Music... The lyre played so masterfully is it beyond the skill any mortal dare dream of greets the angelic ear. There is a smile as eyes open. There is genuine pride in your chest as you recognize not only what is being played, but who is doing the playing; your Lord, your God, the God of Light, Art, Music, Knowledge, and Healing: Apollo.
You stand from where you once sat in quiet meditation. You walk among the marble columns and reach out to touch them, feeling their smoothness and yet their strength. You pass olive and fig trees, smelling the scents of their foliage and fruit. This is Mount Olympus, in all its grandeur and majesty. You can see others around you enjoying the wine of Dionysus. You chuckle a bit to yourself, you know that too much of that wine always leads to interesting results. There are the sounds of laughter and revelry all around, yet the closer you get to the music, the less you hear of anything else. A crowd gathers around Apollo as he plays his golden lyre. He is handsome beyond measure, beardless, with an athletic build covered only by a fine toga. Much like the throng that has gathered around him, you could easily be enthralled by his music for as long as he continued to play... but you have other business today.
You take wing, flying up into the air, the sensation of flight still exhilarating after all the millennia that have passed since your Ascension. The wind in your face, on your skin, fluttering through your feathers, still a wonder. Perhaps it is due to the faintest memory you have, that of being mortal once, long long ago. In that faint memory, you remember what it was like to be chained to the ground, wingless, unable to know the thrill of flight.
You are an Astral Deva, and one of your tasks is to keep watch over and even protect Planewalking mortals. This is your mission today. Olympus is in Arborea, and as you leave that majestic mountain, you can see the endless, vibrant forests, gently rolling hills, meadows, vineyards, fruit orchards, and fields of oats, barley, wheat, and millet. Arborea is a plane of overwhelming beauty, a seemingly paradoxical combination of the lovely and peaceful, and yet the passionate and wild. It has three layers: Olympus, or Arvandor as the Elves would call it, Ossa, or Aquillor as the elven name, and Pellion, or Mithardir to the elves. You smile, for while they all possess their own beauty, none match Olympus in your mind, but you are admittedly biased.
Your wings carry you across the first layer, you see Fey and Eladrin, wild beasts and domestic, Angels and mortals that have managed to planeswalk to this place. You know that Arborea poses a danger for mortals, for the longer that they linger here, the less likely they will be to leave. Your eye catches a group of mortals seeming to be in debate with one another if body language is any indication. As you fly closer, and finally land, you can hear confirmation of your suspicions. It seems the wizard of the group is trying to impart to the others the importance of leaving. You smile and begin to approach, intent upon supporting the wizard's claim, yet something is not right. The wizard begins to open the portal, the others reluctantly seeming to agree to leave. You slow your approach, your support does not appear needed, and yet... The wizard casts a glance directly at you, and for a second you can see through the glamor that surrounds him. He is not a mortal wizard at all, but a Fiend, leading planeswalkers astray. He laughs at you as you bolt forward and he steps through the portal.
The portal is already beginning to close. You manage to dive through it at the last possible moment, rather fortunate it didn't clip off a leg. You tumble into a roll, drawing your sword as you come up to your feet. Righteous wrath burns in your body as you take in the scene before you. You feel the unholy heat of the fires that blaze nearby. You smell the stench of blood and sulfur. You hear the endless sound of battle nearby, the screams of pain, the clash of weapons. You look about quickly and recognize where you stand; the Lake of Fire. The demon before you has shed the guise of the wizard. Now before you stands a glabrezu, twelve feet tall with a broad and muscular body. It possesses four arms, the larger pair ending in powerful pincers, the smaller humanoid pair ended in clawed hands and protruded from the stomach. Its skin is a dark rust color with cold purple eyes glaring, goat horns springing from an otherwise rather canine head. Tempters these demons are, for they offer the lure of power to mortals.
The mortals you came to save appear to be in shock, still trying to process what has happened to them. "Release them, Demon!" You yell at the creature, knowing it will likely change nothing. A taunting laugh is the only response before the glabrezu closes with you, your sword meeting claw in combat. Your sword bites into the demon's flesh, the demon's claws tear at yours. Not only can you smell the blood and gore, but you can -feel- the evil that radiates from every fiber of the tanar'ri. To say it is repulsive is a grand understatement. If you needed to eat, you would likely be vomiting, but righteous wrath and your purpose drive you onward as your battle to protect the wayward mortals continues.
You have begun to lose track of time. How long have you been fighting this glabrezu? You are too evenly matched, every wound that you inflict you ultimately end up taking one of your own. The mortals have had to defend themselves against some of the lesser demons that have drawn close during the battle. You think you saw at least one of the mortals fall. This is taking too long, you are failing your mission, your sacred charge. You cannot do this alone, you need help. You manage to fend off the claws of the demon just long enough to send out a call. You fight on desperately, hoping you have been heard... and you have. In a blinding display, another Astral Deva answers. A female, she wields a mighty longbow. You recognize her. She is Solindiel, another servant of Apollo that you call friend and ally. Even though your battle against the tanar'ri continues, there is a measure of relief knowing you are no longer alone.
Her arrows strike true, sinking into demonflesh as you point her towards the mortals. The throng of lesser demons threatening them is soon dispatched or retreats from the volley of death that Solindiel unleashes. The glabrezu's confidence begins to falter as he sees his immediate advantage of numbers dwindling away. That momentary lapse is the opening you need. With a swing of your sword, a claw is severed, and as the creature howls and recoils in pain, you press the advantage. You drive your blade straight and true, up through the roaring maw that is the demon's mouth and through the skull. Victory is yours, and there is that moment of elation, yet there is still work to be done.
Your angelic ally has dispatched the rest of the lesser demons in the vicinity, but this is the Lake of Fire. You will only have a moment before the endless warriors of the Abyss come to take their place. You rush to the mortals, first to the one who has fallen. Calling upon your angelic powers and the grace of Apollo, you manage to restore the dead mortal to life. The power thrums through your being as you channel it, and satisfaction begins to replace concern as the mortal has once again been granted a chance to live. You spread the Healing gifts of Apollo among the remaining mortals as Solindiel's bow grants you cover and the time you need.
In haste you ask what plane these mortals call home. It seems they have come from Toril, the continent of Faerun. You quickly open a portal to a place off the road near Waterdeep, it is the only place you know of on that Prime that you can send them with reasonable safety. You usher them through the portal, then take wing, calling to Solindiel to follow. She joins you in the sky, relief washing over you to know she and the mortals are now safe. You will return to Olympus with your ally... the wine of Dionysus seems particularly appealing after a day like today.
1 post • Page 1 of 1