“Why are we doing this?" Caine asked him. "You know damned well why we’re doing this. Because it’s a fight. It may be THE fight. I may be the final fight. And what else are we good at, you and me? What are we going to do if we ever get out there anyway?”
― Michael Grant, Light
I have been to some awesome concerts, Peter Tosh, Tina Turner, Michael Hedges, Frank Zappa, but nothing compares to the Death Klock show we just saw. It was kind of like the ultimate expression of bread and circuses, if circuses had orbital strikes and you laced all the bread with meth amphetamines and LSD. 7 million people, 170 decibels, oceans of alcohol and various intoxicants, nanopyrotechnics and over 10,000 casualties. Who could ask for anything more? The fall of Saigon would seem boring by comparison. It was kind of downhill from there, but it would tough not to be. There’s an evil part of me that’s kind of amused that the two members of our party who most wanted to see it, Pete and Jack, weren’t there, but sometimes you just have to let the evil parts have a little giggle. Oh well.
Anyway, once we were mostly recovered, we continued our journey North. We made it to the Northlands, saw a couple of fjords and found Raven in the Hall of Hrothgar in the city of Heurot. He was easier to deal with than I had thought he’d be. He was more than willing to loan us his spear. All we had to do in exchange was kill Balor. Since we were kind of planning to do that anyway, it worked out well. One thing we did find out from him though is that the three Powerpuff girls we fought back in Night City put out a warrant for us. I think Raven was looking for an excuse not to turn us over, and luckily, we gave him one.
The only bad thing that happened to us while we were in Heurot is that somebody broke into our room and stole all of the fringe crystals that King Mark had given us. Shortly before that happened, Loki tried to buy them from us. Based on that, Steve thinks that Loki took them. John may or may not be joking when he says that he thinks Steve took them. We can’t count out Christina or Smiley either. It’s a mystery.
After that, we continued north to confront Balor. Once we crossed the sea, it seemed like the entire land was nothing but refugees fleeing the carnage as far as the eye could see. They were pathetic wretches, but the best thing we could do for them was rid their land of Balor. With that in mind, we headed straight toward his stronghold. Unfortunately, at the same time, one of his missiles was headed straight toward us. One minute we’re cruising along at high speed, and the next we’re a burning ball of death headed toward the ground. It’s a miracle that we weren’t all killed.
With our transport out of commission, we had to finish the trip on foot. Remind me to pack lighter next time. I had to jettison some nice stuff in order to get down to a manageable load. When I say manageable, I mean barely manageable. Everybody else was pretty much in the same spot. After two grueling days of crossing the frozen waste, we saw his castle in the distance. I shit you not. The entire thing was shaped like a giant skull. It was at the top of a mountain, and we lost one of our men-at-arms on the climb up, but eventually we made it.
Once there, we left two of the men-at-arms to guard our stuff and headed in. As we approached the mouth that served as a front gate, we heard a horn, but nothing seemed to happen. We continued on, and that’s when Balor’s horde attacked us. Now this whole time, we had been dealing with swords, shields and various and sundry other anachronistic crap. The guys attacking us weren’t so old school. They came at us with assault rifles and flame throwers. Fortunately, when we were at the concert, we found some sound grenades. When you threw them they exploded and then blasted Death Klock at almost lethal decibel levels. We got a few just for laughs, but they really came in handy in that fight.
We used them to tear through the minions and they took the hint and scattered. That’s when the Big Man himself made an appearance. Balor was up above the gate in a room shaped like one of the skull’s teeth. From up there, he started blasting us with his eye beams. I don’t know what they were, but I do know that one of the men-at-arms who got hit, basically disintegrated. Matilda took a glancing shot and survived, but just barely.
Deciding to take the fight to Balor, John took up his spear and used his gravity levelers to run up one of the walls toward our opponent. I did the same on the opposite wall. We got close enough to toss our spears at him, but neither one took him out. While we did that, Steve was rigging what was left of his C-4 into a charge. He tossed it up into Balor’s room just as John and I got to the top of the wall. If we’d been half a second faster, we’d have been blown to bits.
Balor took the brunt of the blast, and the rest took out the floor of the room he was in. He fell about 30 meters to the ground. John launched himself after Balor. I did the same. Of course I was smart enough to use my falling cloud, so I came down slowly. John didn’t. He came down hard on top of Balor. Even after the blast, it took John and Steve both to take him out. They chopped his head off, and that’s when we learned that he was some sort of android. Either the droid was running things, or the real Balor is still around somewhere. That’s not a comforting thought.
What was left of the minions took off when their boss died. We of course then searched the castle. We found the stone we were looking for. It’s a heavy son of a bitch, shaped like the letter “T”. When you balance my ring on top of it, it makes the user invisible. That has all sorts of possibilities. We searched the rest of the castle and found a few more interesting things. The skull shaped castle with the mouth for a front gate, I could see, but the upstairs rooms shaped like nasal sinuses were just creepy. I did, however, find a pouch in one of them that had some fringe crystals in it, not as many as we lost in the theft, but at least it’s something. Now all we have to do is find the witch who has the whetstone we’re looking for and then tackle Khan’s army to get the halter.