Friday, October 16

Into the unknown… (Original Fiction by Xan)

After, what seemed to be an eternity in darkness the group reaches the bottom. “Seems a bit dark down here.” Mayvn points out the obvious. “I’m not too fond of the dark.”

As if remembering he had a thousand gold pieces in his pocket Beasley jumps with a start. “Oh, excuse me, I have the torch.” He laughs sheepishly.

The room is filled with smoke and light as the torch slowly illuminates the dark cavern they found themselves in. Above them, they see the pit; it was nothing but a hole, just tall enough to be out of reach of even the tallest of men. Zander looked up, stretching with his arm to touch the opening but he could not.

“Must be an enchantment,” Mayvn again points out the obvious. “It felt like we were descending for hours, when in fact this pit is nothing but a small hole not more than about twenty feet or so. Well doesn’t that just figure?” He turns to step off the lift and is struck in the face by an unknown object.

GONG! The sound of the low toned bell echoes in all directions.

“I found the signal bell.” Mayvn rubs his face.

The voice of the innkeeper echoes down the hole. “Ring the bell again when you want to be lifted back up. But I warn you, if something is chasing you, I won’t be able to crank fast enough to save you.” His laughter fills the hole and the tunnels as the lift slowly moves up.

Mayvn looks to the lift longingly. “Well, I suppose we are stuck down here for now. Which way?” The silky man walks five feet to the left and then five feet to the right. “Seems we could also get lost down here too.”

“You think so? I wonder if that’s why they call it a labyrinth.” Beasley rolls his eyes at the gangly man.

“Well, I must take an accounting of my surroundings. You know, make a mental note for my memoirs.” Mayvn begins to puff up with pride. “I will write my adventures, I mean, I will write our adventures and they will be legend throughout all the land!”
“If you make it out alive, peacock.” Solcloud quickly deflates the haughty bard. “Pride can be thought of as evil. Be careful not to tread that line bard. It is a slippery slope that leads to evil.” He looks to the halfling, “Isn’t that right, my little burglar?”

Beasley just shrugs at the insult and starts walking down one of the tunnels to the right of the lift. The stone walls seem to be a natural tunnel, probably caused by years of water and wind erosion. There is a distant sound of dripping and the echo of their voices seems to go on for eternity. The sound of three sets of footsteps echoes down the corridor. Beasley only shakes his head, as the three other members can’t seem to be quiet to save their lives.

“You know, you couldn’t even sneak up on a deaf and blind owlbear in hibernation!” He barks in aggravation. “Can’t you three be quiet?”

Solcloud takes another step, his plate armor clangs and chatters with every movement. Zander turns at the waist, his chain mail shirt rustles like metal leaves blowing in the wind.

“What are we trying to sneak up on?” Mayvn queries.

“And would you please keep your mouth shut?” Beasley throws his hands up in the air, and turns to continue down the corridor. “Honestly! How is a man supposed to hunt creatures when he can’t even sneak up on them? There are probably no monsters within miles because of you three.” He continues to walk down the path backwards as he reprimands his boisterous companions. Without warning, he runs into what felt like a wall. A gurgling growl began to fill his hears. His eyes went wide; his knees began to quake as he reached behind himself to feel what he had run into. This wall was wearing tattered pants and smelled like rotten fish. Beasley grimaced and apprehensively looked up to see a dreadful sight. It looked to be three larger and much uglier versions of Zander. “OGRES!” Beasley shrieked as he ran back towards the safety of the party.

Mayvn gulped and chanted a quick poem, behind the ogres sprouted a spring of large hairy spiders. They immediately spread out in all directions, overwhelming the ogres. They swung their arms in a futile attempt to beat them off themselves all the while provoking the spiders to bite them. The ogres’ thick hides prevented the spiders from poisoning them, but the distraction was what the group needed to gather their senses and prepare for a battle.

Zander closed his eyes and began to offer up a prayer to Othr to help them in their battle by slowing their attackers further. He pointed a finger in the direction of the smaller ogre, the ogre seemed to be distracted for a moment but shook off whatever the prayer was aimed to do. The paladin immediately drew his sword and jumped into the thick of battle slashing for the largest of the three ogres. He began slashing at the mid-sized ogre standing in the front; the tunnel opening was only big enough to have the ogres attack single file. With their extremely long arms, the ogres can reach over one another to grasp at the adventurers standing in their path.

Solcloud takes the point making sure as to not let the ogres continue to advance. Zander closes in behind the paladin; he too having the long reach gifted by his ogre blood and can also swipe at their attackers. Beasley and Mayvn take to the rear, firing shots with their crossbows as the long smelly arms attacked the front line. The ogres looked to Zander as an unfit cousin fit only to die at their hands. They roared and clawed at Zander as he laughed at their futile attempts to attack him. They clawed at the air, landing only minor blows as they reached over Solcloud. Solcloud taunted the ogres for their stupidity as he slashes at their arms taking major cuts to their limbs. Mayvn was composing a song of the adventure as it unfolded, inspiring his companions to greater deeds of valor and strength. Beasley fired bolt after bolt into the openings that Solcloud left for him. One bolt landed true finishing off the first bloodied up ogre. His larger companion advanced into the opening and took up attacking their cousin once again. Zander crushes its hand as Solcloud in turn hacks the arm off at the elbow. The ogre roared is pain but continued its advance with its other arm. Zander grasped the arm with one hand as Solcloud dropped to one knee and plummeted his sword all the way to the hilt into the belly of the beast. It dropped to the ground as the third, smaller ogre leapt onto the bodies of its fallen comrades and let out a shriek in attack. It jumped towards Solcloud but in mid-flight, it changed direction and fell to the ground with an empty thump.

“HA!” Mayvn shouted and jumped like a child. “I knew I’d figure out the aim on this silly contraption.” He waived his crossbow in the air in triumph. “This will definitely go into my memoirs.” He hooked the crossbow back to his belt and straightened his silks, proud of his minor victory. “Where are we going now, Mr. Beasley?”

The small man, still dazed by the amazingly lucky shot performed by the bard, looked up at the party and shook his head. “Well, I suppose we should go the way they came from.” Pointing back to the mass of ogres lying on the ground he continued. “But let’s proceed a little more quietly, including myself. But I figure we all need a bit of healing as well as a bit of rest.”

Zander chuckles under his breath. “You are right, my little companion.”
The paladin points to a crevasse and a small cavern to their left. “I suggest we send those brutes back to the abyss down there, and we can make camp in that cavern.”
Beasley curled his nose up at the smell of the bodies. “But I can’t lift them.”
The half-ogre grabbed the ogres by the hair and began to drag them towards the seemingly bottomless pit. “I can get rid of my half-kin lad. Don’t you worry about that?” He threw the smaller one into the ravine, followed by the middle-sized one that he had slung over his shoulder. “But I suggest you begin cooking our meal for the night and figure out who is going to be on watch.”

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