Matt Mann as Laurence Van Drake
Paul Vilbig as Shaden “Leech” Liixe
Derek Romano as Cade “Blindsight” Haarkoth
Greg Mann as Crodonvos
Michael Graziano as Daegys Sahii
Christine Scott as T’Saira Behntrilo
Even after the first quiet night’s rest we got since taking our leave of the Iron Fist mercenaries, I was unable to contain my excitement. Regult Martok, the hero of the Legend of the Night Sword, the ancestor of the current God of Justice, was not only real, but still alive, well, and within the same building as me. Last night, he made us dinner. Regult Martok is a good cook! The legends never mentioned anything about his culinary prowess. However, from his reaction to hearing of his status as a legendary hero in Materia, I could tell that there was something about such accolades that made the man uncomfortable. I thought perhaps it was a true hero’s humility, but every time I tried to reach out to him, he quickly and decisively denied that he was ever really a hero.
As we prepared to make our descent, we heard a disturbance outside the tower, in the ruins of the village where “Ichi” (whose name we recently discovered to be Daegys) grew up. It was Tagar, who was furious that because of his size, he would be unable to descend through the tower and into the underground passages that lead to the River Styx. It was decided that he and Cackle would make the journey overland. Laurence thought that since they would number only two, rather than our usual eight, they would stand a greater chance of getting to Glyph while avoiding capture by the Hunters.
- Colin Martok, the vampiric grandson of Regult, expressed a desire to come with us. However, Regult insisted that the journey would be too dangerous, and he would prefer that Colin remain in the tower, where it was relatively safe. Regult began to shuffle around his home and search for whatever remained of his old armor and weapons. Unfortunately, due to his advanced age and weakened muscle mass, he was unable to wield anything more potent than his saucier, a thick, cast-iron frying pan. Laurence asked him once again if he was certain this journey was one he needed to make, but he insisted, saying that he may be able to find help for Colin, and for his demonically possessed left arm, in Glyph, and it was about time he did something with himself.
- Leaving Colin behind, we set off down the spiral stairs in the center of the tower. Unlike the main section of the tower, which was built in a ring-like structure around a central pillar, the stairs were within the pillar and, thus, were not tilted or unsafe to travel on. We descended for nearly an hour, the light of the surface world fading from above us, and another, cool blue glow creeping in from the landing at the end of the spiral stairs. Upon arrival, Cade decided to use his natural ability to manipulate sources of light, drawing the blue glow from the nearby chamber toward him to light the way for the party. I thought it was a nice gesture, but a rather unwise one, it turned out, as a massive number of Hook Horrors began to creep toward us, clacking and clattering as they came, drawn toward the dull blue glow.
- Thinking quickly, T’Saira tackled Cade to the ground, causing him to lose control of the light. As it returned to its source, the Hook Horrors began to move back into the chamber ahead. After admonishing Cade for drawing attention to us and causing a potentially lethal situation, Laurence began to slowly, carefully lead us into the chamber, where we were surprised to find that the Hook Horrors were largely ignoring our presences.
- The chamber was truly one of the largest underground areas I had seen since my time in the Drao city of Anzarach during Fa’Sado’s War. The room was a near perfect dome-shape with a massive round-rimmed reflective pool taking up much of the center of the chamber. Relief sculptures lined the outer walls of this chamber, and a strange text that resembled ancient Elven, but escaped our translation, dotted the area. The Hook Horrors were industrious and focused, moving into the crystal-clear waters in the reflective pool. As we drew closer, Cylia remarked that the Slivers were getting restless, and that this place was full of life. Acting on her word, Daegys approached the pool and reached in with his left arm, where the slivered soul of his little sister wrapped tightly around his forearm.
- I had meant to ask Cylia to explain to me in further detail how it was possible for a shattered fragment of one’s soul to survive and inhabit a hand-made body of her own making. However, now was hardly the time for that discussion. Daegys’s arm let off a faint white light, and the whole of the chamber grew brighter incrementally. Suddenly, wispy strands of energy, slivers without a physical host object to inhabit and control, came up from the bottom of the pool, encircling and communicating with the sliver of Daegys’s long lost little sister.
- Somehow, Daegys knew what he had to do. He leaned back and told us to trust him, then he dove into the pool. When he resurfaced, he described the entire pool as being a massive glass bowl, beneath which were thousands, perhaps millions, of glowing slivers. The Hook Horrors were working to clean thousands of years of sediment from the glass so that the slivers could be free to come and go as they pleased. As he was within the pool, he learned of an ancient and powerful intelligence, a guardian whose sole responsibility was to protect and preserve these souls. Cylia touched the water and said that she believed these souls were not slivered, but whole, when this place was erected to house them. Laurence reached into the water as well, and he understood what this place was.
