Ludo stood back to allow Feldard to go first, damp dark tunnels he figured would be a natural place for the dwarf. “Feldard, after you,” he whispered, grinning. “Age before beauty.”
“Well, they were looking for a dwarf and elf. We might as well give them what they want.” Hasan followed the dwarf through the tunnel. “Give us a second, then follow,” he hissed back at the humans. “Just us for now, Feldard,” he smiled at the dwarf. “Let’s do this.”
A hollowed out log was not much of a tunnel and the sound of running water just on the outside of the petrified wood did appeal to the dwarf. Still he wasn’t about to back down from taking the lead in this. Feldard stepped into the tunnel, not needing to crouch… but the low ceiling meant that his axe would be difficult to maneuver, if it came down to a battle in there. Again, he mentally chided himself for leaving his crossbow behind.
Feldard, glanced over towards the elf at his words. Recalling not that long ago, when it was Hasan who was the untrusted newcomer. ‘Bah, I must be going daft, to travel with companions such as these,’ he thought to himself. But if truth be told, he knew he would lay down his life for any one of his travel companions.. well he still had his doubts about the new human, but the others he trusted and knew they would do that same for him.
After the dwarf left the north door to lead the way through the tunnel, Stephan kept an eye on the north door. Muttering mostly to himself, “It’d be a bad thing should we get plugged in that tunnel from a rear ambush.” He held back taking up a rear guard as the party moved into the stone tunnel.
Maruc listened to the quiet banter between his friends. A smile played across his lips at Stephan’s concern they’d be caught and held in a five foot bough. He seriously doubted it would accommodate one axe-wielding dwarf.
Leaving Bushka, Miklos stood by the door next to Stephan and watched the lithe elf follow the stoic dwarf into the shadows the the doorway. He held no fear for his friends, in many respects he felt a sad inevitability in the bloodshed that lay in store for the rude inhabitants. He tried to recall all he knew about the name Xitaqa. It sounded vaguely Traladaran, perhaps an offshoot of the dialect. As for the moors, being a city dweller, Miklos was largely at a loss when it came to the wildland of the Duchy.
Feldard moved across the tunnel quickly, certain that at any moment, the log would be dropped into the stream that it crossed. His footsteps echoed loud in his ears.
“Good thing that hardy dwarf is at the lead,” thought Stephan as he watched the dwarf and elf progress into the strange petrified tunnel.. “He’ll give those gobs a fright, I’m sure…..And if he goes down, well, there should be a little less bitterness in the world.”
A trap door in the floor had opened beneath the dwarf’s feet. It snapped shut above him, while Hasan managed to narrowly avoid the same fate. Feldard sank to the bottom like a stone. Thankfully the river was not deep and he was quickly able to raise his head and get his breath back. Unfortunately, the black water was infested with cold-water piranha. A shoal of vicious fish immediately swam toward the fresh mass of dwarf meat.