Chapter 3 0

Brisid watched his drow captor walk out of the cavern. "Who's that?" he whispered to Dwaerten, the deep gnome prisoner.

"That's Sar'Nav'ell, some priestess from another drow house."

"Riklaun told me that he had destroyed Ebonstarr's house. We have always wondered how she has so many resources." The elf changed the subject, "I have to get out of here. I wonder why they didn't wipe all the spells from my mind." Before Dwaerten could respond, he had closed his eyes and was casting a lockpicking spell. As he opened his eyes, laughter echoed through the cavern. The drow priestess was standing in front of him, watching with glee.

"Did you really think Ebonstarr would make the same mistake twice? Riklaun had once escaped because of an overlooked 'Knock' spell. This time you are surrounded by an anti-magic globe in addition to the lightning bars. Your weakest spells will just fizzle. Your stronger ones will be amplified and reflected back to you," the drow boasted. "By the way, you'll be happy to know your friends have been captured and will soon be joining you. Then the party will begin." The drow laughed again and moved out of the cave.


*****

Thirteen efreeti taunted and teased the captive elves, poking and prodding, laughing and mocking them. Dînalqua sat on the hard ground, her dress singed, her mind frayed, her hopes dashed. The other elves, Randow, and the party of four who stayed together, shot bitter words to their captors. The efreeti responded by turning up the flames on their feiry prison bars.

When Macheala and Blank poked their head over the hills, the efreeti were all together in one place. Blank was about to advise a cautionary rescue, when Macheala stood and released an Ice Storm. The efreeti were thrown from their group, trying desperately to keep their flames intact, and four lost that battle, their skin extinguished, they winked out of existance entirely. Blank, seeing the damage done, stood and charged the battle with spells of every kind, in rapid fire succession.

One efreeti fell, then another, then another. The knights saved no magic against the foes, and soon there were only two left. The one turned to attack the caged elves, the other hissed and disappeared, to warm his master.

The elves were quick to react, doing what they could for the upcoming magical onslaught. The dispell field around them kept them from using magic- but there were better resources than even magic. Randow, with one gauntleted hand, picked up several rocks and thrust them into the fire that was their prison, heating them immensely. He began to throw these stones at oncoming efreeti, doing little to no damage. The others joined in the rock toss, hoping against all odds that it might help in some way.

Macheala let loose another Ice Storm, landing it just between the efreet and the cage. The stones were instantly supercooled, and between the superheating and supercooling, exploded into thousands of tiny, sharp projectiles. The efreet never saw his death, as rock shards ripped through him with the force of a hurricane.

With the efreeti gone, the cage disappeared; the dispel field also evaporated.

They had no time to react when the fled efreeti returned, bringing with him a horde of others, from baying Hell Hounds to Giant Salamanders, and Fire Giants clambering over the hills. They were all about to be trapped.

Jem stood close to the precipice overhang, and it was at this time did she notice a breeze coming from within the wall itself. Looking closer, she saw that there was a crack in the face of the rock that they had not seen the night before. Her two companions responded to her cry immediately, and pulled debris from around the fissure.

"Tel'Mithrim! A cave! We can escape!"Macheala turned to the elves, imploring them to leave. The elves did not think twice, and all entered the caverns. All, except Randow.

"Knights, I will fight at your side!" he shouted to the two who had mutually decided to defend the cavern opening as long as they could.

"Don't be foolish, elf!" shouted Blank, "Protect your elven friends!"

The elf resisted, but finally gave in, and as he entered the cave, "Tel'Mithrim will not forget this, Sha'Quessir! May the light always shine!" and he ran into the cavern.


*****

The chamber was damp. A magical orb hovered in the room, coating the walls with a green hue. Ebonstarr stood next to the orb, with her hands resting gently upon it. Her eyes were closed and her head tilted back. She spoke after a long while; "Soon, you will have what you ask for."

A low rumble was heard through out the chamber. "Yessssssss..."

"But now, I must greet our guests. One of them has been chosen for you..." Ebonstarr said. She broke her link with the orb and straightened out her dress. She turned and proceeded out the room. On her way out, she came up to Sar'Nav'ell. "Go and get one of the prisoners. We will need him for the sacrifice."

"As you wish." Sar'Nav'ell bowed and went off to the holding cell. Ebonstarr came up to a wall and stepped through it. She entered a cavern, lavishly decorated with items from a drow city. A spider altar stood in the center of the room, blood stains still fresh. A small tapestry hung off the back wall where the throne sat. An eerie violet glow illuminated the room. From the corridor, came the group of elves. The Ogre Magi leading them. They took up positions around the party. One of the effretti placed the elves weapons in the corner of the room and then stood in front of them. Nalynn had returned to her former self when they entered the chamber and was tied up, along with the others. They looked up at the altar and saw Ebonstarr standing there. She was preparing a dagger for a ritual sacrifice.

"Welcome Tel'Mithrim." Ebonstarr said, "Today is a good day to die, don't you think?" She placed the dagger upon a large bowl. She picked up a small deep purple kerchief. Emblazoned in gold upon it was the form of a spider. She folded it precisely in an intricate pattern and placed it next to the bowl. She picked up the dagger and moved around the altar. "Riklaun, I hold in my hand, the instrument of your destruction. This dagger will tonight become more than just a piece of metal. I have fashioned it exactly as the one before it. " She walked over to him and put it up to his face. "I think you remember it, don't you. You almost destroyed your friends with it. Luckily for you a human came along and destroyed the dagger and took you from my grasp. Lloth was not pleased. In fact, I presented her with a gift, the human who destroyed the first dagger. Oh Torm, won't you come out?"

She motioned toward the tapestry and with a flick of a wrist, she illuminated it. The tapestry was an exact replica of the one hung inside the Seekers walls. Attached to the wall above the tapestry hung Torm, or what was left of him. Nalynn screamed. She rushed toward Ebonstarr. An Ogre Magi clubbed her before she got too far. She crumpled to the ground, gasping for breath. Riklaun saw this and knelt down beside her. She was unconscious but breathing.

"We'll have none of that Nalynn." Ebonstarr said. "Sar'Nav'ell, are you ready?" With that, Sar'Nav'ell came into the room holding the deep gnome from Brisid's cell. She moved the deep gnome up towards the altar. As she neared, the gnome stomped on her foot. She let go of the gnome, and he tried to run. Muttering a prayer to the Spider Queen, Ebonstarr flipped the dagger over in her hand and threw. The dagger impaled itself into the gnomes back, sending him to the ground. Crawling, Dwaerten tried to move away. Ebonstarr moved up to him and stood in his way. As she stood there, the dagger began to glow. Dwaerten screamed and arched his back. His body began to shrivel up. In a matter of minutes, the dagger stopped glowing. Ebonstarr pulled the dagger out of the corpse.

"One more is all I need." Ebonstarr said. "Who shall be the one?"


Continue to Chapter 31