Chapter 18: The Sewers
Marteen clutched the edge of the ship as they soared up into the clouds. “This is a provocation,” he said seriously.
“What is?” Kilian asked.
The dark-skinned captain turned to them. “Iymrith. The blue dragon. If she is in Klouth’s domain, she has started something.”
They all nodded, remaining quiet. Finally, Thia spoke up. “We need to go to Mirabar next. We have things to sell and supplies to get before the next leg of our journey.”
Feeling tired and not all-together talkative, Roon found a quiet spot below deck and pressed his forehead to the symbol on his staff. As they travelled southwest, he prayed, feeling wholly uncomfortable with their path ahead.
Soon the thick walls of the dwarven city of Mirabar came into view. Roon stood on the deck, watching the crew anchor the floating ship a fair distance from the city and dropping the rope ladder. They climbed down, leaving Marteen and his crew aboard and promising to keep in contact with Roon’s sending spell. Kilian and Thia were able to use simple fly and levitation spells to bring Evelyn’s horse to the ground, and the girl promised she would sell the beast once they were inside the walls.
They entered the city without trouble, buying some simple supplies and spending time in various shops to purchase healing potions and spells for their wizard. Evelyn sold her horse and came back with two happily barking mastiff’s, which she named Davis and Daisy. Despite Kilian’s warnings that the dogs would not fair well in their travels, the girl insisted on keeping them. Roon found a hat that he liked the style of, and the shopkeeper explained that it was a Hat of Vermin, a magical hat that could produce either frog, rat or likewise, when tipped just so. Roon excitedly purchased the expensive accessory and immediately placed it on his head. They bedded down for the night in an inn called ‘the Hammer of Lightning’. Thia hired her usual company for the evening, purchasing her own private room for the escapades. The rest split two rooms and went to sleep with the hopes that a full night’s rest would give them time to decide where they would go next.
The following morning, Roon woke early and was just finished dressing when Kilian said in a groggy voice, “where’r you going so early?”
Roon shrugged self-consciously. “I thought I’d find a temple and spend the day healing people who need it.”
Kilian raised his eyebrows and sat up. “Really?” Then, his eyes turned suspicious.
“I feel—guilty,” Roon admitted. “About Harshnag,” he added to Kilian’s look of confusion, “I need to make it right.”
“This is very unlike you, Roon,” the sailor said.
“It was just a feeling I had,” he told him.
“Alright,” Kilian relented, “I’ll let the others know. Be safe. Don’t get into any trouble.”
“Nor you,” Roon smirked half-heartedly, cracking open the door and slipping outside. Beatrice meowed at once and scratched at the door, and Roon opened it again. “Oh, alright then. Come along.” The tressym purred happily and trotted ahead.
The streets of Mirabar were busy with children and merchants running about or carting supplies. He noticed a few elven children with dirty faces and tattered clothes, which he found a rather surprising and unusual sight. On the islands, the elves were highborn and wealthy. Even Thia was the very sight of a pompous elf. To see an elven child in hard times would be an incredible shame to his family and their kin. In fact, it would be an impossibility. Unallowable. Here, though, the elves seemed to be the lowest race. Humans and dwarves cast scathing glances at the downtrodden souls. Roon passed an elf woman with her small child, who were crouched beside a low stone building and holding out a clay pot, begging for coin. Roon smiled kindly to her and touched two fingers to his forehead, as was custom to the elves of Evermeet. “Tidings,” he said, dropping several weighty gold coins into the pot. The woman looked surprised, but quickly thanked him as he carried on.
The need for atonement was not satisfied by this action, but the opportunity became clear almost at once. “Please,” a woman’s voice was shouting pleadingly. “Please. He’s my grandson. He’s been missing for days. Won’t someone help?”
Roon jogged to the street and saw an elderly elven woman sobbing into a raggedy shawl, grasping at a human soldier’s arm desperately. “Gerroff me,” the man shook her hand off roughly, then waved a hand at her. “Ge’ away!”
“What’s happened?” Roon asked her, and she turned to him and sunk to her knees, so their eyes were level, clutching his hands.
“My grandson,” she sobbed. “He’s been taken, and no one will do anything about it.”
“Taken? By whom? When?” Roon looked around and spotted a bench a few yards away. He noticed the glare of the soldier and patted the woman’s hands. “Come with me. Over here, where we can speak freely.” She got painfully to her feet and they both sat. Roon jumped easily onto the small bench, which had been made for dwarves, whereas the elf woman had to crouch low. “Tell me everything,” he told her.
