With Fred and Astra at the lead, the group of humans and
dwarves made their way
up the rocky passage. It wound its way steadily upwards and had only a few
connecting to it at irregular and lengthy intervals. Unlike Velus'
Southern Caves, Minestus'
Goth lair was not a maze of intersecting passages and caverns. While some
bypassed corridors seemed like natural formations, tunneled through the
rock of the
mountain by long dried up streams, others were not only obviously handmade
but had been
bricked and plastered as well. But the group did not stray from the main
and kept on
following it until they found the cavern with the rotting remains of the
two dead dragons.
The opening leading into the cavern was partly blocked by rubble fallen from the fractured ceiling above. Within, a scene of destruction presented itself. What had once been a spacious, rock hewn chamber, filled with thick, marble colonnades and wide, stone steps, was now just a crater, scorched and cracked. The countless shelves and bookcases which had held the dragon's magical scrolls and texts were broken and crushed underneath the weight of tons of fallen rock. Crumbling stone-sand and dust had settled in huge mounds across the room, trapping half of the chamber beneath its dry grasp. And jutting out from underneath one such mound was the body of a very dead dragon. Across the room, sprawled on a stone floor that had melted around its burned and battered form, was the other dragon. The smell of their decomposing flesh hung heavy in the air.
The dwarves stared with satisfaction at the carnage, but only for a moment. Even the sight of dead dragons could not distract them from the piles of gold and gems that were scattered about what was left of the cavern. Fred on the other hand couldn't stop staring at the dead monsters. They were no longer exactly the way he and Astra had left them. If Astra noticed this, she didn't seem to care but simply stood there, her arms folded across her chest. But then, what was there to care about? It's just that Fred found it a bit of a mystery, and mysteries always made him curious. And for the life of him he couldn't imagine why anyone would want to steal a dragon's head.
But a fact was a fact. Neither dragon had a head anymore, and their bellies had been split open as well. He stepped over to what he assumed had once been Minestus. Fred's silent dwarf guard followed him. Whoever had taken the dragon's head had chopped it off with surgical precision. On closer inspection he saw that the fingers of the claws were missing too.
9/21/1999 12:47:56 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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