Kobold and the Ilk
Breakfast came quickly for The Seekers. For those who stayed in the inn, the breakfast came too quickly. When the barkeep brought it out, the only name he gave it was “hereyougo” then dropped the jiggling mass in front of Si, Garrick and Gravrin. The “hereyougo” was a light beige with chunks of an indiscernible origin scattered through it. Only Gravrin’s dwarven stomach could handle more then one bite of the gelatinous “food”, even then a slight green entered his face.
Meanwhile in the forest, Stral was fast asleep until a heavy weight landed on his stomach. His green lids slid open and his eyes met with the lifeless eyes of a rabbit. Enkidu made a breakfast rabbit stew as Stral recovered from his frightening wake up alarm. As for Thamoir…well no one knew where Thamoir was for that night and morning yet.
It was only an hour later when Stral and Enkidu arrived outside The Lucky Gnome. Si and Garrick were already outside, nibbling on their extra rations for breakfast.
“How was your breakfast?” Stral said.
“Inedible.” Si rested his giant fullblade on his shoulder
“Where’s the magic man?”
Gravrin bashed his way out the front door of the inn. “Probably doing magic stuff, let’s go get a job.” He pushed his way through the adventurers and stomped down the street, only slowing to take a swig out of his ale, tossing it aside and hitting a sleeping halfling, which Garrick recognized as one of the two who were at the bar last night. The halfling didn’t even stir as the metal flask bounced off his head. Garrick didn’t have time to ponder how alive the halfling was before he had to chase down the quickly moving group.
The seat of Lord Warden Faren Markelhay was Moonstone Keep. A great castle that sat on the hill of Fallcrest. As the party wandered closer they felt dwarfed by the massive walls that rose before them. Despite the size of Moonstone Keep, the age was apparent. The stones that made the walls were battered and chipped and flags were hanging torn on either side of the large portcullis. A sleepy guard stood at the gate.
“Evidently they aren’t planning on being invaded anytime soon.” Garrick’s eyes followed the wall up high into the sky.
“Enkidu doesn’t think people plan on being invaded.” Enkidu added.
“I was just…never mind.” Garrick knew better then to fight with Enkidu. He wasn’t stupid, just he sometimes didn’t understand things. The sleepy guard didn’t notice the party until they were already past him.
“Hey! Wait!” The guard clumsily jogged after the group.
“We’re here to see the Lord Warden.” Gravrin said without looking back.
“We’re adventurers” Stral spun around only to give a deep, sarcastic bow to the guard.
“Uh…okay.” The guard seemed confused as he slowly wandered back to his post.
“This place would be easy to take.” Si was amused at the state of affairs at the keep. “I wouldn’t even break a sweat to slaughter them.”
“No slaughtering, Si.” Stral said.
“Well I’ll need someway to get out my frustration when you’re not around.”
“Oh it’s nice to know you miss me when I’m gone.” Stral gave a sarcastic smile at the back of Si’s head. Si merely grunted as they entered a gigantic hall. The walls were lined with flags, but other then that, the room was fairly bare. The lack of furnishings made the already large hall seem cavernous, and enhanced the echoes that filled it with every step from the party. At the other end of the hall were two more competent looking guards standing before a large door.
“Halt!” The larger guard stomped his armored foot, making a loud clank from his heavy plate armor. He looked over the adventurers who stood before him. The guard’s armor glistened in the sunlight that came in to the great hall. “Are you adventurers?”
“Yes.” Gravrin was the first to speak. “We demand work.”
The smaller guard raised an eyebrow at Gravrin, but it was the larger one who spoke again. “Very well, I will get the Lord Warden. Sit.” He pointed a gauntleted hand at a set of chairs placed against a wall on the other side of the hall. Before they could protest, the larger guard spun around and disappeared through the large door behind him, leaving them with the silent smaller one. With a sigh the group made their way across the extensive hall once again to the seats, their feet making hard, hollow echoes as they went. The chairs were far from elegant, but Gravrin didn’t seem to mind when he sat down and crossed his arms, feet dangling a few centimeters above the ground. Stral and Garrick also seated themselves. Even the large Enkidu sat down, the chair creaking and straining under his immense weight. It was only Si who instead sat down on the stone floor next to the empty chair.
“Don’t be a prat” Stral said, “Sit in the chair, mopey.”
“I’m fine here,” Si crossed his arms and closed his eyes.
“Wow, you’re tough.” He rolled his eyes and turned to the rest of his group. “Weren’t we supposed to meet the wiz this morning.” The rest of the group turned to him and stared.
“Shut up Stral.” Gravrin recrossed his arms, “He’s never there when we need him, besides, we’re getting a job.” Just as he finished talking Enkidu stood up and left the hall briskly.
“Does anyone else think Enkidu doesn’t like us?” Stral asked. No one answered.
Hours passed. Most of the party was asleep in their seats. Only Garrick sat at attention in his. From across the hall a loud thump echoed out snapping the group awake. Si, who had fallen down, scrambled to his feet and looked across the room to a tiny man who had evidently just came from behind the large door. He was a short, balding, overweight human who shuffled across the hall holding his hands in front of him as if he was ready to grab the heroes. It took him a good minute or two to make his way to them and as he got closer they all noticed that he had a gigantic smile spread across his face.
“Hello!” The fat man said as he came to a stop in front of them, “I am Lord Warden Faren Markelhay.”
“Markelhay?” Stral was the first to speak up.
“Markelhay.” The Lord said.
“Yes…Markelhay.” His eyes lingered on Stral for a while before returning to the rest of the party. “You are adventurers, yes? Ones who like to help, yes?”
Garrick took a step forward, “I believe we can, maybe we could discuss this in your study, or sitting room?”
“No, no, no, no, no” Markelhay shook his head, his drooping chin swinging from side to side. “I do not have time for that, very busy, I’ll just explain the problem and you can tell me if you can help, yes?” With a shuffle, Markelhay moves himself to a nearby window. “Out there, a days travel to the northwest, is an old mansion. We can’t remember what it used to be called, but now we just call it Kobold Hall.”
“Kobold?” Garrick joined the Lord at the window, before him stretched an endless expanse of forest. “Aren’t they the servants of dragons?”
“I hate Kobold.” Gravrin growled as he stepped to the window.
“Oh dear!” The once pink skin of Markelhay suddenly became pale and sweat began accumulating on his brow. He wiped the sweat away with his hanky, “I sure hope these ones aren’t, I can’t handle a dragon. Oh my, oh my, oh my.”
“Never worry.” Garrick stood tall. “You have now gained the services of The Seekers.” With this the rest of the party stood to their full heights, trying to look as impressive as possible. “If you have a problem with Kobold, we can fix it.”
“And if there is a dragon, we’ll smash its head into putty.” Gravrin thumped a fist against his chest. Stral let out a laugh and even Si cracked a crooked smile.
