Waking up chained to a stone column in an underground chamber is invariably not going to end well. At least this time I was still fully clothed, so it was already substantially better than the Dwarven Festival of Demesh that I had once found myself unwillingly participating in.
My friends, and I use the word in the loosest sense of the meaning, were likewise chained to other pillars in the chamber, as were three other unfortunates, two servant women and a man I did not know. The women screamed and I noticed a suave and impossibly handsome figure had seemingly materialised next to the chained man. He lowered his mouth towards the man’s throat and for a moment I thought perhaps I was indeed back at the Festival of Demesh but then he bared his fangs and viscerally sunk them into the man’s neck. Blood streamed down the figure’s chin as he raised his head and let out a malevolent laugh.
Bloody vampires, I thought. Always with the melodramatic and such messy eaters. Well, Tarquin The Honest is a meal for no man, as I proved at the Festival of Demesh, and I set about casting a mage hand to release me from my bonds. Unfortunately, due to my constraints the spell misfired and rather than an ethereal hand that would perform my bidding I summoned a solitary finger that rather ineffectually crawled about the floor like a caterpillar.
Somewhat to my annoyance, Akra, a dragonborn sorcerer who had recently joined our party, successfully conjured her own mage hand and unchained herself. It’s not that I’m the jealous sort, after all sorcery isn’t real magic, but since Akra had shown up I couldn’t help feel that the esteemed reverence in which my colleagues held me had somewhat diminished.
Akra did however make a somewhat novice mistake, if I may say so, and let her shackles clatter to the floor, something that a more intellectual magic user such as myself would never let happen. Thus alerted to her escape the vampire charged towards her.
South, a massively muscled dragonborn barbarian, who had also joined our merry band, grunted like a pig in a pipe. His biceps bulged and with a truly impressive show of strength he ripped his chains from the wall, toppling a huge chunk of masonry onto the vampire in the process. Spectacular as it was, it only seemed to enrage the vampire more, and forgetting Akra he flew at South with a feral ferocity.
Not wanting to be outdone in the anger department, South screamed a barbaric curse and slammed fists like hammers into the vampire’s head. Impressive as this was, it didn’t deter the toothed fiend and he latched onto South’s neck with a vicious bite.
I knew that some proper magic was required if I was to once again save my colleagues and so I vanished in a cloud of silvery mist, and reappeared next to Itiff, who I reasoned was probably a virgin and therefore most at risk from the vampire.
Undoing Itiff’s manacles with one hand I loosed three bolts of sizzling magic at the vampire. They struck him in the back and he screamed, although his wail was somewhat muffled by a mouthful of South. The screams of the chained servants were far more full bodied as a stream of gas emerged from a gargoyle’s mouth and materialised into a vampirette. She was quite beautiful in that way that only a deadly, evil psychopath can be and I momentarily regretted that I wasn’t a hundred years younger.
I gave her what I like to think of as a cheeky wink and pulled out my wand of wonder. I recited the word of power and a stream of energy struck the vampirette squarely in the chest. I was a tad disappointed in the resulting effect, or lack thereof. She did not turn to stone, or explode in a ball of fire, or any of the myriad other things that may have happened. Instead she fixed me with a malevolent stare and said, “You’re going to die.”
She was probably right; I had a bad feeling in my gut, although that was possibly a result of Komgrirk’s cooking. At least I had distracted her long enough for Lunar to unshackle herself and backflip to safety, or as much safety as there can be in a sealed chamber with two vampires. The fearsome little gnome retrieved her crossbow and expertly loaded a magic bolt into the mechanism.
Itiff charged to South’s assistance and slashed at the vampire’s back, delivering a flurry of blows. With a twang like a dying badger, Lunar released her bolt and it skewered the vampire’s heart. The undead rapscallion disintegrated in an explosion of ash that wafted over South like a disintegrated dead vampire.
I would have applauded but I had problems of my own. The vampirette swooped towards me and raked a gauntlet of silvered claws across my chest. I staggered backwards emitting an injured, but extremely manful, howl. Warm blood trickled down my legs, feeling almost as if I’d wet myself, which I would most certainly like to make clear I hadn’t.
Again, raising the wand of wonder, I took aim and a bolt of lightning forked from its tip, sending the vampirette tumbling backwards. She gave me a look of abject fear and it was quite clear she realised she’d met her match. Turning tail, she dematerialised into a gaseous cloud and disappeared back into the gargoyle’s mouth.
Casting a spell to remove the blood/urine from my robes I twirled my wand and stuck it into my belt, knowing that I, Tarquin The Honest, had once again saved the day.