The Noodists Advance - The World Should Rejoice
What follows is the account of the party of Lycis the Paladin, February 1, in the year of the light 903
Sin stepped forward, “What news of Diablo?” she asked. Cain held her stern gaze and hesitated, and then looking at the others he answered, “I have no facts, but my guess is that Diablo seeks to free Mephisto so that together they can escape to Hell and rally the dark minions there for the final assault on humanity. I expect he has not yet reached Mephisto and that you are close behind him. You must all act quickly now.”
“Cain is right, there is no time to lose now!” Exclaimed Alex as he pushed his long rain soaked blonde hair back over his head. He continued urgently, “We must strike out at once. We will begin at the weypoint south of Kurast and cleanse the jungle from there to the gates, so as not to leave any evil to fall on us from behind. In Kurast, we will thoroughly search the buildings for evidence of the artifacts Cain speaks of. Howsit and Ancient will lead. Wystral and I will follow close behind the leaders with Zak. Lycis in the middle for energy support with Numsay as rear guard. Now, to the weypoint”
The party flashed through the weypoint in the Flayer encampment, formed the battle grouping that Alex had ordered, and moved swiftly into the jungle. The Druid’s wolves raced ahead and repeatedly alerted the company to upcoming evil with their howls. The party raged through the jungle, the noises of battle echoing through the dark woods. Ancient’s battle songs bolstered the company’s strength as they met Gloam and Drowned Carcass and Flayer companies with deadly fury. They were moving very swiftly through the jungle now, ever northward toward the gates of Kurast. Just as Half had reported after the scouting mission, the evil destroyed by the scouts had been replaced and as the company stormed the gates of Kurast, they were met by the great lightning enchanted Thorn Beast and his minions. The group’s momentum was barely affected and they smashed through the beasts and into Kurast.
On through the lower part of the city the group moved with speed and purpose, spreading utter devastation to any that opposed them. Few words of encouragement or instruction were needed this day from Alex, his company of death moved as one, each knowing the order of battle and each doing their part to perfection. This day, the party was unstoppable. The two Paladins, Lycis and Zak flashed the perfect auras for every situation, the Druids cast their nature forces into perfect positions for every attack, and Howsit, Ancient, and Numsay were together a wall of destruction as Numsay was no longer needed as rear guard, for they left none alive behind them. In this manner, the party swept through Lower Kurast, the Bazaar and Upper Kurast and finally rested briefly at the entrance to the sewers.
The group stood together in silence, breathing hard from their exertions. Lycis could not help but notice the painful beauty of the two women standing together. Howsit, her blue eyes gleaming, her lips bright red and her face flushed from the excitement of battle, stood proud and defiant. Her blood-soaked tunic clung tight around her revealing every curve, every muscle of her amazing body. Numsay, smaller than Howsit, her lithe body tense, her dark eyes afire, her full lips also a bright red, and her face flushed, stood next to Howsit. The clasps on Numsay’s leather vest had been cut in battle and the vest did little to cover the full and luscious body underneath. They were looking at the men, there red lips slightly parted in a breathless smile. Lycis felt a hand on his shoulder drawing his attention away from the two awe-inspiring beauties standing before him. It was Zak, and as Lycis looked around he could see that the women had not gone unnoticed by the other men. They were all looking at the two women with expressions of awe and desire and Numsay and Howsit recognized this. As Lycis turned back toward the women, it became clear that they were looking at the men in the same way, each of the women looking at each of the men in turn, with admiration and desire. For a moment, which to all seemed an eternity, the two sexes stood and admired one another. Finally, Ancient broke the silence with a lustful laugh, “If I should stand here and stare at you beauties but for a few moments longer, I would have to snatch one of you up and quench my growing desire.” The moment passed, and the party relaxed with tense laughter and deep breaths, but it was clear to each member that the desires kindled during that moment would not pass so quickly.
Alex, looking into the entrance to the Kurast sewers, spoke in a hushed voice, “Cain tells me that the sewers have been infested with unspeakable horrors. This is where we should find Khalim’s Heart. We will move slowly here and stay close.” He motioned towards the entrance and his wolves sprang in and disappeared. “Leaders go – and remember all – stay close.”
Following close behind Howsit, Numsay, and Ancient, the group moved down into the dreaded Kurast sewers. The smell was overwhelming, and the darkness engulfed them, the sense of doom was as thick and ever-present as the smell. They stayed tightly together and moved slowly through the maze of walls and slime filled trenches. Much to their relief, they met only skeletons, zombies and a few gloam bats as they worked their way through searching for the next set of stairs. Their confidence grew as the horrors Cain had spoken of failed to confront them and they entered the second level of the sewers in high spirits. A brief battle ensued with another group of zombies and one very determined slime snake, and the heart was theirs. “Now, out of this hell quickly, the foulness of this place is making us all ill.” Alex ordered. The group sped back through the sewers and emerged into the same constant heat and rain they had left just moments earlier. As they passed out into the open and moved away from the sewer’s entrance, each had a flash of memory of the group encounter at the entrance earlier. They each knew the memories of that moment would haunt them for a long time. The troubling recall was quickly swept aside however, as they followed Ancient toward the causeway to Travincal and the certain confrontation with the possessed High Council.
