Please let me know if I've missed any, will be updating as more are added, though I might be lazy and only update in chunks. You know; saving the world and all that.
You arrive on the island and are greeted by the locals, they seem odd to you with their customs but you can get along with them the sky is overcast around the mountain in the middle of the island. So the first thing you do after raiding their stores for any good equipment is to go caving. There is the average skeleton and some interesting loot when all of a sudden the whole world shakes knocking you to the ground and sending a few rocks tumbling off the ceiling. It happens again a minute or two later as you're deeper in only this time a wall breaks blocking your path with freaking LAVA! As any sane adventurer you double back to find another route only to discover that more lava has appeared around the cave system. You decide that this is a bad thing so you make your way back to the village near the beach. When you exit the cave mouth your eyes are assaulted by the devastation. Lava flows are all around and the plant life around you is burnt or burning. The volcano erupted and all hell broke loose and the dragon bone idol pops to life and it is boss battle time.
The Shop Keepers Son
The shop keepers son "if children are included" is left parent-less and winds up in a sweat shop, in the hours of pain and abuse he is cruelly molded into a hateful man who leaves the shop but with his disposition in life he winds up becoming a petty thief who joins a gang of bandits. An alcohol addiction kicks in and he spirals down as he blames the world for his outcome in life. After killing his first innocent (a woman of questionable repute) in a drunken rage he runs for the hill from the bar he was staying at where the rest of the band are arrested, found out for their deeds and hung. Alone he wanders into a mercenaries camp where he joins up, the leader of this band is gathering those disinclined with the current regime and after a few weeks and having the alcoholism beaten out of him he starts getting into good stead with the mercenary leader. Some time passes and the mercenaries preform hit and run actions against the capital by robbing supply caravans for nobles to redistribute the wealth. They are mostly based in a forest off the town of Loxlie. He is now looked upon by the common people as a hero against the evil over taxation of the ruling cast to fund their war. A bounty is placed upon his head and one day an older man wonders into his now forest village of Shurwood. The stranger has known battle and has the power among him as he holds a ball of enchanting light on his staff. The the shop keeper's son who has sunken to the furthest low and is now praised as a hero now unbeknownst to both of them faces his fathers killer. As they raise swords The dog of the Imperium, magic wielder, and general of the Ridomier (player) now faces the hero of the common people and the leader of Shurwood's Mercenaries, Bruce Wayne (shopkeepers son) in a battle to the death.
You are a bold adventurer who ventures the land with your trusty Sheep. You go in and out of towns with no real impact on them as you live for the adventure and don't care about settling down. However you do decide to stash a decent amount of gold coins in a bank along with a few trinkets like a nice sword. Upon one of your adventures you meet up with three nasty trolls and after an intense battle they pen you to the ground and start discussing how to cook you, eventually settling on human chilli and mutton.
A sad death screen appears and then you get to go to a character creation screen or continue. You choose to go with the likeness of your recently spicy predecessor. You've just arrived at a village where a nice merchant lent you a ride on his cart in exchange of tails of your youth. As a bold new adventurer fresh from his homelands these parts are strange yet familiar to you. Your twin brother wrote you tales of his adventures and has summons you to join him yet no new needs has arrived since you've arrived. You access the gold that he set aside for you at the bank and equip a nice sword that was there and start out on your journey to find your wayward twin. You visit a site where a mighty battle happened several days ago and some bones remain but there is nothing left (They moved camp and you don't know where too), dejected by the lack of news of your brother you start out working on business and start a roaring trade in Thneeds where you've used the renewable resources of a certain kind of tree (and don't chop em down) makes you rich and you die a happy old man who married a wonderful wife and had several sons who started up the Thneed guild.
Character selection screen arises and you decide to play as a spunky teenage wood elf with daddy issues. Through your new adventures you run across a midget and being the jerk that wood elves are you kill him and steal his weird shirt hat thing. Sadly a near by sheep saw you do it and it ran away before you could make it dinner. Several nights later you are assaulted by a group of bandits who after killing and looting their corpses you discover they where hired by the Thneed Guild. Because you're such a jerk you go on a systematic rampage because your daddy never loved you (He actually did, but you're crazy and think love = material things and he never bought you the newest clothing from Moonswell Pass). Eventually you've managed to break apart the guild and forced the remaining members into hiding while not being caught so law enforcement hasn't caught on (you killed the innocent witnesses you evil monster). Being bored of this play through you decide to see if you can kill the king so you calmly walk into the capital and then single handily raid the castle slaying guards left and right until you finally make it to the thrown room only to find the king was actually visiting a noble and is not here. You get killed by a guard.
As you start your next play through a rebellion has started with word that the castle was assaulted and the whole region is at war. You decide to join alliances with the first faction that you meet (the kings) and fight along their side doing small quests here and there (You just kill some rebels that are attacking the peasants). Eventually the rebellion succeeds (because you didn't try hard enough!) (actually you don't matter, they would have won anyway because you couldn't kill enough to stop them anyway) so you lay low for a bit, cut ties, and go about adventuring and people forget what side you where on in the war and everything goes back to normal. Sadly you're normal sized and can't ride a sheep but the next time you die...
