Governor Maegar Varn slowly awoke from his dark, dreamless slumber. He opened his eyes, and saw nothing but darkness. Cautiously he felt at the floor and the wall against which he was lying. Cold, damp stones. The air was stale and heavy, with a vaguely putrid scent in the background. Varn tried to stand up, but his legs were weak, and he fell down at the hard floor with a muttered curse. A few other frightened voices whispered nearby.
“Caspar, Willas?” Varn mumbled.
Caspar Morgarion, cleric of Erastil and Maegar’s old friend answered with a faint voice. “A-are you alright, Maegar? You’ve been unconscious for some time”
The Governor shook his head to get rid of the feeling of disorientation. “What in demons’ names happened?”
A scared voice cracked nearby, it was Willas Gunderson, Varnhold’s march warden. “It was me, Lord, I have awoken It, may the gods have mercy over us all!”
Impatiently Varn reached out to this left and grabbed the shivering arm of Willas. “What are you talking about, man, speak some sense!”
“They’ve already taken Cephal Lorentus… And now they are coming for us, for us all!” The ranger cackled almost madly, his voice echoing through the stone chamber.
Before Maegar could inquire into the nature of their captors, a sound in the distance distracted him. A slow thud of giant feet was making its way towards them.
Morgarion hissed an invocation and a few lights danced in the chamber, lightening up the three miserable men. Surrounding them were the bodies of some thirty other colonists. Varn paled: “Dead…?” The cleric shook his head. “Merely asleep.”
The Governor took a moment to look around, and noticed that he and everyone else were dressed in their nightgowns, and had no weapons or other equipment at hand. The room filled him with both fear and disgust. Engaged masonry columns formed shallow alcoves around a central pillar. Manacles hung from the walls near ancient bloodstains.
“It seems that we’ve been surprised during the night, but by whom? Where are we, and what is this foul place” he asked, but to no one in particular.
Caspar Morgarion shrugged and struggled to get on his feet. Varn followed his lead, supporting himself against the central column. Meanwhile, Gunderson crawled away from the light, into a corner in the back of the chamber.
“We have to get out and find help for our people,” the cleric whispered. Varn nodded weakly. Caspar pushed against the ancient old door of their prison and, surprisingly, it opened with a metallic click. As the sound of approaching steps seemed almost upon them, Maegar began to regain his strength and willpower. “We will rush out and surprise our captors. Use your last spell to daze or blind them so we can outrun them,” he whispered to his friend. It wasn’t much of a plan, but Varn felt that a presence of absolute Evil was stirring nearby, and some primeval instinct urged him to run as hard and as fast he could, away from this dreaded place.
The cleric and the governor charged into the corridor, their assault heralded by a flash of white light and a desperate battle cry. Their steps and voices came to a standstill, however, when they faced their captors. Towering before them, unmoved by their feeble magic and cries, they were horrible creatures from a child’s nightmare. The cleric fell onto his knees: “Dear God…” Varn remained silent, and realized that his doom had come.