The Escape

By Ocelot

      When Snagin awoke, he wished he hadn't. His entire body was covered in bruises and lacerations and small puncture wounds, and it hurt to even breathe, much less move at all. He had a difficult time keeping his eyes open, but he could still survey the scene around him. Snagin was in a small metal cage about four feet high and four feet square. Both of his wrists were shackled to the back of the small cage, which was against a stone wall. Next to his cage, was another taller cage, which looked to be made of a metal that was much stronger then steel, and it had AT LEAST ten or eleven locks or other mechanisms on it in order to keep it from being opened. In that cage, hanging with his arms wide and tied to the roof of the cage, was Sid. The dirty elf was naked from the waist up, and he was covered in cuts and bruises. He looked to be in some sort of entranced permanent nightmare, as he kept twitching and grunting quietly with his eyes closed, even crying out in fear (or pain?) sometimes. Whatever was going on with him, Snagin thought, it wasn't any good, and the elf wasn't doing too well.

      Looking around the rest of the small chamber, Snagin noticed a small doorway leading outside. Two Drow warriors, both males, were standing there, conversing in their filthy Dark-Elven language which Snagin did not understand. Occasionally they would point back at Sid and laugh or jeer, and sometimes one would even walk over to spit on him, eliciting a laugh from his evil companion at the door. They would then go on conversing. Snagin noticed that it was night outside beyond the door, and he couldn't see much activity anywhere out there. The thief also noticed that the guards paid little or no attention to him, and also that they often didn't even keep their eyes on either of their prisoners. The halfling's mind raced, trying to find the best course of action. It quickly came to him. After watching the guards' patterns of speech and when they were and were not looking into the room, Snagin moved into action. Being a master thief, the halfling was quite an escape artist. After glancing around on the floor in front of him in his small cage, Snagin noted several small wooden splinters. Halflings were very flexible, especially the ones who were master thieves, and Snagin eased out his left foot and managed to pick up one of the splinters between his toes. Very slowly and painfully, the halfling stretched his leg up to where his wrist was shackled, lifting his right leg bent at the knee for leverage. Very nimbly, he eased the small splinter into the lock mechanism of the shackle holding his wrist and moved it around. After a very short time, there was a quiet click, and the shackle loosened its grip around the halfling's left wrist. Snagin then had to pretend to be passed out in pain, as one of the Drow heard a noise in the room and was looking over his way. After a moment of scrutinizing the "unconscious" halfling, the Drow turned away and began talking to his companion again. Snagin quickly transferred the splinter from his foot to his left hand and rapidly picked open the other shackle. With a final click, the other shackle freed his right wrist, and the halfling was now free.

      As luck would have it, a small wind was blowing into the chamber making the room's one torch flicker. It looked as if any moment the torch would go completely out, leaving the small chamber in darkness. Another touch of luck for the halfling was that one of the Drow had wandered off for some reason or another, leaving his companion alone to guard their prisoners. Snagin, being in complete pain all through his body, now moved on the strength of nothing but adrenaline. The halfling's main concern, in order to escape, was masking his body heat. Drow were able to see the body signatures of their enemies in the dark. This ability came from living centuries underground, and with the black elves, the ability was very refined. Years of experience had taught the halfling how to hide his body heat when hiding, however. The master thief, now encapsulated in shadow due to the flickering torch, and covering up his body heat signature as best he could, silently moved across his cage and eyed the lock on it with interest. It was a simple crude lock, no doubt fashioned by the mountain giants in order to lock cages containing animals they had caught. Snagin snickered silently as he worked the splinter into the lock. Within seconds, it was opened.

