Into the Lair of the Beast.pdf
well-lit by all sorts of lamps, torches, and braziers.
For the time being, however, no such sight presented itself to the scouting group. They had
left the wooden support beams of the man-made shafts behind them; now moving through what
appeared to be a natural cave network of no small size.
Despite of his initial annoyance about having to drag along a civilian, Edwin now was happy
to have Gamlick in his group, as the seemingly infinite supply of torches the dwarven miner could
produce were the only light source in these depths, and his experience with the underground proved
to be invaluable when it came to their navigation in the ramified tunnels and caverns. The other
dwarf, Warrick, was less helpful. The templar had heard about the famed firebreathers, but at the
present, he merely feared that the drunk dwarf would promptly fall down the first ravine they came
across. At least the priestess of the group, which he came to know as Sister Hanna, had managed to
calm her mind and kept herself busy by reciting one quiet prayer after another.
--They had spend a considerable amount of time wandering through the damp passages when Edwin
saw it. With a hissed command, he urged his followers to extinguish their torches. And indeed, there
was a dimmed red light shining from behind the next bend in the tunnel they were following,
flickering and unsteady. Now concentrated on the section ahead, the templar also noticed a faint
smell of what he presumed to be sulfur from the same direction.
»'tis da thing we're lookin' for?«, whispered Warrick, the slur in his voice making it difficult
to keep the former down.
»Maybe it is, maybe it is not. Only one way to find out.«, the templar replied.
Without giving the others a chance to complain, he slowly began to move towards the bend,
doing his best to limit the noise produced by the links of his chain mail. Both the light and the smell
intensified, and small but regular hissing sounds now joined them. Edwin fully expected to see the
dungeon entrance any second now, its mighty doors already opened to unleash a horde of
nightmarish fiends upon him.
He found nothing of the like, though this didn't mean the were no changes to be seen – the
tunnel still was roughly circular with many uneven surfaces, as one would expect from a natural
underground space, but whereas their surroundings previously largely consisted of little more than
hardened earth, the area before him had a much more bizarre design – its floor was covered with
dark stones that were bordered by a layer of elongated, fang-like rocks seemingly growing from the
walls of the tunnel. Equally sharp stalagmites sprung from the ground here and there. It was as if
this passage was just waiting to eat anyone daring to pass through it.