Into the Deep
Raven relaxed as the hot water seemed to seep into her muscles. After her mass-killing of werewolves, she returned to the inn and was taking a hot bath. The water soon turned red from the blood that covered Raven's body. She reached for her beer and drank half of it in one gulp.
"If only I could relax like this every day." She whispered to herself. There was a knock at the door. "Come in." Raven called. The door opened to show Casavir, who hesitated to see Raven naked in a tub. "It's alright." Raven said, seeing his hesitation. He sat on a stool that was two feet away from the tub.
"I've come to ask you a question." He said.
"Ask away." Raven said, scrubbing her arm.
"What are we going to do now?" Casavir asked.
"Well… I was thinking of going to the heart of the beast. You know, go to Aris's castle, kill him, then return to the Sunken Flagon and get some real ale and sleep until something else pops up that we need to go rushing in for." Raven said simply.
"What if it ends badly?"
"Like what, Casavir?"
"Well you're sick, in a fever, and could die in a matter of days if you don't have someone check it out."
"Why do you worry?" Raven asked. "West Harbor had plenty of-"
"This isn't West Harbor!" Casavir interrupted. "And… I worry for your well-being, if you were to die or worse, I… we wouldn't know what to do, I feel we should get a doctor, wait until you get better and then go with your plan."
Raven looked at Casavir. He seemed to be tearing apart on the inside. Was he truly worried about her? Raven bit her bottom lip and thought for a moment. "I understand you're worried and… I know you think my fever will get in the way, but it's getting better." She hoped. "And if I wait around to get better Aris might leave to another village or kill more people. I'm feeling a little better today." She felt horrible. "Just don't worry about me. I'll be fine." She had a feeling she wasn't going to be.
Casavir studied the pale, sick creature. She didn't look any better, and she fell asleep on the rooftop last night, even after she almost fell off. She looked more tired and beaten up on the inside. He knew she was lying, but she seems to have more confidence in her plan than him. Maybe just helping her out, looking after her would help. He nodded. "Very well, if you feel you are feeling better."
"I am." Raven cut in.
"Well, I'll follow you to the end of the plan then." Casavir rose and left, leaving her to her filthy bath.
Raven walked down the stairs to see everyone waiting for her. She wiped her forehead with the back of her hand, her fever wasn't getting better. Maybe Shandra did give it to me… but why did it show now? Raven thought, getting more worried glances. My god they worry way too much…. Raven sat down at the counter, her back to her companions, and ordered another mug.
"Felix." Raven said gently to the bartender.
"Y-yes?" he asked.
"Where is Aris's castle?" Raven asked.
"Well, it's to the west of here, but it's not a big castle that's easily noticeable, its underground. Like a cave, but buried. An avalanche buried it long ago, but still livable."
Raven nodded. "Can you mark it on my map," she asked, pulling her small map out from her leather bag. Felix pointed to a little mountain range just half a mile from the little town.
"There. But do be careful, it-it's dangerous full of werewolves."
"I'm sure I'll do fine." Raven said, giving a little smirk of reassurance to him. He smiled back and Raven quickly chugged the mug and walked out, her companions following.
"This is the place but where's the entrance?" Shandra said.
"It's somewhere up against the mountains." Raven said
"You mean right here?" Bishop asked, standing in front of this gaping hole in the mountain said with a large green door in it. Raven walked up to it and knocked on the door. When no one answered she kicked it down. It landed on the ground in front of her and made a big BANG! as it landed. She walked over it, obviously not waiting any long for something to happen. She wanted to get this done and leave this damnable village at once to get a proper bath and proper mead not the watered down junk they sell here. She walked in with a blank face held her bow tight.
"This place is huge." Shandra said.
"And dark." Bishop snorted.
That's when Raven remembered the spell tome sand gave her. Raven had some magic aura but not a lot. The tome had a lot of useful spells, including a light spell. Raven digged in her bag and pulled out the spell tome. It was just black leather with the words The Spell Tome of Useful Tricks on the front. Raven opened it and found the light spell immediately. She murmured the word under her breath and a ball of light appeared in her hand. She threw it up above her head and it illuminated everything around her. They wondered around for what seemed like ages. Finally Raven broke the silence around them as they found a small, empty fountain.
"This place is big, and I don't think we are going to find Aris's if we run around, stumbling in the dark. We should split up."
"What?" Casavir jumped at the words spit up. "Are… you sure?" He asked, regaining his surprise.