      The master thief warily looked over to the Drow guard, who was intently looking outside and completely away from the room. Then, eyeing the hinges of the cage suspiciously, the halfling spit on them silently, hoping to keep them from creaking when the door opened. He then slowly opened the door. Luckily, not a single peep resounded from the old cage's hinges. Snagin kept his gaze on the Drow, who was still looking toward the outside, and apparently hadn't noticed anything yet. As he didn't know when the other Drow might return, the halfling had to move fast. Slowly and silently, the master thief crept up behind the Drow warrior, eyeing the black dagger on the dark elf's belt. When he was within inches of the Drow, the halfling struck. As quick as a cat, Snagin reached out and ripped the Drow's dagger from its small scabbard. He then drove it square into the back of the dark elf's thigh, eliciting a cry of pain from his enemy. The Drow fell to one knee, at which point Snagin yanked out the dagger and rapidly brought it silently across the dark elf's throat. The Drow, gasping and gurgling while his life's blood ran down all over his chest, fell back and was silent. Snagin quickly grabbed the dark elf's black longblade and wielded it, keeping the dagger in his other hand. Knowing someone would be coming soon, the halfling hid just inside the door. Sure enough, the Drow's companion, having heard the noise, ran into the room to investigate, only to see his fallen comrade. The dark elf knelt to inspect the body. That was the last thing he'd ever do. Snagin, striking from the shadows from behind him, launched the dagger with a powerful flick of his nimble wrist, embedding it into the back of the Drow's skull. He then charged out and impaled the dark elf from behind with the longblade, it's black head running all the way through and out the chest of the hapless Drow. Absolutely no noise was made, and the halfling quickly set about looting the two Drows' bodies and salvaged what he could in order to survive. He then hid the bodies and bolted silently into the night.


      The Drow sentry was tired of this useless duty he had been assigned. He was sick of the surface world and all of its sickening smells, sounds, and colors, and he longed to once again return to the majestic underdark from whence his race had come. Jazraik, as he was named, was responsible for guarding Markessa's personal treasury. Just the thought of the bitch priestess made him sick, as it did most males. He and his kind were powerless against the priestesses, as they held the highest favor of the spider god, the deity of the Drow. As a result, all males were doomed to serve the dark priesthood's bidding, and they were powerless against it and its leadership of malevolent matriarchs.

      This most recent assignment was the worst. He was being denied his lust for battle by being forced to guard that bitch's personal belongings. Jazraik would rather have been torturing the stupid giants, or sparring with his fellow warriors then doing this. Better yet, he much rather would have liked to be travelling through Derlith's forests by night, raiding wood elven villages and butchering their women and children. Now THAT would have been a good time. He had heard of a large forest to the west called the Meadhil by the dwellers of the surface, and he had also learned of many wood elves that lived there. The Drow wondered why he and his warriors were limited to serving this weakling priestess, and not killing the wood elves, their sworn enemies. Worse still, he waited for the day when Markessa, in her whims of rage, decided to dispatch him for no reason whatsoever. That was not the way for a true warrior to die, he decided.

      Jazraik's musings were inturrupted by an abrupt sharp pain in the middle of his back. Dark red blood gushed from his mouth as he saw a blackened blade erupt from his torso. His world became the blackness of death. The dark elf's problems were solved. He no longer had to bother with guard duty.


      Snagin pulled the blackened blade from the corpse of the Drow sentry, wiping the blade clean on the dead body. It had been a tough time getting from his holding cell to this chamber, seemingly deep into Markessa's personal chambers. Soon, someone would probably notice the seven or eight Drow sentries the halfling had to dispatch along the way, so he didn't have too much time. Snagin reached to the body of the sentry he had just killed and quickly rifled over it. He was startled by a high pitched shrill voice.

      "Well it's about time!!!! I was getting sick of all these blackened weapons this thing was carrying! None of them talked whatsoever, and he couldn't even understand me!!!!"

      Snagin regarded the ivory sword hilt on the dead Drow's body, and picked it up, holding it to close to his mouth.

      "Be quiet, Sword! I don't want to hear it right now. We have to get our equipment and free Sid as quickly as possible," whispered Snagin.

      "I can't believe you let me fall into possession of the likes of that BLACK THING!" griped the sword, still loudly, "I should hope I get a lot of new gems out of this on my pommel!"

      "Sword, if you'd just BE QUIET, I'll ring your pommel with black diamonds when we're out of here! But if you do not, it won't matter, because I'll be dead, and you will have a new owner anyway!" whispered Snagin harshly.

      "Ok ok ok!" said the sword, "I'll be quiet for now. But hurry!"

      Snagin rolled his eyes in exasperation and sheathed the sword. As before, he slowly faded from view, becoming invisible. The master thief then went all through the chamber, rifling through more then four chests (disarming at least ten traps and pocketing as much loot as he could). In the last chest, he found all of his and Sid's equipment. Since most of their equipment was magical in nature, it weighed almost nothing. Snagin threw all if it in his portable hole and headed off to free Sid. Since all the guards were dead in Markessa's chambers, he had no trouble getting back out. Snagin contemplated sneaking into the Drow priestess' chambers and slitting her throat in her sleep, but he thought better of it. She was very powerful, and he did not want to do anything right then but escape.