“T-thank you,” she said, wiping her lined face with her hands. Roon could only guess as to how many hundreds of years old the elf woman was.
“Don’t thank me just yet,” Roon warned her. “I haven’t done anything. Just tell me what happened.”
“M-my grandson. Lee. He was t-taken. Three days ago.”
“Do you know who took him, or why?” Roon kept his voice steady, which seemed to calm her.
She shook her head bitterly. “There are stories, of course.” She cast a nervous glance back at the soldier across the way. “Every ten years, they say, little elves go missing. The authorities don’t look into it.” She lowered her voice. “I blame the dwarves. Elf-kind aren’t taken well to in these parts.”
Roon couldn’t help but feel dubious over a legend. “Where was your grandson—sorry, Lee—when he was taken? And did you see what did it?”
She shook her head fiercely, some of her white hair coming undone from her messy braid. “He was playing out by the sewers where all the elf children play.”
“The sewers,” Roon said, unable to keep the judgement from his voice.
“They’re not allowed anywhere else,” she said in a biting tone. “They’re always being chased off by the others.”
“And there’s nothing else you can tell me? Nothing at all?”
“P-please,” she began sobbing anew, “p-please find h-him!”
Roon took a deep breath, then said, “take me to the sewers where he went missing. I’ll see what I can do.”
The woman got to her feet rather unsteadily, then wobbled down the street, Roon trailing behind her. Beatrice flapped her wings and soared over them, keeping her gnome master in sight.
Roon saw that indeed there were many dirty-faced elven children running around the entrance to the sewers, playing with sticks or brawling. The younger ones were drawing in charcoal on the cobblestone street, while the ones breeching adulthood were covertly passing smoking pipes and uncorked bottles of fire whiskey despite the early morning hours. None seemed to be enrolled in any form of education, religious or otherwise. Roon sent the woman home, assuring her he would find her if he had any news. She gave him an address to a group home, then shuffled away wringing her hands anxiously.
Roon examined the grated entrance to the sewers. It was large enough for Kilian to stand to his full height inside. Roon closed his eyes and cast his mind to Kilian’s, speaking a message into his mind. “Kilian. I’m by the entrance to the sewers. A woman has told me her grandson Lee is missing. I’m going to check it out.”
The sailor responded immediately, his voice unsure. “Be careful, Roon. You don’t know what’s down there. I’ll tell the others where you are. We,” he paused, “can’t get caught up in every sob story.”
Roon spent a few minutes observing the elves and found a few adults and asked about the tale of missing children. Some had heard of it. Most didn’t believe it. Others had been around long enough to know children had gone missing before, but that it could be any manner of things. No one saw the boy Lee go missing, either.
Roon spun around and saw Opal standing there. “Opal! What are you doing here?”
“Kilian told us you were helping people,” the genasi said with a bright smile. “Can I help too?”
“Certainly,” he said, feeling relieved. “Where’s everyone else?”
“Oh, Thia said she needed to spend the day—ah, studying,” she smiled apologetically, “and Evelyn and Kilian are just around the corner. Something about training Davis and Daisy and making money off it.”
Roon had enough sense not to mention that it sounded like Evelyn wanted to put the animals into a fighting pit for money. He wouldn’t doubt that’s what the girl was up to. He only hoped Kilian kept an eye on her.
“Right, well here’s what I’ve learned so far…” Roon explained the dilemma, and they agreed to search the tunnels for signs of the missing boy. “I can polymorph into a creature for a short while,” Roon offered. “Then, at least if we do run into trouble, we’ll both be rather well disguised.”
Opal agreed and they opened the grating. No one around seemed to care what they were up to, so they slipped inside without obstacle. Opal used her druidic wild-shape to transform into a large bat. Roon copied her, using a different spell to nearly the same effect. With a screech, they set off, flapping their wings through the darkness. The sound bounced off the curved stone walls and guided them forward over the wet, reeking floors.
Roon’s spell wore off when they were deep inside the sewers, and he waved to Opal, who flew to land next to him on the tiny walkway beside the river of sludge. “I’ll try to look for magical auras,” he told her, “go on further and meet me at the entrance of the sewers.”
