Part III

When the drow awoke, hours later, three strange moons stared down at him from the darkened heavens overhead. “Eh ?? Solanari ? Lunatari ? No, can’t be – the dark moon of Krynn is only visible to evil wizards. I’m not that far gone yet – b’sides, i think that ruddy ogre runt would’ve chased me all over V’ral if i was dark enough to see Nuitari. Oh, and the gods might’ve had a wee issue of me and V being more powerful casters then they allowed. Surprised Raistlin didn’t just get blasted to the realms…”

Yawning and muttering, he got to his feet and checked his power levels – which were still abysmally low. Grumbling darkly about low-magic worlds and ineffective deities of magic, the drow meditated and considered his options. Right now, getting the shield operational was his highest priority. A distant cheer from across town made him turn and notice that the area around the Drunken Ogre tavern was brightly lit up – which was noticable as the rest of the city was largely dark. Frowning down at the unlit street lights, Sorvani grumbled “Sometimes i forget just how convenient it was to have an obelisk to control and handle little things – like powering streetlights !”

Shifting his eyeballs to an eagles, he saw what looked like a big party going on outside the tavern. The medical tents, originally set up around the temples had been moved there – and the familiar flashes of ohm gems twinkled from within. A figure robed in white caught his eye, and in a blink he was airborne – zipping quickly toward the tent. A boisterous song started up over by the party, accompanied by bass thumping as dwarves stomped their booted feet in unison. People began dancing about, and for a moment Sorvani’s memory of the big ascension party flooded back.
Landing with a thud outside the tent, he strode purposefully to where Varalla swayed drunkenly – frowning up at a battleogre, as she sipped at a sparkling mug of what could only be Manawine. “Pull his leg straight – not too hard, you behemoth ! Healing broken bones is a lot easier than regenerating a torn-off leg ! And don’t twist !” Reaching out, he grabbed her shoulder – then blinked when she turned about. A nervous young man gazed timidly at him, while around him a ghostly apparition of Varalla shimmered in the powermaster’s spell-enhanced sight. “What in blazes is going on ?”

A big, meaty hand engulfed the drow’s entire arm and dangled him before the ugly ogre mug. “You is supposed to go see Erok – by ‘da tavern. Now go ‘way and let him…. er, her do her job !” Sorvani briefly considered setting the brute on fire for his insolence, then sighed and shook his head. Consoling himself with dark thoughts of baleful polymorphs and rabbit stew, he stomped off towards the front of the tavern – not stopping for Nedok, who was calling his name and whining about the ogres not giving his church a fair amount of healing gems. At the front of the crowd, an illusionary Erok was passing out free mugs of Bug Lite and Bloodweiser Red. “Hey ‘dere turd ! Want some brewsky ? Put hair on your chest !”

Rubbing his face, the powermaster glared at Brok – the younger, larger brother of the Fallen Legion’s leader. “Why ? Just… why ?”
The ogre waved his arms. “Rather have a riot ? Buncha people in a group gonna get on each others nerves – better ‘ta have a party than a brawl.” Sticking out his big bottom lip, he added “At ‘da moment, anyway.”

Sorvani considered that, looking around. The drow was a far cry from being an inspirational motivator – and he had to admit, the giant had a point. It irritated him when an ogre – who could usually be trusted to do the dumbest thing possible, suddenly shifted gears and managed to pull off something akin to wisdom. He didn’t like things messing with his reality. Pointy at a dusty bottle on a shelf behind the ogre, he snapped “I’m going to need to commandeer all of your manawine.”

Resounding laughter met his demand. “Yeaaahhh – i don’t t’ink so. But i can spare you 2 bottles an’ a clean glass,” he offered – sitting down a glass he’d just finished spit shining. Sorvani’s sour expression of disdain spoke volumes without a word as he stared at the glass. “This isn’t up for negotiation, ogre – i’m trying to rebuild the obelisk and get our shield back up !”

Mirth disappeared from the giant’s face, and he leaned down to get nose-to-nose with the drow. Foul breath made “You have your mission an’ i have mine. Right now, it’s helping ‘da citizens of V’ral by funnelling manawine into ‘da healers – so ‘dey can use MY regennable gems ‘ta get everybody back on ‘dere feet. When ‘dat is DONE, i’ll consider allocating more to you – but right now, you get 2 bottles an’ a glass or a big foot in ‘da ass. Pick one.”

Fuming, the powermaster pointed at the brewery. “I can just TAKE it by force !”
The enormous ogre snorted. “Yuh-huh… i’ll just remind you ‘dat Reorx and Damien have only found ONE of my brudder’s hidden storerooms. And they’re GODS !”

