“Can you be sure it was he?” asked Jandyr.
“I know that axe!” said Short-arse, “I thought it was just a magnificent carving, but now I see this…” Her voice tailed off as she read through other papers on the table.
“Blimey!” said Trogdar, “This is a turn up for the books, innit?”
“Anything else on there?” asked Jandyr, “Something about treasure, maybe?”
“There are many letters from someone addressing himself as ‘Deathmonger, Bloodlord of Khorne,’” replied Short-arse, continuing to search in haste.
“Sounds a cheery bloke,” said Trogdar, recognising the Chaos God of War and tensing his neck involuntarily.
“Carve up the Empire… Chaos Gate in the Hallway… Stone covered in black… Nothing about reversing the petrification process,” said Short-arse with frustration, “He truly is lost then.”
“Hang on,” said Jandyr, reaching into his tights. He rummaged around for a short while before producing the blank parchment he found earlier. “Try pressing this against the table.”
He handed it to Short-arse who took it with an outstretched arm as if it were a loaded weapon. She pressed it to the ink-stained table where it started to reveal writing:
Wiv snot of Orc and Blood ov troll, yoo can coat yoor gems in coal
Wiv magic sword and red Blood gem, yoo can take der soul from dem
Wiv magic word and lock of clay, yoo can keep fings locked away
“I think we can save him!” said Trogdar, hurrying off, “come on, let’s find him quick!”
The other warriors hurried after Trogdar, who had marched through the doorway the large Skaven had escaped through.
“What do you mean, we can save him?” said Short-arse, hurrying as fast as she could.
“I didn’t want to say anything in case you thought I was still drunk, but I’ve been seeing a funny little Dwarf in the gem on this dagger.”
The other warriors looked at Trogdar as if he had suddenly grown an extra head.
“I though that’s how you’d react,” he continued, “but look at the second spell on that scroll – magic sword, red blood gem. It goes red when I kill something and then the Dwarf appears. I think it’s the soul of Grimcrag! It looks a bit like the statue anyway.”
Short-arse looked at Trogdar with a mixture of exasperation and desperation. “If you’re lying to me, manling…”
“What have you got to lose?” asked Trogdar.
Short-arse thought about this for a second and carried on marching, pressing ahead of the rest of them. The path split ahead, branching off to the right.
“Which way?” asked Trogdar, for once struggling to keep up with the Dwarf.
“Straight on,” said Short-arse, “We go straight on until we get back and rescue him.”
The room straight ahead was dark with no obvious means of entrance other than that which they had already come through.
“Very well,” said Short-arse, “We go the other way until we find and rescue him.”
“Hang on,” said Trogdar, shining the lantern towards the far end of the room. The light glinted off metal dimly, revealing at first one, then two closed chests. Finally, it shined on a third which shined back just as brightly, overflowing with Gold!
“Gold!” said Trogdar, transfixed.
“Now hang on!” said Short-arse.
“Gold!” said Jandyr, entering the room.
“I was here first!” said Short-arse, attempting to hold the taller warriors back.
“GOLD! MINE!” shouted the Wizard, pocketing his book for the first time in a while and charging towards the open chest.
“Oh no you don’t!” said Short-arse, turning on her heel and charging after him. The other two followed soon after, the mad dash overtaking their senses. The Dwarf despite her small legs was gaining on the Wizard, but it was too late, the Wizard was about to make it.
He reached out hungrily for the open chest when suddenly he was plunged into darkness as a trap opened beneath him, casting him down into a pit of spikes.
Short-arse only just managed to reign in her stride before following in after him, but the Barbarian came rocketing past on her left, unable to stop his momentum fully and now heading for one of the closed chests. As he reached the flagstone in front of it, there was an audible ‘click’, and a huge stone fell from the ceiling, luckily catching the Berserker a glancing blow who stumbled backwards, away from danger as the stone shattered on impact.
Shocked at the devastation, Short-arse didn’t even notice the light tread of Jandyr, who had dodged to her right around the pit and somehow made it across to the open treasure chest safely and was now eagerly stuffing as much Gold as he could into hidden pockets in his cloak.
“YOU LUCKY…” Short-arse couldn’t bring herself to think of an insult. Instead she managed to stumble around the side of the pit over the rubble of the stone trap, looking down at the Wizard who had impaled his foot on one of the spikes. She tied a rope around the open chest and cast it down into the pit for the Wizard to help himself out.
“Why is it always you?” she said to the Elf, indignant.
“Why not?” said Jandyr.
“At least help him out,” she said in a rage before turning to the first closed chest.
“At least check it for traps fir…” began Jandyr.
It was too late. As Short-arse opened the chest to a gleaming horde of treasure, a hidden wire tripped a firebomb secreted between the 2 chests which exploded, sending molten Gold fused with stone and wood around the room.
Short-arse sat there for a second, her beard singed and smoking before letting out a single loud scream.