Part V

Days later, when the drow had temporarily sated his jones for information on this new world, he returned to his tower – where his aggravated mini-me was pacing irritably.  Ignoring his complaining, he reabsorbed and updated the copy – then resumed working on reawakening the obelisk.  Over the course of a day, he made dozens of trips back and forth to the manaplane – filling and dumping his voidcrystal fragment and his own personal manapool into the shard. That evening, something inside the crystal CHANGED and it began to emit a low hum.  Sorvani abruptly realized that he didn’t really WANT the obelisk waking up and enveloping his tower, so he rapidly carried the much heavier fragment back to its original spot and planted it in the ground.

As the gemstone settled into the soil, it came into contact with the remnants of the crystalline lattice that once carried ley lines and there was a bright explosion of light that momentarily blinded everyone in the city.  A reduced but familiar, chiming voice echoed over V’ral “Honey, I’m HOME !!  Err, wait a second….”  The crystalline dome over the city twinkled away into nothingness as vision returned to the blinded citizens of V’ral.  “Hmmm… no toto, i don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.  Still, at least there aren’t any flying…  CRAP !”

Sorvani frowned as a beam of light from the gemstone enveloped the top of his nearby tower – and large hunks of former obelisk reassembled and reformed into the smaller crystal spire before him. A quieter voice spoke directly to the drow.  “I’m SURE you were just holding those for me, weren’t you ??”
Grumbling under his breath, the powermaster nodded.  “Of course.  I suppose you realize what in the nine hells happened ?”
The crystal turned a light tinge of pink.  “Not…. really, no. My…” a beam of light bathed the entire Obelisk square for blocks around.  “…memory seems a bit fragmented at the moment.  Why don’t you fill me in while i reabsorb my lost files.”

Looking pointedly at the sky, the drow replied “Fine – as long as you keep an eye out for flying cities.”
“Oh, i’m tracking 173 different moving targets right now.  The closest one is 326 miles north-northeast of our location and approaching at 15 knots.  It is a small cluster of towers, traveling under cloaking magic and will arrive in our vicinity sometimetomorrow.  The power signature and visible armament indicates that it’s likely a covert observation vessel.”  A glitchy illusion of the approaching citadel appeared between Sorvani and the Obelisk.  It flickered and suddenly all of the streetlights in the city ignited – followed moments later by a loud cheer from the citizenry.

A large dimension door opened nearby and Brok stepped through. “Well well well – welcome back shiny !  Nice job, turd – knew we kept you around for a reason.”
Sniffing disdainfully, the drow didn’t bother replying to the backhanded compliment.  The battleogre stomped over to stare over Sorvani’s head at the image.  Noting the distance decreasing, he growled “Looks like a fun t’ing ta smash !”

Rubbing his hairless chin, the drow advised “No, i don’t think so. They attacked us once and we withstood it without responding.  I think we’ll wait before picking a fight – or starting a war with an unknown foe.  Obelisk, i want you to cloak yourself from their observations – and monitor them to make sure they don’t try to kidnap any of our people to extract information.  If they TRY, go ahead and send out the ogres – something tells me they won’t enjoy that company any more than we do.”

Like most warriors, Brok’s hearing stopped after ‘send out the ogres’ as he was hooting and dancing merrily about – eagerly anticipating a fight.  As he excitedly ran back to the brewery, Sorvani caught the obelisk up on everything he’d discovered – knowing full well the crystalline entity could easily manage dozens of things at a time.  As it defragmented its matrix and rebuilt the elaborate internal lattice that made up its form, odd things began to occur all across the city.  Illusions would suddenly waver into being – here a well, there a wall and then slowly solidify as the obelisk shifted things around to reestablish vital services.  Deep below the town, tendrils of magic inched out into the native stone of the planet – first locating sources of water, then shifting aboveground architecture to match its new location.  True, some folks would now be more inconvenienced than before – but everyone was too happy to have access to fresh water again to complain (at the moment).

Locating several nearby, underground caverns of sufficient size – the obelisk sealed them off and began laying wards down, teleporting an entire clan of kobolds to a faraway cavern as they slept.  When he’d finished, the crystal reconnected the city sewers to those he’d earmarked for just that use – turning others into water reservoirs by opening tiny, permanent gates to the elemental planes before attaching them to the remaining dry wells.  Similar, though temporary elemental gates he used to flush out the overfull sewers – venting the contents into the depths of the plane of fire.  Gusting winds blew across the city – and within moments the city of V’ral was a much nicer and fresher place to call home.  All of this happened while Sorvani finished his monologue to the obelisk.

“…and thats when you woke up.”
Nedok came trotting up excitedly.  “Is it true ?  You’ve brought the obelisk back to life ?”
Annoyed, the crystal manifested an illusory crystal golem, who crossed his arms and growled “NOOO – he fed me enough mana and i woke back up.  As powerful as our little drow powermaster is, i don’t think he’s quite up to resurrecting semidivine beings just yet.  Daren only managed to pull off divinity resurrection with the unwitting help of the Forsaken – and luckily she wasn’t around to see it.”  Holding up a finger, it bellowed “AYLA !!” – then looked around expectantly, as Nedok and Sorvani nervously did likewise. When nothing explosive or painful happened, it muttered “Huh – guess that settles it… we really are in a different multiverse.”

