Several Hundred Years Ago, in this Very Dungeon

Discussion in 'Stories & Fan Fiction' started by Verendus, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. Verendus

    Verendus Member

    By this point, I had become powerful enough that there was no need to fear him. I kick open a door and search the room. Empty, save for a few diggles and a table. A door across the room swings freely on its hinges – I ready my axe before throwing it open, but to no purpose. The chamber is small and contains only a few pieces of gold and an obvious pressure plate. I’ve scoured the very bottom of the dungeon left and right and nine other floors just like it, without finding any sign of him. There is but one chamber left unchecked, beyond a locked door I passed quite some time ago. He must be hiding there.

    The path back to the door was clear of foes. I pick the lock and look inside and see the swish of a cape in the darkest shadow of the corner of the room. I immediately raise my arm and throw a bolt of lighting at it. The flash momentarily blinds me. When my vision returns, I can see clearly the charred corpse of my target – a now-singed black curtain. This room was as innocent of his foul presence as any of the others.

    We knew it, we all did. He had descended into the caves below, into the very heart of diggle society. Into the Realm of the Diggle Gods. Unfortunately, I had seen nothing of a way down. No stairs, no holes, not even a rough tunnel. I searched the dungeon again, with magically-enhanced sight this time, and at last found a wall piled high with rubble. He must have sealed the way behind him. My path was clear; but I could not hope to clear it by hand.

    I warped to a dimension far removed from this one in both space and time – a space of my own creation, forged by arts I had learned from ancient tomes of magic. It turns out they’re good for more than just hitting people with. Over the course of my quest, I had turned it into a workshop of sorts, lined with books, filled with carefully organized potions and reagents and tools and arms and armor. A portal to dimensions yet further removed than mine lorded over the place. A table in the middle supported dozens of hand-crafted explosives, of which I picked out the most potent before returning to reality.

    I retreated to a safe distance before firing the bombs at the rubble with a weapon built in that same dimension. A few explosions revealed a smooth, tubular, downward-sloping passage, of the sort a diggle would dig. I slid down into the depths.

    Below, the passages were narrower, the architecture more natural. Heading ever deeper, I passed diggles of all shapes and sizes; some fell to my axe, some to my magic, still others to my explosives. Had my armor not been so well-crafted, so heavily-encrusted, I expect their snouts would have rent through my flesh as if it were paper. Even as well-prepared as I was, I advanced with the greatest difficulty. I checked every nook and cranny and cleared every enemy, as I had on the levels above.

    Deeper down, I came across great shrines to the Diggle Gods themselves. Though they should have smote me for wantonly cutting down their congregation, they knew that my quest was pure and they smiled on me when I prayed to them. I suspected that I was the first hero to ever set foot down here, for there was no loot to be picked up, and there were no skeletons to remind me of my own mortality.

    I knew that I was getting close when I found the captive virgins he’d taken, in the first diggle-free room I came to. They were locked in a steel cage and being fed the ill-prepared meat of amateur butchery: the only two signs of human interference I had seen beyond the tenth level. I set them free and summoned a wyrmling to escort them back to the surface. Sensing an evil presence beyond, and knowing its source, I steeled my nerves and girded my loins before proceeding through the ornate door. Sure enough, there he was, standing in the center of the room, staring straight at me. The scourge of my people.

    Vlad Diggula.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  2. Verendus

    Verendus Member

    Part II (separated because I can only post so many characters at once):

    I immediately fired my most powerful explosive at his feet. The blast kicked up a huge cloud of noxious smoke and rattled my armor. I readied the next shot and stared, waiting for any disruption in the natural eddies of the swirling miasma.

    The beast emerged at a supernatural sprint, apparently moving right through the dispersing cloud without so much as touching it. I fired and missed – the missile sailed right over his head – but the blast propelled him into me. I raised my axe only just quickly enough to keep him off my neck. He hit me with his side, with enough force to knock me over, and his obscene closeness set my stomach reeling and my mind ablaze. I teleported in a panic into the deepest reaches of his chamber, behind him.

    I heard something hiss below me. Looking down, I realized that it was my armor, which – at but the briefest touch from him – had shed its crust and its enchantments; the runes of protection faded and the once-pristine metal almost turned green with rust and corrosion. My helmet fared no better and my axe no longer felt powerful – only dirty.

