Chapter 22 - Project Management - Execution

Elric stretched and stood up. The runes he had carved on the floor looked correct. Moving over to a different side, he studied them again. He could not find any flaw, now it was a matter of testing. Slowly and stiffly he walked over to one of the goats. He untied it from the other and pulled it towards the runes.

The goat struggled against Elric’s directions and thankfully the center of the room wasn’t very far. Elric pulled a wooden rod out of a pouch, held it in the air, pressed an almost invisible button on it. As he let go, the rod stayed in place. Quickly he looped the goats leash around it and tied a secure knot.

“Sorry about this,” Elric said as he pulled out a knife from his belt. Swiftly he cut the goats neck and held it as it struggled. Blood spurted on the floor and runes, after realizing it was going everywhere, Elric directed the stream into a bucket. When the bucket was close to full, the goat had ceased struggling, slowly he lowered the corpse and got a second bucket. It took another knife cut, but he was able to fill the second bucket halfway.

“Baaa!” the other goat bleated. It was trying to move away from both Elric and the goat corpse on the floor. The coppery smell of blood hung in the air. Elric reached up and untied the leash from his unmoving rod. The slowly he dragged the corpse towards the door. A smear of blood stained the floor.

Elric got two more buckets and set them near where he had slain the other goat. The remaining goat was straining against the leash that was tied held in place by some granite blocks. Slowly and saying what he hoped was calming tones, Elric approached the goat. It turned to snap at him causing him to instead go for the leash instead.

The leash was little more than hemp rope tied in a knot around the goats neck, and the other end tied around a stone block. It was thick enough that the fraying from it rubbing the stone wasn’t an immediate concern. Elric bent down and grabbed the rope, it was stuck under a piece of granite. Elric was able to lift the stone off of the rope but it took both hands to do.

As soon as the rope gained slack, the goat took off. It bolted across the room and skidded to a stop. Elric ran over to catch the end of the rope but the goat ran away from him as soon as he got near.

“No games today,” Elric said. He stood up straight and gathered his power. Focusing on a rudimentary sleep spell he started to cast it.

The goat kept running about the room, kicking over one of the buckets of blood, then slipping on it. The goat stayed on it’s feet but it tried to run and once a hoof made contact with a surface that wasn’t slick it took off.

THUMP! Elric’s sleep spell took effect around the time the goat found grip. Mid-stride the creature fell asleep but it’s momentum carried it forward, into a wall. As it lay unconscious on the floor, Elric sighed and walked over to it with the two buckets.

A few bloody minutes later Elric had 3 buckets of blood. With some magical help on the lifting, he positioned the stones into place to make a little altar. Once everything was in place, he finished the runic script. Carefully he set the 3 buckets on the alter and saw it glow a little.

Nothing happened as Elric stood there for a few minutes. He carefully changed the position of the buckets but there was no change. Muttering he cursed the spilled bucket and went to the door.

Knock, knock, knock, and immediately after the third knock. The door opened. Elric jumped back in surprise almost slipping on some blood. His right foot was able to secure purchase and he stayed upright. A humanoid skeleton, covered in chain mail stood in front of the door. A soft red glow emanated from within the chest of the creature, leaking out all openings.

“I need another goat,” Elric said as he forced himself to stay calm.

The skeletal figure nodded once and closed the door. Elric headed back to the alter and reviewed the plans for OR-5651 that he was setting up. Usually these rooms were designed with a second door or teleportation circle to function. Victor seemed to be using it as a trap rather than an obstacle.

Two loud knocks on the door echoed a little in this room. The door opened and two skeletal figures stood there. One holding the leash of another goat. It bleated in fear and kept trying to pull away, but it’s leash was held in a firm grip. With a single big step, the skeleton entered the room and pulled the goat in behind it. Once the goat was there the skeleton released the leash and stepped back out. The door closed immediately.

For a moment the goat was not moving, The disappearance of the undead seemed to calm it a little. Elric grabbed the leash and was able to secure his grip before the goat could get away. He jerked the leash to pull the goat close, and cut open it’s throat. The creature struggled but Elric was able to grab a bucket and position it to start collecting blood.

Another few bloody minutes, and Elric had 5 buckets of blood ready for the test. He placed them on the stone altar and the runes started glowing. The liquid slowly drained from the buckets when all the blood was gone, the runes stopped glowing. Elric waited but after a few seconds there was no change. The trap part he had set up, did not include the reward portion of the room. The customer had already set that up, but from what Elric could see nothing was happening.

Slowly he glanced around the room and looked for any changes. The only thing different was the blood on the floor was also missing and the corpse of the goat appeared to be a dry husk.

“Ha, the bastard,” Elric said with a laugh. He made a mental note to ask Eft if a customer changing an obstacle to be used as a trap cost extra.

Elric headed over to the door and knocked three times. When the skeletal form appeared Elric suppressed a shiver and forced a smile.

“My work is done, I’d like to go home now.”

The skeletal figure nodded it’s head once, stepped into the hallway, then beckoned Elric to follow. A few minutes later, Elric was back at his inn, soaking in a tub.

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