High Priestess M’Saar saw the halfling long before the tiny creature had entered her nest and she feigned ignorance.
A trio of monitor lizards mewled hungrily and M’Saar tightened her control over the beasts lest they spoil her fun. She wanted to watch this sneaking little man die up close.
That the halfling was skilled, there was no doubt in the priestess’ mind. He’d somehow managed to move undetected through the tunnels leading here and her warriors had failed her. She sniffed the air and sensed the warriors nearby, but she resisted the urge to call them.
Her greenish eggs glistened in the faint glow produced by effervescent crystals set around the outer walls of the cavern. Movement inside the eggs sent ripples across fetid pools of water. The halfling made his way past a circlet of eggs to a stalactite that reached from ceiling to floor. She noticed his care in not disturbing the water.
In his small hands, the halfling, Malbrecht, held a simple wooden staff capped in iron on each end. He froze and listened as the priestess made cooing sounds to her pet lizards. Spittle dripped from the creature’s reptilian mouth and splashed into a pool of revolting muck at her feet.
That she was a priestess, there was no doubt in the rogue’s mind. She somehow managed to control her reptile minions when he knew they could sense his presence. That meant she knew he was here, lurking in the shadows of her lair. He enjoyed the game they were playing and he looked forward to ending her life and the lives of those unborn in their cocoon-like eggs.
M’Saar wasn’t surprised when the halfling somersaulted out from behind the stalactite and landed soundlessly behind her. Before he drew near, she quickly turned and cast her spell. Her god favored her and she knew her enemy was blinded.
Malbrecht swore has his eyes failed him and he backflipped away just as the monitor lizards sprung forward to attack. His uncanny memory served him well as he vaulted over stalagmites and flipped and turned in every direction without staying still. Never once did his feet land on anything but even stone.
The priestess gasped at the rogue’s display of acrobatics. Her lizards moved to attack the spot where the halfling stood only to find the blind man-thing moving into another tumble, another flip. She uttered a prayer and watched her enemy’s flesh turn gray as sores opened on its surface.
After only seconds, his eyesight returned, and Malbrecht saw the priestess chanting. Suddenly he felt terribly ill. He gagged at the odor from his own now-putrid flesh. It was worse than the smell of the troglodyte lair. The rogue felt his strength slipping away. He dropped to his knees.
M’Saar watched with satisfaction as the rogue fell. Now her lizards would tear the flesh from his limbs and she let out a raspy chuckle.
The three lizards warily approached Malbrecht and when they were within lunging distance, they sprang. The rogue finished setting his trap and stood. The cavern swam before him as the sickness overcame his senses. But still, he focused on the task at hand. Timing his retreat, he waited until the lizards charged and he back flipped behind a large mineral deposit. Fire engulfed the lizards as they set off the trap.
High Priestess M’Saar screeched when she saw her beloved pets die. Brandishing terrible black claws and gnashing her sharp teeth, she meant to punish this infiltrator herself. She rushed forward.
To Malbrecht’s surprise, the illness subsided and his flesh returned to normal. His strength returned. He watched in fascination as the clumsy priestess charged at him. Now she would pay with her life for her foul existence.
As M’Saar reach out to grab the little man-thing, he darted away. He rolled across the floor to a a group of eggs and knelt in the pool in which they lay. He repeated the feat several times, the priestess’ frustration growing with every miss of her claws and teeth. She heard her warriors coming.
The rogue heard movement in the tunnels and knew it was time to end this. The last of his traps placed on the eggs, he turned to attack the priestess. He feinted with his staff a blow at her head and when she ducked, he spun around hard and tripped her. She fell to the ground. His first spin completed, he spun again and brought his staff down on her skull. The priestess stopped moving.
By the time the troglodyte warriors entered the cavern and rushed to the aid of their fallen priestess, Malbrecht was once again in the tunnels from which they poured forth. They never saw him.
He whistled softly as he made his way toward the surface and smiled grimly as he heard the explosions behind him as the warriors set off his traps.
The halfling opened his hand and admired the priestess’ hand-carved stone necklace. There was a certain elf in the city who would be very happy to have it and the rogue would dine well tonight.