Saturday, April 17, 2021

Quest to the Kobold Caves Part Seven


A Dungeon Adventure

Part Seven

Snaptrap and Gurr led the heroes back to the Great Hall where they pointed out Razzam and Drang from the throng of some thirty kobolds. 
Sunthorn stepped into the cavern, unrolled the Scholar's scroll and recited the Magic Words printed upon it.  As he spoke them, each word on the scroll glowed and faded away, as though invoking the spell aloud burned the words from the page.  "Behold the truth!" he cried as sparks began to rain down in the Great Hall.
Just as when the Shaman cast it, the sparks gathered like fallen snow on the shoulders of the two phony kobolds.  The sparks burst into existence, and winked back out again, slowly burning away the magic of their disguise until two Hobgoblin-like Throghrin stood there instead of kobolds.
Razzam, unperturbed by this, pointed at the Elf with one clawed digit.  "Slay the surface-dwellers, or never see your kings again!"  As his command boomed through the cavern, the Kobolds turned to the intruders in the tunnel mouth and pulled forth their weapons.
With urgent impatience, Gladimenithas pushed Sunthorn aside and stepped forward.  His melodic voice issued a singsong string of Magic Words.  As he finished the incantation, he swept both arms out in a wide arc forming a pale blue crescent of glowing light that swept away from him like an ever-widening wave.  The wave swept throughout the cavern, and members of the kobold horde fell as they were overtaken by it.  When the magic wave hit and dissipated at the cavern walls, all the kobolds lay snoring on the cavern floor, in a magically induced slumber.
Drang roared in anger, his hands clawing at the empty air.  "Useless kobolds!"
Sunthorn raised one eyebrow.  "Impressive."
"I'm telling you, brother," Gladimenithas said as he tapped the side of his nose with one slender finger, "magic is the way to go!"
"Then let us bear the gift of magic!" Mediphon agreed as he held forth the Holy Sign of the Sun God.  "Let the blessing of the Sun God be upon us all!"  He uttered some Magic Words of his own and his Holy Sign glowed with a corona of white light.  A moment later, each member of his party likewise glowed with the divine magic.
Drang roared again as he grabbed his battle axe and swung it over his head.  "Die yoomins!" he shouted and charged.  Razzam seized his spiked mace and leapt down from his place atop the boulder and rushed to join his colleague's attack.                     
Gladimenithas stared at the onrushing Throghrin, his smug grin long gone and his eyes growing wide.  Without warning, he was thrust rudely aside as his fellow Elf, Sunthorn stepped in and raised his shield against Drang's descending axe blade.  The Throghrin pushed against the Elf's shield with such strength that Sunthorn's boots slid backwards on the rocky floor.
Sunthorn looked over his shoulder at his kinsman.  "Assistance would be most appreciated!"
"Oh, of course!" Gladimenithas agreed as he jumped to his feet and drew out his rapier.  With a gleeful laugh his rapier whipped about this way and that, inflicting small but quick scratches upon their monstrous enemy.  "What ho, you evil thing!  Come and get me if you can!"  Then he ran off for a far corner of the Great Hall with Drang chasing after him, his heavy axe held high, ready to strike.  Sunthorn lowered his shield, drew his sword and joined the chase.
"Come along, Gurr!  They will need us!" Snaptrap said as he and his sidekick chased after the Elves, with torches in hand.
Razzam still charged the tunnel.  Pamblyn and Mediphon stepped out to meet him.  Razzam's spiked mace lashed out at them in wide arcs.  It smashed down upon Pamblyn's shield, then swatted away the studded ball at the end of Mediphon's flail.  Distracted thus, he failed to see Elmore take up a position behind him.  Elmore's sword bit into the Throghrin's shoulder.
With a scream of pain, Razzam turned and slammed his spiked mace into the human warrior with all his strength.  Elmore fell to the ground, screaming in pain.  Razzam turned back, saw the incoming sword blade and jumped back.  Another swing of his mace and Pamblyn's sword was knocked from her hand. 
