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 Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.

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Tymber

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Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. Empty
PostSubject: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:54 pm

So, this all began when I purchased Legend of Grimrock, which is a CRPG that reminded me of old school Wizardry games. Essentially a dungeon crawl, where you control four characters, from a first person perspective. The game, being new, and from an indie company – didn’t have much in the way of lore. So this gave me a chance to give my character some background and play in this world, in the way of writing as well, to explain some of the things found within… Legend of Grimrock.

When these were written, I used to write them during lunch – simply for the sake of writing. I wasn’t sure where I was going with it, from time to time. Each one was written then and there – with no planning on what the end goal was. It was all to keep my brain thinking creatively. I realized, I had posted it on our forum – but have since removed the forum, so I figured I’d repost them here:

My name is Tawmis Sanarius.

And my life may soon be over.

Three nights ago, I would not have seen myself where I am now. Aboard an airship headed for Mount Grimrock. Three nights ago, I was enjoying the fine company of strong beverages and scantily dressed women. Through somewhat bleary eyes, brought on by the intoxication that flowed through my blood, I watched a Lizard Man slip into the bar; its beady eyes scanning the room. Whoever he was – he was a rogue, that much I was certain. He was looking for an easy target to get his reptilian fingers into their purses and relieve them of their coin. I smiled, because whatever was going to happen next was going to be entertaining. I nudged Taren Bloodhorn, my closest – actually, my only friend. A towering grey minotaur, with muscles that rested on top of muscles; every breath he took, his entire chest seemed to come alive with rippling muscles. The ladies of ‘The Fallen Star’ enjoyed that. Some would consider unusual that human females would partake in … encounters… with minotaurs. Here, that was never questioned. Probably why Taren loved this place.

Taren’s nostrils flared in amusement, as we both watched the Lizard Man move through the crowd. Though they were humanoid in appearance, with their lizard heads, scales and claws, they seemed to possess every trait of every reptile. Whether it was trying to climb a wall, or slither and squeeze in between impossibly small spaces.

I put my mug down when I followed the lizard’s gaze. This was going to go poorly. A side glance to Taren, and he recognized the problem that was about to escalate. “It’s none of our concern,” his deep voice growled. “Sit back and enjoy the ale and the women.”

“He doesn’t know what he’s getting into,” I said, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.

The reptilian’s target is none other than Boris Thunkal. A brute. An idiot. But also one of the King’s Men.

The King’s Men are handpicked Knights from the King’s general soldiers. The King’s Men are also the most trusted men among the King. The only ones who are allowed to guard him from within his tower. By law, the King’s Men are not permitted in ‘The Fallen Star’ because it is an ‘unsavory’ place. But I do believe Boris spends as much time as I do here; if not more. And it’s not to arrest people. (Although come to think of it, it might involves some role play of him ‘arresting’ some of these fine women of the evening). Despite the law, Boris enjoys the company of the women of ‘The Fallen Star’ and everyone here knows he’s one of the King’s Men, and he throws his weight (which there is plenty of, around that rotund waist of his!) around, like he owns the place. I wouldn’t say I hate Boris; but I would certainly chalk it up for a very strong and very passionate dislike of the man.

Unfortunately, the reptilian has mistaken Boris’ general idiotic attitude for drunkenness; which means, when the reptilian reaches for Boris’ coin pouch, the dumb lizard is going to get caught, and there’s going to be a huge scene.

So I stand and make my way towards Boris. Taren sees me making my way and shakes his head, “Pardon me, ladies,” he said with the booming voice, to each woman sitting on his lap. “With any luck I shall return.”

As I had predicted, as the reptilian reached for Boris’ coin pouch to cut it; Boris felt the cold claws on his pouch and screamed, “Thief!” Immediately, the other members of the King’s Own stood up.

“Hold it,” I said, patting Boris on the shoulder. “Let me buy you a drink. The reptilian meant no harm. He was snagged on your pouch – you know, those scales get caught on anything – and was just trying to free himself.”

“Wait! Where’s my coin purse?” one of the other King’s Own called out. Boris spun and ripped open the reptilian’s cloth vest; and the sound of a coin purse, with the King’s marking on it, feel to the ground.

I watched the coin bag fall. I watched Boris’ eyes go to the reptilian then to me.

“Dung,” I muttered. I knew what was coming next.

I heard Taren roar and charge on of the drunk guards who had stood to arrest both the reptilian and myself (thinking me an accomplice). Boris turned to me and drew his blade, but my closed fist came across the bridge of his nose with incredible force. He reeled back, his hand over his nose. “You bwoke mife nwose,” he said as blood poured between his fingers.

“Yeah, sorry about that, it’s just I don’t take kindly to being arrested again,” I said, and punched him again, sending him swirling to the ground. Unfortunately, this gave the other King’s Own a chance to come up behind me.

The last thing I heard, before I blacked out was the sound of shattering glass on the back of my skull.

This would be no ordinary crime. We had assaulted the King’s Own, which by law, was an assault on the King himself.

When we were brought before the King, Boris had explained that the King’s Own had been on patrol through Curvia (which was the high end of town), when they had heard noises. Upon investigating, they reported that they had caught us trying to break into the home of Houralus Survine, one of the Royal Men of Curvia. I shook my head.

When the King asked for our version of what happened, I explained the truth. Of course, there would be no one to back up our story – not even if they brought in people from The Fallen Star (not that they ever would; the Heavens forbid such ‘unsavory’ people taint the King’s palace just to verify a thief’s tale). The King naturally sided with the King’s Own; to do otherwise would indicate that the King had fallible judgment when selecting the King’s Own. But I saw it in the King’s eyes; when I described breaking Boris’ nose, the King could barely contain his smile.

Without a doubt, the King had selected Boris, but didn’t care for Boris’ attitude, and perhaps even knew that we were telling the truth. By the grace of the King, our ‘sins’ were forgiven – but it would still be up to the gods to determine if we were guilty or not. “I now sentence the four of you,” I heard the King say. Four? I looked over and saw an insectoid, whom I did not recognize. “To be thrown into Mount Grimrock. If the gods deem that you are absolved of your sins, you shall survive as you work your way from the top of Mount Grimrock down to its base, where the only exit is known to exist.”

Boris seemed as though he might protest the fact that we were given – no matter how slim – a chance to live. However, the King’s scolding looked silenced the arrogant guard.

As they chained the four of us and escorted us aboard an airship, I looked to the insectoid. “How did you get involved in all of this?”

“When –tic!- the guard struck you –tic!- from behind,” the insectoid said through its mandibles. “I –tic!- cast a blinding flash –tic!- behind his eyes! I tried to –tic!- heal you, but –tic!- was overcome.”

“I thank you for your effort,” I said. “The minotaur over there is Taren Bloodhorn. I’m sorry you’re in this mess with us.”

“It was –tic!- my choice. I have observed –tic!- the King’s Own, namely the Boris gentlemen –tic!- and seen how he treats non-humans –tic!- with extreme prejudice. I was honored to –tic!- fight with you for as long as I lasted. My name –tic!- is Blaz’tik.”

I looked at the lizard man, who had remained quiet. “Can I get the name of the man for who I may die for?”

The Lizard Man looked up, “My name is Silvertan,” he said, his ‘s’ coming out in long hisses. “I did not ask for your help.”

“Well, I wasn’t about to let you get thrown in a prison to rot,” I smiled. “Besides, I was looking for a reason to break Boris’ nose.”

From the front of the airship, I saw Boris turn and give a scowling look.

In the distance, I could see it. Even as the airship struggled to gain altitude in the storm clouds.

Mount Grimrock.

My name is Tawmis Sanarius.

And my life may soon be over.

Three nights ago, I would not have seen myself where I am now.
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Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. Empty
PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:54 pm



I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. Prisoners “pardoned by the King” are brought to the top of Mount Grimrock and thrown in to find their way to the bottom and escape; should they escape, that means the gods have deemed the prisoners innocent, or at least, given a second chance.

The stories about the things within Mount Grimrock are… well, for lack of a better word, grim. So far, the survival count for prisoners who have escaped Mount Grimrock are in the single digits. As in, zero. That doesn’t bode well for us.

“We have –tic!- nothing to worry about –tic!- right?” Blaz’tik the insectoid asked, looking at me.

“No,” I smile.

Like I said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.

So sue me, I’m lying.

Taren, my minotaur companion gives me a sour look. He knows I’m lying. He’s been with me through thick and thin. He knows when I lie, or tell the truth, or even just ever so slightly bend the truth. Taren shakes his head at me.

“It would seem,” the lizard-man, Silvertan, pointed out, with his words lisping, “that your minotaur companion does not agree with your assessment.”

“Well if it makes you feel better,” I replied, standing up and rubbing my shoulder. “Taren hardly ever agrees with me on anything.” I held my hand out to the Lizard Man, my shackles rattling. All four of us had been shackled together when we were thrown in. “Now, is there anything you can do about these? Wearing these and trying to find our way through here is going to make things a lot more complicated than they need to be.”

As I suspected, Silvertan popped the locks with very little effort.

“You’re much better than you originally let on,” I commented, rubbing my wrists. “You could have easily got Boris’ purse. So why the charade? Did you want to get caught?”

Silvertan was silent for a moment. “None of you were supposed to get involved. None of you were supposed to help. I had been watching Boris for days. I knew his pattern better than he did. I waited until he went into the Fallen Star, because I thought no one would come to his aid. Patrons would be too drunk. Wouldn’t care.”

“So were you looking for some kind of death sentence,” I asked, as my eyes glanced around the small cell we were now stuck in.

“No, my intention was to be thrown into Mount Grimrock,” Silvertan hissed, his serpent tongue flickering. “There are legend of the Undying One’s treasure that reach as far as my lands in the Terragrass Marshes.”

Terragrass Marshes. My mother told me about that place. It was called ‘Terra-Gras’ because of the whole Earthly feeling. Most who traveled through it called it the ‘Terror Grass Marshes’, however, because the amount of wild life, almost all of it, beyond lethal just from a small scratch or bite. Only the brave and the foolish ventured into the Terragrass Marshes.

“So you thought you would get caught, get arrested, then just thrown down here; make your way to the bottom, on your own, fighting everything that’s said to be trapped in here and walk out with this incredible, and I might add – only a legend! – of a treasure?” I sputtered.

“I had no intention of fighting anything,” Silvertan retorted. “I’m a rogue. I live in the darkness. I come from the Terragrass Marshes. I know how to move without being seen, even if I am standing right in front of someone’s gaze. I would have made my way down without any problem,” Silvertan replied. “All you have done is complicate matters.”

“You have a wonderful way of saying, ‘Thanks for trying to help me!’” I muttered as I walked towards the only exit; thick bars that blocked our way out.

“I didn’t asked to be helped,” Silvertan said again.

I turned my head, “Great. Yeah, I get it. Thanks.” I turned my attention back to the bars. “These slide up, but they’re pretty rusted. Taren?”

The Minotaur stood, towering well over seven feet tall. Each step sounded like rolling thunder. His massive hands, bigger than my head, grabbed the bars and gave them a shove. The entire mountain seemed to scream in protest – but slowly, the bars rose and our only exit from the first room became available to us.

“The least those bastards could have done is toss us down some weapons,” I muttered.

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Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. Ba_tym10
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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:54 pm

Lit torches.

There’s a care taker that roams Mount Grimrock then.

“There’s a caretaker here,” I said, as I detached the torch from the wall. “If we can time it right, we must be able to see how he’s able to come through here… follow him out. There might be a secret passage he’s using to get around everything. Grimrock is said to be full of secrets.”

“I –tic!- hate to disappoint,” the insectoid said, shaking his head. “There is no –tic!- caretaker in Grimrock that lights –tic!- these torches.”

“Then how do they stay lit?” I asked, turning to face Blaz’tik.

“Magic,” Blaz’tik answered, matter-of-factly, as if I should have known. Seeing my blank expression he pressed on to explain, “When Grimrock –tic!- was made, magic was used –tic!- to light the torches. The flames –tic!- burn eternally, so long as –tic!- connected to Grimrock. Like a rose –tic!- the torch will continue to live; remove it from the wall, and its life and fire will –tic!- eventually begin to fade. Plant it back on the wall –tic!- and the fire will continue to burn, like a rose –tic!- replanted in soil. If you look closely, each –tic!- sconce is etched with magical runes. The magic that –tic!- runs through Mount Grimrock looks for these, like –tic!- veins of blood.”

“You speak like Mount Grimrock is alive,” Taren huffed, through his massive black nostrils.

“In many ways, -tic!-,” Blaz’tik explained, touching the wall fondly, “Mount Grimrock is very much alive.”

“Can I just say I hate magic,” I muttered through clenched teeth.

“Not surprising,” Silvertan hissed, barely audible, “considering your parents.”

I shot Silvertan a look that clearly spoke a single word; Silence. I slowly turned back to Blaz’tik. “You mentioned on the airship that you were a mage. What magic can you do to help us out now?”

Blaz’tik shook his insectoid head – something he, in the short time I have gotten to know him – did entirely too frequently. “None –tic!- sadly.”

