Now was not the time to apportion culpability. Yes, I may have picked up the magical metal rod. Yes, I may have directed it at the snake that then drifted up to the glowing orb above our heads. And yes, the snake may have entered the bubble and released the green dragon trapped within. However, at this precise moment the important thing was not to point the finger of blame, the important thing was to run. Oh, and in my case, make myself invisible.
We dashed for the door, the roar of the angry dragon dangerously close. With an evil hiss a cloud of venomous gas roiled towards us. The noxious fumes enveloped Edder and Komgrirk and they fell coughing violently, clutching at their throats. I half turned to help and in doing so, tripped. My manly cry, which didn’t sound at all like a whimpering dog, alerted Itiff to my peril. Realising our party of adventurers was doomed without my special talents he grabbed blindly at my robe and yanked me to safety. Lunar shouldered the door closed and we breathed a momentary sigh of relief.
“Where’s Snarf?” said Itiff, casting about in panic for his faithful wolf.
“I’m sorry, but he didn’t make it,” I said.
“I should have left you and grabbed him,” he said, grinding his boot against the stone floor.
I let that one go. He was in shock and I knew he didn’t mean it. Also, I was invisible and Itiff couldn’t see the gestures I was making. “If it’s any consolation,” I said, “Komgrirk didn’t make it either.” It was mean of me I know, but I was still smarting about the little rapscallion blocking my escape the day before which resulted in me being savaged by rats.
“Edder’s down too,” said Lori. “We need to rescue them.”
“You’re invisible. You can sneak in and drag them out,” said Lunar, fixing what she thought was me, but was actually just empty space, with a hard glare.
“Are you mental? There’s a green dragon in there,” I said beside her ear.
“So are our friends,” said Lori.
“I think friends is a bit of a strong word,” I said. “I like to think of them more as people I know … or to be more precise, people I knew.”
Itiff thumped his fist against his armour. “Make me invisible and I’ll get Snarf.”
I reappeared, a smile upon my face. “Excellent, a plan with no drawbacks,” I said, and with a magical flourish of my staff Itiff vanished.
“Right, I’ll get Komgrirk,” said Lori, striking a pose that may have looked heroic in someone substantially taller.
Placing a restraining hand on Lori’s shoulder I said, “Perhaps Lunar would be a better choice. What with you having about as much stealth as – well, as a clumsy dwarf in a suit of armour.”
“Fine, I’ll do it,” said Lunar to my surprise.
I eased the door open and we peered through. The dragon was busy devouring one of the fallen. A moment’s glee fluttered my heart; alas it was not Komgrirk but a half-orc we had moments before rescued. Although, given her current circumstance I guess rescued is a bit of an overstatement.
It was hard to judge Itiff’s progress, what with him being invisible, but I’m certain at one point he made a noise because the dragon suddenly looked up, staring at nothing and sniffed the air. I crossed my fingers, hoping Itiff wouldn’t do anything stupid like try and throw a coin into the corner of the room. He was not versed in the ways of invisibility, and the coin would be seen the moment it left his hand, effectively pinpointing his position. Fortunately, he took no such action and the dragon resumed its meal.
With stealth more normally used for dispatching life than saving it, Lunar crept over to Komgrirk. Taking hold of his fetid armour, an act which in itself was as dangerous as facing the dragon, she dragged him into the safety of our current refuge. Lori cast a healing spell on the limp kobold and with a ‘cough’ from both ends he jolted to life.
Across the massive room, Snarf suddenly vanished, Itiff’s invisibility now extending to his fallen pet. The dragon crunched down on the half-orc’s head, a delicacy it must have found particularly flavoursome because it failed to notice Edder, the stricken minotaur, seeming to glide across the dungeon floor, dragged by Itiff.
My heart hammering in my chest I waited, expecting the dragon to look up at any moment, but it did not. Edder, and presumably Itiff, passed through the door way. I edged the door closed and locked it. I cancelled my spell and Itiff popped back into visibility. He appeared to be kissing Snarf. I coughed and he looked around, guiltily. “Just reviving him,” he said with as much dignity as he could muster, which in all honesty, and I am nothing if not honest, was not very much.
I slumped against the dungeon wall and let out a sigh of relief knowing that I, Tarquin The Honest, had heroically survived an encounter with a green dragon.