As dawn broke over the town of Gorzibadd, once known as Kiris Dahn, Layleth, Kuri, Mangre, Gino and Quinn huddled across the river perimeter in a copse of thick trees and weighed their options.
“So this whole town is full of goblins?” Quinn shuddered.
“I don’t like ‘em any more than you do, boy,” Mangre grumbled. “Would a head-on assault get us anywhere?” Mangre looked at Layleth.
“No, the information we got from Treona’s said that they’ve been here for six years. They are so firmly entrenched that we will have to find a different way in.” She sighed and looked at Mangre. “Can you be the least bit stealthy?” she asked.
Mangre grinned. “Nope! Ain’t never had to be sneaky and I ain’t about to start now!”
Kuri glowed pink with consternation. Flashing images to the group, the Shardmind suggested that they cross the river in between goblin patrols and make a break for the closest building. An alarm would probably raise the whole town, and the party was not prepared to deal with hundreds of goblins.
“Part of being an Arena Fighter teaches you when a battle is lost before it’s begun, and a frontal assault on a fortified goblin town is suicide,” Gino agreed.
“Fine then,” Mangre sullenly agreed. “But if there’s goblin heads what need crushin’, I want my fair share!”
The party quickly decided that Layleth and Quinn would sneak ahead and find the best route, while the rest of the party crossed the river as quietly as possible. Mangre and Gino swam swiftly across, the Barbarian swimming quietly and gracefully. Mangre, on the other hand, waded in and quickly sank out of sight. As the dwarf’s feet touched the bottom of the river, he gave a push that propelled him forward and upward. As he broke the surface, he took a gulp of air and sank below the surface again. In this manner, Mangre hopped across the river bottom and made it safely to shore. On one descent to the bottom, Mangre nearly inhaled more river water than was healthy when Kuri brazenly strode by, walking along the riverbed. Gino was the first to shore and gave Mangre a hand out of the water as Kuri stumped up the riverbank to look for Layleth’s signal.
“Well I guess I’m good for another bath in a year or so,” Mangre said to himself.
Kuri walked back down the riverbank and motioned for Gino and Mangre to follow him. Layleth had sent a message to Kuri letting him know that for the next few seconds the coast was clear. As the three caught up to Layleth and Quinn, the party crept around the seemingly abandoned building and crept into the doorway. Quietly closing the door, the next goblin patrol stomped by outside.
“That was close,” Layleth mentioned, and Kuri agreed.
From behind, Quinn stammered, “um…Layleth?”
The party turned and let their eyes adjust to the inside light of the building. There were two sets of stairs, one straight ahead to the north, and one to the west behind a support beam, both leading to a second floor. From the foyer, Layleth’s keen elven eyes spotted a small reptilian face vanish around a corner at the top of the stairs ahead.
“Ready yourselves,” she said quietly as she unsheathed her Longbow. Pointing up the stairs, she looked to Kuri and a message passed between them. The Shardmind sent images of what Layleth had seen to the rest of the party. Kobolds.
Nasty little creatures, the reptilian Kobolds are very distantly related to dragon kin. Stories of kobold lairs being situated near a dragon’s nest are common, though sometimes the reptilian-faced humanoids also move into abandoned ruins of cities long-forgotten. This seemed to be a case of the latter.
Nocking an arrow, Layleth aimed at the spot where she last saw the Kobold’s head. Right on cue, the kobold stuck its head around the corner. Seeing an arrow leveled at its head, however, it let out a little yelp and tried to duck back around the corner. Colliding with something else behind the corner, the kobold ducked back and bounced off of its companion, now sticking its own head around the corner to get a better look. When the first Kobold bounced off its companion, it fell to the floor at the top of the stairs. Layleth’s arrow hummed through the air above where it had just been standing and embedded itself in the plaster of the wall behind it.
Quick on the uptake, though, Kuri’s shot did not miss. As a blazing beam of radiant energy shot up the stairs, it scorched the arm of the Kobold, spinning it back around the corner. Following the energy blast from Kuri, Gino and Mangre raced up the stairs toward the Kobold.
“This one’s mine,” Mangre shouted over his shoulder at Layleth. The dwarf was still upset that their last battle had ended with him being injured while Kuri and Layleth took credit for the kills. “Get your own this time, ye damn elf!”
