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Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2196880
Mortog completes his group of unlikely heroes
         Dopey's          Brother: A Prophecy Rises                    Ryuul
Chapter 8

Ryuul


They had been on the surface now for almost six days and other than the human encampment they had found very little of interest. Mortog and Branthony both learned how to skin and cut up an animal for dinner but that was about it. Now, that day would present something very peculiar.

"What is this?" Mortog asked looking at the edge of the snow that just stopped like a sheer vertical cliff face, only three feet tall. "Is this normal, Jackel?" It was like someone had cut into a birthday cake, straight and precise; snow on one side and warmth on the other. "Have ye ever seen anythin like this afore?"

"Neigh, dis be like nothin I's ever seen afore." Jackel said scratching his beard. Stepping out of the snow the temperature had risen so much that everyone had to take off their furs. But before they did they all had to look at the wondrous scene in front of them. They dropped their packs and took off their tunics while staring at what lie ahead.

The trees had changed from the typical pines with nothing but snow under them to tall oaks and ash trees, and many more trees they had never seen before. There was undergrowth all around them with no snow in sight.

There were flowering trees which added some very vivid colors to their surroundings; colors that they had never seen before. Colors they couldn't possibly describe with words. There was this tree with the brightest color pink leaves at the end of the branches and behind it sat a tree that directly contrasted with what he saw up front. He saw a beautifully sculpted tree with shiny black leaves. It made the pink tree look like it was painted on a canvas of black shimmering material.

'What is dat little thing?' A small furry purple rodent being chased by another creature of the same type ran up a florescent tree in front of him. 'I's wonder if'n dat be good eatin?'

He blinked suddenly and looked around; Branthony and Jackel were as equally in awe of their surroundings as he was. He was about to tell them that they must stay on guard when he was distracted by a large colorful bird with a long black tail that swooped down to land on one of the spaghetti-like vines colored in the brightest sapphire blue he had ever seen.

This bird had a long yellow beak with sharp black talons on the end of its feet. The color was astounding to say the least and that's when he noticed all of the other birds flying around, one had landed on a tree with bright orange bark and bright green leaves to eat an iridescent bug of some kind. He was snapped out of his trance when the insect let out a high pitched screech that could be heard from at least a mile away.

'dat, came from dat little thing?'

He looked around once more and saw that everyone was still enthralled by this mesmerizing landscape. Deciding that they had stood there long enough he called for their attention.

"Guy's we can'no be standin around like a bunch o' statues; we gots an artifact te look fer an me honor te win back. What if'n this isn't part o' da harpies illusion te get us into da mindframe o' bein seduced by one o' them?"

"This place is awesome!" Said Branthony.

"We's need te be findin a place te rest fer a bit, maybe have some lunch." Mortog suggested. "An get used te our surroundings."

"No place like right here, break out some o' dat meat and bread from breakfast." Jackel said.

Mortog took out the meat and when they were finished with lunch he took out the map and the book to study them.

"This might be da harpy nest dat be on da map here. Let's not be gettin too comfortable. Remember, it's dare song dat be gettin ye so as soon as ye hear it, be blockin it out o' yer head."

"I don'na think it works like dat." Jackel said. "They lure ye te them wit dare song, remember? Then they torture ye fer who knows how long an then theys kill's ye when they be done wit ye. It be da singin dat causes ye te mindlessly go te them."

"Bah! They aint be catchin me mindless." Mortog retorted.

"I's not sure dis is such a good idea Mortog." Branthony stated. "Let's just be stickin to da outer edge o' this place. Remember, we just need da artifact, not da Harpies, I's says if'n we can avoid them then let's do it."

"Ye be scared o' a couple o' harpys?" Mortog insisted. "We all's good enough an trained enough te handle 'em. At first sight jackel can be shootin 'em in da throat so's they can'no sing. Dat be a good start."

"What if'n dare be more an two o' them?" Branthony fondled his swords nervously.

"Then we's be guttin 'em all." Mortog said as he folded the map and put it in the book.

So they sat there for a while trying to talk Mortog out of going through this territory. They failed to convince him.

