“A dark day” mumbles Murdoch, sitting close to the fire at the Merry Riot. His clothes are muddy and torn; his black eyes fixed on the embers in the hearth.
He says softly “Such a brave man. Such a knowledgeable man. And what a way to die…” He pauses to drink deeply from the mug in his hand. He looks more pale than usual.
“A week’s worth of rest, planning and preparation. We had such hopes, such dreams. And all lost in a matter of seconds.” He sits quietly for a moment, fingering the mug.
Davven, Stigandr and I decided against long expeditions to investigate some of the rumors we had heard. Instead we decided to stay local and investigate the ruins of old Dundraville. We thought it would be easy, fast…" He shakes his head and grunts at the irony.
“We found an old cistern and lowered ourselves into a cavern below. What we saw surprised us all. A lit torch, mounted on the wall. Obviously the tunnels under old Dundraville are not unoccupied. We approached, looking for signs of passing inhabitants and that is when it happened.”
Murdoch turns his eyes from the fire and fixes his gaze intently on you. “Darkness. I’ve never known such a thing. Or why it held such terror for others. Now I understand.”
“It hit us suddenly. We were all enveloped in blackness. None of us could see, even me. And a moment later something smashed into me from above, nearly knocking me off my feet. It had a scaly leather hide and a dozen groping tentacles that entwined themselves around my arms and neck.”
He lets out a deep breath and sits back in his chair. He looks down into bottom of his mug before draining the last of it. “I managed to wrench the thing off me before it could choke me out. In the darkness I made my way toward the wall where I hoped to be able to fight with my back protected. To my surprise I found myself in the light again. Turning around I could see a sphere of blackness and hear the shouts and grunts of my comrades still within.”
“I raced around the outer edge of the blackness to find Davven and Stigandr emerging from the far side. Stigandr had one of the creatures hopelessly entwined around his head and neck. He collapsed to the ground in front of me.”
“I buried my axe into that foul thing and took the top of it’s head off. But no sooner had I done that then another of the little bastards latched onto Davven. I tried desperately to remove it but it had such a grip on him that I could not pry it off. Davven too collapsed in front of me. Once again I buried my axe into the creature, killing it. But it was too late. They were both gone, or so I initially thought. For while it is true that Davven had his life choked out of him, Stigandr was merely rendered unconscious and gasped for life once he was topside again.”
Murdoch sits quietly for a moment, studying his boots. “There is something down there. I don’t know who. I don’t know what. But they will pay with their own blood.” He stands in a blink and hurls the empty mug lightning fast across the room where it smashes into pieces against the wall."
He stalks across the room to the door. “I have business to attend to.”