Friday, February 19

Lunch appointment… (Original Fiction by Xan)

Zander groaned as he began to stand up, he held himself up on the wall slowly creeping to his feet by using his hands. His head felt like he was wearing a crown of marble. His knees buckled under his own weight and he saw the hallway begin to darken.
“Whoa there big fella!” Solcloud raced to get underneath him as Zander lost consciousness and fell like a tree felled by a lumberjack. Under Zander’s weight Solcloud dropped to his knees and slowly lowered Zander to the ground. Beasley raced to their fallen companion and tried to revive his large friend. He patted the giant on the face; Zander rolled his eyes and slowly fluttered them open. Beasley took a small vial of healing potion and force-fed it to his friend. Solcloud looked quizzically at the rogue.
“Sometimes when I get a hangover after a good night in the local tavern,” Beasley winked. “I take a potion of cure light wounds to take care of it.” The paladin shook his head and smiled as Zander sat back up on his own power.
“I didn’t think the troll hit me that hard.” Zander smiled as he rubbed the bump on his head that was slowly fading.
“He threw you into a solid stone wall.” Beasley pointed to the slight indention in the wall. “Not only that, but you left your mark. It’s a good thing you didn’t feel the pain with the impact, you were angry.”
“I was protecting you.” Zander groaned as he tried to stand again, Solcloud helped him to his feet. “I feel I had a little too much of Jenny’s ale.”
They all laughed at the remark. Zander wrapped his arms around his chest and winced. “Let’s take it slow for a while, huh? Give my ring a chance to catch up with the potion, thanks Beasley for the ‘cobweb cleaner.”
“You’re welcome, big guy.” Beasley patted him on the back. “But next time, I can take care of myself.”
The group walked slowly back to the landing. Beasley scouted ahead to warn of any trouble while Solcloud let Zander use him as a crutch. Every step Zander seemed to get a little stronger and a little more confident. The ring seemed to be doing its job. Zander smiled as he looked at the troll carving on his ring. “I never thought I would be happy to have that ugly face on my ring. But I am glad it gives us similar healing abilities; however it seems to be slower than our headless friend back there.”
“Yes, but as long as you feel better.” Solcloud lifted Zander’s arm off his shoulder. “You able to walk?”
“Yes, thank you.” Zander winced a bit as he rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck.
“We made it back.” Beasley turned around after walking through the doorway in the landing. “What door next?”
“Let’s wait until Zander is ready.” Solcloud put his hand up to stop Beasley.
“I’m all right now.” Zander had his hammer in his hand and his shield off his shoulder as he walked into the torchlight. “Next time I won’t bother wrestling with them, I’ll just put them into the wall as payback.”
“Well, we have chosen the door to the right last time; you just want to keep going?” Beasley was already at the next-door and ready to open it.
Solcloud waved the little person on. “Go ahead, we are right behind you.”
This hallway seemed a little better kept. The stone was cut in elaborate patterns, perfect tiles on the floor, and gargoyles on the walls. The hallway had a thick musty smell in the air; it was thick with humidity and very dark. Mold seemed to be cleaned off the carvings almost daily, it seemed to be scrubbed too. As they continued to walk down the hallway, the mold began to thicken; the carvings were smoothing out and less obvious.
“We are getting close to something.” Solcloud drew his sword and pulled out his shield.
The air began to smell like rotting meat like a drowned piece of carrion soaking in water. The hint of metal also filled the air, like walking within a mile of a mint making coins. A low growl, almost like a purr could be heard in the darkness. Beasley snuck into the corner of the walls using the shadows as he proceeded forward. Solcloud held the torch high and could see the gleam from a pile of coins. Zander twisted his blink ring and faded. His voice echoed on the wind.
“I almost got the hang of this spinning feeling in my stomach. I’ll go take a look with Beasley”
Solcloud saw the hallway open up into a large room and then he heard a chilling voice in the darkness.
“Mmmmmm…. lunch.”

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