***


Doc overheard every word of their conversation. As he stood behind a regular pine, he too, stared in awe and wonder at the impressive scene in front of him, all the colors were so vivid he couldn't help but stare a little. But Doc wasn't as easily taken in by the scene. 'At least me's will be able te get out o' this cold soon.' His endure elements works, but only to a point, he still got cold, especially when sleeping or when he was hungry.

He would need a protection spell; it would protect them from mind control and magic, among other things; though he would have to put it on all three of them leaving him exhausted and hungry. The spell would last a considerable amount of time but he wanted to wait until they got a little further into the forest to join them lest his imprint in the snow be discovered. It dawned on him that he would need to put it on himself or he would get sucked in by their song as well. He just hoped he had it in him.

He watched all of his friends draw their weapons and proceed into the forest after deciding on a way to go. He jumped over the line and quickly went to work on casting his spells, first Mortog, then his brother, and finally Branthony. After each spell he cast he felt himself getting weaker, he had just one more to cast, on himself. He was now ready to get closer to watch the battle and hope to the gods that they survived.

***


"Alright guys. I's be knowin dat we can handle these beasts without a problem." Mortog encouragingly said.

"Yeah, says ye, what happens if'n they start singin?" Branthony asked.

"Bah, ye'll do fine, we's just be havin Jackel shoot 'em in da throat, he's a great shot."

"This be crazy, but then so's am I's." Jackel said as he knocked an arrow in his expertly crafted bow. "Lead on o' fearless one." Mortog shot a glance back at Jackel to find him only grinning, which made him feel a little better.

They all moved ahead into the forest in the direction the map had suggested. The small rodents and the magnificent birds landing on the most vibrant of colored trees kept their attention as they walked, but Mortog, being ever vigilant, he was trying to focus on the goal ahead of them instead of being over stimulated as was his friends it seemed. He would have to take a break soon just to let them ogle.

They walked for hours and saw nothing; they even took a break a few times to rest and have some water. Their pace had quickened due to the fact that they were all becoming more comfortable within the woods. All of their weapons were holstered, but ready at a moment's notice.
As they got farther into the forest it became more and more overgrown. They finally sent Branthony up front. He used one of his swords as a machete to hack away at the ever growing colorful foliage, until he came across a field. They all witnessed the rise of many walls, some connecting, some fifty feet tall and some even higher. There was a bell tower that was still almost completely intact. But as far as they could tell these were abandoned ruins. Purple and green moss grew all over the stones. They had been careful of what they touched in case anything was poisonous, after all, they didn't have a cleric with them.

"We's should go on over an see what we's can find." Mortog suggested. "There might be da possibility o' magical weapons. Mabye ye be findin yerself a magical quiver an arrows." He told Jackel. "And ye haven't even used yer swords fer battle yet, ye might find a magical sword; dat could always help ye out, dependin on what it be doin."

"An dare could also be da possibily dat da Harpies be in dare." Branthony reasoned.

"Bah, I think I's just be mistaken is all, we might not be anywheres close te da harpie nest, fer all I's know we passed dat a long time ago.
"Yeah right," Branthony said under his breath as they wandered closer to the ruined temple. They would find a good spot, out of normal sight, to set up a makeshift camp.

"I's thinkin we should be stayin here tonight. We have cover if'n we be gettin attacked by who knows what." They wandered inside the boundaries of the ruins and found a good spot to make camp. It was surrounded by several walls and was set inside what would've most likely have been the center of the temple. 'Now if'n these guys would trust me's we'd all be okay fer da night.' Mortog thought to himself as he prepared the fire. He sent them off to look around the ruins to see what they could find but Jackel came up short and returned early.

"What er ye about?"

"I haven't found a thing yet yer highness."

"Knock it off Jackel! Ye know I's just tryin te be realistic here." Mortog barked.

"Yeah, yeah." Jackel said as he unpacked his bedroll.

"It be kinda weird how dat snow just stopped dare and da forest began, I's been wonderin why dat happened all day." Jackel told him. "Dare must be some magical force allowin dis place te be snow free, because by all accounts we should be in da snowy part o' da mountains. Da map says nothin bout no heated jungle, this just be weird." Jackel finished.

"I's not fer carin, this is where we is an dats all dare is te it. We be havin te deal wit it anyway, no matter what, might as well make da best o' it." Mortog tells him stoking the fire and getting the meat ready for supper. 'Look's like me brought wit me a pack o' cowards. This could be fun too. I's means, why not?''