“What do you mean none? You said on the airship that…” I began to protest.

“They took my spell –tic!- components. I have nothing to –tic!- cast any spells. Most of the spells I have –tic!- memorized, but without the proper –tic!- components, I can not cast anything.”

“Of course,” I sighed.

Nothing was going to be easy.

“What do you need for these ‘spell components’,” I asked, making air quotes with my fingers.

“Simple things. Moss. Bones. Dung of bats.”

Well that was a plus side. Most of that we could find here in Grimrock.

Assuming we lived that long.

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Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. Empty
PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:54 pm

Most would say they enjoy being right.

I am not most.

I typically hate being right.

This is because I have a very sarcastic sense of the world around me. I typically believe if things can go wrong, that merely means they will go wrong – usually sooner rather than later.

My voice was nearly raw from shouting. “By Tyrell’s Blade! Back! Go back! There’s a giant slug in this room! Back!”

Even as we slowly made our way backwards, swinging our torches back and forth in front of the giant creatures, I heard Silvertan’s lisping voice behind me, “That’s actually a giant snail. Snails carry coiled shells on their backs, while slugs do not.”

I turned towards Silvertan, my eyes burning holes through him (though not literally, despite every bone in my body wishing I could). “Really? Now is the time to give me a run down between snails and slugs? This couldn’t wait until, you know, never?”

Taren quickly pulled the rusty gate down, as we backed out of the room, leaving the slithering giant snails to circle within the room, the disgusting sound of the mucus being spread on the floor as they slithered about.

I wiped the sweat from my brow, and went down to my knees. “By the Satarien Mages, how did those things get to be so big?”

Blaz’tik was leaning near the downed, rusted iron gate. “Just as you –tic!- said.” He turned his insectoid head towards the rest of us. “Magic. I can feel it –tic!- coursing through them.”

“Someone did that to those things?” I asked, shaking my head. “Who would want giant slugs –“ I saw Silvertan about to correct me again, “Or giant snails – whatever they are – leaving their mucus all over the inside of Mount Grimrock?”

“Was not –tic!- that someone changed them –tic!-,” Blaz’tik explained. “It’s that –tic!- Mount Grimrock has –tic!- changed them. It would seem the –tic!- magic that flows through –tic!- Mount Grimrock has changed the very –tic!- food that these snails feed upon.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, not entirely understanding. I have never liked magic. Never trusted it. Where did it come from? How did it work? I’d much rather have a blade in my hand. I can see it. I can control it. I can touch it. I know what it does. It does what I want it to, when I want it to. Magic seemed too… chaotic.

“The –tic!- moss,” Blaz’tik continued to explain. “It grows within –tic!- Grimrock. The entire mountain is –tic!- flowing with magic. Since the moss grows from Grimrock’s stone –tic!- it has been altered, down to its genetic level –tic!- so that the snails that feed upon it –tic!- are also being changed. Many –tic!- generations, these were probably –tic!- ordinary snails. Over time, as the fed upon the –tic!- moss within Grimrock, each generation grew more –tic!- powerful, more ‘tainted’ if you will –tic!- by the magic coursing through Mount Grimrock.”

“That,” I said, throwing my arms in the air, “is absolutely wonderful. Let me guess, if there’s rats in here, they may have fed on the snails, and over generations, we might be running into giant rats down here?”

“Honestly, -tic!-,” Blaz’tik answered, “it would not surprise me if that is exactly the case.”

“You’re a very comforting individual, did you know that?” I sighed.

“A good thing –tic!- that you said you were not worried earlier, yes?”

I don’t know if I was just imagining things, but I could swear the insectoid smiled at me.

As impossible as that sounded.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:55 pm

Every corner seems to have something.

It’s to the point that my mind has turned against me. Every fear I have ever had seems to be alive in Grimrock. The torch casts flicking shadows against the wall and it seems like something is always waiting just beyond the shadows; waiting for the torch to be extinguished.

“Do you smell that,” I heard Silvertan hiss behind me. I paused and sniffed at the air. All I could smell was the burning torch. I looked at Silvertan, whose scales seemed to be etched in blackness, with small shadows decorating and accentuating them.

“I don’t smell anything,” I answered.

Silvertan seemed to look at me with a twitch of disgust in his eyes. I am not sure if it was because of who I am, or the fact that I’m human. He’s said things that seem to elude to the idea that he might know who my parents are.

“Truluffs,” he answered.

I looked at him blankly. What he said made no sense to me. “What is Truluffs?”

“Mushrooms,” Blaz’tik answered. “Very rare mushrooms.”

“Extremely rare, except in my homeland, within the Terragrass Marshes,” Silvertan added.

I looked back and forth between them. “So, what’s the big deal with some mushrooms?”

“You humans use it for cooking,” Silvertan answered. “Though, they’re very rare, because of the wild swine within the Terragrass Marshes… the truluff spores emit the same scent as the pheromone that the wild boars emit in their saliva. Thus the wild female swine, sniff them out and devour them. Later, when they excrete the remains, the spores replant themselves within the feces and the cycle begins anew. Truluffs require a dark, dank, moist environment.” Silvertan seemed to smile, “Although eating them raw will have … lucid effects, if they’re not cooked – except to female swine.”

“That’s all good, but I don’t think anyone here is willing to sit down and cook a gourmet meal,” I shrugged.

“They are –tic!- also highly prized as –tic!- magical components,” Blaz’tik said.

“Magical components,” I said. “Now that we can use. All right,” I turned to Silvertan. “Which way?”

Silvertan walked by me, his serpent eyes on me until he passed me by. Taren, the minotaur caught it as well. “What’s his problem?” Taren asked gruffly.

“I wish I knew,” I whispered. “But something tells me it may have to do something with my parents.”

“Your parents?” Taren asked. “But how could he know? You’ve changed your name…”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t know.”

We followed Silvertan through the dungeon until we came into a massive room where the entire floor seemed to be made of mushrooms. “This,” Silvertan’s serpent like hiss was thick, “is not natural. Someone made this.”

“Or something,” Taren’s nostrils flared, as if trying to use his own heightened sense of smell.

“Grab some mushrooms and make it quick,” I said, gesturing to the massive mushroom patch.

Then I heard it.

Coming from the darkness down the hall, beyond the torch light.

It sounded like a herd of angry turkeys.

“What in the seven gods is that sound?” I asked.

“Herders,” Silvertan said, nodding. “Now it makes sense. There’s herders in here.”

“What is a herder?”

“A living mushroom, to make it quick,” Silvertan said. “They’re native to the Terragrass Marshes. I don’t know what they’re doing here. They’re nothing to be fearful of – they’re only a few inches in height. It’s the Spore Herders and Elder Herders that you need to be very mindful of. They’re extremely lethal.”

However, what came bursting through the darkness was hardly a few inches in height. These herders stood nearly four feet tall, appearing to be – as Silvertan noted – living mushrooms, with root like appendages for feet and arms.

I began swinging my torch back and forth, as I stared back at Blaz’tik. “Let me guess, this is kind of like the worm situation? These guys used to be a few inches tall, but the magic inside this place has ‘evolved’ them to these larger species?”

“That –tic!- sounds like the most –tic!- logical explanation,” Blaz’tik nodded as he grabbed another handful of mushrooms.

As we backed away we found stairs that led down a level. A rusty gate was between us and them as we reached the stairs. I looked at Taren, and without a word, he pulled the gate down, and part of the wall with his magnificent strength.

As I turned around I saw a massive blue stone floating, and Blaz’tik was already running his hands on it.

“What is that thing now?” I asked.

“A heart,” Blaz’tik answered excitedly. “This stone –tic!- is part of what gives Grimrock life. This stone helps ignite the torches I –tic!- mentioned. It also helps –tic!- shape the very things we have encountered.”

“We should smash it then,” I explained.

“No,” Blaz’tik shook his head. “Don’t you see. This stone… it’s magnificent. It… brings life… through magic.”

I frowned.

And I saw Silvertan looking at me.

I had made it clear I was not a fan of magic.

“So you’re telling me, if one of us should fall in combat this stone… thing… could bring them back to life?” I asked.

“Hypothetically speaking,” Blaz’tik said excitedly, “That’s –tic!- exactly what I am saying.”

“The Mages here were messing with forces they shouldn’t have,” I said as we worked our way down to the second floor. Suddenly, the explanations, the horror stories of ‘The Undying One’ made much more sense…

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:55 pm

It’s a unique sound they make.

The marching of Theraen Empire Soldiers. But if Grimrock has taught me anything in the brief couple of hours that I have been trapped in here; that things are not always what they seem. This would prove to be no different. We heard them marching so Silvertan scouted ahead, blending and moving through the darkness with incredible grace and ease. When he reappeared, he seemed to melt out of the shadow itself, startling me.

“Undead soldiers,” he reported with his lisping voice.

“Of course they’re undead,” I sighed.

“It –tic!- makes sense,” Blaz’tik offered. “Just as Grimrock gives life to –tic!- everything else, the soldiers who once served as guards, probably rose –tic!- after death to continue their one job. To protect –tic!- Grimrock from would be grave robbers and thieves.”

“They’ve got weapons,” Silvertan smiled.

I nodded. “We need to set up a trap. Silvertan, how many were there?”

“Four,” Silvertan replied. “Two front, two rear.”

“Okay, Blaz’tik, Silvertan, off to the side,” I said. “I am going to stay right here, feign a wound. This will draw them this way. As soon as they come through this passage,” I looked at Taren.

The massive minotaur nodded. “Consider them dispatched.”

“I’m counting on you,” I added.

“Don’t worry,” Taren seemed to smile gruffly. “It’s not like I have you to blame for getting me shoved into Grimrock.” He paused. “Oh wait, yes I do.” He smiled, which seeing a minotaur is very eerie – rows of teeth, the canine teeth gleaming like miniature daggers.

“Everyone’s a comedian,” I muttered.

As I listened to the synchronized marching growing closer and closer, the more I questioned the sanity of my plan. As they became visible through the torchlight that flickered in the hall, it took every ounce of courage to stay there and not bolt. Even as their undead eyes, bleak, black empty pits focused on me, they did not increase their pace. Instead, they kept their eerie march speed, as if they knew that there was no need to rush me; I would either die at their hands, or at the hands of the things that had come to call Grimrock their home.

As they stepped through the intersection, Taren Bloodhorn, with his head down, rammed into all four of them, just as they raised their spears. He slammed them against the wall; and in blinding fury began swinging his powerful fists, and stomping his feet. Bones snapped, crackled and shattered beneath his massive weight and strength. The fight was over in seconds.

I rummaged the remains and grabbed a spear and shield for myself. Taren used a few bones, and some decayed leather to tie the bones together and make a club. Silvertan acquired one of their daggers, while Blaz’tik refused to touch the remains of the dead. “I do not wish to –tic!- defile the dead,” Blaz’tik said.

“We are not defiling them,” I countered. “Magic defiled these soldiers thousands of years ago. We have given them the rest they have long since deserved. Assuming,” I looked back at the pile of bones, “they don’t rise again when the magic of Grimrock reanimates them.”

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:55 pm

A moment’s rest.

Something we all needed, and finally got. We had just killed off something else this cursed mountain or its makers had shaped with magic – something Blaz’tik called “Crowern.”

We made a fire and, despite how they looked, used our weapons to cook the flesh of these creatures.

“So what are these things?” I asked the insectoid.

“They’re a Mage’s attempt –tic!- at creating the ultimate currier –tic!- bird,” Blaz’tik said as he gnawed on a raw crowern remain. “Mages mutated and created –tic!- the Crowern so that it could –tic!- fly great distances, and defend itself, should it –tic!- come under attack from those who try to stop –tic!- the message from being delivered.”

Blaz’tik regurgitated some of the meat then swallowed again. I felt myself get nauseous even as I continued to try and cook my dead crowern over the small fire. “More than –tic!- likely,” he continued as he gnawed on the raw meat, “the mages of Grimrock –tic!- used the messenger birds… now, it’s been so long that they haven’t –tic!- used them, the messenger birds continued to return to Grimrock, and breed among themselves –tic!- until they were flying all over the dungeon, feeding on snails and –tic!- anything else they came across.”

“So,” Silvertan’s slithering voice said, as he paced back and forth, keeping an eye down the hall. “You two,” he gestured to Taren and I, “seem very close. What’s your story?”

I felt my muscles tense. Silvertan had made several references to my parents since we were thrown in here; but did not directly say anything. I saw Taren looking at me, as I nodded. “Blood Oath,” I said.

“So you saved the minotaur’s life?” Silvertan asked, knowing that’s how Blood Oath’s worked in the Minotaur society.

“Mutual,” I said. “We saved each other’s life. I released Taren from the Blood Oath. But he has told me that it’s not been properly repaid.”

“I was falsely accused of a crime in my city within Namaer,” Taren explained.

“May I ask what crime?” Silvertan asked, his serpent like eyes focusing on Taren.

“Murder,” Taren said matter-of-factly. This seemed to halt Silvertan’s pacing. He looked at Tawmis. “He,” Taren explained, gesturing at me, “had been a slave in Namaer, working in the kitchen cleaning. He saw them prepping my final meal before my combat in the Arena.”