Prequel to Combat
The dull throbbing of my head woke me to the cold sensation of hard stone pressed against my face and body. I shivered as I noticed the warmth that the stone slowly sapped from my naked body. Memories came slowly like the dim light that filled my prison for where else could I be then a dungeon. On a wooden table there lay some clothes that where not the same ones I was wearing when I was at the marketplace. The clothing was thin and poorly made but offered some comfort so I put them on eagerly. I was shopping for food at the market, it was a beautiful day with bright blues and hardly a cloud in the sky. The memories stood crisp against the stark contrast of this dark stone room as they finally started flooding towards me.
There was a fight, some kid was caught stealing an apple. I couldn't let them lash the boy, he was just skin and bones. I told the stall keep not too, it would kill the boy. Someones fist came barreling towards my head and a fight started. Then the guards came swinging their clubs, I saw one guy get hit before blackness overtook me as a blow rocked me from behind.
This isn't right, I shouldn't rot in a dungeon for trying to save the boys life! panic starts to overtake me as I look around but all that is in the room is the table and a door. Wait, something is next to the door. Why would there be weapons inside of a cell? I grab one and prepare myself, only death awaits those who find themselves in a dungeon cell. I've heard of the cruelty of dungeon masters and any death at the end of a blade would be better then their twisted acts of cruelty. Prepared with what little I have I test the door, it is unlocked and I find myself in a brighter room face to face with an armed guard. The door closes behind me and locks while a sinking feeling takes hold of my stomach.
Sins of the Father
I never knew my father, he was always off fighting the good fight as my mother use to say. I wish I could still go back to believing that he was a good man. I was raised on stories of his glories from my mom, how he was destined for something greater. Like killing one man can ever fix anything.
It didn't for me.
I resent him you know, for leaving us for his damned adventure. I tried to never show my hatred for him around my mother, even at the end she still loved the worthless man. So he dethroned the king and set a new one upon the throne, the world was saved from tyranny and everyone will prosper! Ha! That didn't stop the bandits called royal guards from raping my village. Taxes are justly due in this day of peace and freedom, my mother had to work herself to the bone to provide for a young boy, life didn't get better. Some hero he was, nothing changed except the clothes upon the bandits backs and what they called themselves.
The head guard Bruudy looked at my mom too much, saying that if we couldn't pay the higher taxes he'd take them out of us in another way. For three years he kept the village under his thumb never working a single day in that time, it was so easy to slit his throat while he slept during a hunting trip. I thought we where free and my mom would be safe, HA!
If only life was so kind, just another tax collector and more taxes to be squeezed in the name of greater security, more like another goon to guard his hide as he leeched our village. That's when I turned to the bottle, you see it doesn't mean a thing. Who cares if you're the hero if you can't even save your family.
Well my lad, its about time for your parents guards to be delivering your ransom, because my boy I've learned a thing or two from those stories about Quigan the Bold and no simple hero will be saving you today. Especially no apprentice to my old man.
My master taught me that not everyone can learn Thaumathury, as those with closed minds and eyes unlooking lack the ability to accept the flow of power into and out of oneself. Thaumathury is a living being like the waters of the world, it ebbs and flows all around us yet unseen except or the rustle of leaves and the waving of wheat from the winds of power. You have to open up yourself, release your inhibitions and give yourself up to the world around you so you may become part of the flow instead of an island that stands alone.
The first thing I learned was to give myself to the flow and join in with the helix, I look without and see myself as part of the world. I look within and see that the world is part of myself. With this the energies can be harnessed as we spiral the flow inward or outward.
I first started with minor things, shifting the winds in near immeasurable ways to blow out candles, the air is light and can be moved with ease, but is shifting and requires focus or else all you're doing is blowing hot air. Eventually I learned how to refine the air and with it direct it with enough weight to remove fire for a wick.
Next my master told me to place the waters of a stream into a glass, water however is heavier than air and just as tricky to control. You cannot grab water, you have to guide it like you do the air, but it always has a strong desire to go down unlike the fickle air it has set itself a purpose. I've only learned to move small drops of water so far, but hopefully with time I will learn the secrets to move mountains and set this country to rights.
Magic is not tricks to dazzle the perceptions but a real force, only cheap tricks are flashy and created by those who do not want to see the ebb and flow of life. You can push and pull things, rip holes between places and slow or increase the flow of time to heal a wound or dull the force of an attacker. But you can never create things just move them, fire has to create itself with your manipulation for air cannot burn by itself.
Sui Generis: Friendship is Magic
I've finally made it out of those detestable tunnels, the light of day has been too much for me so I must wait at the entrance until nightfall. My last piece of Hardtack barely stopped the gnawing sensation in my belly, it feels almost as if my stomach is eating me from the inside out. I've taken up muttering to myself, its the only thing to stop those ever closing eyes down the passage that just wait for me to go to sleep. I can't though but I know they are there, waiting for their revenge for their fallen brethren.