"I's don'na know, still feels weird te me." Jackel said, though unheard by Mortog.

***


One of the girls had come home with a project due about angels and demons. She, of course, knew a little bit about this subject from school when a demon had inhabited a superintendant. They had no idea why he was going crazy and even the clerics couldn't figure it out, until they had to throw him in the dungeon. That's when the demon came out to play. Darcey paid close attention as the subject fascinated her so. When her youngest daughter came to her for help with a book report on angels and demons she was happy to help. Her husband was still nowhere to be found. Though he did take walks with her outside the house now. He never stuck around long enough to help with the kids in any way; he just sat in his study, doing who knows what. She had been finding that as time went on, she stopped caring. Maybe if he was doing what he wanted to do it might bring him back. But this new king would assure that his business would never get off the ground again. 'Will I's ever be bein happy wit him again?' Turning her head to look toward the study, a tear strolled down her cheek. 'Have I's completely lost him?'

Helping her daughter only managed to bring back the memories of helping Dopey and Mortog with this particular project. And it also worked to help liven up her mood just a bit. She helped schazoll with her homework as best she could and then started to prepare lunch for everybody, yes, it was the weekend and she had managed to get at least one of her daughters to do her homework early, and thank heavens it was her youngest; she would develop this skill throughout her school career and be all the better for it. 'She will attract a fine husband indeed. I wish Mortog were here, he always managed te be puttin a smile on me face even when I's didn't want te.'

What she hadn't realized yet was what was brewing inside her own head within the inner reaches of her mind. Dinner time rolled around and she waited for Mortog absentmindedly. While she was deep in heavy thought she came up with a sure-fire way for them to be rid of Keldron forever. She never thought that this day would be such a great day in her mind. The meeting was tomorrow night and she would have thought out her plan completely by then. 'This was goin te be marvelous fer sure! an this was a whole lot better than me's original plans, bless those Angels an demons!'

***


Phaebeus floated through the open window in the tall spire that Beltron had called home for the last few months. He wandered into the study where papers were strewn about the floor in a haphazardly fashion. The inkwell had overturned on a particular piece of parchment and as he bent down to pick it up he noticed that the ink had formed some kind of writing on it. Of course the inkwell had run dry so he had to find more from someplace else. The markings he did see looked almost like a riddle to him. No doubt, he had to find more ink.

'Shit! I have to call the queen.' He walks back into the other room tripping over some of the scrolls still on the floor; he kicked them to the side as he walked through the hallway.

"You just got there? Tell me, does he have it? Or do I have to make you kill him?" The queen asked curling her dark black locks of hair between her fingers.

"I'm not sure, he isn't here, he must be out looking for it, but I did find something he did not"

"I don't care what you found, I want that artifact! Make it happen!" She yelled. He bowed in front of the image in the mirror and the image of her faded from sight, he found himself staring back at himself once again.

He found more ink in the study and continued to decipher the map; unfortunately it was in an obscure elven dialect, it also seemed to have dwarven writings on it as well, ones that he didn't know. He certainly knew how to try and decipher the text but it would be shoddy at best.
He raised his hands over his blonde head and chanted some words, his blue amulet that was attatched to his belt started to glow and he could see that some of the runes turned into readable letters while some continued to remain a mystery to him. 'Maybe I can figure this out using common sense.'

He looked at the parchment and sat down behind Beltron's desk. He sat studying his ancient language for a while before getting up to go to bed. His alarms would trigger if any intrusions were to come within a hundred yards of his resting place should Beltron come back. More than enough time to get him ready to kill Beltron, weather he had the artifact or not. 'He's not leaving this citadel alive; no matter what!'


Beltron knew better. 'What's happening to me?' He thought as he sat on his rock and pondered. He just wasn't going to let on that something was wrong, or right, or wrong, or whatever was going on with him, he knew things were going to get better. How did he know? He just knew.

"Why do you always look like you are fighting someone with your swords or daggers when nobody's around?"

"I need to keep in shape if I'm to outwit or out last my opponent. Don't you need to practice your spells to get better at them?" Jadus pulled up his right sword up and slashed his left one down at an angle continuing his maneuvers.

