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Into the Lair of the Beast.pdf

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Into the Lair of the Beast
Edwin Ralderry did not like this plan. He did not like it at all.
Not that he was afraid – Edwin was a templar, one of the holy warriors of the Empire that
had sworn to protect it against whatever evil might attempt to befall it. His sanctified morning star,
his shining chainmail, and, more importantly, his unshakeable faith in the benevolent and righteous
goddess Kira gave him more than enough confidence to face any challenge the dark powers could
throw against him. The many notches on his weapon were a testament to this. Truly, Edwin
Ralderry was no coward.
But this did not mean that Edwin was particularly fond of this specific plan.
When he was asked to lead a small group into a mineshaft whose miners supposedly had
unwittingly broken into the realm of what the heretics call an Underlord, the templar immediately
accepted the task before him, seeing it as an important and holy duty to scout out this entrance into
the underworld so that his brothers-in-arms might follow and bring an end to the activities of the
aberration that lurked below.
His enthusiasm went into sharp decline as his officers declared that his “group” would only
consist of three other people: Two dwarves, one a local miner that had offered to act as their guide;
the other one a permanently drunk firebreather. Additionally, a single priestess of Kira was there to
aid him, but although he welcomed the thought of having a skilled healer behind his back, her
nervousness as they began to descend down the mine made it obvious that her days as a novice were
still recent.
With a group like this, they might as well have sent him down on his own.
Edwin let out an annoyed grunt and swallowed his anger. The Empire was fighting on too
many fronts as if its lords could send entire battalions of warriors into mines and caves to
investigate what could ultimately turn out to be nothing more than the overactive imagination of a
superstitious peasant. But if the miners had indeed tunneled into a dungeon, there was a more than
fair chance that they would run into the minions of its owner – drooling chunders, crazed human
cultists, or even a fully-grown augre. Seeing how he was the only experienced fighter in the group,
Edwin did not hope to meet either of them.
Before they had made their way underground, the templar had explained that they would
only explore the now-revealed tunnels until they could see evidence for the presence of a dungeon
connected to it, at which point they would immediately move back to the surface and alert the local
commander. Fortunately for them, it usually was not difficult to distinguish a natural cavern from a
proper dungeon – perverse and horrifying as the minds of the Underlords were, their idea of
architecture wasn't that much different from those living above. Thick walls of brick and stone
marked the borders of their realm, and the corridors of their dungeons ironically enough were often