- Calling this place the Well of the Slivered Souls, Laurence described a scenario in which native inhabitants of Infernia had to contend with the souls of their departed prior to the arrival of Asmous the Foul a half-million years ago, which for Infernia would have been about 20,000 years or so. They erected repositories, like wells, and created guardians like this presence to protect and preserve the souls stored within this makeshift heaven they constructed. Cylia concurred with Laurence’s theory, but said that she believed this place was built far earlier than even Laurence would dare to believe. Cylia believed the Well of the Slivered Souls was a relic from the World Before.
- Regardless, Laurence felt it necessary to pay his respects to the souls and their guardian in the well. The waters of the pool seemed to move up to stay in contact with Cylia’s hand as she pulled herself away. We spent a few hours aiding the Hook Horrors in their tasks, and then Cylia asked the presence in the pool if he could guide us to the River Styx. One of the Hook Horrors left his duties behind and began to lead us toward a corridor on the far side of the chamber. The corridor was comprised of wide, carved arches with relief sculptured depicting ancient heroes from the World Before. A common theme within these sculptures seemed to be the presence of a mirror, one being held by at least one person in each scene depicted by the sculptures.
- The Hook Horror led us through the wide, high-roofed corridor for nearly an hour when it suddenly, erratically changed course and began to shamble as quickly as it could back toward the Well of the Slivered Souls. We heard a noise like that of a battle in that direction, and we ran back to see what was going on. Unfortunately, the Hunters seemed to have caught up with us and made their way down through the tower after us. Unlike us, the Hunters had no interest in allowing the Hook Horrors to continue in their tasks unabated, and as if sensing their evil intentions, the intelligent presence within the pool ordered the Hook Horrors to attack in its defense.
- Overwhelmed, the Hunters retreated back up through the stairs, giving up the chase and assuming that by now, the Hook Horros must have killed us all. They then set the tower and stairwell ablaze, leaving us no way to go by forward. Regult lurched toward the stairs, screaming out for Colin, who was surely dead if the Hunters found him in the tower. Cade attempted to get Regult to give up, as the stairs were impassible, but Regult was infuriated by the young man’s lack of respect for a grandfather’s desire to save his grandson. As Cade actually asked Regult “what’s an old man like you gonna do anyway,” Regult answered Cade’s insult by smashing his saucier as hard as he could against the back of the blind sniper’s head.
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Chapter 1: The Dreamers in… Hellbound
Chapter 2: The Dreamers in… Life In The Cauldron
Chapter 3: The Dreamers in… The Waking Nightmare
Chapter 4: The Dreamers
Chapter 5: The Dreamers in… Escaping The Cauldron
Chapter 6: The Dreamers in… Wrath of the Beholder
Chapter 7: The Dreamers in… Hounds of Hell
Chapter 8: The Dreamers in… Hideous Laughter
Chapter 9: The Dreamers in… The Tomb of Caenus Graymane
Chapter 10: The Dreamers in… Allure of the Wispwaters
Chapter 11: The Dreamers in… Goodbye, Impy
Chapter 12: The Dreamers in… Sole Survivor
Chapter 13: The Dreamers in… The Iron Fist
Chapter 14: The Dreamers in… Battle at the Ancient Wall
Chapter 15: The Dreamers in… The Long, Hard Road
Chapter 16: The Dreamers in… Hunted
Chapter 17: The Dreamers in… On Fields of Ancient Dead
Chapter 18: The Dreamers in… The Woods of Woe
Chapter 19: The Dreamers in… Divine Intervention
Chapter 20: The Dreamers in… The Standing Stones
Chapter 21: The Dreamers in… Cherished Memories
Chapter 22: The Dreamers in… Hero of the Night Sword
Chapter 23: The Dreamers in… Well of Slivered Souls
Chapter 24: The Dreamers in… Dreams of a Lost World
Chapter 25: The Dreamers in… What Might Have Been (Part 1 of 2)
Chapter 26: The Dreamers in… What Might Have Been (Part 2 of 2)
Chapter 27: The Dreamers in… Shimekiri Sankatte (Part 1 of 2)
Chapter 28: The Dreamers in… Shimekiri Sankatte (Part 2 of 2)
Chapter 29: The Dreamers in… A Long Black Day
Chapter 30: The Dreamers in… No Justice In Hell
Chapter 31: The Dreamers in… The Soothsayer’s Tower