Beltron looked a little confused. He had never really thought of that and wondered if it would help him get better. 'Not that I have any problems to begin with, but I might as well try.' "I'll have to try that." He said with some thought, so he moved his hands around in a giant circle and mumbled some words to himself and aimed for something in the distance and fired off his low-level fireball as a tattoo on his arm lit up and faded just a bit. It hit his mark dead on. He shook his head and with another movement of his hands he sent off his most deadly of spells, his chain lightning. He stood there with a satisfied look on his face but also looking tired. "Nope I'm all good." He smiled at Jadus who was standing there a little stupefied.

"A little notice would be appreciated next time your highness!" Jadus bent down to pick up his dagger and holster it.

"I guess that's the difference between you and me, I have a natural gift and you have to practice at yours, wouldn't you love to be me right now?" He sat down on the rock next to him and pulled out a piece of Nookworm to munch on, it really was quite delicious.


Meanwhile at Beltron's desk back at the lair, sat another mage sent to kill him and retrieve the artifact at all costs, including Beltron's life, If it should come to that. 'Oh it will! I'll make sure that little sewer rat never steps outside again!'

He was already on his tail by mid morning. He kept trying to scry for the artifact but it had proven to be useless; Beltron had already tried that rout no doubt. 'Maybe Beltron has a map or some scrolls on him of importance that I could use to find this thing, whatever it is.' Phaebeus thought. 'I wonder if he even knows what to look for? Hells! I don't even know what to look for.'

***


"Alright everybody let's get some shut eye, Branthony, you have first watch tonight."

"But I had first watch just the other night." Branthony cries.

"Aye, but it's already been three nights."

"Already Mortog, really?" He stirs in his bedroll and finally gets up and pulls out his two swords, one magical and one, well, just a sword he got from his father. He hadn't found one in the catacombs beneath the city, at least not yet.

At the end of his shift, he tapped on Mortog's foot to awaken him. Mortog woke up in a cold sweat, his heart was pounding hard inside his chest and he was gasping for breath as he struggled to remember the dream that caused that state of being. He started to steady his breathing as he sat up and began looking around bringing him back to reality.

"You okay, Mortog?" They both heard some rustling in the forest to the west of them. They both looked and Mortog, shrugged it off, got up and walked over to put on his breastplate and shoes, when from out of the foliage came six little goblins, they seemed very cautious. These weren't your ordinary goblins either; they all had spears and wore orange skin. The moonlight shown bright on this night and it almost rained down daylight as they could see every single one of them in clear detail.

"You go left and I'll go right." Mortog whispered to Branthony after waking Jackel with his foot.

"Right and I's be stayin in the middle while I's puts on me leathers and picks 'em off of ye if'n ye gettin too overwhelmed." Putting on his armor Jackel turned around to peer over their protective wall. "Good they aint been seein us gettin ready yet, dats a good thing."

"They look like there looking fer somethin." Mortog surmised.

"Maybe they's be lookin fer us." Jackel told them.

"Don'na ye think they'd know where we is already if'n they be lookin fer us?" With a scowl on his face Mortog looked him straight in the eyes.

"They live out here, they be seein us long afore we be even knowin they be here. Ye should know dat wit all dat experience ye got."

"Sorry, me's just gettin a little rust I guess, but dat be a good point. So then what ye think they be lookin fer?"

"I's not fer knowin, nor do I's care. Alls I's be seein in front o' me are a bunch o' dead Goblins." Mortog chuckeled as he started across to his vantage point.

Branthony crept low as he silently moved to the westernmost wall. His padded leather feet falling one after another until one tripped him up on a raised stone and his armor clanged together just so softly. But it was just enough for the Goblins to turn and cautiously start towards him.

Not to be outdone, Mortog in turn made a louder noise off to the east of Jackel's position whom was getting ready to fire off arrows in whatever direction they needed. There were six of these slimy little rodents and they all worked together as a unit. So they needed to be a cohesive team as well.

Three went towards Branthony and were trying to sneak up on his position. He huddled there with his back against the wall and his swords at the ready. They all had spears and he knew they would have to turn quickly to use them and he knew he would be able to get to two of them before the third would even become a problem.

