Down the hallway, past Khyron’s body we could see a glow.
“They started early.” I heard Sadi murmur to herself. And then she said it again, louder. “We need to move. We’re a day behind them now.” She quickly gathered the group and we headed down the hall.
As we turned a corner, we saw it. The Tree of Shackled Souls.
The sight of the tree drove other thoughts from my mind. I’d heard about it for so long and the reality of it was so much worse than my imagination. I saw the dwarf Zenith in a cage on the tree.
We tried to save him. We thought that we’d saved him when all we did was make it easier for them to cage him.
So many mistakes. Would we be able to rectify even one of them?
Before my attention was wrenched elsewhere, I caught a glimpse of one other familiar face. Terrem.
The child from the orphanage.
The child taken by a beholder.
Perhaps the same beholder that now spoke.
“I see that you have found the Tree at last.” He fixed his main eye on me. “We can be friends in this endeavor, child of Pelor. You want to be friends, don’t you? We’re on the same side, really.”
I frowned. “No. I don’t see it that way at all. We’re enemies and I owe you a debt. I mean to repay it in full.”
His great eye blinked slowly. “Foolish humans! And pitiful subhumans. You dare to defy me! You will perish, worshiper of a dead god. Yes! Pelor is dead. Did you not know?
“I deny you any last words. Any useless supplication to your dead god. You die now!”
At his words, Triple Tail, another old enemy, rushed towards me.
His massive teeth swiped at my head.
I barely had time to duck. Brus was beside me in an instant. Faithful Brus.
He reared on his back legs to rake Triple Tail. They struggled and I stepped back to try to rain fire on the beholder.
Streams of fire fell all around him, not touching. It was then I remembered that that main eye had an anti-magic field.
Two things happened in succession. Durilin rushed past me, yelling a warcry. In three strides she was at the beholder. She swiped with her great axe, connecting solidly on the side of his head.
In response, one eye stalk lazily turned to her and suddenly she was asleep. She slumped to the ground, snoring.
As if from a distance, I heard Buzz beseeching Pelor to smile upon us while He frowns on our enemies. “God boy,” I thought. “Stay in the back.” The last thing I need was another corpse and the beholder might easily chew up a young cleric like Buzz.
Sadi, Ian and Brus worked on Triple Tail. I was still trying to figure out how to combat that anti-magic eye when I saw the strangest sight.
Myntilly was standing behind the beholder. She’d used dimension door or something such spell.
It was the most brave and stupid thing I’d seen since Sadi dumped a bag of flour on an invisible evil mastermind.
….. to be continued.
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