Jadian Windwake raced through the dark, ominous forest, the breath catching raspily in his throat. He plunged on through the wild trees, heedless of whipping branches and stumbling roots that lashed his face and tripped him up. All that mattered was running, running, and not stopping for anything.

Almost there, he told himself as the canopy began to thin, allowing glimpses of silver moonlight to stab through the leaves. Just a bit more, just a bit more...

The Adept gave a sudden, strangled cry as he crashed into something fibrous and sticky, plunging forward for a split second before he was bounced back like a spell on a Wizard's magic shield, bobbing and shaking like a cork. His heart pounded a fierce tattoo in his chest as he settled, eyes wide with fear. Spiderweb! He had hit a spiderweb! Gasping in exhaustion and desperation, he stretched a hand towards his dropped staff, but the sticky strings held his arm fast. Panting, Jadian looked around wildly for the monsterous arachnid that would surely be rushing towards him at this very second, with its eight beady eyes glinting with evil and needlesharp fangs dripping with deadly venom.


He stilled himself - perhaps the creature was sleeping, had not felt him fly into its web? Jadian's eyes continued to dart around as his breathing returned to normal. Ten minutes passed, then fifteen, then twenty—and still no sign of the spider. Jadian twisted his head around, wondering if it was watching him from afar to see if he was already dead.

There was a strangled, high-pitched growl that fell off into silence, a thud, and a sinister hissing. Jadian saw a giant, hairy sillohuette fall onto its back, eight legs curling up. The spider was obviously dead, but whatever had killed it—that hissing came from no human—was bound to be even less friendly. If only the magic-dampening webstrands would let him teleport! Muttering prayers to Lunord under his breath, the Adept began struggling to reach his staff again.

It was too late. The thing that had killed the spider suddenly loomed up out of the darkness, slithering on its long, lithe serpent body. Revitalized by terror, Jadian finally managed to thrust his hand down and grab his wooden staff, fumbling to bring it up against the creature, but it was knocked out of his hand with a swipe from a jagged scimitar. It - she was less than a foot away now, close enough for Jadian to count the five metal serpants adorning her metal cap of a helmet.

The Gorgon leered at the helpless Adept wickedly, and locked eyes with him. There was a rustled thump as she turned and slithered away with her three Medusae underlings.

Snapped webstrings fluttered in the breeze. Jadian Windwake lay on the ground, fixed in the same twisted position as he had been caught... before his cold stone body broke the spiderweb and fell to the leafy forest floor.