“Oh goody.” Markelhay’s skin returned to its regular pink colour. “Now, I will pay ten gold for every right kobold ear you bring me.”
“Why just the right ear?” Stral asked.
“It was just an arbitrary side to choose, the main point is that I will give ten gold for every kobold that you prove is dead. Furthermore, if you can prove that all the kobold are gone, I’ll throw in a bonus.”
Si stepped forward to join the rest of the group at the window. “How do we prove they’re truly gone?” He asked as he strained his eyes to see if he could find the hall they were talking about.
“I don’t know, that’s up to you, but I’m a very busy man and must depart to other business. Thank you again Seekers for taking this job.” He began his shuffle across the floor but stopped halfway, “If you have time, you should stop in with Nimozaran the Green, our resident wizard” He yelled back without turning around.
“Why is he called The Green?” Stral called back.
“Couldn’t you just tell us?”
Markelhay only answered with a dull stare before heading again toward the door. “Good luck adventurers, I’ll pray for your safe return.” With that he disappeared back into the deeper parts of the keep.
“We don’t need luck.” Stral snapped out a short telescope and looked into the distance. “Let’s go to Kobold Hall.”
“We forgot Thamoir and Enkidu” Gravrin said.
“Oh right…let’s get them.”
Standing in front of The Lucky Gnome, the slim eladrin and large mul seemed like a strange pair. The sun had barely passed its apex, apparently despite the waiting for Markelhay taking hour, the meeting had taken all of ten minutes. From the north came four figures, the heroes returning from their meeting with Markelhay.
“Looks like Enkidu found you.” Gravrin pointed out.
“Yes, he joined me during my meeting with Nimozaran, the resident wizard.” Thamoir patted Enkidu on his large hide covered shoulder.
“Yes we heard about him.” Garrick said. “We got a job, apparently there has been some problems coming from Kobold Hall.”
“Excellent!” Thamoir clapped his hands. “You can all deal with that while I meet with Nimozaran some more.”
“Whoa, you’re leaving us to do this alone?” Garrick looked around at his teammates for support.
“Look, Nimozaran can help us figure out about all these dreams, if you can all go get some bread money for us, I can find out what’s happening to us. You should actually be thanking me.” He took a look up at the noon sun. “If you leave now, you should arrive there by just after nightfall, goodbye.”
Without looking at his teammates, Enkidu began walking north. “There is no use arguing, Enkidu will hunt Kobold.”
Thamoir clapped his hands again, “Excellent, follow Enkidu, farewell friends, I will see you when you return.” With a flourish of his cloak Thamoir left the party dumbstruck, quickly losing Enkidu to the north.
“Does anyone else feel we are just along for the ride?” Si muttered as he repositioned the fulblade on his back. The rest of the group merely shrugged and hurried after the quickly escaping form of Enkidu.
The trip to Kobold hall was uneventful, thankfully for Stral, interestingly for Garrick, unfortunately for Si, Enkidu didn’t notice, Gravrin didn’t care. Kobold Hall itself was a decrepit manor hidden deep in the forest. Though quite grand in size, the trees that surrounded it and wrapped into the structure seemed to dwarf the magnificent hall. Wood stained black, part of the building seemed to have suffered damage from a fire long burned out. From the front the most glaring feature was a large circular glass window that sat high above the entrance. The possibility of a lost history excited Stral, and the group watched his rags as he ran toward the mansion, the moon surrounding the tip of the entrance, forming a halo.
Garrick placed his pack on the ground, “We should camp out here, we’ll journey inside in the morning.”
“Enkidu disagrees.” His large form appearing beside Garrick. “We are here, we should begin before we are noticed.
“Yes, time won’t matter when we are inside anyways.” Si added. His face was now bare, his blindfold wrapped around his left arm. Gravrin didn’t say a word, merely began walking toward the hall where Stral was already running his fingers over the charred wood. Garrick sighed and picked up his pack again, joining the group already on their way inside.
The interior wasn’t any better then the outside. The fire damage was much more apparent, and in areas it almost appeared as though they were blasted with fire. Strangely enough, other areas the wood seemed cracked, as though they were flash-froze. The party said no words as they searched the first floor of the hall, only the dull beat of the heroes footsteps made any noise. The manor was long forgotten, dust and spiderwebs seemed to be the only residents in its halls. In the dining room Garrick and Gravrin find a half eaten, rotten feast. Whoever lived in this place before seemed to have left in a hurry.
In the kitchen, Si, Stral, and Enkidu searched for any signs of the Kobold. Si opened a large pantry, inside was an elk. Both froze and stared at each other, but after a short time the elk made a slow trot out of the kitchen. All three heroes watched in silence as the creature broke into a gallop, disappearing into the manor. Stral shrugged and shut the cabinet he was looking in. When he turned around he saw a thin, straight crack running along the middle of the wall across from him. Stral leaned in closer and traced what appeared to be a small door hidden in the wall. He lightly pushed on the door, but it was fast shut.
“Guys! I found a door!” Stral stepped back. Si and Enkidu gathered around him as Garrick and Gravrin entered the kitchen from the dining room. Everybody leaned in to inspect the hidden door. “It appears to be locked, but I think with enough time I can-”
Stral was cut off by Gravrin slamming his fist against the door. A resounding thud flowed through Kobold Hall as the door slammed open. As the thud faded out, the party peered into the blackness of the revealed stairwell. The wood of the manor was replaced by stone steps, and a short way down, stone walls. Garrick pulled a short, cylindrical pole from his pack. He bent the sunrod and it jumped to life, glowing an eerie green. Garrick tossed the rod into the darkness and it bounced down many stairs before hitting the bottom of the long corridor, rolling a small distance away. Behind the Seekers the elk trotted by.
Si cracked another sunrod, “I guess we go down.”
The stairwell was too thin for the heroes to walk side by side, but tall enough for Stral to still walk upright, though Enkidu had to stoop a little to fit inside. Si took up the front of the marching order, holding the sunrod high before him. Even with his enhanced night vision, the hallways seemed to stretch on forever. Behind him walked Gravrin, followed by Stral, Garrick, and finally the mighty form of Enkidu taking up the rear. The walk was long, and seemed to never end. Suddenly, a great light flashed on before them, revealing what appeared to be a room about fifty feet ahead. The party tensed up and slowly continued toward the room. As they neared twenty feet from the room, a figure bolted across the thin opening. Si couldn’t make out many features, but it appeared scaly. He tried to draw his fullblade, but found the hallway too narrow and too short to allow him to do that.
