With a swing of my new, magical heavy mace, I flung the last goblin into a wall. It felt good. Not that I hadn’t been able to do that before… but the feeling behind it was important. More importantly, it was easier. “How’s your armor, Alhorn?”
I had seen him using his armor, of course, but it was hard to judge exactly how well it worked just by looking. “It’s wonderful.” Alhorn nodded seriously, “I don’t have to worry about any of the goblin mage’s lightning spells… and I can just block everything else.”
“That wouldn’t work if they were stronger, you know?” Kasner shook his finger at Alhorn, though the effect was lessened by him having to look up so far. “Don’t underestimate mages. If they were as powerful as I am… but in some area other than lightning… You’d not have such an easy time!”
“I know,” Alhorn held up a hand, “It doesn’t make me invincible… but it’s nice to have one less thing to worry about for a bit, yeah?”
Halette shook her head, “It would be nice if you could get to the mages to kill them since you don’t have to worry about them. Some of us have to put a lot of effort into not getting ourselves scorched!” At that point, Socks growled, then barked. “What is it, enemies?” Socks whined. “You’re not sure? Alright, we’ll be careful.”
We walked along for a bit, but I couldn’t hear any sounds of fighting or anything yet. Socks had better ears than me, but I knew we had to be getting close.
“I don’t hear anything Socks. Are you sure?” Halette looked down slightly at her wolf friend. Socks whined and brushed her nose with a paw, then her ears. “Umm… is it… you can smell it but not hear it?” Socks barked an affirmative. Suddenly Halette stopped, and the rest of us did as well. What was the point of having someone check for traps if you didn’t stop when they did? She held out a hand and stood there for a few moments, then turned around. I could see her lips moving, but didn’t hear anything.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
Kasner shook his head, “It looks like a silence spell?” He waved for Halette to come back toward us.
“Can you hear me now?” Halette asked.
“Yeah.” I nodded.
“Oh. Just past hear I started hearing combat sounds.”
“Definitely a silence spell then.” Kasner nodded vigorously, “It cuts off sound beyond a point.”
“We’d better go check it out then…” I said.
Alhorn nodded, “Agreed… but we should be careful.”
Walking through the silence barrier felt weird, as I suddenly couldn’t hear those walking behind me- but I did hear the sounds of combat in front, and not very far. Halette reached the corner first, peeking around then stepping back to face us. She spoke quietly, “No goblins. It looks like adventurer infighting…”
“Except it’s probably not that simple.” Alhorn shook his head, “Nobody sets up silence spells before getting in a dispute over piles of scrap metal and a tiny bit of experience.”
Halette nodded, “I recognize a few of them, but not those they’re fighting. So… what do we do? It looks like someone could die…”
Kasner raised an eyebrow, which caused his whole static-hairdo to twitch wildly, “Is there any question there? Something’s horribly wrong here. We can’t just leave people to die. We need to stop them from fighting.”
I nodded… and Alhorn was already at the corner ready to step around. There was serious competition between Kantrilla and him concerning who like helping people the most. I couldn’t say which was more enthusiastic about it… but I could say who was more crazy. With only a short glance back to see that we were following, Kasner stepped around the corner. “Stop right there!”
Announcing yourself to enemies was a stupid plan- but Alhorn always thought about what he was doing at least a little bit. He might have made himself a target… but perhaps the very point was to do that.
“Watch out! These men just attacked us without any reason!” the voice of a that I half-recognized came from around the corner, and I could hear Alhorn’s boots continuing to move forward. I hurried after him.
Rounding the corner, I saw the corridor opened up into a small room, and I also saw a few vaguely familiar faces and some new ones. Is it wrong to judge people by their appearance? To categorize those you know as the good guys and those you don’t as the bad guys? Well, that might have been the case, but I immediately made that distinction in my mind.
There was one figure on the ground I didn’t recognize, but they along with those I did recognize had the sort of adventurer-chic outfits that I expected to see. That is… whatever gear was affordable and fit, regardless of whether or not it matched with something else. The clothing of the others, however, looked more like they bought clothes at Inconspicuous’R’Us. If they had been some other situation where they didn’t have bloody weapons drawn I would have thought they were maybe-adventurers and promptly forgotten them as they passed by.
Among those I recognized there was a dwarf- though I couldn’t remember his name in the heat of battle, we had considered joining their party. Then there were the other two in his party, the half-orc and the human named… Sera? I thought that sounded right. All of them were injured to some extent, and Sera was clutching at a wound in her side.
The enemies were… some kind of mage, a warrior with mace and shield, one who was probably a cleric, and a scout type person. It seemed like a normal party setup, but there was something about them besides the bloody weapons that felt off. The scout- who wielded a pair of daggers- looked over at us. “No need to be rash here… this is just a misunderstanding.” He smiled faintly as he walked forward, but Alhorn didn’t stop either. When the man suddenly turned to stab his daggers at Sera, Alhorn immediately interposed himself in between them.
Well, if they really were here to kill people… they couldn’t just let us go- and things were far beyond looking like any sort of accident or even a heated dispute. I wanted to rush in and hit someone with my mace… but I had to watch out for the mage in the back who was already casting a spell- and the warrior was moving toward some of the other injured adventurers. I could probably pummel someone pretty easy- but if I didn’t do it right people might die.