B10 – NIGHT’S DARK TERROR
04 FYRMONT OF 1005 AC
THE LAND BEYOND THE RIVER.
The dwarf watched for a moment the mote of magical fire grow on his palm. He felt the pleasant warmth and the typical tingling of magic flowing through his body. When he felt it was ready, Adrik hurled it with force and precision against the man, armed with long knives, rushing against his protegée Marjana. This was fully invested by the fire bolt and, screaming in pain, he began to writhe in a futile attempt to extinguish the flames that instead consumed him in a matter of moments. Marjana exchanged a quick glance of assent then, after having slipped the hand into the pouch at her waist, she pulled out a sprig of mistletoe. “Help my shots, Huntsman”. The long rod of hard wood she was holding began to glow with an unearthly green light. With an agile leap the young druidess lunged over the dwarf and in the heat of battle, where her group stood opposite to the thugs of the Iron Ring, the same they had encountered immediately after fording the Volaga River. Loshad had told them that they would find there the untrodden trail leading to the lost city.
“Do you think there will be more between there and Xitaqa?” asked Adrik staring at the bodies, mangled by his magic and the deadly blows of his companions, eight robbers now laying on the ground. “I hope not.” answered Tiberius sheathing the long sword he had just finished cleaning up from the blood of the enemies. “According to the information of Loshad and the presence of these men, camped along this track, I would say that the city should not be far away” he hastened to conclude.
The dwarf’s eyes wandered, probing the horizon. He could not see nothing but barren hills over the Volaga River, which was now behind them, and up to the high summits of the Black Peak Mountains that stood out to the west. Summer was in its fullest and the color of the vegetation had hues tending more to the yellows than the greens of spring. “Your little dragon” Dan broke the silence. “His eyes, from a higher position, would be very useful at this time.” The dwarf was about to reply promptly when the looks of his companions, fixed on him and the small winged creature, coiled around his neck, convinced him to keep to himself his considerations about the risks his familiar might incur in.
Every time he left his body to look at the world through the senses of the familiar, Adrik felt an absolute feeling of alienation and detachment from his body. It was a strange feeling, almost of impotence and he absolutely did not like it. He did not like it first and foremost because the little dragon was flying and therefore the feeling that he lived and felt was exactly the same: that is to fly and he knew in his heart that there is nothing more unnatural than a dwarf who would fly. Much more unnatural of the fact that he was, in all probability, the only dwarf in the entire Mystara to have the gift of magic. But this time he lived the phase of detachment from his body in a different and, he had to admit, less invasive, way. Although he saw from above the area of the hills through the eyes of his familiar, he clearly perceived the presence of his companions around him and he even heard them speaking, at times. He realized that they were talking again about the events of the day before, that is, when they entered the lair of the female werewolf Bailakask, and what was left of his pack, and they had killed her. It was him, Adrik, to hurl the deadly barrage of magic missile that had struck and had permanently ended her threat. As Tiberius had expected the well-designed plans of the beast to catch them by surprise as they entered the series of caves, had dissolved immediately, like snow in the sun, in front of blind hatred and the fury which had dominated her at the sight of the head of her dead son. No longer caring for the strategy she had prepared all the night long, she threw herself into a furious melee. Tiberius and Brannart had immediately engaged her in a violent struggle while the others took care of the rest of the pack. Since the start, however, it was immediately clear that the weapons of the paladin and the Klantyre warrior were not at all effective against the werewolf and so Adrik had to take charge of the thing. He had therefore begun to target the monster with his fire bolts and magic missile, with all the magic power he could muster. The gnome Glimreen too rushed to his aid, surprising many with a display of his mysterious magical powers. The crackling of blue discharges flowed incessantly from his body throughout the fight and, through his hands, had relentlessly hit the beast. The few survivors of his pack, whose bulk had already been mown down the day before, with her son Kalkask, had fled as soon as the pack leader had died, after his last hail of magical darts.
“So Adrik, you see nothing?” It was the sweet and gentle voice of Marjana that had lightly laid a hand on his shoulder. The eyes of the dwarf, glassy and white, came back to normal. “Two hours from here. This direction.” He pointed with outstretched arm. “It lies hidden in a series of gullies carved by the force of nature on the sides of those hills. We could have needlessly wander even for days because, given its location, Xitaqa can only be seen from above” he ruled scratching his beard, a thing he always did when he was thoughtful or, as now, when he wanted to pull himself together. “Well” said quickly Tiberius. “We wait till nightfall and then we will proceed under the cover of darkness, taking advantage of the new moon, and enter the ancient lost city.”