He crouched and waited for the Goblins to come over the top of the wall. One leapt over the wall and he waited for the second one to hop over the wall, but he didn't come, so he immediately thrust his swords into the dainty, orange little creature's back; blood exploded all over Branthony like a squashed bug. From his left came a stinging spear that pierced his shoulder digging first into a chink in his armor then into the soft leather lining and finally coming to rest inside his muscle. With a splash of red goo he let out a cry then heard a loud 'clap'. He was now faced off with a small Goblin coming to get his spear out of Branthony's left shoulder. Branthony got a little help tugging out the spear as the Goblin was pulling at it as well making little grunting noises all the while. 'How cute!' They both yanked at it pulling away some of the armor with it, causing even more pain. With his one good arm he swatted the spear away from the little rodent as soon as it cleared the armor, knocking him sideways. With the spear in hand, that he so desperately needed to hang on too, Branthony's sword was abruptly thrust into its tough scaly throat. Before it could gurgle out a yell he looked for the other one and saw that it was lying over the wall with an arrow sticking straight out of the back of its head. He looked down at his bleeding shoulder wishing they had brought a cleric.

Jackel could hear the sounds of steal into flesh on both sides of him, but behind him arose another threat, this one was serious. Two Harpies arose from the catacombs and started singing.

Meanwhile, at the same time Branthony was engaged in his fight, Mortog had three little problems all his own. They all jumped down off the wall in front of him at virtually the same time. He spun quickly cleaving one of the soft scaly creatures right in half. The other two stabbed at him as he twisted, knocking away one spear with his heavy double-bladed axe. The other spear rolled harmlessly off his armor. He continued his everlasting spin and with a step forward he brought his mighty axe to bear down on the second Goblin making him wish he had never gone over that wall. The creature seemed to grab onto his spear in one final attempt as the top of his body slid off the bottom.

Spinning around for the last time, his lip curled upwards into a small smile as the other little creature grabbed its spear and decided to make a go of it. The little scaly creature stabbed at Mortog sloppily and he just toyed with this little creature until it finally turned and ran when Mortog took it's spear from him. At this point he had other problems to deal with as he heard the singing coming from behind him. 'Durnet! Don't EVER underestimate yer enemy!' He remembered Dargus telling him. 'They were just da distraction!'

Jackel spun around Knocked, aimed and fired an arrow right at the first Harpies throat. The Harpy caught the arrow in mid flight. 'I didn't see that coming.' It looked at Jackel and seemed to smile, as if to taunt him into firing another one, and then with one hand snapped the Mythril shaft in half. Jackel did the only thing he could; he fired more arrows hoping to hit the creature with at least one of them.

He fired at the creatures crotch and then imediately at the creatures throat. 'HA! Direct hit!'

Both Harpies stopped singing for just a moment while the Harpy pulled the arrow out of its throat and stared Jackel down.

The harpies just lingered in the air, slowly approaching his position singing. 'I's hafta find a way te stop dat infernal singing, at least in this one closest te me. 'An why aint we already under dare spell?'

Branthony saw what was happening and rushed to Jackel's side when the lead Harpy grabbed him by the ankle. He took a stab at it with his magical sword and missed swinging wildly and haphazardly dropping that sword. 'Dat was stupid!' was his only thought as the Harpy hoisted him about four feet off the ground. Both Harpies were singing and he was now giving into the song as well, taking one last attempt to slice through the creature's leg with his remaining sword, he missed again, he felt himself drifting, but could do nothing to stop it, he dropped his sword to the comfort of the song.

Mortog, finishing off his meat tray, came barreling into the fray with his magical axe held high. He pushed himself off a nearby wall and with some grace came crashing down the backside of one of the Harpies. It moved forward enough so as he could only create a small annoying cut down the beast's spine. It yelped however and moved forward halting its singing.

The other Harpy turned to face its injured comrade in a protective manner and Jackel let loose a volley of arrows right into the side of the beast's neck. He wasn't taking any chances and as the beast came crashing to the ground it dropped Branthony as well. The beast appeared dead by all accounts.

Jackel ran over to Branthony who still lay there dazed and brought him back to reality with a couple of slaps to the face and some shaking. He came back but was still dazed. "C'mon boy, ye needs te get up and chop that things head off 'er somethin, Move it!" Jackel stood there dumping arrows into the other Harpy as it started singing again.

