Light grew as Celo carried his makeshift lantern – a rushlight tied to an axe – back towards the stair-head. Below, he could see Forgrim and Hod making a fighting withdrawal, backing step by step. Forgrim reached the top, and slammed a couple of Damsons back down! Hod, given the chance, struck at the helpless bodies, then switched places with Kayan. Hod unslung his longbow, willing to try a few shots past his front rank. Keth stepped in as well, ready to help with staff or healing.
As the Damsons re-established their order, they surged forward again. Below, the wounded pair were quickly healed. Keth used the reach of his Quarterstaff and his own sheer power to break one of the Berdiche axes. But this would clearly be a very long battle. Chanting from the south grew in volume again, reached a triumphant pitch, and ceased.
“You should have fallen back!” Morath hissed, sliding away from Bardic to seek the shadows of another room. “Chanting from the south – getting closer!”
Edric was feeling the pressure! He called the danger, letting his fighting complement know they were again to be beset on two flanks, and called for more light as well. Then, well-satisfied with things, slipped into the chamber Morath had been searching. It was clearly a combined Scrying-Chamber and Audience Chamber. Moreover, racks of pigeonholed documents on the south wall suggested that many administrative functions were performed here. But that was not Edric’s immediate concern. He began probing the south wall, seeking a way to outflank the tunnel.
South of the stair-head, Celo lit a second sconce, then leaned his portable light against the wall and readied himself for action. Morath was hiding in a further room, as far as he could tell. He slipped forward and in: to his satisfaction, his guess was right: Morath was lurking near the door of the darkened room, waiting for the foe to move past. Celo took up a similar posture on the opposite side of the doorway.
Bardic and Gollarn – now healed again – awaited the source of the chanting. And at last their enemy was revealed! To the south, a glow could be picked out, some dozen feet in the air. A helmed face, surrounded by a nimbus. Severe, with the lines of a fanatic clearly picked out in the uncanny glow. Below, a vast torso, plate-clad. The figure, clearly striding closer, carried a vast axe, on which were writ glowing arcane runes. This then was Martin, Master of the fighting brothers. Scarce-visible behind his gigantic figure walked at least one normal-size Friar, bearing a Quarterstaff. Martin would have healing poured into him as he crushed the insolent invaders with his demon-granted powers!