The light outside has dimmed, it should be safe to head out now, i must. The gnawing or the eyes will get me if I don't. The fresh air is invigorating, indeed it is but it isn't enough to sustain me. There is no sign of human life on this part of the island nor edible food, at least I am sure they did not follow me out, they can't stand the sun like I couldn't.
FOOTSTEPS! I know those are footsteps I hear and just on the other side of my bush. He appears to be alone however, maybe it is a bandit. I can't let him get me, I'll get him first!
The fool never saw it coming, a plump one he was, yet no food to be found when I searched his body. He probably ate it all anyway, yes, he never knew this agony in ones guts. I've already gone a week on little more then crumbs what I need is Meat, oh to have fresh meat in my mouth. He doesn't need it anyway, does he? He isn't using it anymore the fat slob, and he even gave me a nice pan to cook it in. Juicy it'll be, all I have to do is carve the bits I want and this endless gnawing will go away. Oh yes, it will be gone soon my dear dear fat friend.
Though bravely I speak upon the matter in my heart there lay an ice cold dagger of dread poised to end my life as my eyes gazed upon the stones and crumbling mortar of the castle walls. The wind howled at my back like the baying of wolves in the distance pushing me towards the looming structure while covering the land in the darkness of an approaching storm. My companions huddle closer to me as the crack of thunder in the distance grows ever closer. There isn't much left for us to do but to proceed and seek shelter and I trudge on towards the gate.
The castle was abandoned long years, an inn keeper told us the story before we set out of the happier days before the reformation. The master of the castle crew ill and perished during the winter of hunger leaving his brother to rule his lands in his sons stead, but he was greedy and wanted more then was owed. Mercenaries gathered to maintain order as he taxed the people, and with mercenaries there came the deeds of men without conscience. The people rebelled and drove them back to the castle where in revenge for the wrongs brought upon them they butchered all those in the castle. In that day when the ground ran red with the blood of the wicked and innocent the place turned sinister.
Indeed the place looked more grim and sinister then the story told as the gnarled iron gates lay broken upon the road where the villagers threw them in their rage. Standing now at the court yard the castle loomed even higher above me blocking out the clouds that promised rain, the grounds have been reclaimed by ivy and weeds except in one spot at the front doors. The wind suddenly stopped and the heavens opened their tears in a downpour. A shiver ran down my spine as I gazed upon the spot where no plant grew, where I knew the villagers dragged the counts brother for all to see his final moments before, SWISH! A small section of the stone wall fell and hit the ground to my left and I saw eyes staring back at me from the hole in the building. Then the wind changed directions and through the doors of the castle a moaning issued as if the souls of the damned cried out as the animal face where the wall fell turned into the shadows and was lost. My companions where already past the gate before I even turned to run down the road back to town, the only thought running through my head was, "NOPE NOPE NOPE".
A Journey's End
After freeing the land from the shadow of evil our hero is paraded through the capital streets and granted honors and banquets every night as the people celebrate their liberation from the shadow. Through the parades from town to town the train of on lookers and celebrations drop off our hero ends up on the front step of a small house in a small village. As he steps through the doorway a woman turns her face from the heart as a dog alerts her of an intruder. The years of worry on her face melts away as she bounds across the small one room dwelling as she flings her arms around our hero. "I'm home." he says, and their meeting was more welcoming then all the capital splendor. Through the next few weeks our hero helped tend the fields, fought off some roaming bandit gangs that started up in the slack, and started taking up a hobby in fishing. Sometime this year a new hero will be born, because one day night will fall and the need for brave deeds from good people will be needed again.
Riches and Ruin
The wind howls across the desert night, tormenting you with its chilled bite. The pale blue light from the lesser moon and the baleful iron hue from the greater moon is shrouded by the shifting clouds and sand that the accursed wind kicks up at and around you. Curses come easily to your tongue about that old inn keeper and his stories of gold beyond the wastes of this forsaken land. You do not dare say them aloud however as the fine hail of sand pelts your face. His stories where too good to pass up. Looking past the over exaggerations there was those hints of truth that just might make it true enough.
The pitch went like this, his father was traveling along the forest road to Goldbury when his horse was suddenly spooked and ran them both deep into the woods. As he wandered back towards the road after calming the horse he came upon an old beggar who was close to death sitting on an open hill in the middle of the woods. Ringed by flowers and with a small sapling at his head the beggar just laid there waiting for death when the mans father wandered into his death bed. The beggar told the stranger of life and his home that was lost to the desert, about his journey across it from that deadly plague and his death place that he made out here in the land that he fell in love with. The flowers where the color of his wife's eyes, a dazzling blue that he hadn't seen the kind since her death, nor again after his eyes clouded with the milky white of blindness. In his final moments for listening to his story he bequeathed the map to the only person that cared enough about the old beggar to listen and be there.
