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“This must open that door near the entrance,” said Trogdar, hurrying on back down the corridor outside, juggling the key in his hands.

“Or it could be for the portcullis,” intoned Jandyr, having one last look around the secret entrance for any spilled coinage.

“Shut up you,” said Trogdar, now at full march.

Short-arse trudged along at the back with the wizard holding onto her hand, a thick layer of ice covering both their arms. The Dwarf was looking particularly despondent.

“Come on Short-arse,” Trogdar said, “things’ll pick up soon.”

“Optimistic prick,” came the muffled reply.

“Oh come on, what could be more fun than an adventure in the deep!”

“Do you even remember why we’re down here?” asked Short-arse. “Our Lord is missing, his Son dead somewhere in these caverns and with him the Grunsson axe, the most treasured possession of Karak Azgal. What is there to be cheery about?”

“Just think of all the women we’ll get when we get out of here!”

Short-arse just shook her head and carried on trudging. Suddenly, the Wizard let go of her hand and stopped dead.

“The winds of magic have forsak...” was all he could manage before Trogdar’s beefy hand covered his mouth.

“Quick, leg it,” he said, carrying the wizard over his shoulder and running through the Guard Room.

Before long they arrived back at the locked door. Trogdar gently placed the Wizard back on his feet.

“Now, you’re not going to do anything stupid are you?” he asked the Wizard.

“I shall move forward and...”

“Good lad,” said Trogdar, walking toward the door and fishing the key out of his trunks.

“You know,” said Jandyr, “we could go back to the City and train a little before we carry on? I’m sure between us we could scrape enough Gold together to allow one of us to...”

“Mine!” exclaimed the Wizard, pulling his robes close about himself.

“Shut up lads, listen,” said Trogdar, his ear pressed against the door. “There’s something going on in there, sounds like a fight!”

Trogdar turned the key in the lock and gently prised open the door. Inside he saw the gigantic form of a Minotaur chained by the arms to the walls in the far corner of the room. Stood in front of it were 3 Orcs, 2 with pelts clearly made from deceased Minotaurs, the third holding a club and beating the captive which made bestial groans as he was dealt another blow.

“Ya have ta do it careful, uvverwise ya ruin da fur” said one of the pelted Orcs.

“Evil gits!” growled Trogdar, his ire rising immediately. “LEAVE IT ALONE!” he roared as he charged into the unpelted Orc, taking its head off in one fell swoop.

“That poor creature,” said Jandyr, moving into the room and loosing an arrow towards the other Orcs, which missed.

“I shall move forward and... MONSTERS! KILL THEM, KILL THEM ALL!!!” said the Wizard, raising his hands out in front of him. “FREEZE!!!”

The Minotaur was immediately encased in ice up to the neck, and sharply-pointed icicles grew from the Minotaurs outstretched arms, spearing the two remaining Orcs and killing them instantly.

“Is there anything we can do for it?” said Short-arse grimly as she walked into the room.

“Maybe we can talk to it,” said Trogdar, “Errr, Raaaargh-grrrrrrr Raaargh-raaargh?.”

“Maybe we should put it out of its misery,” said Jandyr solemnly.

“It doesn’t look too badly beaten,” said Short-arse.

“I meant having to listen to him,” replied Jandyr.

“KILL THEM ALL!!!” shouted the Wizard, his fingers stretching out as he channelled the Winds of Magic.

The Minotaur’s head raised one last time in defiance before it too was encased in ice. The weight of the giant form shattered the ice statue, and the pieces fell scattered to the floor.

“Was that really necessary?” asked Short-arse.

“Mine,” muttered the wizard as he picked up the Minotaur’s slightly damaged horns. They’d fetch a bit of cash even in their semi-ruined state.

“We need to curb that reckless impulse you’ve got Wizard, you’ll be turning one of us to ice next,” said Trogdar.

“He nearly bloody did back there,” muttered Short-arse, still sore from the ‘healing’ process earlier.

“Let’s get on then,” said Trogdar, a surprisingly wistful look on his face at the waste of life.

Jandyr stooped to pick up the pelts from the dead Orcs. He glanced up to see Short-arse giving him a look approaching disgust.

“Waste not, want not.”

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