Jandyr smiled to himself. He had been fooled into believing the rocks he had found in the higher levels were valuable Cinnabar, but without the time to check properly he had in fact just collected useless bits of old stone.
As they descended deeper into the abandoned mines however, he had been surprised to find large pieces of Bauxite just lying casually discarded on the floor where the oafish Dwarfs had sought a richer prize. The Dwarven thirst for Gold had been their undoing, and little did they know they had thrown away the best mineral for making Mithril. Jandyr would make a fortune when they returned to the surface.
As he worked at prizing a particularly large piece from the wall, Trogdar stood impatiently. They had only been minutes behind the Shaman when they awoke from their short rest, but with the constant pausing of the Elf to pick up useless lumps of rock they had been walking for what felt like hours, and without the thrill of battle Trogdar had other urges which, in present company, he currently could not satisfy.
“Finally…” spoke Trogdar under his breath as Jandyr placed the ore inside his robes.
“There’s a door not far up ahead,” said Short-arse who had gone on in advance to scout the caverns, her knowledge of Dwarven tunnels an invaluable resource down in the dark. “Don’t like the look of it though, there’s a skull painted in blood on it.”
“I’ll go and give the secret knock,” said Trogdar, the relief in his face clearly visible.
“Fair enough,” said Short-arse as the Barbarian bounded past her, “I left the Wizard up there to check for magic traps.”
Trogdar paused in his step and muttered a curse word under his breath. He trudged on towards the door with his head bowed to find the Wizard tracing his finger around the edge of the skull.
“Find anything?” he mumbled sullenly.
“I sense that this has been put here as a warning.”
Trogdar shook his head and pushed open the door. Inside was a small ledge overlooking a large pit in the floor. There were numerous skeletons in the pit; Dwarfs, Orcs and even some human remains were scattered around.
At the far end of the pit was an enormous door, covered in sigils that hurt the eyes to look at and which seemed firmly sealed with two large cast-iron keyholes at opposite ends of the door frame. A single rope led down into the pit and was tied to a spike on the ledge.
“Not sure about this,” said Trogdar to the others as they filed into the room. “Rope looks a bit dodgy to me.”
“Typical human,” said Jandyr as he floated down the rope and onto a large trapdoor which was obscured beneath the ledge.
“No courage,” said Short-arse as she too quickly descended the rope.
“WHEEEEEEE!” screamed the Wizard as he careered down it, his robes flapping in the breeze.
“Oh right, pick on Trogdar day is it?” said Trogdar as he gingerly tested the rope before following them down. “As if I haven’t got enough on me plate…”
“Why, what’s up?” asked Short-arse plainly.
“Never mind,” muttered Trogdar.
The Wizard had kept walking up to the door and raised his hand to lay his palm flat against it. As he neared the door, he recoiled quickly, grasping his hand in pain and stepping back away from it.
“This is very bad,” he said, ominously.
The floor started to shake and dust and stone fell from the ceiling above them. As it subsided, a sonorous roar echoed through the chamber. Bones started to move, inching their way towards each other and knitting together to form skeletal warriors armed with rusted blades of long-past days.
“Bloody hell!” said Trogdar, recoiling in fear from the nearest skeleton, swinging out his blade in reflex as he did so.
“Oi, watch it!” yelped Short-arse, the tip of the blade having nicked her arm.
Jandyr had also been caught by the blade but had recovered quickly, and neatly chopped the skull from the skeleton facing him.
“I’ve fought such creatures before, remove the heads and the body will fall,” he shouted over the din of battle. The warriors were having a hard time of it, and Short-arse and the Wizard in particular were bleeding from several heavy wounds.
“IDONTLIKEIT!IDONTLIKEIT!IDONTLIKEIT!” screamed Trogdar as he again swung his blade in panic, missing the skeletal figures but taking great gouges out of the unfortunate Elf and Dwarf.
“Watch what you’re bloody doing manling, or I’ll remove the head from your body!” Short-arse grunted as she brought her axe down through one of the undead warriors.
“FREEZE!” screamed the Wizard, as he encased the remaining skeletons in ice which crushed bone to powder as it expanded.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING?!” shouted Short-arse to Trogdar, who was breathing heavily but was otherwise unscathed. “YOU NEARLY BLOODY KILLED US!”
“I’m sorry,” panted Trogdar, bent over and resting on his knees, “I’m not feeling myself this morning.”
Jandyr smiled to himself.