Taren explained that Minotaurs charged with murder, were brought into the Arena of Justice, to fight legions of soldiers that poured into the Arena, wave after wave – usually until the Minotaur accused of murder was killed, or until the crowd began cheering for the Minotaur. Those who survived the Arena were pardoned, but not found innocent and thus exiled from Namaer.

“When he saw them poisoning my final meal before the Arena, he made his way to the edge of the Arena, and jumped in, using the chains around his ankles and wrists, to help me in the Arena,” Taren explained. “This action turned the crowd in my favor, and they began cheering for me. As always, the Emperor, fearful that those within the Arena might gain more popularity than himself; and that killing them would turn the crowds against him – he raised his hand and pardoned my murder, exiling both Tawmis and I from Namaer.”

“So what is the son of Contar Stoneskull and Yennica Whitefeather doing as a slave in Namaer?” Silvertan asked, his slithering tongue flicking in and out, as if he could not wait to taste the answer on his scaled lips.

“Wait, -tic!-“ Blaz’tik suddenly exclaimed. “You’re the –tic!- son of Contar and Yennica?”

I sighed.

“I am,” I said, quietly.

“They’re the only ones said to –tic!- ever have escaped Grimrock over –tic!- twenty years ago!” Blaz’tik said excitedly, still gnawing on the raw crowern. “You must know –tic!- of the Orb of Zhandul? The one that –tic!- Sancsaron sought?”

There it was. The one thing the Mages had kidnapped me for. To pick my brain.

“I don’t know about the Orb,” I said, my voice edged with annoyance. “The Mages of Des … kidnapped me when I was only thirteen years old. And used magic to pick my brain apart, layer by layer, to see if my parents had ever mentioned it – and if I knew the Orb’s location buried in my subconscious. When they couldn’t find the answer, they knew they couldn’t just put me back after there had been such a wide search for me. They sold me into slavery in Namaer for some trivial spell components.” I turned to Silvertan, “So yes, I am the son of Contar and Yennica. And that is how I ended up a slave in Namaer.”

I could see it in Silvertan’s serpent like eyes. The answer was not what he had hoped. He had thought that I was a spoiled boy, who grew up in riches.

“They still seek you out,” Silvertan said. “Your parents.”

“I never went back,” I answered. “Between what the Mages did to me… to my mind… and then a life of slavery… Their son is dead.”

I knew why Blaz’tik asked about the Orb. According to the rumor, my parents found the Orb in Grimrock, and having determined it was too powerful for any mortal to possess – did away with the weapon. But the Mages speculate that such a weapon can not be destroyed; and that it must be hidden somewhere.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:56 pm

I stared at the runes with a raised eye brow.

There was a locked door, and despite Taren Bloodhorn’s best efforts, he could not shatter it. That mean the door was guarded by magic. Which, of course, would explain the magic runes next to the door. “I can’t tell what the Flerigan that says.”

Blaz’tik stepped forward, “Allow me.” He crumbled up some of the mushrooms in his hand, and began chanting, “Herd ben has wot, sey thay dew wot, werds the me sho, wey the me sho!”

Blaz’tik then took the mushrooms that were now glowing a faint blue, and rubbed them across the runes. And slowly the very runes themselves glowed a gentle green color and revealed the words, “A Lone Pillar Of Light Stands Alone In The Night.”

“Wonderful,” I sighed. “A riddle. The Mages who made Grimrock didn’t think using their magic to animate the dead, and twist living things into new creatures was enough…”

“This is not just a riddle,” Blaz’tik answered. “This comes from an old story.” Blaz’tik stopped to think about it. “The Three Gods. When they first discovered our world – the Three Gods – The Trinity – battled for who would rule over the World.”

“I am familiar with the story,” Taren nodded.

“The story goes that the Trinity came to our world, each with a desire for it. One wanted to rule it, One wanted to burn it, One wanted to give it life,” Blaz’tik continued.

“The God who sought to Burn the World, battled the Life Giver, and burned his light out. That is how Saolaviris became The Moon.”

“The God who sought to Rule the World, battled the Life Giver, and was shattered and spread across the skies, which is how Yularien became the Stars.”

“And the Life Giver, Trelena, became our sun. The story ends, with ‘A Lone Pillar Of Light Stands Alone In The Night’ – surrounded by the moon and stars.”

“The torches,” Taren said, looking at the other torches in the room. “Only one must remain. But which?”

“The one facing the door,” I said. “Because that’s the one facing the door – the way we need to go.”

Quickly the others snuffed the remaining torches save for the one facing door with the runes on the wall. And as the last torch died, the door rose…

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:56 pm

(I feel the origin of Tawmis was a little sparse, so I revisited it…)

There’s a thousand reasons I hate Mages.

One of which, they raped my childhood from me. When I was thirteen years old, a sect of Mages from the Academy of Des, known as The Crimson Order, abducted me and ripped my mind apart with magic; stripping away at me, layer by layer, seeking to uncover the possibility that somewhere, deep within my subconsciousness, I had heard my parents speak of Orb of Zhandul which was rumored to hold almost limitless god-like magical powers.

Day after day, they stripped away another layer of my mind. The sensation is similar to having your skin peeled away by a dull knife. Day after day, crying out for help – and all you get are shadowy figures hiding beneath their cloaks, chanting their magic, and ripping your mind apart. Day after day, month after month, year after year, for seven years.

For seven long years, I wondered why my mother, Yennica Whitefeather, one of the most powerful Mages, never found me, never rescued me.

For seven long years, I had those Mages of the Crimson Order rip my mind apart. I believe at some point they stopped caring about finding the Orb of Zhandul, and just didn’t know what to do with me – so I became their experiment, their plaything.

Once I was 20, and I could fight back – they knew they had to get rid of me. They took me and traded me in Namaer – where I was thrown into slavery. I was forced to work the kitchen – where, one day I recognized the distinct smell of Crularious – a plant used to slow down the bleeding. The Crimson Order had used it on me, when they cut me open, experimenting on me. It has a different effect when consumed; it poisons the blood stream when digested, causing grogginess. I watched as they crumbled it into a serving a food that was meant for “one of the gladiators of the ring.”

I managed to become one of the servers for the food that day; and saw that it was meant for one of the minotaurs – Taren Bloodhorn – as his final meal before the gladiator ring. I tried to warn him before he consumed the food about its contents, but I couldn’t reach him. So when he entered the ring, I could see that the poison was already taking effect. He was lucid, barely aware of his surroundings. So I did something that came from somewhere deep within me – I jumped the railing and yanked my chains with me, and stood next to him, and helped him. The crowd cheered at this unexpected turn of events, thrilled to see chaos among the guards who had tried to stop me.

In truth, I was ready to die.

I wanted to die.

I had no childhood. I had no good memories. I was a slave. Beaten.

I was ready to die. This was my way of fighting those that would suppress the wills of others.

Back to back, we fought round after round of charging minotaurs, until the crowd had become so enamored with effort to survive – that they roared our names. The King was forced to call an end to the fight, or face the possibility that he would lose favoritism with the people.

After being paraded around for several days, we were set free, but banned from returning to Namaer.

Taren swore a blood oath to me, that one day, he would repay saving my life. I told him, I had not wanted him to walk with me because of a Blood Oath. I had already been a slave, I knew what it was like, and I would wish it on no other.

Truth be told, the death wish that dwells within me, has long remained. Taren has repaid his Blood Oath to me more times than I can remember. Too many times, since our freedom, have I provoked a fight that I knew I could not win. Too many times to remember, it was Taren who showed up and saved me, time and time again.

It wasn’t until Taren nearly died for me, that I saw something I had never seen before.

Friendship. Love. Caring.

He was not with me because of the Blood Oath. He was with me because he was my friend.

My first, true, honest friend.

That moment changed my life forever.

But the one thing that has never – and perhaps never will change – is my hatred for The Mages.

Because as soon as the riddle was solved and the door opened, there was a row of undead archers…

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:57 pm

The arrows fly by as we take cover on each side of the hall.

They’re all looking at me for an idea. To lead them.

Why? I have been nothing but a slave for most of my life.

Then it dawns on me. Now that they know who my true parents are, they’re expecting something out of the “legendary son” of Contar and Yennica. But I am not that son. I am not the son I should have – could have been. The Mages saw to that when they stripped me of my mind, and tore away at the very fiber of my soul.

They’re waiting for me to tell them what to do.

How to get out of this.

Since we have been pushed in here, we have been reacting to Mount Grimrock.

We will never survive this way.

We have to be proactive if we hope to survive this.

I looked at Taren Bloodhorn. For several years now, he has walked side by side with me. He has seen the look in my eyes. He knows what it means.

We fight. We make a stand. Live or die. We will not go down as cowards.

And I will tear down every Mage enabled abomination that stands in front of me.

I looked to the others, “We will not survive like this. We need to take action. It may be our death, but let those Mages know we did not die like cowards. That we stood and fought, not cowered in the corner. I have an idea…”

I stood in the door way and watched five archers take aim and fire; as soon as their boney fingers were about to release; I stepped to the side and let the arrows fly harmlessly by. If anything, these archers, because of their undead status, were considerably slower than they were when they were living. I stood in the hallway immediately again, and watched – and counted – nine seconds, before I had to step aside again.

I looked at Taren. The massive minotaur nodded. “Nine seconds, to reach them,” I explained. “After that, the rest of us charge in.”

I stood in the hallway again; and another round of arrows launched. As soon as I stepped aside, Taren charged in, head down and gorged three of the undead archers; as much as a minotaur can gorge something without flesh. Two impaled on his horns, one he grabbed by the spine as he charged by. As the undead archers slowly turned to face him, Silvertan and I ran in, striking the undead from behind, trying to shatter their spines; hoping this would quickly end the fight.

Blaz’tik meanwhile chanted something that was beyond any of us to understand. “Chalek –tic!- tavarium kon-Chala!”

And from his fingertips bolts of lightning erupted, honing in on the skeletons tattered, metallic armor.

I watched as the undead archer that Taren Bloodhorn had grabbed by the spine was flung around like a child’s plaything. In many ways, I hoped these undead could not feel whatever pain Taren was putting it through. Granted it had no skin, no nerves, no feelings – but it was a restless spirit because of the Mages and their cursed magic.

I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder and looked down to see an arrow sticking out of it. I looked up to see Silvertan still struggling with one of the undead archers. “My apologies,” he hissed. “This one has quite a bit of fight in him.”

That’s when I saw Taren approach it, and with one punch from his massive fist, he shattered its skull and spine, sending the rest of the undead horror, crumbling to the ground. “You nearly hit me,” Silvertan hissed.

“Casualties of war,” Taren growled and ran to me. “Are you all right, my friend?”

“Fine,” I muttered. “Just yank it-“

He didn’t wait for me to finish before he pulled the arrow out. I screamed in pain as the arrow head ripped at my flesh. I could feel the warmth of the crimson blood seeping into my shirt. I looked at Taren and winced, “I don’t suppose you have any Crularious, do you?” (1)

Taren shook his head. “You have an odd sense of humor, my friend. You could have been killed.”

“We all could have,” I answered, placing my hand on the wound to apply pressure. “But we can’t live in Fear here. We have to take charge. Take control. Or Grimlock will claim us.”

Silvertan extended his hand to me to help me up. “I am truly sorry I was unable to stop the archer before he fired, human.”

“I believe you,” I said as I stood, wincing. “We need all of us to survive this.”

“Agreed,” he nodded. “I am also sorry for how I treated you previously. I thought you a spoiled child, who somehow ended up in here, trying to prove yourself as ‘legendary’ as your parents. I see now I should have learned more about you and what you have gone through.”

“Let’s have a drink over all of this when we get out of here,” I smiled.

“Agreed,” Silvertan repeated. “I shall pay for the drinks.”

“Try not to pay from one of the King’s Men’s pockets,” I smiled.

“Fair enough,” Silvertan smiled.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:57 pm

How many days has it been?

Day and night pass, without any way to record it. I feel like I have danced on the edge of my sanity; and yet the others continue to look to me for leadership. How was I, a rich, spoiled, runaway child, “elected” as leader of this motley crew?

My brown eyes, hazy and unfocused, looked at Taren Bloodhorn, the massive minotaur who had been my friend for years now; and the only person on this world I truly trusted.

Taren extended his hand to me. I felt his firm grip as he pulled me up, his eyes never leaving mine. “You’re growing weak. Despite Blaz’tik’s efforts, the wound you got from the arrow has become infected.”

I smiled at Taren, and shrugged off his concern. “I’m just a little tired.”

Tarne’s eyes went to my shoulder, where he had tore the shirt apart to rip the arrow out. The edge of the wound was black. I quickly covered the infection with the tattered remains of my shirt. “Like I said, I’m just a little tired.”

