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Library: A Quest for Immortality Itself

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Author: Cavalier
Date:Dec 31 2001

The time was near and I was happy.  I was so close after all of these years to
finally achieving an end.   I had travelled the land from length to breadth. 
Slain monster far and wide.  Fought the greatest evils and good alike.  I was
equal opportunity for the cosmic balance had to be maintained.  I had reached
the end of the wonder, the sparkle and lures of the realms was gone.  All I
had left to gain was immortality itself.  I wanted to end the threat of death
sapping my gains and nothing more.  I would go out at my peak and on my own
terms.

I had finally learned of the final secret I would need to obtain my goals and
I would not be delayed in my quest.  I set out to obtain what I would need for
my last ordeal.  With pride, I donned my silvery armor that I obtained from
the metallic creatures that lived on the outer world planes.  Fearsome and
foul beasts.  Over the gauntlets I wore my glowing right to provide me with
needed light and not burden my hands with a torch.  A precious little piece of
jewlery that I found deep on a glacier.  Not as if the polar bears could use
that little trinket.  And speaking of trinkets, I retrieved my little iron
cube.  Small in size, but large in importance for within was a portal to
another dimension with near infinite storage and a quick place to recover if
overwhelmed.  And I was more than happy to liberate it from its rock creature
guardian for his taunts were merciless and unnecessary during honorable
combat. 

I liberated the ancient and powerful Spear of Life Draining from its hidden
recess.  Guarded in the darkness by both beasts and secrecy, this fearsome
weapon was all but lost and forgotten except for we few old-timers who still
retained the knowledge.  But the times were changing and few adventurers would
dare the risk and even fewer would use the weapon.  Powerful guilds had arisen
across the lands and the days and needs for powerful steel were at their
twilight.  I had no need for that flashy guild power.  For all I needed was
some strong steel and I was a force to be reckoned with, and this spear was
one of the best.  It's weight and balance felt good in my worn hands. 
Something was going to die upon its serrated tip soon.

I scoured the lands for precious healing that I would need.  While the liquors
across the land aided in the healing process, it had its limitations.  I had
little need to be intoxicated while fighting dragons.  I needed a sober head
if I wished to keep my life.  Nor did I wish to be spending precious time at a
pub to imbibe in the spirits.  Soon, my iron cube was liberally stocked with
all of the healing I would ever need.

I then travelled to the keep that was the home my closest friend in the
realms.  Ambrosia was his name and he was a paladin by trade.  I had need of
his services for this one last time for powerful evil lay in wait and his
sword skills were superior to even my own.  For his impressive strength and
might and skills, his sacrifice was to forever surrender the offensive magics
and to not be tempted to the way of evil.  Not a bargain I would make, but
then he wasn't me.

I explained what I was about to set out to do.  The task was simple, restore
the Gates of Paradise so that they may open again for the worthy souls to
enter.  What I couldn't relate to my friend was what I needed to do to obtain
the piece of that heavenly gate.  This was the great secret that I had
gleaned.  I would first need to assemble an artifact of great evil, the Amulet
of Damnation, and make a deal with the beast itself.  What my friend didn't
know wouldn't hurt his conscience or harm my chances.

Ambrosia agreed to aid even though he would be loosing a powerful ally in his
war against evil.  He too understood the need for my rest and was looking
forward to his impending retirement.  Ambrosia donned his own suit of silvery
armor and wielded the mighty Hofud blade.  A blade made for and wielded by a
god.  It was no small matter to seperate the sword from its original master. 
But that battle tale is for another time.

Quickly, we made our way to the dark castle of evil archwizard that went by
the unoriginal name of Lucifer.  It was a dark and imposing structure set deep
into the shadows to hide its presence from the light.  However the castle
looked, it had not deterred me from exploring deep within.  I had gleaned that
the amulet had been broken up years ago and the pieces hidden within a set of
6 rings.  Each ring was guarded by secrecy or undead and sometimes both.  But
I was determined and over the years I listened to the bard tales and made
journeys to validate the truth from the dreams.  

Only there was one tale which I had not been able to verify.  Deep within the
keep was a beast that of such fearsome power that few would say its name
aloud.  It was known simply as Sharon, and she was an ancient black wyrm. 
Many had crossed her path, and most had perished to her claws...even myself. 
Many long years ago, I had blundered into her lair and she showed me no mercy.
 Brave but foolish I fought her and lost miserably.  If it were not for the
powerful magics of the realms clerics I would have been but a dim memory.  I
have not forgotten that defeat and I swore revenge.  Yes, it would be good to
defeat her on my way to immortality.  I hate leaving loose ends.

Ambrosia and I began dispatching the guardian undead.  With sheer glee in his
eyes, Ambrosia sliced merrily through the various ghosts and spectres. 
Quickly, we had gained 3 of the rings we needed and a tiny glowing stone which
I had need of later.  Our battling had awoken the moat beast.  Excellent, I
had need of the ring and glowing stone that laid deep within its bowels.  Big
but bloated the beast was more foul smelling than foul.  It was soon sent on
its journey to the hereafter.    The fifth ring was far easier to obtain as it
required some patience and some wits.  I had to climb the nearby tower village
of the saccharinely cute bears and call their bird to give me the ring that it
had within its nest.  A mere trifle compared to things I had done in my past. 

