PLADD

 

Field Trip to the Ancient Dwarven Prison Camp

Part X of the Terrence Saga

Chapter 10: Reunion

Posted by pladd on January 10, 2016

Derfin cast a quick glance about the room. Unlike most of the prison, this room seemed almost entirely untouched by anything except vermin and time. Cobwebs and a thick layer of dust covered every surface.

He first looked at a shelf on the wall. Bottle after bottle was stored there, but they mostly looked to be empty. Some had cracked their seals, and time had evaporated any liquid stored inside. Several bottles had ragged holes in their sides; the contents appeared to have slowly eaten away at the glass until the liquid could pour out.

However, Derfin did find a few bottles that looked more or less intact. Two bottles contained a fine powder, and they were each labeled with the same Dwarven script. Another two bottles contained a viscous liquid. In fact, they looked exactly like the magical preservative the group had found on Warden McSkeleton’s corpse. Finally, Derfin found two more bottles with their seals intact. These two looked to be potions of some sort, although he was unable to translate their labels. He stowed them in his pack and gave the shelf one last look-over for anything he might have missed.

With the shelf looted, Derfin turned his attention to a stone rack on the wall. It was quite a beauty; some dwarven craftsman had clearly spent a lot of time making sure the areolas were as lifelike as possible.

Next to the rack was a stand that held several wands. Two were cracked, split straight down the middle. Another wandwas nothing more than charcoal; a fourth had fused directly to the stand, and wouldn’t budge.

The three remaining wands still hummed slightly with stored magical energy. Jackpot.

Finally, Derfin saw a small box on a table in the center of the room. In the box were a number of gemstones. Most of them were cracked in two. Another few were grey, which seemed odd to Derfin, since normally gems have SOME sort of color to them.

However, one gemstone was still colored, despite a crack that ran down its length. Derfin grabbed it and idly tossed it in the air to see it sparkle in the torchlight…

But it didn’t come down. The crystal began to orbit Derfin’s head, slowly, and he suddenly felt more…

Aware?

That was it. The details in the room felt sharper. The shadows were less shadowy, and the colors were slightly more vivid.

“Bitchin’,” whispered Derfin. He decided to keep it.

“What?” whispered Chad. “What’s bitchin’?”

“I didn’t say anything,” whispered Gavin.

“Not you! Derfin!”

Derfin was confused. “That was me. I said ‘bitchin’.”

If a table had been present, Chad would have slammed his palms down on it. He ground his teeth in frustration instead.

Everyone shut the fuck up. Derfin, forget I said anything. How’s the looting?”

“Operation Llama Tengu is complete,” whispered Derfin. “Begin operation Bravo Rancor.”

“For fuck’s sake, Derf, we agreed not to use stupid elf military jargon.”

“And you agreed not to call me fucking Derf. Just get me out of here.”

Chad rolled his eyes. Goddamn elves. “Chomsky, Gavin. Derfin’s ready. You guys ready?”

“Affirmative,” whispered Gavin.

“Roger roger,” whispered Chomsky. “Over and out.”

Just open the door on the signal. Jesus.”

Chad focused on his hand seals once more. Tori u tori tatsu i tori inu!

POOF! Another puff of smoke, and another dog appeared. Like the last time, it was wearing a light blue headband with a small metal plate. However, it was clearly a different dog than before, as it didn’t attempt to maul Chadwick as revenge for using it as bait. Also, it was an entirely different breed.

Chadwick looked at the dog, and at his hand. He shrugged. No reason it shouldn’t work again!

“Hey boy! You want the ball? You want it? Go get the ball!

He once more made a throwing gesture towards the back of the temple, and the dog charged off. A non-dog, non-golem shadow flickered past the tunnel entrance with a whoosh of air, immediately followed by the WHUMPWHUMPWHUMP of the charging golem.

Chad stared at the tunnel exit, eyes wide. Why was there a shadow.

“It’s probably fine,” he said, and sprinted back down the tunnel towards the jail cells.