Before she could recover from the shock of losing her weapon, Razzam's free hand found her throat.  "Goodbye, yoomin!"
Pamblyn felt the odd sensation of her muscles drained of their strength.  Her body grew heavy, unresponsive to her commands.  She slumped on her feet, then fell to the floor amid the clatter of metal on rock.
"Die now!" Razzam said as he raised the mace.
Sunthorn's sword slashed across Drang's back.  With a howl, the Throghrin turned and swung his mighty axe.  The heavy blade, set in motion by such a strong arm was more than the Elf's shield could stand, and it shattered upon impact.  The beast-man raised the axe for a backswing when the rapier cut into his ribs.
Drang let loose a scream.  Instead of aiming for Sunthorn, his backhand swing knocked the flimsy rapier aside.  He lashed out with one clawed hand and seized the prancing Elf by the collar.  "You fall next, Elf!" Drang cried.  An instant later, Drang frowned at his own beefy hand at the Elf's neck.  He jerked his hand, shaking the slim Elf and grumbled, "Why don't you fall down?"
"Yes, that doesn't work on us," Gladimenithas said through a smile.  "Sorry, old thing!"
A sword-tip emerged from Drang's chest.  The Throghrin howled and let go of his quarry.  Upon his release, Gladimenithas plunged his rapier deep into the creature's chest.  The two Elves withdrew their weapons, and Drang tried to cry out in agony, but merely choked and fell over, the axe slipping from his hand.
"Hurry now, Gurr, before he regenerates!" Snaptrap barked.
Gurr produced a phial, pulled the stopper out with his teeth.  He poured the lantern oil onto Drang's body and Snaptrap pressed his torch against the fallen body until it caught aflame.
Razzam stood over Pamblyn's inert body, his spiked mace raised over his head. 
The clay pot flew out of the tunnel and smashed in his face, showering him in a thick viscous fluid.  Padrelle stepped out of the tunnel, a torch in one hand, a throwing dagger in the other.  "Elmore!" she cried, "Now's your chance!  Get him!"
Elmore had risen behind the Throghrin, his sword raised.  Though blinded by the oil, Razzam turned, swung his mace wildly, deflecting the Warrior's blows.  Padrelle threw her dagger, and it stuck in Razzam's shoulder, though he did not seem to notice.
But Mediphon seized this opportunity.  Inspired by the cryptic words he'd heard during his prayer to the Sun God, the Cleric crouched beside Pamblyn.  He recited the Magic Words to a Minor Healing spell until his hand began to glow with a luminescence of its own.  He reached out with his radiant hand and grabbed the warrior woman's arm.  The radiance ran from his hand with a bright burst and coursed through her body in the blink of an eye.
In fact, her eye did blink.  Her fingers convulsed into a fist, then stretched out again.  She looked up at the Cleric and smiled—she was no longer paralyzed!
Pamblyn grabbed her sword and climbed to her feet.
Razzam wiped the oil from his eyes with the back of one hand.  With a sneer, he swung his spiked mace, knocking Elmore to the floor again. 
"Bastard!" the Halfling cried as she ran up and lunged at the creature, fiery torch thrust before her like a knight's lance. 
Covered as he was in lantern oil, the fire spread quickly, engulfing him.  Razzam screamed with excruciating agony.  Dropping his spiked mace, he tried to swat the fire out with his bare hands, but it was no use.
With a battle cry that seemed to increase both her strength and resolve, Pamblyn brought her sword around in a wide downward arc.  The blade chopped deep into Razzam's neck, and his screaming stopped.  He dropped to his knees, pulling Pamblyn's arm down along with her sword, the blade wedged in his bones.  Gravity pulled against her strength as she swore at his corpse.  She lowered his body to the floor, placed one booted foot on his head and pulled her blade free.
"Victory is ours!" she declared, and the others cheered.
*   *
They had doubled back to the prison cavern, where the freed prisoners and the Arcanologists waited patiently.  Then Snaptrap and Gurr led the surface dwellers back to the mouth of the caves and removed the net that had blocked the exit to the forest.
"And what of my people?" the Kobold asked again as the Elven scholars and the human prisoners eagerly filed out into the afternoon forest.