As you continue trudging along this foolish errand the reports of people journeying from this inn only to vanish into the desert makes an interesting excuse to go along with such a story from such a man. As you ponder away at these thoughts a shift in your surroundings makes you stop. Something is not right and it takes you too long to realize what it is. The knife came flying out of no where with just a slight glint of steel reflecting in the moon light to warn you of its existence. You manage to dodge it by falling straight down onto your belly but before you can get up the other bandits sword would be in your back. You roll just in time to dodge his blade as it pierces the sand where you just where. A hand full of sand goes into his eyes as you grab another handful to throw as you try to stand up. The bandit who threw the knife is now upon you and throw sand at his eyes too but that trick won't work twice. his sword swings for your belly as you side step while your other hand finds the hit of your axe and you prepare yourself for the fight to come.
An Inn Tale
Picture if you will a foggy night, everyone in town is hanging around the Drunken Mage Inn for the free fire and a nice stout. The front door swings open as a shadowy figure strolls in with the mist curling around his ankles as it seeps into the room giving the stranger a sense of mystery and menace. His steady pace takes him to the bar as the patrons fall silent in their cautious gaze as they take in the details of the intruder. The man orders a milk straight from the cow and sits down, one of the more inebriated patrons with a scar upon his face walks up to the man and tells him "My friend doesn't like you, and I don't like you either." As the strong smell of his inebriation flows towards the stranger. The stranger answers back that he doesn't want any trouble, yet the scarred faced man continues his assault by launching an ill placed swing at the man.
Like a panther the half full glass the scarred face man was drinking collides with the side of his face followed by a punch to the spleen by the stranger as he stands upon the bar stool ready to launch another attack in all his midget glory. Dazed the scarred face man backs off as his friends come to assist him against the short stranger who fights valiantly against the greater opponents using strength uncommon for one his size to launch objects at the assaulting drunks. Finally they close in and fists start flying as the midget backs off. Just before our hero is overwhelmed the imperial guards who patrol the town show up to make a quick end of the brawl with their own brand of justice. The next morning the brawlers find themselves in the stockades as their punishment of being humiliated in the wrenched things and the bruises from the night before serve their purpose to dissuade them from repeating the performance.
Rhapsody (Naked Challenge)
I can no longer tell reality apart from fantasy, the lines have blurred too far, the world is too distorted now. I swear I've tried so hard, I've tried so so hard. I just... can't. The clothes, they whisper, I wasn't sure but I know they are whispering too me. They can't talk, I know they can't. Clothing can not talk. Their whisperings are scraping at the edges of my sanity. They can't talk, so how can they whisper these things?
I need to remember about when the whispering started, it was like a murmur in the background, horse and low. I couldn't tell if it came from the stone walls or under the door that barred my escape. The carrion that scratched into my cell sustained my existence though I loath myself for ripping into their moving flesh and sinew. Then I noticed the murmuring was coming from my body. The clothing, it was whispering to me!
I had to take them off, they where overcoming me, calling my groin cloth a dirty traitor because it was the only one that offered me whispers of warmth. The rest where conspiring against us, they moved the wall further away. A noise from the door! Maybe a clank, the voices from my clothes yelled at me, they grew louder. I can't take it.
It opened! The light from the torch burned my eyes, before me stood more clothes yelling even louder at me. They called me dirty, deranged, discussing. I can see it in the guys eyes that held the axe as I approached his clothes that he wasn't talking. He stepped back, I had to end their voices, they no longer whispered but yelled, obscenities I only half imagined. My throat was dry as the stones grew slick and sticky. He had a water skin on him, I drank deeply but it tasted of metal and it coated my throat. I looked upon his face and was surprised to find that he was dead. I've never killed a man, yes I didn't kill a man. All I did was silence the clothing, it was them that I killed. Yes that is pleasant indeed my cloth says to me. They must have strangled him when I pierced their seams with my sword.
Living my life far inland in a small farming village one does not get a proper appreciation for vast. The fields stretched out towards the woods and that was large. The pond that was by my house that was fed by the nearby stream was large as well, it was the largest body of water I have seen until now. My father wanted me to become a farmer like himself and the rest of my family, but there has to be more to life then being the third son of a farmer. So I bundled up my things, strapped them to my sheep Margrave's back and set out during the dead of night.
I decided to head towards the capital, a life of adventure with the guards would be more fitting for my tastes then dirt under my nails and only roots in my belly. I heard stories about the capital and how it was to the east and north of my village along the coast line. I could never picture what a coast line was but I knew the general idea of where to go. Every day the sun rises on my new life, invigorating me for my journey ahead.