As Mangre cleared the foot of the staircase, he looked up to see the injured kobold rounding the corner again. This time it carried an enormous burlap sack and was accompanied by his companion, a kobold wielding a shield shaped like a dragon scale. The kobold carrying the sack spun once and let fly, the bag arcing out and landing on the stairs right in front of Mangre. The bag split open and trash of all sorts went flying everywhere. With a loud clatter, trash rolled down the stairs and a pitcher struck Mangre in the face, angering the dwarf further.
From the base of the other staircase, Layleth, Quinn, and Kuri saw the door at the top of the second stairway open and a chittering kobold, hearing the noise of the previously thrown bag of trash, lobbed another bag at Layleth. The burlap sack flew down the stairway and struck Layleth in the chest, knocking her back a step and exploding with putrid meat and other unsavory items. The normally pristine elf looked down at herself, and with a keening wail sprinted up the second stairway drawing her falchion.
“I hate being dirty you motherless whore!” She shrieked as she closed.
The sound of the screaming elf gave Mangre renewed vigor, and shaking his head to clear it, turned and charged the first to kobolds at the top of the first staircase. As he reached the top, he swung his craghammer in a wide arc. The first kobold leapt to the side right as Kuri’s second energy blast blew it into the wall, instantly evaporating it. The kobold with the shield however, was not lucky enough to be afforded such a quick death, and Mangre’s hammer hit the shield, shattering the kobolds arm.
At the top of the western staircase, another kobold with a shield looked around its companion. Seeing the rage in Layleth’s eyes, it quickly ducked around its companion and scrambled out of sight.
Reaching the top, Layleth cocked her arms to swing, but as she stepped down, he foot slid in a pile of garbage, and she lost her balance. Using her momentum, the quick-footed elf dropped into a roll and tumbled closer to the unfortunate kobold. Springing upwards from her tumble, Layleth slashed the kobold, disemboweling it and dropping it to the floor in a heap.
On the northern staircase, Gino swung at the injured kobold, but the creature, despite is injury, was nimble enough to skitter backwards. Mangre, however proved the quicker and leapt forward, bringing his weapon down and crushing the kobold into paste.
At the bottom of both staircases, Quinn cowered. When he heard Layleth’s scream, however, he knew that it was his turn to commit to the battle at hand. Subconsciously echoing Layleth’s scream, Quinn and Sir Brandt tore up the staircase in defense of his newly adoptive mother. As Layleth finished her killing blow against the first kobold, the second, shield-wielding creature moved to knock her back down the stairs. At that moment, Sir Brandt appeared in front of the elf, shielding her, and more importantly, startling the Kobold with such a sudden appearance.
“Be easy, fair elf! I shall let no harm come to you today!” Sir Brandt turned to face the attacker.
The kobold, taken aback by such a foe, stumbled back in disbelief, giving Layleth a chance to regain her footing after her last attack. Quinn shouted something to Sir Brandt and suddenly the entire party glowed with magical energy.
Mangre’s head, cut from the pitcher that struck him, began to mend itself; flesh knitting back together from within the superficial scrape. Layleth, who had been scraped and bruised from the sack that hit her, began healing as well. Potential infections from the bacteria in the garbage fled, and her bruises swiftly lost their discoloration.
As Mangre looked around for more enemies, he noticed that the north stairwell connected to the west stairwell by a hallway on the second floor. Rushing to the aid of Layleth and Quinn, he entered the hallway behind a fifth kobold who entered from a door in the middle of the way. The kobold looked over his shoulder to see a bloody dwarf and an angry Goliath barreling down the hallway behind him and decided to take the best of two bad options. Fleeing directly toward the fight, the kobold entered the area at the top of the west staircase just as Kuri entered from below. Taking careful aim, the Shardmind blasted the shielded kobold to dust.
Mangre, still in the heat of battle, swung his craghammer and decapitated the last kobold, who at that point was cowering in the corner.
The fight over for the moment, the party stepped back and admired it’s handiwork. “Not a bad fight, eh elf?” Mangre chuckled, “and with that trash on ye, ye smell a might better than ye used to!”
Shaking with rage and embarrassment, Layleth glared at the dwarf. “I hate being dirty,” she spoke through clenched teeth.
Kuri glowed with its milky quartz laughter and went about searching for clues as to where the Slaying Stone or the lost books could be located.
“Well I got two,” Mangre boasted, “probably a damn sight better than ye got yerself.”
Layleth sighed, “I got one, but if you would like to keep track, I’d be more than willing to wager I come out on top. Perhaps the loser gets a bath?”
