Gazing over the edge of the cliff face that had once been an alleyway in the ancient city of Xak Tsaroth, Snotrag wondered how the murderers would deal with the 500 foot drop before them and if they would ever stop arguing about how to deal with the drop. The metal plated pink skins didn’t want to remove their armor to climb down. Something about giant spiders. The glowing shaman with the blue staff wanted to do something involving vines and other weakling elvin like tricks. Snotrag was sick of it.
Sheathing his sword in the piece of rope that served as a belt, he swung down onto the long vines that crawled down to the cavern floor. Water draining from the ruins above cascaded down the drop to form a waterfall below and behind him, he heard the metallic clink of the large cauldron elevator as it lowered countless gully dwarves to the lower level. Whether they were being sent to work or as food for the great dragon that dwelt below, Snotrag neither knew nor cared. After all, they were only gully dwarves.
Gripping the vines tightly, he looked up and saw only Raistlin and Boots had noted his actions. He cringed at Boots’ old leathery skin, a contrast to his young, lively eyes. That was the fate that awaited the murderers…Death. Not a quick knife in the night death, but a slow unbearable death. This was the will of the great Sargonas, and Snotrag would see that all would feel vengeance. Even those of the group of murderers he had come to like. They too must pay the price. Just as one day he would.
His thoughts consumed with revenge, Snotrag did not see the water upon the vine as he reached for his next foothold. He slipped, plummeting towards the stone ruins below. Closing his eyes, he knew he had failed. His vengeance would not be fulfilled. He heard Boots’ startled yelp from above, and prepared himself for oblivion. That’s when a bony arm wrapped around his waist, and his fall began to slow. Opening his eyes, he saw the wizard, Raistlin, clutching both Snotrag and Boots to his side. Like a feather they floated serenely to the ground next to the waterfall.
Up above, the rest of the murderers had tied ropes between them with Rosalind descending last. Several times one of the murderers would slip and almost fall to their doom, but Rosalind’s strong arms held them like an anchor. It was only when all the murderers had reached the ground that they noticed a shivering woman hiding behind the waterfall.
‘Great. Another Humie,’ Snotrag thought to himself, barely listening to the female’s tale of woe. Something about being captured and the dragon eating her tribe…Yada, yada, yada. His inattention to the woman was the only thing that made Snotrag see the dwarf, Mrik, begin to stomp down the dark hallway. An acrid smell filled the air and Snotrag felt the ground shake beneath his feet. Dragon!
Diving behind the waterfall, Snotrag cowered as the murderers pushed their way behind the waterfall to hide with him and the whiny humie female. Now was not his time to die. Sargonas had proven that to him. Nor was the it time for the murderers to die. Vengeance had to be metted out on all responsible for his tribe’s death, and the murderers would take him to Verminard. Once that one was defeated the murderers would no longer be of use and the time of revenge would be at hand.
The dragon’s harsh voice echoed through the ruins, “Bring them to me you fools! Find them!” Draconians scurried down the hallways though Snotrag was unsure if they were looking for the murderers or the whiny female. Either way, he watched the direction the dragon left in. That must be its lair. Now they only needed to kill it, and the glowing woman who claimed to be a god would tell them how to find Verminard. Snotrag smiled. Only kill a dragon? He must be going mad. Still it was a good death. A death in pursuit of vengeance.
Sneaking out he signaled for the blind humies to follow. The dwarf, Mrik, pushed ahead. Always brash, the dwarf seemed to always be trying to prove his bravery. As if he feared he was unworthy to be a member of the Knights. Perhaps it was because he was a dwarf, and from what the murderers had said so far, Mrik was the first dwarf to be granted access to the title of Knight. Why that was important Snotrag couldn’t say. It seemed like another stupid surface dweller tradition.
The harsh hiss of Draconian speech echoed from down a side passage. With a glance and a nod to each other Boots and Snotrag scouted the hall. There they saw where the cauldron came to a stop. A group of draconians were throwing gully dwarves out of the cauldron and loading draconian soldiers into it. Overseeing the operation was a large silver colored draconian in robes. Ducking into a crumbled shop, Boots and Snotrag tried to plan their next move, but were cut short by a loud cry.
“For Glory and Honor!” Mrik’s loud voice bellowed. Boots hit his face with his palm and shook his head. Outside the shop they heard the responding roar of the Draconian troops and the clink of their armor as they ran down the hall towards the rest of the murderers. A shout from further away indicated another group of draconians had spotted the group as well.
