“Well, it seems safe enough,” shouted Trogdar from the far side of the chasm.
“Not sure I agree with that assessment,” replied Jandyr, who was dangling precariously from the bridge.
His quick reflexes had been the only thing that had saved him from certain death in the rocks below as he thrust his bow between the ropes and held on to the bowstring as he fell.
“Me neither,” agreed Short-arse, held upside-down with her boot caught between the wooden slats.
“WHEEEEEE!” screamed the Wizard as he swung back and forth, his beard having caught in one of the ropes and twisting round and round in an ever-decreasing spiral.
“Bunch of amateurs these lot,” said Trogdar, turning his back on them as they helped themselves back to the side of the chasm near the entrance.
He walked towards the huge statue of a dragon which dominated the far end of the chamber and gazed up at it, whistling in amazement.
“Bet that took some work,” he said to himself more than anyone else.
His gaze fell away from the statue and towards the plinth. As he drew up the lantern to illuminate the dark shadows, a glittering host of reflected sparkles shined from the large pile of Gold he had noticed in a stone bowl.
Quickly glancing back round to see if any of the others had noticed, Trogdar reached out to grab the first handful of coins.
As he did so, the shadows came alive as a multitude of bats fluttered off the Golden hoard and flew into Trogdar’s face.
Flailing wildly, Trogdar pulled away one of the bats which had spread its wings across his face. “TROGDAAAAAAAR!” he screamed as he swung his sword around madly, killing 5 of the creatures and deflecting an arrow which had been fired from the other side of the chasm.
Instead of following its intended trajectory through 3 of the fell creatures, the arrow instead veered straight up, pinning just one of the creatures by the wing to the roof of the cavern.
“TROGDAAAAAAR!” came the pained cry from the annoyed Elf.
Trogdar was lost in a berserk rage, all he saw now was blood and murder and death. He didn’t even notice two of the bats fall from the sky, their bodies frozen solid and shattering as they hit the ground.
Within seconds he had killed the last of them. He stood there for a few moments, panting and slicked with sweat, before finally taking a deep breath and walking back towards the gold pile. He held out his arms and scooped up as many gold pieces as he could.
The voice sounded far away, only just on the edge of his hearing. Was it the Dwarf? It certainly sounded like her...
As the gold pieces were taken from the stone bowl, the bowl rose from the plinth and a delicate counterweight mechanism made the dragon statue’s head rise up. The lower jaw slowly opened and a wave of flame washed over Trogdar, setting his bearskin aflame and burning him terribly.
“Quickly, put it back into the bowl,” said Short-arse, who had finally made it across the rickety bridge and even now was patting the Barbarian with the flat of her axe, trying to extinguish the flames.
As if emerging from a trance, Trogdar finally looked down at his badly-burned body and cried out in pain and anguish.
“BUT I WANT THE GOLD!!!”
“Don’t be so bloody stupid,” said Short-arse, now forcefully trying to pull the gold from Trogdar’s hands.
“BUT IT’S MINE!” screamed Trogdar, refusing to let go of his plunder.
The dragon’s jaw, which had closed back up now start to open again in anticipation of another gout of flame.
“Just let it go,” said Jandyr soothingly, trying to calm the Barbarian down.
Trogdar looked up at the dragon’s face, the jaw slowly inching open again. Finally realising the futility of his actions, Trogdar held out his blackened arms and dropped the mysteriously-unburnt Gold into the bowl.
The jaw immediately began to close and the dragon’s head sank back onto the plinth.
“It’s a Dwarven trap,” said Short-arse, who had now had time to read the runic script carved around the base, “very nasty, designed to kill greedy treasure-hunters before they get to the real treasure through that door. Shame about the stupid rhyme...”
Slowly turning to the Dwarf, Trogdar looked at the Dwarf with anger evident in his face.
“WHY DIDN’T YOU BLOODY TELL ME THAT BEFORE!!!”
“I COULDN’T READ IT FROM OVER THERE, COULD I?” she yelled back in defiance, “YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE GONE RUNNING OFF SHAKING THAT BRIDGE AROUND AND KNOCKING US OFF THE SIDE, YOU NEARLY KILLED US!”
Trogdar looked down at the ground, somewhat ashamed of his actions. He had nearly killed all of them, and for what purpose? A huge pile of... lovely, lovely golden coins.
“THEY’RE MINE!” he shouted, lunging for the statue again.
The other three warriors dived after him and dragged him forcefully away.
“Is there anything we can do to stop him?” grunted Short-arse.
“Nothing I can think of,” said Jandyr, holding onto Trogdar’s head and yanking it back.
“Healing hands,” said the Wizard, who placed his hands on the Barbarian’s chest and covered him with ice which immediately started to boil.
“AAAAAAARGH!” screamed Trogdar as he writhed before finally passing out in pain.
“Right, now that he’s out, does anyone fancy nipping back for that gold?” asked Jandyr enthusiastically.