“Peyton put me down…” Urebril said calmly once I had managed to gain some distance from the wailing dragon. “Sorry!” is all I was able to say between gasps of air and released the death-grip I had on his coat. Urebril straightened his leather armor and said, “Thank you. We have to try and find the others before the dragon does.” I nodded in the darkness and replied, “You will have to take the lead because I cannot see anything. The last time I saw them they disappeared through an opening directly ahead of us.” Behind us, the wailing had ceased. As quietly as possible, I followed Urebril in the darkness by grabbing on to the quiver of arrows on his back. A defiant roar was heard in the ever-growing distance before we were once again surrounded by silence. “Ure…can you see where they went? I don’t like this at all.” I whispered after what seemed like an eternity but was probably not even an hour. “I think so…” he replied, “there are a lot of footprints here.” We continued in silence for a while before I whispered my concerns, “What does that mean? Are we following my father or are we huntin….” My words trailed off as Urebril suddenly stopped moving and I heard rocks splashing into water directly ahead. I let go of Urebril’s quiver and immediately felt, more than heard, him moving quietly towards my left.
As I stood there motionless in the darkness with my hands holding my hammer tightly, I heard the sound of Urebril’s bow release an arrow in the darkness. A heartbeat later I felt the arrow fly so close to my nose that my hair blew right across my face. As my mouth opened to protest the arrow struck its intended target to my right with a soft thud, followed by a high pitch shriek. I swung the hammer hard in the direction of the noise and was rewarded with the sound of a crushing skull. “To meeeee!” came a screeching distant battle cry from the darkness as I recovered from finishing off whatever Urebril’s arrow had pierced in the darkness.
“We have to go now!” I jumped when I heard Urebril’s voice rapidly approaching behind me. “What the hell was that?” I asked anger rising at my inability to see anything in the accursed darkness and I regretted asking when he replied simply, “Skritt.” Once again I grabbed on to his quiver as he rapidly led us through some small passages with the sound of chitters and many small paws running not too far behind us. The tunnels changed in height and I would often bump my head in the darkness or stumbled a few steps before regaining my balance, but I held on to Urebril as if my life depended on it. The shrieking and chitters continued getting louder behind us as the vermin decreased the distance to get to us. “Ure, I see light ahead!” I shouted excitedly, since there was no point in whispering and released his quiver of arrows to sprint towards the light as a moth drawn to flame. If there was going to be a fight, I would do it somewhere I could see my enemies’ beady eyes. Urebril did not reply but I could hear him pick up the pace as he ran behind me.
The tunnel ended at an open chamber full of luminous mushrooms and some of the biggest glowing maggots I have ever seen. I ran to the middle of the chamber looking for another exit and expressed my frustration as I turned around to face Urebril sprinting into the chamber. After a quick glance around the room he apparently saw a pattern that I had missed to the layout of the mushrooms and began pointing at a possible escape route. “Alright Peyton, get to the back of the chamber then start jumping and climbing until you get to that opening up…” The blank stare on my face must have been given away my confusion. Urebril narrowed his eyes, pushed me towards the back of the chamber and yelled, “Go now!” as the screeching Skritt mob began pouring through the chamber entrance…