Trogdar thrust the lantern into the opening, feeling satisfied with himself. He was greeted by a million shining strands of fine spider web.
“Looks a bit grizzly in there,” he said.
“Speaking of which,” said Short-arse, “I’ve been meaning to ask how you got that bear-skin.”
“Oh well,” began Trogdar, “I’m glad you asked, see. Back in my village in’t’ North we had this problem with people disappearing when they were feeling a bit fed up. So I went into the woods to have a look for them, figuring they must’ve been killed or summat. Anyway, there in a clearing was this bloody great bear who must’ve eaten ‘em. So I killed it, skinned it and wear it as a trophy.”
“Only it looks a lot like the one from our Grand Meeting Hall...” said Short-arse.
“Made me a hero that did,” said Trogdar, wistfully.
Trogdar stopped in front of a grating in the floor, a primitive well with a bucket dangling on a chain which was affixed to the side of the grate.
“Here, Wizzy, fancy magicking up that bucket?” Trogdar asked.
Trogdar turned to illuminate the Wizard who had found a treasure chest in a darkened corner.
“Treasure...” said the Wizard, transfixed by the small wooden box and walking trance-like toward it.
“Hang on a sec there,” said Short-arse, “let me make sure it’s not...”
The sound of a spring uncoiling was heard as the Wizard opened the chest. Oblivious to the small dart which was now protruding from his neck and bleeding profusely, the Wizard pushed the lid all the way back and opened his eyes in wonder. Within the chest were 400 heavy gold pieces.
“MINE! MINE! ALL MINE!” screamed the Wizard, hastily stuffing the pieces into a number of well-concealed pockets within his robe.
“Now hang on a second...” began Jandyr.
“NO! MINE!” screamed the Wizard, stuffing the last piece under his hat before running around the advancing warriors and through the thick webs, trapping himself in the process. He struggled madly, pulling on the thick strings which ran to the central point of the well.
The effect was instantaneous, 12 giant spiders crawled out of the well and pounced on the warriors.
“AAAARGH!” screamed Short-arse, “I FRIGGIN’ HATE SPIDERS!” as she ran to the far corner of the room, tripping over as she went.
5 spiders fell in the first swing of that mighty blade. The 6th however turned its back on Trogdar and sprayed his face in silk. Stumbling away from the spider and clawing at his face, Trogdar fell into Jandyr who was lining up a shot.
One of the spiders turned to regard the Wizard who was dangling in mid-air, frantically trying to cut himself free. As the spider started crawling up the cobwebs towards him, the Wizard stopped struggling in horror, shut his eyes and started to chant.
“Incy, wincy spider, went up the water spout…”
“What’s he bloody doing?” asked Trogdar, pulling the web from his face.
“Down came the rain and washed the spider out…”
Springing to his feet, Jandyr answered with only mild irritation, “Black magic, very old, very powerful.”
“Out came the Sun and dried up all the rain…”
“Oh, it is not,” came the sharp reply from Trogdar, “it’s a bloody kids’ nursery rhyme!”
“So incy, wincy spider…”
“Whatever it is, it seems to be working – look!” said Jandyr.
Trogdar turned around to look at the Wizard. The spider had stopped inches from the Wizard’s face and was now regarding him curiously. Twitching it’s front legs, the spider started to sway in time with the chant.
As if in slow motion, the Wizard opened his eyes and turned to look at the spider. He opened his mouth and in a quiet voice completed the spell.
The spider exploded into frozen shards. The other spiders followed shortly after as each in turn was frozen from the inside-out. The webs in the room also froze and shattered, releasing the struggling Wizard who collapsed to the floor in pain.
Uncoiling from the foetal position he had adopted to avoid the sharp frozen shardS, Trogdar looked around at the scene of destruction. “That seemed to go well.”
“Healing Hands?” came the weak voice of the Wizard, raising his head and pleading towards the other warriors.
“NO!” shouted the others in unison.