A green claw came from the darkness; Nerui had dropped the torch, sending the hideous malformed Goblins into an attack frenzy, she yelled as she span her two blades through the air.
They cut through the green torso sending a spray of thick, dirt brown, gelatinous blood over Bruad, getting caught on his fur. He howled, and snarled as he tore at the horde around him.
Deadrick could only fend off as many as he could with his gun in one hand, and a long serrated blade in the other. His mind kept throwing an image of the grenades at his waist, but he ignored them- such a large explosion in an enclosed space would surely bury them alive. He couldn’t… could he?
As he dug the blade into the chest of a particularly large Goblin, twisting it and viciously moving it around, he heard a yell emanating from the shaft below.
He glanced down and saw torchlight moving quickly towards them, he couldn’t help but smile as Garren threw himself from the shadows, his gun drawn, spitting violent bursts of bullets into the crowd of Goblins.
They exchanged glances for only a second, before plunging back into the battle, filled with a newly revitalized passion.
But it wasn’t enough. More Goblins seemed to fill any space that they cleared.
“Deadrick!” Bruad yelled, “There are too many, we can’t fight them off for much longer!”
Deadrick growled, shooting a Goblin in the stomach and beheading it swiftly to ensure that it was definitely dead.
“To the Underlands with this!” He roared, and in one swift movement, cast his blade into the air, pulled a grenade from his belt and cast it down into the shaft. He caught the blade and burst forward, “Run!”
Bruad scooped up Danyel and followed Deadrick’s lead, followed by Nerui. Garren seemed caught in the moment, but soon realized what Deadrick had just done and followed suit.
They slashed their way through the crowd of Goblins, just as there came a flash of light. The grenade burst into life with a deafening boom. The shockwave of flame and noise swept over the dumbfounded Goblins, who were incinerated in a matter of seconds.
Deadrick threw himself forward as fast as he could, trying not to think about the wall of flame quickly catching them up.
He threw himself round a corner, and his heart leapt into the sky as he saw something which- at that point, was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his long life.
It was a gap- a gap that led out into the early morning air, and as he filled his lungs and cast every bit of air in him out as he roared, launching himself through it, feeling the heat of the fireball disappear from his sweat covered back.
He hit the cool, rocky ground and rolled, quick as a flash, onto his back.
His heart climbed even higher as he saw Nerui, Bruad, Danyel and Garren flood out of the tunnel, followed by a bright, twisting column of fire that climbed into the sky- and disappeared.
He closed his eyes, but felt all the air leave his body as a weight landed on his stomach. He gasped, opening them to see Nerui splayed out across him.
She lifted her head up and smiled at him.
“That… was… fantastic!” She cried happily. She rolled off of Deadrick, who smiled and took in huge gasps of the fresh morning air.
There came a huge rumble, and everybody looked to see the cave mouth crumble, and collapse in on itself. Deadrick smiled and unsteadily got to his feet.
“What… were those things?” Garren asked, rubbing his beard, sending pebbles and dust cascading to the ground.
“They were Goblins, just as you said,” Deadrick told him, removing a cloth and cleaning the serrated knife of the congealing blood.
“They… they were not Goblins!” Garren cried, open mouthed.
Deadrick sheathed the blade and looked at him.
“Yes, they were,” He told Garren, “But… they were possessed. An Ecrid vein had corrupted them. That’s what deformed them, making them perfect vessels,”
“Vessels for what?” Garren asked.
Deadrick looked up at the sky, sighing.
“Something evil,” He said, Bruad and Nerui looked at him with wide eyes.
“That was Juhra?” Bruad asked.
Deadrick nodded. The demon had most certainly grown in power during the time they had been stuck in the canyon.
“Then that may explain it, Deadrick,” He said, twirling his beard between his gloved fingers.
Deadrick’s eyes narrowed.
“It started just two days ago… something- something found me,” Garren said, his voice cool and chilling.
Deadrick raised his head. Nerui watched from behind, her fingers slowly crawling towards the blade at her belt.
“It wouldn’t let me go… it took me… warped me… made me-,” Garren’s voice became a snarl, and his eyes went red. His fingers contorted, becoming longer. His stature began to increase as his limbs thickened, “Made me into this!”
His mouth opened wide, a hideous cackle coming from behind the newly formed rows of razor sharp teeth.
Deadrick went for his gun, but before his fingers could find it, a glinting piece of metal burst through Garren’s chest.
The sword carried on forwards, and then tore itself back through Garren’s body. The monster that had once been the respectful Dwarf screamed, it’s crimson eyes faded and the body slumped to the floor.
It took Deadrick a few seconds to recognize the figure that had saved them, possibly because he had been so used to lugging it around as an unconscious, unhelpful lump of meat.
“Danyel!” cried Nerui, she dived forward, dance stepping over the indwarven corpse of Garren and throwing herself into the slightly unstable Danyel.
They embraced for a moment, before she pulled herself away.
Danyel looked at Deadrick, who gave him a slight nod.
“Welcome back,” He said, before turning and walking away.
“Wait!” She cried, “Where are we going?”
Deadrick stopped, he turned towards her, Danyel and Bruad and pushed his hat up slightly.
“To the Windglider. We’ve got a rather bothersome demon to defeat,” He replied, turning and strolling away, “You coming?”
Nerui, Bruad and Danyel exchanged glances, before sighing happily and following after him.