Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Depths of Despair Part 3: Passing the Guards

Fland and Elarr were quick to make their way back up the tunnel and to relative safety. They put enough distance between them and the cavern that they could talk louder than a hushed whisper.

"So now I take it that you want to head back to the surface," Fland said.

"No, not yet," Elarr responded, "I still would like to try down that other corridor first."

Fland raised an eyebrow in suprise, "I thought being reckless was my job. Im pretty sure that tunnel branch snakes down and comes out near that creepy place towards the back. I couldn't tell for sure from our angle, but it looked like there was a tunnel coming out near it."

"Agreed. I noticed that as well and I'm hoping that is the case," Elarr said as he tapped the crystalin orb of his short staff lightly against his chin. "I want to know what is in there for certain. It is something vile and dangerous, of that I am certain. I would rather not leave it a mystery for long."

Fland turned from Elarr to lead back up the tunnel to the branch they had passed by earlier. "That is fine by me, but getting to it is the trick. It is set far enough away and it looked like there was enough stuff to block the view of it from most of the main camp, but I can't see taking those guards out without alerting the rest of the hoard."

"Leave that to me."

Only a few minutes later, Fland was leading the way down the other tunnel branch. As predicted it soon started a steep incline and hooked around towards the large cavern. Caughtiously, they approached the mouth of the tunnel and peered out from around the corner. Indeed, there was little chance of the main camp seeing them approach the eerie crag, but the two guards would see them plainly.

Elarr tugged Fland back a few steps. "Keep close and stay silent. I can hide us from sight, but we'll still be audible. Don't make any suddent moves, like swinging those clubs about. The spell will not be able to keep up and will break. Do not get more than two steps from me either the magic will be stretched to thin to work."

Fland nodded at all of this, though he took slight offense at his maces being religated to the status of simple clubs. Afterall, they were well balanced and finely crafted weapons.

A few arcane words and a quick gesture was all it took for the pair to fade from view. Fland spent a moment trying to look at his own hand. It was quite disorienting to not be able to look down and see where his feet were on the ground or his body in relation to the wall. It was hard not to jump when he felt Elarr's hand grope his arm and take a light grip.

After getting his barrings, Fland led the way down the tunnel. Elarr, who had practice being invisible, kept up with Fland, even avoiding bumping into him when he came to paused at the mouth of the tunnel. They crossed the cave like ghosts, drawing nearer to the bone decorated entrance. With each step closer, the evil spector that seemed to hang over them grew stronger. Fland could feel the hairs on the back of his neck raise up. Even in a place that was inherently eerie and evil, something far more vile must be waiting for them through that portal. That is what a finely honed danger sense told Fland and he did not doubt it.

Fland watched the guards intently for any sign that they noticed the approaching pair. It was also a chance for him to get a real clear look at them. They were as tall as him with muscular builds, though there seemed to be slight deformities and the muscles did not apear asymetrical from one side of the body to the other. Their heads had an ursine shape. It was like someone had grown a goblin to his size then sowed a bear's head on the body. Bugbears. Fland had heard of the beasts, but never encountered them. Nothing he had heard made him want to scrap with them though, for they were said to be as viscious as goblins were cowardly.

Each step brought them nearer to the cave and the bugbears, and with it the unnerving feeling that haunted them. However, that seemed to double instantly once Fland stepped within five feet of the bugbears. He felt a sudden streak of fear run though his body. Something about the unatural creatures left his muscles shaking. He was prepared for this though, the lore he had been taught said that the creatures had an aura of fear about them. Of course, he had prayed that was just myth.

Almost ready to step through the bone decorated cave to the next chamber, Fland paused when he heard one of hte bugbear's sniff the air. His heart felt like it might stop at any moment. Slowly cranking his head to the right he saw that guard had raises his nose to test the air. His hands tighted on the light maces, preparing to make a quick strike to gain the upper hand.

"You smells somethin'," the guard asked. Fland was glad that he had learned a small bit of the goblin tongue.

"No, can't smells not'in'," the second replied in a congested voice. The guard snorted then spit a thick glob of phlem on the floor

Fland wished he could let out a sigh of relief as he started forward again. Once they were moving down the new tunnel, it was Elarr whispered, "I felt you tense and thought for sure you going to attack."

"Frankly I was," Fland replied as he continued towards the bend in the tunnel, "but even I try not-Gods have mercy!" Flands thought was cut off as he edged around the bend and saw what it was the goblins had hid away in their accursed warren.