“You see it, Feldard,” shouted Hasan. “Watch the bite,” he muttered, as he charged forward, swinging the great blade taken from Vlaak. It was much larger than that to what he was accustomed. Nevertheless, the blade swung through the air with a lust as great as the Feldard’s ax, the two weapons making a glorious harmony as the hacked into the spider.
Ludo turned towards the commotion and saw Hasan and Feldard hotly engaged in melee with the biggest spider he had ever seen. He dropped the book he was holding, drew his sword and charged into the melee holding his torch in front of him yelling to Stephen for assistance.
Hearing the commotion across the room as well as Ludo’s yell for help, Stephan lunged into the fray. The four companions soon had the wicked spider cornered and wounded. Stephan was enjoying this. “We’ll soon be done with this beast!” he yelled to the others. His words had a hollow ring, however, since the creature, despite wounds, moved with incredible speed through the dense webbing and disappeared.
“Where did it go?!”, Stephan said with obvious alarm in his voice. An eerie quiet fell over the chamber. The party watched the thick webs on the ceiling. A slight scratch from above and to the left caused them all to jerk their heads in unison to see what it may be. Then, with all eyes pointed east, the widow silently dropped from behind, landing on Stephan’s back.
“Aaarrrrgh!”, Stephan whirled trying to get the thing off his back. Despite its size, the spider was light. Stephan could feel its coarse hairs against his neck. The fangs lunged but his movement through it off for a split second. The bite drove deep into his pack.
With Stephan spinning about like top, Feldard, found himself suddenly a few feet behind the human warrior as the spider bit into the pack. With grunt, Feldard ran forward, swinging his axe in an upward angled stroke to bite deep into the red hourglass mark at the spiders underbelly which was clearly visible from it’s position atop of Stephen.
The spider thrashed suddenly, dropping from Stephan’s pack, it’s legs curling instinctively underneath it. “Finish it now, before it can recover.”
Turning in a rage, Stephan gripped the hilt of his sword with two hands; the blade pointed down in the battle-field execution position. The motion was fluid and rapid; the veteran’s muscle-memory from myriad battles coming into play. Bending his knees and clenching his back, Stephan thrust the sword clean through the widow’s abdomen and into a crack between the flagstones. A sickly fluid erupted from the cut in the spider’s thick hide. Those nearby instinctively turned to avoid getting the substance in the eyes or mouth.
Stephan jerked his blade free from the mess and took two step back, not fully believing the spider would not yet leap to the attack. After he was assured of the creature’s demise, he eyed his sword tip. “I’ll have to work on that a bit. Lucky at least that I hit between the flagstones.”
Stephan gave the dwarf a brief inspection. “Nice axe work, there. Good to have around.”
Ludo wiped the spider goo off his tunic, “this place is fill of surprises” he muttered to no in particular. “The books seem to be records of births and deaths of the people that used to live here, there is nothing of value here. I suggest we move on but with a little bit more caution”, he said looking at Hasan and Feldard in turn.
The dwarf met the rogues’ gaze steadily then gave a snort. “Yes, of course… because an excess of caution would have prevented all these creature-guards from attacking.” The dwarf gave his blade quick wipe then turned back to the door to the south and opened it striding through, ready to take on whatever came next.
Ludo looked on at Feldard as he moved through the door, shrugged his shoulders and kept his tongue, he figured that a retort would do more harm than good.
Maruc barely glanced across the library to see the melee ensuing. Only toward the end of the fight did he make out the poor unfortunate that had leapt out to brave the party. Halav protects, he mumbled to himself and drew another book. More communal records.
He sighed and stalked over to the balled arachnid. “Doubtless Miklos, font of all knowledge, will tell us species, gender and the names of its parents. Ahh, here he comes now.”
The mage looked over the armoured priest’s shoulder. “Its a black spider. What more do you want to know?” he snapped,”The state of its health? Give Ludo a few moments alone with it and he have its glands out.” He eye’d the wily rogue. “And this, he said expansively at the room in general, is a waste of paper, who wants to know whose uncle is whom’s? I’m no genealogist.” Frustrated he turned to the elf. “And what makes you think that he,” he gestured the the priest, “would know anything not written in his own language? This stuff is old Traladaran if I’m any student.”
“Traladaran you say? That would surprise me,” the elf looked curiously at the mage. “These ancients would have been a strange people then. The statues in the throne room down were common animals, just a dog. What man would worship a creature so unlike him? To see power in a great dragon or a mighty lion is not uncommon, but to see that in an ordinary cur? No, I think this tower belonged to some race that wasn’t human.”
The elf walked beside the mage, musing on the origin of the strange tower the walked. They exited the room, leaving the thief to his autopsy.
It was quickly determined that both exits opened out into the night. The southern exit opened into a plaza covered with overgrown foliage. The plaza led to the main entrance of the tower, two impressive tall bronze doors. One of the doors was open, and five Bloodhead hobgoblins stood guard inside. Their eyes gazed out into the night, not expecting to see anyone approach from the old library, a known spider lairs, and so they did not immediately notice the dim presence of torchlight.