Maruc quickly dashed the tear from his face and smiled warmly as colour returned to the dwarf. “What are we to do with you?” he grinned. “No!” he cried as the dwarf tried to sit. “You are in no fit state to move. I command you to rest. Halav has guided you back to the light but you must make the rest of the journey yourself. Be at peace. The others have given chase to Golthar, I have some magic left that will aid them. I must help them if I can. He is a dangerous opponent but I think this might help.
“Yousef.” Maruc produced a copper piece and addressed the woodsman. “I shall cast a silence enchantment on this coin. No one can speak, or more importantly, cast spells within its aura. Give it to Miklos, he will understand and return at once. Be swift!”
Maruc summoned the will of Halav Incarnate and blessed the coin in his palm with the aura in which no sound could pass. He handed the coin to Yousef. The woodsman nodded and vanished.
* * * * *
Miklos peered into the room. The statues reminded him of the ones in the Gnome tunnels. The ones that came alive. “There seems to be a lot of these statues about,” he said uneasily. “If the Yellow robed man is a powerful conjurer we will be in trouble. Where is Maruc? He could lay a peace on these creatures perhaps?” Miklos was not one for priestly magic but he guessed that if he could do little then Maruc might be able to do something? No matter. “They did not move until they were disturbed last time. I’d advise not touching them.”
He rubbed his stubbled chin in thought. Ludo’s instincts were right. Best not to rush into things, but he felt keenly the pressure of time.
“This feels like a trap. There is no apparent way on.” he felt the presence of the elf next to him and an idea formed in him mind. Very few things passed the sharp eyes of an elf. “Ahh Prince Hasan. Before any of us venture forth what do your elven eyes see? Whilst you gaze I shall prepare a sticky incantation that might slow any horrible surprises!”
Stephan took stock of the room and its contents. The jackal statues enraged him. “Jackals! More cursed jackals!”
Seeing the mage begin to flip through his spellbook, Stephan huffed and charged into the room running straight for the statues.
“But…” Miklos’s voice died in his mouth.
“For Feldard!!!!” the warrior bellowed as he ran heedlessly into what could only be danger. It was clear that he meant to topple the statues and scatter the bits. He was possessed. Any sense of reason had fled him after the seeing the fallen Feldard.
Hasan joined Stephan’s charge, shrugging at the studious mage. The elf filled his slender chest with the chamber’s ancient air and echoed their battle call. “For Feldard!” rang through the chamber.
Neither the elf or the human were all too surprised when the jade statues became animated and prepared to fight back.
Ludo, stood back mouth open stupefied, something had happened obviously to Feldard, he was not sure what. Still he would not leave his new friends in danger – he too charged in sword in hand, looking for danger. The statues were unnerving but of the man in the yellow robes there was no sign.
Maybe he was invisible, or hiding behind the portraits, Ludo frantically went to work searching for hidden doors and other exits from the room.
The mage’s attention returned to his spellbook. It would be difficult to concentrate enough to cast a spell given the commotion. Then, he heard a voice somewhere in the background start to invoke a spell. Suddenly, three glowing arrows appeared in the room. Again, the voice shouted an arcane command and the missiles flew straight at him!
The keen ears of the rogue triangulated the source of the voice. It was coming from behind one of the paintings.
* * * * *
Feldard felt as weak as a newborn kitten as he struggled to sit up. He ignored the priests protests and just barely managed the seated position, when shouts in his name were heard echoing down the stairs. The dwarf stubbornly rolled to his knees and tried to stand but couldn’t and slumped back to the floor. “Dammit! Go to them Maruc. They need you more than I.”
Maruc looked into Feldard’s earnest face. He looked across to the stairwell rising toward the sound of ringing swords. He looked back and made a brief nod. “Yousef will be back soon. I am not happy leaving you unattended but you are right. Farewell!”
Maruc lept to his feet and sprinted toward the sounds of battle.
* * * * *
Another set of three glowing arrows appeared in the room, as Miklos writhed on the floor in pain from the first strike. Suddenly, the sound of his quickened breathing went silent. Yousef appeared before him carrying a copper coin. He was speaking, but the mage could not hear him. Miklos was a sharp young man though, and he quickly deduced that the coin had been dweomered. He pointed toward the statues and Yousef flipped the coin into the room.
He looked in frightful anticipation at the 3 missiles in the air, but they did not move. Their enemy, this Golthar, was not able to complete his spell. After a few moments, the missiles dimmed and then disappeared.
Breathlessly, Maruc made it to the top of the stairs in time to see the coin tossed into the room at the feet of the statues. He gestured to Yousef to go back to look after Feldard, Yousef nodded and turned to go. Raising his shield, he charged soundlessly into the fray.
The statues fought ferociously with sharp claws. Stephan and Hasan had both sustained wounds, and were most grateful to see the cleric come to their aid. As one of the statues turned to face the new attacker, Hasan stabbed his sword directly into it. The statue cracked and then crumbled into powder.