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He did not feel fine. Far from it in fact. He felt numb, his entire being ripped out of his shambling body as it traipsed behind the others, trusting them to guide him.

He felt the Winds of Magic only faintly, their comforting presence sadly missing, their faint gossamer strands feeling just out of reach.

He closed his eyes as he walked, feeling his mind swirling with images of death, a sharp knife in the past, a beast in the present, a frozen lake in the near future, and in the far future…

His eyes snapped open in fear. How many times had he tried in vain to suppress this image? How long had he sought to change his fate?

He could hear the inane sounds of conversation like distant echoes, though they were just mere background noise compared to the humming that reverberated in his head.

“And as for Scabdick…”

A sudden sensation caught him by surprise. His shoulders crawled with tiny pinpricks of feeling, his back shivering in empathy.

He glanced down at the palms of his hands, coated with a thin film of sweat. As he turned them over, he saw movement. His flesh rippled and burst, revealing hundreds of tiny purple spiders which swarmed over his hands and began to crawl up his arms.

“Ah!” he exclaimed.

The others paid him no attention. Could they not see them? There were millions now, flowing across his body like a tidal wave.

“Aaargh!” he screamed.

“What’s up now?” cried Trogdar, never once looking back as he trudged through the corridor and re-entered the main chamber, fiddling in his loincloth for a key he had found which he hoped would unlock the door they found earlier.

“AAAAAARGH!” screamed the Wizard once more.

The spiders were wrapped around his neck and crawling towards his open mouth. He closed it swiftly, but it took all his remaining composure to keep from crying out.

“MMMMMMPH!” he cried, flailing his hands wildly around his neck.

“What the hell is wrong with-“ Trogdar began, turning away from unlocking the door and looking at the Wizard. He was in obvious distress, but Trogdar could see no sign of the cause.

“What did you give him?” asked Short-arse, looking angrily up at Jandyr.

“This is not of my doing,” replied Jandyr with concern.

The spiders swarmed over his face now, creeping into the nooks and crevices of his face. As they began to flow into his eye sockets, he felt a wave of nausea and an all-consuming blackness enveloped him as he felt his limp form crash to the floor.

“I believe he may have been poisoned,” said Jandyr, examining one of the wounds he had healed scant minutes earlier which had reopened and was oozing black pus.

“Can you do something?” asked Trogdar.

“I believe his body is healing itself,” replied Jandyr, indicating the thick substance being excreted from the Wizard’s wounds.

“Well I’m not bloody carrying him again,” said Trogdar plainly. As he did so, a fresh wind blew open the unlocked door, making the lantern light flicker.

“I believe the Winds of Magic may have been disturbed by the Wizard’s calamity,” said Jandyr.

A steady drumbeat began to sound from the corridor beyond. The clank of armoured footfalls reverberated around the chamber.

“Err, lads…” said Trogdar worriedly as he peeked around the doorway, “…and lass. Think you’d best come look at this!”

Jandyr and Short-arse followed the Barbarian into the corridor beyond to be encountered by a wall of muscle and armour marching down the corridor towards them. A horde of Black Orcs led by a burly drummer was coming to meet them.

“I’ll kill that bloody Wizard if he’s not dead,” muttered Trogdar as he drew his weapon and charged.

“Get in line,” replied Short-arse.

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