Last Stand of the World
Chapter Thirteen: Aftermath
Davern slung the berserker over one of his shoulders and walked towards the encampment, dropping him on the ground next to the “controlled” that Dugger and others had already tied up.
Then went and gathered the animals. That were peacefully sleeping in the mud pits he'd created. You wouldn’t know that they’d been viciously attacking only moments ago. He released them and tied a rope to their forelimbs; before dragging them forward towards the gathering until everyone was gathered, and then he slumped on the ground and took a breather with his head on his knees.
He then looked up at the small goblins so, what’s the plan? They looked at each other. I suppose we need to somehow get back and let the Shaman know what’s happened. Then have you guys meet and discuss what each side knows about the tunnels.
Davern mused, pursing his lips, and looked into the distance, noticing a faint vibration against his spine. “Sounds feasible; however, don’t any of the rest of you notice that?” He said, pointing to the dust cloud that had begun to surround them as soon as he’d noticed the vibrations.
She didn’t even bother to respond and just handed it over. Standing guard as he absorbed it in the limited amount of time they had before the next confrontation.
She’d probably begun to feel the vibrations before he had and had no problem handing over a healing potion and a large mana potion. It wasn’t like she didn’t have them.
It was just that she didn’t know when she would be able to replenish their stock and didn’t want to run through the royal treasury of her people, even if she was the queen. It was hers in trust, not her personal bank account.
But if they didn’t get out of this situation, it wouldn’t matter if she spent it or not if she didn’t make it out alive.
She sighed and watched the oncoming tide. “I’d get out of here if I were you guys; you aren’t that capable.” She didn’t turn, but she spoke to the three goblins behind her.
“I’m not leaving. I owe you too much already.” Ryli said.
“C'mon, Ryli, why won’t you just come? We can go back to the encampment and get the Shaman; he will know what to do.” She pulled on Ryli, Ryli gently pulled away, “I appreciate your thoughts Gabs, but I wouldn’t be here any more several times already today if it weren’t for them, and for that matter, neither would you.”
Her hand slowly went limp, “Is that how you really feel?”
“Yes, when we first met them today, what did they do? What did they say? They warned us not to go down the tunnel, and you kept running and almost got killed by a sand wyrm. If he hadn’t saved me a few minutes ago, I would have died. Bled out under a “controlled's” knife, what do you think? How should I feel?”
“I don’t know. I just don’t want to stay here.”
“I agree, this isn’t the place for you. I think you and Dugger should go back and get the Shaman and tell him what’s happening.”
“W-W-What? Why should I go?” Dugger sputtered in protest.
“And what do you think that Gabs should go alone?”
“I guess not.”
“Someone needs to go, Gabs shouldn't stay, and we don’t have much time. I can’t do much, but I can lay a few traps in the small amount of time we have, and you guys know that. You also know what needs to be done. We have an agreement to keep.” Dugger looked between them and the human, and lamia, he supposed so, they did promise, and if they had the information to trade, he needed to get to the Shaman and report.
“Fine, Gabs, let’s go,” he looked over his shoulder at Ryli one last time, “Ryli, you better be in one piece when I come back.”
“Well, you know, with a guy like him around, what can go wrong, now get out of here.”
She watched his back as he headed around the corner and up the tunnel out of sight.
“You sure you don’t need to go with them? He seems to like you quite a bit.”
“No, I might not be as powerful as the two of you, but I’m still a little useful. You just keep doing what you're doing. I’m going to set a few diversions, they won’t do a lot of good, but they will keep the buggers busy for a little and knock a few out while we wait for him to recharge. And besides, he has Gabs; there’s nothing he needs from me.” She said with another quick look up the passage where the two had gone before disappearing in the opposite direction.
Davern opened his eyes. “They’ve all gone?”
She nodded, “Gabs and Dugger went to meet with their Shaman to try and get reinforcements. I'm not holding my breath. Ryli seems to have gone off to set some kind of traps.”
“Well, that could be useful, I don’t know the way out from this point, and I think that whichever way we chose is probably flooded with “controlled” goblins. I think that Shaman will probably sit back and see what we do before making a move.”
“You’re probably right. I just don’t know what move will motivate him to give us a helping hand, or them a helping hand.”
“Out of the three, I think Ryli probably has the best read on the situation. Let’s wait till she shows back up and ask her opinion.”
A shadow, dropped from above, “my opinion, is that the Shaman will wait and see if he can take advantage of you to get the upper hand over the “controlled.” failing that he will keep the status quo and pretend that he didn’t know anything about the situation to avoid any more casualties than necessary.” Ryli replied, slumping on the ground next to him and pulling out a water gourd, taking a deep swig.
Asaa, passed over some water and some jerky. To him, and also a small slice to the goblin girl, who reached out and took it with slightly trembling fingers.
“You’re welcome,” Asaa said with a smile.
He took a bite, only then realizing how long it had been since he’d eaten. “Thanks for the meal.” He smiled at her and brushed off his fingers.
“You’re also welcome,” she said, smiling at him.”
He watched Asaa as she nibbled on a small piece of her own before putting it away.
Then he continued the conversation from a few moments earlier. “I see, that’s a good thing to know.”
“The best thing to do would be to do another massive sleeping spell and knock out as many of those lower-level controlled as possible. The problem is the more advanced ‘controlled’ have some immunities to potions and spells unless you can increase the potency some way?”
“I’m not sure, Asaa?”
“Some of these potions were meant to be used with magic that we don’t use anymore; however, we have modified most of them. Let me consult my potions book while we still have a few minutes. I’m not used to fighting this way either. We were mostly trained to eliminate our opponent, not incapacitate. So, I’m Improvising.”
“Same Adventurers usually just take out the problem in the most efficient way possible.” He turned to the goblin, “so Ryli was it? Asaa said that you’d gone and set some diversions. Are you confident that they will hold out for a while?”
“The “controlled” are odd; sometimes they are normal like you and me, other times they are like mindless drones that won’t remember a thing that they’ve done when they become lucid again. It’s like they all receive a signal from somewhere and their brain shuts off, and your friends turn into your enemies, and everyone you once held dear will disappear,”
“Well, it is what it is.”
“Can you tell me anything else?”
“We’ve been kept here as breeding stock, but we didn’t come here of our own free will, our den was captured by a band of lamia, and then suddenly we were here. I don’t remember those day’s really well. I was very small. The Shaman says a great fog descended on the den, and even the Sand Wyrms were captured, then we woke up here.”
As if to punctuate her statement, a rumble of earth and a screech could be heard in the distant cavern, the clatter of metal and the curse of illegible goblin speech came down the dark passage.
“Well, I guess, break times over.”
“I guess so,” Davern said, climbing to his feet and looking off into the darkness.
Asaa, put her book away and pulled out a couple of vials, and passed them between the three of them; these should cover anything I might use in the next few minutes, it’s best to use them ahead of time even if I end up not having time to use the potion.”
“Okay, they said and downed the drink together, popping off the tops and drinking it back, smashing the vials against the ground.