“Great” He muttered to himself and motioned the group to follow him. The short Gravrin easily drew his two hammers, and behind him Stral grabbed the right side of his cloak, Garrick drew his crossbow, and Enkidu awkwardly drew his long sword from his side, but is unable to get his shield from his back. Si stepped into the light of the room, finding himself in what appeared to be an armoury. Crude weapons leaned against the walls and the brazers which lit the room gave no gleam to the metal of them. They were standing in an entrance that was slightly smaller then the rest of the room. Across from them was a wide room which could only be a sparring area. Blood already caked the floor.
“They appear to have been training” Garrick leaned in. “Quite intelligent of these creatures.”
“You don’t need intelligence to kill” Stral could see no enemies in the room at the moment. From scanning the room, his eyes fell upon three small holes set low on the wall adjacent from the entrance. “How much you want to bet things come out of those holes?” Not a second after he finished did a small figure scurry out of the central hole. “Nailed it!”
The creature was scaly and reptilian. Its scales were a pale white and it was dressed in what appeared to be leather armour cut down to fit him. One clawed hand was wielding a broken sword, which because of the break became the perfect size for it. White-Skin waved the sword around and yelled something in another language.
Garrick scratched his head, “Does anyone speak draconic?”
“Yeah,” Si dropped his sunrod. “He’s saying ‘blah, blah, blah I wonder what my afterlife will be like?’” He reached up with his right hand, griping his full blade off his back and bringing it in a full arc until it crashed into the ground, the slightly curved blade cracking the floor where it hit. “I always did like helping people answer that question.” In a flash Si grabbed the hilt with both hands and charged at the White-Skin, his blade held low, preparing to slice the creature from groin to skull. As he neared it, just as his feet touched the sparring mat, he found himself taking a more downward trajectory as the floor gave out below him. All the rest of the party saw was Si charging forward, then almost in slow motion begin to drop, followed by him disappearing and a splash.
“You okay?” Garrick yelled out.
“I hate traps!” Si’s voice echoed out of the pit as the White-Skin chattered a laugh out.
Gravrin took off toward the Kobold, “Let’s see you laugh without a jaw!” He was just reaching full speed as he exited the entrance area. Digging his right foot into the floor he turned to go around the pit, only to find another kobold already swinging a club. Gravrin was not quick enough to dodge and was clotheslined by the heavy club, sending him flying another few feet before landing with a thump on the ground.
The remaining members of the party now entered the room ready to fight. Garrick pointed his crossbow at the White-Skin and let a bolt fly. The Kobold was barely able to move its head out of the way, the bolt instead striking a kobold who just exited the hole behind it. White-Skin let out a shriek and clumsily tried to make its way to another exit off to the right of the entrance. Its path was blocked by the large form of a mul.
Enkidu gripped White-Skin by its head and tossed it back into the room. The giant form approached the prone Kobold, preparing to strike with his longsword. His movement was stopped by a tiny weight appearing on his leg. Looking down, Enkidu saw a kobold clinging around his leg. A swipe with his long sword was all it took to remove the nuisance, only for it to be replaced by another who jumped onto his shoulder, and another climbing up his other leg. Slowly he was being swarmed by them, every one he killed being replaced by two more. It took no time for him to be covered in kobold, scratching and biting at any exposed flesh. Enkidu unleashed a mighty cry and stomped the ground in primal fury. Many of the kobold were launched with immense force, dying as they slammed against the walls, leaving bloody stains where they hit.
After it was all over only two remained hanging on the shield that still sat on Enkidu’s back. In one motion Enkidu kicked himself backwards, landing on his shield and crushing the kobold into the floor. Panting, Enkidu looked up just in time to see another kobold holding a sharpened stick, preparing to plunge it into the prone Enkidu’s head. It let out a cry and lifted the stick higher. Its cry was cut short by a mechanical whirring and its head becoming putty. Enkidu looked over to where the whirring came from as the headless kobold fell to the ground.
Back near the entrance Enkidu saw Stral standing with his right arm outstretched, pointing toward where the kobolds head once was. In his hand was a metal contraption. It looked like a hand crossbow, but was missing any prod. Up his arm spiraled two tubes, one to load it with flechettes, another leading to an armoured steam reservoir on his shoulder. Stral dropped his arm to the side and turned to look at Gravrin who was just returning to his feet, shaking the grogginess out of his head.
“Did you already fall down?” Stral yelled back. “This is the first round!”
“Shut up!” Gravrin threw himself at the kobold who knocked him down. He easily parried the club out of the way and in a thunderous clap he brought both hammers to meet the kobold head, adding another headless reptile to the room.
By now Si was able to climb from the pit, soaking wet and dragging his full blade behind him. He found himself on the other side of the rectangular pit, close the the wall where kobold now pour out. Looking around the room, Si saw his teammates deep in a battle with waves of Kobold.
Gravrin and Enkidu stood off on their own. Enkidu alternated between slashing them and bashing them with his shield. Gravrin took a simplistic route of smashing as many kobold as possible. Near the entrance Stral and Garrick stood close, each firing as many projectiles as possible at the approaching kobold, creating a circle of dead reptiles around them. From his right, Si heard the approaching footsteps of a kobold.
“Finally,” Si smiled and tightened his grip around his fullblade. His left arm muscles tensed and pulled as he hefted the giant wicked blade toward the approaching sound. The kobold had leaped into the air, attempting to bash Si with a club. The shadar-kai unleashed a battle cry and with one hand imbedded the fullblade into the wall. Behind him were two sounds. The thump of the upper half of the kobold landing on the stone floor and the splash of the other half landing in the water. In another smooth motion Si grabbed his sword with both hands, yanking it out of the wall and spinning around to crash the flat of the blade into a kobold who was trying to sneak up on him. The kobold was crushed against the wall, emitting a small squeak as it was. Out of the corner of Si’s eye a white figure was sliding along the wall, White-Skin was trying to escape! “Stral! The white one’s getting away!” Si cried out as he slashed the legs from beneath another enemy.
Stral turned to look at the escaping Kobold, “Got him!” The githzerai aimed his steamgun at the quickly moving figure. He let loose a single flechette, which flew straight at the fleeing enemy. As White-Skin passed through the exit though, it kicked at a lever that was nearby. A mechanical grinding filled the room and a portcullis slammed shut, deflecting the flechette. “Shit, he got away.” Stral could only watch the figure disappear deeper into the cavern. He had no time to contemplate it though, as the kobold had not stopped flowing out of the wall.
“We need to block those holes!” Garrick yelled. He punched his crossbow into the chest of an approaching kobold, unleashing a bolt that sent it flying back into its allies behind it.
“Enkidu can deal with it.” Enkidu pushed one more kobold into the water pit before stomping his foot hard into the ground. The floor cracked easily and a fissure shot toward the spawning wall. Si noticed the fissure coming and dived out of the way just as the wall began crumbling, sending rubble down on the kobold who were just exiting the holes and trapping the rest inside.