The sixth and final ring however was not going to be so easy.  I needed to
become evil enough to summon the ring forth.  I sent Ambrosia on a quick
errand while I set about my task.  I began slaughtering the populace of the
bear village.  They annoyed me anyways and enough evil had been eliminated
that some good needed to go and meet its destiny.  I quickly grabbed their
torn corpses and began sacrificing them upon the dark altar located in
Lucifer's castle.  Upon the altar, a ring materialized.  I had obtained my
prize, the 6th and final ring.  Made of the blackest onyx, it truly reflected
the darkness that now dwelled within my heart.  

I fed off of the darkness to give me the strength for the battle ahead.  It
was time for Sharon to fall into the pits of hell, and I was going to show her
the way.  My heart raced in anticipation.  I gripped the spear in my hands. 
Even Ambrosia was excited for he had not faced down this beast.  I readied my
fireball buddy which was my pet name for the slim bracelet with the fireball
stamped upon its face.  It allowed me to cast the fireball spell at a feverish
pace without the need for incantations or reagents.  A handy thing indeed for
the heat of battle.  

We uttered a few battle prayers.  I fingered the figurine I held in my hand. 
It was to be my edge, my ace in the hole.  I uttered the incantations to free
the magical beast contained within.  The green panther growled softly and
awaited my command.  TO BATTLE!  No cowardly attack was this.  Nay, we shall
assault with glory and honor!  As we entered, we found the dragon was waiting
for us for it had learned of my attempts to restore the amulet through its
foul means.  All the better!  I would prefer to kill her at her apex of
strength.  

The panther was fast and strong.  It enjoined the battle long before we could
close in to strike.  As the dragon began its duel with the panther, Ambrosia
and I flanked the dragon and began our assault.  The dragon was as swift as
our beast but it couldn't hit all of us at the same time in the limited den it
had chosen.   My magical fire was marring its black scales and our magical
steel was swiftly inducing legions of life draining cuts.  Still the
loathesome beast fought on.  Minutes of battle dragged on.  We were growing
weary and hurt and the dragon still seemed as inexhaustable as I last
remembered.  My spirits were falling, what more could I do?  Was there no way
for me to win?

Suddenly, Sharon rose up and turn her steely cold eyes to me.  What was it to
be now?  What cruel trick had she kept in her reserve?  A blink and a shudder.
 Was that a flicker of recognition of her killing deed in the past?  Sharon
then raised her head and let out a frothy whistle and fell to the ground.  It
was over.  I had won.  Battered and tired, I went over to my friend.  His
smile was wide.  I think he is enjoying this too much.  I grasped his hand and
we set onwards upon my quest for there was no time to rest.

At the back of the cave was the tower I needed to ascend for the next stage of
my quest.  I needed the spell scrolls that would restore the amulet to its
whole.  Earlier, I had dueled with a harpy queen to obtain her power spell
scroll.  This ancient spell would reave asunder the holder of the scroll that
would amalgamate the amulet together.  Here, I had to tread alone for this was
not a job for a paladin, it was a job for a murderer.  Up the tower flights I
went, until I found the guardian.  A draining task upon both health and will
for the magics that protected the guardian were strong.  Fortunately, the
healing I had with me was sufficient to keep me going.  

The guardian was powerful being of light and holiness.  I twinge of conscience
for what I was about to do.  Then I remembered the evil that we had slain
earlier, and that the balance needed to be shifted back.  I unfurled the
ancient parchment and read the words from the now flaming scroll.  The being
just blinked and was gone in an echoing scream.  His guarded treasure lay upon
the ground.  Eagerly, I read the scroll and the rings shimmered and spun on
the air.  The rings transformed and merged and the amulet took form.  In a
flash of light, the tarnished silver amulet became whole once more and flew to
me and attached itself to me.

Well, now that I had finally rebuilt this cursed artifact, it was time to make
my way to depths of hell to parlay my deal.  Ambrosia waited around at the
bottom of the stairs.  He seemed troubled when I arrived.  Could he sense the
darkness that threatened to overtake me.  Did he feel the evil that was in my
possession?  Gamely, he picked himself and readied himself for our assault
into hell.  His god blade glinted in the silvery light of my ring as he swung
it about.  Yes, good ole Ambrosia.  What he didn't know was for his best.  I
smiled lightly.  I sent him ahead to begin opening our portal.  I had one last
trip to make to the dark altar.  I sacrificed yet another of the realms good
creatures to its dark auspices.  The dark gods were pleased with me for they
rewarded me with the golden ring of the holy.  Yes, I had need of this little
artifact later, but not for the reasons the dark gods had in mind.