Branthony jumped up just as the dead Harpy was beginning to rise. It was too tall for a neck shot now, so Branthony, pushing off with his foot, still in a daze pushing off like he has to lift four hundred pounds he struggled with each step until he ended up going into a sprinting dash his feet landing hard on the ground toward the creature, pushing the swords together to form a scissors formation he jumped on the creature's chest knocking it back to the ground, lay each sword on one side of its neck and cut like a pair of scissors cauterizing the wound with his magical sword. 'So THAT'S what this does.' He thinks almost aloud.

Mortog landed on the ground on one knee with one smooth motion but as he saw Branthony coming directly at him for backup, the remaining Harpy began singing again and Branthony immediately dropped his swords and succumbed to the song once again halting his run. Mortog began feeling its pull as well. Out of breath and ideas, the creature remained in the air as he saw arrow after arrow wiz by the creature.
Finally, Mortog dropped his axe with a loud thud sound right onto the hard rock beneath his tired feet.

With Branthony and Mortog both out of the game, even Jackel had a problem focusing enough to get in any clear shots on the beast as the song finally took him. He watched as the beast moved over toward Mortog and covered him with his shabby grey wings and Mortog was now in the air.

A fireball rocketed straight toward the beast and struck the creature's chest. Its chest began to smoke as the creature reared its ugly head back and cried out in sheer pain and ceased its singing. Another fireball missed its mark this time and Mortog shook himself out of the trance he was in and sprang back to life as did Branthony. Jackel came to life once again and began piercing its body with arrows.

"DUCK!" Came a sultry female's voice from the distance and the two looked back and ducked as a bolt of lightning sizzled into the creature's chest and it wasn't just a flash, it looked as if it were a rod that flew through the creature. The thing fell to the ground completely limp with Mortog still in its clawed feet.

"You guys okay?" Mortog yelled getting slowly to his feet shaking the bugs from his brain. "Keep yer eyes open fer more threats, that lightning strike came from somewheres."

Mortog surveyed his surroundings and could find nothing.

They all kept looking around and saw all the dead Goblins but they still looked for other threats that might be just around the corner.

"C'mon out! Ye helped us out a little; I's at least like te know who ye are." Mortog scanned the moonlit area hoping to see something.

"My name is Ryuul (RYE*ool) and I mean you no harm." She said in a loud and authoritative voice.

"I's Mortog, the fellow wit da bow is Jackel, and that guy over dare is Branthony. Now show yerself." Mortog demanded.

"I need your word that you will not attack me."

"Why would we be attackin ye after ye helped us stop dat Harpy?"

"You'll see in a minute." She said. "But I must have your word as honored Dwarves."

"Aye, ye have it m'lady." Mortog threw that one in because he had read it in a novel from school.

She said but one word in a language they didn't understand and then they saw a soft green glow emanate from a figure forming in front of Mortog.

Everybody got into battle positions immediately. Mortog had his axe up and crouched like all of his friends.

"This is why." She said flatly. She was a bit of a short elf, standing a little taller than Mortog at four foot two. She still had some growing to do. She had glowing golden hair and was wearing green armor. "Because I knew you would hate me just because of what I am. Again, I am no threat to you, in fact I wish to aid you on your quest, there are those among my people's that say you are just but a boy and that you are not the hero that the prophesy claims you are and that you will only get yourself killed. I believe otherwise, so strongly that when they sarcastically told me to go and aid you, I took it upon myself to do so. I have been tracking you for days now. You introduced most of your crew but who is the little one hiding over there?" She said pointing to a small outcropping of walls.

"What are ye on about?"

"You have a little dwarf that has been tracking you for as long as I have, maybe longer. He's right over there in a cloak of concealment."

"Gosh durnet! Ye stupid elf!" Doc comes out wearing his cloak of concealment from the neck down. They, except for Ryuul, began laughing hysterically. Mortog put his hands on his knees and just stood there in his breastplate laughing as were Jackel and Branthony. Was that a sight to see.

"What's so durrned funny?" Doc asked.

"You are." Ryuul said starting to giggle herself.

"Durnet!" Doc says as he pulls off his cloak and folds it up in his arms.

