Ella punched Kiellan roughly on the shoulder. "Are we going to do this or what?"

"Yes, let's go," said Asherr. "I want to finish before dark.

The group hurried to mount their dragons and get started. As they got closer to the trees, Jaxx could see that the gauze-like sheets were thick spider webs just as he had thought, but instead of the dozens of webs he expected, each tree had only one. He could see feathers, talons and even claws caught inside and sticking out from between the branches. What kind of spider could make webs so strong that they could catch birds and animals?

Jaxx had his question answered only a minute later when he dismounted Ciarran. A spider the size of a rat scurried over his foot. He jumped backward with a stifled shriek.

"Did you see that?" Jaxx said. "That spider was enormous!"

Asherr, Teahl and Kiellan laughed. Even Ella had to hide a grin.

"That one was still a baby," Asherr said. "Hurry, everyone, we need to follow it back to the nest."

Jaxx gulped. If that was the baby, how big was the mother? He was suddenly feeling much less confident about this assignment.

They followed the spider to the mouth of a cave where several more spiders hung from the top of the entrance. Some were larger than the one they had been following, but most were about the same size.

Teahl, whistled. "This is a big nest. We'll have to go in. Let's take care of these first, then fight our way to the mother, kill her, and then kill the eggs last. Make sure everyone stays behind me and doesn't touch the webs. If there are as many spiders as I think there are, I won't have time to cut you free."

The cave was too narrow for the dragons to follow.

"Tell your dragons to wait near the entrance and burn any spiders that come out. Alright? Let's do this," Teahl said.

Teahl pulled out his sword. The others grabbed branches to make into torches. They moved forward carefully in a tight group with the warrior in front and found the first spider nest right beyond the entrance.

A spider rushed at them and Teahl sliced at it but his aim was not true. Instead of killing it, he cut off one of its legs, leaving a large gash across its abdomen. The spider screamed and Jaxx covered his ears, thinking he had never heard such a horrible sound. Alerted by the screams, several more spiders rushed at them. Asherr stood behind the group and held his arms straight ahead, tracing a tight circle in the air with his hands. The spiders froze in place as if turned to ice.

Teahl continued to slice and stab while Kiellan stood a few steps to his side, throwing bolts of magical fire at any spiders the warrior missed. Working together, they quickly exterminated the arachnids in the main entrance and moved forward.

Ella swirled her branch in the spider webs. Kiellan made a gesture with his hands and a fire flashed from his fingertips, lighting her torch. The others lit their torches from hers.

The group followed a corridor to the right and found a spider as large as a dog on one side of the tunnel and a mass of smaller spiders crawling over what was left of a goat on the other side. Jaxx felt a little bit sick.

"I'll get the big one," Teahl said, "Asherr, stay with me in case any more show up. Kiellan, take care of the babies."

Kiellan looked at Jaxx, "How about not being useless and go pull them to me?"

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