“Ahh! Yousef. Come, come follow my voice.” Maruc led him into the stairwell that seemed to be beyond the ward engulfing the room. The man revealed looked exhausted, drawn but grimly determined, resilient and noble in a homely way. Horrible welts were etched across his chest and upper arms, he walked with a limp. Maruc appraised his wounds, severe but not life threatening.
“You’ll live.” he smiled, “No hard labour for a while though. So you know Stephan? You have the look of a woodsman about you, same clan perhaps? What on earth did …Golthar?…want with you? He sounded pretty upset. Not that I care about his sanity mind you.”
“Stephan will be with us shortly no doubt just as soon as they have dealt with the minotaur.
Miklos bumped into an invisible man crouched by the door. He heard Ludo complain, “Hey!”
“Sorry,” Miklos said shortly and stood back to let the rogue do his work. He realized he was tapping his foot impatiently, and stopped himself.
Feldard staggered back a few steps at the serious wound – grunting with the effort it took not to lower his axe. There was no time now to staunch the wound or take a breather – that would have to wait til after the beast was felled. The dwarf listened a moment, Stephen had joined the fray and he could hear the man’s sword make contact with the minotaurs blade – again and again.
Steeling himself for the assault, the dwarf hefted his axe and charged where he believed the minotaur to be. He let out a loud dwarven bellow as he swung overhead. He hoped his strike would hit but if nothing else it should distract the beast long enough for hopefully one of Stephan’s attacks to make it through.
Ludo upon opening the door rushed forward, yelling to Miklos come on, lets get him, he leaped up the stairs taking two at a time. With their prey so close he did not want to give him time to prepare another trap or to escape once again from their clutches. “Miklos gasped Ludo, be prepared, he could be cornered now and I suspect will fight savagely if he is”.
Stephan could not reply to Yousef at the moment. Remembering some of Feldard’s moves, he guessed the dwarf, although wounded, would charge directly at the minotaur. The beast would be focusing a bit low given the dwarf’s stature and Stephan used this to his advantage. Placing himself outside of what he believed to be Feldard’s attack area and using his ears and nose to judge where the creature was, he made his attack at what he hoped was the monster’s back. He swung in such a way that any follow through from sword would not go toward Feldard.
Thunk! Stephan felt the satisfying plunge of his blade deep into what must be the minotaur’s torso. The beast turned his attention to the human warrior. Enraged by its wound, it brought its sword and struck Stephan with such force that it knocked him off his feet.
Stephan rose back up quickly. The minotaur was once again attacking Feldard. With the beast now positioned between the two warriors, they could now triangulate their attacks. With axe and sword, they struck at the minotaur, and a sickening, grating bellow erupted in the invisible room. The creature could be heard staggering and soon fell with a thwack on the flagstones. It rolled about and Stephan joined what he believed to be Feldard in slaughtering the downed beast. In its death throes, it flopped part way out of the invisible room, giving those on the outside what must be a strange and horrific sight.
“Yousef!”, Stephan exclaimed when he finally had a chance. “Halav works in strange ways, indeed!” He clasped the fellow Dymrakian in a man hug smiling despite the party’s predicament.
“You must have some tales to tell! I attended your memorial. Your axe and boots now hang in Dramr Cave with the other elders of your clan. Your kin will be pleased to know you yet live!”
But the smile on Stephan’s face quickly faded. “Are you fit enough? We are in the depths of darkness here. If you can join us, we could use the help. But if you seek escape now, there’s no dishonor in it.” He looked Yousef up and down with sad eyes. “You seem in a bad way my friend.”
“We must keep him off balance!” Miklos cried urgently. Hitching up his robe he bounded up the stairs two at a time to keep up with the lithe rogue. “I hope he has no allies up there…” He readied his staff just in case. But that he’d had the chance to ready a spell! He cursed inwardly. He fervently hoped his guess was not true and that the yellow robed man was just a noble. Hopefully he would attempt to bribe his way out, this wouldn’t work of course.
What he didn’t want was a cornered magic user. Magic users can be many things, but what they are not is stupid.
“A man trapped is a friend of mine,” the elf soothed as Maruc and Yousef emerged from the cursed room. “Welcome, noble friend. Rest easy, now, as you are with friends. We will find the meaning in your tapestry soon, but for now, my friends await.” And the elf slipped into the room and became quick lost in the invisible labyrinth. It seemed Stephan and Feldard were less troubled by the maze than he, and that they had succeeded against their fearsome enemy. The elf wandered helpless nonetheless, increasingly uncomfortable as he turned, stumbled and crashed against each invisible wall.
Meanwhile, Stephan was about to join the others when he heard a loud thud, the sound of armor crashing onto the floor. The dwarf had succumbed to his wounds, falling into a heap on the floor.