well. He looked at his wolf/familiar and patted the undead beast's head. He then turned to where the paladin and the illusionist were and began towards them.

Deciding first to explore the Tower, Joachim heads into the ice-carved door, taking a few steps up and finding himself up on a small platform that faced the rest of the Party.
Though it was built outwards of the Tower over the edge of a huge pit, this platform feels like the most secure fortress in all the world. Several large icy beams project along its length to shield its occupants from accidental leaps over, and the ground here is scraggled and entirely unslippery.
The same cannot be said for the path winding up though, for the instant you step upon its angled curves you find absolutely no traction with the ground, as if the very ice itself were rejecting your feet.

Moving more than a few inches up this Winding Tower seems like an almost impossible task. And yet, you can clearly see faint markings along its path, ancient footprints that mock you coldly...

Joachim sighs. He knew that if he fell the worst that would happen was to fall indeterminately long before hitting the ground or whatever was below. His magic seemed to work as the experiment with his shield had shown. So he was pretty certain his ring would also activate mitigating the fall to a mare issue of time. However even so, he knew not how to get back up. He could eventually call Artax, but Gerwin might still need him and he felt that here the horse would bring little aid to their cause. He tries his sword as a crouch on the steps. If it locked into the ice and he could ensure it to aid ascension with very reduced risk of falling he would try this approach. If it was to dangerous he would instead descend back to the party and propose exploreing the other path.

Mala clicked her tongue some. She realized that her telepathy has dissipated, but the realm didn't seem to impact her illusionary magic as her form remained unchanged. "It is a good thing that illusions can force a body to react a certain way. As long as you do not believe that the illusion is false, it can interact with you. Add in a bit of shadow magic, and it becomes a real entity for you to associate with." She thought to herself as if remembering her own training. "Let's see how well this holds up..." Mala closed her eyes and began chanting softly. Before the entire party, several small railings began to appear. They were embedded deeply into the ice and seemed to serve as stable barriers.

Mala had trained herself to believe and disbelieve her illusions as she saw fit, this would serve to her benefit. Grabbing hold of the iron bars that bound the party from falling off the stairs, she smiled to herself. "Looks like the prisoners here were nice enough to provide some guard rails for us." She remarked with a faint chuckle. Gripping tightly onto the rail, she began to move forward. The rail served far more of a purpose than just to keep the party from falling off the stairs, it served as a calming measure to ensure Mala that her strongest magics can still withstand the impact of this horrible place.

Lucifer looked at the shadow substance Mala had created, and though he knew it had some substance, he trusted it little. Instead, he reached into his bag and retrieved a scroll, then unrolled it and read it aloud. There would be a discharge as magical energy was expended and the scroll vanished. He then produced a length of silken rope. He then held it aloft, and said, "Take this to the top of the stairs, tie it off to something solid and stable, then bring the end back to me."

Mala conjures a series of shadowy rails along the spiral's edge, and Lucifer sends his invisible minion floating up with a long length of rope, cobbled together from several of the party. Round and round the rope twists as Lucifer's servant takes it up to the top, tying it off against one of the fatter outcroppings.
Floating back down, it presents the end of the rope to Lucifer, and moves slightly off to the side to allow passage up.

Balance checks can now be made at a +6 Modifier thanks to the Rope and Rails system

Joachim looks at the stairs ... looks mighty slippery. I doubt I can amke it up there in my armor

Mala took hold of the rope and tried a step or two, using both the rails and the rope to steady herself. Losing her footing with ease, she stumbled back to a safe floor. "Yeah... that won't cut it either." She stated with a sigh. "We are not moving anywhere at this point..." She internally grumbled. "Wait... maybe that is it! We shouldn't be the ones moving up this death trap!" Her mind clicked and a devious grin crossed her face.

"I have an idea, but I will need a few minutes." She stated aloud and pulled out a small black vial. Opening it carefully, Mala covered both her arms with black markings in the form of runic glyphs. As she stretched her arms out and began chanting, the markings began to ripple vibrantly. Placing her hands into a meditative state, her chanting began rhythmic and soothing. Minutes passed as the chantings continued, Mala seemingly rehearsing the incantation as if it was engraved into her very soul. Before the party, an illusion was slowly molding into shape. This form continued to build as Mala's incantations echoed onward.

Finally, the illusion took the form of a physical shadow. The shadow-like creature resembled a horse, with glowing red eyes, not unlike that of a Nightmare, save for the gray mane and tail. It let out a loud whinney that startled Mala for a moment. Placing her hand along the side of her phantom horse, Mala looked back with a smile. "This will get us up with ease." She hopped atop the horse and patted it gently. Opening up her haversack, Mala reached in and pulled free a
Rod of Shadowblending
small rod. "And now for you all." She smiled and began a quick invocation as the rod flickered faintly, recreating the same disk that she and Garak had used to ferry bodies with earlier. "This disc is linked to me and will not move away from me without my ordering it to. Each of you, hop aboard and grab ahold of the rope to keep yourselves stabilized. We can quickly bypass this without too much worry." Mala stated as her steed began to ascend the ice like it was not even there. A closer observation would find that the horse was levitating just a mere few inches above the terrain. Needless to say, the disc hovered roughly three feet above the ground level and was not impacted by the slippery terrain either.

Once the party was assembled on the disc, Mala would begin slowly trekking her phantom steed up the stairs with the floating disc in tow.

Joachim lifted his brow in disbelief. He mumbled something barely audible, but if everyone else was in so was he. He would sit himself as stable as possible, one hand on the disc the other on the rope or railings. "If I fall you better come and get me ..." he would add and stay silent for the remainder of the trip up.

Garak had remained completely silent since entering the caves. Noting the uncertainty of the floor, the assassin took a moment to remove one of his rings and
now wearing ring of darkness and ring of feather fall
replace it with one that would be useful if he happened to fall.

At the mention of Bane, the thing that had been in the back of Garak's mind came to perfect clarity. He remembered a dream where Bane had been fighting with Cyric. The assassin used a shard of ice to stab into the back of Bane in an effort to help even the odds for Cyric. This place was oddly the same...perhaps it was the same place? "Cyric..."

The name escaped Garak's lips as Mala had called forth her phantom steed. The tiefling had been unaware of the party's movement through the caves, as his mind had been so focused on remembering the dream---or was it a dream---even as a memory, it felt so completely real.

In that moment, Garak realized something else. "Something in my pack..." He had felt it when they neared the tower. "There is a great amount of energy up by the ceiling."

His eyes studied the ceiling, in hopes of spotting something that was out of place or that would reveal the source of the energy. As Garak looked at the ceiling, he slipped off his pack so he could pull the
I think Garak still has this blade...or maybe Joachim has it? It's the only thing he's carrying in his pack that I can think of that would make sense to have some sort of power in this place.
blade of Farid from it.

Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 5 (Total = 17)


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