Taren huffed, the sounds reverberating in his throat, like rusted, iron gears turning for the first time in centuries. I took another deep breath, “We need to keep moving. We’ve been down here for weeks now, possibly, surviving on meat of slugs –“

“Snails,” Silvertan smiled, correcting me again. (1 – Read about the ‘Snail/Slug’ reference here)

“Right, snails,” I amended. “Who knows what eating that meat is doing to us, being tainted by magic,” I went on to explain. “We need to get out of this place. Now.” I began moving forward.

===

Taren followed my footsteps until Blaz’tik’s insectoid arms grabbed him, halting the minotaur. Taren looked down at the Insectoid. “The wound,” Blaz’tik began to explain, “it has – tic!- become more and more infected. He will not…”

Taren tore his arm away from Blaz’tik’s grasp. “He will be fine. We will get out of this. We will find him proper medical attention.” The minotaur quickened his pace to walk behind Tawmis.

Blaz’tik frowned. The Insectoid Mage knew that the human’s wound had become infected with The Void Touch; an infection that spread into the blood stream, turning it black, spreading rapidly. The infected individual would first suffer fevers, which the human had already begun; then become delusional, then finally a very painful death. The honorable thing would be to kill the human now. There was no way to escape Mount Grimrock in time and get a cure. The human would be dead soon; and death would be extremely painful.

===

It’s burning up in here.

I can barely breathe. Too many people.

There. I see Taren. “Taren!” I shout. “Over here!”

Taren Bloodhorn. Minotaur. My best friend. My only friend.

I pat Taren on the shoulder, which takes some effort, since he towers over me, as all Minotaurs typically stand no less than seven feet tall. “What shall we drink tonight?”

Taren looked at me, “Drink? There’s nothing to drink.”

“Nonsense!” I replied, gesturing with a wide sweep of my arm. “At the Silent Quill, there’s over sixty different ales to pick from – and,” I added with a wink, “some of the finest ladies! Even some female Minotaurs. Though,” I nudged him, “I am glad you can tell the difference between male and female Minotaurs.”

I could hear another voice, barely audible over the crowd within the Silent Quill.

“He’s –tic!- hallucinating,” the voice said.

“Hallucinating?” I turned to face the Insectoid, and suddenly found myself no longer standing in the Silent Quill. I was in some kind of dungeon.

“What’s going on here?” I grabbed the Insectoid by his tattered robes. “Where have you teleported us to?”

Taren’s strong, black, furry arms separated us. “He hasn’t teleported us anywhere, Tawmis. He’s right. You’re hallucinating. It’s the infection.”

“The infection?” I began to ask, then I felt it. The pain in my shoulder. I moved my shirt and saw the black around the wound. I covered it again, and looked at Taren. “It won’t be long now will it?”

“I’m –tic!- afraid not,” Blaz’tik replied. “The fever, then –tic!- the hallucination, then the –tic!- pain as the final blackness goes through the heart,” Blaz’tik explained matter-of-factly. “It will feel like –tic!- a thorny rose stem going through –tic!- your bloodstream when it reaches your heart.”

“Rose stem,” I muttered. “How… unromantic.”

There was a time, all I wanted to do was die.

For this life, I had been given, to be over.

When the Mages from the Academy of Des, known as the Crimson Order, ripped my mind apart, peeling back memory after memory, and burning them like old parchments, seeking the location of the Orb of Zhandul; knowing that my parents were the only ones rumored to have ever escaped Mount Grimrock, and supposed found the Orb and put it somewhere, because the items was so powerful it could not be destroyed by Mortals.

When the Mages found that I knew nothing, they sold me into slavery, in hopes I would perish, or that the people of Namaer would be blamed for my abduction, leaving the Crimson Order free of blame.

But the day I jumped into the Arena to help defend Taren Bloodhorn, my life took a drastic turn. Suddenly all the thoughts of dying, perished as I fought by this incredible noble Minotaur, who I could tell was innocent of the crimes he had been charged with. (2 – Read more about Tawmis’ origin here)

Now it’s here. Death.

I can feel it breathing on my neck. It whispers my name.

I can almost hear it laughing.

Telling me to surrender. To give up. To stop living. So that I could finally be free of Mount Grimrock and find the peace I so richly deserved.

But I kept taking that next step forward.

My stomach churned. My hands trembled. My knees ached. I felt the world spinning every second I took just one more breath.

Giving up would have been the easiest thing to do.

But that’s when I realized, I never wanted to die. Not even when the Mages of the Crimson Order broke my mind and spirit. Not even when I jumped into the Arena to help defend Taren against impossible odds.

I never wanted to die.

I wanted to fight. Fight to keep living.

I would not die by giving up.

If I was to die, it would be for a noble cause.

Something that others, who survived, would speak about. Tell the tales. So that I would live on, as an immortal, in the form of evolving stories of my heroics.

Sometimes, we don’t get to pick how we die.

It suddenly felt as something gripped my heart with a chilled fist.

I suddenly felt the massive hands of Taren pull me back out of the corridor I had been struggling to walk in. A cold chill ran down my body. As I turned to look at everyone else; I could see they were all experiencing the same thing.

So it wasn’t Death.

Unless it had come for us all; at the same time. (Not entirely impossible down here, I imagine).

From the shadows I saw it.

A figure adorned in black robes, that somehow seemed darker than the unlit shadows of Grimrock. What should have been fingers looked like extended tentacles, like that of an octopus. My eyes stared in abject horror, when I noticed, cloaked in the dark shadows of its hood, there was no facial features; but slithering forth were the same tentacle appearance. Marble white to grey in color, the figure seemed to float across the floor.

When we were sure it was gone, Taren turned to Blaz’tik, “What in the Gods was that thing?”

“Stories –tic!-,” the Insectoid began to explain, “calls them ‘Goromorg’,” he shrugged, “which loosely –tic!- translates in the ‘Common’ tongue as ‘The Soul Stealers.’”

“That certainly,” Silvertan hissed, “explains the sensation I felt in my chest.”

“They –tic!- emit an aurora of fear,” Blaz’tik explained. “Rumor –tic!- has it, that the Goromorg are the original Designers of Mount Grimrock.”

“The First Mages?” I asked. “That would make them…”

“Thousands of years old,” Blaz’tik finished my sentence. “Yes. Once believed to be human, the Designers – the First Mages – obsessed with magic, sold their –tic!- very sanity and souls, to improve and learn –tic!- and become better Mages. It is said –tic!- that they made a pact with a ‘Dark God’ that –tic!- bestowed these powers upon them and supposed –tic!- changed them in its image. They are, without a doubt, -tic!- the most powerful Mages in existence, but the cost –tic!- of magic was … what you saw. They –tic!- no longer appear human. They –tic!- emanate that fear –tic!- aurora, because there is nothing human – it’s literally the –tic!- magic within them flowing outward, seeking to drain any and all –tic!- magic it senses!”

“Why did it not detect you?” Silvertan asked.

“Because without my spellbooks, I am –tic!- unable to memorize spells,” the Insectoid shrugged. “There is next to no magic –tic!- emanating from me, and any magic that is –tic!- is drowned out by the more powerful magic flowing within –tic!- Grimrock.”

Then I felt it.

I clutched at my chest. I bit down as hard as I could.

Taren was at my side. “What is it? What is wrong?”

“Rose… bushes,” I managed to sputter out.

Damn the Mage. He was right. It literally felt like a rose stem was being pumped through my veins; and its thorns were ripping me apart inside.

I let out a scream and collapsed.

Just before I faded into darkness, I heard Blaz’tik say, “It heard. It’s coming back. I can sense it.”

===

Perhaps Taren is right.

Sometimes, I’m simply too stubborn.

Even to die, it seems.

My eyes fluttered open.

Immediately I was gripped by the pulse pounding sensation of fear, which only seemed to rush the sensation of ‘the rose stem’ growing through my veins. I let out a gurgle of pain, blood trickling out of my mouth and onto the cold, grey floor of Grimrock. I stared up and saw that demon mage thing – the Goromorg had Silvertan in one of its tentacle hands, and Blaz’tik in the other; while its face had somehow ensnared Taren’s own face, and appeared to be sucking the life from him. Taren’s body was rigid, not moving.

“No,” I growled. “No. Not like this. Not like this. This is not how he dies.”

I forced myself up, my arms shaking violently, my body begging me to lay down again and sleep the Forever Sleep.

That’s thing about me, I realized early.

I don’t want to die like this.

I am fighting to live.

I force myself up, first onto my knees, then slowly I stand and draw the sword I had acquired from one of the undead soldiers earlier. I wanted to run and charge the Goromorg, but I could barely walk, without needing the wall to support me.

The Goromorg seemed so focused on devouring the soul of my dearest friend that it had never heard me approach. I shoved my sword into the creature’s back, and aimed the blade upward. I wasn’t even sure if this damn thing could be killed.

It didn’t even let out any sounds of pain. It did, however, drop all three of my companions and turn its attention on me. When it turned, it yanked the sword out of my feeble grip. If anything, I had bought my companions, and my dearest friends, only a few more seconds of life, assuming they were not dead already.

“Come at me,” I spat at the creature, my blood splashing onto its black robes.

It seemed to pause and stare at the bloodstain for a moment, before both tentacle hands lunged around my throat, wrapping around it tightly, like slimy, tiny, extended fingers. I tried to raise my arms to fight it, to somehow pull myself free – but this was it. I had given everything I could.

This was how I would die.

Staring into the soulless eyes of this Goromorg.

Suddenly the Goromorg rose about three feet; a look of surprise in its soulless eyes; before the white glow faded to a cold grey, and the creature released its hold on me. We both collapsed to the ground; me, dying, my own legs unable to support my weight; the Goromorg, dead.

I looked up and saw Taren’s minotaur horns covered in black blood.

He immediately kneeled down, “You did it. You saved us.”

I chuckled, blood glistening on my lips, “That’s what a hero does.”

“We thought you were dead already, as did the Goromorg as it passed you,” Taren tried to smile.

“I got better,” I muttered. My vision was fading. He was a lot more blurry than I remembered him being. Reminded me of that one night at the Red Dragon Inn – I don’t think I have ever been as drunk as I was that night.

But this wasn’t because I was intoxicated.

This was it.

I was finally, truly, dying.

My hand reached out to Taren’s rough, Minotaur cheek. “Live. Make it through here. For me. Tell my story…”

Taren swore that Minotaurs were incapable of crying, because they lacked tear ducts in their eyes, but I could swear I saw his eyes glittering more than usual in the torchlight.

“I will, my friend,” I heard him say. “I will.”

Then my world went black for the last time.

(Writer’s Note: I flipped back and forth from narrative perspective; because in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it directly from Tawmis’ view; because it limits what I can do! I returned to this story, because I purchased Realms of Arkania on STEAM {if you haven’t, you should, especially if you like Legend of Grimrock). Anyway, was just going to be a short segment, but the characters had a lot to say apparently, and it just kept going… so is this the end? You don’t REALLY think this is the end, right?)

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 7:58 pm

Another very long segment… Apparently leaving these companions in Grimrock for too long has them really wanting to continue their tale…

Tawmis Sanarius – Human (Son of Contar Stoneskull and Yennica Whitefeather)
Taren Bloodhorn – Minotaur
Blaz’tik – Insectoid
Silvertan – Lizardman

“We carry him,” Taren Bloodhorn growled.

Silvertan, his scales glistening in the flicking torch light, looked up, his voice hissing, “You can’t be serious? He will slow us down.”

“I will not leave the one who died so that we might live, down here, to be devoured by Crowern or some other horror,” Taren’s nostrils flared, his eyes dashing, looking for someone to challenge him. (1 – Read here what the Crowern are)

Blaz’tik placed his insect like arm on the Minotaur’s shoulder. “I understand what –tic!- your friend meant to you, but the –tic!- Lizardman is right. We carry the human, -tic!- we slow down. And in here, as you have seen, -tic!- sometimes split second reactions can make all the difference –tic!- in the world between life and a very painful –tic!- death.”

“Then you will have to leave without me,” Taren said as he kneeled down and picked up Tawmis’ body. “I will not leave my friend behind.”

Blaz’tik looked at Silvertan, hoping the Lizardman might have something to add to reason with the Minotaur. Instead, Silvertan simply shook his head, “They’re, no pun intended, bull headed. When they’ve made up their mind about something, that’s it. I am sure this Blood Oath that’s between them simply further complicates matters.”

Taren walked by the silent duo as they watched massive Minotaur, muscles rippling with each step, walk past them.

“It’s a good idea,” Silvertan hissed sarcastically through his thin, lizard-like lips, “to have your fighter with his hands full, in a dungeon chalk full of death around every corner.”

As they moved through Mount Grimrock in silence, Blaz’tik was overjoyed to find Herders that had been shredded. Eagerly his insectoid fingers clutched at that shattered remains of the once living mushroom like creatures. “This make –tic!- excellent spell components,” he explained, as Silvertan paused to stare at the strange creature questionably. (2 – Read about their encounter with Herders here.)

“What destroyed them,” Silvertan hissed. “That’s what I want to know. The way they’re just scattered about… whatever did it… did it simply to destroy.” Silvertan kneeled down and sniffed at some of the remains, “No. Something fed on these. But… what I smell… it can not be. There’s no way that they would be down here…”

Then there was a roar that came from far ahead of them.

