That's right, it's time (late actually) for another edition of my Story a Week. This one is a continuation of the last two. I don't think I'll continue this storyline next week, but I think that I will return to it later on.
I'm planning a post this week about some very exciting news in my life. Stay tuned!
Rixi walked briskly through the labyrinth next to Cuddlington. The dwarf seemed to know where he was going, not pausing at intersections and not waiting for the others. She whispered, "Do you really know where you're going?"
Cuddlington glanced behind him to see if Melbrid and Meentha could hear. Satisfied that they couldn't, he whispered back, "To be honest, lass, no. I do know that we're heading in a generally southwardly direction, which is my goal. I'm guessing that the exit is that way."
Rixi nodded, that made sense to her. She looked up. She still couldn't see the ceiling. "Do you think we're under the mansion?"
The dwarf shook his head. "No. I'm guessing that we've been teleported somewhere when we fell down those holes. I don't know, or care, where. I just want to survive this so that I can get my hands around that wizard's neck."
Rixi giggled then suddenly stopped. She heard a howling sound from all around them. The rest of the group stopped as well.
Melbrid, looking around nervously, said, "Where and what are they?"
Meentha replied, "I think that they'rre gnolls or wolves. Perhaps even werrewolves."
Melbrid gulped. Still nervously, he asked, "Where are they, then?"
Cuddlington answered this time. "There are two packs of them, whatever they are. One pack to the north and one to the east." He looked towards the way they were heading. "The next turn heads east. They'll be there. I'm guessing the other pack is trailing us."
Rixi knew what to do. She pulled a belt pouch off her belt and walked between Meentha and Melbrid to the rear of the group. She opened the bag and poured caltrops along the width of the path. "That will slow them down," she said.
She turned back to see a sly smile on Melbrid's face. The sorcerer walked up to the trap and waved a hand over the caltrops. They disappeared from sight. "They won't even see it coming," he said.
Cuddlington interjected, "We must hurry to reach the intersection before our enemy. Prepare your weapons."
Meentha and Cuddlington ran down the path. Melbrid held Rixi's elbow and said some mystic words. "You are now hidden from sight as well. The first attack you make will break the spell, so make the best of it."
The two of them sprinted down the path after the warrior and ranger. The four of them rounded the corner and stopped short. They saw a pack of wolves about two hundred feet away running towards them. There were about a dozen of them. Meentha drew her bow and fired.
Melbrid pulled a wand out of his robes and shot a fireball towards the wolves. It exploded in the middle of them and sent them flying. A few of the wolves didn't get up, but the rest shot up and started running again towards the group.
Just then, Rixi heard a bunch of yelps and squeals from the other direction. She looked and saw another group of wolves had found the hidden caltrops. The group was now limping towards them slowly rather than running. Rixi moved along the wall slowly towards the first group of wolves.
She tensed as the wolves approached. They passed her as if she weren't there and she let out a sigh of relief. She saw Cuddlington charge into the group of wolves to keep them from Melbrid and Meentha. Melbrid pulled out a different wand from his robe and shot some magic missiles at one of the wolves surrounding Cuddlington. Meentha shot more arrows into the wolf pack.
Rixi gingerly approached the melee and pulled her short swords out. She stabbed into the nearest wolf. The beast howled and fell to the ground. Pretty soon the group had the rest of the beasts down. Rixi looked up in time to see the other group of wolves standing about fifty feet from the group. They were growling, but keeping their distance.
"No one make any aggrresive moves," Meentha whispered. She put her bow over her shoulder and slowly approached the group of wolves. A couple of the wolves backed up a couple of paces. Meentha howled and the wolves suddenly froze in place. The ranger howled once more and the whole pack howled with her. Meentha strode confidently into the pack and started petting the wolves. They began to lie down around her and she turned to her friends, smiling. "They'll stay herre," she said.
Rixi noticed Meentha glance sullenly at the dead wolves as the group walked by them. Rixi put a hand on the pantheron's shoulder. Meentha turned her head and smiled.
After another hour of wandering through the maze, Cuddlington motioned for the group to stop. "We're approaching a large open area. I'm sure that there will be some obstacle we'll need to face," he said.
"How does he know that?" Melbrid whispered.
Rixi giggled. "Dwarves can speak to the rock," she whispered back in a gruff voice.
