Harold wandered back down the hall with Little Rat in tow. Ivo and the ranger had come along as well; the four walked to where the gibberlings carpeted the floor but went no further.
"What are we going to do with them?" asked Harold.
"We need do nothing for now, they are helpless in the light," Ivo answered him.
"What if there are more of them?" Harold wasn't satisfied with the old gnome's answer.
"What is beyond this hall?"
"Who can say..." Ivo began, but the ranger interrupted. "There is a huge hall with pillars shaped like many beasts," said Harald, "and there is a pit at its center, but I only saw a small part the chamber."
"You should have waited for us," the halfling said with a tinge of anger, "you were supposed to come back and say if you found anything."
"I'm better at giving advice than following it," Harald smiled at his friend. "But I'm glad you showed up when you did. You were supposed to leave me and have Telenstil head north."
"I know when to take your advice and when to ignore it," said Harold. "Ivo, what is this place?"
"I don't have the answers," Ivo looked down at the small gibberlings. "Some think the gibberlings to be created beasts; some enchantment may have spawned them. This may be a wizard's home of old or a temple of some sort," the old gnome mused. He felt the blocks which formed the floor, traced the seams and followed them to the wall.
"A temple," said Harold, "I don't like that."
"I don't care much to be in some wizard's hall or a temple," The ranger began to clear a path through the gibberlings as he spoke. He used his feet to sweep the piled bodies against the walls.
"Ivo," Harold called to the gnome, "Ivo!"
The old gnome was lost in thought, his mind running along the grain of stone, following the smooth seams that showed where one black stone ended and another began. "Harold," he said without turning.
"Do you have another lightstone?" the halfling asked.
Ivo shook his head. "No, that was my only one, but hand me a torch and I will cast a spell. It won't last like the stone but it will not use up the torch or go out if you drop it."
* * *
"Gytha, I wish you would rest before you try this," Telenstil said quietly.
The cleric had taken a metal cup from her pack and blessed its contents, plain water she'd poured from her canteen. "This needs to be done; it is something that I should have done before."
"I know you, Gytha. If you did not attempt this back when we were on the hill then you had good reason," said Telenstil. "The evil that has cursed Derue is strong."
"The Saint is stronger," Gytha said firmly.
"I am no priest, I do not seek to test your faith," Telenstil said to her, "but Gytha you are not your Saint, you have done much today, do you have the strength? Please think on this before you act."
"I have thought," said Gytha, "It is not my strength that matters, only my faith. I know what needs to be done, no matter how great the evil the Saint is stronger."
"Can I help you? Can any of us?" Telenstil asked.
"Your magic would slay Derue before it harmed what curses him," said Gytha. "I am ready now." She carried the blessed water and her metal staff and stood above Derue. She breathed deeply and bowed her head. "Saint aid me..." she began.