The Tip.It Times

Issue 13299gp

Fighting Shadows

Written by and edited by Last_to_kn0w

"All right everyone!"

At the leader's cry, the four exhausted, well-armed individuals in front of him suddenly sprang back to life. They had fought their way through the deadly traps and powerful monsters of Daemonheim's thirty-fifth floor, and they had done so in record time. As they stood before the last unexplored door, they knew all their hard work was about to pay off.

"According to that smuggler, behind this door is Shadow-Forger Ihlakhizan. Remember those eyeball things we fought in the last few floors?"

"I still have nightmares about that Night-Gazer one," one adventurer whispered to another, "and it took a week to get the frozen goo off my axe after that ice one."

At that remark the leader chuckled. "It's like those but worse. The smuggler says he's seen men come back blinded from that one, if they came back at all. He said something about not finding bodies of less fortunate parties, with survivors crying about being dragged off by the shadows. Now, I don't know about you lot, but I'm thinking that he tends to overstate the horrors of this place."

Another whisper, "I heard a couple of guys talking about him a while back. Said that if he starts glowing we should run behind a pillar or something. Also said if we stay too long he'll attack past it. Of course, these guys were also pretty drunk on that Dwarven booze and went on to say that taking a whip to the abyss at midnight made that Wise Old Man give you a partyhat, so take it with a grain of salt."

"Thanks for the info. It should be really helpful. Now what are we waiting for? Sitting around here isn't going to get us that reward, so let's go in already!"

With that, the leader picked up a large maul and motioned for the rest of the group to get ready for battle. Two of the party members took out rapiers, one wine red, and the other black. A third drew a pale grey sword that was bigger than she was. The final party member looked around nervously before producing a spear coated in glowing poison and a blue crescent key. He nervously approached the door, which had a large glowing pattern identical to the key in his hand. He set the key against the center of the door and watched as the key dissolved against it. The party heard a loud click and the leader cautiously opened the door.

As the door opened, the stench of decay flooded out. Fighting a wave of nausea, the leader pulled open the door further. He looked in and saw a gigantic, spherical monster floating (or perhaps suspended, it was too dark to tell) over a large pit. It was surrounded by four thick, vine-covered pillars. "Attack!" The leader cried out, and the party swung their weapons in unison at the monster's soft hide. Many of the hits bounced off, though one of the rapiers managed to pierce the orb. A wave of corrosive green acid spilled out of the monster's wound, burning the three fighters nearby and causing the horrid odor of the room to intensify. After what seemed like hours of attacking it, the monster let out an unearthly cry, a chorus composed of the screams of several young women, a painful buzzing sound, and the roar of a bear. That’s when it started to glow. The room was illuminated and they finally saw what they had been fighting.

The sphere had four large humanlike eyes at the top of its form, one of which appeared to have been torn out. Each eye was surrounded by a narrow, pink tentacle that stretched across to the adjacent pillar and split, covering both it and the ceiling of the room. Beneath each eye was a set of what appeared to be pairs of compound eyes that rapidly blinked and quickly stared at each of the party's members in succession. The tentacles pulsed rhythmically and seemed to expand before their eyes.

As the glow became unbearably bright someone cried, "The pillars! Hurry!" Without thinking, they each hid and closed their eyes. Even with their eyes closed, they saw an impossibly bright burst of light and felt a massive wave of heat flow past them. They heard a scream cut short and when the glow and heat stopped, they looked out and saw a pile of charred bones and ashes with a burnt, reddish rapier sticking out awkwardly. They smelled burnt flesh mixed in with the decay. One of the four remaining warriors noticed that the tentacles along the roof and pillars were also burned away and growing back.

"Keep going! There can't be much more fight left in it!"

They all continued attacking the sphere, again in almost complete darkness. Each of them knew to dodge the light pulses now, and they knew the price of failing to do so. They continued to fight amid splashes of acid and their target's massive body swinging at them.

After what seemed like an eternity, they heard a loud, disgusting snapping noise. They looked at the pillars that held the bulky monster above the pit and saw that one pillar had broken in half. There was another snap and another pillar broke the same way. When the third did, the monster slid down the pit and its own weight snapped the fourth. It let out a horrid cry as it fell, which slowly got quieter until interrupted by a loud 'Splat!'

A few seconds later the door creaked open and their fifth party member walked calmly through and picked up his rapier from the pile of ash that used to be his body. He told his other party members, "You know, dying in here always gets me. You think it's the end, and next thing you know you wake up next to that smuggler. Then, on the way back here, this thing showed up in my pack." He produced a large, spiked shield. It was a rusty orange color with a bright blue gem set carefully in the center. "I figured it was valuable, but I can't use it. Anyone want it?"

The man with the black rapier instantly replied with an enthusiastic, "Yes!" He proceeded to put it in his own pack.

As they spoke, a panel at the end of the room slowly slid open to reveal a narrow ladder. The leader pointed towards it and said "Well, that's thirty-five down. Let's move on".

Do you have any thoughts or comments about this week's articles? Want to discuss these articles with your fellow RuneScapers? We invite you to discuss them in this forum topic.

Tags: Fiction

Will you use Menaphos to train your skills?

Report Ad