Hasan reacted quickly to the noises ahead, moving quickly to seek shelter in the shadow of a ruined outbuilding. The chinked walls allowed his close-pressed eyes some view of the arc before him. The elf waited and sightlessly drew an arrow from his quiver.
Maruc’s pace quickened as he saw the elf skitter under cover, and he also dashed behind a nearby wall. It was a short wall, though, perhaps the stall of an ancient vendor of fruits or some less tasty morsel, and so the cleric knelt low beneath the half-open wall. Maruc clutched his shield to his chest, whispering a silent prayer to Halav, and waited for a sound that signal his charge.
Miklos had followed his friend to the vendor’s stall, but watched the man’s preparation for combat with a bemused smile. He ducked low beside Maruc, but couldn’t contain himself. “A nice ball of fire would do nicely now, don’t you think? I’ve read of such spells. The plane of energy can source great bursts, I believe, if you can open the channel.”
Feldard watched the ruins warily. Because he was facing away from Hasan mostly, he was the last to become aware of the threat ahead.
Hearing the sounds of the patrol approaching the group, Ludo silently disappeared off into the shadows using a crumbling misshapen stone column as cover. Crouching down he waited for the patrol to pass him.
Stephan continued to keep an eye on Feldard, hoping that his night vision would be an early warning of any attack. All he knew was that Hasan and Ludo had stopped. Stephan also stopped, adrenalin the senses. His entire being was focused on listening.
“Okay, Stephan,” he said to himself. “Take it easy. Just breathe. It’s like the calm we had before the Battle of Zadreth.” He felt his nerves settle. “Blessed Halav,” he continued with his inner voice, “keep them dreaming down there,” he muttered from the old ‘Dream of Halav’ poem he learned for confirmation.
Clank! He heard the distinctive sounds of an armored foe! Looking to his companions, hidden in the gloom, he could see they too had heard the clamber of approaching battle and now were searching for intruders.
As the dwarf turned around to glance ahead, he noted the group scattering, seeking cover. Feldard cussed under his breath and motioned for Stephan to take cover, even as he sought out the same. He moved into the ruins of a building. He ensured his bow was cocked and loaded and waited in anticipation.
Stephan did as Feldard suggested and took cover. He readied his short bow, checking the angles.
As he peaked around the corner, he saw them. At the head of the group was a foursome of baboons chained with iron leashes around their necks. Holding the chains were were six hobgoblins. Their shields were emblazoned with the same blood red skull symbol that the companions had seen at the door to Vlaak’s quarters in the Wolfskull lair and their armor was decorated with faux red blood.
They did not seem to see the party as they hid amongst the ruins as they charged past Hasan and Ludo.