The apprentices lowered their arms as the Circle flared to life, its labyrinthine runes burning with a bright white light. The Dread Master stepped in first and faded from existence. Four skeletons bearing a litter with a chained captive atop it shambled obediently after him/them. The apprentices looked at each other.
“Seems like a lot of trouble for one elf,” one hazarded aloud.
“If it works,” suddenly came the voice of Wigalf the Gaunt from the doorway, where none of them had detected him, “Then any expense will be trivial compared to what we learn. First, the Grimoire Necronium knows more than you can imagine. Second, that the elves can know true fear.”
Tomus exulted His senses expanded into his realm as a formed weapon into its sheath, snapping in place as if made to fit his mind. In truth, his mind had formed its very borders, and thus they expanded along with his own imagination. The Grimoire Necronium rose from his hands at his bidding and alit upon a stone plinth. The skeletons which followed him lowered their litter and the elven captive they bore drifted as easily as the ancient tome to where another plinth rose from the grey slate floor to meet him- all of this controlled by a single act of Tomus’ will.
Three beings bearing the image of the Dread Master stepped into the room from doors which only moments before had not existed. W’soran, Melkhior and Zacharias could easily be mistaken by an untrained eye for one another, but to their witchsight, each looked as different as could be. Only their ties to the dark magics bound them.
“Does it have a name?” asked Melkhior, Their voices came from nowhere since their faces lacked any features. “The name is the power. The power is the light. The light is the undoing! The-”
“Hush,” said Zacharias, “for all our sakes. He does have a point about that, though.” The Everliving approached the plinth and tore the hood from the elf’s head, then pulled down his gag. “Well go on, tell us who you are.”
The elf, a male, was likely the pinnacle of some sort of elven warrior regimen. Lithe, powerful, proud, and ancient. Now he was blood-soaked, beaten, swollen, chained as tight as his flexibility would allow and barely conscious. He looked from one of them to the other, “What-? Why can I not… feel my magics?”
“I’ve severed them from you,” stated Tomus. The elf looked back at where the sound came from but couldn’t tell which of the four figures around him had spoken, only that their voices were different. “Moreover, I’ve taken you where your gods cannot reach you. Your only hope at finding your way home is acquiescence.”
“That means playing along,” added Zacharias.
“I’m sure he knows what it means,” said Tomus shortly.
“Are you as sure about keeping out his gods?” This was W’soran, breaking his silence uncharacteristically.
“I have never tested the barriers of this fledgling plane against the will of a god. I am eager to try,” he would have smiled but felt his tone carried the effect well enough.
The four of them each drew magic into the grey chamber. Nearby, the Circle’s magics finally spent and sputtered out. For nearly an hour they orchestrated what could best be described as a walling-off. Invigorated by what he had seen at the ritual of Nagash’s return, the Dread Masters attempted to forge a barrier within the plane and indeed around the elf’s very body. It required a combined assault upon his mind, one which he resisted nobly but fruitlessly. With the elf’s name in hand, the rest was easy enough. At last, the blow was struck, and the elf (his name had been Ithayldin) was dead.
Instantly, Tomus was struck by two blows. His avatar winked out of existence and he entered a mindscape not unlike his dealings with Blackroot. There were impressions, less than images: Anger. Violence. and also, Hunger. Seduction. His mind, and indeed the fragile young demi-plane, was shaken under the assault of divine will. Against this, he could only struggle…