“My beard!” Feldard exclaimed in shock then took a wild swing at the fleeing human, missing Stephan as another rat jumped for the distracted dwarf.
As the party pulled into the open space, Maruc found it easier to swing his mace. It was marvelously light and seemed to have a life of its own. Again and again he swept the weapon into the mass of swarming rodents and more often than not it found its mark. A good thing too as the supply of rats seemed to be endless.
“Miklos! One of your spells might be useful right now, unless you fancy another couple of days recuperation in this delightful place!” Maruc’s fierce grin bellying his concerns.
Miklos could see Maruc was quite correct as he glance around Stephan’s shoulder, and yet more seemed to be coming out of the darkness. He needed more space lest he enchant his friends. “Back away from the cave mouth everyone, I shall cast a sleep enchantment upon them, it should make our way clear!”
Stephan ducked, trusting Miklos would ply his skill and get them out of this rat nest. But unfortunately, he had two of the vile beasts somehow attached to him at the moment. Yet he ducked. And rolled–trying to squash one of them with his back. It squeaked but seemed undeterred.
Kicking, he was able to send one skidding over the cave floor into the effect of Miklos’ enchantment. He was able to “sheath” his knife in the other.
Ludo too scrambled out of the cave pulling clear his sword, he hacked at any rats that came within reach.
Feldard was less than pleased with the advice of the others to give ground, but did back his way out of the tunnel, bashing rats against the walls as he did so.
As they retreated into a defensive ring about the cave mouth, Miklos was impressed how they corralled the beasts into a neat mass. He waited a few seconds to see if more were about to arrive. “Perfect gentlemen! Stephan duck!” he swiftly gathered his enchantment and almost gently laid it upon the centre of the pack. The effect was almost instantaneous. The ravening pile slowed and stopped.
As soon as sleep blanketed the rats, he started to stick them with his sword clear of any strands. As soon as the last rats were killed, he carefully reentered the cave to retrive his flint.
Hasan watched the companions finish the rats off. “I say,” the elf remarked, “let’s not forget the scream that came from the left. Shall we thither?” The elf tossed his apple nonchalantly…to the right.
Afterwards, he felt for the damage to his beard and glared at Stephan muttering curses in dwarven. By the time the rest of the party was ready to continue, Feldard seemed at least approachable.
“Well, do we continue into the tunnel, or try to the left or right?”
Stephan kept well clear of Feldard; avoiding eye contact. He thought it best to lay low for a bit.
He was guardedly relieved that the dwarf did not seem to be dwelling on the matter and was instead focused on the groups’ next move. Stephan resolved to never mention the beard. As far as he was concerned, it never happened. Or at least if it did, it must have been one of the rats.