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Dungeon of the False Hollowed King

By Daniel Graham Young All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Fantasy

The Cruel Dungeon

“How did things end up like this? Why was fate so cruel? Was this really the way things were supposed to be?” was all Astora could think to himself as he slowly leaned against a mossy stone wall and slid down to a seated position.

The yells of agony from the wounded and dying, the sounds of the vanguard crumbling, the bellows of horrible beasts trying to devour everyone in sight, the mere thought of his friends dying in this accursed place were all eating away at him.

“Astora! Stand up! The vanguard is crumbling, we need to get the wounded away!” a tall, bulky man clad in thick plate armour yelled as he bashed away at the beasts with his massive shield.

Astora didn’t move, his body refused to obey his own commands. All he could do was watch as the very people who saved him and his party from destruction were being destroyed themselves and he could do nothing about it.

“Start moving the wounded back to the safe zone, hurry!” the tall man yelled.

Clerics and the rear guard started to break defensive formations to gather the wounded and supplies left on the ground as quickly as they could, the fatally wounded were being left where the lie, there was no time to save them.

“Astora go!” the man yelled as he and the vanguard continued to barely buy the necessary time for the wounded to be removed, but Astora still just sat on the ground without moving. “Where are Astoras’ party members? Get him out of here!”

“They are breaking through!” another man yelled as he thrust his spear into the chest of a humanoid beast with little effect.

Suddenly, a deep purple fireball exploded right in front of the vanguard sending the lighter units flying back while the heavies held their ground.  When the source of the fireball emerged, the remaining vanguard started to tremble.

“We got a necromancer!” one of the few men left in the vanguard  yelled.

The beasts seemed to stop their onslaught when the necromancer arrived, they were probably under its control.

“FU DER MAN RAKULL” the necromancer bellowed. “Here lies your death!”

The ground began shaking as ancient symbols started appearing on the ground in front of everyone causing a small vortex to open. The bodies of fallen beasts and men started to get sucked into the vortex and with every body, it grew bigger and bigger.

“Retreat!” the tall man yelled as they slowly moved backwards, keeping their shields up in a strong defensive posture.

As quickly as it had appeared, the necromancer disappeared down a lengthy dark corridor along with the rest of its beasts as the vortex continued to grow in size.

“This is it! Full retreat!” the man yelled as he turned around and began running

“Astora!” A female voice started calling out.

The voice caused Astora to break from his shock and confusion, he started looking around frantically for its source.

“Astora! We need to leave!” the voice cried out.

Slowly, Astora rose to his feet and started walking around aimlessly, he still wasn’t fully aware of the situation.

A horrid gurgling sound started emitting from the vortex as bodies stopped being sucked in.

“Astora!” the voice continued to cry out.

“Where are you! Where are-“ Astora froze, in the corner of his eye he could see something emerging from the vortex.

“By the Gods.” The tall man said as he turned to see the vortex.

Astora stood still, frozen by fear, he didn’t want to die, not in a place like this.

The monstrosity kept emerging from the vortex, a skeletal figure clad in black robes wielding a scythe in one hand while holding a lantern in the other. As it fully emerged, it looked down onto Astora with piecing red eyes glowing from beneath its veiled hood.

“Bone Reaper!” the woman’s voice yelled out sounding as if she was getting closer and closer to Astora.

Astora looked up at the bone reaper, his hand trembling as he reached for his sword. As soon as he put his hand on the hilt, the bone reaper let out a blood curdling screech and started moving the scythe.

Astora drew his sword as the reaper swung at him with the scythe, the wooden pole smacking into him send him flying. Astora impacted the ground hard and started skidding until he impacted a wall, the reaper turned to face him again, its blood red eyes unblinking as it seemed to peer straight into his soul.

Slowly, it started to move towards him as he struggled to stand up. When he got to his feet, the reaper was right on top of him readying for another blow when an exploding arrow impacted the side of its head sending the creature reeling as it let out another screech.

Astora almost collapsed again from the sound, but he was instead lifted from his feet by the tall man from the vanguard as another exploding arrow impacted the reaper covering their escape.

The man carried Astora out of the large room into a small hallway where they would be protected by a holy barrier erected by the clerics.

“Astora, what happened!” the woman said as she ran up to him.

Astora tore off his helmet and slammed it on the ground beside him, startling the woman a little bit.

“How many.” He murmured.

The woman looked at him and then looked to the tall man that had saved him.

“How many what?” she asked softly.

“How many had to die saving me?” Astora asked, his head held low.

“None of this happened because of you.” The woman said trying to sound reassuring.

“Then why did so many fall trying to save my party and I?” Astora said clenching his teeth as he tried to fight back tears. “What about my party?”

The woman looked up to the tall man again. He removed his helmet and kneeled down beside Astora.

“The clerics told me their wounds were too much, they have all passed on.” The man said as he bowed his head as if to say a prayer.

“So in the end I couldn’t even help them.” Astora said as he hit his hand against the ground. “I’m done with this Gods forsaken place.” he said as he grabbed his helmet and put it back on.

“We will ensure your friends bodies make it to the surface to be returned to their families.” The tall man said as he stood up.

“No, they don’t have families to return to, we were all each other had.” Astora said as he slowly stood up.

“What?” the woman gasped..

“Street urchins, thieves, common scum, that’s what our party was, we became our own family… and I got my family killed with my delusions.” Astora said. “I promised them all I would lead them to the 100th floor. That I would lead them to the ancient city far down below and all I did was kill them.”

“That isn’t true!” the woman yelled.

“Then why are they all dead!” Astora screamed as he pointed down the hallway towards where the clerics were tending to the wounded.

The woman said nothing, there was nothing she could say to change his mind.

“I’m going back to the surface, I’m done.” Astora said as he slowly began to walk away.

“What do you mean you're done?” the tall man said as he put his hand on Astoras’ shoulder halting him.

“I’m resigning from the adventurer’s guild, I can’t take it anymore.” Astora said as he walked away.

“So you are running away?” the man said.

Astora ignored him and walked to the floor 47 warp crystal. As he stood upon the pedestal he began to speak. “Bury them in the floor 36 forest, it was their favorite resting ground… warp Bringheim City.” he said and with that, he disappeared in a bright white flash.

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