Session 70: Eggstraction

Prynhawn Haddway
Fifty feet from where the rest of the group waited in Sapphira's room, Yanliz watched as the kobold further down the corridor sniffed the air all around.

As it pivoted around, Yanliz noted that it's far hand held a thin string that trailed behind it into the darkness.

Yanliz rushed back to the room as stealthily as he could. "I saw one kobold holding a string, so there's most likely more, doing the same thing we saw them doing before."

"Yeah, that would make sense," Valeria nodded. "Do you think they were following us? Did it see you?"

"I don't know," Yanliz admitted. "It didn't see me, but I think it knew that I was there. It was sniffing in my direction. I think we should go as a group, because we're at a dead-end."

"I see," Valeria considered. "You think we should confront it?"

Suspecting the kobold had companions nearby, they debated engaging them or trying to flee to another place in the labyrinth or caves.

"What are we going to do with Prynhawn?" Jess asked. "Should we take him with us? Isn't he going to slow us down? I think we're better off leaving him here."

"I know we're in a tough spot right now," Philip added, "but I don't know what else we can do but keep going with Prynhawn. Jess, if we were to leave him here, what do you think we could do with him?"

"I don't know," Jess admitted. "I just think he's going to slow us down. He's heavy, especially with all his armor and treasure."

They considered leaving his armor, which was in bad shape, and his treasure, which they could put back in Sapphira's treasure room.

"I think we should get a move on," Yanliz urged, "and I think we should not leave Prynhawn in the treasure room."

"I don't know if we should leave him, but I think if we're going to leave Prynhawn," Valeria concluded, "that's the best place to leave him, so no one can get to his body."

"Someone can get to his body," Yanliz worried.

"I'm just afraid that if we wind up getting into a fight in the labyrinth," Jess voiced, "we might wind up having to leave Prynhawn in the middle of a corridor."

"Yeah," Valeria agreed, "which will be a lot worse."

"We can try hiding his body in the room," Yanliz suggested, "since there's so much stuff."

Yanliz peered out into the dark corridor to make sure no one was there."

"I'm thinking we might have to make a deal with the kobolds," Valeria surmised. "I think it's better if the kobolds get the egg, than if the necromancers get the egg."

"What's the difference?" Yanliz asked.

"The kobolds care about the dragon," Valeria explained, "and aren't going to create an undead dragon."

"Wouldn't it end in destruction either way?" Yanliz argued.

"It depends on what kind of dragon it is," Valeria replied. "There's half the chance with the kobolds, but a sure chance with the necromancers. If it's with the kobolds, then if it's a good dragon, it's a good dragon. If it's with the necromancers, it's going to be an undead dragon, and then it's going to be an evil dragon."

"I agree!" barked a somewhat familiar kobold that had appeared near the entrance while Yanliz was distracted, startling the ranger. "The egg is better with us!"

Yanliz confirmed it appeared to be alone.

"We just want our egg," the kobold barked. "We can get you out of here. Otherwise you are never going to make it out! Better to give us the egg and live to fight another day!"

"How are you going to take us out of this valley?" Brother Martin asked.

"You know how to get out of here," the kobold replied, "and we can make a distraction."

"What are you going to do with the egg?" Valeria asked.

"We're going to keep it," the kobold replied, "and then we'll take it far away, like we promised. We'll take good care of it."

"No matter what color it is?" Valeria asked.

"Color? It doesn't matter,"  the kobold repeated. "We'll take good care of it."

"Valeria, I think he's telling the truth," Vernim advised.

"We don't have much time!"  the kobold warned. "If I'm gone too long, the doors will be opened!"

"What doors?" Valeria asked.

"The secret doors!" the kobold replied.

"You're going to open all the secret doors?" Valeria asked.

"We don't have to open all of them,"  the kobold warned.

"How do I know we can trust you?" Valeria asked.

"You have no choice!" the kobold stated. "You know we just want our egg."