Blaz’tik looked up and stared at Silvertan. “What… was –tic- that?”

Silvertan threw down the remains of the Herder. “Trouble. Very, very, serious trouble. Taren,” Silvertan hissed the Minotaur’s name.

Taren Bloodhorn turned slightly.

Silvertan gestured for the Minotaur to come back. Slowly the Minotaur made his way back to the Lizardman and the Insectoid, still carrying Tawmis’ body. “What?” the Minotaur asked, clearly showing his annoyance and being beckoned back.

“You must have heard that roar,” Silvertan began.

“An Ogre,” Taren explained.

“You know?” Silvertan asked, surprised, “And yet you walk in the direction the howl came from. I would recommend we turn around. Find another way.”

“There is no other way,” Taren said, matter-of-factly. “We’ve been marking the walls. We’ve gone in circles several times now. This passage is the only way ahead.”

“If there is an Ogre ahead, then the only thing that passage will lead to is death,” Silvertan explained. “Ogres frequently raided our homes in the Terragrass Marshes. They would decimate our population, slaughter our men, women and offspring – including the defenseless eggs. And for what? The sheer pleasure of murder and mayhem.”

“I am quite familiar with Ogres,” Taren explained. “In my homeland, in the City of Namaer; below our city is a large maze. When we reach the age of sixteen seasons; the men have to venture into one end of the maze and come out the other. It’s disorienting, and constantly changing. The walls move. Floors give way to lethal traps. But it’s not just the maze that tries to end your life. The maze is riddled with Tunnel Ogres, whose only goal is to crush your skull and feast on your flesh; because that is the only food they will get down there.”

“That is… a horrible tradition,” Silvertan gasped.

“Be it what it may,” Taren answered plainly, “it forges us into warriors. It makes us very aware of our surroundings.” He turned and faced the passage from which the Ogre’s howl had come from, “Now, if you don’t mind, I wish to proceed forward.”

Silvertan looked at Blaz’tik, who shrugged his insect shoulders, stuffing the last of the crumpled Herder corpses into his pouch. He had never encountered an Ogre of any kind; though he had heard enough stories to know that they were best avoided at all costs. Even Minotaurs, despite all of their strength, knowledge, and courage, took alternate paths, if it meant avoiding an Ogre.

“He’s lost his –tic!- best friend,” Blaz’tik clicked his mandibles. “And now, he –tic!- seeks his own death.”

“No,” Silvertan shook his head, following close behind Taren, who did not pay any attention to the Lizardman or the Insectoid behind him. “Suicide is dishonorable to the Minotaur people. I think he has it in his head, that his rage, and his heart and passion for his friend, will give him whatever strength he needs to keep the promise of us living through this.”

“But that –tic!- is ridiculous,” Blaz’tik sighed. “There is no logical –tic!- explanation that would permit such a feat.”

Silvertan paused. “Do not underestimate love, my friend.”

“Love?” Blaz’tik paused.

“I’ve never known it myself,” Silvertan said, after a moment of silence; his own mind reflecting to a distant memory of his own. “But they say that it is the most powerful weapon this world has to give us.”

“Still –tic!- nonsense,” Blaz’tik contended. “You can not –tic!- tell me that ‘love’ would protect him from a magical lightning bolt.”

“I can tell you that,” Silvertan said, almost smiling. “I just wouldn’t tell him that,” he gestured towards Taren who was still walking at a steady pace.

The roaring of the Ogre’s fury was getting closer.

Silvertan turned to Blaz’tik, “Be ready with your magic. I do not know what the Minotaur plans to do. But we must be ready to fight. To possibly give the Minotaur a chance to put the body of his friend down and fight this Ogre.”

Blaz’tik’s fingers nervously began fiddling with the gathered spell components he had acquired while being trapped in Mount Grimrock with the others. “I –tic!- shall be ready.”

The poorly illuminated hall opened up to a large room, where a number of skeletons could be seen having been scattered about. Most who entered Mount Grimlock hardly ever made it past this room.

There was a furious howl; that of an Ogre.

The towering, grotesque figure, which bore a close resemblance to perhaps a hairless minotaur; only towering another two feet above a standard Minotaur, pounded at on its deathly, grey colored flesh before picking up its mallet and proceeding to charge.

Taren did not even react as quickly as one might expect; instead, he slowly began to kneel down and lay the body of his dead friend gently on the ground, with all the respect one might expect a knight to give that of a king.

It had only been Blaz’tik’s quick thinking to shout, “Chal’nul Ku’lak!” while crushing bat dung and the remains of the Herder’s body fragments within his hand. A lightning shield appeared in front of Taren, which the Ogre slammed into. Electricity sparked wildly through the air, sending everyone’s hair standing on end. The Ogre began furiously pounding on the electrical shield, even as Taren slowly began to stand.

Blaz’tik winced, straining – his will against the brute strength of the Ogre, to maintain the spell. “I can not –tic!- hold this spell –tic!- much longer! The creature is too -tic!- powerful!”

“Lower the shield,” Taren said, no emotion in his voice.

“Draw your weapon first, Taren,” Silvertan said, drawing his own dagger.

“Lower the shield,” Taren repeated, with the same emotionless tone.

Blaz’tik looked at Silvertan questioningly. It certainly seemed like suicide. “You’re –tic!- sure about suicide being dishonorable, -tic!- correct?”

Silvertan did not reply; he simply nodded as he gripped the hilt of his dagger. Blaz’tik nodded in return and whispered, “Ku’lak Cha’nul,” and reversed the spell so the electrical shield that had protected them from the Ogre’s violent wrath came down.

The Ogre brought his mallet down; surprisingly to Blaz’tik and Silvertan, Taren caught the Ogre’s arm by its wrist and stopped it. An Ogre’s strength, even when young, was said to be three to five times that of the most durable and powerful minotaurs. Yet, Taren seemed to stop it as easily as he might have stopped an elf’s attempt to punch him.

This infuriated the Ogre, who then brought his other first crashing across Taren’s bull-like face. The blow struck hard enough to draw copious amounts of blood from Taren’s mouth, but the minotaur did not buckle under the Ogre’s crushing blow. The massive minotaur stared at the Ogre, who was now more furious than ever, that the Minotaur before it was somehow still standing.

Taren reached out with his free hand and grabbed the Ogre’s massive throat. The Ogre let out a surprised gurgling sound, but realized that despite the size of the Minotaur’s massive hand, it wasn’t enough to clasp around the Ogre’s throat to choke the life from it.

“Someone tell me to stop what I am about to do,” Silvertan hissed to no one in particular. He stepped back and vanished into the shadows.

Blaz’tik looked around a moment later and saw that the Lizardman had vanished. “He’s –tic!- abandoned us! Snuck by the –tic!- Ogre while Taren –tic!- fights it!” There was no time to panic. The Insectoid tried desperately to calm itself. Magic, it could fight. But sheer, brute strength. A hatred for anything living. That shook Blaz’tik to the core. He could already envision this Ogre cracking the Insectoid’s carapace shell and eating his insides, while he was probably still alive, no doubt!

“Erfin’ten,” Blaz’tik blurted as bursts of flames flew from his fingertips, flying around Taren’s massive body and striking the intended enemy. “Silvertan has left us,” Blaz’tik called out frantically.

“Do not be so sure,” Taren growled as he thrust his head forward and brought one of his horns, biting deep into the Ogre’s thick flesh. Taren pulled his head back, puncturing the Ogre’s flesh, where black blood now oozed from the new wound.

Still holding the Ogre’s right hand, which held the deadly mallet, Taren took his free hand and jabbed two fingers into the newly created wound on the Ogre’s chest. The Ogre howled in fury, and brought its left hand, striking down against Taren’s shoulder blade. The Minotaur winced in pain. The crushing blow felt as if it may have broken a bone or two.

Still Taren’s fingers dug into the Ogre’s wound, as if seeking to rip the Ogre apart from the inside. The Ogre only grew more furious, striking again, this time even harder. Now, Taren fell to one knee, pain wracking his body under the Ogre’s relentless pounding.

“We’re going to –tic!- die,” Blaz’tik muttered.

Despite the fiery pain, Taren repeated, “Do not be so sure.”

The Minotaur was clearly delusional. The Minotaur was already buckling under the Ogre’s assault. The human fighter had perished earlier. The Lizardman Rogue had taken to the shadows and left them. And Blaz’tik knew he was no match against the Ogre. Once the Minotaur feel, the Insectoid would only last three to five seconds – and that was being generous.

Just then, behind the Ogre, Blaz’tik saw something gleaming, only for a split second, before he realized it was Silvertan emerging out of the shadows from behind the Ogre. The Lizardman had climbed to a higher position, and was hoping that by leaping down on the towering Ogre, he could plunge the dagger deep into the base of the Ogre’s skull; know his own, natural strength would never penetrate the Ogre’s dense layer of fat around its bloated neck. Just as Silvertan leaped, Taren stood, bringing both of his horns into the Ogre’s chest, raising the Ogre upward, just as Silvertan’s dagger came down into the base of the Ogre’s neck with so much force, that the Ogre’s thick neck seemed to soak up the dagger and Silvertan’s hands for a brief moment.

The Ogre slammed its head backwards, feeling the stabbing pain, managing to only hit the dagger with the base of its own head, and plunging the dagger deeper, severing the Ogre’s spine. The Ogre, for a brief moment, had a look of surprise on its face, before realizing, not only had it been defeated, but it was dead.

With a loud thudding sound, the Ogre collapsed to the ground.

“We’re –tic!- alive,” Blaz’tik said, with genuine surprise. “We’re truly alive.”

Taren looked at the Insectoid Mage and shook his head. He then turned and picked up Tawmis’ corpse, treating it still, as if he was carrying the body of a king. Silvertan looked at his dagger in the base of the Ogre’s beck and after several tugs, managed to finally pry the dagger free. Green blood oozed from the base of the Ogre’s neck.

Blaz’tik kneeled down and pulled a small vial out from one of his bags. Silvertan looked at the Insectoid. “What are you doing?”

“Ogres’ blood,” Blaz’tik began to explain, “makes for a –tic!- very powerful spell component. It can –tic!- enhance a spell tenfold.”

“That’s wonderful,” Silvertan said, regarding the oozing Ogre’s blood with disgust, as it was thick and chunky and it poured out of the gaping, fatal wound.

Up ahead, Taren suddenly stopped as he peeked around the corner cautiously, making sure not to strike Tawmis’ corpse against the wall. He turned, his eye brows pushed together in an angry fashion. “Blaz, get up here.”

The Insectoid did not hesitate, after he capped off the Ogre’s blood. “What –tic!- is it?”

“Around the corner,” Taren whispered. “Something… not natural. What is it?”

Blaz’tik sighed. “That –tic!- is an Uggardian. They say, countless years ago Uggardiands were summoned by powerful mages to guard the tombs of old kings. But as centuries turned to dust and once thriving civilization faded into oblivion still the Uggardians guarded the collapsed and rotten tombs of nameless kings that no one lived to remember. Uggardians were trapped and couldn’t return into their own plane of existence because the ancient summoning magic was still strong and chained them into their duty. The Summoners had died ages ago and they were the only ones with enough power so summon or release beings of Outer Realms. The story goes on to say that The First Mages, the Designers, the –tic!- Goromorg – whatever name you want to call them – cast a spell to summon all the Uggardians into Mount Grimrock to roam the halls and protect ‘The Undying One.’”

“The Undying One,” Taren huffed. “Even my people have heard of the ‘Undying One’ – and it’s all just a legend. A creature so evil, so powerful, dwelling here? In this mountain? Why has it not come out and ruled the world then?”

“That remains unknown,” Blaz’tik shrugged. “But that is what the legends and historian have supposedly –tic!- documented.”

“First the Ogre, and now this,” Taren thought for a moment. “Someone is going out of their way to guard something.” Taren turned to Blaz’tik again, “Can you destroy that thing with your magic? Dispel it or something? Send it back to the Outer Realms or whatever?”

“Destroy it?” Blaz’tik scoffed. “With a single spell? No. The –tic!- Uggardians are powerful beings. And I am not –tic!- advanced enough – no one is, anymore – to open –tic!- the Outer Realms portal to send that thing back. Well, no one –tic!- save the Goromorg; but I do not foresee them –tic!- assisting us, as they’re the ones who summoned these –tic!- creatures here!”

Silvertan suddenly whispered directly into Blaz’tik’s ear, “The Ogre’s Blood.” The Lizardman’s voice nearly startled Blaz’tik into a screaming fit. “You said it enhanced spells. You had cast an ice spell before to slow down the green slime blob creatures we encountered – do you think…”

“That a single –tic!- ice spell would destroy the fiery essence of a Uggardian?” Blaz’tik shook his head. “No, -tic!- not even with Ogre Blood.”

“Could it freeze it, even for just a moment,” Taren asked.

“With Ogre Blood –tic!- I suppose it could,” Blaz’tik nodded.

“Then that’s what we shall do,” Taren said, setting down Tawmis’ corpse.

