Part I

The shock of their rematerialization had disastrous effects on many buildings in town as well.  When the obelisk had left Daerma, he’d extended the transport bubble both up and down several miles – mainly to ensure he didn’t truncate himself in the process.  As all that stone and soil resolidified in existing matter, it caused a tremendous earthquake which rippled across the new landscape several hundred miles.  This did NOT go unnoticed by the local natives. Many of the older structures in V’ral crumbled or partially collapsed – while the newer, dwarven made ones (built like small fortresses, as was their norm) merely developed cracks and fissures from the strain.

Chaos erupted across the city as fires spread out of control. Existing wells and water sources, now bereft of their feeds – were quickly run dry.  Mages – having found magic to be unstable but usable, took to the sky, calling down ice storms and throwing up walls to isolate and contain fires until they could be safely extinguished.  The citizens rallied to dig out wounded survivors from the rubble and ferry them to the temples.

After checking out the damage to his tower, Sorvani tried to teleport across town to the obelisk – but found planar magics to be dangerously unbalanced.  After several other attempts, he gave up and flew across town instead – crash landing in shock when he found shattered crystal fragments everywhere.  “Oh fuck – that ain’t good !”  Walking amongst the ruined crystal, his finely tuned powermaster senses couldn’t detect any life or energy in the broken pieces. Calling on his magic, he tried to splice levitation and control winds together – but the priest spell just wouldn’t WORK.  Frowning, he summoned the magical formulae out of his helm of total recall and FORCED the spell into existence – reveling in the superior control of magic only a powermaster could accomplish.

Eyes aglow with arcane radiance, he twined the two magics together – creating a sort of tornadic air conduit that vacuumed up the broken crystal fragments and funneled them back to his tower.  Psionicly splitting his mind, he let one mental thread direct the wind tunnel and crafted a squad of unseen servants with the others – putting them to work excavating the remaining shards of obelisk around the plaza.

Deep underground, near the base was a blackened and charred hunk of crystal that barely glowed in the shadowy depth – looking more like the faintly luminescent lichen in certain caves than a magical artifact.  Removing a portable mansion from his robes, the drow reached inside – only to find that it’d seemingly reverted to nonmagical cloth.  Frowning, the dusky-skinned powermaster released his active spells and refocused his mind – detaching an arm and tossing it aside as another regrew, while the original arm morphed into a miniature copy of the elf.

Laying both hands on the faintly glowing shard, Sorvani took a deep breath and opened himself to the crystal.  The shard felt like an “echo” of what the obelisk was before.  Opening the tiniest energy conduit to the shard, the elf tried to feed power into the gemstone but there seemed to be no effect.  Daring to open the conduit wider and wider, he continued pushing power at it but again there was no change.

Stepping back with a frown, the drow sent out a mass mental message to the city – calling for all available casters to come to the plaza immediately.  When nobody showed after 15 minutes of waiting, the elf snarled “If EROK called, they’d have come running !”
Rocketing into the sky, he saw that anyone who HAD power was busy with trying to save lives.  A small, annoying voice in the back of his mind smugly advised “Erok would probably be busily working harder than ten men trying to help others right now, kicking his pet beholder in the ass until he got a’healing all the town’s worst wounded.  Git.”

Glowering over his shoulder, the drow saw nothing there that could be mindspeaking to him – but he suspected that it was some convoluted and annoying prank that Arg’s brat had cooked up with that damned Sazerac.  Neither of them could keep from smirking when in his presence.

A sudden realization hit the powermaster, and he studied the cityscape below.  “The fuck ?  Where are the priests ?”
Willing himself to teleport, he winced as the unstable magic warped and let it collapse.  “Goddammit – that’s gettin old already.  Fine – we’ll hoof it !”  Briefly wishing he’d taken the time to master magnified flight – something he was convinced was possible, even if Erok’s and Arg’s multiple concussions said differently, the drow sped thru the air to the temple of Roland.  Soaring in through one of the freshly shattered windows, he was stunned to see each and every white-robed figure sprawled unconscious on the floor – watched over by one or more snarling, red-armored dwarves.

Six sharpened axes whickered through the air – tinking harmlessly off Sorvani’s stoneskin.  It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence, as the squat race held no love for elves of any stripe – and drow markedly less so.  Landing imperiously, he tugged a dusty holy symbol of Roland out from under his robes and scowled at them – getting scowled at right back.  It mattered naught to the dwarven Protectors, be they newbeards or greys – none would back down from their duty, no matter the threat or how much overmatched.

