Ludo stepped back as Stephen barged past him and braced himself, half expecting something to happen to Stephen. After a few seconds he realized that nothing was going to happen and that Stephen in his haste was almost at the top of the stairs. Shrugging his shoulders and muttering to no one in particular “amateurs”.
Following Hasan and Stephen to the top of the stairs, he glanced back and was reassured to see Feldard and the others trooping up the stairs.
Ludo guessed that as they were now moving up that they might be within the tower itself, and much closer to Vlaak and the mysterious man in the yellow robes.
Stephan mounted the dusty stairs — the cubes had not done their work here! — in reckless haste. At the top, however, his senses came back to him. Faced with a door, he stood back on the landing to allow Ludo to practice his skills. As Hasan reached the top, the fighther tried to squeeze into the corner to allow the elf to also examine the door.
Stephan hissed down the stairs at Feldard, “Aye, best close that door. Don’t want any of that goo creeping in.” Some part of his brain knew this was a ridiculous thought but he felt better with the door shut nonetheless.
As the others had made their way through the doorway the priest took the opportunity to ensure the lower gate to the street was secured. Satisfied, he made his way back to the stairwell and with one last scan for anything that lay in the oozing mess, he followed the party, closing the door behind them. There wasn’t much room on the stairs. “This is cosy.” he remarked to no one in particular.
Ludo examined the door. From the other side, he heard the sound of a low growl.
Hasan was pleased. The party clearly was heading in the right direction. He stood aside and motioned Feldard forward, “Your skills will lead us better now. Walk the point with Ludo. But don’t chase everything that moves. Leave a Ringman for me.”
“Be quiet, you are all making too much noise” Ludo whispered. “I hear a growl on the other side of the door, I think we might have some guard dogs to deal with, or possibly some Gobbo wolves. Be on your guard”. Ludo stepped back to allow Feldard past and got out his bow and notched an arrow.
Stephan readied his shield and sword. He clutched his light stone in his left shield hand. “I must affix it to my shield, some day,” he thought to himself.
He could see that Ludo sensed something beyond the door. The rogue’s body took on the lithe, cat-like awareness of a feline on high alert. Stephan held his breath and tried to remain perfectly still. All his focus was on Ludo’s reactions to the door.
After securing the outside door, Feldard had returned to the party, a bit miffed still that he’d not had opportunity to even attempt a swing at the gelatinous cubes that had frightened human. But his sour musings were met with an offer to take up the lead. Ha! Of course when there was a certainty of battle – send in the dwarf first. Some might feel bothered by that, but Feldard knew it was because they trusted him to deal with whatever lay ahead.
Miklos stood on the stairs and caught the rogues’ urgent comment. He smiled, all a growl would indicate was they wouldn’t be surprising anything. No surprises there. “Ahh here we go,” he smiled again, as Feldard mounted the steps. The dwarf paused for just the barest of moments at the door, untethering his battle axe and ensuring that the others were prepared. Then with a nod, he opened the door.
The marble walls and tiled floor of the chamber were dulled with age. Statues of jackal-headed men stared blindly from their plinths by the walls which were robed in dust. Faded curtains hung on the north and west side. A double door was the main exit to the east, and another door was in the southwest corner. A fountain in the center of the room was dried up and filled with rubbish.
However, there was scarcely any time to look about, for inside the chamber was the largest wolf he had ever seen. It was about the size of a pony! With snow white fur, the wolf glared at him with intense icy blue eyes. The wolf immediately sucked in a deep breath, held it, and then released a blast of icy air directly at the dwarf.