Fönnreyf… I don’t wish to die in this starless hole. I need to see the sky. I need to breathe clean air.
Holes can be pleasant and cozy so long as you have food and a way out. You have both. You will not die here. Do ask Murryl for some more fish please, when he has escaped those spider webs.
Escape? I doubt we can fight off whatever made those webs. If indeed it was a spider, its size must be enormous. This pit is a Hellish nightmare.
Spiders you have some power over. Do not fret. I wonder what their eggs might taste like?
“Some power,” yes. My only power over those shambling undead dwarves seemed to be just to run from them. I can see why the miner we’d rescued was near mad with terror. I fear sleep in that I will only dream of that tunnel, miles-long, pressing in upon me at all sides, backing away keeping them from me with my spear yet knowing if I stumble, they would inexorably carry themselves towards me like a tide of death, their flesh slipping around the spear shaft as easily as water.
I told you the others would come and they did.
And I had told you, “Not Bell.” He faces ever-forward and what may have interested him passes as quickly as thought when there is something else to discover ahead.
I suppose. Like a hawk he is. High and aloof. Turrell, then. He is quiet. I like that. He slides smooth and silent as a serpent.
I knew at the time he was sorely wounded and near death, yet I could not reach him. If he still lived, he would not have survived chasing these down.
Murryl. He would not have let wounds prevent him from the chase. Like a badger in a hole he is.
He is fearless, that is true. But his strides are slow and his tenacity fails him from noticing his own wounds.
Decroder would come, I told you. Out of them all, Decroder would come and pounce like his cat. Slash and cut with that long claw of his.
You were right. I didn’t have to destroy them, I just needed to keep them there until Decroder showed up. But at the time I had told you I’d left him in darkness, surrounded by these remorseless, insatiable creatures. If I hadn’t doomed him by running, how could he even see to find me again, and why would he after I had not done the same for him?
While you are wise to not grant your trust to these Townsmen lightly, you perhaps do not credit them enough. Have they not left their homes for this place?
For gold they have.
You may be right but it may only be because they throw you scraps.
I admit this works strongly in favoring my opinion. Do you have any scraps, by the way?
Not right now. I am more concerned with trying to stay alive. We should have rested for longer. We’re sorely wounded and I have no healing left I can give to these warriors or protection for myself. Behind us is that wretched slime that undid what I could do for Decroder. It is only Bell and myself that are in reasonable good health and his motivations are still a mystery to me. We cannot go back and that voice taunts us and drives us on and on like a cruel Townsman baits a bear.
We know the magic in which he speaks to us must come from close by.
Yes, he may be hiding through some illusion as he tempts us deeper and deeper. I fear that when he does reveal himself we will be in no condition to defend ourselves.
Focus now. I hear something coming. It is quiet but too large. It scrabbles upward, sounds like dead leaves blowing over the frozen ground. It smells… of blood.