“I wouldn’t say hate,” said Jandyr as the four Warriors crossed the entrance Hall to the other open archway.
“No?” said Short-arse, “What would you say about 4 people who spend most of their time arguing over the scraps of battle, who gets to enter a room first and who has to stand next to Trogdar in case he goes… y’know?”
Trogdar looked down at the Dwarf disapprovingly, “I do me best, same as everyone.”
“I would say we have robust discussions about the important factors affecting our current situation,” replied Jandyr. “Were we above ground, I’m sure we’d discuss who got to buy the first round at the local inn.”
“The Wizard,” agreed Trogdar and Short-arse in unison, sharing a grin as they did so. The Wizard opened his mouth as if to protest but said nothing, returning to the book in his knapsack.
“I’ll say one thing for that book,” said Short-arse as they entered the room through the arch, “it keeps him quiet.”
“There is a great evil about that book,” said Jandyr, surveying the new room which was barren except for a wooden door at the opposite end. Something was still pressing in his mind about it, but the journey through the void had suppressed it from his memory, which worried him all the more, “I can only see it bringing us misery.”
As he spoke the words there was an ominous rumble from the ceiling above the arch.
“CAVE-IN!” cried Short-arse, bodily shoving Jandyr out of the way as a ton of rocks rained down from the ceiling, blocking the way they had entered. Miraculously, the Warriors emerged unscathed.
“Thank you,” said Jandyr, recovering.
“Don’t thank me yet, Elf,” said Short-arse, sniffing the air, “I smell a trap.”
No sooner had she said this than the door burst open, spilling a large contingent of Skaven ratmen into the room, clawing and biting at Trogdar and Short-arse.
“TROGDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!” came the exultant cry as the Barbarian went berserk. He hacked left and right with his mace, breaking furred arms and caving in whiskered faces in a welter of blood. Short-arse’s axe rose and fell as she cleaved through the hated foe of her kin, beating them back down the corridor from whence they came. Still more pressed on, crushing those at the front who, with the musk of panic beginning to fill the air, were trying to turn and run from the homicidal warriors.
An arrow flew through the air between the crazed Barbarian and the blood-lust Dwarf as Jandyr regained his feet, taking the eye from the nearest rat who was trampled underfoot in the press of fur on flesh. A blue light radiated in the room as the Wizard cast his healing magic on the barely-registering Trogdar, numerous small wounds being knit together under the pressure of ice.
The flow of ratmen began to stem to a trickle until eventually they were all slain. As Trogdar bent double, heaving in great gasps of air, Short-arse noticed a dark shape propped up in the corner of the room. As she drew closer, the shape began to resolve itself into that of a mighty Iron Guard Dwarf; personal guard to the King.
Short-arse rushed over to the stricken Dwarf who was bleeding from numerous wounds beneath his torn, rent armour. “Wizard, come quickly!” she shouted, turning towards the entrance where the other startled warriors looked up from checking the corpses of those they had slain. The Iron Guard held out a hand to Short-arse, pulling her closer gently and shaking his head solemnly.
“We can heal you,” she said. “Well, sort of,” she added, remembering the pain she had gone through the last time she had been ‘healed.’
The Iron Guard shook his head and shifted his weight to reach over into his armour, obviously in great pain. He coughed and spat blood onto the stone tiles. Heaving madly, Short-arse looked into the Warriors’ mouth and could see that his tongue had been cut out.
“I’ll kill them,” she spoke softly, incensed.
“Kill who?” said Trogdar, who had wandered over by this point, holding a dagger with a large jewel in the pommel.
“Those vermin who did this to a Guard of the King!” she screamed, pointing at the Dwarf’s mouth.
“I think he did it to himself to keep from giving away your King,” said Jandyr, who was examining a seemingly blank piece of parchment.
Short-arse looked appalled at this suggestion, but as she prepared to launch an attack on Jandyr, she turned to regard the Iron Guard who nodded and smiled a bloody grin. He held out a key into her hand and pointed at his chest with his other hand.
“Awww, he loves you,” said Trogdar.
The Iron Guard’s face creased up in consternation and he began thumping at his chest and gesticulating towards an open doorway at the far end of the corridor.
“Drum? Gorilla? Help me out here Jandyr,” said Trogdar.
“I believe he wants us to loosen his armour so he can breathe more easily,” replied Jandyr.
The Dwarf rolled his eyes in frustration and began to trace runic letters in his own blood on the floor. He managed only two before death finally claimed him.
“What did he write?” asked Trogdar.
“C… H…” replied Short-arse, closing the deceased Dwarf’s eyes.
Trogdar thought about this for a moment, “Ohhhh, he wanted a chair…”