Her sacrifice

The adventuring party was battered and bruised. They had lost their cleric early on in the expedition, so they’d had to rest and heal as they could. They had no blessings to keep them going, no god to beg for mercy, no helping hand to shine a light on their plight.

“Just a little further, boys,” the remaining woman of the group, a wizard, says to the flagging group. “Up ahead, if I remember the map correctly, is a chamber, once used as a temple, that houses a fount of fresh water. It also has no other doors than the one we’ll be using to enter. Easily defensible.”

Groans met her proclamation. The three men, who had all been wounded in one way or another, were too exhausted to utter anything resembling words.

The wizard’s ever-burning torch illuminated enough of the area to show them that they were in a narrow corridor. No doors or crossing corridors were visible in their immediate vicinity. They hadn’t encountered any since they’d entered this tunnel-like hall several minutes ago.

“I do hope we weren’t followed. Or, if so, I hope the goblins don’t catch us until after we’ve rested some,” the woman said to her companions. The men just trudged on, letting her tire herself.

A few dozen more yards they tramped, all desperate for a break. The end of the corridor was an ornately engraved archway, entering into a foreboding darkness.

“Here! I knew I was leading us in the right direction.” Her squeal of self-congratulation echoed in the close confines of the dim dungeon.

The halfling picked his way forward, checking for traps and scanning for anything of value in sight. Sensing nothing, he nodded to the rest of them. One by one they entered the enormous room, the wizard with her torch leading the way, followed by the disenchanted ranger with his pointed ears drooping in exhaustion. The roguish halfing darted inside next, with the brutish barbarian lumbering along at the rear.

The group had just crossed an intricate mosaic in the cobbled floor when torches flashed into being along the walls. A haunting chanted melody drifted toward them, growing in intensity the closer it got. An unnoticed door dropped from the ceiling to settle into place in the archway behind the adventurers.

“Greetings, interlopers,” a thunderous voice washed over them. “My cleric has done well in her choice of sacrifice. I accept!”

 

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