The Black Freres had not prepared him for such an unreasonable foe!

Whilst those hoary old monks, despite being the most highly prized cartographers in Mithradom, had a reputation for secrecy, he had assumed they would have mentioned something as abnormal as the shuddering, transparent morass of a creature before him during their previous dealings. The fact that they had not yielded but two possibilities: the first that they did not know of the creature’s existence, an idea that, even to him seemed absurd, or secondly, that they had deliberately withheld knowledge of the creature’s existence from him.

He cursed loudly, stepping further back along the cobwebbed, narrow corridor that had led into the ruinous central chamber where his commission had been waiting for him, or any other thief or adventurer, to stumble upon.

The chamber, one of many hidden workshops once belonging to the famed blacksmith and inventor Shemaiah ben Nethanel, had long since fallen into ruin, like many of Shemaiah ben Nethanel’s other hidden locales. Such buried enclaves were not unusual per se; every alchemist or inventor of note had left a similar den behind during their short tenure amongst the living. It was the way things worked and if they didn’t work that way, then there would have been no cause for a freelance adventurer like himself to venture into the depths – for a small commission, of course.

The dungeon was old, damp and swarming with the varied and multifaceted life that the darkness of the soil, shielded from the sun by the lush grass and cold rock above, attracted. Like all other such darkened dens, it had enticed monsters as well as insects into its dark embrace. Purple worms, hell hounds and bugbears and other ambling abnormalities, all had been attracted to the embers of fading creativity and light. This was par for the course; he had not expected to delve into the depths of the earth without fighting off a kobold or two. Such reasoning had been why he had first hired Garon, the noble half-Orc companion who now travelled everywhere with him, a man who whilst once having been hired muscle, he now considered his closest friend.

He had expected monsters… and yet still the slithering, liquid creature before him had taken him by surprise.

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