As we went along the old road the air subtly changed, you could taste it. Birds flew overhead cawing at Margrave and I. The tree's which where sparse the day before dropped off so only the rockey hills of grass and ferns where left. I heard an interesting sound, a swooshing noise that was completely foreign to me. Then I turned the corner and I was struck dumb. Water as far as the eye could see, its vastness so large that the word failed to have any meaning. I ran to it and found the bank to not be muddy or rocky like near by house but was something completely different, like coarse tan dirt that didn't become as mud like in water.
I stayed there along the shore for the rest of the day and the beginning of the next before heading out again towards the capital. If anything this experience has taught me, it is that I'm glad in my heart that I left for wonders such as the ocean is a sight one cannot come away from without being moved.
Great plumes of smoke rise from the city below as flames dance across the roof tops. By the morrow over half the city would be razed to the ground. Standing upon the battlement of the cities keep I could see the true desolation that this siege has wrought upon my home, the fields that I played in as a child where littered with the corpses of men I grew up with and those I barely knew. The clash of steel and wails of the injured have grow more distant as the battle that originally raged so fiercely at the castle gates shifted through the city and down towards the wharf. Now only sporadic moans of those left to die float softly up from the gate below.
As I steel myself for what I have to do next I can't help but wonder why it had to come to this. I looked down at the cudgel that was grasped firmly in my hand. It was decorated in in the shape of a mythical beast with large ears and a trunk like snout with great horns that came out from near its face. Its eyes where inset with gems and with the way the light from the falling sun they appear to be ablaze in hatred. I won it from the lair of a great beast that spoke in the tongue of man with my brother before the war began that drove this land in half.
The beast used a two tailed whip in one hand and a sword with a forced blade in the other. We fought valiantly against the beast but we where no match for its hellish strength. My brother scarified his left arm so that we could slay the beast but even with a sword through its heart it still had the power to move. With its dying breaths it laid a curse upon our family, "Within victory you shall taste the bitter ashes of defeat and all that lay around you shall crumble into ruin." It has been four years since that day and three since I last saw my brother. With the loss of his arm he could not join me in the fight.
Slowly I ascended the stairs of the keep finding no resistance as I made my way to top of the tower. At the top standing before me was the enemy general dressed in full plate mail with his shield raised close to his body and a sword in his free hand. As we fought he barely moved his shield instead relying on his sword arm as he tried to force me into a corner. We exchanged vicious strikes back and forth until I finally managed to land a vicious blow that caved in part of his helmet. In my next swing I sent the tusks of my cudgel into an unprotected part of his armor as he was rocked from the previous blow and blood started flowing from across the floor.
Finally I had defeated the general who's army had conquered this city in a surprise attack against the small garrison that was stationed here and had proceeded to attack out from here into the surrounding towns. Almost everyone I ever knew had died to his army's attacks and I've finally gotten my revenge. As I removed his helmet a howl of sorrow and rage escaped my throat as the face of my brother stared blankly out in death. I clutched at his helmet crying in my confusion over my dead brothers body that I killed with my own hands. Such a victory rang hollow inside me as the words of that fell beast ran through my mind.
(I really want to rewrite this later)
The sun beat down in waves of stifling heat as the winds taunted us on the city wall with gentle hints of a breeze. As paid guards we had to stand guard with crossbow and pike at the ready. Both of them a joke as the apprentice made crossbow wouldn't toss a bolt five feet let alone straight and the use of a weapon such as a pike on the wall against peaceful farmers and their cows or the occasional bird that shat on your helmet was absurd. Us who got placed on wall duty uphold the belief that such a duty was instead punishment. Hell if we ever did have to fight I'd find more luck throwing my pike and using the crossbow as a club.
"Oh shut yer yap Bill, the heat is bad enough without having to listen to yer complaining." The man who spoke spit on the ground and glared at his companion. "I didn't even say anything!", "Well I could hear it, and I can hear that too. It's yer own fault for getting caught with that whore of yours by the captain, an smelling of booze while on duty." "Yeah yeah, if it wasn't for that brat that threw a rock at me I wouldn't have gotten caught. Taught him well not to throw things at a guard."
The Locked Woman
Slowly I push my body to move on, on, and on along these dark corridors.
The smell of rotting flesh surrounds me filling my lungs with its repungnant flavors that stick to my throat and mouth.
Each ragged breath forces more of that foulness inside of me as searing pain burns across my body. I cannot escape this torture, but hopefully I can save her.
Onward I go, I have to get there, I must... I must.
Toughts of her swirl around my aggony riddled mind, swirl in raging currents of sights and sounds as it ebbs and flows as a counterpoint to the pain.
A sundress amid a field of flowers, her eyes sparkling like an unclouded sky of the purest blue reflected by running waters.
They swirl and swirl and then are carried away to be replaced by new ones.
I have to hurry, I can feel it all slipping away beyond this eternal tourture.
Finally a dim warm light flickers into my view from below a door.
I'm almost there, I try to yell out.
To let her know I'm coming but nothing escapes my throat but a gurgling moan.
Forward, I have to keep going forward. I have to save her.
The door opens and I can see him in his twisted ugliness as he approaches a door.