      The halfling's only obstacle in getting across the giants' compound was that two drunken giants had passed out in front of the prison barracks where Sid was being held. Moving with the utmost silence, the master thief crept back in. The scene was just as he had left it, both Drow bodies still hidden from sight. Sid was still twitching in his nightmare, wincing in pain and crying out softly. Snagin groaned as he eyed the ten or so lock mechanisms on the cage. Quickly, he dug his lock picks out of his pack. It wouldn't take long.


      The village was in flames. Sid looked in despair as all of his kin had been butchered. It was the same scene he had seen a hundred-fold over again and again and again. If Sid's mind was fragile before, it was totally snapped by now. The dirty elf no longer even reacted at the spider eating the babies, or at the sight of his father. All the horror before him was now accepted as fact. However, as he watched Herald be cut to pieces again, something different happened this time. The dream he was reliving slowly began to unravel, the world turning scintillating colors of red, green, and blue. The light was so bright it almost blinded him. He felt to be falling inward to himself, or perhaps into a pit with an endless bottom. Just when he thought he hit the bottom and died, he was staring into Snagin's eyes.

      "Wake up, damnit! We have to get out of here," growled Snagin harshly at the elf, slapping him across the face. Sid blinked two or three times, trying to figure out where he was. Rapidly, it all came back. The elf's eyes turned bloodshot with rage.

      "WHERE IS SHE!?" yelled the elf, very loudly.

      "I don't know - let's get out of here for now. We can handle her when we are better prepared," urged Snagin.

      "NO," said Sid slowly.

      The dirty elf then stood up. He looked left. He then looked right. He then looked forward very quickly, with an insanely evil look in his eyes. He then giggled inanely for no apparent reason.

      "Where are my weapons? Give them to me now," ordered the elf suddenly serious, "Do not get in my way. Leave if you must, but I WILL kill that Drow Elven bitch before I leave this place."

      Snagin looked at the elf and knew he meant it.

      "Well, drink these before you go get yourself killed," the halfling said, as he reached into his portable hole and pulled out several black flasks, "They will heal your wounds."

      Despite his visible wounds, it didn't look like Sid was experiencing any kind of pain, however. Nonetheless, the elf downed all the bottles. Several of his wounds closed magically. The elf didn't look in top form, but he looked like he could hold his own. Sid quickly took up his weapons and waded into the compound. Snagin, after long considering just leaving, just couldn't bring himself to do so. He reluctantly followed Sid out.

      "You had better not get me killed," the halfling said, mumbling.

      Sid just growled evilly.

      When they walked out into the compound, they saw a sight they did not expect to see. This sight was of at least twenty Drow warriors, armed to the teeth, and Markessa calmly standing behind them, laughing maniacally. The priestess yelled out. "Fools! You deny the spider god and defy me. Now you will die, just as these giants all will be my slaves!"

      The dark priestess then yelled some strange commands in the Dark Elven tounge. From the roofs of two giant-sized buildings behind her, two giagantic spiders jumped down to either side of her. They then advanced toward Sid and Snagin, the Drow warriors parting in front of them. Snagin stopped to assess the situation.

      "Sid, those are doom spiders. I think we'd better run," said Snagin with warning.

      Sid ignored him. Suddenly, the elf broke into a full run directly at the spider on his left. The spider salivated disgustingly at the approach of its impending meal, and it set to receive the warrior elf's charge. However, at the last split second, Sid leapt high into the air, flipping twice while simultaneously drawing out a razor sharp scimitar in one hand and a blackened Drow blade in the other. He landed amidst a party of ten Drow warriors, all of them surprised, as none expected him to do what he did. Sid's blades immediately became a tornado of whirling steel. As soon as he landed, he lashed out with his scimitar, lopping off a Drow warrior's head. With this momentum he thrust forward with the blackened blade, running through another. He then whirled himself around, back-slashing the head off another, managing to kick and knock down two more who were bringing weapons to bear on him. He then stabbed under his arm with the blackened blade, stabbing another Drow behind him in the groin, instantly killing him as well. It was a complete dance of death. Both doom spiders turned around, and the other ten warriors from the right moved to help their brethren against the enraged elf. It did not look good for Sid, as he was grossly outnumbered.