Opal screeched and flew off, and Roon cast his detection spell as he trotted off back the way they came. Another hour passed before Opal caught up to him. “I found some cold spots in the deeper parts of the sewers,” she told him. “I followed them and found another tunnel. It wasn’t carved like the rest. It looped away and I went down it. It smelled better once I got to a big room full of little, er, gnome statues. There was a door at the end of the room, but,” she held up her now transformed hands, “I couldn’t open it as a bat, and I didn’t want to set off any kind of traps.”
“That’s good work,” Roon nodded appreciatively. “I want to investigate it, but I don’t think we should go without our friends.” They clambered back into the sunlight smelling much worse than Roon would’ve liked, and Opal led him to the dog fight. “A bit early for animal cruelty, no?” Roon said loudly as they approached the ring, which was currently empty. A few other humans and elves looked up at this, murmuring as they dispersed, clearly unsure if he was an authority, but not willing to stick around long enough to find out.
Kilian turned to look at them, startled. Evelyn was throwing scraps of what looked like petrified mice down to her dogs, who began playing with them. Roon saw Daisy had a large gash in one leg and Davis was limping slightly. Roon crossed his arms and Opal gasped, running to the dogs and putting her arms around them.
“I-I didn’t know,” Kilian said quickly. “Not until the fight started, anyways. It happens a lot, you know, in the cities around the docks…”
Evelyn was smiling serenely, clearly unaware that any faux pas had been made. Roon thought he saw her tucking away some gold.
“We can talk about that later,” Roon said. “Look, Opal and I might’ve found something interesting in the sewers. A room with a door. I say we investigate. The boy could be locked up somewhere inside.”
“And what I said about not getting involved?” Kilian asked.
Roon stared at him pointedly. “We need to help.”
Kilian nodded grimly, then pulled out a fist-sized stone from his pocket. “Thia gave me this. She said it’s a sending stone. I should be able to talk through it and hear her response.” He pressed it to his ear, then shook it with scrunched eyebrows. “I’m not really sure how it works.”
“Didn’t she give you a word to use?” Evelyn asked vaguely.
“Ah, right, of course.” Kilian cleared his throat, then spoke into the stone. “Thia. Meet us at the entrance to the sewers. We have a mission.”
There was a pause before the response. It began with a long sigh. “I’m on my way.” Another pause. “I do hope it’s something we’re getting paid for.”
It was a slow and careful journey through the sewers as they tried their best to avoid touching the slimy walls or slipping into the slow-moving river of brown. Small rats squeaked and skittered in the darkness, and Thia was often heard muttering unhappily behind them all as they walked. “If it weren’t for a fellow elf…” she said under her breath, and not for the first time.
Beatrice flew over their heads, occasionally swooping down after one of the rats.
The room was as Opal had described it. They cautiously entered and saw a door with a lever next to it. In the room there were at least a dozen rats amongst the twenty-odd gnome statues. The rats’ mangy brown and gray forms wriggled and moved away as they entered with their lit torches. One of the rats stood on a dusty table. It raised itself on its hind legs as they entered and stared at them strangely, then bolted for the door, leapt up onto the lever, and pushed it down. Before any of them could react to the strangeness of that, various slits along the walls opened and darts whizzed in every direction. Roon felt several strike him before he was able to throw himself to the ground. The dogs yelped and barked as they were hit, and Roon heard several heavy things fall around him. He moved to pluck out one of the darts, and felt his vision go blurry. “We’ve been…” his voice was failing him, and he felt numb all over, “webeenpoisoned…” He thought he saw the heads of some of the statues turn. Then, everything went dark.
Thia barely managed to get to her feet once the darts stopped. She pulled a couple out of her arm and cast them aside, looking around. Roon and Opal and the two dogs and tressym were unconscious. Kilian was moaning and Evelyn drew her swords, looking paler than usual. Thia turned as she saw the statues move. She threw up a wall of fire to separate the room, but the fire sputtered and went out. “What…”
A small goblin stepped out of a dark corner holding a wooden staff with a squirrel sitting atop it, very still as though it were stuffed. “No, no,” the goblin said grimly, shaking his finger. “No spells!” Its voice was rather high-pitched and wheezy.
Then, the statues attacked all at once, running at them with little angry battle cries. They held up clawed stone hands and began scratching at whatever they could reach. The rat standing on the lever spun on the spot and transformed into a small imp with little red horns and a forked tail. It hissed and went invisible. Kilian threw out his hands and some of the statues exploded around him. He waded through the little forms as they slashed his legs, and grabbed Roon, shaking him awake. Roon muttered and his eyes opened into slits.