I can hear her sobbing from behind the door. I'm coming to save you my sweet, I won't let you be his next victom.
I run at him, and he turns to me with his tool for butchery in hand. He blocks my attack and slashes me.
Even more pain wracks my body but I must protect her. I grab a metal rod that is laying on the ground and I swing it at his head.
We go at it again and again until I finally get him on the ground and I bash his head against the floor.
Exhausted I can do nothing but lay against the floor, my strength drained almost completely from my many wounds.
From the corner I can hear a womans voice calling a familiar name, I look at the face of the dead human next to me.
It's all gone now, a great void is all that remains.
I catch a scrap of coniousness before everything slips away forever.
That name the woman was calling, was my name.
As I walked down the halls a feeling of unease scratched at the edges of my consciousness. Then movement around the corner, a shadow cast by torchlight. Another one was around that corner waiting for me with axe in hand. Rushing around the corner I took it by surprise and forced my sword into it's gullet while my shield pinned its arm against the wall. What could pass as a look of surprise crossed it's face as I twisted my sword deeper into it's body.
Slowly my heart rate came back down as I stood above it's dead body. My quick thrust carved a hole through it's coat of chain mail but it still offered more protection than my cloth shirt. As I was donning my new garment the thought crossed my mind, how did I know it was wearing chain mail? That nagging feeling grew stronger, something wasn't right here. I looked around at the stone walls and blood covered floor. It looked like the rest of this dungeon, the same stones, the same dim torch light. The same door at the end of this hallway with two of the things behind it.
A cold shiver ran down my back as I just noticed the door. I haven't been down this hallway yet, this is the first time I've ever ventured into this accursed place. Slowly I walked towards the door as a cold pit of foreboding grew in my belly. Every inch of my body is telling me to run but I have to know, I must open this door.
Suddenly my entire body became ice as three faces stare back at me from inside the room. The two things advanced on me slowly but my eyes where affixed to the lifeless eyes of the man laying dead upon the ground. His face...
My mind screamed at me as I frantically tried to run but my legs would just not move. I couldn't do anything but defend myself against the two attackers. Why does he have that face! I killed one in a fury of wild swings, my legs moved as if they where encased in iron but they started to move as the other grazed my leg. I managed to stab it in the face and it went down. Then the panic that coursed through my body grew again as my eyes darted back into the room searching.
The dead body with my face was gone. Why did it have my face? Why did I know what was in this room? The tendrils of insanity grasped my mind. Suddenly the realization hit me like a bolt of lightning as I fell to my knees as my mind broke and the world around me disappeared. Death would come for me if it wasn't already here as blood trickled out of my nose and I prayed that the next time I wake up I wouldn't be in that room with the torch again.
If it wasn't for this tasteless air I could almost fool myself into thinking I was back home. Far off each gust of win slowly builds itself up into a wave upon the tops of the swaying wheat. Slowly rolling across the country side towards me upon this shoreline against a sea of farmland. It builds up as it gets closer until the wind gently crashes against the tree tops as the rustling of leaves marks each waves passing. It's been too long since I left home to seek my fortune. Too long since I last saw Mari. A gruff voice from behind me calls out to get back to work. Before I can turn around he's off again to round up the rest of the workers. I let the breeze lap against my back wishing it was the surf before steeling my heart for the work ahead.
I'm not sure what to call this place, it's not what I would call a castle from the stories I've heard of princes and princesses. At first I thought it was, this level where guests might see still has all the fancy pictures and draperies you might expect from building of brick and stone. However where we go there is no niceties. Basic tables, basic chairs, and only enough torch light to be getting on with. At first it sounded great with three pieces of silver a day with two free meals and a bed to sleep on. All I have to do is copy faded scrolls onto new leafs of paper and the occasional moving of supplies. However I can't shake the feeling of unease at night, nor why some people just get up and leave before the crack of dawn without a word.
It happened again last night, another one of the scribes have disappeared. I can't help but worry about what might happen to me if I stay here. There's something they're not telling us. Lately I've found myself returning to this little retreat of mine near the kitchens. The sky is so bright it's almost dazzling after so much time inside those stone walls. However as if my thoughts could manifest themselves there hung a shadow over the world darkening everything even in the bright sunlight. The ocean waves of wheat stretching out before me are now shades of golden brown. The wind which before was pleasant now fought itself upon the fields. The wheat roiled and clashed as gusts of win flight each other and then crashed against the line of three's that surrounded me. It felt like a storm was brewing, one that would wash away everything.
The first I heard of it was the rush of feet as many guards rushed by to the lower levels. Commanding yells from officers directing their men to hold them back. I can hear the clash of swords as I rush after them. The smell of blood reaches my nose as I'm about to turn another corner when the sounds of battle suddenly stop. Beyond that corner laid a sight that brought me up short. Bodies and blood laid everywhere in front of the broken and mangled remains of a heavy oak door and beyond that was an unearthly glow. I've butchered animals back home so I thought I was use to blood and guts, but seeing humans like this. Acid filled my mouth as my body rejected what laid before me. Shaking violently my body collapsed with a wave of vomit gushing out of me to mingle with the blood soaked floor. Again and again I was powerless against the convulsions that wracked my body. Finally with trembling feet I proceeded further until I was face to face with that sickly blue portal. I dunno why I stretched out my hand but the second it touched it's surface my whole body was pulled in.
