"Throw! Throw!" Farthing darted around the lunging ghoul, as it swung ragged claws at the halfling.
"I'm trying!" shouted Tig, throwing another unsuccessful loop.
"Nine hells, Tig!" Farthing re-secured his grip and started to sprint in a circle around the raging undead. The ghoul connected with a claw, ripping Farthing's jerkin and arm. Farthing's arm bled and went numb, but that was all.
"Trying! A hand would be helpful!" Farthing continued to attempt to circle the ghoul and tangle its legs. Tig tossed another loop, this time at the ground, and yanked as the snarling ghoul stepped into the loop. The ghoul went down hard, splaying as one leg tangled in Tig's line.
"Whoop! Hog tie the thing!"
"Get a loop on its arm!"
"Watch the claws!"
"Who knew they we so quick!"
"Ow, that's me!"
"Sorry, sit on it!"
"Like hell! Get that leg!"
The two raiders finally got the snapping undead secured. Bent over and panting with exertion, Tig gasped, "This had better be worth it."
"You're telling me. Well, that worm slime worked, mostly," said Farthing, rubbing feeling back into his numb arm and binding the ghoul's scratch along his shoulder.
"All right, then," said Tig, "Let's get this thing back in the hole." The two shouldered lines and began to drag the tangled, thrashing ghoul from the mass grave.
"If my mother could only see me now. She'd box my ears and say, 'I told you not to leave that apprentice fish-gutter position!'" sighed Tig.
"Ah, dear old Mom. Let's get this thing to the tomb and see if we can draw out our amulet..."
The two dragged their undead charge back to the tomb. Tig shoved the heavy door open, stepping back as it fell open on a broken hinge. "All right, friend. This had better work. Because I don't want to know what your next idea would be." He took up his rope and helped Farthing pull the ghoul inside.
"Secure it to the sarcophagus, drag that lid over."
"Gotcha, Farthing. Think it will hold?"
"Should. Don't want a worm on one side and a loose ghoul on the other. Could be touchy."
"You folks do like your understatement," Tig unslung his axe from his back and positioned himself to one side of the fresh worm burrow, "Now we wait."
"Yes. I hope we didn't tarry too long." Farthing took up a position watching the struggling ghoul. "You in a good spot there? As soon as it appears, try to take its head off, but a couple of joints back - it's going to have a stout shell over its head."
"Understood," Tig adjusted his lantern to better light the burrow.
"So, your cousin's leg set up good after his accident?"
"Yup. But he did win the bet on how far he could ride that goat. Whole burrow-hold had to pay."
"Shut up, bait."
A shuffling, a squeezing. Lemons.
"Ready yourself, Tig."
Tig cringed at the scent, but raised his axe over the burrow.
"Wait...hold...wait..." He steeled himself. This was not like holding the shieldline with his comrades.
A gust of fetid air led the worm out of the hole as it crashed and surged, armored segments propelling the scavenger much faster that would be expected. Tig dealt a glancing blow as Farthing dove. The ghoul took the brunt of the worm's fury.
A second axe blow, also wide. Farthing dove low and thrust upward, driving his blade with the strength of his legs. The thin blade slipped between chitinous plate, and was pulled from his hands.
The worm thrashed at the injury, pummeling the ghoul and tossing Farthing aside. Tig leapt and buried the axe behind the worm's skull. It collapsed under the blow.
"Holy buckets," gasped Farthing, limping away from the twitching worm, "That was close."
"You're telling me. You all right there, hairfoot?"
"Nothing I can't walk off. Looks like my blade's done for...."
Wham! Farthing flew in a shower of soil and rock. A second worm erupted from the other burrow, spraying debris, blindly seeking the ghoul-scent. It rotated its mass toward the stunned and scrabbling halfling, plunging its rasping teeth towards him.
Tig wrestled his axe handle, but the blade's beard caught in the dead worm's plate.
"Hells!" He dropped the handle, and hefted a chunk of broken sarcophagus lid. "Not tonight, worm!"
The hurled piece of marble shivered the worm's chitin, and knocked Farthing from its grasp.
The worm turned its toothy head towards its new assailant. "Crap." Tig hopped over corpses and debris, looking for any other improvised weapon. The worm coiled and followed, screeching and hissing.
Tig turned, lifting half of a broken sarcophagus lid over his head in desperation and fury.
The two met, Tig intercepting the fearsome head with stone. The worm's carapace stove in, but the momentum carried it over Tig. They tumbled among the bones and detritus.
"Unngh." Tig pried the worm off himself, gagging at the acrid breath. He was covered in slime, dust, and blood.
"How are you doing down there?" asked Farthing, looking down on Tig from an upended sarcophagus. "Done desecrating this place?"
"Fine. Just fine."
"Thanks for the help."
"No problem. Good halflings are hard to find."
"Well, shall we get to work?"
"You mean this wasn't work?"
An hour later, the two looked over their take. As predicted, the first worm yielded the Magus, or significant parts of him, at least. Among the gore and offal shone an obsidian and bronze amulet - the Amulet of Yunte.
Tig wiped it off on his handkerchief. "Hope this was worth it - wonder what the Runelord wants with such a trinket. Don't look like much."
"It's got value to him, and best we don't ask. I'm sure he's got some machination for it," shrugged Farthing, "Heard tell the Magus was a fool, didn't know what he had. Maybe the 'lord knows better."
Farthing hefted a sopping bag filled with slime glands. "These will fetch us a good price with an alchemist. Perhaps you can post something nice to your dear old mother."
The two filthy raiders limped out into the dawn.
"Dammit, man, one day we just got to get a softer contract."