It was too late. The Minotaur rushed into the antechamber, the heavy maul sparking flame and fire as he charged.
“Vladen Gis!” Argus yelled, his voice booming throughout the antechamber. “Where are you hiding?! I have come for my vengeance and I will not be denied!”
Petra and Rhal entered next at a run, taking in the pool at the top of the stairs and the slow burning brazier beside it. “I see no hidden door, nor alcove for the mage to hide,” Petra said, scanning the room, her holy book casting a radiant light for a dozen feet around her. “Has he started the ritual yet?” she asked, turning to the wizard.
Rhal walked up the steps leading to the pool. “I don’t think so. The water is still clear. But everything has been prepared,” he said, his voice grim.
Eamon and Ferrus stepped gingerly through the archway, remaining near the entrance, as the green flame licked up Eamon’s longsword. “It doesn’t make sense. What’s he waiting for?”
A thin, reedy voice echoed through the chamber, the sound strained and sickly. “What creatures and beasties have wandered their way into my web? More sacrifices? I do so appreciate when they present themselves for the taking!”
“Get down!” Rhal shouted before diving to one side, narrowly avoiding the sickly green energy that flew from the archmage’s outstretched finger. The wall behind him disintegrated into dust and broken stone, crumbling in seconds. Vladen Gis lifted the veil of Invisibility and revealed his face, the parchment-like skin stretched taut across his skull.
Argus turned at the sound of the archmage’s voice, the same voice that had haunted his every sleeping moment since the Fall of the Bloodstone Keep. “You!” he cried, spittle foaming at his mouth. The Minotaur charged, swinging wildly, but missing as the archmage gathered mist around him and vanished, reappearing at the top of the steps by the pool of water. Another wave of his skeletal hand and the water turned black like week-old blood.
Rhal moved his free hand in a practiced movement, tracing arcane sigils in the air before him, while the other reached into his pouch. A fistful of sulfur arced overhead and he slapped both hands together as fire rolled down his fingertips, focused to a tiny mote that radiated an immense heat.
“Dodge this!” he yelled, as fire engulfed the altar.
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