"So you're a cleric?" She asks walking cautiously closer to the group. "What's your other specialty?"

"What ye be meanin?" Doc asked looking at her puzzled with one of his odd faces that he's becoming known for.

"Hey Doc let's get ye over here te da fire an warm yerself up, it's pretty cold here tonight." Mortog told him. "Ye too Ryuul, I's not fer turnin away a lady. Ye can tell us why ye bein here." They walked over to the fortified campsite; Mortog leading the way.

"So what ye be meanin another specialty?"

"all us spell-casters are a natural at something, meaning we don't have to do any prep-work, like emblazon tattoos on our bodies, then you can learn a new class of spells, like a second job." Ryuul tells him laying her staff next to her by the fire. "That's when you can start emblazoning spells onto your body and you can use them to aid you in healing and protecting or in battle, like a battle-mage, we will have to explore this with you in time, I can be a wonderful teacher." She said seductively brushing his cheek with her hand.

"Wait just a minute, why are either o' ye out here in da first place? Ye go first Doc. I's should just send ye home, but ye know I's can't." Mortog scolded, sitting on his log next to the fire.

"Well fer one ye durned fool, ye go on a quest like this not takin a cleric, ye must be stupid or really stupid and brave. Ye think ye know it all do ye? I's protected ye from da cold, and Jackel from those humans and yer ears from them Harpies, yeah, dats why ye didn't succumb te dare songs right away. I's be protectin ye all da way!" Doc said in a huff. "An it ain't easy I's be tellin ye dat!"

"Bah! We coulda been doin fine without ye." He looks over to his friends sitting on the logs getting ready to eat, both with dire looks on their faces telling him that he was wrong and that they desperately needed a healer with them. "Fine, ye little pest we's needed ye an thank ye fer yer help. So what about ye little missy, what be yer story, why did ye decide te help us out, when we didn't even need ye?" Mortog says without looking up at his friends knowing the scowls that would be on their faces.

"By my count, all three of you had succumbed to the song already, I just stopped the last one from taking you all to their lair, that's all. But I'm after the same thing that you are, but not for my people, for yours. It is after all a dwarven artifact?" Ryuul asks him.

"Aye, well it is, an it aint, its kinda complicated." Mortog explained further. "Ye see it was made a long, long time ago by da humans, Dwarves, Elves and a race we haven't figured out yet. So ye see, it kinda be all o' ours, but I be gettin it fer my peoples, not yers."

"That's perfectly fine with me, I also want to see a little action, like all of what we just did. They have been training me to use my powers and for what? To never be able to use them for anything? I don't think so." She told them. "So I carefully considered where you were and based on an ancient map, I was able to locate you."

"If'n it's dat easy te find us then we probably be in some danger now." Jackel said.

"Oh?"

"Yeah, ye be thinkin our king aint be sendin someone after da book an da artifact?" Jackel reasoned. "An if she can find us, it would be easy fer them te find us too."

"Well, Jackel, what ye think we should do about it?"

"We best be hiddin our tracks better an maybe even start movin at night, like now."

"Naw, I want te wait until mornin so as we can look through da catacombs down dare te see if'n we can get any good gear. Branthony be needin a new sword as do I an you be needin a magical quiver an some new arrows."

"I could use a magical staff of some kind." Ryuul said.

"I's aint even sure we's want ye te come along wit us, this ain't no durned adventure were on, I's be on a mission an as ye could plainly see it be dangerous and I's aint got no time te babysit no durned elf." Mortog stated clearly for everyone else to hear.

"We can'no be just leavin her here te get herself killed by a team o' dwarves, if they be comin after us." Branthony said.

"Bah! They be catchin up te us anyway an we may be havin te fight 'em anyway, but I's sure's hopes not."

"An don't ye want some extra muscle te help us out if'n we be needin it?"

"Apparently they want ye in with us, so yer in, but don'na make me regret dat decision I aint needin te be distracted by havin te protect ye."

"I can hold my own, Mortog, I truly can." She said matter-of-factly.

Mortog just looked at her, trying to come up with a reason to tell her no. 'I wish she weren't so durned pretty. What's me's thinkin! She's an elf!'

"Yeah, we be seein." Mortog said at last. "An what be this prophecy ye spoke of?"

                   12

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