The two friends laughed and Cuddlington looked back at them questioningly. Rixi laughed again and made a dismissal wave. The dwarf shrugged and turned away, then began walking.
The group rounded the corner and saw the path open up into a larger space. Rixi saw movement in the distance, but couldn't make out what it was. As they approached the opening to the larger space, the movement ceased.
"Maybe we should do some preparation before we go out there," Rixi said nervously.
The group turned to her. Melbrid nodded and said, "I have a couple of spells that will aid us."
Meentha nodded too, "As do I."
The two of them cast a few spells on the group. Melbrid finished by casting an invisibility spell on Rixi once more. Now prepared, the group walked out into the open. Rixi didn't see anything in the room. She looked around for an enemy, but didn't see anything.
Rixi saw that the area was square and about two hundred feet on each side. There was another entrance directly across from the one that the group entered from. Cautiously, Rixi crossed the room as the rest of the group milled about the entrance. When she got there, she heard a loud thump from behind her. She quickly turned and saw a very large minotaur standing, facing the rest of the group.
The minotaur and the group faced off with each other. Slowly, Rixi approached the minotaur from behind. She heard the minotaur boom, "Hold, trespassers! Do not move."
Cuddlington replied, "We just want to get out of this blasted maze, ye big oaf! If ye can help us, fine, otherwise, get out of our way."
The minotaur bristled and said, "Brash words, little one. I will only help you if you defeat me and I will most certainly not move for you."
Cuddlington glanced at Melbrid and Meentha. They each subtly nodded at the dwarf. He shrugged and shouted a battle cry as he charged the minotaur.
The minotaur laughed heartily and shouted a battle cry of his own. His cry was cut short as an arrow thudded into place in one of his shoulders. He shrugged it off and hefted his large warhammer. The head of the hammer slammed into the stone floor as Cuddlington deftly dodged the blow.
Rixi decided that she'd been an observer for too long and she drew her two short swords. She stood behind and beneath the minotaur.
Looking up, she decided that the monster was at least twice her height. Not letting that faze her, she launched herself up in the air and stabbed her two short swords into the minotaur's back. She put her feet at the small of the minotaur's back and pushed off. With a roar of pain, the monster fell forward a couple of steps, but caught itself.
Rixi landed with the grace of a cat and looked up. One of her swords was still firmly planted into the minotaur's back and she held the other in her hand. She was so busy thinking about her next move that Rixi didn't see the warhammer coming.
The next thing Rixi knew, she was flying through the air and landed hard about twenty feet from where the minotaur was now battling Cuddlington. Rixi tried to stand, but fell back to the floor gasping in pain. She could feel that several of her ribs were broken.
Suddenly, she remembered the healing potion she had. She quickly reached into her pouch and grabbed the bottle and chugged.
She gasped in pain again as her ribs righted themselves and she heard a snap as the ribs mended themselves inside of her. The pain ceased and she stood. She looked down at her empty hands, then saw her remaining sword lying near the feet of the minotaur. Cursing to herself, she drew her remaining two weapons, two daggers, from the sheaths in her boots.
She saw that the minotaur was slowing. Many arrows were protruding from his skin and several burn marks from spells dotted his body. He was still trying to smash Cuddlington. The dwarf looked pretty beaten up, as well and didn't look like he could take much more from the monster.
Rixi steeled her nerves and sprinted towards the minotaur. She launched herself into the air as she neared. She planted her two daggers into the monster's lower back and used her momentum to drive herself upwards. She grabbed the short sword from his back and plunged it into the minotaur's right shoulder.
The minotaur let out a long, pain ridden roar and fell to his knees. Rixi landed beside him as his legs gave out and he crumpled, face first, to the floor.
Cuddlington limped over to Rixi and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Ye did well, lass," he said to her.
The dwarf went around to face the minotaur and knelt down near the monster's face. "We've beaten ye, monster. Help us find the way out and I'll put ye out o' yer misery."
The minotaur groaned and tried to sit up, but couldn't. His legs were motionless and Rixi realized that she must have pierced its spine with one of her daggers.
"All you need to do is search my pouch. In it you will find a wand that will open a portal to the next test that the wizard has planned for you," the minotaur groaned.
Cuddlington swore. He stood up and said, "When I get my hands on that wizard..."