“What do you think it is?” Varghul asked.
The scratching was louder.
Golgh looked to Benison, then Varghul.
“Whatever it is, it’ll be worth our time.”
“Now how can you possibly know that?” Benison asked.
“Because it’s here! If it wasn’t worth our time, it wouldn’t be here, now would it!?”
Benison and Varghul exchanged glances.
“You first,” Varghul said.
“Right,” Golgh grumbled and took the sword from his sheath. “Traps?”
Varghul shook his head. “I detect none.”
Benison shook his head. “I detect none.”
Golgh blew an exhale. “Alright then.”
Golgh turned the knob and slowly pushed open the door.
A fireplace to the room’s far end omitted a stench and green glow that filled the room.
A growl. Black fur and red eyes. The growl deepened. A forked tale at the end of a giant dog angrily snapped the air and the dog lunged. Golgh charged, sinking the sword into its shoulder. Varghul stepped in and released an arrow that sank into the dog’s chest and Benison fell to his knees in prayer.
“From behind,” Varghul shouted, releasing another arrow that stuck the dog’s head. Golgh turned his sword and thrust the blade down, into the dog’s back. The tail snapped, striking the scales across Golgh’s arm. Blood flowed and Benison prayed as Varghul plunged his dagger into the dog’s skull dropping it to the floor dead.
“What is it,” Benison asked, standing to his feet.
“Homunculus,” Golgh growled, kicking the dog over.
“Homunc—” Varghul looked from Golgh to Benison. “It was guarding something.”
They looked about the room. Hundreds of shelves filled with empty glass jars were everywhere. Bottles and brick-brack cluttered a table etched with arcana runes. Potions bubbled in iron bowls absent of heat. A bookshelf filled with ancient tomes lined the wall where the door led back to the hall.
“Arcana,” Golgh growled. Blood flowed freely from the gash on his shoulder.
“This room is laden with magic,” Benison said taking up one of the many jars lining the shelves.
“What are they?” Varghul asked as Golgh peered into the massive cauldron suspended in the fireplace.
“I can’t tell. They are enchanted.”
“Take them,” Golgh ordered. “Wait.” He held out his dragon hand to Benison. “Let me have one.”
“What is that?” Varghul asked.
“I don’t know, but I’m taking it with me.” Golgh dipped the glass jar into the green goo that popped like puss over the flame. He then stoppered the jar.
“You think that’s what the Homunculus was guarding?” Benison asked.
Golgh shook his head. “Don’t know.”
“Here,” Varghul said, pulling out empty bags rolled neatly beneath the arcana table, and stopped. Atop the table sat an ancient chest no bigger than his boot. The brass fittings were tarnished with age and the wood felt centuries old. The oldest antiquated lock any of them had ever seen appeared freshly broken.
“What is that?” Golgh asked.
Varghul quietly shook his head.
“Whatever it is,” Benison replied. “There’s magic emanating from it.”
“No traps,” Varghul muttered and slowly raised the lid.
“I think we just killed its trap,” Golgh said throwing his head to the side to indicate the dead dog on the floor.
Within the box, a small, leather bag rested in a bed of red velvet. Carefully, Varghul took up the bag and pulled open the top.
“What the hell?” Varghul exclaimed, crunching his face in disgust.
“What is it?” Golgh asked.
Taking care not to drop whatever it is he had, Varghul reached into the bag and withdrew a single, giant eye wrapped in a giant lid. Nearly a foot of nerves and flesh that wired a brain dripped from Varghul’s hand.
“What?” Benison said, studying the eye that more than filled Varghul’s hand.
All three adventurers leaned closer and the eyelid flew opened, revealing a giant iris that glared up at them.
“Fuck!” said Varghul.
“Shit!” cried Golgh.
“What is it?” Benison asked gulping back a mouthful of vomit.
“I think we need to ask who is it?” Golgh corrected.
“Here, try this,” Benison said and pulled out a set of compact mirrors.
“Where did you get those?” Golgh asked.
“They were in the underwear drawer with the panties. Here.” Benison handed one to Golgh. “Now watch.”
Benison pointed the mirror at the Eye, which blinked absently. From Golgh’s compact mirror, the Eye looked up at him.
“Panties!” Golgh cried. “You find this shit and only tell us about the panties?”
“I like panties,” Benison said.
“Give me that,” Golgh said and snatched the eye from Varghul. “Look!” Golgh growled and showed the eye the vat of green boiling above the fire.
“Here, let me try,” Varghul said, taking back the eye and showed the eye the dead homunculus. The eye blinked twice at the dog.
“Do you think it feels?”
Varghul poked the Eye in the eye.
It crunched its lid and glared at Varghul with a now red, watery eye.
“Give me that,” Golgh said, and shoved it down his trowsers. After shuffling his dragon balls around with the Eye several times, Golgh withdrew the Eye from his pants and looked it in the eye. The Eye glared at Golgh.
“Dude!” cried Varghul. “What the fuck!” and snatched the Eye back from Golgh returning it to its leather bag.
“Whatever,” Golgh said. “Let’s get out of here.”