“Wait, -tic!-,” Blaz’tik asked, “what are we doing?”

“You’re going to cast the ice spell you did before on the green slime,” Taren explained, “this time on the Uggardian creature.”

“Then what?” Blaz’tik asked nervously.

“Leave that part up to me,” Taren replied.

“Leave –tic!- that part up to you,” Blaz’tik muttered to himself. “That’s –tic!- exactly what I was afraid –tic!- you would say!” Blaz’tik crushed the antenna of the snail, rubbing it firmly between his two palms, then took the vial of Ogre Blood and poured it on his two index fingers. “Ey’cee Ewe!” Bolts of chilling frost blasted from his fingertips with such force that it sent him three steps back. The Uggardian, unaware of the attack was suddenly encased within ice.

That’s when Blaz’tik saw Taren simply rush the once fiery creature, slamming his bull horns into the center of the creature, shattering it like a statue. Blaz’tik stood there in amazement for a moment, surprised that the creature was so easily dispatched. He made a mental note to notate the power Ogre’s Blood did to a spell. It had made it far more powerful than even he had anticipated.

Taren quickly returned and picked up Tawmis’ corpse and turned around. “Now,” he said, “let’s see what’s behind that blue door that both the Ogre and the Uggardian were set up to guard.”

They moved across the room quickly, knowing that the noise had undoubtedly echoed down the hallways and gathered the attention of the other denizens of Mount Grimrock. Silvertan opened the door – and just inside, a large blue, pulsating crystal that hovered above the ground.

“What did you call that thing again?” Taren asked.

“A heart,” Blaz’tik replied. (3. Read about when Blaz’tik called the stone a ‘Heart.’).

Suddenly Taren’s eyes went wide. “What else did you say about it before? You said something…”

Blaz’tik looked at Silvertan and shrugged, before he looked back at Taren. “I had said, this stone –tic!- is part of what gives Grimrock life. This stone helps ignite the torches I –tic!- mentioned. It also helps –tic!- shape the very things we have encountered.”

“You said something after that,” Taren turned to Blaz’tik, a crazed look in his eyes.

Blaz’tik thought for a moment. “I had said it brings –tic!- life to Grimrock, through magic…” Suddenly Blaz’tik realized what Taren had been getting at. “You can not –tic!- be serious, Taren. He would never approve! You know how –tic!- he hates magic! He would –tic!- never forgive you. And there is a chance, since –tic!- he’s dead that it would not work! These were originally Heal Stones, but the First Mages, like everything else –tic!- enhanced it, and corrupted it, to make it more powerful! What if –tic! – he returns as a zombie? An undead, soulless person? Could you –tic!- live with that?”

Taren paused, and whispered, “I could. Much easier than knowing that I never tried, and that I would be forced to go on in this life without the only person who has ever truly believed and cared for me.”

“Love,” Silvertan whispered behind Blaz’tik, from the shadows.

Blaz’tik turned to Silvertan, “This,” he gestured to Taren, who was setting Tawmis’ corpse next to the blue, pulsating stone, “This is –tic!- folly.”

“Love,” Silvertan repeated. “Love is folly. But, without it, we are no more alive than this,” he placed his hand on the wall, indicating the living stone of Mount Grimrock.

Blaz’tik shook his head. Among his people, there was no such emotion as ‘love.’ They mated for survival, with whomever, among their kind, to keep their race alive. There was no courtship. No love. No attachment. After the mating, each member would part ways, and continue leaving their lives with no obligations; save for all of the males protected all of the females and the eggs, not just the ones they had mated with.

Taren kneeled and prayed to whatever Gods might be listening. “You know my heart’s desire,” he said. “I need him to live. It’s not that I want him to live. I need him to live,” Taren emphasized.

“This is foolish,” Blaz’tik repeated. “This will not end –tic!- well. We may have to –tic!- kill him ourselves if he rises as some form of –tic!- undead creature.”

Silvertan looked at Blaz’tik with a look that spoke volumes; saying simply, “Be silent, if Taren hears you, he will kill you himself.”

Blaz’tik fell into silence.

Taren took in a deep breath. “This has to work,” he whispered to no one in particular; for no one, save for the Gods, could perhaps hear his choked plea. He touched Tawmis’ hand to the blue pulsating stone, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

A minute had gone by, still Taren held Tawmis’ hand, touching the stone.

“Perhaps he’s been –tic!- dead too long,” Blaz’tik said. “Or perhaps –tic!- what the Crimson Order did to him –tic!- prevents him from living again.”

“No,” Taren growled. “I will not give up. We have fought monsters of every kind in this damn mountain. We have already given so much. It’s time that this damn mountain give back to us now!”

“That’s –tic!- not how it works,” Blaz’tik explained.

“Then we make it work that way!” Taren growled. “Cast a spell on that stone! Make it flow life into his body!”

“I know of no –tic!- magic that could do that,” Blaz’tik said matter-of-factly. “We need to keep going. The –tic!- sounds from the fight are bound to attract more creatures this way. If we don’t leave –tic!- now, we will find ourselves fighting –tic!- something again – very soon.”

Silvertan placed a reassuring hand on Taren’s shoulder. “I hate to admit it,” his voice said, hissing, “but the Insectoid is right. We need to keep moving. I will help carry him, if you wish. We will give him a proper burial when we get out of here. We will speak endlessly of his name and heroics. We will make him a legend. We will make him immortal through story and tales.”

Taren stood up and pushed Silvertan. “I don’t want him alive and immortal through tales and stories,” the minotaur growled, his nostrils flaring. “I want him alive. Alive to drink with me. To laugh about what we lived through. To be my friend.”

“He will always be your friend,” Silvertan said, standing up. “But it’s time you let him go. It’s time to accept that he is…”

“Alive,” Blaz’tik sputtered.

“What?” Taren turned to look.

Tawmis’ eyes fluttered.

“What,” he wheezed, “are you two fighting about now?”

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:00 pm

“The gods favor you,” Silvertan said, walking along side Tawmis Sanarius. “You were dead.”

“I am thankful, perhaps, that the gods, as you say, favored me,” Tawmis replied, casting a side glance at the humanoid lizard, whose silver scales reflected against the torchlight. “I am more thankful that my dearest, and only friend, refused to give up on me.”

“What did you see,” Silvertan asked, “when you were dead?”

“Darkness,” Tawmis shrugged. “I don’t remember seeing anything. I remember closing my eyes, seeing darkness – then feeling this sensation going through my body – and my eyes suddenly saw a light blue – that was all I could see. Light blue. Then,” Tawmis paused, “I opened my eyes. Everything was blurry at first. I couldn’t see anything. It looked like I was peering through a painted canvas that had had all of its colors smeared.”

“Comforting,” Silvertan sighed, “that there is nothing after death.”

“Or,” Blaz’tik’s insect like clicking interjected, “our mortal minds cannot –tic!- conceive what is there beyond death. We have no way –tic!- of comprehending what is beyond. Most believe –tic!- that our souls look just as we do, and –tic!- we ascend to some heaven. But what if that is not the case? What if –tic!- we are forms of energy that ascend?”

Taren shook his large minotaur head. “No. After death, we ascend to an arena, in which we fight, day in and day out, until we are worthy to be reborn, and returned to this world.”

“That’s all you minotaurs believe,” Silvertan sighed. “Everything is resolved by fighting.”

“Strength and honor,” the Minotaur corrected. “A warrior who kills dishonorably, should perish quickly for his actions. Your enemy deserves an equal chance at combat. If you disarm your enemy and they insist on combat still, you throw your weapons aside and fight them hand to hand.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Silvertan spat.

Tawmis saw Taren’s nostrils flare. “Listen, we all come from different walks of life, with different beliefs. Let’s not find out what happens when we die until we get out of this cursed dungeon?”

“I can help you,” hissed an unknown voice.

Tawmis reached for his sword that was not there. His eyes peered into the darkness, where he saw two, red eyes peering back at him from the shadows. Tawmis’ eyes adjusted to the darkness, and saw that there was a prison there, with a hunched over humanoid figure.

Tawmis gazed for a long moment, unsure of what he was seeing. “What are you?”

“I am a Ratling,” the creature responded. A scar over its left eye, and sharp, pointy buckteeth in the front clearly looked like a rat. Its fur was tannish-brown, it’s ears had nicks in it, having seen plenty of combat.

“Ratling?” Tawmis asked. “Why have I never heard of such a thing? Is it the damn magic in this dungeon that shaped you to be large and intelligent? The way it has shaped those cursed snails we keep running into everywhere?”

“No,” the Ratling answered. “I come from the Northern Realms, the Isle of Nex.”

“The Isle of Nex,” Taren answered. “I have heard of it, and your people. You are raiders, for the most part. Scavengers, like your rat brethren.”

“Not all of us are like that,” the Ratling hissed. “Although we are quite skilled at scavenging.”

“How did you –tic!- end up in that cell, that far down in –tic!- the dungeon?” Blaz’tik asked.

“I stumbled upon beasts known as scavengers,” the Ratling began to explain.

“Well isn’t that ironic,” Silvertan muttered beneath his breath.

The Ratling heard, but continued on, as if he hadn’t. “Once harmless mites that came into this dungeon by dirt and dwelling in the hair of prisoners thrown down here – as you mentioned with the snails, being exposed to the mysticism of Grimrock transformed them into the ravenous swarm! Well, I was desperate for food and had snuck into their lair and stolen some of their larva, I was going to feast on when I was discovered. They chased me, and my only choice was to slam this gate behind me, since they were too large to fit between the bars. Little did I know, in my panic, that it would lock.”

“And you want us to let you out?” Tawmis asked. “And what? Stab us in the back?”

“No,” the Ratling explained. “I would be indebted to you. I know alone, I will not get out of here alive. With the rest of you, I have a chance.”

Tawmis looked at Taren, who shrugged, “We can’t let him starve in there.”

“You just said his people were raiders,” Tawmis countered, surprised by Taren’s response.

“What would you do if you found me in a prison and did not know me for who I am?” Taren asked.

“Really? You’re going to get all deep and philosophical with me?” Tawmis shook his head and turned to Silvertan. “Get the lock undone. And be quick. If he’s telling the truth and he encountered these scavenger things, I don’t want to be around if they come back.” Tawmis paused, and turned to the Ratling as Silvertan began working on the lock. “What’s your name?”

“Coy,” the Ratling answered. “My name is Coy.”

“Isn’t that ironic,” Silvertan muttered beneath his breath again, as he opened the chamber.

“Welcome to the party, Coy,” Tawmis smiled.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:00 pm

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“I just don’t think we should trust him,” Silvertan hissed between his serpent lips.

“Trust him?” Tawmis chuckled. “Are you not the one that tried to steal from a guard and got all of us – with the exception of you, Blaz – into this mess?”

Silvertan shrugged. “I didn’t ask for any of you to try and assist me,” he replied, his scales shimmering in Grimrock’s flickering torch light.

“Granted,” Tawmis amended, “that rotund guard, Boris lied about what he had caught us doing that night, to save face, since he wasn’t supposed to be in The Fallen Star – a place of… questionable reputation with the ladies of entertainment.” (1)

“I joined –tic!- the fray after you had –tic!- been knocked out from behind,” Blaz’tik reminded Tawmis.

“As I told you before,” Silvertan’s reptilian eyes focused on Tawmis, “I had every intention of being thrown down here alone. I could have survived down here alone. I live in the shadows.”

Taren shook his mighty, minotaur head. “You have seen the horrors that are down here, lizard. Do you truly believe that cowering in the shadows, waiting for these things to pass would have allowed you to survive alone? I have seen the horrors of the undead, who do not see with human eyes. Instead, they see with a hatred for the living. No amount of shadows could have hid you from them.”

“Perhaps,” Silvertan said, the ‘s’ making a slithering sound, “you are correct, brute. Perhaps I would not have survived alone down here, as I thought I might have. Perhaps I believed too much in my own skills, but this isn’t about me. This is about that rat, and how we should not trust him. His name is Coy, for crying out loud. He’s not even hiding the fact that his very name is a symbol of deception!”

“Then perhaps we should be thankful that he’s not hiding what his name means,” Tawmis shrugged as he held the torchlight in front of him. “Speaking of that Ratling, how far ahead did he go and search for us anyway?”

“He’s probably bringing back an army of some horrors to kill us,” Silvertan muttered. “Or there’s more of his kind down here, and he’s leading us into an ambush.”

“You’re not the trusting sort, I take it,” Tawmis finally said, feeling exasperated by Silvertain’s constant barrage and notions of why the Ratling was not to be trusted.

“I am not the foolish sort,” Silvertan corrected. He paused for a long moment, and finally amended, “And I may have some issues with trust as well.”

“Some?” Tawmis replied, sarcastically.

“I just don’t think it’s a wise idea to trust strangers down here,” Silvertan hammered on.

“Blaz,” Silvertan turned to the insectoid. “Isn’t there any kind of magic that you can do to see if the Ratling is lying to us? A Detect Lie or Detect Evil kind of spell?”