Shaking his holy symbol in their face, the drow snapped “I swear before Roland himself that i mean no harm to your charges.  If I lie, you’ll split my skull with your axes.  Now get out of my damn way !”
Begrudgingly, they gave way – growling the whole time.  As a powermaster, Sorvani was free to follow the godless path – as Daren had done, but never formally cut his ties with Roland…. mainly out of respect.  Out of everyone in the city, Varalla remained his friend – and though he and Roland hadn’t originally seen eye-to-eye back when the god was mortal, Sorvani had eventually come around enough that when the merchant ascended, he’d happily joined the priesthood.

Roland wasn’t a demanding god, as deities went – and on the occasions when he’d visited V’ral, he always greeted Sorvani as an old friend.  Friends were something in rather short supply for the dour dark elf, who wasn’t well liked – though he was, now, respected because of his magical prowess.  It was that loyalty to Roland that made Sorvani protective over Varalla’s church – and he’d vowed quietly on several occasions that no harm would befall this church while he yet drew breath.

Kneeling at the side of a high priestess he recognized but had never spoken to, he softly chanted divination spells over her prostrate form – ignoring the beady stares of her four bristling dwarven protectors.  Minutes ticked by, then the drow stood and flung his hands into the air – launching a pair of wizard eyes toward each of the other temples in town.  Finally he looked over at the lead dwarf.  “She is unharmed – merely in shock.  All transportive magics have failed – which violently wrenched each of the daughters out of their robespace.  In addition, the celestial conduits betwixt priests and gods are… likewise rent.  I suspect the spiritual damage is cumulative with their physical trauma – and that the other churches will awaken before your charges do.  The obelisk is destroyed…”

Dwarven anger gave way to worried concern, even as sinewy fingers tightened on axe hafts.

“… and i would suggest that you bring all of the daughters here, where the greybeards can guard the lot while your younger forces comb the city for survivors – Rolandite or not.”  As one grizzled dwarf opened his mouth to reply, Sorvani held up a finger.  “And I’d further remind you that any daughter outside this temple is not protected by her robes.  Which means if she’s trapped beneath rubble, she’s suffocating as we speak.  NOT TO MENTION her…. virtue is at risk.”

Every single dwarven eyeball in the room grew wide as they could get without falling out of the bearded head they adorned.  Suddenly the quiet temple was filled with the deep, baritone roars of dwarves barking out orders – cussing and howling as they swarmed almost of one mind.  Sorvani wisely lifted himself aloft out of the way, not wanting to get trampled underfoot or impaled on the spiky armor and weapons as newbeards carefully lay their charges beside others – nodding and saluting the nearby greybeards who’d stay and murder the hell out of anyone who dared stick a nose through the front door.

As waves of sturdy armored figures swarmed out of the temple, Sorvani shook his head – rolling his eyes and following the path of his earlier wizard eye towards the temple of Mystra.  As he went, the powermaster turned over the facts in his mind – trying to figure out what exactly had happened and why so many things weren’t working right.  Idly wishing for a nice, quiet out-of-time room, he arrived at the front door to Mystra’s church – where he found most of the guards ushering wounded into the church.  A handful of warriors guarded entry into the private sanctum – but recognized Sorvani and let him through without incident.

Inside, he found several dozen acolytes taking care of their unconscious betters – the sixty-odd clergy having been in mid-prayer when the event occurred.  Facing the eldest of them, the elf pursed his lips.  “Do you know what I am – and what I can do ?”
The young man blinked a few times.  “You are the same manner of being as Daren, the accursed one.”

Sorvani sighed.  “More or less.  However, to my knowledge I have never tried nor succeeded in burning away Mystra’s weave.  To the contrary – my people revere magic, it’s in our clothes and in our blood.  The great obelisk in town has been shattered – and if I am to mend it, I will need copious amounts of spell energy.  The same sort of energy which now lies dormant within your fallen fellows here.  I mean to drain it from them – without harming the host, I give you my word.  I tell you now, I WILL accomplish this – whether you like it or not.  So take up arms if you mean to stop me – I shall freeze you all in time.  But I will have this energy for the good of the city – so it’s your move.”

The man frowned and studied the floor – then looked up at a few of the others who were arguing angrily.  “Don’t be stupid – it’s not an idle threat.  The only things who could stop him are Duchess Varalla, the Fallen Legion or the Obelisk – and I don’t think we’d be much use against them either.  You don’t have to LIKE it, Harad – but as senior acolyte, you’ll do what I say !” he barked at a muscular youth who twinkled with tiny wisps of unspent magic in Sorvani’s eyes.  Cantrips, nothing more.  “Everybody stand back and let the accursed powermaster do his thing.  The church elders will mete out his justice when they awaken.”