“I just had meself one on the way in, elf, but if ye want a reason to take a bath, I’ll take yer wager,” Mangre laughed.
As the playful banter continued, Kuri reentered the room holding a small pouch of gold.
“Ah! A rock after me own heart!” cheered Mangre. “More’s the ale for us then!”
Quinn quietly starting helping Layleth remove the most offensive bits of trash, but suddenly stopped.
“We need to leave,” he said. “Now.”
As the door below them opened, and the sounds of a goblin patrol came up from below, the party quietly filed on onto a balcony on the second floor. Following the second-story stairs down to the street, they group melted out of sight as they continued on their way to the first building they were instructed to search: the library. From behind them, the goblins’ laughter hooted after them.
“At least they aren’t suspicious,” noted Gino. “In fact, it seems they think it’s funny, and probably blame another patrol.”
Kuri flashed a few images to the party. The goblin patrol wasn’t the least bit suspicious, and as long as they were quiet, they should be able to reach the library with little problem.
Rounding a corner between buildings, the party stopped short. Another kobold, this time obviously a spellcaster of some sort stood flanked by two metallic dogs. As the kobold let go of the leashes, he reached into his brocaded cloak and produced a wand. Snarling, the dogs charged down the alleyway towards the party.
Gino, the closest to the dogs, looked over at Mangre.
“So much for not being noticed.”
As the metal dogs closed on the party, Gino, thinking quickly, leapt up and caught the edge of the roof on the building the party was hiding behind. Pulling himself up, he crept along the rooftop and waited for Mangre to confront the dogs head-on.
“C’mon then ye hunks o’ metal!” Mangre shouted, catching the attention of both constructs.
As Mangre yelled, the dogs immediately changed course and slowed, loping toward the dwarf. Up went the Mangre’s craghammer and it rushed down at the first dog’s head. Nimbly leaping aside, the Iron defender nipped at Mangre, pinching his skin beneath his chainmail shirt.
“Ow!, ye damn contraption! Ye got a piece of me there.”
As Gino reached the edge of the rooftop, he looked down to see Mangre and the two Iron Defenders in heated combat. With a shout, he leapt from the top of the building, but instead of landing behind the dogs, he rolled his ankle, and fell to the side. Turning around and scrambling away from the Defenders’ iron jaws, he looked up to see the kobold spell caster readying his wand again.
Behind Mangre, Kuri, who was particularly vulnerable to flanking attacks took the distracting opportunity to swirl into hundreds of shards and shifted away from the physical fighting. Layleth, who had gone all but unnoticed during the initial charge, snuck away after seeing Gino climb onto the roof and attempted a flanking maneuver of her own. Nimbly leaping from pile of trash to window sill, the elf reached out for the roof’s edge and missed! Mangre and Gino, who were in the heat of the battle heard a crash and a very unprincess-like curse, and suddenly an arrow shot out from the other side of the building, knocking the wand from the kobolds hand.
Startled, the kobold looked at Layleth and seeing the elf wide-eyed with rage at getting dirty yet again, ran to the nearest doorway and took cover from the elf’s relentless assault of arrows. Seeing the immediate danger of the kobold had passed, Gino climbed painfully to his feet and from behind the Iron Defenders brought his battle axe down in a great overhead strike. The pain in his ankle, however flared at that moment and the axe clunked harmlessly down in between the constructs. At that moment, Sir Brandt appeared behind Mangre and struck out at the second Iron Defender. Seeing the phantasmal sword pass through the dog, both Mangre and Gino thought that it would do no good, but as the sword exited, a great slash appeared in the side of the beast, and oil began to drip out.
Looking up at one another, the Dwarf and the Barbarian swung from opposite sides and crushed the Iron Defenders together, seriously injuring both beasts.
The kobold, seeing that the battle could be lost, and that these were not just another group of unlucky adventurers, ran into the street, dodging arrows as he came. Stopping short of the Iron Defenders, he reached into his robe and produced a flask of green liquid. At that moment however, Layleth, seeing her opening, chased down the kobold, and as he tried to unstopper the flask, she brought her Falchion to bear. With a sigh, the kobold dropped, and the flask rolled harmlessly away.
A second later, the pair of Iron Defenders stopped moving.
Wiping her blade off on the kobold’s robes, she looked at the inanimate constructs.
“Their power was tied to their master,” she explained to a confused looking Mangre. “With the spell caster dead, the Iron Defenders had nowhere to draw their power, and they are now defunct.”
