Kadarin, Talia, Aerex, Mouse, and...Koschei?
As Talia, Aerex, and Kadarin whispered and crouched, Mouse smiled. He was mute, but not deaf. They cared, he had found a family to call his own. No giant, or wizard, or deathly specter could change that!
The albino turned to Kadarin, as the young mage addressed him. He didn’t have to think for any amount of time. Shaking his head vociferously, the boy informed the mage that he would follow him no matter the danger, or at least that’s how Kadarin understood it. He had learned, but not yet mastered, the boy’s unique brand of sign language.
So, Matere, Aerex thought to himself, don’t know how you ended up here, eh? Doesn’t matter now does it? Now you need to protect Talia, her name always came up first in his thoughts, the hapless (to Aerex) mage, and now his scrawny, adopted apprentice as well. A far cry from Jantir, this…he concluded, and stalked forward, up the stairs and through the closed but now unlocked outer door.
Talia followed wordlessly. She would have to have her wits about her now, she reasoned. These three were counting on her, as were others. She knew what had to be done, despite herself. She had found more and more lately that her own thoughts were of Jantir, where Konos had said her father might now be, not of mountain peaks and hinterlands, and certainly not of haunted, giant-infested monasteries.
But first, the Bladedancer thought, as she steeled herself, whatever foulness lay within these stonewalls, had to be dealt with, there was no other way.
She followed the crouching inspector, as the fearful, but wily Kadarin, spells running through his mind like physical sensations along nerve endings, brought up the rear with Mouse.
The classic order, Talia managed a weak smile. Rogue ahead, fighter next, mages in the rear. She hoped for the best, as the quartet entered the long, empty foyer of the monastery. Commotion could be heard from a nearby chamber, but the weird acoustics of the place, prevented an easily identifiable direction from presenting itself.
Aerex pointed at the floor suddenly, and froze. There was Dujek’s lizard, flailing its little lizard arms, while perilously perched on its hind legs, trying to get the inspector’s attention. The lizard kept bobbing its head up and down, mouth agape, and then finally turned, and scurried off, turning to make sure Dujek’s companions were following.
The lizard darted through one hall and then another, and then finally, Aerex could spy a strong light, coming from an open double door, the smell of roast fowl permeating the air. Some shouting, some talking, and apparently a heavy dose of physical activity was going on inside.
“Bind them! They will not act like proper guests? Barbarians! Bind them!” Kadarin could now hear. The voice sounded peculiarly like his uncle’s voice, surely it wasn’t him of course, but the tone of the mellifluous speaker sent a shiver down Kadarin’s spine nonetheless.