Zedric saw the bardiche flash through the air, faster than something that large should move. And when he glanced at Mustafa, he saw that the bardiche had struck true. Time seemed to slow down, and Zedric saw each step. He saw the white lines appear across Mustafa’s chest, he watched them slowly turn red, then he watched the bleeding begin for real. He knew, as soon as it started, that nothing could be done. He watched as the big man crash to the floor.
As Zedric dodged the other gnolls, he couldn’t help but think “I did this. I brought him here”. Mustafa would still be in the slave pits, or possibly a whorehouse, but alive. Instead he was laying on the floor, in a pool of his own blood. Why didn’t I notice he was injured before we went downstairs? Why didn’t I ask Desna to grant me a shielding spell? As he dodged under another uppercut, Zedric swung his staff into the creatures ankle an moved on to the next one.
His thoughts were in a haze as he spun, leapt, and swung. Desna was surely with him, the fight was not in his favor. But he continued to move, continued to travel, and tried to buy as much time as possible for his friends to cast their spells. Zedric knew that his friends were fighting equally hard, he could hear the thundering noise of Hakim’s new weapon in the distance, and caught glimpses of Melaku’s fire and smoke spells.
The goblin was a surprise, as we’re the other gnolls, but the routine was the same. Keep moving, keep dodging, wait for the clear opening. And when it was all over, Zedric realized that he probably couldn’t even give his friend a proper burial. He was simply too large to get up the stairs in one piece.
As he silently stared at the floor, shocked, a voice floated into his consciousness, “There’s a funny story behind this scroll…”