The renewed sounds of fighting brought me back from my stupor. The room had changed and instead of the hall of death and sick beyond it was now a massive wooden table with wounded men in armor being treated by frantic hands. It was flanked by two stone pillars and beyond that a door that lead out to a brightly lit room where the fighting was in earnest. A man in full armor wielding a pike walked up to me from the side, "Go back and tell them we will hold the line boy. I will take care of their slip up." Then the portal swallowed me up again and I was back on the other side. What in the world is going on here?
From the other side of this oppressive door could be heard the muffled sounds of a blood thirsty mob cheering. It reverberated along the stone hallway around me turning the sound into something even more sinister. Another big cheer came from the crowd drowning out the death screams of a man. Soon this door will open and I'll be forced to desperately fight for my life again. Again I curse that fat pompous merchant that tricked me. I was in the Green Dragon Tavern having a refreshing glass of beer when he slid onto the seat next to me. His words flowed as smoothly as the beer he bought me and before I knew what was happening we where riding in his caravan towards the next town.
The days where merry as we reached the next village and another young fool joined our party. Then it finally happened when we reached the largest town I've ever seen. The sun was starting to set and a bunch of us from the villages where given bags of grain we picked up on our travels to unload into the underground cellar of a large building. I just finished placing my bag onto the pile when the heavy cellar door closed behind us and people dressed as soldiers came out from side rooms. One of the guys with us tried to resist but was cut down without any hesitation.
It's been awhile since the cheering stopped and without warning the door in front of me finally opened into blinding daylight. A gruff voice behind me told me to start walking as a sword was pushed in my direction. Stepping out onto burning sand I stood in the middle of an empty courtyard with high walls and many people staring down at me from atop my enclosure. Red stains littered the ground and walls where people before me have lost their lives. Across the arena stood another naked man like myself. Then from a covered stand along the row of seats above us shouted that merchant that tricked me. He introduced both of us to the crowd in a very show off fashion building up their blood lust with each word. Then he gave the signal for us to begin and a sword was thrown down to both of us.
The blade sunk slightly into the sand beside my feet and with the experience I wish I had never earned I quickly extracted it. With stumbling steps my opponent slowly started towards me with his sword raised. They had made us rub oils on our body so we would shine for the spectators and sand clung to his legs. With each step he became more sure of himself and his pace quickened as the distance between the two of us closed.
The first night they gathered us together in a small cell with bar covered windows looking out upon the arena. After a restless night they marched us to another room filled with benches covered with steaming bowls of food. After we all sat down that damned fat merchant came into the room flanked by four guards. Just like when we met he was all smiles and spoke in that convincing voice of his. It was too bizarre hearing him tell us that we where now slaves and to win our freedom we would have to fight. It started with with fists as we where forced to beat each other to near death, but then it started escalating. Before I knew it we where killing each other for their amusement.
Judging by how wide his swings are he's just been "promoted" from the newest batch of "recruits" by taking his first life. The next swing came in faster but it was easily parried and with this the first blood was split. The fight continued as it slowly became more and more one sided with each swing from my opponent being more and more erratic. Finally with his bleeding body on the ground the fight was over and I looked up at the fat face. A smile stretching ear to ear framed two merciless eyes as they looked down upon us. I am truly sorry I don't even know your name, but I'll have to kill you now. With his eyes staring straight into mine I thrusted my sword into his throat.
I hate myself and what I have become. Even though I just killed him I don't even feel anything anymore. I bet my eyes where as cold and unforgiving as that merchants. Now a days I live in a furnished room by myself. A reward for my good work. I wonder when I'll win my freedom from this cycle of murder if I can ever win my freedom. With how much blood I've shed I don't even know if I deserve to be free. Who knows maybe they'll put me in a fight I can't win before that time comes.
The Descent - An Alternate Ending
I could no longer stop the tremors of the soul as my whole body trembled in fatigue and fear. Again a crimson colored sword swung sloppily down in the torches light as my shield unsteadily moved to meet it. With a clang of metal on metal the attack was repelled. With the shock of impact my soul cowered in fear. Instead of counter attacking my sword arm dangled lifelessly to the side as I continue to block out the fact that I've long since lost feeling in my hand.
Another blow comes and again I managed to block it in time but the blade slides off the wrong way and suddenly pain surges up from my side. I don't want to die. That thought repeated endlessly in my mind and before I knew it I was lying on my back. Mind numbing pain coursed through me and I lost all identity of myself. The world was black. The ringing in my ears that muffled that things horrid breathing and my own rasping breaths was gone, it was all gone. All of my senses stopped and all I knew was agony. I don't want to die, I don't want to die, I don't want to die!
