By Dwayne MacInnes
The demon was unaware that I could see it in the darkness. I grabbed my sword in a reverse grip. I acted as if I could not see the hell-spawned beast approaching me.
The room had many glyphs of warding on the walls around it. Obviously, they were for containing the demon and not me. I tried the door with my left hand. It had locked as it closed, much as I suspected. I did not have the time to try to pick a lock with a demon sneaking up on me, and I had less than a minute of sight before the spell failed. I would have to act soon.
I turned my back to the demon as if I was going to try the door. I heard it take in a breath of air as it started to lunge for me. At the last moment, I dodged to the right in a tumble and sprung up as the demon smacked against the wooden door. The door shook and threatened to splinter and the demon took a couple of dazed steps back turning towards me.
I stepped into the seven-foot tall beast and slashed upward from right to left with my reversed gripped short sword. Before the demon could grab its bleeding belly, I now slashed the beast's throat from left to right. Hot red blood spurted out from its new wound while I tumbled between its spread legs.
As I jumped up behind it, I changed my grip to the standard form and jabbed upwards striking the demon in the exposed back. An enraged and gurgled roar shook the room. I thought my head would explode from the agonizing scream of pain the beast from the netherworld released.
The beast fell to its knees after it turned towards me. I backed away staying outside the reach of its claws. With one hand, it held its gaping throat with the other it weakly tried to swipe at me.
I crouched low before I vaulted myself towards the demon. As I passed over its left shoulder, I swung my sword from left to right severing its head from its torso. I landed on the blood slick floor and tumbled to a stop as my spell ended simultaneously with the head dropping onto the floor.
I quickly uttered my spell again and my sight returned. There on the floor flopping in a pool of its own blood lay the headless body of the demon. The head had rolled to a far wall and now stared sightlessly at me.
Still amazed by my victory I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard a loud pounding on the door.
"You keep quiet," the gruff voice of a goblin shouted, "or the master will teach you to keep quiet."
It was no surprise the goblin was not about to check in on a demon in a containment cell. The bad thing about demons and containment cells is that they contain nothing of value. Sure, I could have harvested the various organs and horns of the demon, but I saw enough butchering for one night.
I listened intently until I heard the goblin walk away. I returned to the door and had it picked open before my spell failed again. I finally expelled the breath I had been holding. I was now alone in the tunnel and I started to think again.
That was when it hit me. Trumpets blared in my head alerting me to my stupidity and I anxiously pulled a book out of my haversack. The Hubbard book Dire-nectics was not about helping you move past your problems. No, Elrond Hubbard according to the back of the book was a conjurer of the dark arts and not a self-help guru as I initially suspected.
To add to everything else, Brunis was also trying to control a demon. I prayed there were no more demons that Brunis had socked away. I also vowed not to enter dark rooms where the doors opened of their own accord again.
Cautiously I continued my travel up the tunnel, there were no more side doors and there were never any connecting hallways. It finally ended at a large portcullis. The large iron gate sealed the entrance and on the other side were the remains of Fort Abysmal's cellar.
I tested the portcullis for any signs of weakness. A heavy coat of rust covered the gate and the sturdiness of it was in doubt. I pushed and pulled upon the various bars all but one resisted my efforts. Although the one iron bar I could move did not pull free from the gate it did bend enough to allow me to pass through.
A large waterfall had broken its way into the cellar and the lower chambers were now the source of an underground river. The thundering of the fall obscured any noise I made while exerting myself on the gate. However, it also hid any noise that may alert me to danger.
I snuck around the cellar's interior, there were many doors and passages I could take. But, I knew that if Brunis was the wizard of any worth he would be found in a tower. So, the only logical choice would be up.
I was about to head for the only set of stone steps that led upwards when my ears picked up a rhythmic beat against the thunder of the waterfall. I quickly jumped behind a fallen column and watched as a squad of goblins marching in formation exited a side tunnel, and entered the cellar heading in my direction.