Stephan desperately fought to make a guarded retreat. Blood stung the corner of his eye where the jackal that had leaped on his face left that and many more lacerations across his countenance.
But as he fought to join Hasan in relative safety, he strained to see his own, smaller, jackal carving. And there it was!
His glance, however, cost him dearly. Two more jackals found there way to the few places his skin was exposed and proceeded to inflict damage like a weasel in a chicken coop. Tiny, vicious, knives of tooth and claw sent sparkles of pain ricocheting through his body. Nonetheless, he tried to kick his little statue, now beneath his feet, toward Hasan.
The relentless attack of the vermin was too much. He couldn’t be sure his boot even connected with the statue. And again, his effort of saving the little carving cost him. The jackals continued a hate-filled attack; one of them seemingly burrowing into the back of Stephan’s neck.
Flinging himself against the wall, Stephan was able to knock the most offending devil from his back but two others still clung to him. Plaster and some sort of decaying artwork cascaded to the floor from his impact. The shredded tapestry caught up his boots, tripping Stephan to his knees. More jackals leaped to attack somehow sensing a kill was near.
The priest leapt past Stephan. He jammed the edge of his shield into a grasping fiend sending it skittering angrily across the room. “Back off a second.” He looped the chain of his flail around the second and dislodged it enough to release its grip. Wedging the struggling creature against the wall he urged Stephan away. The warrior gave space and Maruc ducked back into the tunnel and ran to the exit. “Time to leave everyone!” he called.
Miklos scrabbled for the exit. This was no place for an unarmoured man. The floor had difficult footing but thankfully his natural clumsiness did not creep up on him as he threaded his way through the melee and the dubious safety of the tunnel. He made his way back to the midden and checked the rope. It was still secure. They couldn’t be caught down here and someone needed to guard it so hand over hand he scaled the rope with the lightstone gripped between his teeth.
With his battle axe too slow and cumbersome to effectively deal with these foes, Feldard tucked his axe between his armour and his pack for easy retrieval later then turned to using brute strength.
Feldard made his way towards the tunnel that the elf, then the humans made their escape down. Only Hernane and himself remained within the chamber and Feldard was going to ensure Hernane made it out before him.
Ignoring the ear piercing scratchings of talon and teeth on metal, and the occasional laceration that came along with having over half a dozen of the statuettes clambering over him, Feldard trudged his way to Hernane and with his gloved hands tore the creatures from her with a vengeance and flung them against the far wall. With the last of them off her, Feldard shoved her out through the tunnel and then barred the way past with his armoured body as he turned his attention to the ones that were swarming him.
But it seemed for every one Feldard managed to tear from him armour and beard, two more would take it’s place. The dwarfs only saving grace was that his armour protected him fairly well, only a small number of their attacks made it through and those were mostly minor but cumulatively they would wear him down if he could not manage somehow to get them off him to retreat.
Feldard stepped back into the tunnel, arms raised to protect his eyes as he peered at the tunnel around him to see if there were any structurally weak areas that he could exploit. If he could cause a tunnel cave-in much like the other side of the chamber that might keep the little devils contained.
So intent was Feldard in his study of the tunnels structure that he didn’t notice right away that the weight on his back and shoulders had lightened and that the tiny scramblings had ceased. But when he did, he looked back to the chamber.. and there they were standing once more around the chamber.. perfect little statuettes unmoving… just waiting. He gave a shudder then warily backed his way towards the midden pit, just in case the little devils changed their minds.
Hernane after being pushed through the tunnel by Feldard waited at the bottom of the rope she yelled “come on Feldard, its time to leave”! She then clambered up the rope and stood at the top gasping for breath looking down anxiously for Feldard. Turning to the others she queried them, “what was that all about, this place is cursed”.
Hasan offered a hand to the bulky dwarf as he stumbled from the room, but the dwarf passed him by. The elf turned to look back at what they had encountered. The statuary was so still and there amidst the newly-stirred dust clouds lay their tiny echo. Hasan stole back into the room and held his breath. Nothing moved, though his magic sight showed the fierce glimmering outlines around the statues all the while. The elf retrieved the charm. Stephan’s keepsake did not glow with the light of magic, but it was an interesting little bauble nonetheless. He walked out without a backwards glance.
Soon all of the party were out of the room safely. The statuary resumed their still poses in the alcoves of the old chamber.
Meanwhile, Miklos pulled himself over the pit lip and scanned the room above, just in time to hear the approach of a party of orcs.