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178 Cold cells.

 The entire dungeon shook and rattled with every stomp or strike from Drahma. Dave could hear the echoes of pain and destruction getting farther and farther away.

"We should follow behind him," Dave said.

Lone nodded and followed him.

"What is that thing?" The old man asked.

"HE is my FRIEND, and he is the reason I am helping you save your queen. A long time ago the Black Skull Order captured and tortured him for many decades. Now, it's time for some payback."

They followed in the wake of Drahma's havoc. Corpses of cerebri and ice golems littered the ground. Frost, ice and blood had exploded all over the corridor like a gory red carpet.

A lone cerberus that had somehow escaped Drahma's wrath attacked them.

Ice Cerberus

Level: 200

Tier: Savage

Base Damage: 5,000-6,000

HP: 50,000

DN: 10,000

MA: 15,000

Bestiary:

Ice Cerebri are savage and dangerous hounds. They are hard to tame due to their wild nature. But once controlled they can serve as great guards.

The three-headed hound had black-jewelled collars around each of its three necks.

The hound jumped at Dave jaws wide to get a taste of the draugr. Dave slammed the back of his hand on the hound's head and sent the dog sprawling to the ground.

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The hound whined in pain. It stood up and attacked again.

"Wait! Pin it down!" the old man shouted.

"What?"

"Just grab it!"

Dave dodged the dog's next lunge and pounced with arms extended, wrapping them around the startled mutt and squeezing it in an inescapable parody of an embrace.

The cerberus whined and bit at Dave with all three heads.

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"What now?" Dave asked. He felt a bit ridiculous letting a three headed dog bite him repeatedly.

Lone was laughing at the spectacle as the old man approached the cerberus-hugging draugr with his spear at the ready.

"Keep holding it."

The old man stabbed at the canine. Which puzzled Dave. If the the old man just wanted to kill the thing why go through all the theatrics of making Dave hold it down?

But instead of attacking the monster the old man's spear point impacted the black jewel on one of the collars and shattered it like glass. The old man struck twice more, breaking the remaining jewels.

"You can let it go now, undead."

Dave released the hound. The Cerberus scrambled to its feet, looked at the three in a puzzled expression and ran away.

"What happened?" Lone asked.

"The creatures of ice are not innately hostile, they are friendly most of the time."

"Creatures of ice friendly? The yetis almost killed us!" Lone interjected.

"You invaded their territory, what did you expect? But I was talking about the ice cerebri and the ice golems. They were forcefully made this way." The man picked up a piece of broken gemstone from the ground.

"The Black Skull Order uses evil magic to control these poor beasts. Even the golems' cores were corrupted. Now all that's left are mindless beasts. If I can I try to free them instead of killing them," the old man said in a sad voice.

"Let's get moving, we don't want Drahma getting too far ahead of us. If there are more creatures that he didn't kill we will have to fight them on our own."

As the group traveled deeper into the hallways they encountered an ice golem.

"Don't tell me you want me to grab this one too?" Dave said cynically.

"No, we have to kill it. The corruption in the core is too advanced."

The old man moved toward the ice golem and dodged a hand slam. He ran up the golem's arm and stabbed its neck twice.

The old man vaulted off the golem, performed a summersault and landed on his feet as the golem crumbled.

"Full points!" Lone clapped for the old man's performance, Dave shook his head.

They walked for half an hour and Dave's mood sank with every stride. The cells in the corridors had many many varying bodies, mammoths, ents, stone golems and many other creatures.

"You said there are six levels like this?" asked Dave

"I believe so, but this is just the prison area. I read in some records that the lower areas were laboratories. We should be near the guardian of this level. It's a powerful creature, it almost killed me the last time I reached it.

On the other side of the corridor, a huge door was blasted open. Beyond the gate was a cavern hollowed out of the ice.

The remains of the door, chunks and splinters of wood, were scattered around the entrance. When they passed through and into the cavern they saw the corpse of a large monster, It looked like a sabertooth tiger, but this feline had metal armor plates instead of fur. Several of the natural armor pieces were bent or broken off and blood oozed from the wounds underneath.

"What a monster..." the old man said.

Dave didn't know if he was talking about Drahma or the sabretooth.

On the opposite side of the room was another door, also shattered.

Lone moved closer to the corpse and touched it.

"Awww. No loot on this one, Davey."

"We didn't help kill it, so only Drahma can pick up the loot. Unless it's related to your quest...?"

"No, it's not. Let's catch up to Drahma, we can help him and get some loot.".

The old man approached the dead sabretooth and sighed. He squatted holding the ice-flame lantern over the body, he opened the lantern and poured the ice-fire onto it. The blue flame spread over the body of the sabretooth like a hungry viscous liquid, consuming it rapidly. In seconds all that was left of the feline was a pile of glowing blue cinders.

The old man held the the empty lantern close to the ice-flames and they jumped back into the lantern. He stood up and led the way to the next area.

Behind the broken door was a stairway. Glowing stones were embedded on the walls, lighting the stairwell. Some of the steps were crushed, by what looked like Drahma-size footprint shapes.

The stairs ended at the entrance to a large cavern lined with freight container-sized blocks of ice. Frozen within each ice block was a humanoid monster.

"Another prison..." Dave mumbled.

"Yes...but these monsters are still alive."

Dave approached one of the icy prisons. It held a white furred frost-troll with a flaming red mane and a big, equally-red nose. The troll's muscles bulged with vitality and power.

But what really creeped Dave out was when the troll's eyes moved.