“I have heard tell of these types of monstrosities,” Sir Brandt said. “It is like I have heard, though I have never seen such creatures with mine own eyes.” With a pop that sounded like air filling a vacuum, Sir Brandt shrugged and disappeared.
The party took some time to bandage their wounds and of course dismantle the Iron Defenders and hide the parts. As Gino covered the spell caster with garbage to hide the body from any patrols, Quinn started wandering away.
“Oi! Now where ye think ye’re goin’ boy?” Mangre called after him.
Quinn didn’t answer but instead lead the way unerringly into a ramshackle old building that may have once been a stable.
Following him, Layleth soon disappeared from sight after the child. Looking at each other, Kuri, Gino, and Mangre turned to follow but as they approached the building they heard the elf squeal with delight. Holding a Falchion above her head as the two came back out from inside the building, the trio could see that the blade was enchanted.
“Thank you Quinn,” Layleth said, “it is wonderful! I can’t believe you knew it was there!”
“Sir Brandt told me,” Quinn said sheepishly, obviously unused to praise.
“Well keep yer stupid blade, elf,” Mangre said, “I got me at least one, maybe two of those rustbuckets back there, and all ye got was a squishy kobold.”
Laughing, Layleth thought about it.
“Well, I killed the kobold, and since the Iron Defenders in question were powered by the little creature, I guess that means I should be taking credit for those two as well…” Layleth trailed off to see Mangre sputtering, eyes bulging with anger.
“Now look here ye stubborn elf! I killed those contraptions fair and square!” He opened and closed his mouth like a fish.
Laughing now as well, Gino stepped between the two.
“We aren’t even close to done here, so there will be more chances,” he said. “Let’s get out of here and find a way into the library.”
As they walked past the spot where the kobold had been, Mangre stopped and reached down.
“Mayhap this might be a brew worth tellin’ tales about.” He picked up the flask the kobold had tried to dump on him. Opening the flask produced a smell so strong that even the normally smelly dwarf had to restopper it right away.
“Maybe not,” he said, “but it might come in handy later.”
He put the flask in his pouch, but thought better of it and gave it to Layleth.
“I may be too short to use this, so if we find the need, ye’ll use it…but ye should know, elf, that if’n it kills anything, they’re my kills!”
With a snort, Layleth put the flask on her belt and tied it tight with a loose thong. Ignoring the dwarf and his poor sportsmanship, the elf led the party on to the library.
The party continued to sneak through the streets dodging patrols, Quinn’s ghostly protector guiding them to the alley that lead to the main square of the library. Just as Quinn was about to step out onto the main street, Gino reached out and grabbed him. As Quinn was about to protest, Kuri send images to the party showing a group of about twelve goblins in at the main entrance to the library ahead. Speaking telepathically through Kuri, the party decided to find a back entrance to the library. As Layleth melted into the shadows and began her search, the goblin patrol started to move away.
“Typical,” snorted Mangre. “As soon as we commit to a roundabout way in, the fight goes ahead and leaves anyway.”
“Relax dwarf,” Gino said placatingly, “there may be sentries inside the building that will bring the whole town down upon our heads. You’ll get your fight then.”
“One can only hope-,” Mangre started to reply.
“I found another way in, and I think I can pick the lock,” Layleth whispered as she reappeared, interrupting Mangre.
Looking at Gino, Mangre muttered, “I really wish she’d stop doing that,” as he followed the party toward the side entrance to the large and still mostly intact building.
The dwarf arrived to see Layleth looking at the locking mechanism on the door.
“It’s not quite lined up,” she complained. Getting an idea, she looked at Gino. “Can you leverage this door a little bit…there!” She said triumphantly as the barbarian used his strength to line up the mechanisms in the door. Quietly the door swung open.
Gino grinned, “it’s what I’m here for.”
Entering the door, the party let their eyes adjust and saw that they were in a storage room of some sort. The room was dank and full of old scrolls, some partially burned. To the left was a door, sealed tight against the unstoppable onslaught of goblins so many years ago. In the corner by the door was a skeleton, most likely a scholarly victim of starvation, who died after locking himself in the room against the goblin horde. Directly ahead of the party was another door, also sealed from the inside. Just on the other side of the door, the chattering of goblins could be heard.
“It sounds like they’re eating,” Layleth said, her keen elven ears picking up the sounds of goblin lips smacking and the scuffles over the choicest pieces of meat.