Raven nodded. "I'll scout ahead and Bishop will just track me down, I'll find where Aris is in no time."
"Sounds like a plan to me." Bishop said, leaning up against the fountain.
"But… you're sick." Shandra said.
"I'm fine." Raven lied. "I can easily find Aris if I'm alone, I'll travel faster and I'll be able to track his steps." Raven move the light over to Bishop's head.
"But how will you see in the dark?" Casavir asked.
"My shard." Raven said, laying a hand on her scar. It glowed as she touched it. "It gives off a light I can use." She began noticing that it had some useful powers to it just hidden away. She then diapered into the shadows, giving them time to rest.
Raven concentrated on her shard and it gave off a blue light. She could see footprints, and lots of them headed deep into the castle. She gave an obviously trail, silently shuffling her feet, leaving footprints in the dirt on the ground.
She followed it and it opened to a huge dining room. Werewolves were everywhere, and the surprise of them broke her concentration and caused the shard to go out. She gasped; there were maybe a hundred or more in there, more than she could handle on her own.
She then backed away and went to another hallway that looked as if it passed by the dining room. She went to the back of the dining hall to find a smaller room, someone's quarters maybe, with a tinted window of an angel playing the lute. She passed that to another hallway and came to a bigger room, with more opening to hallways. Aris was standing there with another werewolf. They were both in human form. Raven quickly slid through the crack in the door and hid in the shadows.
"My lord, someone broke your green door. Me thinks there is an intruder in our castle."
"MY castle, you mean." Aris broke in.
"Uh… yeah. Should we send out a search party?"
"No." He said. "They will come to me." He said, looking directly at Raven. "You're dismissed." The man bowed and backed away, walking out the door, looking back then diapering into the shadows. "Impressed yet?" He asked, taking a cautious step toward Raven. She stood and leaned against the wall, crossing her arms.
"Nope… I've seen bigger." She mocked, giving him a wink.
"I presume you're here to kill me?"
"Ding ding ding! We got a winner!" Raven said, sarcastically. "What was your first clue?" She asked.
"It's a shame, really." He said. "You know I can easily make this castle collapse under your head…"
"Are you sure she went this way?" Shandra asked, for the fifth time.
"I tracked you down in Luskan with Raven to save your sorry hide, farm girl!" Bishop said, irritated. "I think I can find Raven, as obvious as a trail she left. Now would you be quiet before you drawn werewolves near?" Shandra shrugged innocently and looked down at the trail, following Bishop's footsteps.
They passed the huge dining room and Bishop noticed how Raven backed away and turned, but the dining room was empty. Something's wrong. Bishop thought. They must know they are there, but why haven't they been caught. They haven't even seen another werewolf since they got there. Bishop pushed the thought aside and kept walking. He then came to the room with a window. He passed it, keeping his eye on the trail and his surroundings. He heard a struggle down the hall and investigated it.
Raven was fighting Aris. She had her dagger out, with her bow on the ground. He held a short sword and was parrying every single one of Raven's vicious attacks. They entered the room, weapons drawn and aimed all at him.
Raven was panting like a dog on a hot summer day. They've been at this for a while.
"Reinforcements…" Aris said. "Ahh…. But this is mine and Raven's fight."
"Drop the weapon, hound." Shandra threatened. "Or I'll cut you open like the dog you are."
Aris then changed, his yellow eyes flickering. He changed to his werewolf shape and howled a long, loud howl. Then… the earth below them began to shake.
"He's making the castle collapse!" Casavir stated.
"We got to move now!" Bishop yelled. Grabbing Shandra's arm and steading her as she wavered and almost fell.
"Go!" Raven said. Everyone stopped and looked at her. "GO!" She yelled, and Bishop dragged Shandra out. Casavir stood in the doorway, looking at the slender figure. She glared at Aris and they locked eyes.
"I got your b-"
"GO!" Raven said, pushing Casavir. The doorframe then collapsed in front of him, no way to get to her. He got up and followed the others…
They stumbled out of the castle, exhausted by the run they had to do. Casavir then looked back and watched as the entrance collapsed.
"Where's Raven?" Shandra asked looking around. "I thought she was following us."
"She didn't, she fought Aris to keep him off our heels." Bishop said.
"But…" Shandra said. "Maybe we can save her…"
Casavir shook his head. "There is no way out now." He said gloomily. "She's gone…."