Supressing a smirk, Sorvani walked among the clerics – drawing out everything except their last twinkle of spell energy, which he left on purpose.  Like seeds, magic regrew faster from a remnant rather than a dry and empty flowerbed – and as the body nourished magic, so too did magic nourish the body.  Fairly glowing with energy, he nodded and left the building – pausing only to summon the formulae and trigger a single magnified Mass Heal on the gathered mass of wounded, which cost him more energy than he liked to admit.  Flying back to his tower, the drow dug around in his drawers and cabinets until he found a small sliver of Voidcrystal he’d painstakingly wheedled out of the triplets – then promptly forgot to fill and shortly thereafter, misplaced.

Channeling his excess energy into the fragment, the drow flew over to the church of Torm – where he was shocked to see Nedok binding cuts and tending to the wounded.  Landing across from him, Sorvani quirked an eyebrow.  “How the hell ?”
Glancing up at the drow, the massive wemic pointed to their marshaling grounds – where his fallen clergy were piled under sparse guard.  “Was gearing up for battle when the Obelisk chimed what was outside the shield.  Any idea why Torm isn’t taking my calls ?”

Adding two and two together, Sorvani muttered “Ah – in deathkitty mode, huh ?”
“Yep.  Got a royal bastard of a headache when things went….sideways, and now my spells don’t work – dammit.  Guessing whatever it did, the enemy couldn’t keep up with the obelisk ?”
Grinding his teeth, the drow said “Thankfully no, but the obelisk was destroyed.”

The wemic dropped his tools.  “Wha…what ?  Great Torm !  Tell me you’re joking !”  When the elf shook his head, Nedok swatted the rolls of cotton gauze back up to his hands.  “Don’t they usually… explode ?  Like in a big spellfirey bang, ala Ethos ?”
Nodding sagely, the powermaster admitted “Generally, yeah.  It did explode, but from the pieces though, it looks like it was drained away to nothing first. That is why I’m here, actually – the mages are going around, putting out fires.  I’m draining the manapools of the unconscious priests to try and help the tiny shard of obelisk that’s still holding magic.”

Nedok’s big furry eyebrows came down.  “What if they wake up ?  How are they supposed to heal anyone if you’ve drained their magic ?”
In a patient tone, Sorvani asked “Can YOU use your magic to heal people right now ?”
The wemic blushed.  “Well…. now that you mention it…. no.  But it just doesn’t seem right to take their magic !”
Sighing, the drow rubbed his face – something that happened a lot when dealing with the argumentative head priest of Torm.  “As I’ve just explained to the acolytes of Mystra – it’s my call, and unless you think you can stop me, what with no spells and all, then I guess you’re going to have to try.”

The wemic bristled and reached for his weapon – then thought better of it.  “What about the wounded, Sorvani ?  Huh ?  What about them ?”
Making a placating gesture, the drow added “All right, all right – let me drain the clerics AND give me your manapool, and I’ll take care of the wounded here – just like I did over at the temple of Mystra.  Fair’s fair.”

Nedok chewed over that for a minute, then threw up his hands.  “Fine – damn thing’s not doing me any good right now anyway.  Where’s Erok ?  Ain’t he supposed to be here, protecting the city ?”
As the drow siphoned off magic from the priests, he answered “Varalla sent him and the legion off to find out what caused the portals that let Demogor…uh, yeah – that demon prince guy come up for a visit. Haven’t seen them for a few days – but wandering the planes for clues isn’t exactly a quick process.”
Holding out a big paw, the wemic let Sorvani drain away all of his spell energy.  “That figures – someone breaks the obelisk and our resident gem-ogre is out getting into trouble.  Think any of his cousins over at the brewery know how to fix obelisks ?”

Walking up to the church entryway to make sure he got the maximum number of people, the powermaster unleashed another magnified Mass Heal – wiping away injuries both fatal and inconsequential from all in attendance.  As the formerly wounded townsfolk cheered and went off to help others, Sorvani once again funneled the excess power into his voidcrystal fragment.  “Don’t know, Nedok – but you can bet your whiskers that I’ll find out soon enough.  Walk with Torm,” he said with a smile before turning to go.
“And walk unafraid,” Nedok answered – finishing the simple, short prayer that often ended their services.

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