Gravrin brought one of his hammers to bear on the final prone kobold, cracking the ground beneath its head. The party slowly began to wind down from the fight. Enkidu, Gravrin, and Si all began cleaning the blood off their weapons. Garrick collected the ears and Stral took a look at the portcullis that now blocked their way.
“The mechanics are on the other side,” Stral dropped to the ground from climbing the door. “I don’t think I can reverse the mechanism. But we need some way to get through, maybe I can-” Stral was cut off again by a hammer slamming against the porticullis, breaking the old metal apart, creating a void for the heroes to walk through. Stral sighed and covered his steamgun arm again, “Why do I even bring my tools if you break everything?” Gravrin said nothing, he just entered the hole in the portcullis, followed by the rest of the party. Stral sighed again and ducked through the hole, shortly before Enkidu squeezed through as well.
Garrick jogged across the room, his morbid bag of treasure bumping on his hip. “You know, if you stop squishing the heads, we should have more.”
The next room in the cave was a strange one. It was high and wide, in the middle sat four equidistant tombs, covered in skulls. Across from them were two high stone plateaus with a door set between them, the only other exit. The odd part though was a rope which was attached to the high center of the cavern. The other end of the rope was tied to a slimy medium sized boulder being grasped by White-Skin. It began yelling something in draconic. The party looked between each other and merely shrugged. The creature let out a sigh and began again in a nasally common. “Why are you here?”
Garrick took a step forward, “We were sent by the Lord Warden of Fallcrest to clear out Kobold Hall.” The tiefling hooks his crossbow to his back and takes another soft step forward, “But if you agree to all leave, then you can live through this.”
Stral leans to Si, “But if we don’t kill them we don’t get money.”
“Shut up Stral.” Si snapped.
White-Skin seemed taken aback at first. After a brief pause it leaned down to speak draconic to the area behind the door. The heroes hear some hushed draconic being spoken back. A few seconds later the Kobold turned back to the group. “Never! This is our home, we live here fair and square!” The creature stomped its feet on the ground, throwing a minor temper tantrum.
“Actually you killed the previous owners then moved in before their bodies were cold.” Gravrin pointed out.
“Yeah! But…well…you killed our Skull-Skull team!” White-Skin pointed a clawed hand at the party. Its voice echoed out as silence filled the room. At the back of the group, Stral slowly raised his hand.
“What’s Skull-Skull?” He asked.
“Skull-Skull is the sport of kings!” A cheer came from behind the door.
Gravrin stepped closer, “How is it played?”
“Do we really have time to-” Si started.
“First, you have the Skull-Skull stone.” The Kobold held up the slimy stone attached to the rope. “During a round you throw the stone at the skulls placed on the tombs. You receive one point for each skull that sticks to the stone.
“I like that game.” Gravrin said enthusiastically.
“You know.” The Kobold begins to coyly run its clawed finger over the slimy stone, drawing a criss-cross pattern on its exterior. “You could play with us, dwarf. If you want.” The Kobolds mouth cracked into a crocodile grin.
“I thought you said that the Skull-Skull team was dead?”
“Oh we can find more players.” It began to pace, “And you can be the team captain. There is just one thing you must do…kill your friends!”
Stral laughed, “Seriously? Gravrin would never do that, right Gravrin?” Stral looked at Gravrin who was contemplatively stroking his braided beard. “Gravrin!”
“I’m thinking!” Gravrin’s fingers played with one long braid.
“Gravrin!” Stral was dumbstruck that Gravrin would even consider it.
“Um…No, no that’s alright. I think we’ll just kill you.” The dwarf pointed one hammer at White-Skin hiding behind the boulder.
White-Skin roared, “Fine! Then we’ll just have to play Skull-Skull…with your skull!” With that the Kobold hurled the stone toward the group. The Seekers dived aside, Si could hear the stone whizzing past his ear before it continued on its path back to White-Skin. White-Skin laughed and passed the stone to another kobold before jumping down and disappearing behind the door. On both the plateaus kobolds charged up armed with slings and rocks.
The group scrambled to their feet and Garrick cocked his crossbow. “Spread out! Make sure the stone doesn’t have a stationary target!” He let the bolt fly, hitting a kobold slinger in the chest and sending it dropping to the ground below with a sickening thud. The rest of the party ran in their own directions, dodging the slung stones and the swinging boulder.
Stral slid over a tomb, knocking the skulls off before taking cover on the other side. Peering over the edge of the tomb, Stral saw Gravrin and Enkidu charge the wall the slingers were perched on. Gravrin saw the boulder flying down at him and attempted to knock it off course with his hammers. Though he was able to drive the boulder away with a hammer bash, it always returned to its original position. Continuing the charge, amid a storm of rocks, Gravrin and Enkidu collided with the wall, sending a tremor of such force that three more kobold streaming off the wall into the room. Kicking off a tomb, Si caught the three kobolds in mid-air with his fullblade, neatly bisecting them all in one slash and landing as six thumps echoed the room.
“Easy, easy” Si smiled and rested the fullblade on his shoulder.
“Si! The stone!” Stral called out too late, Si was able to dodge a full on hit from the boulder, but it still clipped his shoulder, sending him spinning into the wall. “Gahhhhh!” Touching his shoulder, Si could immediately feel the dislocation.
Garrick fired at at the boulder thrower, only to have him dodge it and catch the returning boulder. “Shit!” He made two hops before breaking into a run toward the fallen Si. Sliding the final distance, Garrick began checking up on Si. They were safe so close to the firing wall, but looking into the battlefield it didn’t seem to be going well. Enkidu and Gravrin were spending a majority of their time dodging stones and tossing skulls at the slingers. The skulls would do minimal damage and most of the offensive capabilities were coming from Strals steamgun. The enemy seem to realize this too and were keeping him pinned down.
A lucky shot from a slinger caught Gravrin in the temple, “Grahhhh!” Blood began to flow, blinding his left eye. He quickly wiped it away and turned to Enkidu, “Throw me.” Enkidu seemed confused for a moment until Gravrin pointed at the slingers still besieging them. The mountain man gripped Gravrin by his armour and with a mighty spin tossed the dwarf high into the air. The slingers stopped, in awe by the sight of a flying dwarf. This awe lasted until Gravrin brought his two hammers down on two kobold, smashing their heads. Now the kobold felt fear rather then awe as they were being thrown off their perch. Some died as they hit the ground, others were killed by Enkidu’s onslaught.
“Yeah that’s how you do it!” Stral laughed and pumped his fist. From the right he noticed the boulder swinging at him. Swinging his foot forward, Stral dropped onto his back, feeling the boulder brush his short russet hair as it whizzed by. He had no time to rest though, standing on the tomb that was his cover was a kobold armed with a broken sword. “Shit” Stral braced his feet against the tomb and pushed himself across the floor.
