The Noodists Advance - Desert Quests
What follows is the account of the party of Lycis the Paladin. January 11, 2003
As he entered the Hostel, he was greeted by Wystral, “Ah, Lycis, quick to sense danger and respond, I knew you would be among the first to arrive here.” Others were coming in now and gathering in the back around Alex. There were new faces here this day. Faces that Lycis did not recognize. As he surveyed the room, his eyes met the eyes of several others, all of which responded with a confident smile of greeting and recognition. Ahh, there was Meno, standing at the table closest to Alex and looking as fresh and beautiful as she had in Lycis’ haunting dreams. There was also a pale being standing by itself in the corner. A terrifying figure, resembling the possessed minions of Hell the party had recently fought. White hair and black eyes, clad in black leather, this being must surely be a spy, sent from Hell to report on the plans and movements of our troop. “Ah, I see you have noticed the Necromancer.” Wystral whispered. “Fear not brother Paladin, for he is as faithful to our cause as you are. He commands the dark forces of nature. He has the ability to speak to the dead and raise them to our aid. His power is indeed unsettling to us all, but the minions he can call to arms on our behalf are needed soldiers for the light.”
A loud crash behind him jerked his attention away from this figure of darkness and he turned towards the door. There, barely framed by the door was a massive man, even larger and more powerful than Alex or Wystral. This was unmistakably a Barbarian. Lycis had heard of such men but had never seen one. He was a mountain, bulging muscles covered his enormous body, and his face carried a wry smile of anticipation. A red loincloth about his waist was his only clothing. Lycis could not help but notice Sinfully’s reaction as this colossal man crashed into the room. Her eyes gleamed, as she slowly sat at the table where she was standing, never looking away from him. Her breath quickened and Lycis could see the flush of desire upon here cheeks. The Barbarian rushed toward Wystral and Lycis. Slapping Wystral on the back, but looking directly at Sinfully, he growled, “Today I will cover my body with the blood of my enemies, I will crush the life from all those that appose me. Alex! Who are the fortunate ones to quest with me this day and watch the destruction I will bestow!!” He winked, unmistakably, at Sinfully and her shudder in response was quite noticeable.
Alex laughed, the laugh of a true warrior ready for the conflict, “Fear not, Half, I will put you in front of our enemies forthwith. We will quest together this day, and with us this enchanting Sorceress, Texvix. The two Paladins Zak and Naked Fist will accompany us as well.” “Good!” laughed Half, “but make the planning quick for I hunger for battle.” Alex turned toward the group with a grim look, “For you others, I have an important mission. Andarial is resurrected. Wystral and Sinfully will lead a group through the enchanted Weypoint, back to the lands of the Sisterhood, and battle her evil once more. Even now, her influence spreads again through the recently cleansed fields of that land.” Alex commanded through gritted teeth. “My group will remain here, and attempt to discover the cause of this dark affliction on the land. We will quest out from the gates here.”
Wystral and Sinfully moved together, no doubt discussing strategy for the battle with Andarial. Alex, Texvix and Half were laughing together, they were confident and powerful warriors in their way, and were obviously joyful at the coming battles, as true warriors are. Zak and Naked Fist stood together quietly to one side, raising the concentration and focus they would need in order to provide their party with the powerful offensive and defensive auras they could provide. Lycis turned back toward the Necromancer, and discovered he was being watched. A shiver flashed over his body, and then Naked Dead smiled at him. Not an evil grin or contortion, but a smile of noticeable kindness. The Necromancer’s face was strangely beautiful. His eyes, though black as the deepest night, were soft and the look he was giving Lycis said ‘I am your friend and fellow warrior – I would die that you should live.’ Lycis nodded and returned the smile uneasily. The Necromancer strode quietly over, put his hand on Lycis’ shoulder, and said, “Be at ease young Paladin, today you will fight beside my minions and be glad they are there. Likewise, I will take full advantage of your powers and tonight we will laugh together over the tales of our victories.”
“ENOUGH DELAY!” Alex exclaimed as he and Half started for the door. “We must be off. Wystral, you and Sinfully take your party through the weypoint to the second level of the Catacombs, dispatch Andarial and return here as quickly as you can. I am sure we will need your help. Remember everyone, Hell’s corruptions are dangerous and cunning, be careful, watch each other’s backs, and we will all be around to meet here at the end of the day. Good luck and good hunting.”
Lycis fell in line behind Meno as she followed Wystral and Sinfully toward the weypoint at the center of Lut Gholein. One by one the party members vanished as they stepped onto the platform. Lycis followed Meno and in a flash, found himself back in the suffocating evil of the Catacombs. Naked Dead flashed in behind him and the five were once again within evil’s reach. Sinfully took the lead and the party moved swiftly out the closest door and silently into the halls of the Catacombs.