Briskly, I walked to the designated point.  Ambrosia had everything prepared
and in order.  He regaled me with his tale of slaying of the demon known as
Halja.  As testiment, Ambrosia gave me the bloodstone that the demon kept. 
The way was now open.  Summoning my energies, we descended.  The stairs
abruptly ended, far from the end of the pit.  Already, I could hear the moans
of the damned and the laughter of the condemned.  I took out the sparkling
stones from my pack.  Yes, I had learned of their secret in my adventures. 
Nothing was hidden from me now for I knew the way.  I rubbed the stone and
dropped the first to create a new section of spiraling stairs.  Around and
down we went, creating the stairs to the bottom of the pit.

At the bottom of the pit was an ancient old dragon.  With a snarl it looked up
at us for our staircase had heralded our arrival.  However, it refused to
strike for it sensed the power I had upon me.  There, in the center was a tiny
crack from which hellfire itself was bursting forth.  I told Ambrosia to
withdraw himself and not interfer with what I was to do next.  I removed my
weapons and armor.  Then, taking the amulet I called forth a demon.  For one
cannot enter into hell unless one is dead.  The cosmic rules were clear about
that.  No matter, for I had a plan.  I allowed the demon to defeat my body
into death.  With the amulet, I entered into the crack.  Better bards than I
have described this place and their words can not come close to what I saw in
those few minutes there.  Thankfully that immortality would soon be in my
grasp and the fear of this place would no longer have a hold over me.  Upon my
arrival, demons came to claw at my soul and would have done so if not for the
amulet I held.  Instead, they cowered and escorted me to the one whose name I
can not mention.  His/Her/Its form was impressive, even more so than the realm
that it ruled over.  Even now, I can not summon it accurately to my mind for
it is more than I can comprehend.

The being was eager to have the powerful artifact and thus the palaver began
earnestly.  I made the fools bargain and may the powers forgive me for what I
was about to do.  In trade for the amulet, I would be returned to the mortal
realms without penalty and delay, and I would be given the chunk of stone
necessary for opening the Paradise Gates.  In its greed and lust, my wishes
were granted.   I wonder what else I could have obtained or truly how much
power I had relinquished.

Immediately, I was restored in body whole and health returned at the end of
the pit where friend Ambrosia waited.  I saw questions in his eyes and I
answered what I could.  I hope his faith is strong to avoid what I had been
through.  We ascended the pit.  I had much to atone for and I needed to be
pure if I'm to return the gate stone to its rightful place.  With Ambrosia as
my guide, I purged the darkness from my heart.  I had no need now for such
small things as I was so ever close to my ultimate goal.  Riches and wealth I
gave to my friend to distribute as he saw fit.  I would have no need for them
where I was to go.  I would be beyond that.

It was time to go and with a light wave I wore the ring of the holy I had
obtained earlier.  I ascended up, high up into the clouds above.  Gently I
floated, higher and higher, past the outer realms.  There, the light, the
shiny gates.  Floating around were a multitude of hues and lights, the souls
kept locked out of their final and deserved reward.  However inviting, it was
not to be mine.  At the gates stood the gatekeeper, ever vigilant he spied my
approach.  He seemed to know what I came bearing.  With open arms, he greeted
my landing at his feet.  Then with a sadness, he realized the bargain before I
spoke the words.  It was within his power to grant and my reward I would take.
 In a flash, the stone was gone, the gates opened and for a split-second I
glimpsed into paradise and felt the emptiness of never belonging to it.  

Then the light flooded over me and my body and soul burned as a bright star. 
The POWER!  I felt it imbue me, pound me, drive through me.  Nothing that I
had ever experienced would be close.  Not esctasy but rather a knowing and a
becoming was what it was.  Then, it was over and I felt different and yet the
same.  I had knowledge now, the knowledge of creation.  I would be able to
build and to create, no longer killing and destroying for gain.  I descended
down to the mortal plain to be with my friend Ambrosia once more to continue
in our friendship once more.

But the gods who oversaw the realm were fickle and jealous.  They did not wish
for a mere mortal to enjoin in their status.  I was quickly whisked away to
their interrogation chamber.  There, they ranted and raved and demanded to
know how I had cheated their mortal games and ascended?  How one so small to
have avoided their cognizance for so long would obtain so much.  I knew of
their power and decided I had not the strength to win this fight.  For
although I was immortal, I could still be stripped of all power and placed
into the void to waste for eternity.  Rather, I choose my words well and
pleaded my case.  Fortunately, after hours of work and wit battles, I was
given a favorable judgement.  I would be forced to withold my knowledge from
the other mortals lest they gain the same passage into immortality.  A promise
of silence.  Fortunately, I had no urge to share what I had struggled for
years to obtain.  No, if others are to follow in my steps, they too must
struggle and let their fires of passion burn within them.  Let the feel of
time weigh upon their shoulders and maybe they will fight their way to cast
off the yoke of mortality.

Thus ends my tale and I hope those who can gleam from it what they may.  For
these words have been written not for you but for me so that the memory will
not dim and fade as the eternity stretches out before me.  No, I must remember
why I had done what I did, an anchor point to which I can return to as the
eons fade away.

--Cavalier, the faded immortal from the Darker Realms



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