As Melvin rotated and re-rotated the picks within the tiny brass lock, there was suddenly a loud echoing *click* that they all heard. Nervously they looked at each other and then all around at the room in which they’d just successfully traversed.
“What did you do?” asked Jax.
The thief, not entirely sure himself, tried the handle of the door and pushed. It opened.
“Opened the door of course,” he replied, not altogether convincingly. This time he waited for someone else to enter first. Jax obliged.
The room was much larger than those they had been in previously. Marble statues of courageous heroes stood proud upon round marble plinths, as they lined each side of the elongated room. In the centre, a large circular low wall surrounded what appeared to be a shallow body of water.
“There is no way out!” spotted Melvin, “except for the way we have just been.”
“You told us it would lead us beyond the swamp,” snarled Fraevon, a hint of anger to his voice. “We have barely made it beyond the outskirts of Greshfell and sacrificed out weapons in the process. Perhaps the dwarf was right all along.”
“No!” shouted Yulien clutching her head and falling to her knees in agony.
“Yulien!” screamed Rohlen and Jax simultaneously as they both rushed to her aid as she writhed upon the floor.
Rohlen glared at Jax as he tried to calm his sister, but his disapproval went unchallenged. Both men tried in vain to comfort her and cease her throws of agony.
“None should enter the Hall of Heroes that practice the Dark Arts,” said an elderly Cleric who had seemingly appeared from nowhere. “Her sinful ways shall be purged from her.”
“Dark Arts? What are you talking about and who are you?” barked Jax.
Fraevon looked directly into the eyes of Rohlen who matched his stare. In that moment the mage knew the Elf was fully aware of the situation, and all that had been said that night.
“My name is of no importance,” replied the Cleric as he moved closer to the pained Yulien. “What is of importance, is purifying the soul of your love.” He looked at Jax. “Your sister,” turning to Rohlen. “Your companion,” he looked finally at Yulien. “For if she continues to open herself to the channeling of dark ways, I’m convinced the Hag Witch will not hesitate in using her as a conduit against you all.”