Run!

"We better move then, huh?" Invicta stated the obvious.

With the majority of the current level cleared, the group made their way to a wrought iron spiral staircase leading downward to the next level. Unfortunately, aside from a lone goblin which the warforged expended way too much effort to finally kill, it was empty as well. Some other Fellowship members must have already passed through.

"Must be going the right way then," Invicta said, unconscious goblin still slung over his shoulder.

"If you say so," Niko said, knocking a cobweb down with the tip of her sword.

She yelped and practically jumped into Vader's arms when a spider crawled out. He looked down at her with a raised eyebrow.

"What? I'm a mother-fucking lady, alright. Mother-fucking ladies don't do mother-fucking spiders," she said.

As Vader shook his head, they rounded a corner and came to a set of massive doors.

"You think it's a trap?" Invicta asked, turning to Vader.

"I can only pray that it is, at this point," he replied, finally dislodging the Bard from his side.

"This is the only way forward. They must have gone through here," Invicta went on and placed a mechanical hand on the surface of the door.

There was a rumbling from within. Niko, forgetting the spider, did a quick flourish with her sword and brought it to the ready. Vader likewise, readied himself for combat. With one last backward glance at them, Invicta began pushing and the doors open.

"Well shit," he said once it was open.

Beyond, lay a long, wide hall. Compared to the rest of the dungeon, it was well lit with candelabra dotting the walls at regular intervals. Along the walls and scattered across the floor, it was filled with shimmering golden trinkets, coins, and gear of all sorts.

"It's like a dragon's horde. Good thing Pepperjack isn't awake, or he'd be all over this room. This is a lot of stuff, but it's definitely a-" Invicta was saying.

Meanwhile, Vader and Niko looked on as the goblin creature slipped off of the warforged's shoulder and took off down the hallway.

"MY GOOD GOD!" it screamed wildly as it went, arms flailing and long tongue hanging out its jagged maw.

Invicta took off after his goblin as the doors began to slam shut behind it.

"By Corruptus, come on," Vader said and joined in the chase.

"Shit! I had a feeling you'd say that," Niko said as she followed suit.

"Trap! Teap!" Invicta called out. "Don't grab SHIT! We don't have time to stand around, just RUN!"

As if on cue, ghouls began to materialize at the start of the room. Vader whirled around to take on the combatants.

"No time, Master! Run!" Niko called as she bounded past him with three adventuring packs slung over her shoulder, a black staff tucked under one arm, and a golden flute protruding from her waistband.

"What? Why?" he said, reluctantly following her advice.

As a game monster, the clock that the others were racing was invisible to him. All he knew was that they really wanted to get from one end of this hall to the next, despite the treasure. But Vader wasn't made for speed. His armor and sword weighed more than most men could lift, let alone run with. Even the overburdened Bard was easily outpacing him. And the ghouls were just as easily catching up. He stopped, whirling around, swinging wide with his blade, and sliced the closest ones in half. Then he took off running again.

"Master, hurry! Time's almost up!" Niko screamed.

As Niko screamed at him, Vader caught sight of a spiked iron gate, descending quickly from a hidden recess in the ceiling. The three of them were clear, but he was in danger of being trapped. With a grunt, he hurled his sword forward to lighten the load. It skidded across the threshold ahead of him.

"Where was that song of haste, Bard?" he yelled as he slid through the gap just in time.

"Oh, fuck. Yeah, sorry about that," she replied. "So, uh... did you get any loot?"

"Do I look like I did?" Vader asked, snatching up his sword.

"...Guess not. You can have one of mine if you want," she said, offering him an overfilled pack.

Despite his usual disdain for the warm blooded, squishy, living creatures of the world, he just couldn't seem to overcome her massive Charisma bonus. Also, she seemed to have an unending supply of jokes the likes of which even an undead servant of evil couldn't help but laugh at. So, with a shrug he accepted it and dropped it into his inventory, where it settled amongst the skulls of dead foes, and random trinkets that he still hadn't bothered getting identified.

"Hey, are those your party members up ahead?" Niko said, waiving to a large breasted dark elf and large breasted... whatever that other thing was.

Damn it! She glanced down at her misleadingly endowed breastplate. How the hell is it that before the 'update' every single solitary girl managed to adjust that particular appearance stat but her?

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