“Well, let’s see if they care to share their hospitality,” Mangre said, and directed Gino to stand by the door straight ahead. “On my signal, lets kick the door in and introduce ourselves,” he instructed the barbarian.
Looking to see if the rest of the group was ready, Mangre looked at Gino and nodded. On the count of three, the two reared back and knocked their respective doors in, each one crushing a goblin unlucky enough to be standing right behind it.
At the back of the room was a small staircase, leading to a kind of half-level full of bookshelves. To the right of the stairs was an alchemical table full of instruments and implements of all kinds, and in the middle of the room were six tables, pushed into three rows and covered in rotten meat and bones like the reception of some macabre wedding. Apart from the two goblins that were crushed by the door, there were five more goblins, startled mid-feast by the sudden death of their comrades. Next to the alchemical table there was a cloaked goblin, larger than the rest, holding a book and as the party entered, the goblin tore a page from the book. The leaflet glowed green as the goblin spoke some words and then it disintegrated. Looking up from what he was doing, the cloaked goblin noticed the severe lack of activity of his troupe and then his eyes widened as he saw the party.
Mangre, itching to best Layleth in the kill count, charged ahead and leapt onto a table. In his wake, three goblins turned and started for the door, but at that moment, Layleth rounded the corner and, opening the flask, sprayed the three unlucky monsters with the liquid from the flask. As their flesh melted, Layleth jumped over the puddle, making sure not to get any on herself, and followed Mangre onto the table.
Gino, Kuri and Quinn, with Sir Brandt at his side, filed in through the door and took up defensive positions. Mangre, seeing that the rest of the party was inside, turned and charged the goblin holding the book.
Gino, about to join the fray, noticed a goblin hiding under the table ahead of him, and the goblin, knowing the game was up as soon as he met the barbarian’s eyes, leapt up and rushed towards the secondary group. Gino expected it, however, and the barbarian’s axe came down with a solid thunk and cut the goblin in half.
As Mangre closed with the goblin holding the tome, now in tatters, the goblin grabbed another book off the nearest shelf and tore a page out. Speaking more words of power, the page glowed green again, and as it fell to the floor, it turned into a gray mass, quivering and wobbling. Mid-charge, Mangre had to work to stop his forward momentum. Seeing he couldn’t possibly stop in time, he opened his mouth to shout, but Kuri, picking up his distress from across the room fired a bolt of Divine energy into the ooze. As the ooze bubbled and frothed, letting forth a putrid stench, Mangre continued his forward rush and plowed right through the boiling ooze. Only slightly slowed, however, he swung his craghammer at the goblin. The blow, which should have connected, seemed to slide right through the goblin, and suddenly it was on the rear stairway. Sir Brandt, seeing the goblin tear another page from the book, instantly appeared at the side of the goblin.
“Thou art a right knave, to destroy history so brazenly, foul creature!” He shouted, and swung his sword at the goblin. A flash of blue-gray light, and the goblin suddenly found itself unable to teleport to safety. Running back farther up the stairs, the goblin tore a page out of the book as it ran, throwing it to the ground and producing another gray ooze.
Suddenly the ground began to shake, and from the previous room, a cloud of dust started to roil out as scrolls and shelves fell in a heap.
Quinn, closest to the door, let out a scream and wet himself as an Ankheg broke through the floor and lumbered out into the goblin’s dining hall.
As large as one of the tables, and three times as high, the huge, brown, centipede-like creature burst from the other room, knocking the downed door and the dead goblins aside.
“Well this just keeps getting better and better,” shouted Mangre as he hacked at the newest ooze summoned by the goblin.
Shouting to Layleth, Mangre decided that in this case, tactics might serve him better than brute force.
“Elf! Ye chase down this damn Bookripper! The Ankheg is mine!”
Layleth answered with a volley of arrows right over Mangre’s head, tagging the goblin in the arm and the side. Panicking, the goblin tried to flee, but Sir Brandt was there. Turning to look at Quinn, so close to the Ankheg, Sir Brandt shouted a command.
“Use the sword, young master! It may be your only hope to get out of here alive!”
Without thinking, Quinn pointed the sword at the goblin, and suddenly, a great spray of frost shot from the end and stuck the goblin square in the chest.
Slowed, it was easy work for Layleth to leap over the tables and catch up. Taking a full swing of her Falchion, the last thing the goblin saw through chattering teeth was Layleth’s blade coming down toward its face.