The kobold followed by jumping to the other tomb, preparing to strike Stral. The githzerai kept the movement of the slide and turned it into a roll. The kobold ran along the tomb, raising the sword to stab down at the fleeing hero. As his feet touched ground Stral reached into his rags and grasped his short sword. In a flash of steel and blood, Stral swept his arm across his body, holding the blade so it faced away from his pinky. The kobold swayed for a while on the tomb, it seemed amazed at what had just transpired upon it. A second later the once vicious kobold fell of the tomb, legs separated at the knee. Its body thumped on the ground but had no time to scream before Stral drove the short sword through the side of its head, splitting the cave floor below. Recovering, Stral looked back at the rest of the group who had just finished off the last of the slingers. Garrick was still tending to the injured Si. “I’m good!” Stral yelled and gave a thumbs up.
“The rock’s coming back.” Gravrin pointed out aloofly.
Stral dropped back into hiding, barely dodging the boulder again, “Still good!”
“Damn it!” Si stood up, grabbing his fullblade with his good right arm.
Garrick attempted to pull Si back down, “Hey! Your arm is still dislocated, if you overexert yourself it may never go back correctly.”
The tiefling was barely able to finish before Si rammed his left arm into the wall, “Grahhhh!” He cried. Placing his good hand against the wall, Si lift himself off it. “Come on!” Another cry and Si slamming himself against the wall again. He felt the shoulder ball pop back into its socket. Clenching his teeth, Si almost fell back to the ground but was able to catch himself with his fullblade. “I’m tired of this damned lizard!”
In single push, Si threw himself into the air. Both arms brought his sword driving into the wall. Si could feel his arm burn with every action but pleaded to the Raven Queen to help him through his attack. The sword supported the shadar-kai’s weight as he heaved on it to drive his body further up. Another quick movement and the sword was free from the wall. By now, Si was above the plateaus, a black figure wheeling through the air toward the only remaining kobold. Seeing this coming the creature tossed the boulder at Si. Garrick, Gravrin, Enkidu and Stral could only watch as the boulder flew on its death path toward Si. The instant of impact was void of a sound though, as the boulder flew true on it’s path, and Si was gone. The boulder lazily swung around the room and returned to the kobold. An instant of silence followed where every being in that cave looked around for the missing hero. They didn’t have long to wonder though, in a flurry of shadow Si appeared behind the kobold and in one might chop, severed its head.
Stral hopped into a sitting position on the nearest tomb, “If you could teleport, were the acrobatics really necessary?” He pointed out. Si said nothing but stared at him.
The clank of metal was heard as Gravrin returned his hammers to their resting places on his back. “So I was thinking, before we continue on, how about a game of Skull-Skull?”
“Enkidu does not think that is possible.” He pointed at where Si was standing. The boulder now sat on the plateau separated from its rope. The same slash that killed the kobold cut the Skull-Skull rope. Gravrin began to shake and stared at Si, who soon started to feel uncomfortable.
“Um, maybe we should just continue on.” Si was starting to sweat from the daggers Gravrin was sending him. “I think that white lizard went this way.” Si dropped down behind the door, but Gravrin never stopped glaring at him from his other plateau, even as he slid the gate open for Garrick, Enkidu, and Stral to walk through.
The tunnel behind the game room was lined with phosphorescent mushrooms. The cool blue bounced off the now weary adventurers and their shadows danced on the wall as the mushrooms faded in and out. As they approached the next room in the cave system, they began to notice a drop in temperature.
“Is that from a breeze?” Stral pulled his ragged cloak closer around his body. The metal of his steamgun was now cold to the touch and he could feel a thin layer of frost crunch beneath his feet.
“This far underground?” Garrick held himself, the fire-like blood in his veins keeping him warm.
Enkidu seemed to be the only one who wasn’t affected by the cold. “This weather is not natural.” He said. The rest of the group nodded and huddled themselves into their clothes, trying to preserve warmth. Finally, the warm, orange glow of a fire-lit room was seen in front of them. The tunnel slowly heated up as they neared the exit from the tunnel into the chamber. It wasn’t warm, but the heroes could bear it. The next room seemed to be ritualistic. The ceiling was high once again and various structures existed through the cavern. In the center was a sizable, square object. On top of it sat a torch.
Garrick took a step closer to the object. It appeared to be just less then twice his height, but possibly five or six of him wide and deep. “They must light this during ceremonies, to pray to someone.” His finger rolled along the stone structure, running over an indent that stretching in a rectangle from one side to the other. “Only the priest would be allowed to.”
“You mean that guy?” Gravrin was not paying attention to the object, rather his sight was directed to an alter positioned on the other side of the object. Stone steps led off the side of it, creating a ledge the height of the square structure. Standing on the alter was White-Skin. He was bowing to another kobold. This one was dressed in bone which appeared to be made from a small dragon. His tiny claw clutched a staff that was also made out of dragon bone. To his right was a huddled creature perched on what remained of a stone pillar. As the Seekers advanced they saw it unfurl its wings, revealing a drake. The reptilian creature spread its full wingspan before returning to a resting position. The heroes each grabbed their respective weapons, ready for battle.
The altar kobold raised one clawed hand and the drake let out a high-pitched warning cry, it was quite intimidating, for a kobold of course. The kobold spoke, “We were told of your approach. I am the high-priest, my service to our master has granted me the greatest name one can have, I am Wyrm!”
“Your greatest name is worm?” Stral quipped.
“It’s a well respected name!” Wyrm slammed his staff into the altar he stood on. The bone crackled with arcane energy. “We have given you numerous opportunities to turn back-”
“One” Stral held up a single finger.
Si leaned in close to Stral, “I think you’re upsetting him.”
Now it was White-Skin who spoke up, slowly meandering to the heroes. “Now you have reached the end of your journey. You adventurers think you can just go where ever you-”
Gravrin put his hand up to stop the kobold’s rant, “Okay, we just killed around a hundred kobold, and I’m getting bored, so we are just going kill you now.” A familiar mechanical whirring sounded through the hall and before the Kobold could react a flurry of flechettes were embedded into its chest, followed by a crossbow bolt being embedded in its head. White-Skin teetered precariously before collapsing to the ground.
Wyrm barely reacted to White-Skins death, “A fight it is.” With that, the kobold slammed his staff into the altar. The drake screeched and took off into flight, spiraling around the large cavern. Beneath the heroes feet came a rumbling. The floor trembled as though some giant monster was hurrying toward them. Looking around, they could see no such creature, yet the rumbling grew more viscous. Garrick took a step backwards only to have the floor he was standing on explode outwards. He was flung threw the air, landing hard a few feet away from the rest of his party. Looking back at the exploded floor, Garrick was amazed to see the rock had risen a boulder out of the ground. From above them, the drake seemed to laugh as he spiraled lower and lower. Enkidu was the closest to the boulder and stepped forward to look at it. Bending in, he saw that it was vibrating. In a flash the mul jumped backwards, knocking his allies farther away as well. He hit the ground just as the boulder exploded, raining rubble on the heroes. Where the boulder stood was now a giant creature made of rock. It made no sound, instead it merely ducked down and rolled at the prone heroes.