Monster resistance was light, only a band of carvers or two and a couple of Arachnids were all they had encountered. They rounded a corner and entered a great hallway. As they moved down the hall, weaving in and out of the tombs of fallen kings, the scent of brimstone grew stronger and a faint glow in the darkness ahead became visible. Suddenly, slashing carvers and their shaman were among them, having rushed them from a dark hall to the left, they were outnumbered 10 to 1 and fought furiously for their lives. More Carvers attacked from the direction they had been heading, Sinfully and Lycis met the Carver advance with fury. The Shaman fell and the Carvers broke and fled back down the corridor. Sinfully, Lycis, Naked Dead and several of his revived minions pursued the Carvers, while Wystral and Meno followed, after finishing off the remnants of the first assault.
The party chased the Carvers down the hall and into the waiting ambush. They had unwittingly rushed headlong into the source of the brimstone scent and red glow, Ghoul Lords, half a dozen at least and the same number of their faithful arachnid pets. Carver Shaman were there as well, and the fleeing Carvers, whirled and attacked. Meteors fell like hail and exploded around them. The flames of hell unleashed, the party threw themselves into the fray. Lycis and Meno rushed into the midst of the Ghoul Lords to confront the master lord and as they smote him, great bolts of lightning flashed from the mouths of the wounds they inflicted. The lightning engulfed Lycis and indeed the rest of the party. Lycis felt the lightning and was paralyzed by its power. His life fled his body as bolt after bolt slashed him. He panicked and fled headlong back up the corridor until he could no longer feel the burning. Once free from the lightning’s paralyzing effect, Lycis downed a healing potion and turned to see Meno, his magnificent and secret desire, standing fast against the evil master lord, trading blow after magic blow with the evil priest. She had not fled. She had remained and her powerful magic filled the darkness with hopeful light. Beside her was Sinfully, slashing with both hands as the blood spewed from her foe. Wystral was there too, commanding the elements, turning fire against the lords, unleashing the earth itself, and Naked Dead , with his hands, commanding the attacks of his reanimated minions. Lycis felt stifling shame rush over him and he plunged back into the battle. With the combined efforts of the five fighters, the enemy was soon defeated. It was quickly apparent that all were alive, and without discussion or complaint, the party quickly moved off searching for the stairs that would lead them to an even greater enemy, Andarial.
The group quickly found what they searched for and after the brief and devastating battle with the lair guards they stood at the great door. From the other side, the group could hear the menacing grunts of what Wystral called Hogmen. The group stood quiet, listening. “Ready?” Wystral asked in a determined voice. All nodded. Wystral stepped forward and threw open the doors. The Hogmen rushed out in a furious attack and met death as Lycis, Meno and Sinfully formed an impenetrable wall. Naked Dead move left into the lair and commanded his revived dead to attack. Wystral followed and opened the earth before Andarial’s attacking minions. The five moved together into a tight group and, as Andarial rushed out to attack, they met her head on. She perished almost instantly, as the concentrated power of the five warriors engulfed her. There was little time for celebration. Wystral was the first to overcome his battle fury, “This work is done. Now back to Lut Gholein, for Alex and his party must surely need our strength.” His magic portal to the Rogue Camp blazed to life. The group leapt into the light, traveling instantly to the camp. In what was only seconds, the entire group, using the mystic weypoint in the Rogue’s Camp was assembled around Cain in Lut Gholein.
“Hurry” Cain exclaimed, “Radament is loose in the sewers and must be stopped. While he lives, no one in town is safe.” “Where are Alex and his party?” Sinfully inquired. Cain answered, “they left the gates hours ago, they must surely be nearing the maggot lair by now.” Wystral, having lost patience for this conversation, interrupted, “Never mind - Alex and the party must be safe, or they would have abandoned the quest until we returned.” He added, “Now we must protect the town – quickly, to the weypoint and the sewers.”
The party gathered at the weypoint deep within the sewers. They could hear the sounds of Radament’s minions echoing through the cold halls. They fought constantly, moving from battle to battle, as they made their way toward Radament’s sanctuary. The battles became more intense, as Radament’s minions became more numerous in each new passageway. Suddenly, they were upon him. Sinfully, Wystral and Lycis charged through the ranks of the guards and fell on Radament with vengeful fury. The battle raged around them, as the three together, blow by blow, extracted the last measure of life from the possessed demon. With Radament vanquished, the town was again safe, but there could be no rest, as darkness continued to engulf the land.