      Markessa laughed silently as she watched the scene unfold in front of her. These fools hadn't had a chance! But at least they went out fighting. It was too bad the males under her command did not have the fighting spirit of this wild elf in front of her. For about a fraction of a second, she considered trying to persuade the elf to be her ally. She quickly barked orders to the doom spiders to finish the elf. She then barked orders to the ten males to stay back while her spiders dispatched him. She barely noted the soft hoot of the owl that had landed on the outer rafters of the building behind her. Nor did she notice the green-robed figure standing on the other side of the compound from her, regarding her evilly.


      Of all the people on the battlefield, Snagin was probably the only one who noticed the Elven wizard calmly standing at the perimeter of the fighting, assessing the situation.

      "Lormar!!!!" he yelled.

      A whisper suddenly filled Snagin's mind.

      "Stand clear," was all it said.

      As the ten Drow listened to Markessa's order to stand back and let the other Drow finish Sid, bolts of blue energy crackled through their ranks, ripping several of them in half immediately, and arcing from one to the other repeatedly. The smell of burning flesh suddenly permeated the scene, as all ten of their bodies fell to the ground as charred husks. The bolt of energy had come from Lormar, who was now surrounded by a sphere of scintillating rainbow-colored energy. Markessa looked in horror at this new enemy, immediately realizing she was totally outmatched. She screamed an order at one of the doom spiders to charge the wizard and finish him off.

      Lormar raised an eyebrow as he surveyed the doom spider running toward him. He then raised up his staff. Tapping it on the ground three times and saying several arcane words, the wizard pointed the head of the weapon at the approaching doom spider. Suddenly, out of thin air, appeared several whirling blades made of ice, all spinning around in a vortex of destruction. They descended on the doom spider and cut it to ribbons. The doom spider was almost instantly killed, but the momentum of its charge carried its corpse directly into the sphere surrounding the wizard. Upon contact with the magical orb, the corpse of the spider promptly exploded, sending spider guts all over the battlefield. Lormar laughed wickedly.

      Meanwhile the Sid's dance of whirling steel continued. The Drow were simply outmatched by the elf's skill and his ultimate rage. There was nothing they could do to stop him.

      "DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" yelled the dirty elf insanely as he spun and stabbed another warrior. Realizing that they would have a very hard time killing Sid, the Drow began to faulter and fall back from the elf's blows. Two warriors ran up to Sid to attack him from different directions. The elf was so quick, however, that he ducked down and under their attacks, coming up slashing on the opposite side of where they thought he would be, his upward momentum cutting an arm off of each of them. Howling in pain and bleeding to death, they fell to the ground. The remaining three warriors looked at Sid's enraged insane look and ran. Right about the same time, the remaining doom spider decided to spit a glob of acid right at Sid. Sid leapt to the left, rolling on the ground. The acid hit the fleeing warriors head on, quickly dissolving all three of them as they screamed in agony. Sid laughed. He then slowly turned toward Markessa, his eyes lowered evilly.

      Surprisingly, several giants had taken up clubs and began beating the remaining doom spider to death, spidery guts flying all over the place. Apparently they were no longer under the sway of the Drow.

      Markessa could not believe what had just happened. In a matter of seconds, she had lost her entire guard and surface raiding force. She eyed the filthy wild elf walking calmly and surely toward her. She then noted the Elven wizard had begun flying, colored orb surrounding him and all. She raised up her snake-headed whip to defend herself against the dangerous onslaught of the elf, which was sure to come. Suddenly, she couldn't move. Something had gained complete control of her body. All she could hear, was a soft Elven voice in her mind telling her what to do. She knew it was the Elven wizard. Inwardly, she screamed in rage at being so defenseless. She could do nothing.

      Markessa dropped the snake-headed whip and stared ahead blankly at the approaching Sid. Sid walked up to her and cut both her legs off at her knees, causing her to fall to the ground. She screamed in pain as her blood began gushing out on the ground. Sid then began kicking her in the face and stomach repeatedly, cursing at her in the Elven tounge.

      Sid then picked her up by the collar with one hand and threw her form against the building wall behind her. The elf then picked up the snake-headed whip, and lashed out at her with it repeatedly, cursing all the while. All three serpents continually dug in and began sucking her life energy away. She howled in pain. Markessa would not bother anyone ever again.

To be continued...