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    Not many dare to venture into the underbelly of the capital, most who do, never return. Rot and his companions knew this before accepting the job but still they went.  In the tunnels of the Temple District the Rattlings came at them from all directions in a quick and orchestrated attack.  The battle raged for moments that seemed hours.  One by one all fell around him then he fell.  Rot came to his vision blurry but clearing. He was lying in a mixed pool of blood his own, his companions and his adversaries.  He struggled to sit but felt the weight of his limp left arm and paused.  He recalled being able to finish the tourniquet on his arm just before he passed out, luck of the Gods he guessed.  The tunnel intersection was lit slightly by several torches lying on the ground.  As he moved his faithful hound stirred, whined, and licked his face.  Rot did not want to look but knew he must, he surveyed his wound and surroundings.  Beast had only one wound the flow of blood had already ebbed and began to crust over. No more blood flowed from the nearly severed arm. His three companions and twelve Rattlings lay dead. He removed a dagger from his belt and cut the two inches of flesh that kept his arm attached, there was no pain.  It took some time, before he was on his feet and moving toward the exit, the severed limb secured.  He stopped next to Witel the companion who joined him a day back, remembering the full money pouch he carried. He would return to search the others soon but now he must seek healing.  He pondered the cost of this excursion and smiled; he would ensure the reward exceeded the loss. It was his way. 


    T. Mark Mangum, 18 September 2012

    Loss or Gain?