As Saeth caught up with the rest of the party, they’d already reversed course. Surely they hadn’t found something still more horrible back the way they’d come? She opened her mouth to speak, but the Dwarf stormed past her, a look of determination on his face that brooked no interruption. Closely on his heels came the others in varying states of haste. Reluctantly, Saeth regripped her blade, softly murmured her mystic words of protection, and reversed her steps, walking backwards after the others, her eyes open for whatever they now fled.
Miklos, ever hindmost concentrated on the fact that he was facing illusion. There was no room for fear as this fueled the belief as he peered into the room. He looked for programmed actions, then he remembered something from his artificiers and the art of deception lecture.
“It takes a deal of concentration to maintain and illusion or it will act unnaturally or disperse. It is my understanding that the caster must be able to see the conjuration for it to move. Bewarned, if my theory is correct we face a magic-user in the room beyond! Just as deadly!” He drew forth the precious wand with its lowly charge that might tip the balance of survival in their favour.
The priest, trusting Miklos’s intuition, launched himself into the room next to Feldard, who was only a few steps in, behind Hasan.
Once more, the great red dragon came forth from the darkness. Hasan’s, his scimitar raised high, raced forth toward the dragon. “For Elrond and the Elyan!”
The dragonfear again started to descend upon the dwarf. His breath caught in his chest as he caught sight of the dragon. His instinct screamed to flee. He shut his eyes a moment fighting back the urge to follow instinct. Miklos claimed it to be an illusion. Miklos was wise in the ways of magic, so surely he knew of what he spoke. With eyes closed, he could hear the reactions of the others, the mix of shock and disbelief. He heard the creak and clang of Maruc running past him further into the room. This was it! If Miklos were wrong, the most he could hope for was that Saeth somehow survived and told the tale of his bravery and that it might one day reach the ears of his family. He opened his eyes and forced himself to follow after the cleric, with Nicolai following at his side, bow at the ready.
Crying to Halav to protect him from blasts of Mage-fire, Maruc raced across the room ignoring the dragon-image in search of the hapless conjuror controlling the illusion. He saw no trace of any mage or hint that the terrifying thing before them was anything but real. Could it be that Miklos was wrong?
As before, the dragon drew in a deep breath and released a torrent of fire directly at them all. Flames engulfed them. They all perished.
Or so it seemed to some of them.
Feldard looked around in astonishment. The dragon was gone, and all his friends lay unconscious about the room (which, by the way, appeared much smaller now, about 20×20 square feet). Saeth had remained out in the hallway, guarding the rear, and was no doubt wondering what was going on in the room with the dragon. All she could hear were some battle cries and the clanging about of weaponry, but nothing that sounded like a dragon.
There was a rather ornate woodcut door just to the south of the door which the group had entered.