The suspense waiting for rescue was far more intense than anything that she had experienced before. Even greater than discovering the fresh vein of gold that in what it seemed liked an eons ago, but in reality had just been last week. How her life had changed in such a short period of time. First, she had freedom and adventure. Then comradeship, and good honest hard Dwarf work teaching the Gnomes how to dig to wealth and glory. She inwardly sighed, this was a damn good mine, rich with wealth and so much potential. But all good things had to come to an end when the Gobbos struck bringing death and her new friends and she had been forced to retreat into an unexplored section of the mine, which unbeknownst to all set free the ‘terror’. Now here she was, waiting bound and trapped praying for deliverance from the one thing that had led her to exiling herself from her clan. Oh how the Immortals loved their little jokes.
* * * * *
“Aha! Phoneutria nigriventer gigantica, or large poisonous spiders, as quite evident here noting the bodies.” observed the mage, “I’d suggest at least one large specimen noting the orc there. Possibly not too dissimilar from the one we encountered amongst the Rahib’s chambers. This one would appear to be more successful, although the ‘larder’ might suggest several of them…”
Feldard grunted out a swear at seeing the wrapped bodies. “Miklos, any chance of any of them still being alive up there?”
Not that the answer mattered. No dwarf, alive or dead, would be left hanging as a meal if Feldard had any say in the matter—which he did. “We need to get them down. Any suggestions on how?” the dwarf asked.
Miklos’s gaze crossed the web-encrusted ceiling. “Getting them down will not be a problem. Getting them down without causing further additional harm may prove more challenging.” He judged the height of descent. “That drop could kill if the subject fell badly. Not to mention the chances that the spiders may be upset that we are stealing their food. Anyone cutting them free would surely be attacked.”
The mage paused a second. “A broad-based sleep spell should suffice and a levitation incantation on a brave soul armed with a torch should have them down in a trice. All we need is a soft landing!”
“A soft landing eh?” Maruc looked doubtfully around at his metal clad friends. “Well I guess we could all get our bedrolls out. “I’ll get the others.”
As Miklos and Maruc discussed options, Feldard moved further away from the two humans and their light source in order to better utilize his dwarven infravision. He peered about for the creature which would be likely lurking nearby ready to pounce—to protect its captured prey.
As he scanned the ceiling and the shadowed corners of the cavern, Feldard switched battle axe for crossbow and loaded up with one of his few well used bolts. Fighting this creature would be best done at a distance; for it was likely, given the dwarven and gnomish bodies above, that his normally stout constitution would do little against whatever poison kept his kinfolk paralyzed and unresponsive.
On the other side of the rocky teeth, Stephan kept his light shining to and fro thinking that at any moment an attack by some dastardly dungeon denizen would come. Through the echoing tunnels, he heard Feldard again call out in dwarven. Whispering to Hasan, “I suppose they’ve not found anything yet. We should probably head back their way soon.”
Hasan was intent on finding the outer rim of the cavern and so continued forward several steps, despite Stephan’s words. “I can’t imagine they found much of anything, if the dwarf is shrieking like that,” he commented.
Stephan and Hasan went through the teeth, and the group was reunited in the spider’s food reserve chamber.
The priest stalked back into the main chamber. “Hasan? Stephan? Ahh good there you are, we’ve discovered some lunch. Spider lunch that is, we’re going to need a soft landing, could I have your bedrolls? Thanks!” Leaving the two to their puzzled expressions he ducked back through the broken-tooth cave mouth then dropped his backpack and rummaged for his own bedroll and added his formal clerical vestments and town clothes the the pile beneath what looked like the ‘dwarf’ shaped bundle.
Miklos added his soft baggage to the pile. “Right, who wishes to volunteer to fly?” The question hung in the air.
Maruc took a smart step backward. Grinning wolfishly.
Miklos raised a questioning eyebrow at Feldard who was busy loading his crossbow. “Willing to risk your dignity for your fellow countrymen? Or would you prefer to stay on terra firma?” The dwarf started to turn on the mage. “Wait! I meant no disrespect, we cannot hope to just shoot through cords that can support two hundred pounds in weight, they must be burnt, and we cannot set the roof alight with mere fire arrows and should we discover a way to ignite the ceiling it would release all the bundles at once and have not enough soft material to couch even two of the victims. Also, the risk the the victims is also too great.”
Stephan and Hasan ducked in from the shadows. “More potential volunteers? Or perhaps bow cover in case the magic fails to have the desired effect?”
Feldard instantly balked at the notion of the mage casting magic on him—one would think that the elf would be better suited to being levitated.. but elf was a better shot with a bow than he… so perhaps that was Miklos’ reasoning.
It took a moment to gather his resolve but in the end, the dwarf nodded his agreement to the plan.
Miklos prepared his levitation spell. A faint nimbus of light encircled Feldard. “This is going to feel strange, in theory you just ‘will’ yourself up and down. You can go quite quickly. Remember you cannot fly side to side. Up and down only, you can push yourself off objects though.”
“In theory?” muttered the dwarf.
“Well. I’ve only done this once before.” admitted Miklos as he brought his hands together and completed the spell. He smiled encouragingly.
He centred the sleep incantation on the thickest part of the web. He pulled at and expertly wove the intangible magic and held it poised at the last command gesture. A flicker of uncertainty crossed the dwarf’s expression. “Light your torch Feldard.”
Miklos released the spell with a dismissive gesture.
“Will yourself up!”
Maruc watched the dwarf bob about uncertainly for a few moments. He was glad he could see his face. “I’d always knew he’d be reaching new heights.” He whispered to Hasan.
The mages’ instructions concerning this magic left a lot to be desired, but Feldard tried to “will” himself up towards the webbed bundles. His face was a mix of shock, fear and wonder as his feet rose off the ground.
Up, up, up he rose. It was an odd sensation. He glanced down and immediately wished he hadn’t. He wanted down and he began to descend—without the cocooned bundle!
The calls from those below recalled him to his task. He had to close his eyes to will himself upward again.
One by one, the dwarf grabbed the bundles, starting with his fellow dwarf. He could not see inside the shroud to make out any features of the captives, but could tell the different races by shape. Something about the enshrouded dwarf seemed familiar though. His fingers and arms were getting increasingly numb. The strongest one of the group, he was glad now that he had undertaken the task.
Finally, the dwarf finished the job and all the spider’s ‘food’ was safely on the ground.