“I think the chain will move now,” said Short-arse, shaking off the Goblin’s ominous warning. She took a position some way away from the well, encouraging Jandyr to stand closer.
“Indeed,” said Jandyr, scanning the room for blood traces of the Skaven he had wounded, but finding nothing.
“Budge up, I’ll help,” said Trogdar, wearily getting to his feet. Together the three of them pulled at the chain, straining against something which was still holding it down.
“One… big… tug…” grunted Trogdar. Jandyr smiled as the chain finally shifted, dislodging a huge weight which flew high into the air, a great jet of filthy water propelling it like a rocket into the ceiling. It crashed down next to the Wizard who jumped, startled at the sudden noise, engrossed as he was in the book.
“Everybody out!” cried Short-arse as the water began to fill up the room and corridor beyond.
“Where can we go?” said Jandyr, “The tunnel is blocked, we’re trapped in here.” As if to emphasise his point, a large stone stab crashed down over the doorway, dislodged by some ancient mechanism. The water began to fill up the room even faster.
“You just had to say it, didn’t you?” said Short-arse, annoyance clearly visible on her face.
“There must be some way out of here, where did the other ratmen go?” said Trogdar, showing remarkable insight.
“Trogdar is correct,” said Jandyr, “search the room, leave no stone unturned.”
“I’m not exactly buoyant in this armour, you know,” said Short-arse, the water now reaching her chin and still climbing. The Wizard floated past her on his back, idly turning the pages of the book.
“There’s nothing down here!” said Trogdar, frantically searching through the filthy water.
“How about up there?” said Jandyr, looking towards the ceiling. He had spotted the tiniest speck of blood on one edge of the wall near the ceiling, away from the rest of the viscera of battle.
“Heeeelp!” gurgled Short-arse, the water by now covering her head. Trogdar reached down and pulled the Dwarf out of the water with one arm, holding her dangling above the waterline.
“Can you get up there if you stand on me shoulders?” said Trogdar.
“I don’t think so,” replied Short-arse, reaching for the ceiling but falling short.
“Jandyr, climb on!” shouted Trogdar. The Elf bounded up the Barbarian’s back and stood on top of the Dwarf’s shoulders.
“Hey, watch it!” cried Short-arse.
The leaning tower of terror slowly waded across to the wall, avoiding the floating Wizard and teetering as it went. Jandyr slammed into the wall as Trogdar stopped as close as he could manage, the water now up to his chest.
“There is a trapdoor here, just give me a moment,” called Jandyr.
“Take your time,” said Trogdar, hypnotically watching the Wizard torpedoing around the room. “Have you thought about freezing the water?” he called out.
The Wizard looked up for a moment at the warriors. “You seem to be doing ok,” he said, returning to the book.
Trogdar shook his head and craned his neck upwards, “Any closer?”
A loud click and the scrape of stone on stone told him that Jandyr had succeeded. The weight on his shoulders subsided slightly as the Elf vaulted into the alcove above, and then reduced further as the Dwarf was bodily lifted after.
He turned to the Wizard, “Need a hand?”
“I’m good,” said the Wizard, not even looking up from the book.
“Come here,” said Trogdar with annoyance, scooping the Wizard under one arm and holding his other up where it was grabbed by Jandyr. With more than a little struggling, the two men were lifted into the ceiling and the stone slab replaced, sealing the watery tomb.
“I’d have floated out eventually you know,” said the Wizard, nursing his bruised ribs.
“You’re welcome,” replied Trogdar, shining the lantern into the new room. They had emerged into an attic, the sloped walls and dusty beams revealing that the room was used little often. There were several large barrels piled haphazardly around the floor, and as the Barbarian strolled closer, the pervasive smell of…
“Beer!” cried Trogdar.
“Now calm down,” warned Short-arse, “we still have foes to kill.”
“Sod that,” said Trogdar, charging for the nearest barrel. He picked it up and shook it, listening for the tell-tale slosh to check it was full. “I’ve been underground for the best part of three days now, probably more, who knows with that swirly-whirly drop thing. I need a drink!”
He set the barrel down and then smashed in the top with his mace. The beer began to foam within and he picked the barrel up with his bare arms, flipping it over and guzzling it down.
“AHHHHHHHHHHH! S’good stuff!” he said, setting the barrel down and looking for another.
“I think we should intervene,” said Jandyr, holding his nose at the smell of the cheap ale.
“I think you’re right,” said Short-arse, dipping a finger in the remnants of the ale and gingerly tasting it. She pulled away, repulsed. “That stuff’s as weak as an Elf’s…” she stopped short, the look on Jandyr’s face a warning.
“I DRINK I’M THUNK!” said Trogdar, setting another barrel down and collapsing on the floor.