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what appeared to be a severed hand. Realising that Twado wasn't a threat, he advanced on the old man.
"I will enjoy sucking the marrow from your bones, meatling," he snarled in an offhand way.
Lobsang removed his pipe, and delivered a flying kick to the gladiator's stomach, with such force, that Lobsang's foot emerged, among a spray of intestine and shattered spine. Lobsang leaped from the corpse. "I think it is high time we left this place," he muttered as he hauled Twado to his feet. "This way," and he trotted down the passageway.
Twado, dazed from loss of blood, ran after him, but had not gone two paces when one the flagstones moved with a distinct click! Through the haze, one thought came to his mind, "Trap!"
He thought wrong.
The sound was the click of his left leg breaking from the mace.
"Mace!" he looked behind him and saw an Orskan bearing down on him.
Lobsang grabbed his neck, hurled the mace at the Orskan's feet, and ran down the passageway. To freedom, Twado thought.

Later, riding Lobsang's shrebberidder, Twado was nearly recovered. "Why were you consuming my nostril hairs?" he demanded.
"You inhaled the Favros fumes. The poison was contained within them."
"And why, pray, were you eating them?"
"I find Favros most tastious…" was the reply.
Twado, deciding that he was fine, leaped off the shrebberidder and promptly fell and broke his right leg.
Between bursts of pain, he looked down and realised that he had no 'meat' left on his thigh. Moaning with pain, he tried to get up. Twado was then bowled over when a hellbeast appeared and bit at his neck.
Lobsang began to laugh.

The blood flowed, mixing with the excrement oozing from the behinds of the hellbeasts as they tore at his neck. Lobsang's laughter drowned out Twado's screams when it was joined with chuckling and giggling from the nearby bushes.
Out stepped three strange looking people...

The one who was obviously the leader stepped forward from his companions, chuckling and wiping the foam from his lips. He was tall and sinister, with a wide brimmed hat leaving most of his face in shadow.
"Ah, we meet again," he spoke in a flat harsh voice, like the clang of steel. He addressed Lobsang, ignoring the bleats of pain coming from Twado as he struggled with the gang of hellbeasts. Taking his hat off, he spat a goblet of spit in to the air. It hung for a moment before spattering on to his face. He licked at it greedily as he gestured at his female companions. The first was tall, with slim features and was wearing a blindfold. With a malicious grin, she unslung an arrow in to the eye of the nearest hellbeast. The other woman, an albino dressed in crimson, drew a double-handed black-bladed sword and started to cleft skulls left, right and centre.
"So," said Lobsang as he hopped off the shrebberidder and backhanded a hellbeast.
"How's death?"
"Well, can't complain," the man replied as he nonchalantly skewered a slavering hellbeast that was chewing on the heel of his boot. "Just returned from the Abraxus campaign - I made a killing."
Lobsang looked up in surprise, "Abraxus you say? I heard tell that a hundred thousand troops died in one evening!"
"Yes, yes, so I heard," the man muttered too quickly. "Let me introduce my troops.
"The one in red, drinking the gore of that hellthing is my second in command, and the one collecting her arrows from the fallen is me lieutenant. They are called
Svana and Luna. You may not have noticed on account of the blindfold, but Luna has one blue and one white eye. This means that she is a descendant of the Sweelanders of Sweeland"
"No?!" exclaimed Twado, through teeth gritted against the excruciating pain. " I thought the merciless Sweelanders had been wiped out in the last cleansing?"
Svana sprang forward and dealt him a crippling blow on the twitching remains of his leg. "Do not address the great one unless spoken too!" she hissed, brandishing her vicious weapon.
Twado lay motionless, trying to summon what little strength he had left to fuel his rejuvenation source. It had not gone unnoticed to him that Svana had found her mark well, and seemed to see as well as if she wore no blindfold. Horror of all horrors! This must mean she was a Sweeh, he thought, a creature created by ancient witches to fight in the cleansings. One look from her eyes would transport you straight to the gates of hell. But if this was so, why were these three destroying the hellbeasts. Twado's mind was too numb with pain to think, and so, he fell in to a dead feint.

He came to in a boiling hot bath. For a moment, he thought he was back in that white-hot cell and he fought for breath.
A soft voice interrupted him, "Do not move, or the healing will cease."
As he listened, he could feel, through the immense heat, an incredible itching in his injured leg, and it was all he could do to lay still.
"Good," said a steely voice. "He is almost ready for the final test."
"Where am I, and who are you?" groaned Twado.
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