Ludo smiled it was good to see Hasan back up and about. As he drank from his canteen, his hand shook. He replaced the stopper and wearily rose to his feet and investigated the human skulls containing liquids. He grimaced, these Gnolls were barbaric creatures, seeing the skulls made him feel glad that the Gnolls had been killed, however he did not know what the potions were, maybe Maruc or Miklos would know.
“Maruc will be better suited to identify these.” Miklos mumbled to himself as he toyed with the potions retrieved from the shaman. He nodded at Hasan, he still looked pale but he was walking and talking which was a distinct improvement. “How are you feeling now?”’
Hasan rose, tottering. The elf found Maruc first. “I have returned, Maruc,” the elf said solemnly. “I am glad I have,” the elf laughed suddenly, and he spun a golden coin in the air.
No, Ludo saw clearly, that was a ring spinning so fast it looked solid. The elf returned the ring to his finger and it disappeared against the elf’s golden-toned skin once again.
“Well, friends, we have moved at speed, and found our match. By Ilsundal, what a lot that was we found,” the elf laughed, almost giddy now.
With the hut cleared, Feldard was relieved to have someplace the others could rest. He, however had duties to see to. Like clearing the area of the corpses lest the smell of blood attract predators. Then there was the evening meal to prepare and his wounds to tend to, his weapon and armor to clean and maintain. After all that, Feldard was adamant that he would take the evenings watch.
Stephan helped Feldard finish off taking care of the gnoll dead, as much as they deserved. Flopping severed gnoll arm onto the pile, he said “This is just…not necessary. Let’s get out of here.”
“Peace Stephan,” Maruc urged, “at least give Miklos a chance to restore his spells, we may need them!”
Maruc felt dog tired. Miklos had handed him the potions but he hadn’t the time or energy to discover their contents. He did wonder what a shaman would use here in a graveyard haunted by now re-deceased ghouls. An evil priest would naturally be able to command these creatures? He was in no mood to think about it. He thanked Feldard for taking watch.
“Given time I might have suggested we stay here until we were fully recuperated. In fact I think we have little choice but to stay here at least a day and another night. My only concern would be how many more gnolls dwell in the pass? If they get wind of what has happened here we shall be in for trouble. My guess is that this war party was summoned by the shaman in defense of their holy ground. At best their village or wherever they came from is a way up the valley, Perhaps too far to hear the fighting or we’d be knee deep in them by now.” He shifted, the bindings that Hasan had tied where pulling against his cuts and bruises.
“The point I’m getting to is how long will it take them to realize their party is slain? I’m guessing no more than a day, two if we are lucky. We have to assume they will attack as soon as they find out. Lets just hope they sent their best the first time.” Maruc yawned. “Right now I need some rest. Wake me in a couple of hours, and I shall seek more of Holy Halav’s aid.”
“Let me help you bind those wounds, Maruc, you are wounded yourself.” The elf bent and roughly steered the priest to a bed. “Rest yourself now. We will go nowhere. I will watch. Miklos, about that lightning bolt, the charge, you say, originates from a charge that is stored at a positive terminal and travels to a negative…”
“Sorry? Steering lighting? Oh yes. We’ll the technique is in preparing the path. As you are aware preparation is the key to magic. It is less start and finish and more shaping an ionized corridor and holding it in your mind as you formulate the agitation between the molecules initiating the static charge which will flow down the path…”
Returning to the furs within the hut, Ludo laid down to rest, closed his eyes and thanked Halav that he had survived. Within seconds he fell into a deep slumber.
* * * * *
It was some time later the sun was setting and the fire glowed in the modest hearth and Miklos had opened his wineskin. The two spellcasters had replenished their minds with spells that would do them well in another fight against the gnolls. Miklos started to slip into a dose as darkness began to creep across the sky.
Meanwhile, upon waking from his nap, Maruc read the scrolls so see if they were anything of value. He was pleased to see a nice variety of divinations to The Immortal Three. Certainly these would come in handy should they face more attacks from these dog-faced warriors. He returned the scroll to its case and began to make invocations to Halav for aid in healing his companions.
Stephan blinked a few times expecting to see Sirko again. He could almost smell his old friend again. Then he breathed more deeply as he rose and realized the odor was way more pungent than Sirko, even when the dog was wet from the Yorba creek.
“Bornnub! I don’t see how anyone can stand this hut,” he said while wrinkling his nose. “It’s rank with gnoll in here.”
The Traladaran was obviously still wobbly and pale. He leaned against the poorly constructed doorway.
Gathering himself, he spoke to the group, “This place is dangerous not to mention foul. We should move on soon. I’m able to go. Hasan seems chipper enough. Let’s get away from this stinking death pit.”
As Stephan finished his argument, Hasan’s keen hearing was the first to pick up the sound of armored travelers approaching through the forest.