“Get them, Nibbles!” The goblin cried, and the squirrel atop his staff hunched its back and caught Evelyn and Kilian in its gaze. The two of them went still, their faces turning into blank expressions. They began walking towards the goblin.
“No!” Thia shouted, batting the little statues away from her as she tried to grab her hypnotized friends.
The goblin started to glow brightly until it was a blinding light. Thia threw up her arms to shield her eyes from it, and felt the statues crawling up her and weighing her down. Roon started to get to his feet but the statues grabbed his arms and legs and pinned him to the ground, and he felt the poison bring him back into unconsciousness.
Thia tried shooting fire wildly, but her spells were again blocked by the goblin. The elf was the only one left to fight. She thrashed and swore and felt jagged claws ripping at her skin and hair.
“Enough!” A woman’s powerful voice came from the door, but the light was still too bright to see her. “Surrender now, or we will finish you.”
The statues paused in their assault. “We surrender,” Thia said breathlessly, throwing up her hands and sending a few of the statues tumbling off her.
Shackles appeared magically and clamped themselves on her wrists. The bright light faded, and she saw Kilian and Evelyn shaking themselves out of their hypnosis. The squirrel had gone completely still on the goblin’s staff, again looking like it was stuffed. Opal stirred on the ground but Roon was out cold. Soon they were all shackled and pushed to their feet. All except Roon, who Kilian carried in his arms. The statues skittered back to their tables and clambered onto them, returning to their frozen whimsical stances. “Keep an eye on them, Hiccup,” the woman said, then swept away in her midnight blue robes, leaving them all with the goblin, Hiccup.
“C’mon then,” Hiccup wheezed, and the shackles pulled them through the door and into another chamber.
They followed the goblin down a hallway, and he opened another heavier door, inside which sat two large cells. Their weapons and bags zoomed off them and flew into a cupboard, which slammed shut after. The unconscious mastiffs and tressym floated in and were settled on the ground in the corner. The prisoners were pulled inside one of the cells and their shackles suddenly snapped up and dragged them against the wall backwards, pinning them all to it and leaving their toes hanging. They all protested as their heads hit the stone wall, and Hiccup closed the cell door, locking it with a ring of keys, then sitting on a stool and staring at them grimly. His squirrel climbed into his hands and he began to stroke it. “Yes, good work, Nibbles. I think she never even noticed you this time.”
Kilian glanced over at Roon, who was still unconscious and pale. He wet his lips nervously, but Opal spoke first.
“Yes,” the goblin said, sitting straight on his stool.
“You like to watch people?” Opal demanded, wriggling her wrists in the shackles.
Hiccup smiled hesitantly.
“That’s a, uh,” Kilian looked at the goblin, “nice squirrel you have there.”
“Yes!” Hiccup squeaked. “His name is Nibbles.”
“That’s a nice name,” Kilian said, glancing around their cell.
“Well, it’s Sir Nibblesworth the seventh,” Hiccup explained seriously, still petting the squirrel’s head. The squirrel watched them with beady black eyes, nose twitching.
“What happened to the other six?” Kilian asked kindly.
The goblin looked at the door, then leaned in and said in a quiet voice, “Isabell.”
“Isabell. Is that the woman’s name?” The goblin nodded. “What does this woman do for you?”
“She doesn’t kill me,” Hiccup shrugged.
“Well, that’s good, I suppose. What does Isabell do to people like us?”
“Usually she takes the elves,” Hiccup said conspiratorially.
“And the others?” Kilian pressed.
“Normally she doesn’t have the…” the goblins voice trailed off and his eyes seemed to bug out, the pupils trailing off in two directions. A bit of drool slid out of his mouth as it went slack, and Kilian had to snap his fingers to break the goblin out of it. “Huh?” He jumped and wiped his mouth, forcing the squirrel off his lap. It chattered away angrily at him.
“You were saying, the others?” Kilian asked again.
“Oh, yes. Normally there aren’t others. Just,” the goblin paused, “just the elves.”
Thia huffed impatiently.
“Hiccup,” Kilian said carefully, “are there any more people like Isabell? Or is it just you and her?”
“Just us. And Nibbles,” Hiccup added.
Opal jumped in, sensing the direction Kilian was taking the conversation. “So, you don’t have any colleagues nearby?”
Hiccup stared, uncomprehending.
