Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before ~ Edgar Allan Poe (1/19/1809 to 10/7/1849) an American author and poet best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre.
Joshua spotted a dim light that grew brighter as it drew closer. "Could be the missing William" Joshua surmised as the figure (now he could see it was a figure) was holding a staff with a glowing light atop (possibly Suri's missing mage staff). The figure walked closer, scanning the area, obviously looking for something or someone. Now the half elf could see that it was indeed William, but William didn't see him or the still unconscious Suri. William now stood but a few feet from where Joshua was crouched down next to Suri, but still he did not notice them.
"Over here" Joshua said, an action that cancelled the SEP field that had been shielding him from William's view (it was about to expire anyway). "There you are" William remarked. "I thought you had left without me... and absconded with my gems" William added, remembering his rucksack filled with treasure. Maybe Joshua had helped himself to a few choice gemstones while William was away? Suddenly he was quite suspicious of the half elf.
"That might have been a good idea" Joshua grumbled under his breath, referring to William's suggestion that he and Suri had left him behind. "What's that?" William asked. "Nothing" the half elf replied. "Did you find any water, William?". "Yes, as it so happens I did" William confirmed. "I found an underground brook. It's over there to the right a couple of yards or so. If you're looking to refill your canteen I'd avoid the reflecting pool over there" William cautioned, pointing to the left. "Looked like a good place to take a wiz".
"Sure" Joshua said, more interested in the brook William mentioned first. "Did you bring back any water?". "Oops" William replied. "I forgot to fill my canteen". "By the Gods, William. You are completely useless, aren't you?" Joshua sputtered angrily. Rather than waste time explaining to William why he was desperate for water, Joshua jumped to his feet and started toward the direction William had indicated at a quick pace. "You stay here and watch Suri while I go fill our canteens". "Sure, why not?" William agreed. "Hey, can you take mine too?" William asked, but Joshua paid him no heed. "How rude!" William thought as the half elf practically ran into the darkness.
"Let's see if there was any thievery while I was away" William muttered, dropping to his knees and rummaging through Joshua's belongings. Nothing, although that didn't mean Joshua didn't stick a few gems into his pockets. He did, however, find a prepackaged meal. Realizing how hungry he was William tore open the waxed paper covering of the ration and quickly consumed it's contents. A bit salty, but better than nothing given how famished William was.
A dozen or so minutes passed as a nervous William strode around their makeshift camp waiting for the Joshua to return. Hearing a noise William's hand went immediately to the hilt of his sword. Was he just supposed to wait until some monster found him in the dark? William had romantic feelings for Suri, but she dumped him awhile ago for the half elf with the chiseled good looks.
If something dangerous showed up William was thinking, much as it would pain him, he would have no choice but to leave Suri to fend for herself. He looked down at the still unconscious sleeping beauty. Suri would be dead meat for sure. Fortunately leaving her to a certain death wasn't something William had to ponder for that long, as Joshua appeared a few seconds later, running through the dark.
"About damn time, pretty boy", William said as Joshua trotted toward him. Circling the camp again, William noticed something odd. "What's this?" William said, looking down and noticing a wooden bowl sitting on top of a large rock. He reached down and picked it up. "Give that to me William!" Joshua practically screamed. A shocked William almost dropped the bowl.
"Chill out dude" William said, handing the bowl to a glaring Joshua. Pouring a small amount of water into the bowl Joshua used the pestle to stir the mixture of ground herbs and fungi into a paste. "What's that?" William inquired, "you thinking about getting high?" "No, this is a poultice that will counteract the toxins in Suri's system" the frustrated cleric explained.
Joshua sat down on the ground next to Suri. Lifting her tunic a large blistering red patch of skin was revealed. "Didn't the spell you cast previously take care of that?" William asked, remembering the poison dart that had pierced Suri's side several hours ago. "No, my prayer only slowed down the poison, it did not counteract it. That is what this poultice is for" Joshua said, spreading the paste on Suri's skin around the area of the injury. "What kind of crap magic is that?" William wondered out loud.
Ignoring William's sacrilegious comment Joshua proceeded to wrap a length of cloth around Suri's torso. "Now what?" William asked. "Now we wait for the medicine to work", Joshua remarked, lowering Suri's tunic. "Probably 20 minutes or so, which means the antidote was administered just in the nick of time, given that the period of grace granted by Pollale has nearly passed". "Right" William grumbled quietly. Again with the God stuff. Being a devout atheist William didn't appreciate Joshua's deity delusions. Suri never said any of her magics came from some imaginary friend.
"You happen to see any exits while you were off wandering about?" Joshua asked, interrupting William's thoughts. "Indeed I did. There is a large set of double doors over there" William said, pointing toward the far right corner of the cavern". Although Suri was still unconscious Joshua thought it best that they be on their way. "Without the protection of the SEP field I don't want to risk lingering here any longer" Joshua said. "And, no William, I don't want to expend another charge, seeing as the talisman is running low and draining it completely would make mean it would either be more expensive or impossible to have recharged".
Suri groaned and her eyes fluttered open. "What happened?" the mage muttered. "You almost expired thanks to Joshua's weak magic" William replied; although he was in reality almost taken aback that Joshua's doctoring seemed to have worked. A perfect example of how reliance on magic was a bad idea, regardless of where it came from. "Are you hungry" Joshua asked Suri, thinking some food might help her recover her strength. "I've got one ration left in my pack...". But he wasn't able to locate it. "That's strange, I am positive it was here" a perplexed Joshua said, rummaging through his belongings.