“Roll!” Garrick called from off the the side. Gravrin, Si, Stral, and Enkidu as rolled away in unison, the living boulder rumbling past them, then making a turn to disappear behind the square object. Still at the altar, Wyrm cackled.
Gravrin slammed his hammer into the ground and jumped to his feet. “I am going to smash his skull in!” Wyrm merely seemed amused at this outburst and tapped his staff twice on the ground. From behind him leaped up two more kobold. These ones were bigger then the other kobold, probably Gravrins height. They each wielded a blade that glistened in the lit of the brazers. The most interesting part though, was that they each carried a great shield made from the skull of a small dragon. Gravrin spoke to Si and Enkidu, “You two take the big guys, I’ve got the magic lizard. Stral, you and Garrick distract the boulder and the bird.”
“How do we do that!?” Stral cried. Behind him Garrick rolled out of the way of the boulder.
Gravrin motioned to Garrick, “Like that.” From above them came a loud screech as the drake prepared to dive bomb the group of them.
Stral, Gravrin and Si dove out of the line of fire, Enkidu on the other hand, held his ground. The drake shrieked and sped up his descent into the mul. Enkidu didn’t falter, he merely braced his feet and outstretched his arms.
Across the room Garrick just finished another dodge from the rolling rock golem. Looking back at his party he saw an incredible sight. Gravrin, Stral and Si all were strewn from their previous dive. In the center stood Enkidu, holding back a snapping drake. The mighty muscles of the mountain man tensed to throw the drake, sending it crashing off the side of the square structure. The drake scrambled to its feet and screamed at Enkidu before taking off into flight again. Garrick had no time to be impressed though, as he was right back to engaging the boulder.
Without words, the four remaining heroes all nodded at each other. Enkidu jumped and grabbed the ledge of the square structure to pull himself up, with Si swiftly behind him. Stral took off in a dead sprint, firing flechettes haphazardly at the spiraling drake, drawing its aggression best he could. Gravrin walked to the bottom of the stone steps that led to Wyrm. The two dragon shields stomped in front of him, but the priest waved them off, pointing toward Enkidu and Si who now stood tall on the square structure. They didn’t question the order, instead they one after the other leaped straight from the altar to the square structure, wasting no time to engage them.
Gravrin gently placed his pack of ale on the ground, somehow intact despited the battles before. He placed a foot into the step that laid before him, then another, his ascent accelerating with each step. The kobold did not move. It was only when Gravrin was in a dead sprint a few step below him that he reacted, driving his staff into the ground. Before Gravrin appeared a wall of ice, forcing him to stop, lest he crash into it. Wyrm cackled on the other side, his teeth chattering in a way that irritated Gravrin even more.
“Only a stalling tactic” He stated, preparing to chip through the wall.
Though they have been doing well so far, Stral and Garrick’s dodging was quickly tiring them. It was only a matter of time before one of them slipped up and became drake chow or floor mash.
Garrick quickly slid up next to Stral. “We need to deal with them, we can’t keep dodging.” He said before they both dove out of the way of the boulder.
“You’ll hear no disagreement from me.” Stral replied quickly before he had rolled away from the snapping jaws of the drake, finishing his roll by firing a couple shots at it. He missed the drake but hit the ceiling, sending some small rubble onto Garrick. “Sorry, Red.”
Garrick rubbed his head when suddenly a lightbulb went off, “I have an idea.”
The battle on the square structure was evenly matched. Enkidu, despite his size advantage, and one dragon shield traded parrying with their shields and swiping with their swords. Si was able to keep his on the defensive by never letting up his fullblade strikes. The ground around him was littered with cracks from where his great sword struck.
Enkidu’s opponent finally was able to get in a lucky strike, parrying the great mul’s longsword and spinning a slash across his thigh, dropping Enkidu to one knee. Si saw his battlemate drop, disengaging his dragon shield and sliding to Enkidu’s side. Si rested his giant blade across his back, blocking the strikes of Enkidu’s opponent as well as Si’s one that followed him. They both reared back for another strike, but weren’t quick enough for the recovering mul. Enkidu pushed on the fullblade, using it as a plow to toss the dragon shields to the other side of the structure. He easily tossed the sword back to Si, who in one smooth motion caught it and dropped to one knee, almost appearing to pray. Behind him, his flickering shadow began to warp.
All of a sudden chains shot from the darkness, past Enkidu to wrap around the kobold. They constricted the kobold until Si raised his hand, prompting them to toss the kobold upwards, bouncing off the ceiling. Their path of descent was abruptly halted by the waiting arms of Enkidu, who with the ease of a child tossing a pebble, tossed the kobold into the also waiting blade of Si. Four more thumps were heard in the cavern and Si added two more bisections to his collection.
Stral saw what looked like half a kobold fly off the top of the square structure. He had no time to think about it though, as the drake began another dive bomb, aiming directly at the githzerai. Stral leans back, letting his back go flat against the wall. The drake sees this and assumes that its prey has given up. It screeched and accelerated toward Stral, barely able to contain his urge to feast. The drake’s body skirted along the square structure. Suddenly from around the corner bursted Garrick, not stopping to look at the drake, only focused on running. This took the drake by surprise, its eyes follow the fleeing tiefling, the last mistake on its part. SQUISH! The drake had no time to make any noise before he was crushed by the boulder chasing Garrick.
“Ya HA!” Stral pumped his fist as Garrick ran up next to him, out of breath from his sprint.
“Well it actually worked.” Garrick seemed surprised at the outcome of his plan.
“Of course it worked!” Stral punched Garrick in the shoulder. They were so busy celebrating they almost forgot about the now bloody boulder that had turned around and was heading back toward them. They both realized in just enough time to dive out of the way. Garrick landed safely against the cavern wall. Stral though, found himself right against the square structure and the boulder still bearing down at him. His brain made a split-second decision and dropped to the ground.
Garrick could only watch in horror as the boulder rolled over the prone githzerai. He squeezed his eyes closed and braced for the inevitable squish and crack of Stral being crushed. A brief silence followed and Garrick dared to half open one of his eyes. Stral still laid where he had dropped, untouched by the rock. He had wedged himself in the corner of the floor and the square structure, the place where the boulder could not touch.
Stral laughed and picked himself off the ground. “I am invincible!” He pumped his fists into the air. The celebration was cut short by the low sound of stone sliding on stone behind Stral. The structure’s rectangular indent had slid down, revealing that it was hollow, and filled with half a dozen kobold armed with slings. They seemed surprised that Stral was standing so close, creating a brief awkward silence.