"Yeah, I know," Valeria acknowledged, "but I don't know that you're going to create a distraction."

"We would prefer that you destroy those invaders," the kobold stated.

"Are you planning to leave the caves?" Philip asked. "It seems like opening the doors is going to end what you have here. I don't know if that's true."

"It won't be safe for you here," the kobold threatened. "It's a matter of time before the doors are opened and the invaders make their way to you. The longer you stay here..."

"Are you going to lead them to us?" Valeria asked.

"They will find you in here," the kobold continued its threat, "if you don't give us our egg! But if you give us our egg, we will make a distraction, so you can get away."

"Okay," Valeria asked, "what type of distraction are we talking about?"

"We are good at distractions," the kobold promised.

"I know," Valeria acknowledged. "But where?"

"Where do you want to go?" the kobold asked.

"Out of the valley, I suppose," Brother Martin clarified, and Valeria agreed.

They debated which cave provided the best to escape from the valley, and were leaning toward the goblin cave.

"You have to hurry!" the kobold urged. "Time is running out! If I don't come back soon, they'll assume the worst. Are you going to give us our egg?"

"I'm thinking," Valeria stalled.

"There's no more time," the kobold stated. "They're going to think I'm dead, and they're going to open the doors!"

"Can you go back and tell them you're not dead?" Valeria pleaded.

"No!" the kobold stated. "Give me our egg! Once we have our egg, you can have all the time you want!"

"Which door are they opening?" Yanliz asked.

"Just give us our egg!" the kobold stated.

"Lawrence, give him the egg," Valeria conceded.

In orc, Yanliz suggested to Valeria that they try getting them to create the distraction first, but Valeria was sure they would not agree.

In halfling, Philip suggested to Valeria that they could always destroy the egg, but Valeria did not agree, convinced they would all be killed as a result.

"I don't think we should give it to them," Yanliz disagreed.

"I think we should hand over the egg," Jess agreed. "Look, I don't care about the egg so much as I care about our lives. Let's leave Prynhawn here and regroup."

"I think we should hand over the egg," Vernim seconded.

"Does anyone object to handing it to the kobolds," Vernim asked. "The most important thing is our lives. The second most important thing is the egg, but the most important thing is our lives."

"I still think it's a bad idea." Yanliz repeated.

"Yanliz," Brother Martin asked. "What alternative do you have? What do you want to do instead of giving them the egg? We know that if we don't give them the egg, then they will interfere with our escape, right?"

"Our best chance is to give the egg to the kobolds," Valeria reiterated. "I think the egg is really valuable, maybe even more than our lives, but I think it's better to leave it with the kobolds than with the necromancers. I think we have to give it to them."

"If we need more time," Philip suggested, "we can threaten to destroy the egg unless they give us more time."

"Your time is up!" the kobold barked. "If you don't give me our egg, we will let them in!"

"If you're letting them in," Yanliz threatened, "and they're going to kill us, we might as well destroy the egg, if we're going to die."

"That doesn't make any sense," the kobold replied. "Your friend is a fool!"

"If it's a bad dragon," Yanliz threatened, "we might as well destroy it while we have the chance."

"There's no such thing as a bad dragon!" the kobold insisted.

"To us there is," Yanliz replied.

"If you destroy our egg," the kobold countered, "you're all going to die! If you give us the egg, then you can escape."

"Lawrence, give him the egg," Valeria repeated.

Lawrence removed the egg from his pack and handed it to the now giddy kobold, who clutched it in his arm.

"Alright, stay here," the kobold instructed, "I'll be back."

"Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, that's not how it's working," Vernim argued, "that's not how it's working."

"Stop!" the kobold commanded, spear held out, as Lawrence tried to grab the egg back. "I'll be right back. I have to tell them."

"Can we follow you?" Valeria pleaded.

"No!" the kobold insisted. "Trust me! I will be back, and we will tell you when it's safe to escape."

