Escape from Undermountain

Escape from Undermountain by Mark Anthony

Book: Escape from Undermountain by Mark Anthony Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mark Anthony
Tags: General Interest
no answer to that, and settled for a sullen grunt instead. Risky as it had been, the wizard's plan had worked as intended. Despair and hopelessness had been burned away by his rage. Artek wanted nothing more now than to have his revenge on Lord Darien Thal, and the only way he could achieve that was to escape from Undermountain. He found himself returning Beckla's grin. As violent as his orcish side was, it had its uses.
    Corin gasped as he realized what the wizard had done. "Oh, bravo, Beckla!" he exclaimed, clapping his hands together, tattered lace cuffs fluttering. "That was simply brilliant. A virtuoso performance." He snapped his fingers as an idea occurred to him.
    "Why, perhaps it would hearten Artek further if I uttered the same epitaph. Now, what were the words?" He braced his shoulders and lowered his voice, speaking the words with exaggerated bravado. "Malth al nothilk, Artek Ar'talen!"
    For a moment Artek and Beckla stared at the puffed-up lord. Then both burst into laughter. Corin frowned in confusion.
    "I don't understand," he sputtered. "Why are you laughing? Aren't you supposed to be absolutely furious with me? I just said your heart was a goblin's!"
    "No, you didn't," Artek replied.
    "Well, what did I say?" the nobleman asked indignantly.
    Beckla let out a snort. "You said, 'Your ears are made of cheese, Artek Ar'talen.'"
    The two broke into renewed peals of mirth. Corin stared at them with a hurt expression until Artek took pity on the lord.
    "Don't worry, Corin," he said. "We'll make an orc of you yet." He gave the young man a friendly slap on the back, and Corin stumbled forward, eyes bulging at the force of the blow.
    "Er, thank you," he murmured. "I think."
    His black leather creaking, Artek prowled back and forth. He knew what they needed to do-get out of Undermountain. Now, how by the Shadows of Shar were they going to do it? The obvious thing was to attempt to work their way upward through Halaster's mad labyrinth. However, according to Beckla's spell, they were terribly deep-deeper than anyone had gone and managed to return in nearly a thousand years. Artek didn't like those odds, and instinct told him that there was little hope in heading upward. But what other alternative was there?
    His black eyes glittered sharply. The inkling of an idea crept into his cunning mind. He turned toward the wizard. "Beckla, you said that Halaster enchanted the walls of Undermountain so that no one could magically teleport in or out."
    "That's right."
    "So how was it that the gate Melthis gave me was able to transport us so much deeper? Doesn't that mean that it is possible to teleport here?"
    The wizard shook her head. "No, it doesn't. Like I said earlier, gates are different. A spell of teleportation instantly moves a person or object from one place to another. And Halaster's magic blocks such spells. But when you pass through a gate, you don't really move at all. Instead, the gate magically brings two different places close together. It's space that moves, not you."
    Artek frowned at this explanation. "I don't exactly follow you."
    "I suppose that's why I'm the wizard," she replied dryly. "Here, I'll show you." She reached out and grabbed the pebble that still hovered in midair from her earlier spell. She held her hands flat and apart, the pebble resting on her left palm. "Say I'm the pebble, and I want to get from my left hand to my right. If I cast a teleport spell, it's like jumping from hand to hand instantly." With a deft flick of her wrist, she tossed the pebble and caught it in her right hand. "But a gate works more like a window opening between two places. Effectively, it brings the two locations next to each other." She moved her hands until they were touching. "Then it's only a short step sideways from one place to the next." She tilted her right hand, and the pebble rolled onto the left. She tossed the pebble toward Artek. "Got it?"
    He snatched the pebble out of the air, then held it between his

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