The priest mulled over Nicolai’s words. New masters? Higher powers perhaps? Then the charm may be of divine origin? A Curse perhaps? Saeth, on the other hand, looked to the thief. “You say you met this Rahib. You can find your way back to him from here? Describe it for us, lest one of us fall.” She may have warmed up somewhat to Nicolai, but her mind was still coldly practical.
The dwarf looked to the elf again as if she were daft—maybe it was time to take a rest. “Saeth, Nicolai was in that room” Feldard points to the double doors that lead to the temple room where stands the guardian golem “…talking to the Rahib just moments before we arrived and the Rahib disappeared. Now if there is no way to track him we will need to continue our sweep of the temple. If not to find the Rahib, then at least to find a secure location to rest up in.”
“Given that the Rahib thinks I was working for Dentiata we can use this to our advantage. I could probably get close to him with Saeth as a ‘captive’, and then we could be able to surprise him. If Feldard, Maruc and Miklos are out of sight, but come running as soon as we make our move, then we may have a chance.” Nicolai paused and then continued, “However, it may be a good idea to rest for a while first.”
“You think that we can get close enough to the Rahib if I fake imprisonment again?” Saeth wasn’t opposed to the idea, but she recalled how poorly the idea had worked before. “If that’ll do, let’s get going. The sooner we can get to this fellow, the easier our jobs will be.” She may not have recalled where Nicolai said the Rahib was, but she certainly recalled their recent decision regarding the dangers of lingering in one place to rest.
Feldard just shook his head at the assumption that anyone of them knew where they were going, much less that they knew where the Rahib was. He checked the doors opposite the temple room again, listening at first then entering if it sounded all clear. It was silent.
Nicolai responded, “The problem is that now, we don’t know where the Rahib is, and this area is likely to be swarming with Siswa any point soon. If we can work out where the Rahib is, before he finds us, then I suggest we go with this plan. Saeth and I will have to swap swords again, as he believes that I have Saeth’s and any change will be noticed. If he finds us before we can go through with this, I suggest we try and silence him by any means necessary. Agreed?”
“My axe through his skull ought to silence him well enough..” answered Feldard, somewhat under his breath.
The priest, bewildered at the group’s desire the press on without all the facts interjected.
“Well before we can make any decision or take any action we must see what we can find out from this guard. Provided he remembers all that has gone on he may be able to give us some valuable clue as to the whereabouts and weaknesses of the Rahib and more importantly the method by which he has enchanted the Siswa. Though I suspect he had help from his new ‘Masters’ we might be able to counter the enchament en-masse.”
“Maruc, I agree,” says Nicolai, “However, it may be possible for me to get very close to the Rahib without him suspecting anything, and I might be able to get Saeth close as well. This would surely hamper his spell casting before the rest of you rush in. If his new Masters are those that Dentiata was looking for, I doubt they will intervene for the fate of a mere servant, at least no more than Halav provides you with priestly magic.”
Maruc tried to think of a less dangerous approach but eventually conceded the point, “I hope for your sake he just doesn’t put a charm on you to secure your loyalty if you get close enough. But I see little alternative, you have the chance to get under his guard. Still you may find something out from the guard here that may strengthen your position, should you be questioned. My only real concern is if you are captured, or any of us for that matter, the information he might get from us under duress will ruin our chances.”
As the others had debated their course of action, Miklos had picked the target for his spell. After making the necessary arcane intonations, the youthful mage crouched by the trussed guard he had cast his spell on.
“Please accept my apologies, Siswa, for the bonds but I don’t yet know if I have relieved you from the Rahib’s thralldom.” Miklos said conversationally. “We have not, and shall not slay you. We are friends searching for a means to stop the Rahib and return your guards from the spell they are under.”
A thought occurred to him, perhaps these are not truly elves but some clever simulacrums created by the Rahib’s new masters? Best not to be pessimistic.
“What is the last thing you remember?”
The Siswa blinked repeatedly as he came to consciousness. His face retained the dazed look of his encharmed brethren. He smiled as he recognized a friendly face.
“Dear friend,” the elf began. “It is good to see you. The last I remember, we were fighting with intruders in the temple…” he looked around and saw the others crowded around. “My apologies dear friend, had I known these were your companions this violence could have been avoided. I assure that you are mistaken about the Rahib. He is a great man who has come to bring peace and prosperity to the Siswa.” The elf spoke in a monotone voice, with an unfocused gaze.
While the mage played friends with the Siswa captive, Feldard took it upon himself to keep watch over position. Remaining out in the middle of the hall was certainly wasn’t the best of tactics but until they had a means to find the Rahib. Wandering lost amidst a labrynth of rooms wasn’t going to help any.
Feldard peered down each of the halls. With his keen dwarven eye for architecture, it was easy to see the symmetrical nature of the layout of the temple floor and how it would be easy to get lost inside with all these accursed invisible portals.
Satisfied there was no apparent imminent threat, Feldard returned to the other set of the double doors in the hallway (those across the hall from where the Rahib disappeared) and once more removed his helm to listen to them. It was still quiet as ever.