The high-pitched whine of a dozen fireballs resonated in the giant hall.
“Screen!” Prohximus bellowed.
Ita-Mudak immediately jumped around Conomorg and dropped to one knee, next to Prohximus, raising his hands up to shoulder height, facing outwards. Quickly, Ita-Mudak pulled his shoulders back and pushed them outward again, just as the first volley of fireballs reached the rescue party.
Shards of flame lanced through the invisible screen, but most of the fireballs’ power glanced off of the shield, sending them to either side of the group or into the ceiling above. Exploding against the pillar and surrounding area, the fireballs sent fume and grit everywhere, obscuring the rescuers’ view of the throne. Several long stalactites overhead sheered away and fell like knives into Ita-Mudak’s screen, piercing the top of it. The protective dome slowed the speed of the shards enough that no one was skewered by them.
“Did you see them?” Conomorg shouted.
“Were they near the throne?” Prohximus replied.
“Along with Kahrnahrgx!”
“Comrades!” Prohximus bellowed. “We are here to retrieve the humans. We are greatly outnumbered, even in this chamber, so now is not the time to engage in battle unless absolutely necessary. Trust in Providence!”
Ita-Mudak again pushed his hands out, but this time the screen sprang forward, expanding as it went. A second volley of fireballs exploded into it. More shards got through, but with nearly all of their speed and power removed. Bits of fiery embers showered across the expanse between the edge of Ita-Mudak’s shield and the company it protected.
Prohximus leapt high into the air, latching onto the column with his feet near its top.
Eight of the accompanying granite gargoyles, led by Conomorg, sprinted towards the throne, throwing flying fists into the dim expanse between the columns nearest the throne. They couldn’t clearly see the obsidians lurking there, but they knew it was where the fireballs were coming from. The concussive blast shattered sections of the columns down onto their enraged opponents.
Even as Conomorg neared the throne’s large dais, he saw that the hostages were alive. Briefly encouraged, he then saw Kahrnahrgx smirk. Raising his right hand, he made a fist, flaring out his long, curved talons for the killing strike.
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