My Rage enhanced dagger flew towards the elf- and past him. He dodged, though I wasn’t perfectly on target either. I used Return Weapon to pull the dagger back… not towards me, but towards him. I was lucky it cut through some of the underbrush that was around, or I might have lost track of it or gotten it stuck. The dagger struck him right in the back- probably because he was distracted by Socks charging at him. The momentum of the dagger pulled him forward a few steps, and he toppled forward.
I pulled the dagger up and out of his back as I looked around for any more targets, but there weren’t any. Most of them had been strangled by vines or run through by Khyrmin, and we took care of the few remaining archers.
I ended my Rage, and immediately felt off balance. I needed to practice with it more to get used to how much Strength and Toughness it gave me, and just using it in general. I sat down heavily, since I still had two arrows in my back. There would have been more, but the density of the forest had made the archers come much closer than they would have liked to get a good shot on us. If they hadn’t been forced out of cover, maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do anything- the same would have been true if Khyrmin hadn’t noticed their attack in time.
Khyrmin spit over to the side. “What a waste of decent archers. They could have been fighting monsters instead.” Ehlark walked over to one of the archers and kicked him, saying something in elvish. Khyrmin responded, then translated. “He said they were pretty stupid to shoot at him. He wasn’t even planning to get involved.”
Alhorn and Kantrilla were going around taking care of people’s wounds. Halette only had a scratch from a grazing arrow, but Socks had a couple that actually got through her fur, and even Kantrilla had one in her leg. The only one completely unscathed was Kasner- but he’d been surrounded by much bigger targets.
Kasner pet his pony on the snout as it chewed on an arrow- arrowhead included. “I’m gonna call you Arrows!” Kasner watched carefully as the pony chewed up all of the wood and feathers, only spitting out the metal arrowhead. Somehow, the newly designated Arrows didn’t hurt herself.
Kantrilla came to me next- I was mostly fine. The arrows weren’t that deep. Or at least, they hadn’t felt deep until she yanked one out. Fortunately the arrow had mostly been stanching the bleeding and Kantrilla quickly used magic to do the same. I would need to take my armor off to get bandaged as well… and then I’d need to get it repaired to fix the holes.
Khyrmin was talking with Ehlark, and eventually he nodded and walked over to Kasner. He spoke with an accent, “Show me your leg.” Kasner rolled up the leg of his pants, revealing a leg made of ice. “Remove the ice.” In an instant, Kasner let the ice melt and it fell apart into a puddle. I could tell Ehlark was looking at the leg, but I didn’t really want to see it. “Hmm… it should be possible. But I will need something.” He turned to Khyrmin and started speaking elven.
She nodded several times as he explained, then turned to the rest of us. “He needs us to destroy a dungeon.”
“What?” I blinked.
“But that’s…” Alhorn frowned, “That’s not possible.”
“Really?” Khyrmin raised an eyebrow. “Tell me, how many dungeons are there in Othya?”
“A few dozen?” I pondered for a moment, “Maybe a hundred?”
“Close enough. How many of them appeared in the last five years?”
“Two!” Kasner answered enthusiastically, “Well, three if you stretch it a bit.”
“How long has Othya been there?”
“Umm…” Kantrilla thought for a few moments, “A little over a hundred years.”
Khyrmin shrugged, “Right, and before that… was it nothing? No, it went by another name. Most probably there was another name before that. It was still there, and it had dungeons. There would be far more of them if they were not occasionally destroyed.” Khyrmin nodded seriously, “It’s just not easy, nor is the method public knowledge.”
“So…” I asked, “You know, right?”
“Of course. All you have to do is find the core that lives in a hidden room, destroy it, and then escape before it all collapses into nothingness.”
“… It sounds like you’ve done it before,” Alhorn commented.
“Once or twice. It was guild mandated. They were too dangerous and in inconvenient locations. They also produced little of value.” Khyrmin shook her head, “Of course, it was not alone. Usually it’s done with a large number of parties working together.”
“And we have just us.” Kasner sighed, “I don’t suppose there’s anything else he wants? My leg won’t do us much good if we’re all dead.” Kasner looked at Ehlark, “I could make a nice ice sculpture… no? Well, how possible is this, Khyrmin?”
“That will depend on how strong the inhabitants are. If you can take on the entire dungeon’s inhabitants, then you will be fine.” Khyrmin nodded, looking off into the distance. “You may have to fight your way through unknown hordes of monsters as the dungeon collapses around you, every monster attacking with reckless abandon just to bring you down with the dungeon itself.” Her gaze focused back on us, “It won’t be easy.”
“That reminds me of the time with the goblins…” Alhorn nodded, “Though we ran away, and the dungeon wasn’t collapsing.”
Khyrmin nodded, “It’s possible you got too close to the core. Did you fight any bosses?”
“Two of them, in fact,” Alhorn answered. “With their deaths they called for more and more goblins.”
“That sounds about right. Bosses aren’t always near the core- but if there are extra, it might be nearby. Dungeons try to strike a balance between protecting their core and hiding it, but some are better than others.”
“Right, so…” Kasner looked towards Ehlark, “What sort of monsters live in the dungeon?”