Most of the scribbles were plain gibberish, he could see that now, but there was something of great importance in this book, he was sure of it. He just had to find the right page.

“Watch where you’re treading lad, you nearly stood in a load of sh…”

The Barbarian’s wafflings were distracting, but at least he didn’t judge him like the beady-eyed Elf. He could feel him now, keen eyes staring at him. He could tolerate him for now while he was of use, but if he started to get in the way, he may have to do something about it…

“Ohhh, maybe he meant chest?”

He rolled his eyes in disgust. The short one could overlook things so easily sometimes for one so low to the ground. Ha! That was a good one. He’d have to write that down later, once he’d discovered the secret of this book.

“Can you sense anything magical about the chest, Wizard? Any traps?”

Stupid Elf. Of course he couldn’t, he hadn’t sensed the Winds of Magic properly since he’d taken the book. It didn’t concern him now, all that mattered was to find it. Find the way to cheat death.

“It’s Dwarven design, I shouldn’t imagine it’ll have magical traps,” said Short-arse, “though it might have a few mechanical ones. Let me check a second.”

They’d entered a small dark chamber with a large well in the centre and a grate in one corner. A foul smell emanated from one or both, it was difficult to tell which.

“That should do it,” said Short-arse as a satisfying click sounded, deactivating a trap designed to shatter a small glass canister containing some nefarious poison gas upon opening. Short-arse turned the key in the lock to find the vestments of a Warrior, a helm, cloak, sword and amulet. Buried in one corner was a small lump of coal wrapped in a fine linen handkerchief.

“A rock, eh? Best give it to the Elf for his collection,” said Trogdar with a wolfish grin, taking the helm and placing it on his head.

“I believe coal is more suited for Dwarfs,” replied Jandyr, wrapping himself in the cloak, “suits their constitution better.”

Short-arse shot the Elf a look, but took the stone anyway.

“Well, it looks like we’re trapped in here,” said Trogdar, casting the lantern into the shadows, “See anything, Jandyr?” The Elf shook his head, but there was a strange look on his face.

“Let’s see if they shoved anything down the well,” Trogdar continued, hoisting the chain from the floor and straining against whatever was fastened to the other end. Whatever it was won the battle and the chain did not move. “Give us a hand someone?”

“Oh, no,” said Short-arse, “I remember what happened the last time we pulled on a strange chain in a strange well.” She rubbed her hand in sympathetic pain, “I’ll have a look in this grate… if I can stand the smell.”

“I’ll help,” said Jandyr, appearing suddenly behind Trogdar, startling him.

“Will you stop doing that!” Trogdar said.

“We’re not alone,” Jandyr whispered under his breath, “we’ve been watched this whole time.” He motioned towards the ceiling by flicking his eyes quickly upwards.

Trogdar firmly took hold of the new dagger he had found and raised the lantern towards the corner of the ceiling. There he saw one of the foul ratmen, cloaked in black and carrying 2 long blades coated with a green film. The creature hissed at his discovery, tensing himself for the strike.

There was a clatter of iron as the grating was removed from where Short-arse was looking. “Just some old bones,” she said as she reached her arm back out of the noxious pit. As she did so, her glove began to hiss and melt, a green film coating it.

This seemed to be a signal as 3 of the foul ratmen dropped from the ceiling to attack the warriors, blades flicking out looking to poison the unwary. From the well, 3 goblins dressed in the same manner emerged, their blades looking to strike low, chopping at ankles and knees.

“Watch for the furry ones!” cried Jandyr, narrowly dodging a strike aimed for his throat by bending his back almost in half. As he returned to a standing position, he noticed that the blade had been held in the tail of one of the verminous assassins.

“They’re all furry!” replied Short-arse, grunting as she faced off against one of the Goblins who was wrapped in a fur cloak. The creature feinted as if to step back and then leapt forward, bringing its dagger down towards Short-arse’s eye. She met it with an upwards stroke of her axe, cleaving it in twain.

“The non-green ones then!” shouted Jandyr, sending an arrow into the leg of the tail-bladed warrior.

Trogdar had received a number of small wounds, some of which bled profusely, refusing to close. He faced off against one of the ratmen, who was taunting him, holding his dagger in mock imitation of the far larger barbarian. Trogdar gritted his teeth, shining white in the gloom and charged forwards, burying the dagger up to the pommel into the Skaven’s neck. As he did so, the jewel turned from clear to blood red, and a small Dwarf could be seen clearly within, cheering in victory. Trogdar blinked in confusion, the figure vanishing as the Skaven collapsed to the floor.

“FREEZE!” came a thunderous cry from the Wizard, illuminating the room in bright blue light for an instant, trapping the remaining two Goblins up to their necks in ice. As the glow vanished, so did the two remaining ratmen.

“Why didn’t you do that earlier?” asked Short-arse, annoyed.

“I was… distracted,” replied the Wizard.

“You’ve been distracted for quite long enough,” said Jandyr, indicating the book that was even now in the Wizard’s hand. “The Barbarian requires your assistance, please do so.”

The Wizard trudged off towards Trogdar who had collapsed against a wall, his wounds still bleeding furiously. The Elf and Dwarf shared a look before returning to the Goblins. As they approached, they noticed that they were still barely alive... and laughing.

“What is so funny?” asked Short-arse.

“Yer doomed ya skabby lot!” grunted the nearest, in obvious pain. “Skrunch’ll ave ya fer breakfast!” said the other before the air was driven from his lungs, the weight of the ice finally crushing the pair to death.