“You know,” Opal tried to explain, staring at the ceiling in search of the right words. “Coworkers? Co-minions?” She twisted a hand in its shackle.
Hiccup continued to stare. “Big words,” he said, looking intrigued but also lost.
“Hiccup,” Thia said finally, “are you a prisoner here? Do you want to go outside?” She said the words slowly, and the goblin nodded, a crooked-toothed grin alighting his face.
“Nibbles would like to go outside, and not—die.” He patted the squirrel’s head, then picked it up and placed it back on his lap.
“We could get you both out of the sewers,” Kilian assured him, “if you let us out of these shackles first.” The goblin looked nervous, but Kilian continued. “Picture it, Hiccup. A nice cozy hut up in the mountains, surrounded by lots of space, and as many squirrels as you’d like. We could get you away from this horrid woman.”
“Sir Nibblesworth would like that,” the goblin said, and his eyes started to trail in different directions again as he zoned out.
Kilian snapped his fingers loudly. “Unlock the cell. Take off the shackles,” Kilian said. “Let us out.”
The goblin stared for a moment, then unhooked the ring of keys from his belt and fitted one into the lock, swinging the barred door open. “Unlock,” he said, then held up his staff and their shackles all fell to a loud clatter on the ground. Roon fell limply to the ground, still unconscious. “Isabell sucks the life out of them.”
“She’s the one taking the elves?” Thia asked, rubbing her wrists.
“She takes the elves for their long life.” Hiccup looked down at his squirrel and nodded. “We will help, if you can kill the imp.” He stared at them, eyes bugging again. “She feeds my squirrels to the imp.”
“We can do that,” Kilian promised. “Can we have our stuff back?”
Their weapons and bags flew out of the closet and landed in each of their open arms. Kilian quickly rummaged through his and pulled out a healing potion, administering it to Roon. Roon sat up with a gasp, looking around frantically. “Wh—how—where are we?” the gnome demanded, getting to his feet and pointing at the goblin. “What’s going on!”
“It’s alright,” Kilian assured him, glancing at Hiccup. “We’ve come to an—arrangement.” Then he quickly filled his friend in on what transpired. Opal healed Evelyn’s dogs and Beatrice back to consciousness as they talked.
“Well,” Roon said unhappily, picking up his bag and his staff, “I suppose we ought to find this witch lady, then.”
“I can show you,” Hiccup offered. Nibbles skittered back up to the top of his staff as he threw open the door and ushered them along.
Before they pushed the next door open, Opal summoned a group of small mud creatures with four legs. “Mud puppies,” she explained as the little dog-like mud forms ran around her feet excitedly, squashing and leaving puddles wherever they stepped. She pointed to each of them and said their names. “There’s Mudpie, Mudpuddle, Muddled, Smudge, Mudslide, and Harriet.”
The all nodded appreciatively at the little creatures. Davis and Daisy sniffed them curiously, but Beatrice kept her distance, maintaining her feline superiority. Roon dug into his pack and pulled out the small clockwork knight he’d assembled. “I’ll put this through the door, then,” he whispered, “and we’ll see what comes out.” He wound the toy and Kilian opened the door a crack so the little thing could click click click across the ground. It kept going until it hit a far wall, fell over, and continued to click until the gears stopped. They heard a few rats scatter, but nothing else.
“There are more statues in there,” Kilian murmured, peering through. “But they don’t seem to be moving.”
“Let’s keep an eye out for levers, shall we?” Roon suggested, and Opal sent the mud puppies through first.
They ran through the room and sparked nothing, so the rest of them entered. The room was lavish and draped in thick, elaborately designed tapestries. Two large armchairs and a fine woodwork desk took up most of the space, but the little gnome statues were placed on various shelves and decorated tables. Cautiously, they tiptoed through, keeping a wary eye on the unmoving little beasts. “These statues won’t come to life,” Hiccup assured them in a quiet voice. “The others were her watch. Not these ones.” Then, as an afterthought he added, “I painted some of them.”
There was a thick scent of incense in the air, probably to mask the scent of sewer, but Roon also noticed vents in the ceiling to bring in fresh air from outside.
“Is it much further?” Kilian asked.
“Oh,” Hiccup said, taking them to another closed door, “you’ll be able to smell the imp coming. He smells like…” the goblin trailed off.
“Yes?” Kilian asked, bringing him back with more insistent snapping.
“The imp smells like bad eggs.”
