title: The Death of Tomv "You want into the dungeons beneath my Bakery," Stavros picked up the wood pie crust roller. "Its a hundred gold royals." "A hun..." Tomv gawked at the steep entry fee. "A hundred?" "You are a Baker." Tomv didnt even have ten gold royals. "What would you want with a hundred gold royals?" "I want to open my own dungeon." Stavros smiled. "And the entry fee is a hundred gold royals." "Fine." Tomv grimaced at giving away that much gold. "but I dont have that much on me." "Let me in to the dungeon," Tomv offered his hand in oath. "and I'll pay double that from the first gold I find." "Say it in Dwarf," Stavros held out his hand. "So I know you mean it." "Yoch Kahar." Tomv took Stavros's hand in oath. "Skerv meru Yoch Kahar." "Was that so hard?" Stavros pulled two loaves from a bowl and stuffed them in a large flower sack he had altered with a leather carry-strap and retrieved the oil lantern. "ready to go." "ready to go..." Tomv considered the would-be adventurer in front of him. "Are you mad?" "Certainly not." Stavros pulled aside a large barrel in the centre of the room revealing a concealed door in the floor. "I'm simply coming with you because gold is heavy." "It can weigh on a man heavily." Stavros lifted the heavy timber trapdoor to reveal a Well shaft. "And being weighed down can get you killed." They contemplated the dark Well until Tomv pulled a rope and a steel grapel from his pack followed by block and tackle. "I'll lower you down." Tomv nodded at Stavros's suggestion. "Agreed." "I will anchor it to this." Tomv hammered the grapel into a heavy timber post and looped it up over a beam before hoisting the block off the ground until it hung above the hole and tied it off. "It should hold a goodly weight coming and going." "If you care to do the honors." Tomv slipped a boot into a loop of rope and pulled rope until it was strained tightly passing it to Stavros. "Here we go." "We do indeed." Stavros pulled enough so the Dwarf swung out over the Well-shaft before deliberatly releasing his hands letting the Dwarf plunge to his death. "Oops." "You goblin ruttling!" Tomv snarled the dwarven curse as he fell impacting on ancient stones fifty feet below. He let out all the scream he could muster at an impact that had almost killed him coughing up blood. "Gaaahh!" "Are you alive down there?" Stavros began to cut the rope. "Well dwarf?" "Go," Tomv considered what to do about the bastard above him as he choked on his own blood. "to Hel." "Go to Hel?" The block dropped the distance just missing the dying dwarf. "That is just upsetting." "Bastard..." Tomv struggled against the pain of death to search his person for the flask, smiling through bloody teeth at its discovery. "...doughboy." Stavros poured a flask of oil down into the dark and having struck up another lighted torch, dropped the fire down the hole. "You will need to come down here and get me yourself," Tomv walked slowly into the dark beyond the reach of the light of the oil fire behind him, his hammer heavy in his hand. "I'll wait." Skree. The sound of a large rat in the dark drew Tomv's attention. There were several of the giant rodents rushing at him as he struggled to swing his hammer in the rather ancient hallway. Tomv threw the dead rats into a sack and struggled into the dark until the oil fire no longer burned behind him. The corridor continued another two hundred feet into a vast chamber held aloft by a hundred heavy square cut timber columns, each carven with an ancient and unfamiliar script. Though his infravision could not see them, Tomv could feel the perfection of an ancient artisan's hand in every symbol. The wood of the columns seemed to have been hewn from great and ancient trees and squared back to ten feet a side. A light and he might have examined the script better. Slowly Tomv crossed the ancient gallery wary of heat or cold that might reveal some aberration set on making a meal of him. The gallery had to sit somewhere under the nest. Surely someone had sunk a well? Those Rats had to have come down here somehow. "Unless," Tomv considered the long distance he had come speaking an obvious answer to himself. "They were headed toward an entrance by the river." Tomv's hammer glowed driving back the shadow that had come apon its unsuspecting prey. "It hasnt done that before." Tomv swung the hammer hard, descimating the shadow further. "Rest in peace!" Tomv coughed in a fit of pain unleashing blood. His injuries were significant and they would not heal wandering a dungeon hammering down shadows. The pair of bear-like statues seemed out of place. The great stone beasts guarded a staircase down. "Any thoughts..." Tom touched his hammer to the nearest of the old bears and looked up at its mighty face. "...my friend?" The layout of the place was becoming apparent. Down would be further into what was now obviously a temple. There would be some degree of safety and refuge found in this gallery but further in would likely prove unhealthy to those desecrating its hallowed halls. Tomv wiped a bloody hand through his beard contemplating his options. "And..." If there was healing magic it would be found further in. "...down we go." Tomv burned with pain at every step, his injuries slowing his descent. Left or right. It wasnt much of a choice and Tomv examined the wall opposite the stairs. If this were a temple the stairs should have continued down into a prayer hall. "Left or right?" Tomv gripped the haft of shadowbane and turned right. "Right it is." "How I long to see," Tomv whispered the words walking along the corridor. "a distant Summer meadow." "Where she waits for me," The Dwarf paused his forward movement at an odd sound in the distance. "high..." "...up in..." Tomv dropped his sack of rats and lifted his glowing hammer as the giant snake of bones shifted side to side down the corridor to attack. "...the Stahl." The snake evaded the brightly burning hammer striking easily at Tomv, the hammer's glow fading as it dropped to the ground plunging the corridor into darkness.