"How do we know it's you?" demanded Harold.
"How do I know it is really you two?" Talberth replied sarcastically. "This is pointless, Harald put down that sword."
"You're just trying to confuse things," Harold complained. "What happened to you? Where's Ivo?"
As if summoned by his name Ivo stepped through the portal still holding the silver wire that the ranger had let fall. Blinded by the mist he walked into Talberth and made him jump. With a flick of his wrist Harald moved the tip of his sword aside; the point was only inches away from Talberth's chest. The cloth of the mage's robe pressed against the sword's keen edge and split as did the soft shirt underneath.
"Ouucch!" Talberth's hand flew to his chest and his fingers came away wet with blood. "Watch it!" he yelled at Harald.
"Sorry," Harald apologized as he lowered his sword.
"What are you three playing at?" asked Ivo. He stepped around Talberth's legs and scowled at them all.
"Is this Talberth?" the little thief asked Ivo.
"Of course it is Talberth, and I'm me and you're you," Ivo rebuked him. "Now let us get back to the others."
"But Ivo," said Talberth, "there is so much here that we need to explore."
"Too much," Ivo replied. "What we need is rest, and a place of safety. This ruin provides us with neither I'd say."
"We are safe enough now," Talberth insisted, though his hand touched the hole in his short and the drying trickle of blood from the scratch beneath. "Now that I know what to say, the skeleton's and the wraith will lis..."
"Wraith!" Harold squeaked out alarmed.
"Do not worry, I talked with it. It obeyed my commands," Talberth said to Harold but he looked from face to face, "really we are perfectly safe."
"We need to talk with Telenstil first," said Ivo. "Talberth you were supposed to return if you found anything."
"Well I would have," Talberth said slightly annoyed, "but I was knocked out and manacled, I didn't get the chance."
"Before such a chance as that happens again let us be off and back to the others." insisted Ivo. "Harold, go collect your shadow."
"Little Rat," Harold's eyebrows rose, "if he's gone to sleep..."
"But Ivo we are safe," Talberth's voice had a pleading tone.
"Talberth you know better than that," Ivo shook his head. "And even if we are safe, what of the others?" the old gnome held up his hand to silence Talberth's objections. "Save your arguments for Telenstil. We are leaving; do you want to abandon us to search this ruin?"
"No, no," said Talberth. "This place is powerful, I know it."
"I do not doubt that," Ivo agreed.
"We may be the first people here in a thousand years," Talberth mused.
"These skeletons are still lively," said Harald. The ranger lashed out with his boot and sent a pile of bones clattering across the floor.
"A thousand years... then the time it takes to complete our task against the giants will be very short compared to that," Ivo said to Talberth.
"I will be back," Talberth said to the ancient walls.
"Ivo," Harold half dragged the young orc along, "do you have magic to help him. He wants to sleep and I'm having trouble keeping him awake."
"I'll carry him," offered the ranger.
"Here," said Ivo, he took a small pouch from his belt and opening it waved the contents back and forth beneath Little Rat's nose. The orc's eyes opened wide and he gave a huge sneeze, Ivo rescued his pouch just in time, pulling it away with a quick move of his hand.
"Smell bad," Little Rat complained and sneezed three times, one after another.