Blaz’tik looked at Silvertan. “Those sound –tic!- like rather silly spell names. There is one that’s similar to this ‘detect lie’ you mentioned, but it’s called Detellius.”

“That’s excellent,” Silvertan hissed. “Can you cast it on the filthy Ratling next time he shows up? I’d like to ask him a few things to see if he’s telling the truth.”

“I would love to cast such –tic!- a spell, however,” Blaz’tik explained, holding up his insect like arms, “I have none of the –tic!- spell components that are needed.”

“Naturally,” Silvertan sighed.

“What spell components do you need, insect?” came Coy’s voice, directly behind Silvertan who screeched out and slammed his own body against the wall.

“How did you get behind us?” Silvertan spat. “You were trying to backstab me, weren’t you?”

“With what,” Coy asked, with a wide smile. “My teeth? I have no weapon, if you haven’t noticed. However, much like my ‘brethren’ as you’re so fond of saying, I am a pack rat, and do have some components that might be useful to a mage. I have a pouch of sandalwood shavings, forioan mushrooms, two whistle leaves, and a small pouch of grounded herder spores.”

“Those –tic!- components,” Blaz’tik said, his insect eyes somehow wider with excitement, “could indeed –tic!- prove very useful!”

“They’re all yours,” Coy said, removing his belt and pouches and handing them over to Blaz’tik.

Tawmis looked at Silvertan and whispered, “Do you trust him now?”

“Even less,” Silvertan replied. “Even less.”

TO BE CONTINUED?

(1) See the very first post of the story! Boris, the guard Silvertan had tried to rob, did indeed like to the king and say that Tawmis, Taren and Silvertan had been caught trying to rob Houralus Survine, one of the Royal Men of Curvia (which was the rich side of town)


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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:01 pm

“Honestly!” Tawmis cursed. “Who does this?”

“I –tic- would assume that the Goromorgs,” Blaz’tik began to explain.

“I don’t care!” Tawmis interrupted him. “It was a rhetorical question!” Tawmis stared at the shimmering lights in front of him. This was the first time they had come across something like this. Not trusting magic, he had thrown a stone into it – only to discover it vanished. It had either incinerated the stone, or Blaz’tik seemed to believe it teleported the stone somewhere. Tawmis was in no mood to find out if Blaz’tik was wrong, and that the stone had, in fact, been incinerated.

Tawmis took a step forward and stepped on the tile. All the shimmering lights around him shifted, changing the path that was once clear to him. “Who does this?” Tawmis repeated.

Blaz’tik was about to continue explaining his answer, but a firm hand from Taren Bloodhorn, the minotaur, placed on the insectoid’s shoulder, told the young wizard not to utter a single word as to who possibly created this death trap.

“There’s a button on the wall to the right,” Coy, the Ratling pointed out. The problem was, there was no clear path to that button at the moment. All the tiles around it had the shimmering lights. Tawmis took another stone from his pouch and threw it with all his might to see if it would pass through the shimmering light fast enough to hit the button the wall. The shimmering lights, naturally, devoured the stone as soon as it passed into it. “I hate magic,” Tawmis muttered beneath his breath. Tawmis stood rigid on the tile and looked back, “All right, Blaz, where do I go from here?”

“Judging by the pattern –tic- in which the lights moved, when you stepped forward, -tic- I would say that your best option is left,” Blaz’tik replied. After a moment, he amended, “Although, -tic- a step back might also fit the pattern I believe I am seeing.”

“Which is it, Blaz?” Tawmis yelled.

Blaz’tik floundered, “It could –tic- be either one.”

“Have I mentioned how much I hate magic,” Tawmis muttered to no one in particular.

Blaz’tik was, once again, about to answer Tawmis’ comment, but the minotaur’s hand had gone from the insectoid’s shoulder to his mandible mouth. The insectoid nodded his understanding and whispered, once Taren had removed his hand, “If he hates magic so much, why did he volunteer to go into that room before the rest of us?”

“Because, despite his hatred of magic,” Taren explained, “and despite the façade he places up, Tawmis is truly a kind and generous heart. There’s no way he would allow any of us to risk our lives by his command, unless he was to try it first.”

Tawmis lifted his foot to step to the left and just inches before stepping on the tile – he stopped. He looked at the tile behind him. He turned and stepped on the tile behind him, hoping that changing his initial gut feeling was not going to get him incinerated. He waited for the pain but it never came.

“Interesting,” Blaz’tik said, his mandibles clacking with excitement. The shimmering lights had shifted yet again. “What –tic!- made you take the step back rather than go to the left?”

“Because,” Tawmis said, taking in a deep breath. “To the left would have gotten me to the button faster. I suspect the mages were counting on people thinking with that kind of mentality. So I took a step back, which seems the least logical when it comes to progress.”

Blaz’tik studied the new formation and path of lights. Though there had only been nine tiles – three across, three wide – it had taken nearly two hours of Blaz’tik analyzing the pattern before he had successfully managed to direct – with often times, Tawmis being forced to make a choice between two options – to the button, which opened the door on the far end, to actually reaching the door. Once Tawmis made it to the door, there was another tile that disabled the shimmering lights, allowing the rest of them to safely pass through the room. (Though Blaz’tik complained that he would have liked to have known if the stone had been disintegrated or if it had been teleported).

Blaz’tik had carefully navigated them through a number of magical traps, until they came to a room with one of the shimmering lights in the middle, with nowhere else to go. “We must have missed something,” Tawmis said as he began marching back. “A secret passage. A doorway. Something.”

“I’m fairly certain the lizard or I would have spotted something,” Coy said, tilting his head to Silvertan who was leaning against the wall.

“We go back and double check,” Tawmis demanded. “We look again.”

While they discussed matters, Blaz’tik edged towards the shimmering light. He reached his insectoid arm within the light and felt it tingle. He felt the sensation run down his arm, to his shoulder, to his chest, to his entire body.

Tawmis turned towards where he had last seen Blaz’tik and asked, “Is there any way that magic might have – wait. Where’s Blaz? Where did Blaz go?”

Coy turned his Ratling head, his whiskers twitching, “He was here – just a moment ago! He was here.”

Tawmis looked at the shimmering light in the center and whispered, “Oh no…”

Elsewhere in Grimrock, Blaz’tik felt his body tingle again.

He took a deep breath, as if he had been holding his breath underwater and looked around. “Well, that –tic!- was a most interesting sensation. Like being –tic!- torn apart and put back together again in –tic!- mere seconds! So it would seem –tic!- those shimmering lights are indeed teleporters. Now the question –tic!- begs to wonder, where am I now?”

Blaz’tik heard a hissing sound behind him and quickly spun around. His eyes, if they could have, would have widened in fear at the sight behind him. What appeared to be an enormous lizard, whose skin was ice blue. Cold misty air, came out of its nostrils, like smoke, wafting into the air.

“Oh my,” Blaz’tik stammered as he reached for his spell components. He threw the sandalwood shavings into the air, squished the forioan mushrooms between his fingers, which gave off a burning sensation, then with his fingers, gestured, making a triangle, followed two symbols running parallel, and finally raised his hands over his head. He had never done such a powerful spell before, and he wasn’t sure if he had done it right – and for a brief moment thought his life was over – until he felt the flame building between his fingers, and an enormous fireball launched from his hands, striking the lizard with so much force that it sent it – and him – flying back.

He quickly scrambled to his feet, expecting the lizard to charge him, and was quite surprised when he saw its charred remains lying there, unmoving. “Well,” Blaz’tik said, “I hope –tic!- Silvertan isn’t upset I have killed one of his descendants!”

Blaz’tik began moving through the dungeon, moving slowly, cautiously, unsure what else he would encounter. While he was glad to see he was right – that the shimmering light had been a teleportation device and not a disintegrator – he wasn’t all that thrilled with the idea of being separated from the others.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:02 pm

Tawmis jumped around the corner of the wall, a blast of searing flame right behind him. He quickly pressed himself against the wall, panting heavily. “What is that thing?”

“Would it be a good time to mention,” Silvertan hissed, peering around the corner, staring at the floating, flaming, armored figure, then back to Tawmis, “that the wizard would know what it is called?”

Tawmis stared at Silvertan with his own searing gaze. “No,” Tawmis finally said. “It would not be a good time to mention that. I realize that Blaz got either incinerated or teleported away. And I do realize that it would be useful to have Blaz here to deal with whatever that thing is over there.”

Taren, the minotaur, stood next to Tawmis, having been too slow to escape the blast, and suffered some small burns. “Whatever it is,” Taren snarled, his nostrils flaring, “it does not want us to pass in that general direction.”

“We could try going around it,” Silvertan mentioned.

“Great idea,” Tawmis spat, “except this is the only way forward. Every other way lead to a dead end or back up a level. If we want to get to the bottom of this cursed dungeon, we need to find a way around that thing – whatever it is.”

Another flaming blast shot through the tunnel, striking the far wall, sending uncomfortable waves of heat around them.

“What do we do if that thing decides to come down this tunnel?” Silvertan hissed.

“My first plan?” Tawmis said, smiling coyly. “I was going to throw you on it. You know, since you’re cold blooded. Figured you might cancel one another out.”

“Your sense of humor eludes me,” Silvertan returned with a distained look. The lizard-man looked around and hissed, “Where’s the Ratling? The damn Ratling’s gone! I knew we couldn’t trust him! He’s scattered! He’s left us! Probably knew this was a trap! He probably knew a way out of here!”

“We will deal with that later,” Tawmis growled.

“Deal with it later? We lost the mage already, and now the Ratling is gone too!” Silvertan growled.

“You were the one that wanted to be thrown in this dungeon alone,” Taren reminded Silvertan. “Was that not your plan originally?”

Silvertan now shot the massive minotaur a disgruntle look, but quickly looked away, unable to maintain the courage to lock eyes with the massive beast. “That may have been my plan originally, yes,” Silvertan admitted, “but I see now I underestimated the horrors of Grimrock. So yes, it may have been my plan, and yes I was wrong. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

“Son of a,” Tawmis whispered.

“What? Is that not a good enough apology?” Silvertan growled.

“No,” Tawmis replied, “look.”

Silvertan peeked around the corner cautiously, and much to his surprise, saw Coy, the Ratling sneaking up on the fiery creature, dagger drawn.

“How did he get over there?” Silvertan instantly asked.

“Does it matter?” Tawmis growled. “We need to keep that thing occupied so it doesn’t notice that Coy’s behind it.”

Tawmis jumped into the tunnel and began taunting the fiery creature, who unleashed another blast. Tawmis dove out of the way again, but once more the blast hit the far wall, sending waves of uncomfortable heat as it exploded.

Coy drove his dagger deep into the fiery creature’s back – hoping, despite having no physical body that he could sever whatever tie it had to life. The armor began to shake and Coy released the dagger and ran for cover, just in time as it exploded.

Tawmis quickly stood and ran over to Coy to help put out some of the fires that had ignited on Coy’s fur from the exploding embers. Silvertan ran over next, “How did you get behind that thing, Ratling?”

“I found a small tunnel, one that perhaps myself, and you,” he pointed to Silvertan, “could have fit through, because of bodies; our bones are more flexible. But there’s no way the human, and especially the minotaur were going to fit. I could have kept going, leaving you three behind – but I won’t survive down here without your help, so I knew I had to come back and help.”

Silvertan wanted to say something – find a way to accuse the Ratling of something – he still did not trust the Ratling – but there was nothing he could say that would have put the Ratling in bad light. His actions were, if anything, heroic.

Silvertan extended his hand to the Ratling and helped him stand. “It was either brave or foolish taking a chance that a backstab was going to destroy that thing. I don’t suppose you found any trace of the mage in this tunnel?” Silvertan hissed.

“I’m afraid not,” Coy replied.

Elsewhere, within the Dungeon, Blaz’tik suddenly woke up.

“That –tic!- was certainly a weird dream,” he said, his mandibles clicking. In his dream he had heard the voice of an unknown creature beckoning him forward. All he could remember from the dream was the voice… and gears… so many gears…

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:02 pm

Endless gears seemed to swirl and drift through the black void of space. Some connected, some disjointed, some spinning out of control, some rusted and broken.

Then there was a voice, “What is happening? A collective dream? Oh, I know you. I know what you seek.
Look for me down below, and I might help you.”

Blaz’tik sat up, his three hearts pounding furiously in his chest. This was the second time now, that he had found a small place to rest in the dungeon and been transported to the unusual gear-dream, for lack of a better word. It was now Blaz’tik regretted testing his theory if it had been a teleporter or an incinerator as Tawmis suggested, for he had been teleported away from the others – and none of the others seemed to have followed him through.

Not that he blamed them. They probably thought he had been reduced to ash by the shimmering lights.

That’s when the voice from the dream spoke into Blaz’tik’s mind yet again. “I can’t hear you but I know you can hear me. I tried to talk to the other people that have been here before you. They were criminals but I sense that you I can trust.”

Blaz’tik stumbled backwards, “The –tic!- voice from my dream! How are you speaking to me?”

