(image by Wayne Reynolds, from the Expanded Psionics Handbook)
Sheen peered down into the hole. “Is everyone all right down there?” Joris looked up at her plaintively. He was covered in slime.
“Anyone have a rope?”
“I’ll take care of it,” Kalenthor said dismissively. He mumbled and gestured. There was a loud popping noise and Joris reappeared with Tulio standing on the edge of the pit. “A little flashy, perhaps, but effective.”
“We should ask Riskin what to do with these bodies,” Sheen said. “I’ll be back.” Haden followed as she left the Steelheart foundry and walked back to the Flamebacks’. Talan stooped to examine the bodies.
“I’ve heard of this before,” he said. “Deepspawn. They can create copies of anything they eat.”
“So, are these really dwarves at all?” Joris asked. “They certainly look like it, even on close inspection.”
“They are simulacrums, nothing more,” Kal explained.
“Father’s beard, what in blazes?!” Riskin demanded, appearing in the doorway behind Sheen.
“They attacked us,” Kalenthor said quickly. “There is a deepspawn down below.”
“Deepspawn. Don’t that just . . . huh.”
“What are we going to tell Hoskuld?” Sheen asked.
“The truth?” Kalenthor offered, puzzled.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine, Sheen,” Haden said. “No need to baby him.”
“I wasn’t . . .” Sheen started.
“Of course you were,” Haden insisted.
“He’s just never been very good with the bizarre and supernatural,” Sheen explained. Riskin rigged up a pulley system using some of the junk lying around and began ferrying things from the pit.
“Ain’t that the truth,” the dwarf said as he worked. “Even afore his leg bummed out on ‘im I was always the one goin’ to the surface an’ whatnot.”
“Let’s get out of here,” Sheen said when they’d finished cleaning up. “We need to get back to the surface and look for the enclave.”