The tunnels were bitterly cold, and it only grew worse the further the company ventured underground. Ice had coated them as they had crossed the snow-covered valley they left behind, and now they stood in a dim, lower cavern, having captured one of the enemy with no small amount of effort.
Eruviel’s expression grew stern as she listened to the Corcur sitting before her. “The black crystals are as we feared, and serve as focuses for necromancy. His people plan to use them to resurrect a mighty dragon of old that was excavated deeper into the tunnels.”
Cedoric let out a soft sigh, shaking his head. Thorgest’s expression hardened at the news, and there was something alarming in the dwarf’s dark eyes.
Godric sighed as he listened to Eruviel’s words. “I was hoping they were merely attempting to warm their pups. How many of his people?”
Eruviel turned her attention back to the man in ragged red and brown robes, nodding slowly before motioning behind her as she translated for Godric.
Feygil eyed Thorgest. “Wha’ is it?”
The Dwarf glanced at Feygil. “We must not allow the dragon to rise at any cost.”
“Wha’ kind o’ consequences we talkin’ abou’ ‘ere?”
Eruviel arched a brow in apparent doubt at the Corcur sitting before her. Glancing to Feygil and Thorgest, she shifted her gaze to their Commander. “He says that there are about two hundred here working on the project, and the chamber is to the south-west,” she translated, nodding to Godric. “He says he does not know how many guard it.”
Meluion folded his arms together. “About as much consequences as you can imagine a dragon can bring,” he said stoically to Feygil before turning his attention to the Elf. “Are these workers soldiers? Labourers? Paid or slaves?”
“The irreparable kind,” Thorgest responded to Feygil.
Godric knit his brows together at the mention of numbers. “Bring him with us. He will serve as a deterrent. Tell him if he tries anything foolish, I will kill him.” He then turned to whistle softly for Cedoric to return.
Feygil sighed and nodded. “Tha’s wha’ I was afraid of.”
Eruviel looked back to the Corcur and spoke again with him. The company had promised not to harm him if he gave them information, but if he betrayed them —
As Eruviel conveyed Godric’s threat, the captive man’s eyes widened. He began to shout, and tries to wrestle his way free of his captivity. They had promised not to hurt him. All he wanted was to go home.
It was loud, and sudden and reacting, Eruviel moved to punch the man in the face. One stray echo could give them away, but against two hundred Corcur, desperate shouts could see them all killed before they could make it to the mouth of the cave.
Feygil leaned forward to stifle the man’s attempted escape, nearly catching an elbow in the nose as the Elf swung. Meluion as well reached to restrain the man.
Knock him out or stun him. You can apologize later and help him get home, but his shouting will see us all ki— Eruviel’s fist connected with the man’s face with a brutal, beatly crunch. Blood splattered onto all the Wayfarers in the vicinity. The prisoner fell into the dirt, dead.
Cedoric blinked in surprise, seeming unsure of how to react at such an action. After a few moments, his brows furrowed.
Godric stepped back as Eruviel’s fist connected with the man’s face, and blood splashed onto his boots. He eyed the scene in slight shock, then studied Eruviel. “Remind me not to piss you off.”
Meluion looked at Eruviel in dismay. Thorgest’s stoic expression became one of momentary alarm. He gave the Elf a glance of distaste, then moved away from her.
“Fack!” Feygil cursed as she leaned over the man to feel for breathing. “Gods dammit!” Her jaw flexed as the clay child-sized handprint fell from the man’s hand.
Eruviel stared at the dead man, her hand still balled into a fist, warm blood dripping from her leather-covered knuckles. What did I… dammit… dammit! Her expression stern and unreadable, she rose calmly to her feet. “That was unfortunate,” she commented quietly. She might have smirked at Godric’s comment any other time, but now now. “I did not mean to hit him that hard.”
Godric shook his head. “If you hadn’t, I would have done so myself. He was warned. Let’s go.”
Eruviel nodded once, silently thanking him. She could not bring herself to look at the others even as she felt their eyes upon her, or the bit of clay Feygil retrieved. She could not look at the body of the man, nor the broken face as Thorgest drug him off the path. A sick feeling tugged at her gut, but she set her jaw and knocked another arrow against her bowstring. It had been an accident. Again. It would do no good to lament. Not here. Not with two hundred Corcur and the threat of a dragon. There were more pressing matters at hand. Any regret she felt could wait.