Derfin was at the ready by the door to the lootcloset. When he heard the golem charge away once more, he slid the door open and stepped out of the room.

From the temple at the end of the hallway came familiar sounds: the growl of a canine, the crash of iron fists, the crunching of rock and rending of metal…

Wait, what? How the fuck was the golem getting injured?

Oh SHITPANDAS it had to be that stone thing that had grabbed his neck earlier oh god oh god. Derfin sprinted for the barricaded Processing door and pounded his fists against it in a blind panic. WHAMWHAMWHAMWHAMWHAM. “LETMEINLETMEINLETMEIN!”

On the other side of the door, Chomsky and Gavin had been having a spirited debate on the merits of Goodness versus Neutrality.

“So you’re saying that sometimes it’s okay to crush your enemies beneath your heel and hear the lamentations of their loved ones, as long as you don’t really enjoy it or do it all the time?” asked Chomsky.

“Basically,” said Gavin.

He was about to continue, but was interrupted by someone pounding on the door. How rude.

WHAMWHAMWHAMWHAMWHAMWHAM.

Chomsky squeaked with fright and instinctively leaped into Gavin’s arms. Gavin dropped him.

“So, what, are we supposed to open it? Is this the signal?” Gavin asked.

Chomsky was picking himself up off the floor. “I don’t know. Nobody tells me nuffin’.”

“I mean, it could be the golem trying to break the door down,” Gavin pondered, eyes slightly unfocused. “Derfin might already be dead. Maybe we should cut our losses and run right now.”

“LETMEINLETMEINLETMEIN!” shrieked Derfin’s unmistakable voice from the other side of the door.

Gavin stroked his chin. “I mean, there’s no way to be sure.”

Chomsky eyed Gavin, wondering if perhaps Neutrality was harmful to the brain. “Hold on!” he called to Derfin. “We’ll have this door open in two jiffies of a rat’s boner!”

“THE FUCK. JUST LET ME IN! THERE’S A GOLEM-KILLING ROCK FUCKER IN THERE!”

Chomsky snapped his fingers in front of Gavin’s face. Or, at least, as close to Gavin’s face as he could manage, which was just about above groin level. “Hey! HEY!”

Gavin’s eyes snapped back into focus. “Wha?”

Chomsky pointed at the door. “Derfin. Door open. Now. Jesus, you’re flaky.”

Gavin shook his head and addressed the door. “Uh, Captain Ishak says open? I guess?” He lifted the metal barricade from its seat, and Derfin fell into the room, hair matted with terror-sweat.

“Oh, hey!” said Gavin. “It is Derfin. What luck!” He re-barricaded the door.

Derfin rose to his feet. His nostrils flared. In his mind he listed every put-down, insult, and demeaning remark he had learned in his travels. He picked the choicest ones from both Common and Elven. He sorted through them, calculating the maximum amount of emotional injury he could inflict upon the incompetent, probably evil sorcerer in front of him.

Derfin opened his mouth. “I—“

“Hey guys!” Chadwick chirped cheerily from the gate to the jail cells. “You all made it! Damn, I knew my plan was brilliant!”

Derfin turned his gaze on Chad. No, the sorceror was not to blame. It was Chad that had put him in harm’s way. Chad, the half-human cocky bastard with his cocky bastard plans. Chad, who refused to even do his own fighting. He deserved this. “You—“

Chomsky interrupted. “Yeah, it worked out pretty well! We got all the shit from the room, unless Derfin fucked it all up!”

Derfin’s eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets with rage. That tiny, perverted fucker was judging him? He finally found a moment to speak.

“LISTEN, YOU FUCKS!”

The others turned towards him, eyes wide. Yes, that’s right. I’m the goddamned elder here, and I am going to be heard.

He began his tirade. “IN ALL MY YEARS—“

The hallway door crashed open, and the metal bar shot across the room. Everyone ceased paying even the slightest bit of attention to Derfin as the metal golem stepped through the doorway.

Derfin carefully stowed his rage away a special corner of his mind, marking it for later use, then turned to face the golem as well.