In the confined space of the low ceiling’d tunnel, Feldard had opted to have his crossbow loaded and at the ready. Seeing the rats scurrying forward, the dwarf let loose a bolt towards the forward most rodent. There was a squeal of pain that issued then the creature fell. The bloodthirsty rats scurried over the body, paying it no heed. The dwarf quickly reloaded and then fired off a second at nearly point blank before the first rat was upon him.
There was no room to pull out his axe much less use it properly, the best the dwarf could do was poke and strike at the the giant rat with the heavy wooden crossbow he held between him and it. “Someone light a torch! Try burning them!” he called out as he near wrestled with the rat trying to keep those slavering teeth well away from limbs and torso.
There were definite disadvantages to using mage-lit stones as opposed to torches, now was such a time.
“Retreat into the open Feldard, we can all help then!” cried Maruc as he backed away from the tight cave mouth. He readied his mace and shield just in time as swift evil looking rodent squirmed between the dwarfs legs. It was big for a rat, but Maruc wasn’t about to be daunted by its unnatural size. He pulled back quickly to give himself room the swing, thankful that they had not ventured too far in.
His first swing went wide but the backstroke caught it as it tried to gnaw through the plate of his left greave. Stunned it skittered a few feet away but Maruc swiftly stood on it and ended its life with a final blow. He looked around for more, and more there were. The hairy things were everywhere. One of them bit into the cleric’s wrist.
Glad to have the elf beside him, Miklos said, “Area of effect magic I have, but this is poor planning, I cannot use any here lest I confound friend and foe alike! Still there may be others about attracted by this noise. I shall not be caught out a second time.”
Dropping his sword and shield, Stephan leaped to Feldard’s aid, thunking his helmet against a thick root. Drawing his hunting knife, he jabbed it at the stinking rat that clung to the dwarf’s beard.
The hide of the rat was thick and Stephan had to push especially hard to puncture through. Blood spurted from the wound onto Stephan and Feldard. The rat continued to twist and bite while Stephan plied the knife in a gouging motion, trying to finally kill it. In doing so, part of the blade sliced through a small part of the dwarf’s beard and despite the immediacy of the situation, Stephan nearly gasped at what he’d done. He only hoped Feldard would understand.
The rat did not stop twitching but finally loosed its grip and thudded to the dirt. Stephan started to make a retreat; partly because he hated fighting in these confines but mostly to put space between him and Feldard.
Ludo scrambled through his back pack and grabbed his flint and a tourch, in the confused melee happening in front of him he cursed as he accidently dropped his flint. “Miklos he yelled get me a flint”!
Miklos, in utter defiance of his natural bad luck when it comes to things dexterous, kicked a splintered flint from the ground onto his foot. he reached out and flicked the splinter into his hand which negligently flicked in Ludo’s direction. He didn’t break his concentration once. It was a shame no one was watching.
Hasan backed out of the tunnel he had just entered. There was nothing he could do to help the friends who had gone before him. The elf found an apple in his pocket, and crunched into it. Sweet juice dribbled onto his tattered travel clothes. “What would my Rahasia think of me now?” the elf mused.
Inside the tunnel, there were now nearly a dozen of the hungry rats crawling about.