Feldard looked about in bafflement. The dragon must have been illusion. But why then were his companions unconscious? Perhaps the mage that conjured the thing had up them to sleep? He checked the nearest of his companions to be sure they were only unconscious and then called out to Saeth. “Twas only illusion as Miklos claimed. Come help me wake them, before its controlling mage returns.” He tried to wake Maruc first.. keeping an eye on the wooden door lest the enemy mage try to sneak up on him.
“Say what? Merely an illusion?” Saeth’s heart twisted, an odd mix of relief and disappointment flowing through her veins. “And the artist, I mean the caster, is still about?” Almost afraid to look, she spun, scanning the room.There, she saw the great dragon standing before her companions who all lay about on the ground, every last one burnt to a crisp. All, save for Feldard. She concentrated on the words that Feldard had just spoken, and the scene transformed before her eyes. The dragon was gone, and her friends were fine, just unconscious.She blinked a few times and then walked to Feldard’s side and knelt to shake Miklos awake.
As he was roused, Miklos swallowed his immediate desire to scream as he looked up into the welcome face of the elfmaid Saeth.“It is as I suspected.” he said after a few moments recuperation. “Thats a relief. There you are Maruc, witness the power of logical reduction, no wishy washy intuitive guesswork. Did anyone see the illusionist?”
No one detected a trace of any other presence in the small room. Miklos picked himself up and walked over to the door. “I suppose it must have been a programmed illusion,” he said conversationally. “But these are achieved by only the most powerful magicians. I doubt we are facing such as if the Sisters had such power they would have merely teleported to us and disintegrated us. No, it is possible that these illusions are Teriak’s own remnance of defense. For in order to cast a convincing illusion one must have seen the object or creature to be replicated. To survive an encounter with a dragon would need someone of Teriak’s power and reputation.”
Maruc opened his eyes and rubbed his face with his calloused palms. He welcomed the dwarves proffered are and hoisted himself to his feet. “Thank you again Feldard, you are a most welcome sight. For the briefest of moments I thought Halav had deserted us as the fire engulfed us. But he sent you to aid us in our hour of need for twice we have been in your hands and you have delivered us.” His eyes swiveled to the Mage and he whispered to the dwarf with a grin, “Its a shame we couldn’t have left him unconscious for a while.”
The dwarf guffawed at the clerics whispered comment. Then he continued on to wake Hasan with a shake. “This is not the time nor place for resting, elf.” There was a touch of humour to the dwarf’s tone.
Hasan awoke slowly and with difficulty. “Father. Elrond…have strayed far from the Quiet Way, and too soon I join you … ” Hearing gentle laughter, but of a gruffer sort than he expected, Hasan squinted up again. “Feldard? So then…it was illusory? Well, that was never in doubt. What next then? I am ready for more. Surely.”
Maruc took up his customary position to the left of the wooden door then he turned on the pompous mage and said, “One cannot apply logic to living creatures, and they, my studious friend, are my preserve. Empathy is vital to my craft, as lore is vital to yours. And both are equal under the eyes of the Lord.”
Maruc waited for everyone to gather at the door after their searches, “Nicolai, what do you make of it?”
Nicolai had finished his examination of the door and reported back seeing a red light beyond. He then stepped back behind Feldard with bow and arrow at the ready. The dwarf listened at the door for any indication of what lay behind, but there was no clue to be heard. The compact warrior then gave the go-ahead nod to the others and led the party through with, as always, his battle axe at the ready.
The door opened into a T-shaped corridor. Directly across, against the west end of the corridor, was another door, identical to the one through which they had just passed. To the south was the lightsource. The entire southern wall of the hall blazed bright with an intense red glow.