"Should I still follow him?" Yanliz asked in orc.

"Yeah, I think you should," Vernim replied. "It's not up to me, but yeah, you probably should."

"Yeah, I think you probably should," Valeria agreed.

The kobold took off down the corridor, and Yanliz soon went stealthily after him.

Yanliz ran stealthily after the kobold, peering down side passages, until it arrived at the boulder room, where it met a second kobold. The kobolds spoke in draconic, and it handed off the egg and turned back toward Yanliz.

Yanliz ran back to the group ahead of the kobold.

"Yanliz, is everything alright?" Vernim asked. "What happened?"

"Hopefully," Yanliz replied. "the kobold handed the egg to another one, and he's coming back now, I think."

The kobold arrived, and barked, "okay, wait here. You did the right thing. You just have to give us some time now."

"And what exactly are you planning on doing at the moment?" Vernim asked.

"We have to get our egg to safety," the kobold explained. "Then we will plan your escape."

"You're leaving again?" Yanliz asked.

"I am leaving," the kobold confirmed, "but I will be back. Which cave do you want to leave from?"

"We want to leave from the goblin cave," Valeria confirmed.

"Ah-hah, okay," the kobold acknowledged. "We can make a distraction from the rat cave, or the bugbear cave. Give me that fancy armor for the distraction." It pointed to Prynhawn's armor. "We'll use it as bait."

They removed Prynhawn's armor and gave it to the kobold, with his shield, while Valeria took his sword.

"Do you have any more keys to the labyrinth?" Valeria asked.

"Uhhh, no!" the kobold replied.

"Come on, I thought you said we're going to be serious about this," Vernim accused. "You're clearly bluffing about not having a key. It's okay. You can just tell us. It's not going to change anything."

"I don't have a key!" the kobold barked. "She has key! You took our key! I have to go. I'll be back!"

The kobold piled the armor on the shield and dragged it down the corridor.

Yanliz followed it once again.

Once again Yanliz followed the kobold to the boulder room, where it gave the shield and armor to another, who dragged it toward the way they had entered the labyrinth. Then the kobold crossed the boulder room and ran down another passage.

Yanliz gave chase as the kobold led him near the entrance to the goblin cave, but continued on, looping around back to the boulder room, and then back to Sapphira's room.

The kobold arrived before Yanliz.

"Oh dear," Vernim said. "Hello."

"Keep waiting," the kobold instructed. "We're setting up the distraction."

"How long do you think it will be?" Brother Martin asked.

"It will take a while," the kobold informed them, "but you're safe here now. It's a lot to set up. Be patient!"

"We're not going anywhere," Brother Martin replied.

"Patience is like good food," the kobold advised. "Your friend should be on his way."

The kobold snorted at Yanliz as the ranger walked past him, into the room.

"Just wait here," the kobold instructed. "I will go check on distraction. It may take a little while. You rest. Don't sleep."

"Before you go," Philip asked. "How is patience like good food?"

"It's good for you," the kobold turned back and replied, as if stating the obvious.

"Do you need help?" Yanliz asked.

"Not from you!" the kobold replied and ran off. "I'll be back."

"Should I follow him again?" Yanliz asked.

"What happened before?" Vernim asked.

"He gave the armor to another kobold, who ran off," Yanliz explained, "then he went to the coffin secret door and then looped back here, but he clearly knew I was following him, so I don't know what he's going to do now."

"No," Valeria replied.

The group rested for a short while until the kobold came back.

"Okay, we're ready," the kobold informed them. "Are you ready?"

"As ready as we'll ever be," Vernim replied.

"What are we ready for?" Valeria questioned.

"You go to the goblin cave," the kobold instructed, "and wait for—"

"Will we know when we can run?" Valeria asked.

"Yes!" the kobold barked. "You listen! Hurry!"

Brother Martin and Philip dragged Prynhawn and his gear, as they all made their way to the secret door below the goblin cave. Using the key and rope, they opened the secret door and climbed up, through the coffin, into the goblin cave.

