The Pentagram

The spirit world is too ever-changing. Once you die, you’re dead. You inhabit the spirit world. You can go to the spirit world, but it is dangerous and unpredictable. A ghost is trapped in between the spirit and material worlds. I cannot go to one and it cannot enjoy the other. The black one seeks to become a ghost that can travel to both worlds.

He takes your hands, turning them palm up. With a flourish of cloak he slide steps back. Now, the material world is hand on the left, your right, or really either…one is the material plane, the other the spirit world. The ethereal plane is the space between your hands. That’s why it seems so far away. They seem so far away from each other. Now. Stepping forward, careful to stand between reaching and striking distance, he clasps his hand together in front of you. Now, the positive and negative poles, and every elemental pole, strike through the hands like this. He bends the middle finger of each hand forward leaving the rest of his hand straight, pushed together from fingertip to palm. He wiggles his middle fingers and twists his hand around on them. Me? I’ve found something better. In order to straddle the worlds, one must find ground to stand on. Shadow? Only that. A shadow of the real world. He lays his hand on your still outstretched right hand. See this is the shadow. No. What I’ve found, he says as he puts his other hand on your left. Is something that connects the two. He slowly turns his hands so they are perpendicular. Something that spans the spaces, he says. That is where the black one, where I will reside. Sorry he mouths over a wink. I’m so use to the character. Now. Since you’ve not asked. Why not loot the place, or even a corpse or two, after all, he ascends and I’m stuck here all by myself, magically compelled even? Well. I’m taking something with me. He holds out a perfectly smoothed sphere of stone. The stone. You have a large chunk of it, hidden somewhere in one of the magic pouches. The Stone of Corbinet. This is why Darwell was able to swing your release. Don’t think I know how lucky you were to be offered, he turns and adds aside to Darwell. This is what they were after him for. You see, Darwell was the bait. We let out through oblique research requests, a known book transaction in the right place, a few dead adventurers; the usual channels. The Stone had been found. How many, he turns to Darwell, how many bands tried you? Four? I’m assuming from the forced looks of understanding that these were not one of them.

Or did Darwell make a mistake?

The Stone of Corbinet.

The elder gods. Even yours Boccob, and the ruby bitch that ensnared Tysiln… All of the elder gods created the earth. They gave themselves names, took the form of men or creatures; they were all forms, fronts, feelers out, they…let’s just say that the idea of evil or good is, positive negative; that is, every choice, everything either is or it isn’t. You can’t always tell. So, the elder gods, yes, they either made or unmade the world. They spun the loom of fate or the unraveled it, spooling the precious threads at their feet. Of all that is, eventually became a triumph over all that isn’t. Encased in the earth that which isn’t has powers; shown in the wildness of the winds or hot fire of a volcano, the gnashing teeth of some creature. That which is…well it took many forms, some good, some bad, some neither. You see, isn’t is a negation. Even the reaper Nerull doesn’t want to destroy reality or existence, but merely change it to that which he prefers. No, he isn’t true evil. As I see it. Anyway, eventually the not took form; it found a face. I believe the most common name is Tharzidun. Fitting. It means he who is not. Eventually, as all things work, there was a conflict, and the not was forced back down into the earth. The hole was plugged, in a way, and the only way to find it was entrusted to…well, the wrong people to say the lease. Since I’m holding it. The only way to find the hole and let loose… Best I take this with me where I’m going. It’s a hard road and I doubt any of them are going to follow. But…I’m not really doing it for that. More a guarantee that nothing happens.