Daisy, Dungeon, Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeons and Dragons, fantasy, feminist fantasy, Fenric, Fred & Ed, Gies, Gurth, Janet, magic, Paul Gies, Paul J Gies, sorcery, spells, Sword, sword & sorcery, Sword and Sorcery, Writing, Yanos, Zelin
“What the hell do we do in this situation?” I ask. “Just tell me.”
“We check that door,” says Janet, advancing on the left door. Along the way she pauses over a sleeping goblin, and takes a sort of mallet out of its paws. She looks at me. “What? My order doesn’t permit use of bladed weapons. And I’m done using my backpack as a club.”
“You want a sword, Dais?” asks Gurth. “You totally could use one.”
I look around. Plenty of short swords are available. I picture myself fencing with five men at once, I shake it off. Holding my wand out, I join Janet at the left door.
“They went through there,” says Fenric, by the right door. “First Yanos, then Zelin. The goblins made a charge at them and you know, they’re just archers, they can’t really fight off ten goblins at once. Of course Yanos went in first. Zelin got her knife out and hacked a couple more before she went.”
Janet listens at the crack of the door. She flinches back from it. “More goblins, or something,” she says.
Gurth and I look at each other. He pulls the door open. My heart leaps into my throat. Then he slams it and says, “Got enough juice left for one lock spell?”
“Paf nis,” I say with a wand flourish. We look at the door. I look at him. He lays both hands on the door handle and pulls, but it doesn’t budge. “Okay,” I say. “We’re not going in after them.”
“Daisy,” Janet says, “we weren’t going after them. Not with your energy and mine both way depleted, and we have no archers and one warrior and a thief. No offense, Fen.”
“None taken,” says Fenric. He’s still listening at the right door. “Now that way’s covered, come over and let’s try this one.”
We go over there and he flings the door open. I put my wand in: the room beyond is pitch black. “Xu,” I say, trying my other new spell. That’s it: I’ve scraped the absolute bottom of my spell power for the day.
A guy appears in the middle of the room. “Nyk eur goth,” he says to me. The cease spell.
There’s a whirring noise. A dagger appears in his chest.
“Fen,” says Janet. “Nice toss.”
“Joke’s on you,” I say to the sorcerer, flicking my now lightless wand. “I was already out of juice.” He drops what he’s holding, which clinks on the ground, and falls dead.
“Bag,” says Gurth.
Jan grabs it and gets it out to the chapel. “Heavy,” she says.
But the noise of goblins yelling for our blood is growing, behind several of the side doors. “Gurth,” I say, “be a fine fellow and grab one of those torches. My light’s dead.”
“Out the way we got in?” he asks, taking the middle torch from its bracket. We start walking up the chapel.
There’s more goblin shouting from behind the right door. Then it flies open. Five of the creatures burst in, then pause just to take in the scene.
“I suggest running,” says Fenric. None of us can think of a reason not to. And it’s kind of surprising how, properly incentivized, even a tired waif of an enchantress, her magic juice depleted, can keep up a steady running speed all the way to the stairs at the top.
Some stuff must have happened along the way. I remember running past some orcs in that square room on the second level. We get up the stairs and it’s a chilly early evening. The four of us look around, then look at each other. Four of us?
“Weren’t there eight?” asks Gurth.
“We’re the four that came out this way,” says Fenric. “There’s at least three ways out.”
“Yeah,” says Janet. “There’s our way, whatever way Yanos and Zelin took, and—!”
“And the way Ed and Fred took,” I finish for her.