After a long and taxing journey our group of heroes finally reached the fabled entrance to the once abandoned underground ruins. It was a gaping maw of a cavern from which a rancid putrid smell of rotting bodies and unclean monsters emanated, the smell of adventure.
“A mind as keen as mine wonders why such underground ruins were even created, what was the purpose of this place, and why should my search for power be concluded here.” Remarked an agitated Magizor before he hastily continued:
“Lady Clary, yours is the only voice devoid of imbecility in the current vicinity, does your ‘Game Master’ deity have anything to say about this?” He asked loudly enough so that everyone could hear it.
“I would stab you if it wasn’t too much of a pain.” said Darkshadow with an outright bitterness in his voice.
Clary the Cleric closed her eyes and attuned her mind to the omnipotent entity that held answers to all the questions of the universe.
“They don’t know.” Answered Clary laconically after a moment.
“Thy questions of purpose rob us of the precious time that could be used to spread righteousness and gain glory.” Intruded Roderick into the conversation
“This tarrying won’t bring us closer to the quest that was promised, isn’t that right my brooding friend! Onwaaaard!”
Proclaimed Roderick boomingly, as he jovially patted Darkshadow on the back.
Once the ribs and spine of a very vitriolic Darkshadow have been healed by Clary, the champions agreed that the point of dwindling had waned and they made their way into the mysterious cave, wherein their fated quest and purpose they were to find.
Before long they found themselves traversing an earthly muck filled tunnel of humidity and stalactites. The scenery was sometimes variegated by glimpses of marble and cobblestone, which told reminded our heroes that this was supposed to be an ancient magical ruin and not a mere pointless cave unrelated to any heroic quest.
As this point was pondered upon by Roderick, the scenery suddenly changed completely, and through a stone portal (as in a doorway, not every portal has to be magical you high-fantasy junkies).
After going through this ordinary non-magical and utterly common portal, the heroes found themselves in an entirely different word (metaphorically).
A perfectly square stone chamber of thirty feet. Meticulously clean and lit up by four torches, each hanging on one side of the room.
The room also had three other identical doorways that led to the deeper crevices of the dungeon…the ruins I meant; which meant that there was three times the glory to be had, at least that’s what Roderick was thinking.
Upon seeing this room that reeked of adventures of old, most of the champions rejoiced that they were truly on the right road towards adventure, but one of them, the youngest and least experienced, was sceptical;
“You idiots are too trustworthy. Doesn’t this all seem awfully convenient to you all?” Darkshadow said spitefully
“What do you mean by that, insignificant worm. Why do you wish to so uncannily dodge your responsibilities to our group. What is our purpose if not to explore this here, and what is this convenience you speak of, a being so powerful as I would surely notice these discrepancies you speak of!”
“This room is clean and the torches are lit, need I remind you that we were told that this was either an abandoned ruin, or one filled with monsters. Be it either way, it just doesn’t seem right.”
The fairy fey lady called Clary was the one to try and put Darkshadow’s uneasy thoughts to rest.
“Your inexperience in being a hero is apparent dear Darkshadow. These torches have been lit by the great Game Master to guide us on our path, they are the patron of all adventurers and it is due to their powers that we adventurers are subjects to these “conveniences” as you named them.”
These words that were meant to calm simply seemed to anger Darkshadow even more.
“But is your god benevolent or malign then? I am a creature of darkness and shadows and were I to find my way here alone, these torches would have made my dark skills much more difficult to use.” Remarked Darkshadow.
“And if they are so omnipotent, didn’t they also create the monsters we are supposed to find here?
No god ever helped my aching cold murderous heart, I have always been on my own and I swear on my dagger that I won’t be fooled by a folly of a fanatic and their stupid god.” he added with a dramatic stare into nothingness.
As if reacting to these words of blasphemy, suddenly a collapse of earth could be heard from whence the champions came, making their way back impossible, and all the doors to this chamber burst open and the heroes were ambushed by vile thralls of necromantic magic called skeletons.
“Finally” Yelled Roderick as he unsheathed his longsword and he began cutting his way through femurs and ribs.
Magizor quickly jumped behind Roderick, so that Roderick functioned as his shield against the bonefied villains.
“Really, skeletons?” He said calmly, but due to a sudden rush of insight, Darkshadow noticed that despite his calmness, Magizor was sweating and clenching his teeth.
Magizor then yawned and proclaimed: “Deal with these things my thralls, I won’t waste my powers on a challenge so trivial.”
Clary was a fighter of a very different seed; as the battle began, she quickly reached into the deep pockets of her robes and threw a bunch of small four-sided pyramids upon the floor, it would seem that they were so magically enchanted, that even the painless skeletons cringed in agony when they stepped upon them.
Only Darkshadow was left, not knowing what to do in battle, he took his two daggers of torturous abyss and did the first thing that came to his mind, he stabbed himself in the lower abdomen and with the words “You all shall feel my pain!” fell to the ground. This unorthodox display of self-hatred did however yield results, as all the remaining skeletons in the room crumbled to the ground as well.
All the other champions were overwhelmed by this surreal act of pure emotion, as a wave of repressed angst swept over them.
The daggers that Darkshadow used fell from the hands of his motionless body, and suddenly as he was no longer touching these strange purple murderous weapons, his body went through a transformation:
His black hair turned blonde in just an instant and his eyes changed colour from blood-red to amber. The spikes and chains on his clothing retracted and his overall appearance started resembling a human that has seen sun at least once in his life.
Though different in appearance, it was obviously still the same person.
Before anything else was done, Clary ran towards Darkshadow and started healing him with her powers, and as she did so, Roderick, still in glorious and honourable bloodlust, started shouting.
“What is the meaning of this evil trickery!? Deception! Betrayal! He seemed so trustworthy when I first recruited him and he was deceiving us all along? We should rip out his intestines and strangle him wit…”
“Silence imbecile!” interrupted Magizor.
“This Darkshadow must be a rogue of immense skill if he managed to trick even me, I might have underestimated him. It is imperative that he remains alive, because it is obvious that his skills could be of use in my service. But there is one question that haunts my mind…”
“What is it dear Magizor?” asked Clary as she was healing Darkshadow
Magizor blushed and lost his train of thoughts for a few seconds before he managed to find it again:
“Well…you see…Where was I…oh yes! if this is all a deception of some kind, and this being before us is as skilled as he now seems, then where does that put the brooding individual we have known up to this point. Is this unconscious body before us the real Darkshadow, or is this the disguise?”