Boots lifted his finger to his lips and crept to peak out the shop door. Snotrag followed. Beyond the door the robed draconian stood chanting in a strange tongue. With a crack lightning shot from his fingers down the hall toward the murderers. Snotrag heard a high pitched Moo that could only be Kvoth.
Dashing out into the hall, Boots and Snotrag attacked the wizard. Their glowing swords illuminating the dark hallway. Behind him the hall flashed with Kvoth’s spells and rang with sound of Mrik and Rosalind’s weapons cleaving through draconian flesh. Riverwind’s bow twanged as he released arrow after arrow. And Lakebreeze’s prayers to his goddess drifted sweetly through the din of combat. Within moments the murderers joined the two thieves and squared off against the draconian wizard.
With a grunt Rosalind swung her broadsword delivering what should have been a fatal blow to the creature. Instead a blast of fire knocked Snotrag off his feet, and he felt his skin crackling and burning. He screamed, and remembered no more.
Snotrag woke to find Lakebreeze standing over him, praying for the glowing woman to heal his wounds. Surprised, Snotrag realized he was indeed healed. Fresh new skin now lay over most of his body, having replaced that which the wizard had burned. The murderers had hidden themselves in a cell at the recommendation of the whiny human female who they had now given a sword. They wanted to rest and attack the dragon in the morning. Exhausted, Snotrag agreed and fell asleep.
When they woke the murderers ate some rations and snuck down the hall towards where the whiny woman claimed the dragon slept. They doused Lakebreeze in a dust that made him invisible and then the cleric said some words that made him silent.
As usual, the humies had argued for some time about what plan to use before finally deciding the cleric would enter and attempt to hit the dragon with the glowing woman’s stick.
After a few seconds had passed Snotrag peeked in. There he saw the the dragon spewing acid into a seemingly empty area. He shook his head. Humies always forgot about smell. Perhaps because their own noses were so weak. He told the group what he had seen and, like the fools they were, they rushed in to draw the dragon’s attention from the cleric.
Sneaking around the outside of the room Snotrag looked at the pile of treasure behind the dragon. He quickly spotted the disks the murderers sought and watched as they seemed to rise into the air on their own. The cleric had clearly found them. While Snotrag had little interest in the treasure, he knew he needed to gain some power in the group and the murderers cared mostly about treasure. And in the case of the wizard murderers treasure equaled books.
There! An old heavy tome sat atop the pile. Scrawled with ritualistic symbols, Snotrag was willing to bet the wizards would give him anything he wanted for the book even their trust. Glancing back at the battle with the dragon, Snotrag smiled as he saw Rosalind hack into the dragon with her broadsword, the thick black blood splattering on her face. She may be a murderer, but she was an impressive murderer, yelling commands to the rest of the group as she leaped away from the dragon’s claws. Even the whiny human female had taken up arms and was attacking the giant creature.
Snotrag had just reached the treasure when a cloud of darkness descended upon the room . He heard heavy wings beat the air as he scrambled to where he remembered the book being. A sharp word pierced the air and a globe of light pierced the darkness, emanating from the crystal staff Lakebreeze held aloft. Rushing into the light, Riverwind drew his bow and aimed up at the dragon half shrouded in the darkness of its spell. With a sharp exhale he released, his black shafted arrow speeding through the air and embedding itself directly in the dragon’s eye, piercing so deeply that only the feathers at the end of the arrow’s shaft were visible. With a scream the dragon plummeted toward the ground as an explosion of white light shattered the crystal staff.
Grabbing her brother, Rosalind dove out of the way. The whiny human however was not so quick. Snotrag heard the sickening crunch of bone as dragon’s body crushed her beneath it. Shaking his head, Snotrag grabbed the book and all the treasure he could. An ominous rumble shook the building.
Snotrag remembered little of the next hour as they struggled to escape the collapsing ruins of Xak Tsaroth. When he would try to remember in the future only flashes of falling masonry and the screams of draconians and gully dwarves would stay with him. But the time in the temple afterwards he remembered well. The bright lady appeared to them again, praising the murderers for retrieving her disks and bringing the power of the gods back to Krynn. She charged the group with finding a “true leader of the people” and fighting the rising evil in the land. But those were not the words Snotrag remembered. It was the whisper in his mind of her sweet voice saying, “Vengeance and revenge cloud your heart my tiny friend. Let the light of my love and forgiveness lead you to friendship. There is another way.”
Glancing around Snotrag checked to see if any others had heard the goddess’s word. They continued on oblivious. Snotrag wondered. If the gods had returned, perhaps the goddess’s words were true. Perhaps, he could one day call this group of murderers a group of friends instead.