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A Neverwinter Nights Fantasy - Chapter Three

Ken McDonald, aka lazybones
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The brave adventurers faced their first adversaries, a group of eight skeletons.

Vanguarde did not hesitate, the barbarian leaping forward with another inarticulate warcry. With a mighty two-handed swing he slammed his waraxe into the body of the leading skeleton, shattering its body into a thousand pieces.

"W00t!" the barbarian cried as the other skeletons moved to attack him.

Margos had also moved forward, but before he could reach the melee, the wizard pointed at the combatants and gestured the arcane movements of a magical spell.

"Sleep!" he cried, as a pale sparkling glow burst out over the battlefield. But the skeletons, as undead, were utterly unaffected by the dweomer.

Vanguarde, being mortal, on the other hand, was not. As the barbarian slumped into unconsciousness, several of the skeletons started tearing at his prone form with their bony claws.

Margos rushed to his aid, knocking one of the skeletons off of him. Barzoun also moved forward, his symbol of Lathander held aloft in one hand.

"Back, foul abominations! Be gone, in the name of the Morninglord!"

The holy symbol erupted into a fiery glow, and the skeletons retreated to the back of the room, turned by the cleric's divine power. Margos pressed after them, shattering the creatures one by one with potent swipes of his longsword. It took a few moments, but the undead creations did not fight back and they were soon dispatched.

The barbarian was already stirring, and several shallow gashes were visible on his bulky frame as he stood, his face twisted with anger. He fixed his dark eyes on Zarath, and strode directly toward him, his face grim as he hefted his axe.

But Graf stepped between them, shaking his head. "There will be no party-killing here," he told the barbarian. For a moment Vanguarde looked like he was going to attack anyway, even if it meant going through the guide, but then he lowered his axe and strode angrily away muttering more of his incomprehensible nonsense.

"There's more than one way to PK someone, even on a no-PK server," Sidon said with that teasing grin as he shot one look back at the wizard and then moved away.

Margos strode back, his own face betraying his anger. "What sort of idiocy was that?" he said. "You cannot cast a sleep spell upon undead! Don't you know anything?"

"I... I didn't know," the wizard began, haltingly. "I just bought the game..."

"What spells do you have left?" Margos asked him.

"Umm... I have mage armor..."

"Come on, you should have cast that the minute we entered the dungeon! Look, just stay in the back and don't get in the way. Newbies..."

Zarath looked stricken, but Graf put his hand reassuring on the elf's shoulder. "Don't worry, lad, we were all new at some point. It'll get better, trust me. You might want to cast that mage armor spell, though - it'll help if we're attacked by anything else."

The elf nodded, and cast the spell. A glowing field of yellow light sprung up around him, shining for a moment before fading into invisibility. He then followed the guide as he rejoined the others. The cleric had treated Vanguarde's injuries, and once they had all formed up again they moved into the passageway from which the skeletons had come.

The corridor stretched deeper into the hillside, turning once to the right before depositing them in another chamber. This one was slightly narrower, if somewhat longer, than the first, and had two exits other than the one through which they entered; another passageway to the right and a heavy wooden door in the opposite wall.

Margos and Vanguarde started immediately toward the door, but Sidon forestalled them. "I wouldn't do that if I were you, chief," he told them.

Margos turned to face the rogue. "Why not?"

"There's a trap here, in the center of the floor. Looks like a pressure plate - probably connected to a hidden crossbow or two, I'd wager."

"Well, don't just stand there, disarm it!"

"Why risk it?" the rogue said. "You can just go around, you know." With a smirk at the paladin, he walked around the edge of the room in the direction of the door.

"W00t!" the barbarian said. "Vanguarde wantz to kick some @$$!!!"

"Charming character, isn't he?" Barzoun said to Graf and Zarath as they followed the others to the door.

Sidon checked the door briefly, his hands moving lightly over the wooden surface in a near-blur. "Looks clean," he said.

"Locked?" Margos asked.

"Not anymore."

"Fine then," the paladin replied, drawing his sword. He reached out and grabbed the door's handle, pulling it toward him.

Their light illuminated a small room beyond the door. They could see a small hearth in one wall and another door opposite them, but their attention was primarily drawn to the table in the center of the room, where a quartet of small, four-foot tall humanoids with pointed ears and sharp teeth sat gnawing at the remnants of what might have been a deer. They looked up as the door opened, and snarled as they reached for their weapons.

"Goblins," Margos said, immediately identifying the creatures. "Attack!"

A Neverwinter Nights Fantasy, Chapter 3 © Ken McDonald, aka lazybones

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