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“Maybe it’s a ‘Y’?”

“Right, that’s it!” cried Trogdar as he stood from a crouched position, “If you’re just going to spend all day looking at that bloody door, I’m off!”

Trogdar walked over to the rope and started to climb out of the pit.

“Hang on a minute, I’m coming with you,” called Short-arse after him.

“It’s alright, I’m fine on my own, thank you,” said Trogdar, sensing an opportunity to relieve his frustration.

“You shouldn’t wander about on your own, manling,” her voice trailed off into the darkness.

-----

Jandyr and the Wizard watched the other 2 walk out of the chamber with only mild surprise.

“I’m not sure those two are the best of adventuring companions,” said Jandyr, turning to the Wizard who had a bulbous line of drool running from the corner of his mouth. “On the other hand…”

Suddenly, the Wizard snapped out of his fugue state.

“I sense a dark presence at work!” he said ominously, “The Winds of Power have deserted me!”

“Oh for fu…” was all Jandyr could mutter before the Skeletons they had previously fought started to knit back together in front of them. Three of the skeletal warriors pounced upon the defenceless Wizard whose face was twisted in contorted horror. Their swords bit deep as they attacked him, causing grievous wounds and spraying blood in a viscous arc across the large wooden door. Imperceptibly, it pulsed with dark power as it tasted the blood of a magic-user.

Jandyr fought with the skill of his ancient race and deftly removed the heads of his 2 opponents. “Assistance!” he called out to the doorway, but it was too late, the Barbarian and Dwarf were long-gone.

The Wizard had curled into a foetal ball, heavy blows still pounding down upon him. Had the Winds of magic forsaken him utterly? Was this to be the end of the legendary Wizard who had fought and survived the massacre of Snakebite Pass? A small tear started to form and fall from the Wizard’s eye, and as it did so he was startled to feel that it began to freeze on his cheek.

Suddenly renewed, the Wizard held out a crooked arm and with his last remaining reserves of energy screamed “FREEZE!” The skulls of the 3 skeletons started to cover in thick, dark blue ice. The weight of it snapped the supporting neck bones and sent the frozen skulls plummeting through the bony bodies to the ground below where they shattered into thousands of pieces.

Jandyr rushed across to the Wizard and knelt by his head, “You’re badly wounded, remain still and use your power to heal yourself.”

“Is that a healing potion?” asked the Wizard, gazing up at the Elf’s waist.

“You’re not that badly wounded after all,” the Elf said quickly.

-----

Trogdar was pacing the corridor outside. He had tried to escape the Dwarf, but to no use, and he was surprised at just how fast she could move on such little legs.

“Look, you don’t have to worry about me, I can sort myself out…” he said, before muttering under his breath, “…given half a chance.”

“Don’t be silly, you shouldn’t wander off on your own down here,” puffed the Dwarf as she leant against the wall to catch her breath, “and besides, you’re the only one of us who’s got a light.”

“Fine, you take it,” he said, swinging it round and throwing it toward the exhausted Dwarf.

Short-arse ducked instinctively and the lantern cracked against the wall.

“Watch it Manling, I’ve a good mind to…” she started before pausing as a loud grating sound came from the wall behind her. The lantern had hit a small switch and now the wall was starting to move, revealing a corridor beyond, illuminated by a flaming torch ensconced in a bracket on the wall.

“There you go, a light for you,” said Trogdar, stopping only to pick up the bashed lantern as he marched off into the newly-found passageway.

Short-arse looked on in shock at the violence in the Barbarian’s words and actions. She had heard about the wild men of the North and how sometimes they were driven towards blood-lust and, if unchecked, towards the all-embracing arms of Chaos, but until now she had never encountered it. She would need to keep an eye on him, for all their sakes.

She paused for a brief moment to look back toward the Elf and Wizard, worried about leaving them to their own devices in the dark, before picking up the torch and following after Trogdar.

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