Wiliken turned his thoughts to the company that he’d found himself in as the elevator slowly descended and he heard the grunts, howls and snorts of the animals below. The dragonborn Morgan had yet to reveal his motives for crashing Valgaman the Terrible’s ceremony, Jean-Baptiste was hard and fairly unreadable, and through all his speeches about responsibility, justice and protecting the weak, Douglas was certainly hiding something. The human had spoken to Wiliken as an arbiter of justice, as a king, or someone close to a king, might. He had accused the githzerai of being dangerous. Douglas had charmed all of them into fighting by his side, and yet the last ally he’d charmed, the boar, had been murdered defending the man. Wiliken supposed it was possible that they’d all die in the service of Douglas. Of course, despite his swagger and presumptuousness, Douglas might be a just man for all the githzerai could determine. Time will be the judge of this question, Wiliken thought.
The githzerai made first for his comrade Jurgen. When the deva noticed that Wiliken had joined him, he turned from the octo-bear and smirked.
“Nope,” Jurgen said. “He doesn’t know anything.”
Wiliken removed a small dirk from his satchel and held the blade up before the torchlight. Jurgen looked up, betraying the littlest bit of fright in his eyes. The githzerai lowered the blade precisely and cut a gash across his forearm. It stung horribly, but Wiliken did not flinch. Instead, as the blood began to trickle and drip onto the floor prompting the animals strewn about the room to focus their attention on him, Wiliken removed a small bowl from his satchel and collected his blood.
“If the creature wants blood, he’ll have none but mine,” Wiliken said. He handed the bowl to Jurgen. Jurgen appraised Wiliken. When he saw that his friend had wiped his blade and then sheathed it, he passed the bowl to the octo-bear, who grasped it expertly with one tentacled hand, poured the blood down into his mouth and threw the bowl back.
As the bowl slammed to the ground, Wiliken heard an uneasy grunt escape the mouth of the solemn dragonborn Morgan.
“What troubles you?” Wiliken asked. “Did the clattering bowl break your concentration?”
“There has been an opening in the wards,” Morgan said. Wiliken gathered that Morgan was referring to the wards Valgaman and company had cast in order to surround his menagerie in a force field, the same wards that locked them inside.
“That is great news,” Douglas said. The human had apparently returned from the pit without Wiliken’s notice. “A way out, perhaps.”
“Or Valgaman’s clean-up squad,” Wiliken suggested, darkly.
“Quickly, your blood,” Morgan said to Wiliken. “We need to free the children. If reinforcements are arriving, they’ll be fodder for a slaughter.”
“And my blood will stop this?”
Morgan seized Wiliken by the arm. The second time today, Wiliken thought as he struggled against the dragonborn’s greater strength. Certainly, the last, one way or another. With his other hand Morgan grabbed the bowl. Morgan squeezed the githzerai’s arm and with a dull ache, another stream of blood spilled into the bowl. To Wiliken’s surprise, Morgan dropped his head as soon as he released the githzerai, and apologized, before rushing the blood over to the dragon-like creature. The beast was curled in a ball, laying on the floor of the cage, but after he lapped up Wiliken’s blood, he arose, revealing his massive bulk in all its glory. The monster also revealed his treasure, a battered broad-sword that had been concealed beneath his girth, which the dragon creature kicked forward. Morgan grabbed the sword, uttered what Wiliken assumed to be his gratitude to the beast in draconic, and then ran into the next room.
The others followed Morgan. What they saw was a dragonborn who swung the sword heroically at the bars of a cage full of children, the sword clinking and then bouncing out of Morgan’s hands before he fell to his knees clutching his head in pain.
“Someone is ripping through the wards,” Morgan shouted. “Someone… powerful.”
No sooner had Morgan uttered these words than a red ornamental circle burned itself into the stone floor behind the dragonborn. Wiliken recognized this design as a teleportation circle. Two forms swirled together standing atop the circle, a man and a woman. Wiliken nocked an arrow, readying himself for his final battle. The man appeared to be a wizard of some sort, likely the being of great power that Morgan had spoken of. This could be my final battle, Wiliken thought.
Jean-Baptiste stepped forward and directly into Wiliken’s shot. “Grace?” he said. The woman stepped forward and embraced the druid. Wiliken lowered his bow. If the hard and wizened Jean-Baptiste had softened at the approach of the two new-comers, then they certainly were not Valgaman’s thugs.
“It appears the fates are on our side,” Jurgen said. The others agreed. However, Wiliken knew Jurgen, and he knew his friend did not believe in the fates. The deva’s sarcasm only loosely veiled his true thoughts, that they were not out of danger’s way, not yet.
Campaign Stories continues in Wiliken 11.