Torch light reflected off bits and pieces of broken slinky, making odd patterns on the stone walls of the tunnel. Gargo, the massive barbarian, was scraping slinky from the bottom of his boot while Timby said prayers of healing over Lorka’s body. Lorka had taken the brunt of the razor sharp spring attack as she had been creeping ahead searching for traps. As Lorka’s blood soaked into the stone floor Franzlyn inspected his tattered clothing, looking as though he might burst into tears.
“Rips in my peacock feather cape, just dreadful! Let’s turn back, no treasure is worth damage to my wardrobe.” the bard whined.
“Bring it over here,” Drekmyr said with a sigh. “I can cast yet another spell to mend your clothing, but I need to touch the garment.”
“It’s just not the same,” Franzlyn pouted, “you mended my baby seal skin boots, but you can still see scorch marks from that dreadful easy flame oven trap. Do you have any idea how long it takes to hunt enough baby seals to make these?”
Drekmyr unconsciously reached up and touched his dark crystal necklace, his eyes beginning to glow red. Timby watched her brother’s face contort in anger and tried to make her voice calm and soothing. “Drek dear, we’re almost at the end of the dungeon. This will all be over soon.”
Drekmyr glanced in his sister’s direction, his face softening as he nodded. His hands glowed as he touched the cape and rips and tears became whole. Franzlyn inspected his cape, oblivious to the dangerous warlock. Timby watched her brother with concern. She hadn’t approved of the pact he made with the demon, even if it had unlocked powerful magic. She thought his anger and impatience was growing daily and she feared where it might lead.
The smell of smoke brought Timby’s attention back to her patient. Lorka was sitting up and had a lit dog end hanging from the corner of her mouth. Where she had gotten a cigarette, much less lit it, on the ninth level of a deep dungeon Timby would never know. Lorka’s sleight of hand was particularly adept when it came to any of her vices. Everyone in the adventuring party had learned not to play dice with Lorka, much to her disappointment.
“I’m guessing since I’m on the ground with new holes in my armor that you had to lay hands on me again?” Lorka asked with a smirk. Timby nodded and Lorka continued. “It seems like you can’t keep your hands off me lately. Maybe we should discuss this trend somewhere more private?”
Timby blushed, though she knew Lorka was joking. Her rough sense of humor still took getting used to for the cleric who had spent most of her life training in the temple of healing. Lorka leered at Timby, causing Timby to say a silent prayer to her goddess that Lorka really was joking.
“I think we’re at the final chamber,” Timby said, quickly changing the subject. “Can you fight or should we rest first?”
Lorka shook her head. “I’m sick of dealing with the Toymaster’s crap. I say we end him now.”
“Agreed,” Drekmyr said, “the sooner we leave this dungeon the better.”
Franzlyn sighed. “My poor clothing has already become little more than rags. I don’t suppose one more room can hurt. Besides, based on the rumors, I might get enough treasure to pay someone else to club baby seals for me.”
“Okay,” Timby said, “but remember we don’t know what we’ll find in there. No adventuring party has entered the final room of this dungeon and returned to tell the tale. Keep your eyes open, rumors say the Toymaster has a secret weapon we haven’t seen yet.”
Drekmyr laughed, “Sister dear, nothing can stand up to the might of the magic granted by my demonic pact.” His fingers stroked the dark crystal necklace as he spoke. Timby definitely needed to talk with him after this was over.
Gargo hefted his great axe and asked, “Time to use my axe?”
“Yes, Gargo,” Drekmyr said, his patronizing tone of voice lost on the barbarian, “time to use your axe.”
Gargo grinned and let out a roar. He held his great axe in one hand as he charged forward into the Toymaster’s abode. In Gargo’s mad dash he didn’t notice the floor in this chamber differed from the stone floor in the rest of the dungeon. Between his steel boots and barbarian rage, he paid no mind. For the others, the change was obvious, and they all made pained sounds as they tried to keep up.
Inside the final chamber sat an obese man on a throne. His bright red shirt with yellow lightning bolts sewn on didn’t quite cover his large stomach. His head was balding with a ponytail making it look as though his hair had migrated backward. He had a very short beard, but what it lacked in length it made up for in breadth covering half of his face and all of his neck. As the Barbarian rushed toward him he laughed and then said in a high-pitched voice, “Welcome, welcome brave adventurers to your doom!”
