Arron, the elf ranger held up a hand to stop his companions as he led them along a trail through the grasslands. He squatted next to a broken stone shaped like half a human head.
“There may be a ruined temple nearby,” he said, examining the grey ear, cheek, and eye that held an uncanny, realistic expression of fear. “Judging by the fineness of the carving, it must be Elven.”
His three companions, two humans and a halfling, exchanged looks and rolled their eyes. A few paces later they found an old sword, beautifully crafted, but tarnished. “Elven,” said the elf.
“Judging by the fineness of the blade,” mumbled the others hiding their smirks as the elf handed it to them. Aaron flushed, but pretended not to hear.
A half dozen more steps brought them into a clearing littered with broken statuary, weapons, and gear, some shining in the sun, some half covered in dirt and rust. Beyond, a cave opened into a dark cliff.
“By Moradin’s short and curlys!” said Joplin the halfling bard, “this is a basilisk lair! Don’t look!”
The others froze, trying simultaneously to look around for the basilisk and not look at anything. They retreated quickly into the tall grass they had just left.
The tall human wizard crinkled his brows. “Can we just go around?”
“No,” said the elf. “The basilisk might be anywhere. If we stumble across it we’ll be sure to meet its gaze. We’ll be turned to statues.”
“Fine Elven statues,” quipped the halfling tossing her dark hair. “Then we’ll be basilisk kibble.” She frowned. “We need to draw it out so we know where it is.”
They all turned to look at their well-armored fighter, who shook his head vigorously. “No way.”
The halfling patted him on the arm, since she couldn’t reach his shoulder. “I have an idea. Does anyone know if a basilisk needs to see to turn something to stone?” The others shrugged.
A half hour later their fighter stumbled into the clearing blindfolded. He held a sword in front of him and shouted obscenities-to give himself courage as well as draw out the basilisk.
A sibilant croak came from the cave. The lizard, eight feet long and powerfully built, moved awkwardly on its eight legs into the clearing. Its eyes locked on the fighter. The halfling, quietly as possible, strummed her mandolin and cast a spell by singing a rendition of Three Blind Mice, except of course, with basilisks. The creature stopped its advance on the fighter. It screeched and shook its head, rubbing its now blind eyes with its paws.
The wizard sent blazing magic missiles into the beast. The elf, across the clearing, shot a barrage of arrows. The fighter swung his sword in the direction of the screeching, not daring to remove his blindfold. The basilisk thrashed its head and body, turning in the direction of the arrows still thudding into its side.
The arrows stopped. The creature took two more steps, then collapsed dead onto a stone torso.
The halfling and wizard emerged from the grasses.
The fighter ripped off the scrap of material and looked around. “Where’s Arron?”
A week later, the bard, the wizard and the fighter took their usual spots at the corner table of the Cask and Flask.
“How’s the Stone to Flesh spell coming?” Joplin asked the wizard.
“Slowly. I’m still searching through old scrolls, looking for the right incantation. I think I’m close.”
“No hurry,” said the fighter, grinning.
A stranger wandered over, admiring the life-size stone figure next to the table. “Not something you see in most taverns. It’s quite detailed. Elven, I see.”
“Judging by the fineness of the carving,” said the other three in unison.
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