“Come on, let us in on the secret,” grunted Trogdar with effort as he smashed in the skull of a Night Goblin archer.
“What secret?” replied Jandyr, struggling to grab hold of a Snotling who was madly scrabbling around his tunic while another held his sword arm down by his waist.
“How do you know all these things?” said Trogdar as he buried his mace in the chest of another archer, “How did you know the chest might be booby-trapped f’rinstance?”
“Because he’s a lucky so-and-so,” chimed in Short-arse, stamping on a Snotling and swinging her axe at a Goblin archer who had fired at her moments before.
“Not at all,” replied Jandyr, fishing the Snotling out of his tights and smashing it against the wall, “I remind you that the Wizard seems to be doing the best out of all on this sojourn.”
The Wizard was sat in one corner happily reading his book while a Snotling he had enchanted stood guard, angrily brandishing a sharp set of teeth.
“But there’s more to it than that,” continued Jandyr, “I feel like I’ve been here before, performed these actions with a few small variations, maybe in another life…”
The other three Warriors stopped and stared at the Elf whose mind was now lost in reverie. The sound of the earlier explosion had alerted the Night Goblin archers who had sprung their ambush when the party returned from the treasure room. The Snotlings had shown up not long after, attracted by the sounds of battle, and they had found great pleasure in tying the Elf up in knots.
“So, back down this way?” said Jandyr, returning to the present and killing the last of the pesky greenskins.
“Aye, why not?” said Trogdar, marching off ahead. The turning they had forsaken earlier led off into the darkness, which refused to illuminate the way even when Trogdar held the lantern up ahead.
“Something not right about this place,” said Short-arse, spitting to ward off evil magics, “if our WIZARD had been paying more attention all this time instead of searching through that damn book of his…”
The Wizard looked up from his studies at the mention. “To be perfectly honest gentlemen and lady, you’ve hardly needed my expertise at all in this place. There haven’t been hordes of rampaging beasts ready to slit our throats at a moment’s notice, nor grievous wounds that have required my ministrations. I have been engaged in pursuits far beyond your mortal understanding and if you would allow me to continue, I think that by completing them, it would benefit us all if we were to continue our current arrangement. So please, stop with the insulting comments, the elbows in the ribs and leading me around like a dog on a leash. I am perfectly capable of tending to myself. Thank you.” At this he returned to the book.
There was astonished silence for at least a minute before Trogdar said, “Has anyone got any mushrooms for him?”
The Warriors continued down the gloomy passageway without speaking for a few minutes. Despite the glow of the lantern, the passageway never got any brighter the further they walked along it. Soon they were completely surrounded by darkness.
“Not sure I like this,” said Trogdar.
“What do you mean, ‘no grievous wounds to heal’?” said Short-arse, clearly irate, “Those Black Orcs nearly killed us!”
“Don’t be racist,” said Trogdar, pressing on.
“And I’m pretty sure we asked for your help in that filthy water trap, didn’t we Jandyr?” Short-arse continued.
There was no reply from the Elf.
“Jandyr?” said Short-arse, a surprising note of concern in her voice.
“He’s not there!” said Trogdar in amazement, “Come to think of it, I haven’t heard the Wizard shuffling about in a while either.”
The two Warriors stood in the darkness, suddenly aware of their isolation.
“Well where have they wandered off to?” said Short-arse turning around to look for them. As she did so, the light from the lantern began to fade until slowly it vanished, leaving her alone in the dark.
“Noooooooooooo!” she said in a panic, feeling for the comfort of a wall but finding nothing but cool air, “Don’t leave me here alone…”
Suddenly, she felt a force pulling at her, as if a rope had been latched around her waist and was now being drawn in. She fought against it with all her might, but the force was too strong, pulling her off her feet and dragging her down a steep slope. She was falling fast now, gathering momentum. She screamed, closing her eyes.
“Y’alright Short-arse?” came the reassuring voice of Trogdar.
“Where the hell did you all go?” said Short-arse, opening her eyes and coming out swinging. It dawned on her suddenly that she was back in the store room where they had first dragged the paralysed Trogdar.
“One-way portal,” said Jandyr, indicating the smooth wall where they had come from, “very clever magic. Someone with some great power had something to do with that.”
The Wizard let out a small cough from behind his book.
“Grimcrag!” said Short-arse, suddenly realising where she was. She rushed to the statue of the great Dwarf Lord, still perfectly preserved in the throes of battle. “Trogdar, hand me the dagger, quickly!”
“It’s my dagger!” said Trogdar, possessively clutching the dagger to his chest.
“Do you want to be paid for this venture?” said Short-arse, getting to the heart of the matter quickly. Trogdar quickly handed over the dagger. “Forgive me Lord Grimcrag if this does not work,” she said as she raised the dagger high above her head, plunging it into the statue’s chest.
The store room began to shake and dust fell in great plumes from the rafters. Thin cracks appeared all over the surface of the statue with a red light emanating from within. A high-pitched whine began to sound as the gem in the dagger began to turn blood red, revealing the tiny Dwarf who smiled in triumph before disappearing into the blade which shattered as the statue simultaneously exploded in a blaze of orange light.
As the Warriors recovered their senses from the spectacle, they could hear a mighty bellow sounding and the swing of an axe through the air. The Wizard, who had crouched down protectively, looked up to see the Grunsson axe hovering mere inches from his face and fainted.
“My apologies,” came a deep voice. Standing before the warriors was a Dwarf dressed in gleaming Mithril armour and wearing a crown of purest Gold. He had a blue cape fastened at the neck with a pendant of a mailed fist and rings covering each of his stubby fingers. Grimcrag Grunsson had returned to the living. “There was a Goblin Shaman there not a moment ago.”
“My Lord,” said Short-arse, dropping to a knee, “This may take some explanation…”