The rain was still falling heavy, the torches that lit the ring circle of stones held out. Defiant against the storm. Rowena was breathing heavy, quickly wrapping up the Ley-Clach in a cloth and placing it in her bag. She looked up. Ulundes to could hear the voices coming, the priestess regarded the barbarian. In a silent agreement they hurried into the brush and waited for the torches to draw near.
It was Father Moorland, thank the goddess. Rowena thought.
Ulundes stepped out right in front of him, he came chest level to the she-elf. He jumped back with a start. “Augh!” He shouted, stepping back his hand up in warding for it to dawn on him it was the barbarian. “Ulundes,” He began, shaking his head calming himself. “The children, did you find the children?”
“Five of them.” She stated bluntly, “The rest of the scared runts ran through a portal.”
He gazed at her, eyes wide, “What did you say? How many?”
“Ten, fifteen. I’m not positive. A cultist was shoving them inside, and went through. The rest sort of ran around and a few pushed one another in trying to get away. I imagine some got away into the woods.” She shrugged.
Moorland shook his head, a calloused hand came to rest upon his forehead. “Where is Rowena.”
“I am here, Father Moorland.” She dipped her head, although she was drenched in mud she remained her ever patient, and reassuring self. Already, the rain was washing away the dark stains of red on her face and armor.
“Sister, thank goodness you are here. Where are the rest of you?”
“Ulundes forgot to mention that the Bounty Hunter, Shanston, and Moft all ran in after them. We’ve no idea where they are.”
“How did the portal came to be, sister?” He was already hurrying towards the circle, the men who accompanied him holding the torches aloft.
“I assume the Devil walked in a clockwise circle, if Moft hadn’t jumped the gun and likewise, Ulundes I would of been able to determine. In either case, he was still able to open it through their valiant efforts.” She responded cleanly. The two corpses of the Cultist, and likewise the Devil laid where they had died.
Father Moorland seemed non-impressed, “I can open the portal, but only for a few moments. I need you and Ulundes to retrieve the children, and your wayward companions. Please, promise me you will bring them back.”
Rowena nodded her assurance, “What can we do?”
“Whoever was in the circle when it began must return their again.”
“That’s me.” Ulundes stepped inside the circle.
“Then I will begin.” He nodded, first coming to place a mirror at the center of the ring of stones. Next, his hands raised drawing intricate invisible lines into the air while he muttered his spell. Slowly, a shimmer of a distant portal appeared, “Go! Now!”
Ulundes was evidently in pain, a hand clasped to her head as if she was having a migraine, another at her stomach as she glowed a soft blue that lead to the portal. Despite it all, she ran towards the portal and jumped inside. Rowena just behind her. They looked over.
A giant they looks of which was part fey and a hill looked their way. Rowena raised her hand, “Just passing thro—!” The beast seemed none to happy, sitting back up and beginning to chase them. Though he was a long way off, and they both went out the other exit of the portal.
Moft, BH, and Shanston stood among a dozen or so children all either crying, screaming, or frightened. With what experience Moft had, all she knew how to do was play. Trying to play pattiecake or sing a song did little, so she scurried off to a corner of the dungeon-room they found themselves in. Shanston stood among the children, seemingly unaffected. Perhaps it helped he wasn’t much older than them?
“SHUT YOUR PUNY MOUTHS!” The Half-Orc shouted, the children jumped back, a large sum cowering into a corner of the room. Huddled close and crying on each others shoulders, while a handful either screamed at him and staring, waiting for their painful demise.
He growled, “QUIET!” The few that hand’t huddled to begin with, did, though a few did attempt to stifle their sobs. The Orc was enjoying the silence just barely until he saw a mark float above into the room. Moft and Shanston saw it to, perplexed they still remained where they were. A part of the mark vanished and they were transported.
Moft was the first to jump aside, looking for any means to hide, but there wasn’t. When she, and the others came to realize they were reunited. There wasn’t much hello’s and warm hugs or greetings like she may have liked. The situation was grave, still trapped in a lit dungeon room, the children were scattered once again. The distant sound of living things was not far. It was ominous to say the least, but for the time being it appeared they were being left alone. So they had to hurry.
Rowena went immediately about soothing them, and calming them. With her demeanor and new blood-cleaned body fresh out of the rain she was able to accomplish such a task. While Moft regarded the whole of the room, two torches. Two doors to the left side of her, and an arched doorway lacking the door to her right. She went to investigate
- but stopped as Ulundes gave a step back. Blood dripped from an open palm, and she shook it. “Bloody door handle bit me!” She growled.
Moft quickly ran over, recognizing the door handle’s trap mechanism as the one on a different door that almost claimed her life. A chance at revenge. She quickly began to pick the lock, and was successful. She looked over her shoulder and smiled, “You can open it now!”