As the group entered the causeway, Lycis and Zak could see the temples rising up within the walls of the central complex of their Zakarum faith. Their hearts could not help but be stirred by the sight, as this place had been, over the ages, the destination of countless pilgrimages of brother Paladins. Great hatred welled up within them both to think of this place soiled by the presence of Hell’s creations. The company stormed ahead crossing the causeway with great speed and crashed headlong into the Temple Guards and Infidels that blocked their path to Travincal. The two captains of the enemy were great lightning enchanted creations of Hell and the bolts spewed forth with each terrible blow the warriors landed. The Paladin’s auras provided ample protection for the company as the causeway defenses were crushed.
The group rushed into Travincal and for a time separated into two groups. Lycis, Zak, Numsay and Howsit split off from the group and pursued a group of fleeing Ghoul Lords along the sanctuary wall in response to an order from Alex to secure the perimeter. Not until they had made the west wall did they realize the rest of the party had remained at the gates and they were isolated. The Ghoul Lords however, recognized their situation immediately, and rallied around their captain and pressed the attack. The four fought valiantly and defeated the Lords at the West wall before returning to the group at the gates. Once reunited, the party searched the defiled buildings of the temple sanctuary for the mystic weypoint they knew to be there. The possessed Zakarumites fought furiously at every turn and through every door but were no match for the power of the party.
The High Council, aware that the party was sweeping through the complex, took up a defensive position within the main temple at the North end of the complex, to guard the Compelling Orb. The conflict on the steps of the main temple was tumultuous indeed, as one by one the powerful members of the High Council fell to the power of the light. “What’s this evil at work?” Yelled Alex. “The body count is light. There still remain High Council members unaccounted for. I fear Diablo has taken them with him to free Mephisto – we may be too late.” As the rest of the party members gathered their wits and breath, and contemplated their possible failure, Lycis quickly liberated Khalim’s holy flail from the dead grasp of Torc Icefist and, invoking an ancient magic portal, transported back to the docks to transmute the flail with Khalim’s other relics. Lycis returned almost immediately, and using the transmuted flail, smashed the Compelling Orb with a mighty blow, freeing the remaining population of Kurast from the dark powers that possessed them. At the instant the Orb shattered, the bloodstained alter within the temple where the party was gathered sank into the floor revealing a dark passage underground. “This must be the entrance to the prison labyrinth Cain spoke of this morning.” Alex exclaimed. “Hurry – we may yet catch Diablo before he reaches Mephisto.”
With little discussion and grim determination, the group formed into battle order and entered the dark passage toward the much-anticipated meeting with the Prime Evils within. They entered a terrible place, blood lay in pools about the floor and great piles of shattered bone and mutilated flesh were found in many rooms. Great hulking giants, fire throwing Ghoul Lords and walking dead met them in every room. Hell itself was now under attack, and Diablo’s minions would not yield.
Howsit was a skillful guide and quickly found the stairs leading to the second level. Hell was ready for them as a group of Hell’s most powerful champions met the company at the foot of the stairs. They had scarcely cleared the stairs when meteors came raining down upon them and walls of flame sprang up all around them. They could see the Champion Ghoul Lords at the back of the room furiously casting their devastating fire spells. But between the Ghoul Lords and the company stood four champion Giants.
“ATTACK MY BRAVE WARRIORS – ATTACK!” Alex commanded, and the company slammed into the giants as one mighty fist, and as if controlled by some divine power, all concentrated their blows together on one giant at a time. Under the combined power of the entire group, the giants could not stand and exploded into smoldering heaps under the assault. Seeing their advance guard decimated, the Champion Ghoul Lords attacked, but they proved to be little trouble and each fell quickly. Howsit, Numsay and Ancient lead on and again quickly found the stairs to yet another level of this Durance of Hate the party found themselves in.
The group plunged down the stairs onto the third level and knew immediately they had reached evil. The air was heavy with the smell of fire, blood, and electricity, as the powers of Hell were preparing to thwart their advance, and protect their evil leaders. They stormed forward and met another group of High Council members at an archway into the hated chambers. The battle raged and they could see Diablo across a moat of blood removing the heavenly bonds that held his brother Mephisto. “NOW WITH FURY MY BROTHERS” Alex raged. “MEPHISTO IS FREED AND THE TWO ARE MOMENTS FROM ESCAPING!” The company together destroyed the last of the council and raced for the passageway to the other side of the blood moat. As they swept through the last of the evil guards and into the main chamber Diablo slipped through the portal. Mephisto’s fury and hate was stifling as he flung himself at the charging company. “YOU ARE TOO LATE!” his booming voice filled their hearts and souls with terror, “MY BROTHER HAS ESCAPED YOU, AND HUMANITY IS DOOMED!” Alex’s voice could be heard above the horror “HAVE FAITH MY BROTHERS, THE POWER OF THE LIGHT IS WITH US – ATTAAACK!!” They fell on Mephisto with a power and a fury unmatched in the annals of human knowledge. The battle was brief yet terrible to behold and the death shriek released as evil was vanquished was deafening.
They stood over the crumpled and still hideous body of this great evil and knew they had taken the first step toward freeing the world from the certain doom planned by Diablo. The seven were too exhausted to speak, but all looked at one another with breathless smiles and deep satisfaction. They were, the seven together, bonded for all time in this moment. All had survived another day in the war against evil and won a tremendous victory for the light, but they knew this to be but one battle. The war continued. They turned toward the portal Diablo had taken, and as they stepped into it one-by-one, they thought ‘The world should rejoice!’ but knew it would not be so as none but they knew of this great victory.