Twila rummaged through her books, searching. She’d made Lilly tell her about the encounter with Gail five times. She knew what psyrens and golems were but this other thing… This “sleeping destroyer” what did it refer to?
She heard a yawn behind her, but ignored it. “You two are up early,” Axra muttered. “Where are Reginald and Bonnie, anyway?”
“Oh… sorry,” Lilly said. “I… we… kind of forgot to wake them.”
“You’ve been up all night?” Axra asked. “Aren’t you exhausted?”
“N… not really,” Lilly said.
“Twila?” Axra asked.
“Oh… I’m perfectly fine,” Twila said. “Just looking for something.”
“So, what happened to get you both worked up?” Axra inquired.
“I would like to know that as well,” Bonnie stated.
“When’d you get up?” Axra asked.
“Couple minutes ago,” Bonnie answered.
Twila closed her book. “I’ll answer that. I’m sure Lilly’s tired of repeating the story by now. Could you two please wake the others up? I think everyone should hear it, all things considered.”
“No problem,” Axra said. “Give me ten seconds.” She grabbed a pan and banged a metal ladle against it.
In moments Reginald and Lysara were out of their tents. Fang was flying up in the air near Twila.
“A most effective method,” Bonnie said. “But there’s one person who won’t be affected by that kind of thing.”
Bonnie took one of their canteens inside Velvet’s tent.
“Dammit, that’s cold!” They heard Velvet cry.
“Just get out here,” Bonnie ordered.
Bonnie came out of the tent with Velvet in tow. His hair was dripping water.
“Something happened during our watch that you should all be aware of,” Twila said. She recounted Lilly’s story while Lilly sat back and nodded in agreement.
“So, what’s a psyren?” Lysara asked.
“A bothersome creature,” Reginald answered. “Not one that a group of lovely ladies should have to face.”
“It’s a type of mental parasite,” Twila offered. “They’re ethereal beings that possess corporeal beings. They then use the body of the possessed being to cause death and suffering and feed off of the emotional stress caused. I’m not sure how they would manage to survive down here, though. But I can use a protection spell to keep them from taking over any of us.”
“Well, that’s good,” Lysara said. “As expected of my beautiful Twila! So, what’s a sleeping destroyer?”
“I don’t know,” Twila said. “I checked my books, but I couldn’t find anything with such a vague description or anything that was called that.”
“I can’t say I’ve ever heard of such a thing either,” Bonnie answered.
“That woman is underestimating me,” Axra said. “As though I can’t handle golems and psyrens.”
“W… well, on your own it might be a little…” Lilly muttered. “I… I mean… there’s also the destroyer to consider.”
“We’ll beat it when we come to it,” Axra stated. “I’ve got Todberührung after all.”
“Well, we’ll just have to figure out what to do when we encounter it,” Twila said.
The group ate breakfast and packed up. Twila renewed the darkvision spell and cast a mental shielding spell and they went into the city.
They walked the deserted streets, stopping on occasion for Twila to cast a detection spell in the attempt to find any enchanted object. It was eerie thinking about the people who had lived there and been killed or forced to flee.
“That sound,” Axra muttered. The group stopped to listen
“A song?” Twila asked.
“I like it,” Lysara stated. “It’s so pretty!”
“It hurts my head,” Velvet complained.
“More importantly, it’s coming from a place where there shouldn’t be any music,” Twila said. “I suggest we follow it.”
“Great idea!” Lysara exclaimed.
“So, let’s go,” Axra said.
The group followed the sound further and further into the city. It was strange, Axra mused. The song was soft and lyrical, she’d certainly heard much louder, but it was still starting to give her a dull, throbbing headache. Maybe it was the relative quietness of the caverns contrasted with the soft melody.
Lysara skipped a little as she went. She was contemplating getting out her lyre and strumming a musical accompaniment when she bumped into Axra.
“Sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to bump into you.”
Axra turned and glared at her. “Gods, I hate your stupid happy face,” she declared. “Your incessant joviality just gets on my nerves.”
Lysara took a step back. “I’m really sorry,” she whimpered, taken aback by the ferocity of Axra’s words.”
“Axra?” Twila asked.
“Ar… are you okay? Lilly asked.
“Just fine,” Axra said. “At least I will be when I kill this nuisance!” She drew her blade.
Lysara jumped back and tried to hide behind Twila and Lilly.
Bonnie back-handed Axra. “Enough! Royal Brat. I’m so sick of your selfishness. Just because you’re a princess you think you can go around doing what you want and taking the precious lives of those we hold dear?” She drew her sword. “Shall I punish your arrogance?”
“Bring it on!” Axra cried. “I could take ten of you, treacherous turncoat!”
“Calm down, both of you!” Twila cried. “What is…”
While Twila was calling for peace, Bonnie rushed at Axra, swinging her blade. Axra pushed her own sword against it, deflecting its course, and tried to jab Bonnie in the chest.
“Th… they’re fighting,” Lilly muttered. “Oh… oh my.”
“Just what is going on?” Twila whispered.