As Lawrence, the last to get pulled up, was lifted, the kobold said, "Wait for the sign. Hide by the entrance until you hear the sign." And it ran off.

Valeria extinguished her light and had Yanliz take Philip to the entrance of the cave, while the rest of the group waited further back, around the corner.

They waited, until Valeria heard a boom from far off outside the cave mouth.

"Did you hear that?" Valeria whispered.

"I did," Brother Martin confirmed.

"Let's move up," Valeria whispered, and they all moved up to Philip and Yanliz, with Vernim helping Brother Martin drag Prynhawn, and Lawrence bringing up the rear.

Yanliz saw figures running off in the dark, further into the valley.

"I see people running away," Yanliz whispered, "to the northwest, probably towards the distraction."

As quietly as they could, they emerged from the cave and fled to the trees.

Suddenly the valley exploded in light, just behind Lawrence. It was a large sphere, as bright as daylight.

Staying off the trail, they made their way through the trees, toward the road.

When they saw the road, they stayed in the woods, skirting the edge.

After a few hours, Philip heard galloping on the road.

"I think I hear a horse," Philip whispered.

"I think I hear it too," Brother Martin confirmed.

"It's coming from the road," Philip whispered. "Should we move further in, away from the road?"

"I think that's a good idea," Vernim agreed, and they moved further into the woods.

Eventually they all heard the faint galloping of a single horse, and it sounded like it passed them by.

Suddenly three giant hairy spiders dropped down from the trees. One bit Lawrence, and another bit Jess. The third tried to bite Yanliz, but its fangs did not penetrate his chain mail.

Defending against the spider that attacked him, Yanliz sank an arrow into the spider attacking Jess. The arrow hit it in the eyes, and it squealed and curled up, dead. But the spider attacking him was relentless and bit him in the neck.

Lawrence, starting to feel woozy from the spider's venom, tried to hit the spider with a fire bolt, but missed. Valeria drew her sword, and swung at the spider, but missed, and was bit in return. She swung at it again, this time slicing it open, and it fell, shrieking as it slowly died.

Jess stabbed her dagger into the spider that had bit her. Brother Martin tried to hit it with his mace, but missed. Philip tried to kick it, but it was too high. A second, leaping, kick from the monk sent it crashing into a tree. It slid off the trunk, motionless.

Lawrence, Jess, Valeria, and Yanliz all felt woozy.

Vernim cast cure wounds on Lawrence and lesser restoration on Yanliz, curing the ranger of the venomous affliction.

With Vernim and Brother Martin still dragging Prynhawn's body, they continued on their way, returning to the edge of the wood.

About an hour later they heard galloping on the road again, this time going in the opposite direction.

They moved deeper into the woods.

Yanliz saw three more giant hairy spiders descending on them, and quickly shot two arrows up at them, but they both went incredibly wide.

Two of them dropped down on Yanliz and sank their fangs into him. The third tried to bite Philip, but the halfling was too quick.

Jess sank her dagger into one of the spiders attacking Yanliz.

Lawrence reached up and cast burning hands, fatally scorching the two spiders that attacked Yanliz.

Valeria swung her sword on the spider attacking Philip, but it retreated, only to be crushed by Vernim's warhammer.

Valeria cast cure wounds on Yanliz.

It was mid-morning by the time they made it to the keep, and Valeria and Lawrence put away their stones.

"Tymora, thank you for letting us return this day," Vernim praised. "We are in your debt."

At the gate, Sabine was sorry to hear about the loss of Prynhawn.

"Sir Prynhawn Haddway was a great friend to all," Vernim declared. "Well respected by everyone and it's a real shame. May he rest in peace until we can bring him back."

They brought Prynhawn's body to the chapel.

Brother Martin went to his apartment.

The others went to the One-Eyed Cat.