Assaulted by senses my mind received a shock like an echo of that pain and with each new sensation another wave crashed over me. A bird chirping, wind blowing through the leaves, the warmth of the sun on my face, it all attacked my very core as I regained awareness of my being and the world around it. The waves grew duller into murmurs of what was until I couldn't even tell they existed at all. Slowly my eyes opened and slowly blue and green formed into color, then shapes, and then things in my mind. I finally recognized the look of the sky, the feeling of hard dirt, the sounds of birds, the smell of flowers in spring, and the taste of my mouth. Aimlessly I laid there. For how long I was like that I don't know as I knew no hunger as my self, my soul began to be again.
I was not dead, though the thoughts of what happened before caused my whole body to shake violently. After the fit of convulsions I rolled onto my hands and knees and threw up. How can I be here, how am I not dead? I don't understand anything but my body is back to how it was before I...
The violent spasms took me again and I could only lay gasping in my own sick. I am not dead. With that weariness unlike which I have ever known took me and I feel into the deep embrace of emptiness. Not the harsh nothingness that I was in before but that of unconsciousness where everything still is but just removed.
Awakening again I sought out food and found a stream where fish where plentiful. I couldn't even taste it's raw flavor as my hunger was satiated and I fell unconscious again. Moving along the stream I finally found a village and approached it eagerly. Seeing my appearance a young girl bringing in the mornings eggs yelled and ran to the nearest building. Three farmers soon came out and approached me carrying the tools of their trade.
It took a long while of explaining my appearance as my clothes where in tatters and covered in blood stains but finally they accepted my explanation of a monster attack which was true and I was allowed to work for my stay. Over the course of a month I stayed there as I traded my sweat in the fields for food and previsions for my journey home. Somehow I was on almost the other side of the country. Thinking back to before no longer induced such strong effects and I freely remembered up to the point of entering the ruins without any sense of unease.
It happened just around a week before I planned to leave when riding one of the horses it was spooked and I was flung off. The world tumbled around me and then suddenly nothing. This time I realized the pain was because of the lack of everything. This intense agony that fills everything as it all is stripped away becomes all I know. This time I come to myself faster and see a ceiling above me that I've seen every night for the past month. I know I died though I am not dead, or at least not dead now. One of the farmers saw my fall and the horse's leg coming down on me afterwards and thought I was dead for sure. I can't tell them I really died since I'm not dead now. It appears I died several days before I woke up, after it happened they swore I was dead but I started breathing again when I was carried back to the house. The girl stayed by my side most of the time as she watched over my body. She was upset when I told her I was going to leave the first time. When I told her after the accident she was even more so.
Making sure to not wake anyone up I left her company in the middle of the night and proceeded to the town of my birth. After arriving home I found life almost like I had left it though my acquaintances had almost all given up hope and thought I had died. I did twice though. Life became what it was like before though I chose a better means of living and after a short few years had passed it happened again. I died.
I don't want to die, but it happened while I was attacked by a robber who was after the money from the store I worked at. I revived a few days later and then hunted him down. I caught up to him inside the same ruins where I first died and when I finished with him I was overpowered by several ghouls at once and died again. I finally understand that this pain is from whatever that makes me, me rejecting what is happening to itself. Nothing is something but this nothing is nothing. This I understand with every fiber of my being now but I don't understand how to say it.
Coming to I find myself in a field, I don't understand why when I'm in the ruins I awaken here but when I die anywhere else I end up wherever I'm left after I'm found. Someone didn't find me down there and take me all the way over here. What happens to my body when I die down there anyway? What do ghouls eat? This train of thought is going in a bad direction so I ignore it and start wandering around to find my baring. Locating a stream I follow it in a familiar way until I come upon a familiar village. A child of a few years is running around the yard until he sees me and then runs into the house. He comes out with a young woman and points vigorously at me as if he's showing off what he found.
I have a son. I didn't think... Of course if I knew...
All she said to me was that he was mine before they both went inside. I was permitted to work there again but I would be living in the barn with the animals instead of with farm hands and the farmers. I barely got to see her or our child. Finally one night she came over and told me of her left since I left without even a goodbye. That night I was finally forgiven and I was allowed to be part of my sons life. I worked hard and after repaying my debt to her family we left as a family to the capital to start a new life. She forgave me but her family didn't and it showed to both me and our son. I worked for free to pay for the daughter that I stole from better prospects. They couldn't marry her off with a child to the village elder's son like they'd hope.
Life was good, I got in contact with my relatives and let them know I was alive. We opened up a small bakery on the edge of the capital and made a steady living. I don't fear death anymore, I'm scared of that pain but I'll be fine if I die, if I'm allowed to die in the end. Life could have gone a lot differently but I'm glad for this power I have for it has granted me happiness in that shallow first life.
To Be Continued...