Without so much as a thank you, Ulundes did just that. The hallway was dark.
“How should we proceed?” The elf asked.
No one was quick to suggest, but Moft did. “I say you first, Ulundes. Your eye sight and hearing as an elf is superior. Followed by me, as I will be your back up. Should a trap need disabling I can do that.” Then she turned to the rest of her companions. “The children will follow behind us, with the three of you guarding the flank. You are the strongest among us, and seeing as that’s the open doorway, that should be where our captors come.”
“What makes you determine I’m one of the strongest?” Rowena looked at her curiously.
“Well I just thought that—”
“I can calm them, but Shanston should travel in the middle.”
“Wouldn’t that be dangerous, with spell casting and all?” She questioned.
“They’re short.” The gruff voice of BH added.
Without any further qualms, the companions pressed on. Ulundes found no traps, and pressed further on until their pathway came to a T. On the left, a doorway. They assumed from their room prior due to how close the room was to them. Their right, a cavern. Moft volunteered to scout it out.
“If I don’t return within two minutes and a half, assume I’m captured or dead. Proceed on without me.” She stated. She stealthed only using the thick inky darkness of the cavern, her half-elf eyes saw through the dark just fine. She came upon a second cavern, and returned.
“There’s a second cavern going in.”
“Could be a way out, or further in.” BH commented.
“We should turn the other way.” Ulundes said, and Rowena agreed. The party turned around further. The arched doorway was just as dark, if not darker than the one they traveled prior. Not to far ahead, Ulundes found a magic mark, a trap laying in wait. Moft was quick to destroy what lines were important to the spell and deactivated it without setting the arcane trap off. They proceeded, through a series of a twisting halls, until they came to a T again. They turned left.
Rowena all the while, had been quietly asking the children to remain and quiet. Hold hands as they walked, and she was able to keep them relatively subdued, it must prove prudent. No goblins or henchman popped out at them yet.
At last, they came to a steel door. Ulundes and Moft both checked it, but saw no trap. Ulundes went to open it. “Wow!” Came the prior, as a bolt of ice whizzed past her shoulder from above. Moft blushed.
“Opps, I guess I should of spotted that one.” She disabled the trap without trouble.
“This door’s locked, and it’s heavy.” The elf stated.
“So break it down!” The Orc pitched in from behind.
Moft was slapping the door ineffectually. Which earned her to be shoved aside by Ulundes.
“We’ll do the real work around here, half-elf.”
Moft glared, but made her way to the back of the line. Where she began playing pattie-cake with some of the smaller girls. Rowena and BH made to the front. They all pushed their weight against it, but to no avail. Finally, Rowena asked them both to step aside. Calling upon her goddesses favor, Rowena summoned a great battle-hammer.
With it firmly grasped between her hands she began to smack against the steel-doors. WHAAAAM! BAAAAAANG! TWAAAANG! Sang the door and the hammer as they met each other, the sounds reverberating and shaking the small hallway all around them. With the tenth, last swing, the door buckled and Ulundes pushed through.
An arrow whizzed past her ear, clattering harmlessly against the stone wall behind her. Some of the children gave shout. Though Moft held them in place before they could stampede and run, which wasn’t hard. Most froze in fear. Rowena cautioned the children to line against the wall and sit tight.
Ulundes charged in, taking another arrow. She swung her blade at a goblin but it ducked and skipped back.An arrow plinked off of the Bounty Hunter’s armor, but another scored him in his flank. He ripped it out with but a grunt.
Rowena extended her hand, called upon righteous flame but the Goblin side-stepped it. Slippery bastards.
Bounty Hunter barreled for the last gobbo, and sliced it clean in half. Shanston had unentangled himself from several prying children hands quick enough to cast a bolt of magic, one of the goblin’s howled as it leaped away, and died as his feet touched the ground. Fire hurts.
Moft had to squeeze past the children, but at least broke through, and with a surge of energy she made it out of the hallway enough to aim an arrow at the Goblin-Bandit leader. Though it missed. Ulundes charged at him, but he ducked again. Dancing away from her swinging swinging battle-axe. He aimed an arrow for Rowena, but it went wide, and clattered harmlessly to the floor on the opposite wall. Rowena ignited him this time, in righteous fire, he gave a caustic shout, as if it tickled. Shanston prepared another bolt of magic, but it was harmless. Fizzing out against the wall that he struck instead.
Bounty Hunter roared, raising his great sword and charged for him. “Huuuuuaaaaigh!” He screamed, raising the blade over his back, up and over, and SLAM. Goblin patty melt, splattered all across the floor.