As they entered they heard the familiar greeting: "Hail adventurers!" Mendel shouted cheerily. "How goes it?" He was sitting at his usual table, though he was uncharacteristically alone.

"Good morning, Mendel," Vernim replied. "Unfortunately, today is a dark day. We lost one of our friends, Sir Prynhawn Haddway. How are you?"

"I'm sorry to hear that," Mendel replied. "That is sad news, indeed. Though I am faring well."

"I'm so glad to hear it," Vernim acknowledged. "Mendel, I was wondering if I could ask you something."

"Of course, of course," Mendel replied, gesturing to the empty seats around him. "Eat. Sit. Relax."

"Thank you," Vernim replied. "We were just wondering if you had seen, perhaps within the past twelve hours or so, any knight perhaps wearing all black, or a horse, also in all black."

"No," Mendel immediately replied, "I have not seen anything that meets that description."

"Okay," Vernim said. "Thank you for answering. We appreciate it."

"Of course, of course," Mendel replied

"If you see anyone like that," Vernim continued, "please let us know. He's armed and highly dangerous. He contributed to the death of one of our group."

"I take it that would be Prynhawn," Mendel guessed.

Vernim nodded.

Philip went behind the bar, grabbing some food and refilling his skins, before returning.

"So, tell me how it happened?" Mendel inquired.

"It was an extremely complex and tough fight," Vernim explained. "We were attempting, as you know, to rid the caves of evil, and all that is cruel in the world, and a bunch of them suddenly jumped us, including the black knight. It was very tough. We managed to escape with Prynhawn and we attempted to leave. We ventured through the caves, and very unfortunately Tymora was not our side, and once we tried to exit out of the caves, a whole group of them ambushed us, and we were silenced and Prynhawn was killed by a whole throng of enemies. He died fighting for what he believed in."

"At least he died valiantly," Mendel replied. "And hopefully he didn't die in vain and you will prove triumphant in the end. It looks like you got a little bit of loot there, at least. That seems to be a new shield you have, Vernim."

"Thank you for noticing," Vernim replied. "It is helping me with greater protection against the enemies ahead. I thank you for noticing."

"It's gigantic!" Mendel added. "It's hard not to notice a shield like that. Did anybody else get anything interesting? You have an interesting new weapon, Valeria. I thought you were just a sword wielder."

"I am," Valeria confirmed.

"Now you have two swords, and a cool labrys," Mendel admired.

"A what?" Valeria asked.

"A labrys," Mendel repeated, pointing to the double bladed ax stuck in her belt, next to her sword. "Isn't that what that's called?"

"Yes," Valeria corrected herself, "it definitely is. I must have not heard you correctly. Yeah, I found it. It's very cool, isn't it?"

"Where did you find it?" Mendel inquired, nonchalantly.

"I found it in the caves," Valeria explained.

"Oh, it seems very..." Mendel leaned over to get a closer look. "Those markings are interesting. What do they mean?"

"I'm not sure," Valeria replied.

"May I see it?" Mendel asked.

"Um, I don't know, not today," Valeria replied, rising to leave. "I'm really tired now. I think I might just go up to bed."

"Oh," Mendel replied, taken aback. "Okay. Well, you're welcome to stay, and whoever wants to eat and drink is welcome to stay."

Valeria continued to her quarters, with Philip, Jess, Yanliz, and Lawrence following.

"I suggest we stop at the bank before we sleep," Yanliz suggested, "because we won't have an opportunity if we plan to head out tomorrow."

"Let's take a short nap first," Valeria suggested and they all agreed.

Back at the tavern, Vernim finished his meal and took his leave.

"Thank you, Mendel," Vernim said, rising after his companions had departed. "It was lovely talking to you. Hopefully we can talk again sometime."

"Of course, of course," Mendel replied.

Vernim left the tavern and headed to the gate to find Sabine.

"Good morning, Sabine." Vernim greeted. I was wondering if I could ask you something."