“Stral!” Garrick cried a warning, not about the kobold though.
Stral looked just in time to see a stone fist bearing down on him. His time in the monastery trained his brain to be sharp, quite possibly the only thing that allowed him to jump back from the attack, though wind still whipped across his body as it swung by and crashed into the square structure. Stral scrambled to his feet and prepared for the worst. The stone fist pulled back and Stral’s eyes followed the massive fist to the equally massive golem that now stood where the boulder once was.
At least twice the githzerai’s height, the golem was a menacing sight. Large boulders composed his muscles and gave him a sloping posture. His head was formed out of smaller rocks, creating a permanent scowl. His mighty steps shook the room as he approached the dwarfed Stral. All the hero could do in his shock was step back from the encroaching mass of earth. The corner of his eye caught some movement and he focused on what he now sees is a flying mul.
Enkidu had seen the transformed golem and without hesitation launched himself off the square structure. He landed on the golems back, digging his sword between the rocks to give him something to hold on to. Rearing back, Enkidu slammed his shield into the creature, digging out chunks of rock. The golem did not take kindly to this action and reached back, wrapping his stone hand around the still swinging mul. He swung his arm forward, tossing Enkidu across the room. His hide armour slid easily across the cave floor.
Stral ran over to the prone Enkidu, already attempting to get back on his feet. “Maybe you should stay down” He said. The mul evidently disagreed and instead charged right back at the golem, only to be knocked away again. This didn’t stop him and he just kept going back for more. Stral sighed “Where is Si?”
The kobold in the structure were having some problems, one of them died when the golem punched their hiding place, and now they couldn’t get a good shot because it was thrashing around too much. This couldn’t get any worse. Yes it could. It took ten seconds until Si left the structure through a hidden door, cheerfully, in fact.
Enkidu had been knocked back five times now, his chest burned but he was singleminded in his assault. The golem seemed to be getting frustrated that the nuisance he had to keep batting away, it was hard to tell cause his facial expression didn’t change. The next charge from Enkidu was met with a grab, followed by a slam into a nearby cave wall. Enkidu felt his ribs compress and his longsword dropped to the ground, but he never stopped slamming his shield into the golem. The beast looked up and saw a particularly wicked looking stalactite. Stral swore he saw it smile as it prepared to impale Enkidu. Then it still prepared. Then it prepared more. The golem seemed to have frozen in space.
Stral was perplexed by the sudden silence that filled the cave, only Gravrin’s tired banging on ice resonated. The golems hand flops open and Enkidu drops to the ground, pain shooting through his battered body. The golem’s arms crashed to it’s side and turned to face Garrick, who was pointing a glowing turquoise crystal at the massive construct. The crystals glow intensified for a second then the golem turned around and began an awkward run across the room.
Gravrin had been banging his hammers on the ice for the past five minutes, the strenuous activity now taking a toll on him. Sweat dropped down his nose and got caught in his beard. His hammers have worn a small hole in the ice, but nothing substantial. Wyrm cackled in his annoying way.
“Didn’t you say stalling tactic!? Hahahaha! What a fool! You ca-” The kobold was cut off by a column of stone smashing him against the wall, coming over the ledge where the ice wall didn’t cover. The massive rock arm of the golem pulled back, Wyrm caught in his grip. “What are you doing!?” Strange blood flowed from its mouth and nose. “I demand you destroy them!”
The golem made no noise, and neither did Wyrm after it clenched it’s fist, crushing the kobold in its massive rocky paw. The dragon bone staff slipped out of Wyrm’s limp hand and clattered on the floor. The golem almost seemed surprised at what it had done. Slowly the arcane energy left the boulders and they dropped to the ground, leaving nothing but a pile of blood soaked rocks where the mighty golem once stood.
With a thump and a stumble Gravrin jumped from the steps to the floor. He tossed aside a boulder to uncover the staff of Wyrm. “I bet this will prove to Markelhay that this damned place is empty” He walked away from the stone pile to his pack and placed the small staff inside, “Let’s get the hell out of here.” He swung it onto his pack and began leaving.
“Hang on,” Si called out, leaning lazily against the hidden door to the square structure. “You should see this.”
A short time later the ragged party stood around an open trap door, leading straight down deeper into the cave. Frigid air wafted from the hole, chilling the heroes to the bone.
Stral was the one to break the silence, “So, I suppose we are going down there?”
The rest of the party said nothing, Enkidu merely took the lead and started climbing down the ladder. One by one, they solemnly headed deeper, the cold cutting into their very souls.
At the bottom of the ladder they found a circular staircase. None of them knew how far underground they were now, the glowing mushrooms playing games with their brains. At the bottom of the staircase they were greeted with a more natural looking cave, natural except for the strange crystals that scattered the landscape, gently pulsing with arcane energy. What caught the group’s attention though, was across the cave, taking up most of the corner. Light glinted of each piece of a massive gold pile. Cautiously, they moved across the floor. The cold intensified as they got closer to the pile.
“Wait,” Garrick place his arm out to stop the rest of the party. “That’s a dragon horde.”
At the word “dragon” the rest of the party snapped to attention. Gravrin tapped one of his hammers on a nearby stalagmite, “Then where is the dragon?”
Stral slid closer to the glittering gold, “Maybe it left.”
“We are never that lucky.” Gravrin grunted.
Enkidu paid no attention to the squabbling of his friends. He had walked to what seemed to be a small frozen lake. He bent closer to examine the ice. It may have been the water, but he swore something was moving under there.
“Hey Enkidu,” Si called out, “What’s going on over there?”
BOOM! The ice exploded, showering the group in ice and water and sending Enkidu stumbling back. CRASH! The massive figure under the water landed hard in the center of the cave. The party spun to met eyes with a white dragon. Though young, the dragon still dwarfed the entire party. He sat majestically in the center of the cave, light glinting off his icy exterior, creating an eerie halo around it. The body of the dragon shook, send more ice around the room. It scanned the room, slowly taking in the surprised heroes.
“Who are you?” The dragons voice boomed through the entire room. Every syllable sent another blast of cold air at the heroes.
Garrick braved stepping forward, “We are the Seekers, we were sent here to clear out the kobold.”
“The kobold were my worshipers”
“You know” Stral whispered to Gravrin, “Maybe we shouldn’t tell everybody exactly what we are doing.”
“Alas, I can always find more.” The dragon had not shifted since he landed, keeping perfectly still as though he was frozen in spot.
“So, we can go?” Garrick said hopefully. “We didn’t mean to upset you.”
The dragon thought for a second, “Yes, you may go.” The group breathed a collective breath of relief. “But leave the mul, I have gone long without a meal and desire him.”
“Yeah that’s not going to happen,” Gravrin took a step forward and charged the dragon.