“Is that him?” Lorka asked in surprise, “I expected someone more formidable looking.”
The Toymaster laughed. “You aren’t the first to make that mistake, and you won’t be the last.” Lorka didn’t reply, as she was busy stepping from foot to foot, trying to find firm footing.
Moments before Gargo was close enough to plant his great axe in the Toymaster’s neck-beard, two massive golems sprang up from the floor. One was red and the other blue. Both began to pummel Gargo with their fists.
“Oh, my poor seal skin boots!” Franzlyn cried out, looking down at the floor. He turned to retreat, but discovered the doorway through which they entered had disappeared. Only smooth wall remained.
The Toymaster laughed at the bard’s discomfort. “Yes, people don’t pay enough attention to floors. This floor has defeated more groups of adventurers than I can count.”
“Diabolical,” Lorka said.
The Toymaster grinned. “Anyone can have pit traps or lava flows, but only I could come up with the ultimate torture. There is no worse torture known to man than walking on Lego bricks!”
Gargo glanced down and finally understood. The floor was Lego bricks, but not fitted together to make a flat surface. Instead, the Lego bricks were all loose, forming a jagged plastic surface. The rest of the party was focused on the floor. They were losing the fight, because they weren’t even in the fight.
“A little help here?” Gargo asked, trying to refocus the members of his party. “These things pack a punch. I could use a heal.”
“Sorry big guy, I can’t concentrate enough to heal you.” To cast a spell on this flooring would be hard enough, but Timby was also fighting off a small creature. She swung her cudgel at the strange furry creature with a beak that kept lunging at her while calling out, “Eat the cleric, Yum Yum!”
“Drekmyr, can you put a fire spear through one of these things? I think I can take one of them.”
Getting no reply, Gargo risked a glance over his shoulder to see Drekmyr cursing as he tried, and failed, to cast a spell. Even worse, a blue furred monster had handcuffed itself to the warlock and was attacking him with huge teeth.
“Your warlock seems to have met my pet monster,” the Toymaster tittered.
Gargo took a solid punch to the face, dropping to one knee. “Lorka, can you stab one of these things in the back?” he called out in desperation. But when he turned he saw a gang of red monkeys shoving the unconscious rogue into a barrel. Before Gargo could get back to his feet, the blue golem delivered a brutal uppercut which popped Gargo’s head off his neck and sent it sailing across the room.
The Toymaster reached out and petted the red golem on the head. “You see Rock-em, they all said I was stupid and juvenile in the school of villainy. They said my toys would never amount to anything, but this is the third group of adventurers we’ve defeated this week.”
The scene faded as the crystal ball went dark. Timby gave her brother a smug look. “Do you still think the divination spell that lets me see the future was a waste of five hundred gold pieces?”
Drekmyr just grunted in response.
“So,” Timby said, turning to address the entire group, “what do we do now?”
“I for one,” Gargo said, “still think we should go into the Toymaster’s dungeon.”
“Wait, what?” Lorka said.
“I still think we can take ’em. You don’t know how powerful a raging barbarian can be,” the barbarian stated.
“Okay,” Lorka addressed the group, “does anyone who isn’t delusional have any ideas?”
“We could attack the frost giant’s abode,” Drekmyr said. “He has some spell components I would like to acquire.”
“Why don’t you do your thing again before we go anywhere,” Franzlyn suggested, pointing at the crystal ball.
“I can only cast the spell once a day,” Timby replied.
“Well,” Franzlyn said, “we still have a dinner invitation from the count. Why don’t we enjoy a nice, relaxing dinner and then use your spell in the morning? It seems like the safest way to proceed.”
“Didn’t that count give you the creeps?” Lorka asked as she ground out a cigarette with her boot and lit another.
“Oh, quite the contrary!” Franzlyn exclaimed. “He seemed to have exquisite taste, with his satin ruffle shirt and his black cape with red silk lining.”
“Sounds good to me,” Timby said. “We’ll play it safe and use my divination spell again in the morning before tackling a different dungeon. I admit I am famished and enjoying a relaxing dinner sounds nice. Let’s go see count… um… what was his name again?”
“It started with a D,” Gargo supplied.
“Dracula,” Franzlyn said with admiration, “a name that just drips with eastern aristocracy. That’s a name that people will remember throughout the ages.”
With that, the small party of adventurers gathered up their gear and headed toward the castle to accept their dinner invitation.