"Of course," Sabine replied. "What is it, Vernim?"

"I was just wondering if, especially over the past twelve hours, you've seen possibly a knight wearing all black armor, with a black horse in black armor as well?"

"I have not seen anything like that," Sabine replied, "but let me check with my guards."

She called out to the guards up in the towers and confirmed that they had not seen anything like that either.

"Okay, well, if you see anything like that, just be on your guard?" Vernim asked. "He was largely responsible in the death of Prynhawn, and he's armed and highly dangerous and he seems interested in going after us."

"I will keep an eye out," Sabine assured him. "Thanks for alerting me. We won't let this knight enter The Keep."

"Thank you," Vernim said, departing. "I appreciate it. We are of one mind. Thank you."

Valeria and Lawrence woke a short while later. They could not wake Yanliz or Philip from their slumber, so they took the coins and brought them to the bank to deposit all the coins they had collected. Vernim met them there to make his own deposit as well.

"How goes the adventuring business?" Mouse asked.

"It was exciting," Valeria replied. "It was also very costly. I don't know if you heard, but Prynhawn was killed."

"Oh, no, that's a tragedy!" Mouse sighed. "Another one. It's a dangerous business. I left that behind me long ago."

"Yes it is," Valeria concurred. "You used to adventure?"

"A little bit," Mouse revealed. "I had my share, but after a while, it just wasn't worth it. I make a good living here."

When they were done with their transactions, they returned to their sleeping quarters.

"Valeria, so I just want to make sure we're clear," Vernim started, "you're interested in going to the caves sometime tomorrow morning."

Valeria nodded, half asleep.

"Well, I kind of had this thought," Vernim continued. "Well it was just weighing on me. Are we sure we really want to do this so soon? We spent all this time getting out there, and it was such an ordeal getting out of there. Are we going to have to do this every time we go to the caves? It's just such a...we're going there and we're going to face the same problems we did before."

"No we're not," Valeria replied.

"We were injured," Valeria concurred. "We didn't have most of our spells."

"What are we going to do differently this time?" Brother Martin asked.

"We're not going to shout," Vernim suggested, and everyone agreed.

With that, they all slept deeply.

When they woke, it was dark again. The poison seemed to have worn off, and Lawrence, Valeria, Jess, and Yanliz felt much better.

They agreed to leave before sunrise, so that they could arrive at the caves early in the morning.

"I think we should start with the secret door that we didn't explore yet," Yanliz suggested, "unless you guys don't want to."

"I think that's a good idea," Valeria agreed. "I think the biggest problem is how we get into the caves. I think it might be best to circle around and come from the trees on the west."

"It could be dangerous if it involves a lot of traveling in the woods," Brother Martin considered. "You saw what happened to us last night."

"I can't understand that," Philip said. "Is this common around here?"

"We've fought these spiders before," Valeria reminded him.

"What we can also do is maybe wait in these trees for a bit," Yanliz suggested, "and see if they show up in the valley waiting for us."

"I think they would do what they did last time," Valeria guessed, "where they wait in the caves until they see us."

"Yeah, but if we wait for a bit," Yanliz considered, "maybe they come out and decide we're not coming."

"We usually don't arrive until noon, or so," Valeria mentioned.

They debated which cave they should enter, eventually agreeing to circle to the north, ambushing any archers there, and then enter the labyrinth through the bandit cave.

After eating in their rooms, they gathered their things and departed for the caves, a few hours before dawn.

They made it to the caves without incident, and left the trail to the valley, circling to the north side of the valley. After scoping the area out for a short while, they crept into the bandit cave. From there, they dropped down through the secret door near the entrance, and into the labyrinth.

They navigated their way to the secret door that led to a dark, occupied room.

Valeria waved her ax in front of the portal and dispelled her light. Yanliz stealthily opened the door and peeked in. He saw a dark twenty foot wide room with two humanoid sized figures laying on the ground, a third sitting against the left wall. They all appeared to be dressed in rags.