Reaching out a tendril of psionic energy, Sorvani snatched the bottle of Manawine and downed it entirely – feeling his power pool fill over halfway up. “True – but they’re not particularly intelligent ones. MEGACHARM !” he hissed – releasing a concentrated blast of magic at the ogre, who vibrated from the impact. “Now get …” he began, when some kind of discharge from within the ogre’s belly went off – making orangish light erupt from his orifices. The giant suddenly went slackjawed and unresponsive – standing there but drooling.

“SON of a BITCH !!” the drow screeched angrily. Sending out another tendril – telepathic, this time – he scanned the ogre’s mind and found a completely blank slate. Cursing up a blue streak, Sorvani kicked the side of the bar and bruised his foot. Pointing a finger at the giant, he triggered one of the powermaster’s hidden abilities – momentarily rolling back time.

Unkicking the bar, he unbruised his foot – then withdrew a telepathic tendril from the ogre’s mind after uncussing down a blue streak. Orange light flew back into the ogre’s orifices, as he uncast the megacharm spell. Uninsulting the dwarven forge-gods, he undrank the bottle of manawine – and appeared to throw it back on the shelf behind the bar.

The enormous ogre snorted. “Yuh-huh… i’ll just remind you ‘dat Reorx and Damien have only found ONE of my brudder’s hidden storerooms. And they’re GODS !”
As the unplayed out timeline flitted across Sorvani’s eyes, he sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “All right – damn you and that fucking beholder, Erok. Can i pretty please have 4 bottles ?”
Erok appeared momentarily stunned by his politeness. “D’uhhh – okay, sure. You feelin a’ight ?”

Nodding wearily, the drow accepted 4 sparkling bottles of manawine and returned to his tower. Landing by the shard, he toasted the remnant of the obelisk and chugged two bottles – which filled his manapool nicely. “Ahhhh… you know, as much as i hate that fucking oaf most days – Erok does possess a fair ability to make decent wine. No, hate isn’t right. Eminently dislike. Yes, yes – that fits better.”

Surveying the obelisk fragment, Sorvani looked out at where the dome of the shield usually sat when it was active. “Hmmmm. I wonder….” Placing his hands once again on the shard, he probes it – looking for trace information or data about the shield. A few hours later, he found a complex and utterly confounding magical construct that, to his eyes, appeared to be three parts magical, two parts mechanical and one part electrical in design. Applying some mana to it revealed it was exactly what he sought – a sort of master framework for the shield design.

“Might not be able to provide mechanical power, but i can do electrical and magical !” he crowed happily. Retrieving an ancient blue dragon wand from his collection of minor artifacts, the powermaster linked to it and resumed interfacing to the obelisk shard. Summoning forth the stored electricity of the wand, he unleashed a torrent of both energies into the construct – and passed out as the complicated structure seemed to FLEX and drain both him and the wand utterly dry.

****

Days later, Sorvani was awoken by someone burying an axe in his skull with a tremendous CRACK ! Shrieking, he flung himself up and off the slumbering crystal – wheeling backwards into a telescope and sending it hurtling over the protective railing to crash into the street below. Fighting to focus his eyes, he grabbed at his head and found no wound there – but between the fingers blocking much of his vision, the unmistakable blue crystal dome of the city’s shield peeked in at him. “Whadafuq ? Oh, hey ! It worked !”

Suddenly, the pale blue dome went brilliantly white and a VERY loud hum reverberated inside the city as something OUTSIDE unleashed an attack on the protective barricade – which was still holding, at the moment. “FUCK !!” the drow bellowed at nobody in particular. Talking aloud “If it was awake, the obelisk would just drain the attack and use it as fuel. I have do something…”

Thinking about his almost nonexistant mana pool, the powermaster looked down, snatched up and downed the third bottle of manawine – now unpleasantly warm instead of deliciously cool. As he’s reaching for the fourth, a thought strikes him – and the drow grins like a cheshire cat. “Fucking right !” Snatching up his voidcrystal fragment, Sorvani tries to teleport to the dome – then aborts when it starts to go awry. Realizing that it has something to do with using the astral plane but no time to consider exactly WHAT, the drow tosses caution to the wind and magnifies FLY – reaching the dome in only seconds, stopping only when he slams painfully into it like a bug on a windshield.

Not bothering to peel himself off, he interfaces to the dome and sees what’s attacking – a flying citadel held aloft in the clouds. As he wonders who or what is piloting it, an immense beam of sizzling green energy erupts from the citadel’s underside – lancing toward the dome below. Screaming not unlike a Hosenfeffer, the drow manages to uplink himself to the voidcrystal – and this time, when the beam hits the dome, there’s barely a hum in the protected city beneath. In his hand, Sorvani feels the little voidcrystal fragment get noticably warmer – though a cursory glance shows it’s still the deepest black and not an alarming white.

“That’s right, fuckers – you keep shooting and I’ll keep drinking ! Daddy’s little obelisk is one thirsty baby !”

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