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"I can't believe this! Those are Flike riders!" Stephen sits down and covers his mouth in disbelief. He closes his eyes and recites the text from memory. "The Flike is the magical companion of his or her rider. Armor class 7 hide, 26 hit points. The Flike can carry two riders and 40 pounds of equipment."

Cynthia places her hand on his shoulder reassuringly. "Their hides are impervious to arrows but they will not approach closer than 50 feet to an open flame."

Max crouches next to Stephen, "It's incredible. I didn't believe you. I couldn't believe."

Cynthia shakes her head. "It was all real, everything. The Blade & Bolt Roleplaying Game, the B&B Novels - they were all an encyclopedia of Thrycion, this world. Our weekly roleplaying game was all based on this? "

"Don't sit there geeking. We need to be moving. They will probably close the city gates at nightfall. We still have at least a thousand feet to climb down and two or three miles to travel to get there," Derek pulls his pack on tighter, takes a short swig from his water bottle.

The group adjusts their packs, getting ready to move, all except Stephen. He pulls an inhaler out of his pack and sucks in a dose. It is obvious that being overweight has made this journey difficult for him. The three stand quietly around him until without a word Derek scoops up Stephen's pack and starts down the mountain again. Stephen scrambles up and follows.

The slope of the mountain is steep, but manageable, no ropes are necessary. Each member of the group backs down the mountain with feet and hands clutching at small tree trunks, rocks, or crevices. Tall pines grow in patches of lush green grass broken every thirty feet or so by huge, jutting areas of rock where the mountain cuts through. There are more trees and a softer slope as the group descends.

Cynthia takes Stephen's bag for Derek. They start out again after a brief respite with Max leading.

Max's back is toward the foot of the mountain as he descends. The group freezes as they look down the mountain slope past Max.

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