Several worried townsfolk nearby hurried away, not wanting to encounter the bloodsoaked madwoman who brought nightmares to even the gods.
“Have you… heard anything from Torm, great obelisk ?” Nedok asked quietly.
The partially-transparent golem glanced sideways and up.  “None of the gods you’re familiar with have ever manifested here, priest of Torm.  The closest deity of similar kind is Bel’Canath Whitespear – who appropriately wields a spear called Lie-killer.  His constellation is there,” it responded – drawing an outline in the sky, which looked like a hand holding a spear.

The wemic paled.  “Are… you saying we have to change gods ?”
Sorvani sighed.  “No – he’s just giving you relevant information. He doesn’t care what you do, or which god you follow.”
Nedok looked like he was about to cry – then shifted to his deathkitty form to prevent that embarrassment.  “So you’re saying… that even as powerful as you are, there’s no way to reach Torm from here ?”

Frowning, the golem held out a hand – and an image of a flying mountain impaled by a slender cobalt crystal shaft appeared.  “No – i’m saying that as far as i know, my brother the Mobilisk was the only one of us who could traverse multiverses.  I can bore you with a thousand years of math, if you’d like – it has something to do with tapping the potential of black holes at the heart of stars.  HE was strong enough to survive such a journey.  I am not.  That being said, he was also able to open a temporary gateway back home through burning the potential of magical microsingularities – and given enough time, i too may figure out how.  Until then, i see no avenue for you to reach your god at this juncture.”

Taken aback, Nedok looked at Brok – who was obliviously picking his nose.  Turning to Sorvani, the wemic deathknight asked “Any of that make sense to you ?”
The drow had a pained expression and was rubbing his head.  “Owwww. Dammit, i need to wish my intelligence up some more.  You’re talking about Spheres of Annihilation, aren’t you ?”  Getting a nod from the golem, he kicked a clump of dirt on the ground.  “Fuck me !  How many are we talking ?”

It considered the question.  “Probably a dozen to start with.  Might need more as time goes by.  Oh, and i’ll need more gems.  A LOT more gems.”
Sorvani scowled.  “You ALWAYS need more gems !”
“Well if you have any rings of compacted spherecrystal laying around, you just gimme that instead !  Hey – i just thought of something.”  The drow waited, finally waving his hands in a come on motion.  “You’re probably the only powermaster here right now.  And this is a different ‘verse – which means… all of the tricks and zoomies that Daren got away with, then got punched in the dick for… should work again, since this clockmaker (or overgod if you prefer) doesn’t know about them yet.  Think maybe you should make a point to introduce yourself to the gods of magic before pissing in their cheerios ?”

Holding up a finger, the drow said “Aack…” and realized the crystal had a point – a good one.  He was used to quietly living in the shadow of Daren and all the craziness he’d pulled over the decades – here, he was the first powermaster.  One without a pet magnesti, divine brother-in-law and friendly avatar of Death to keep him from getting obliterated by an angry goddess of magic. “Crap…” he hissed worriedly.

“What’s a cheerio ?” Nedok asked.
Brok winked at the obelisk.  “Itty bitty crunchy donut humans eat in a bowl of milk.  For breakfast.”
The wemic thought about that, then waved it away.  “So we need a dozen spheres of annihilation.  Okay – we can send Erok and the Legion out to find them.”
The ogre shook his head.  “Nope nope nope.  He ain’t here – dat was me pretendin’ ta be him.  Keep folks calm.”

Refusing to give up on his plan, the high priest of Torm insisted “So YOU can go find them.”
“Won’t work, hairball.  Gotta be a powerful wizard ‘ta control it – udderwise it goes crazy and tries ‘ta eat you and anyone else it gets close ‘ta.”
Looking at the powermaster for confirmation, he saw Sorvani nod. “Essentially correct.  If the legion were here, then yes – we could send them out and Sazerac would be able to command one.  ONE, Nedok – only one at a time, and that’s the trick.  Control must be maintained at all times.  You can’t sleep – it’ll eat you.  It’s immune to magic, so you can’t bring it back without hoofing it the whole way.  Gathering a dozen would be a chore of years in the doing – which isn’t to say we won’t attempt it, but right now our hands are a little tied.  I can’t believe i’m saying this – but i really wish Erok and his legion were here to help.”

The three powerful beings stared at the obelisk’s avatar – who looked bored.  Finally, Nedok asked “So what do YOU think i should do, Sorvani ?  This problem is facing all of the priests in town.”
Rubbing his face, the drow replied “This needs to be decided by someone with a greater knowledge of the gods than i.  Hang tight for a few days, Nedok – now that i’ve got the weight of the city defenses off my back and the obelisk awake, i can focus on trying to help Varalla.  We’ll let HER decide how to handle this divine dilemma !”

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