They rushed through the magic portal back to town. The oppressive darkness remained. Wystral was obviously worried, “There must be trouble with Alex’s group. There has been no word for hours, and no portals to suggest they have at anytime returned to town. Cain has not seen them and they would surely have spoken to him.” His worry turned to grim determination, “Hurry – to the gates. We must begin the search at once.”
The party tread heavily through the gates and into the Rocky Waste beyond. Pain, fatigue, hunger and thirst were growing within each of them. Lycis’ body had long since become numb to the torturous pace they had been keeping. Battle melted into battle, as the trek became a seemingly endless bath of blood. It is difficult to know how long they traveled, but as they moved deeper into the Dry Hills, the party’s strength finally failed. Wystral and Meno were spent. The level of concentration they had maintained for so long during the day’s fighting could be sustained no longer. “We must retire.” Wystral’s weakened voice was filled with frustration. “Meno can barely stand, and my powers can no longer be sustained. We must all go back to town, for it is too dangerous for you three to quest further alone. Hopefully, there will be some word from Alex.”
There was indeed contact from Alex’s party. They had reached the entrance to the Maggot’s lair and were preparing to enter. Wystral, Meno and Naked Dead retired to their quarters above Atma’s to rest and recuperate their powers for the days of conflict to come. Lycis and Sinfully joined Alex’s group in the Far Oasis, at the mouth of the Maggot’s lair. “It is best that we split up here,” Half advised. “I agree,” replied Alex. Half beamed with relief and power at the sight of Sinfully. He grabbing Sinfully around the shoulders and spoke to Alex, “I will take this useless Assassin with me to protect her, and the young Paladin, Lycis, as well. We will together storm the Viper temple and recover the sacred amulet while you and the others secure the Horadric staff from the maggots.”
Half move off at a terrific pace. Sinfully at his side obviously reenergized by the presence of her heart’s secret desires. She was a gorgeous creature, even now, covered with the gore of her destroyed enemies. Her body was strong and sensual, her dark hair flowing about her shoulders as she ran beside the giant she loved. She was joyful to be reunited with him, but he would yet not know, for she must keep this desire to herself, else he might reject her and she could not bear the thought.
At the pace set by Half, they reached the entrance to the Viper Temple quickly. With little delay, the three, led by Half raged through the entrance. The three warriors waded through the Salamanders that greeted them at every turn. They battled through zombies that spewed poison as they were slain, and burning skeletons thrown into their path by great Mummy sorcerers. Onward they fought, deeper and deeper into the temple. Half belted out rejuvenating warcries as he fought. Warcries that bestowed renewed vigor to Lycis and Sinfully as they struggled against the evil before them. Through the door into Fagskin’s lair they rushed. The three together cornered the great master of reptiles in the corner and bashed him into unrecognizable pulp. The assault was done. Lycis climbed the alter and released the amulet from its cradle. “Now – back to Alex and the Maggot Lair for he may still need our help there.” Half commanded.
Indeed. Alex and his party had been slowed by the closeness of the lair’s passages. Having reached the inner lair where the queen spawned her faithful, the entire party could not squeeze in to battle the multitude of servants she had attending her. Half and Lycis took the portal from town, directly to the lower level and raced toward the queen’s sanctum. They made their way into the lair as the others followed. The crushed bodies of the queen’s young filled the chamber knee deep. The remaining young and attendants sprayed poison wildly around the chamber as Lycis, Half, and Alex pounded whatever moved. Lycis quickly fought his way to the queen as did most of the others and pummeled her repeatedly. She was fat, and pulsed with pain as they gashed her, her inner slime spraying on all that assaulted her. The slime ate at the skin as acid, and the fumes sickened and weakened Lycis to the point of submission. She burst into gore with a final belt and the last of her young were destroyed. Alex struggled through the depth of the gore to the chest and took out the staff. Its brilliance shone through the darkness of the chamber and the entire party laughed with the joy of victory. “Back to town everyone.” Alex exclaimed. “Our work in the desert this day is done.” The party raised a tired cheer as they stepped into the portal.
The returning members gathered around Alex outside the door to Atma’s. “Grim work we have done this day my brothers. Andariel has been vanquished again. The threat that was Radament is no more. The desert lands beyond these gates have been cleansed. We hold the sacred relics of amulet and staff that will open the passage to Mephisto’s prison that we may slay him. Our victories this day will live in the songs of the druid for ages to come. Rest now, all of you. Soon we must again don the visage of warrior and press forth our pursuit of the three.”
Lycis staggered down the street toward his room above Drognan’s store. His mind was blank, only the burning need for rest pushed him forward. As he fell onto the cot, and his body relaxed, blackness filled his mind, surrounding a distant figure growing closer and closer – Meno……..