Gino, who was right behind Quinn, pushed the boy out of the way. Something about the way the Ankheg had stopped at the melted puddle of goblins struck him as odd.
“It seems the flask was filled with the poison of the Ankheg,” he called to the rest of the party, “it seems to have attracted-”
The Ankheg, startled out of its inspection turned, and spotting the barbarian reared up in an aggressive posture, ready to strike Gino.
“Oops,” was all he was able to say, before the Ankheg grabbed him with its mandibles.
Swinging the barbarian back and forth, the Ankheg let loose with globs of ichor, showering the immediate area with sticky goo. Gino, still trapped in the beast’s maw, got the worst of it, and instantly his skin started to itch.
Quinn, unable to watch a member of his group get so badly savaged, pointed the sword again, and let loose another blast of frost. The Ankheg, hurt by the blast, dropped Gino and started toward the boy.
Kuri, who was the last in the door, began glowing crimson red, and sent a wave of energy at the beast, shaking it, and causing it to miss Quinn with its first attack. Quinn wasn’t so lucky the next time, however, and the Ankheg grabbed the boy in its jaws and began to squeeze. Luckily, the sword Quinn always carried saved his life, and instead the of child being cut in half, the blade stopped the mandibles from closing all the way, as it lodged horizontally in between each pincer.
Seeing the immediate threat of the goblin had passed, Sir Brandt vanished and reappeared in front of the Ankheg.
“Drop him foul beast, or thou wilt regret ever emerging from the subterrane!” He shouted.
The Ankheg, now furious that such an easy meal had been denied, ignored the spectre. Kuri, however proved harder to ignore. Blasting the creature again, it stunned the beast long enough for Quinn to drop down from between the Ankheg’s pincers. At that moment, Mangre leapt, and with a mighty swing, brought his hammer down, cracking the Ankheg’s carapace above its eyes.
With the new target of its ire so close at hand, the Ankheg swung around and faced the dwarf as an arrow from Layleth’s bow struck it in one of its eyes, partially disabling it.
Gino, not wanting the let the full attention of the threat focus directly on Mangre, swung with his battle axe, striking a glancing blow. Kicking out with its leg, the Ankheg knocked the barbarian into the wall.
Gino, stunned from the blow, slid down the wall and fell unconscious.
“Now ye’ve gone and done it ye ugly mother-”
With a roar, the Ankheg dashed forward, intent on finishing the dwarf. As it came down in a rush, Mangre leapt forward, under the maw of the beast and swung with all his strength upwards into the creature’s face.
With a loud crack, the Ankheg stopped, shuddered and slumped towards the ground. As it fell, the head of the beast slowly opened, spilling gore out onto the floor, and splashing the party with ichor.
“I can’t stand this!” retched Layleth as she turned and vomited. Seeing the party unable to heal itself, Quinn turned and spoke with Sir Brandt quietly. Again, that magical glow came over the party, and wounds began to knit.
Waking up, Gino looked around confused.
“I thought I was gone for sure,” he stood up. “Thank you my dwarven comrade, I don’t believe I was supposed to survive that.”
“Bah, yer a part of the Last Option now, Goliath. It’s me job to keep ye from succumbin’ to injury or death!” With a pat on the barbarian’s back that almost knocked the much larger Goliath over, the dwarf chuckled.
“I’m thinkin’ that since I saved yer arse, ye could convince the elf that the beastie I saved ye from counts as two?”
Layleth, overhearing the conversation turned and slapped the dwarf.
“I don’t particularly care how many that…thing…was worth,” she spat, “if you ever get me this dirty again, I’ll…I’ll…”
“It was an Ankheg,” interrupted Gino.
Turning to the barbarian, who was easily more likable than the crass dwarf, Layleth could only sigh.
“Fine, but at this point, I almost hope I lose this stupid wager,” she said. “I need a bath almost as much as Mangre.”
“Already had one, thank ye,” muttered Mangre. Kuri, coming up on the group, and ever one to keep the party on task, flashed some images of a book and a stone.
“Right,” agreed Layleth, “let’s look around for the Slaying Stone and some of those books.”
After searching the library thoroughly, the party found a pair of bookshelves knocked to an outward slant. Behind them, a hole was dug into the masonry of the library wall. Claw marks in the wall showed that whatever may have been there was definitely gone now, and scattered about the opening were three brassy scales.
Quinn picked up one of the scales, and turning it over in his hand looked at Layleth.
“I have a bad feeling about this…”