The Trial of the Dungeon Mistress: Part V

An Espresso Tale


Accipiter G. Goshawk

Here is Part V!

Here is Part IV! Want to read the rest? here are the links to Part I, II, III, and IV.



She squirmed, as her foot found its way into yet another puddle of dragon drool.

Inside herself she growled in disgust, but Fiasha’s contemptuous gaze withered any external expression of discomfort. The sorceress floated airily past her, her expensive shoes never once even grazing the soiled ground.

Hala miserably trudged forward under her brother’s watchful eye and Kol’s sympathetic commentary.

“It’s not your fault that we happened to run into those trolls,” he said, in an unconvincing attempt at lying.

“Like most things regarding this poor child it seems,” tittered Fiasha in mock concern.

“That’s enough,” growled Jorn. Pausing thoughtfully, he turned to look at his sister.

“We are still quite close to the exit. If you want, I can escort you back. You…you aren’t ready for this. You don’t have to be stubborn. Just…go home. Take it easy; work in the fields. You can even drink a little, if you want.”

Each plodding word stirred the bard’s cauldron of misery, adding new pain to her plight. She was starting to feel addled and hopeless. Her motivation had been taking blows all day, and now, at a mere rock’s toss from Rijax the Scarred’s lair, she wanted to turn back.

She shook herself, her eyes snapping to the shadows curling around the form of the advancing sorceress.

“No. I want to be here. This is what I’ve always wanted; what I’ve always dreamed of. To see a Great Dragon, to behold its horrifying majesty. To help a party defeat it…to become a hero! Why can’t they understand? Why can’t Jorn believe in me?”

Kol’s long questing sniff jolted her out of her thoughts. She shivered as the half-giant drew his battle-axe from its holster on his back.

“I smell him. We are close. He knows we are here: he is waiting.”

Fiasha stopped short, and immediately began to chant, weaving protections spells over the small group.

“Well sister, it’s now or never. Make yourself useful,” muttered Jorn as he extracted a large elegant crossbow from his pack. The bolts gleamed evilly, and for a moment Hala almost felt sorry for the dragon.

She unstrapped her lute and quietly set about casting her own magic, strengthening her companion’s resolve and preparing them for the fight ahead. She pulled out all the stops and even went so far as to sing a ballad of her own composition; a ballad that she was sure would inspire them to deeds of great valour.

“What is that cacophonous drivel?” hissed Fiasha venomously. “I don’t know who came up with it, but you would do well to strike it from your repertoire, dear.”

Another hurtful remark, another careless wound. She said nothing but put away her instrument, replacing it with a rapier.

“Remember Hala: stay behind me. This is way beyond you, but if you let us work, you will come to no harm,” said her brother, creeping towards the final bend in the passageway.

“Are you sure about her, Jorn?” asked Fiasha, looking back doubtfully.

“To late to turn back now. Go!”

They charged, taking the bend at full speed and emerging into the centre of the Rijax the Scarred’s lair, the Ruby Cavern of Spilled-blood Peak.-

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