“Then your lives are forfeit.” The dragon does not move, he merely snaps his tail at Gravrin. The dwarf’s charge slowed until he was standing still. Gravrin exhaled a breath and the rest of the party watched as his mighty dwarven torso separated in two. His lifeless body fell in two pieces on the cave floor.
“No!” Si cried out and hefted his fullblade, also charging the dragon.
“Si! Don’t!” Garrick cried too late, the dragon gave one slash of his claw, cleanly chopping Si into four pieces. “Shit! Cover!”
The three remaining heroes scrambled through the cave, eventually hiding behind one of the crystals. The dragon bellowed a laugh and began stalking them. Stral popped from behind the cover and fired a flurry of flechettes at the dragon. They bounced off his scales and in a flash the mighty beast chomped his jaws around the gun arm of Stral. The githzerai let out a cry as the dragon wretched him out of his hiding place, sending him across the cave, slamming into an opposite wall close to the entrance.
Stral struggled to his feet, shoulder burning. “Son of a bitch!” He raised his arm to fire another flurry…only to raise nothing. The dragon’s grin held Stral’s now separated arm. A pained cry filled the cavern, silenced with a breath from the dragon, freezing the hero.
A glance was shared between Garrick and Enkidu, even the fearless mul seemed afraid now. Garrick rested his head on the crystal, the dragon paced playfully on the other side.
“Run.” Enkidu’s voice was soft. “Enkidu with distract the beast, you run.”
“I’m not going-” Garrick was cut off by Enkidu’s hand resting on his shoulder. The giant man nodded at Garrick then heft his shield off his back, rushing around the crystal, straight at the dragon. “No!” But Enkidu wasn’t listening.
The mul came face to face with the dragon. The dragon leaned close to him, “I’ve been waiting for you.” It growled. In a flash Enkidu drove his longsword into the soft nostril of the dragon. It bellowed in pain and reared back. Longsword still in it’s nose, the dragon trained his sight on Enkidu, who was prepared with his shield.
Garrick watched Enkidu dodge and weaved the dragon’s strikes. The size of the beast slowly it considerably, allowing Enkidu a greater chance to avoid. Of course he couldn’t keep it up forever, a whip of the tail was coming too fast to avoid, all he could do was raise his shield. The impact threw Enkidu across the cavern, landing hard on the floor. Instantly taking advantage of the knockdown, the dragon launched himself across the room, landing on top of the vulnerable mul. The dragon leaned close to him, Enkidu could feel the cold breath hit his bones.
Garrick sighed and placed his hand solemnly on the crystal. The glow intensified at his touch and warm seemed to fill him. Garrick raised his head to look at the crystal. Deep inside it he saw a little girl, his heart clenched, but she didn’t seem mad, she was happy and waving at him. He ran his fingers over the figure. He raised his head more and saw that a shard of the crystal had broken off from the rest. Garrick instantly understood and broke off the shard, loading it into his crossbow and marching to the dragon.
Enkidu was still pinned, but it kept the dragon still for Garrick’s shot. He aimed for where he believed the dragons heart would be. The crystal bolt flew true, leaving a trail of light as it few. Sensing something, the dragon turned to see the bolt making contact with his skin…and bouncing off, flipping through the air and imbedding into the ground. Garrick was dumbstruck. The dragon laughed so hard he fell down, allows Enkidu to scramble to his feet.
The dragon lumbered to his feet, still laughing. “What was that?”
No one could answer, as the next instant was filled with light. Garrick and Enkidu covered their eyes and the dragon was thrown back against the wall. The energy absorbed the heroes, and warmth filled their blood. Enkidu could feel his injuries heal. Soon the light subsided, leaving the cavern dark, but warm.
“What?” A familar voice said. Garrick and Enkidu turned around to see Gravrin back in one piece, holding where his cut once was. Beside him Si was groggily sitting up. “Si, did you die too?”
“Yeah, was kinda nice, met the Raven Queen.” His legs were weak up Si dragged himself up.
“That’s cool.” Gravrin replied.
Meanwhile close to the entrance the ice that covered Stral had melted. He groan wearily then snapped his left hand to touch his right arm. He was relieved to find a bare, but still there, arm. He let out a sigh of relief when he noticed a presence beside him. Thamoir stood surprised at the entrance.
“Whoa.” He looked around the cave. “Stral? Why am I in a cave.”
“Hell if I know,” Stral shrugged. “We died.”
“Wow,” Thamoir scratched his head, “You guys suck without me.”
The dragon had scrambled back to his feet. Fear now was apparent in him. “How are you alive!? I was told I was chosen! Who are you!?”
“I told you.” Garrick stepped forward, “We’re The Seekers.”
A bellow filled the cave, fear was exchanged with rage, “I killed you once! I can do it again!”
About the dragon a warp in space appeared, dropping boiling magma onto the beast, causing it to cry in pain. Thamoir held his burnt wand out. “Bring it.” The eladrin said.
The dragon jumped to the side, out of the magma but right into Si. A slash of his fullblade opened a wound on the dragon’s leg, causing it to fall onto it’s side. The dragon was now panicking and prepared for a ice breath. It inhaled, only for Enkidu to leap into the open maw. The cave fell silent.
“Did he just…?” Stral started. The mouthful of mul surprised the dragon, causing him to stop for an instant. An instant was all it took for Stral too take advantage. Picking up his fallen arm, he pulled the trigger on his steamgun, sending flechettes streaming into the dragon’s eye, blinding the beast. It instantly began thrashing, tossing Enkidu out of his mouth and firing ice breathes all around the cavern.
It was now that Thamoir noticed something on Gravrin. “Gravrin! Drop!” He yelled out.
Not know was it was, Gravrin immediately complied. Not just as he hit the ground did intense heat surround him. The pack of ale that Gravrin carried exploded under a wave of Thamoirs wand, engulfing the dragon in fire and sending Wyrm’s staff flying across the room. The dragon bellowed in pain, flames licking his scales and burning anything they touched.
From within the fire came quite a sight. A furious dwarf emerged, eyes as alight as the flames that surrounded him. His hair was burning, giving him a giant flaming beard. He let out a single bloodlust cry and leaped onto the back of the thrashing dragon, bringing both hammers down on it’s skull. The intense heat had actually started to turn the hammers into slag, but still he hammered. He pounded the skull until it was driven into the ground. He pounded until the skull was misshapen. He pounded until the fires dies out and the dragons head was putty, but still he pounded.
Finally his rage was abated, the head of the dragon was no more, the long neck leading up to a mass of gelatinous “hereyougo”. In an eerie calmness, Gravrin patted out his fire beard. He looked down at his now misshapen hammers, gave a sigh and tossed them away. Silence filled the caves, only the soft pads of Stral’s feet were heard as he walked up to Gravrin and held up is unattached arm.