“Sulfur,” Roon said knowingly. All demonic creatures were known to carry the scent. It was a lingering aftereffect of the realms below.
“She should be in here,” Hiccup said, pointing at the door. “Look out for her wand.”
Kilian swallowed and reached a hand out for the knob.
“Wait,” Roon said, pulling up his hat and producing a rat, which scurried off his head. Roon grabbed the squirming vermin in his hands and held it up. “Let’s try sending this through first. She might mistake it for the imp.” Kilian nodded and opened the door, allowing the rat, which was now frantically thrashing against Roon’s grip, to run free.
“Crur?” The woman’s voice came immediately as the rat squeaked and looked for a dark corner. “Is that you?”
“Yes!” Evelyn said in an unconvincingly high-pitched voice from the doorway.
“What?” The woman said, and Kilian threw open the door.
The woman had curly brunette hair that reached the small of her back and was pulled away from her distinctly human features. Her eyes were dark and her features sharp and attractive. She wore finely made silk robes. She stood in front of a stone altar, upon which lay the prostrate form of an elderly, elven male. Around her were the littered bodies of other elves, fleshless and gray and seemingly long dead.
They all ran in at once. Roon shot a magical bolt that the woman just barely managed to duck under. She was hit at the same moment with Thia’s blight spell, and she gasped as the magic pulled energy from her. Hiccup ran in with a squeaky battle cry and made to hit her with something magical, but the spell faltered. Roon conjured his spiritual weapon and the giant middle finger pushed her off her pedestal, where she stumbled and turned angrily toward them. Evelyn had her blades drawn and charged and Kilian’s chest erupted with a swirling storm of dark energy and lightning. It hit the woman and threw her back just as Evelyn reached her. The dogs stayed back, barking from a safe distance. Roon saw the woman was bleeding from a gash in her cheek left by Evelyn. She had gotten to her feet again and a glowing shield formed around her. The little mud puppies ran and began leaping at the shield, spewing mud from their mouths, making the floor slippery. Thia ran in with her blade drawn, but the shield was holding up against their blows. Roon’s middle finger slammed into it, and after a moment of resistance, the shield burst, and the woman was hit again by a flurry of attacks. Roon saw Kilian draw a small, glowing dagger from the belt around his front and run toward the woman, then release more lightning straight into her body. The woman screamed as the energy hit her. Evelyn and Thia stepped back from the heat of it. “ENOUGH!” She shrieked, then threw down her hands. A swirling mist wrapped around her legs and in a blur of incredible speed, she zoomed past all of them and through the door.
“After her!” Thia shouted, pounding after the escaping woman.
Roon hesitated, wondering if he should check on the elf atop the altar. He suspected it was the boy, Lee, greatly aged from having the life sucked out of him. His companions all ran for the door, and Roon followed behind, casting spiritual guardians that whipped around him as a sharp tornado of playing cards. They heard clattering and saw through the door into the lavish room that there were stone gnomes, now awake and charging after them. And, in their forefront, the imp in its devilish form. It hissed at them. Isabell had already blurred past them and escaped through another door.
Evelyn and Thia were smashing the statues left and right. Kilian seemed to have cast something on the imp, leaving it blank and confused. Opal’s mud puppies had just past all of them and were spewing mud, tripping several of the little things and causing some of them to shatter into pieces. A few of them got hold of the imp and tore it apart with their little teeth. Opal shot a thunderous wave through the room and more of the statues went flying against the walls. Hiccup finally caught up to them and an explosion of fire rocked the room as he threw his spell into the midst of the statues. When the creatures moved too close to Roon, his card guardians slashed them apart.
Kilian ran to Evelyn and shouted, “want to help me kill a wizard?”
The white-haired girl nodded, and Kilian grabbed her arm. Then, in a flash the two of them disappeared through a door that appeared there for one moment and was gone the next.
“Opal!” Thia shouted, reaching out and grabbing the druid’s hand. She stepped, and the two of them shot forward, leaving an explosion behind them. More statues went flying, and only a few remained.
Roon shot bursts of white flames at them as he ran through the room and Opal turned, and with a final, thunderous roar, shook the room and shattered the last remaining statues. They all took a moment to catch their breath. “We need to go after her,” Thia said, holding a stitch at her side.
Roon turned and looked behind him, and saw Beatrice sitting by the doorway calmly licking her paw. She looked up at him, meowed, then continued her bathing.
“Honestly,” Roon admonished.
“Let’s go!” Thia said, and they ran.