No one says anything, but I can see it in their eyes. Exhaustion. Everyone is tired, the kind of tired you feel in your bones and makes you foggy. I don't think I have ever been pushed so far beyond my limits.
The circle throbs with menace, we can all feel Zul'Bar getting closer, the others are frantically running around, trying to prepare for his arrival. I look closely at the architecture of the room and I start to see it. There is a way I can rig the pillars to collapse on the circle. I just need some rope and a few minutes with a chisel and hammer.
Just as I am about to get my tools out, Ethan runs back into the room and pours some sort of liquid on the statue of Dourstone. Ethan lets out a small gasp of pain, followed by a look of sheer joy as the statue slowly loses its hardness and gains colour. Dourstone falls forward into the arms of Ethan. I am so tired I can do no more than grunt a welcome to our old patron.
Some amount of time passes and several dwarves I have never met before rush into the room in the company of Helia, Delian and Nenia. They are all looking with apprehension at the circle. The evil is pouring off of the symbols... he comes closer. I sit down and close my eyes in an attempt to gather the last of my strength for the coming battle.
Unexpectedly, I feel a warm, welcoming light coming from across the room. I open my eyes and see Delian shouting out a prayer and holding his Silver Flame symbol over the circle, pouring a cleansing fire onto the magic symbols. The sense of evil retreats for a moment and heartens my brethren and myself. I stand, feeling slightly more able to face the coming challenge.
The circle again gathers strength. I sigh and pull out my axe and check my armour, "Looks like we have a visitor coming."
We array ourselves around the circle, ready to face whatever comes through the portal. There is a flash and... there stands the boy Tharuun?
That I was not prepared to see. He starts to complain about our actions and is blathering something about having everything under control. It must be my fatigue... this makes no sense. He starts to walk toward us and out of reflex I hold out my axe as a barrier and warn him to come no closer.
Before I can react, he leans in and kisses me on the cheek. I must be asleep, as this is the most absurd thing ever to happen to me. As I stand there confused, the boy morphs into a large devil and summons forth fiendish allies. I am so uncertain what to do, as I feel no threat coming from the demon. Before I realise it, there are my companions and the devils rushing about. I look over to see the devil take a mighty swing at Helia, and this clarifies everything to me. I grab Helia and interpose myself between her and the blow.
We quickly dispatch whatever that devil was that was impersonating Tharuun, but then there is a flash of light and the most menacing devil I have ever seen is standing over us.
The devil turns his fierce gaze upon us and sends forth a wave of evil will that washes over us. I feel his black magic seep into me through my feet. They become heavy and I find it nigh impossible to move them. No matter what I try, I can't seem to shake this dark magic. Curse this devil. Curse this castle and curse this fortress. I am so tired.
The black magic creeps up my legs, slowly turning them into stone, I can no longer move. I am forced to face the devil on his terms now. I swing my axe to no avail as he casually bats it aside with complete disregard. The monster sees me as no threat and leaps across the room to try and open the door for its minions.
My companions continue to battle with the devil, ranging across the room. In a last, desperate act I hurl my axe with all of my strength at our foe, but my condition throws my aim, causing me to completely miss him.
I can feel the curse slow my heart, I can barely see as my axe returns to me. I can no longer breath. I can not fight the sense of entropy washing over my being...
NO! NO! No! No! no! no... no... n...