The story so far…
Aki and Plizkin have since found the Codex of Ancients and left it buried in the rubble of the city of Lathaigh. Wandering the islands of Teigh Suil, on the search for more proof/an acceptable bounty for Plizkin’s head, they come across a strange settlement, an encampment nestled among some towering Magic Vexes, the tents blazing with odd, floating lights. In need of some food, and also because a place like this looks like it might just hold a nice treasure or two…
The strange encampment was perfectly still. Peering in at it from within the cover of the encroaching forest, Aki scanned the ornately decorated pavilions for any sign of life. Curious, expensive-looking crystals, help up in shining metal braziers gave off a clear bluish light that even to his generally-poor eyesight made it easy to see everything in the clearing, yet Aki could see no sign of any movement anywhere.
The coast was clear. Surely somewhere in all this finery there was some treasure or other worth looking at. Leaving his bag of belongings behind, he slowly, carefully he crept out from the forest, taking every pain to not even move a leaf. His large, broad bare feet sank a little into soft, springy grass. Silently he moved toward the nearest tent. Creeping around the edge of the tent, he peered in to the centre of the encampment.
Odd… there were no footprints at all between the pavilions. The camp must be very recent, Aki supposed. Putting mere silence to shame, he crept around toward the front door of the nearby tent.
As he reached out and pulled back the loosened door-flap of the pavilion, a shock went through his little frame, and a deep thrumming sound reverberated in his head. Suddenly he felt he could not move or speak, or even blink his eyes. As soon as he realised he could not blink, his eyes began to itch and burn infuriatingly.
Suddenly, his body was lifted off the ground a little, and he was slowly turned and floated out into the centre of the encampment. A huge, white, almost ethereal and formless presence loomed in the midst of the camp. Without any visible sort of eyes, it managed to convey a deep glare at Aki restrained form. A voice, whether out load or just in his head Aki couldn’t tell, boomed:
YOU HAVE WANDERED INTO MY TRAP, TINY CREATURE. YOU MUST PAY FOR YOUR AVARICE.
Aki suddenly felt he could speak. Still he could not blink, his eyes burned, and tears began to well, blurring his vision.
“I… who are you? I was just lost, and just was looking for some directions to the nearest town!” Aki lied.
LIES. I SEE INTO YOUR PUNY MIND. YOU ENTERED THIS CAMP TO TAKE FROM ME. YOU WILL PAY.
Aki took a new tack. “Ok, so maybe I was in the camp to grab something. Just food, though. I’m hungry – you wouldn’t get angry at me for just trying to eat, would-“ The being cut Aki off.
MORE LIES. YOUR POSSESSIONS AND FOOD ARE IN THE FOREST. Suddenly, the bag materialised next to Aki. LIE AGAIN AT YOUR PERIL, CREATURE.
Clearly, he was bested, Aki felt. “Ok so, you’ve got me. What do you want?’
YOU WILL ENTERTAIN ME OR YOU WILL DIE.
Aki took this in his stride. “Pretty simple choice, then. What do you want? A song? Some jokes? I can do impersonations of our clan elder, I mean you don’t know him – well, maybe you do, he’s pretty old, but I assure-“
SILENCE, FOOL. YOU WILL ENTERTAIN ME WITH YOUR DEATH.
Aki would have raised an eyebrow, if all but his mouth wasn’t frozen. His eyes were unbearable now. “Wait, hold on. Actually – first: LET ME BLINK!” Suddenly, he felt his face become moveable again, and he shut his eyes – sweet relief! “Argh, oh, ancestors, that is good…” He would have cried it felt so god to close his eyes, if he wasn’t already. “So, big spirit person, is that I have to entertain you or you will kill me, but your entertainment will be me dying?”
YOU WILL FIGHT. I WILL WATCH. YOU WILL LIKELY FAIL BUT IF YOU DO NOT YOU WILL BE FREE.
Aki opened his eyes and began to respond, but suddenly, a great flash of white, searing light burned his already tender eyes, and the same deep thrumming sound boomed inside his head. When he could see again, it looked like he was inside one of the pavilions – except it looked much larger on the inside.
Suddenly he was dropped, and hit the ground rather heavily. As he rolled on the ground in pain, pins and needles blazing through his legs, he briefly realised how pleasant the sensation of floating was.
To one side, a bright light flashed, and a sound like a fierce roaring wind erupted. A strange ellipsis of light had appeared, floating just off the ground, with ragged edges that licked and waved like flames. As he looked closer, he could see a rolling hill of yellowing grass in the middle of the vision. A tiny figure seemed to be standing on the grassy hill, too small to make out. The voice boomed once again:
ENTER THE PORTAL NOW.
Aki didn’t know where to look as he tried to answer. “What? Wait, look, that looks dangero-“ suddenly he was lifted again and quickly moved toward the portal. With a faint whoosh, he was thrown into the ellipsis, and send flying out to land on the grassy hill he saw inside it. The voice boomed again.
NOW YOU WILL FIGHT. USE THE PUNY MAGICS YOU KNOW AND IF YOU SURVIVE, I WILL TEACH YOU MORE. IF YOU LOSE, YOU WILL JOIN MY ESSENCE FOR ALL TIME. GO.
Aki began to respond but thought better of it. “Pretty clear, I guess. Nothing else for it – let’s do it.”