    Vlad Diggula turned to face me. I vainly fired a bolt of lightning into him. I should have known better – he didn’t even flinch at my most powerful spell, only absorbed it like a sponge and advanced on me, at a slower pace this time. And as he advanced, he grinned, as if he knew I could do nothing to stop him, and as he grinned, he – well, the only way I can describe it is “sparkled,” in a ghastly effusion of the coldest light, his skin seemingly inset with millions of diamonds, reflecting light from nowhere.

    I was immediately overcome with the deepest revulsion and weakness Merely looking at him seemed to drain me of life itself. My weapons slipped from my fingers and I fell to my hands and knees, my face now level with his. I exploded an impotent fireball against him and teleported as far away as I could – but the second I tried to make a run for it, he summoned a massive explosion in front of me and threw me against the opposite wall.

    I had had it. I grabbed the phylactery around my neck and warped into my dimension. The sudden peace put me off for a second, but I strode to the portal and began to enter the address of a distant dimension I could escape to. I can’t do it, I thought, typing. Yes, you can, yes, you can! – No, no, I can’t leave him there – if you fight him, you will die! Just go to the Wizardlands to reco – shut up! I’m going back. I slapped the keyboard, and slapped myself, and – before I could reconsider – pulled myself, kicking and screaming, back into the real world.

    I fell back to earth and landed on my face. Vlad walked towards me. I got to my feet as quickly as I could and peeled off my now-useless armor and helmet. I would need to be as nimble as possible. I ran into him as quickly as I could.

    He leapt at my neck and I made no move to stop him. His sharp teeth went straight through my steel plate gorget and my blood spilled freely from my neck and I squeezed him to me as tightly as I could and touched my key.

    Our bodies were disassembled into their component thaumaturgons and launched screaming across the abyss. I felt him all inside and around me, and our very souls touched, and had my lungs been whole I would have wailed like a banshee. His essence was intertwined with mine, and tried to strangle it and snuff it out, but from either corruption or abuse his spirit was as shriveled and weak as my body, and could not hurt me.

    We fell into my workshop rolling and knocking everything askew. He sucked at my neck and beat at me with his limbs. I grabbed a bottle of something and smashed it against him and stunned him long enough to rip him off of me. He landed on his back, giving me the chance to recover my balance and bludgeon him with a steam rocket bolt that had fallen against my arm. The explosion drove me into the wall and him into the massive red portal.

    I used the rest of my strength to crawl up to the controls and close the gate into whatever plane of existence awaited him. I collapsed painfully to the ground and took several breaths. It was done. He was gone. I brought my right hand before my eyes to examine it. It was red and black and raw, there were bits of broken glass embedded in it, and the whole mess was covered in potion of purity. The rest of me felt just as bad as my hand looked.

    I examined myself in a mirror shield. My wounds were almost certainly fatal. In fact, I was sure that the only thing keeping me alive was the halted flow of time in this dimension. Upon warping back to the dungeon, where time flows normally, within seconds I would die of blood loss, or burn to death, or be killed by the venom within me, or perhaps all three. And, now that it was staring me in the face, death frightened me worse than Vlad Diggula ever could.

    Still, all was not lost. It must not be. There must be hope. In my workshop, I had collected the wisdom of the greatest minds in history, powerful wands and potions brimming with arcane magics, and all the reagents necessary to create more. In the real world, I would die within seconds, but here I had an eternity to devise some manner by which I might live another day. Another year. Another millennium.


    When the prisoners came out of the dungeon and explained, in confused fragments, what they saw, we immediately sent a search party down to find out what had happened. For most of the way, we saw no sign of anything – no monsters, no hero, no loot – and got worried. Eventually, when we reached the very bottom of the dungeon, farther down than we had thought possible, we found a whole lot more nothing – no Vlad Diggula. We all breathed a little easier. He had done it.

    He wasn’t down there, either, but we found his gear, all rusted and ruined, and guessed what had happened: he had sacrificed his life to save us all. We praised him. We erected a shrine to him on one of the upper levels of the dungeon and filled it with his old stuff. We put his rocket launcher somewhere safe.

    Hopefully, I stuck to canon better than I stuck to tense.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  3. doorhandle

    doorhandle Member



    Well played, good sir.

    ...The hero becomes dreadmor, right?
  4. Verendus

    Verendus Member

    Thanks! And yes, he does. Probably should have made that clearer.
  5. AvzinElkein

    AvzinElkein Member

    I'm guessing that Vlad Digula's taint eventually rendered him very fucking evil.
  6. Verendus

    Verendus Member

    Well, not really; I was hoping to imply that fear of death was the leading cause of his transformation to very fucking evil. Diggula only instilled that fear.