He peeked in a little further and, on the right wall, he saw a door on the near side and a ten foot alcove on the far side, fifty feet away. He also saw three more figures standing against the wall he peered in from.

Yanliz drew his bow and quickly impaled the sitting target in the head, and then the nearest prone target, neither making a sound. He backed away from the portal.

Valeria cast light.

Vernim rushed into the room and seeing that one of the figures standing against the near wall was a zombie, he smashed the nearest with his warhammer.

From the far alcove, three skeletons emerged, swords drawn, and moved toward the intruders.

Lawrence entered and, circling around Vernim, cast burning hands, scorching all three zombies.

From near the secret door, Jess dropped another zombie with an arrow.

The nearest zombie punched Lawrence in the face just before Brother Martin rushed in and dropped it with his mace, deflecting the last zombie's swing with his shield.

The zombie that Jess shot began to rise.

Yanliz moved back up to the portal, missed the third zombie with his bow, and moved back again.

Valeria drew her sword and slashed the third zombie.

Vernim checked on the third figure on the ground, who had begun to stir. He appeared human, with various wounds covering his body. A skeleton swung clumsily at Vernim, allowing Vernim to counter, clipping it with his warhammer.

Another skeleton slashed Valeria with its rusty sword.

The third skeleton slashed at Vernim, but was deflected by the cleric's large shield.

Philip rolled into the room, sweeping the third zombie, and stomping on its chest.

Lawrence threw a firebolt at the rising zombie, but missed.

Brother Martin engaged the nearest skeleton, smashing it with his mace. It teetered, barely able to stand.

Jess shot an arrow at the other skeleton engaged with Vernim, but the arrow skidded against its ribs.

Lawrence was punched in the face again, this time by the risen zombie. Yanliz moved back up to the portal, and missed the zombie with his bow.

The zombie that Philip stomped began to rise, but Valeria cut it down. She then cast healing word on Lawrence, and evaded the swing from a skeleton's sword.

Vernim swung wide with his warhammer at a wobbly skeleton, and was slashed in return. He blocked a swing from another skeleton.

Philip leaped into the third zombie, kicking it against the wall. It's head cracked open and it slid to the floor. Then he spun around, kicking the skeleton attacking Vernim, smashing it to pieces of bone.

Lawrence hit a skeleton with a firebolt.

Brother Martin swung at the wobbly skeleton attacking Vernim, but missed. Jess dropped it with an arrow in its head.

Lawrence was punched in the face a third time, this time by the same zombie, before Yanliz nailed it to the wall with an arrow in the chest.

Valeria slashed the last skeleton with her sword, and Vernim broke it apart with his warhammer.

Yanliz examined the two humans he impaled, concluding they were both males and clearly dead. Brother Martin and Vernim concurred.

Realizing that these humans were most likely prisoners, Brother Martin cast cure wounds on the third, who was also male, and appeared to be alive.

"Who are you?" the ragged man asked, as his wounds quickly disappeared.

"My name is Brother Martin," the cleric greeted.

"Who are you?" Valeria asked.

"I'm Dervek," the ragged man replied.

"Do you know where you are?" Brother Martin asked.

"I'm a prisoner," Dervek explained. "I was captured."

Yanliz sank into the corner, covering his face, mumbling, "not again!"

"Where are you from?" Valeria asked.

"I'm from Neverwinter," Dervek replied. "What happened? What happened to Jude?"

"Jude was shot," Valeria replied. "That's Jude, right?"

"Oh, no!" Dervek cried. "He was the only thing keeping us alive."

"How did he manage that?" Valeria asked.

"He was a healer," Dervek explained. "That's such a shame. I'm sure he would feel that he did a lot with his life. Even in this prison, he found solace in healing our wounds. Are you going to kill me, or are you here to rescue me?"

"We're here to rescue you," Valeria replied.

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