            "I've told you!" Gladimenithas repeated.  "It was a simple spell to put them all to sleep.  It should wear off in another hour or so, and they will all be perfectly fine!"
"And just where will you be, if there is some problem with this?" Snaptrap asked, an accusing digit pointed at the Elf.
"There will be no difficulties, I swear it!" Gladimenithas told him.  "However, I must escort these Scholars back to the Greenwood, where they might organize a larger force for this expedition to the Temple of Magic."  Then he turned to Sunthorn.  "You and your friends would be a welcome addition to any such endeavor, by the way."
Sunthorn considered it for a fleeting moment.  "I don't know," he said at last.  "I must escort Pamblyn, Mediphon, and Padrelle back to the Aged Ranger."
"Yes!" the Halfling interjected.  "We must report to him of all that has transpired here!  Inform him of our success, and collect our reward!"
The Cleric looked at the Kobold with concern in his eyes.  "Have we succeeded?  We were meant to drive you kobolds away, so you could not pose a threat to the Kingdom.  I must admit, I haven't the heart to vanquish you, for I do not consider you a threat of your own volition.  But if the hobgoblins were to come and subjugate you once more, your people have proven they can be a considerable threat, indeed!"
"Bah!" Snaptrap dismissed the concern with a wave of his hand.  "We do not wish to be here.  I shall collect these stragglers into a pack, and plot to rescue our kings from the hobgoblins."  Then he looked up at the heroes with narrow eyes, as though measuring them up.  "In truth, you yoomins, and you Elfs…"
"And the Halfling!" Padrelle inserted.
"…have all proved better folk than it is our custom to believe," Snaptrap continued.  "In truth, I would welcome any assistance your people could offer against our common enemy, Ozbaddin."
Pamblyn looked at him with pride in her heart that powered a bittersweet smile.  "I promise you, Snaptrap, we will deliver your message to the King…"
"Yes, and I shall deliver it to the Elvenking!" Gladimenithas announced.  "I swear it!"
"…but I cannot promise you that he will send assistance," Pamblyn finished sadly.
Snaptrap's ears dropped with disappointment.  "No, I suppose not," he glumly agreed, "After all, we're only kobolds."
"Yes," Pamblyn admitted.  "And we are only human.  But I can promise you…that should my path cross yours again in the future, I will offer you whatever help I can."
The rest of the heroes agreed in turn.
The Kobold nodded.  "Then that shall have to do," he said.  "We part ways now as unlikely friends, waiting to see what the future brings to us.  Go now, back to your   peoples, and I shall go and tend to mine."  He answered their goodbyes with a wave and walked back into the caves, followed by Gurr.
The Heroes stepped out into the forest, where Gladimenithas and the scholars chose a path that would lead them back home.  Sunthorn led his friends in the opposite direction, to rendezvous with the Aged Ranger.  Elmore walked with them.
"So," the new Warrior asked, "what adventure is next?  Joining the Arcanologists in their search for the Temple?  Or assisting Snaptrap in rescuing the kobold kings from Ozbaddin?"
"It is a difficult choice," the Elf admitted as he marched through the woods.  "They both seem to be worthwhile adventures."
"Each with their own rewards!" Padrelle agreed.
"It will depend on the whims of our masters and the will of the Gods!" Mediphon said.
"Yes, we could end up on some other quest entirely," Pamblyn admitted.  Then she turned, looked at the freed prisoners they were leading through the forest, and back at Elmore.  "And what of you?  What will you do?"
"For now, my path lies parallel to yours!" Elmore said as he drew his sword.  "As I promised in the caves, I shall travel as a member of your party, and help in whatever manner I may!  Together we shall do good deeds and vanquish foes in the name of the King!  And for the glory of Haven Hills!"  He held the sword aloft as best he could, despite the pain in his arm.
The rest of the party groaned as they trudged through the forest.

The End

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