Jul 16, 2019 4:03 AM
Lynne becomes a Dungeon Keeper
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There is a dark, abandoned dungeon.

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And then there is a girl in it.

She squeaks in surprise and alarm, loses her balance with the sudden change of footing, and tumbles to the floor.

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The floor is rough stone. Water drips in the distance.

A creature left in the dungeon when it was abandoned hears the squeak and comes to see what's going on. With a sound of wide, heavy hooves on the stone floor, a creature rounds the corner. Two glowing eyes illuminate an angry-looking roughly-humanoid face which given its face and height above the ground would appear to belong to some sort of giant. The eyelight reveals a square room with a single exit and a circular dais in the centre.

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Oh that is a deeply unpromising noise. She curls up as still and quiet as possible when she hears it, even though at this point stealth is likely to be a lost cause.

...the source of the noise somehow manages to be even more ominous than anticipated, but she still doesn't have anywhere to hide.

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Human youth. Clothes look vaguely Overworlder, but that doesn't say much.

The creature speaks in a menacing growl.

"What brings you to this place?"

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Eeeeeep???

 

Okay, it spoke, presumably this means it can be spoken to, so she'd better pull together the world's fastest language acquisition before she finds out what happens if it gets impatient.

She squeezes her eyes shut for a moment and murmurs something indistinct into her cupped hands, and then she says in the same language, "I have absolutely no idea."

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"Ha. Well if you don't know how you got here, I expect you don't know how you can get out. But I do."

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Everything about this situation is incredibly concerning.

But...

Having information is better than not having it. "Um - how?"

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The monster smiles for a moment. A clawed hand and arm come into view as he gestures at the dais.

"Behind you is an inactive dungeon heart. Claim it, and you will be able to open a passage out of this place. Refuse and you will die!"

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Concern levels reaching critical thresholds!

"I don't know what that is - claim it how -"

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"Simply put a little of your blood onto it and desire its power. I can handle the rest."

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"That doesn't really tell me what it is or what it does or whether claiming it is a good idea," she can't help observing, although probably she should just be shutting up and doing what the enormous terrifying monster threatened to kill her if she didn't do.

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"A Dungeon Heart is an artifact of immense magical power. Claiming it will give you access all the powers of a Dungeon Keeper- an immense wellspring of mana, access to termendous wealth, the ability to bind monsters to your service, and of course the means to expand and reshape dungeons."

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She runs a nervous hand through her hair, pushing it behind her ear.

The monster... doesn't seem to be lying, as far as she can tell? Truthweaving is a slippery discipline but she's at least confident he hasn't voiced any outright falsehoods.

Slowly, reluctant to turn her back on the obvious danger he represents, she turns to examine the thing he called a heart.

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The "Heart" is a stone cylinder, around three meters tall and six across, with an indentation halfway up.

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She touches the side, traces her hands along it enough to get a sense of the diameter, then reaches up as far as she can towards the top. She can see its approximate shape by eyelight, but she wants details.

(In theory she could make light, and then she would be able to see much better, but there is a large terrifying monster over there who just threatened to kill her and his presence is somewhat inhibiting.)

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There are indentations on the top that feel like they might be runes.

"Yes, that's the Dungeon Heart. What are you waiting for?"

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"I'm—trying to figure out how—"

Yeah she's not going to manage this with that monster looming at her. Give her half an hour of calm and quiet and she could at least pull together a basic understanding of what this thing's all about, but like this? No.

If she doesn't do the thing she gets murdered by the large ominous-sounding hoofed creature. If she does the thing, she gets... well, at least some useful things, with which she might in theory escape the trap that doing the thing definitely absolutely is.

Blood, blood, what sharp things does she have with her... she reaches behind her neck to grab the clasp of her necklace, scratches the side of her hand with the corner of the clasp, puts the hand on the stone, and—well mostly what she really wants is not to be immediately murdered but some power would be nice too.

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There is a sound of stone cracking. The hoofed creature takes a step away from the Dungeon Heart.

And then, with a deafening noise and a numinous feeling that something immensely important has changed, the stone explodes, sending fragments of stone flying. in its place is a pit, emanating glowing green motes, with three arches over it far too tall to have been hidden under the stone. in the pit, an enormous piece of skinless flesh beats like a heart, the heartbeat-sound audible.

the dungeon heart

Torches appear on the walls, illuminating walls decorated with murals depicting monstrous humanoid figures.

The monster is a red, mostly-humanoid figure carrying an enormous scythe.

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When the stone explodes, she squeaks and ducks, huddling on the ground with her arms over her head.

Then, slowly, she uncurls and peeks at the........ the that. Whatever that is. A literal giant heart, apparently.

"...you did not mention it was going to explode," she observes.

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"Do you want to get out of this pit or not!? The Dungeon Heart just made you some imps, tell them to get digging! The shortest way out is that way!"

He indicates one of the walls.

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"...Imps? And is there something about that suggestion that makes it a better idea than most instances of digging around inexpertly while trapped underground?"

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"Show yourselves, imps, or I'll sniff you out and rip your limbs off!"

Some terrified-looking, roughly humanoid creatures emerge from behind rocks. They're small, green, dressed in loincloths, and carrying picks.

"Your magic and the imps' magic won't let your tunnels collapse unless something pretty powerful hits them."

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"..."

Okay then.

She points at the indicated wall. "Dig."

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The imps- of whom there are four- begin enthusiastically digging into the indicated wall. As they dig away at the earth, it turns to dust and flows in a stream through the air into the Dungeon Heart. Perhaps as a result, the digging proceeds surprisingly quickly.

"If you can manage to possess one of the imps, it will be able to channel more of your magic to dig faster."

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"I don't know how to do that and the last time I followed your instructions on how to handle strange magic without checking them first it exploded."

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