Who would have thought that being an actual spider would be that difficult? Turns out that attempting to make all eight legs move in unison is rather tricky, add to this the fact that they seem to become attached to everything and that they move considerably faster than my own humble dwarven legs and you can see the dilemma I was stuck with. In the future, I must remember to give more consideration to spider-folk. You know, spinning webs is a delicate business, an underappreciated art form I would say and here I was traipsing through them, arms flailing.
Turns out, nobody suspects a spider though. Rindle Webspinner is what they will call me. Ha! Not only did I manage to sneak into the establishment undetected but I also managed to discover a top secret underground dungeon. Perhaps I should be offering Merora some tips, although I doubt she would like that and I’m rather fond of my kneecaps. We go way back. Anyway, I don’t like to picture that place, no more write about it but it continues to invade my sleep and lingers on my thoughts like the retched stink of a Bog Troll. Sometimes I wish I had remained in the Stone Forest, no unsightly views there but then what of all the wonderful things I have discovered and the friends I have grown quite fond of.
Now let’s see, where was I Wiggly? Oh I know. The bad men. I remember thinking enough was enough and then a metal door creaking, followed by footsteps, as three men emerged from the staircase carrying a fourth. Korath! Such an inopportune moment to catch up on lost sleep, unless this was in fact an ingenious battle strategy. Beasts from back home did it all the time, pretending to play dead to avoid capture or worse. As saliva began to dribble out of his open mouth however, I quickly ruled out the latter explanation. They wanted to eat him, I think, or make him into one of them. I questioned their judgement. Korath was far too stringy to be an appropriate meal choice, plus I saw no condiments or herbs for seasoning anywhere.
I thought to befriend one of them and share with them my gastronomic secrets but before I could say rosemary there was a sudden flash of light and a booming voice. “Step away from my friend!” The three men suddenly turned towards me and I thought I’d be spotted and eaten for sure. In fact they would have if it wasn’t for the mighty dwarven Wizard, Krindle Dragonfire- I believe was his name, who had obscured their view. A look of confusion and horror painted their faces as they regarded the Wizard- who had suddenly conjured two hissing balls of emerald green flame into his wrinkled hands.
I remember he demanded they surrender and so they did. At which point Merora, Andrin and Vanya burst through the door and Korath rolled off the table to the floor, apparently assuming consciousness. It seemed Drenches Tint’s apprentice was equally as formidable as he himself was famed to be and also incredibly timely. Before I could ask the whereabouts of the Wizard’s sock drawer however one of the men began to pant wildly as he transformed before my very eyes into a snarling jackal beast and launched himself at the Wizard. The vicious blow was deflected by some mighty magic of sorts. As retaliation, green flame exploded in the creatures face and Merora’s blade once again tasted blood as she manoeuvred herself through the fray. A glistening frost crept up Korath’s curved sword as he slid unerringly across the table and struck deep into the breast of the beast. Howling, it turned and swiped its bloody claws catching Merora in the side. At this point, I peeped through my fingers which I had raised to my eyes, as Andrin strode forward to place his hand calmly on the exposed flesh of the beast. A sickening crunch and scream followed by a gurgle and various splattering noises replaced the sounds of combat and then the room grew deathly silent.
I really wish he wouldn’t do that. Perhaps I could try to convince him that not all of life’s infinite challenges should be solved by turning a person’s insides into outsides. Remind me never to shake his hands Wiggly and you shouldn’t either!
Seeing that the situation was contained and that we were in fact able to protect ourselves, the Wizard bade us farewell and extended a gracious invitation to Whitewall whenever we wished it. Such a nice fellow, I will have to take him up on that offer at some point. With invitation extended, he impressively vanished in a flash of flame and ash. Everybody must have been overjoyed that I yet lived as they kept staring at me and asking me inane questions. The professionalism of this group of individuals does quite often vex me Wiggly, we are on a life or death mission, save your questions for the tavern. Sheesh!
Turns out the Bartender is a stand-up guy, I mean apart from the possible murder and kidnapping. He seemed incredibly friendly and even offered to tell me everything he knew. He spoke about his jackal children, must be some sort of city lingo and that Granny was visiting later this evening. Quite frankly he seemed incredibly family orientated and a respectable gentleman, perhaps we will have time to meet Granny too. I never had a Grandma. Shame really, they sound magical, offering various knitted garments, cakes, biscuits and miracle cures. I could have chatted to the man for an age but the others seemed impatient. They locked the others in cages, even one with a secret exit and then began ushering me to the tunnels.
I will always remember the darkness like a shroud and screams echoing in the distance. Thankfully Andrin was there to guide us through the tunnels with the light of his God. Taking care to avoid damaging the webs surrounding me and imagining how long it might have taken to weave such a design I remember a stifled scream from Merora as from the darkness emerged eight piercing eyes and several hairy legs. This spider was big. He must have eaten a lot of flies to grow that size. It’s the kind of violent response that followed, which made me hark back to my own spider days. The poor guy didn’t really stand much of a chance, I urged him to run and hide but before he could comprehend my words a searing golden light descended upon him, burning his flesh. A thrust to the abdomen from glinting steel and a blade cloaked in lightning ended its sorry existence. His only lasting imprint on the world, a bite wound to Andrin’s shoulder.
On we went, following the muffled weeping sounds until eventually we came to an open cavern filled with what can only be described as the liquefied remains of what I hoped were evil gremlin creatures, not innocent victims. Seems upon venturing bravely into the chamber, the others had the fortune of locating the Mayor’s daughter however they also had the misfortune of stumbling upon a most unnatural and putrid creature. Elder Nutrub spoke of such profanities and abominations in his teachings but I couldn’t ever quite grasp my head or heart around their actual existence in the world. I could only watch as the creature slithered its way out of the depths. Entirely composed of chattering razor sharp teeth set into hundreds of gaping mouths it confounded all my imagined fears.
I imagined Korath and Andrin bravely battling the monstrosity but as I peered into the cavern I saw that they stood like statues attempting to cover their ears desperately, while Merora frantically bombarded the beast with arrows. It wouldn’t be enough. I saw the beast consuming them, tearing them apart and in that moment I recall asking myself one simple question. What would Wiggly do? I did my best to wade through the revolting water and just about managed to plug Korath’s ears with a piece of baguette. The rest I try not to think about. Safe to say we defeated the beast but almost at a great cost. Elder Bushlash always said that a handful of berries could spell the difference between the life and death of a person.