The blow had taken the dwarf by surprise and it took a moment for air to return to his lungs. With a grunt, Feldard got to his feet once more. Blood seeped from his wound – he could feel it when he touched his shoulder, but he couldn’t see it. The voice had given warning just a tad a late.
Feldard glanced around. Where had everyone gone? He could see nothing around him. Well, if he couldn’t see the beast, perhaps he could hear him or smell him. The dwarf closed his eyes and concentrated on the sounds and smells nearest him. He held his battle axe at the ready. Stephen was off to his right.. the man was talking to whoever had given the warning. The sharp scent of fresh blood and urine came from that direction. The dwarf supposed maybe the invisible voice may not be in league with the yellow-robed man after all.
Behind him, from the doorway, he heard the cleric say he was going for the captive and heard the muted movement of Maruc in his armour off to the right. For a moment, he thought he could hear movement off to his left but he wasn’t certain. It seemed too stealthy for a beast that size.
That’s when the minataur roared again, the smell of rancid meat, and the waft of warm air – like a breath – to the left. The sound of heavy footfalls. “Engaging! Keep away from my voice!” Feldard moved left and swung.
Ludo winced as he heard Feldard’s comments, thinking to himself, just my luck stuck in a room with an angry minotaur and a crazy wild axe swinging Dwarf. He could see the others of the group standing around the doorway but Stephen was nowhere to be seen, so Ludo assumed that he too was somewhere inside the room.
“Stephan, Feldard!” shouted Ludo, “Withdraw back to the door, we should fight this creature on our own terms and not in this cursed room.”
“Now that’s something you don’t see everyday.” he grinned at Miklos. “I’ll just disappear for a moment. Doubtless whoever is confined in here is along a wall.” the manacles in the lower chamber drifted across his mind. “Probably chained. I shall release him.” He hefted his shield up in his left hand and made his way along the right hand wall, feeling as he went using the shield to face the room in case of accidental blows.
Maruc’s outstretched hand brushed against a clammy cold torso. “Who’s that!” cried the prisoner. “Calm yourself my friend I am Maruc, a priest. I shall release you. Hold still.” he said sliding his shield onto his back and pulling free his chain flail. He looped the chain around the manacle. He braced his foot against the wall and pulled hard. He felt movement, but this was going to take some time….
Miklos’s mind raced at at several thoughts at once. Firstly, the horrible amount of magic required to permanently enchant a room with such an awesome enchantment. The fact that the Yellow robed man was the master of such magic hence he was a magic user. That Miklos had to have his spellbook if his guess was correct. He couldn’t help in the fight. Minotaurs were Man-bulls of terrible strength and power although he doubted the prisoners assertion that it could see within this room. But one thing was certain; it was big; Feldard was small and arrows could be shot high toward the noise. That Feldard would not appreciate any suggestion that ended up with his being shot. The fight appeared to be central to the room. Maruc had gone right.
Miklos, staff outstretched, dashed left around the circumference around the room toward the door.
Behind him, from the doorway, he heard the cleric say he was going for the captive and heard the muted movement of Maruc in his armour off to the right. For a moment, he thought he could hear movement off to his left but he wasn’t certain. Damn the beast was surprisingly quiet!
As Ludo retreated back to the door, he stopped dead in his tracks, one by one the group was entering the room and disappearing in front of his eyes. Ludo felt the whish of Miklos robes swish past him as he dashed around the edge of the room. Moving on he continued to make his way to the door. Sooner or later, that Minotaur would be having Dwarf or Wizard for lunch, and Ludo did not fancy being the desert.
“Seven pits of Tartarus,” Hasan muttered to himself, as he saw his companions wink or shrink away. The elf listened, as only an elf could. He waited to hear for a clue that would reveal the Minotaur’s location, fingering the ring of Elyas, wondering what enchantment it might hold.
Stephan was confounded by the strange happenings. Upon hearing the stranger talk seemingly right next to him, Stephan felt about for the man and said, “Who was talking to you? Let me break your chains.”
Then Maruc was there, although invisible, and soon he and Stephan were straining at the chain holding the prisoner.
“His name is Golthar…” replied the man. “Stephan, is that you? I’m Yousef”
Stephan recognized the voice of Yousef Hokol, the head of the Hokol clan who lived in a homestead neighboring Sukiskyn. He had heard the man was missing, but just assumed his body had been burnt to ash in one of the fires set by the marauding goblin clans.
Then, he heard what sounded like crumbling mortar and suddenly the chain broke free. Stephan stumbled backwards onto the floor.
Feldard heard the beast approaching once again. Though he could not see the minotaur, his muscle memory took over and he did what came naturally. A combination of luck and skill resulted in him successfully dodging the unseen sword and countering with a might blow from his battle axe. The creature roared in pain.
Stephan rose quickly from the floor. “Right. I need to help Feldard!” And he made his unseeing way toward the sounds of the dwarf engaged in battle with some unseen beast.
When he felt he was near enough, and sure he wouldn’t strike at Feldard, he made a might downward swing. The blade caught something and the beast erupted a deafening bellow. But his attack, although successful, was off and the follow through swing took the fighter off balance. He cantered to the right, trying to keep his shield up.
“Thank you Stephan.” Maruc said chuckling, “I’m surprised Pyotr let you slip away from Sukiskyn so easily, you’re a handy man to have about!” He turned to the prisoner, “Can you walk? We must go back to the entrance where I can see to your wounds. And let the warriors do their work!” Maruc helped the man back to the stairwell they had entered.
Ludo shook his head in amazement, shrugged his shoulders and moved back into the room, moving to the right away from the immediate area of combat he made his way along the wall feeling for the door where the man in yellow robes had departed from.
When he found the door, he crouched down and immediately set upon trying to pick the lock to gain access, being so close to their prey, he had a feeling that the man in the yellow robe was running out of places to run to.
Ludo was pleasantly surprised. The fleeing man had not had time to lock the door. After doing a quick search for any hidden traps, Miklos joined him in opening the door.
Soon they would have some answers.
Feldard felt the sword stab into him from out of nowhere. It was a severe blow that may have felled a lesser warrior, but not this dwarf.