Blaz’tik waited for answer, and finally heaved a sigh of relief, assuming his imagination was getting the best of him, when suddenly he heard it again, “Are you still there? I know a way out but I can’t make it there by myself. We need to work together. Descend towards the bottom of the mountain. We can meet there.”

Blaz’tik paled, even for an insectoid who was already nearly white. “I can hear you, but you can’t seem to hear me?”

He waited, and once again there was silence. Now more than ever, Blaz’tik felt very alone, and yet felt as if there were eyes now watching his every move. The very stone itself was alive, as he had once said, and it was somehow watching him – speaking to him.

Could the voice be the one he thought it to be? But that would be impossible. He was cast down here long, long ago. The stories of his imprisonment and creation, as well as his damnation, were all fabricated tales.

Blaz’tik moved cautiously through Grimrock, using his invisibility spell, now that he had the components for it, when needed, bypassing untold horrors that slithered around, waiting for something to feed upon. He found a small room with a steel door and locked himself inside of it to rest.

Once again as he drifted to sleep, space and time seemed to bend. Blackness swirled, mixed with crimson red, and once again, the spinning gears returned to his dream, preceding the arrival of the mysterious voice.

“I watched this dungeon being built. But they took it away from my people and twisted it. Filled it with traps and riddles. That is not how this place was meant to be. They make all the gates open and cause the traps to spring. It would be simple for them to stop us. Why will they not do it? Are we walking into another trap of theirs? Be careful. You are not the only ones held prisoner here. I, too, was cast down an abyss. I was bound with shackles. They keep all the machinery and mechanisms working in the dungeon.
All but one that sits in the tunnels below. It needs to be repaired so we can leave this place. Only a little bit further. You need to be careful. They live here and they will want to stop you. They fear you might undo their vision. The broken mechanism controls the Portal. From there we can escape. I am still too weak to move but I am glad you are making progress. I need to gather my strength so we can leave together. We can leave together. Leave together. Leave. Together.”

Blaz’tik awoke, once more, with his three hearts beating furiously.

“It’s –tic!- him,” Blaz’tik muttered. “It’s really him. The Undying One is real.”

Elsewhere in the dungeon…

Coy kneeled down, his Ratling eyes always looking for things to salvage. He picked up a small pouch and examined it, “Look,” he said, holding it up to the others.

“So you found a bag,” Tawmis muttered. “Does it have a magic key that gets us out of this place?”

“I know this magic bag,” Coy said, his nose twitching.

“Know it?” Tawmis asked.

“Yes, as in I gave it to the mage,” Coy said. He opened the bag and revealed flecks of grounded acorns. “By the looks of it, he may have passed through here.”

“So that means he wasn’t incinerated,” Taren said, with a nodding approval. “It will be good if we can find him again.”

“Preferably in one piece,” Tawmis added. “Can you tell which way he went?”

“By the looks of it,” Coy brushed the ground with his hand and looked a little down the hall where he saw a large, seared piece of flesh, “I’d say he went that way after melting the skin off whatever that thing was.”

Silvertan kneeled down, “An ice lizard,” he said, pulling back some of its burned flesh and seeing some of the ice blue scales, “or what’s left of it. I am surprised that our insectoid friend was able to use such a powerful spell,” Silvertan hissed. “He didn’t strike me as someone capable of such powerful magic.”

“It’s Grimrock,” Coy replied. “The magic flowing through the entire mountain that keeps the torches alive, the life stones, all of it is channeling into him, charging him like a battery.” The Ratling paused, “Soon he will be casting very powerful magic – until it either burns his body out, or corrupts him and he becomes one of the horrors that haunts these halls forever.”

“That’s,” Tawmis paused, “a cheery thought.”

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:02 pm

“You are close enough now,” the eerie voice whispered, startling Blaz’tik from his dream. “I don’t have to wait for you to be asleep anymore,” the voice continued speaking to Blaz’tik’s mind. “A long time ago, they closed the Portal by breaking the mechanism. It is here, nearby. Find it.”

Blaz’tik leaned against the wall, trying to gain his bearings. He had heard rumors, stories, legends of the Undying One. Legends spoke of the Undying One, several thousand years ago, nearly destroying the entire world – so corrupt, vile and evil, driven beyond madness. Grimrock had been created to imprison him so long ago; but the magic of the Undying One seeped out through his imprisonment and began to infect all of Grimrock – altering the beasts that roamed it, changing the guardians to disfigured, unrecognizable creatures. In essence, Grimlock gained life – and the caverns were littered with creatures that became the enzymes of the blood, fighting off the infections that entered – the prisoners thrown down, to fight and try to survive.

“I know –tic!- who you are,” Blaz’tik said to no one in particular. “I know what you have –tic!- done. I can not set you free.”

“They destroyed the mechanism,” the voice replied. “They took it apart to keep the Portal closed. But it can still be mended, I know how. To reopen the Portal, you need to find the missing parts. There are four parts missing. Go.”

“You don’t–tic!- understand,” Blaz’tik repeated. “I can not help you.”

“I am the way to freedom,” the voice said. “I am your escape. The portal is the gate, I am the key.” After a moment, the voice continued, “They throw all their scrap metal and old parts down the pits. We may find what we need here.”

Blaz’tik wasn’t even sure if the voice of what he believed to be the Undying One could even hear him – or if it was a one way communication. Still, if the voice was speaking the truth – if there was no way out without helping the Undying One – it would explain why no one ever escaped. Perhaps they all gave their life, once they realized the only way out was helping the Undying One escape.

Blaz’tik felt his fingertips tingle. He looked down and saw crackles of energy weaving between his fingertips. The magic of Grimrock was literally coursing through his entire body – energizing him, making him feel more alive than he has ever before. He had felt it from the moment they had been thrown into the dungeon – how the magic had been drawn to him. Each time they went deeper into the dungeon, each time they got closer, Blaz’tik suspected, to the Undying One, somewhere far below, the magic around him seemed to become stronger and stronger, also making him more powerful. Blaz’tik couldn’t help but recall the Goromorg that they had encountered; the one that had nearly ripped the soul from Tawmis’ chest.

“Thousands of years old,” Blaz’tik had explained, after that encounter. “Once believed to be human, the Designers – the First Mages – obsessed with magic, sold their –tic!- very sanity and souls, to improve and learn –tic!- and become better Mages. It is said –tic!- that they made a pact with a ‘Dark God’ that –tic!- bestowed these powers upon them and supposed –tic!- changed them in its image. They are, without a doubt, -tic!- the most powerful Mages in existence, but the cost –tic!- of magic was … what you saw. They –tic!- no longer appear human. They –tic!- emanate that fear –tic!- aurora, because there is nothing human – it’s literally the –tic!- magic within them flowing outward, seeking to drain any and all –tic!- magic it senses!”

Blaz’tik looked at his hands again. He saw the magic coursing through his fingertips.

And he couldn’t help but wonder – if he did not find a way to escape – would he suffer the same fate as the Goromorg? Would he eventually become so twisted and vile by the corrupt magic he could feel beating through his body. Would he become obsessed with the dark magic? Would he roam these halls, seeking to drain the life and magic of everyone who was thrown down here?

And for that brief moment, fear took over Blaz’tik. He closed his eyes, and prayed, before speaking the next words, “I will help you escape…”

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:02 pm

Slumbering. Sleep.

Blaz’tik felt energized, and yet drained. He felt excited, yet fearful. Each emotion, each feeling, came like the tides Sunken Strait. Every time he closed his eyes, even for a second, he saw the swirling mist, then the slowly emerging gears, hundreds of them, the numbers, the letters, all scrolling before his eyes, rapid messages, too quick to read.

The voice had not talked to him, for what felt like days, but had probably only been hours.

Blaz’tik had drifted off to sleep standing up, when his eyes opened he felt different. He looked at his hands and the magic continued to crackle between his fingers. “What –tic!- is happening to me?” he said to no one in particular.

He had regretted getting separated from…

From?

He closed his eyes and tried to visualize who he had come down here with. There were others. He was certain of it.

A human?

Yes. A human. A human of some importance. What was his name?

His name was Tawmis! Yes! Tawmis. And he was the son of someone…

Suddenly Blaz’tik felt a shock through his body. The grey mist, the gears were back.

Blaz’tik gasped and looked around.

What was he thinking about a moment ago?

He stood for a moment, trying to recall what it was he had just been thinking about. After several moments, he simply shrugged and continued forward. “I must help the –tic!- Undying One if I am ever to get out of here.”

Elsewhere in Mount Grimrock…

Coy kneeled down and touched the ground, “Your mage friend is close. It looks like he was here not too long ago. But his movements – they’re not fluid. It looks like he’s … jolted when he walks. His steps are erratic.”

“What would cause that?” Tawmis asked.

“My guess?” Coy replied, twitching the whiskers on his nose. “Grimrock is getting the best of your mage friend. The magic is corrupting him.”

“How can that be?” Silvertan hissed.

“Has the mage friend ever told you about Grimrock?” Coy asked, standing up, wiping off his hands.

“Yes, that the entire mountain is alive,” Tawmis answered. “Magic courses through the entire mountain, like blood. That’s how the torches remain lit. That’s how everything got enlarged. That’s why there’s undead everywhere. He told us all of that.”

“Did he ever tell you about the Undying One?” Coy leaned back against the wall.

“He may have mentioned it,” Tawmis replied, folding his arms across his chest. “Even I have heard all the stories of some magical being that nearly destroyed the world and was imprisoned down here. It’s all nonsense.”

“But it’s not,” Coy said, looking much like his name sake. “I have seen it. It’s very much real. And I have seen what it does to magic users. It uses the mountain to vitalize the mages, makes them addicted, for lack of a better word, to the magic they feel down here – especially as they go deeper, get closer to the Undying One. So this way, the mages never want to leave. Then he slowly begins to drain the magic from the mages bodies, back into himself. He’s been doing this since he’s been cast down here.” Coy paused for a moment, “Your parents,” he pointed his thin, furry finger at Tawmis suddenly, “did not ‘escape’ from Grimrock. They were sent down here on a mission; a mission to try and stop the Undying One. The fabled Orb of Zhandul, staff of the mad mage Zhandul himself, that they had supposedly brought down here for ‘safe keeping’; that is the tale that is, as you would say, nonsense. The truth of the matter is they, along with their guardian, Mork the Minotaur, were escorting a mage academy dropout by the name of Sancsaron the Wry down to the Undying One to use the fabled Orb of Zhandul that they had helped Sancsaron locate. Sancsaron could not be trusted to do this alone, as he hungered for great power, and would have been easily corrupted by the Undying One. By the time they reached the Undying One, Sancsaron was too far gone – he turned on your parents. Mork died protecting them. Your father killed Sancsaron, and your mother shattered the Orb of Zhandul against the Undying One’s metallic prison. The resulting blast should have incinerated everyone in the room. It had barely damaged the Undying One’s prison, sending small fragments in different directions. The Orb was shattered, your parents alive, and the Undying One was still absorbing magic. Your parents retreated to the first floor again, and called out to the guard who tossed down a line to them and pulled them back out of this prison. Your parents came here to destroy the Undying One. They failed.”

Tawmis, with his hands still folded across his chest, scoffed. “How is it that you could possibly know all of this?”

“I’ve been down here a long time,” Coy replied. “A very, very long time. I’ve survived by moving through small tunnels and grates throughout Grimrock. I have waited for someone to come down here and destroy the Undying One. I believed that all of you were the key. At least I did until the mage was separated from us. Now I fear it may already be too late for him.”

“And now, us,” Coy finally added after a long moment.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:03 pm

“So we’re supposed to believe you have survived down here for that long?” Silvertan hissed, his serpent like tongue, flickering.

“I was thrown down here when I was really young,” Coy replied. “I stowed away on a ship from the Isle of Nex to Nothamton. From there, I rode with some travelers into the Kingdom of Conwyn, where I eventually stopped in Ranwyn. I lived on the streets there until I was caught stealing. I was found guilty and thrown into Grimrock. I survived down here, like I said, by squeezing into small tunnels and grates, moving all around Grimrock. I saw things, learned things. That is, for example, how I knew about the tunnel that allowed me to get behind the Uggardian.”

“The what?” Tawmis asked, furrowing his brows.

“The fire guardian,” Coy replied. “They’re called Uggardians.”

“So now you think our mage is in danger?” Taren asked, his massive, minotaur muscles twitched.

“We all are,” Coy replied. “If the magic of Grimrock corrupts him, he will become incredibly powerful,” Coy thought back and the seared ice lizard, “He’s already displaying power boosts beyond his normal ability. It won’t be much longer now, if we don’t get him out of here.”

“Do you know a way out of here,” Silvertan asked, almost sarcastically, “since you have been here for so long?”

“There’s only three ways out of here,” Coy replied. “The first, and most common one is death.”

“That’s helpful,” Tawmis muttered sarcastically.

“The second way,” Coy’s eyes fell on Tawmis, “you go the route his parents took. You get the local authorities to pull you out. That’s not going to happen.”

“And the third?” Silvertan asked.

“The Undying One,” Coy replied.

“You say he’s real,” Tawmis said, lowering his arms. “So how is the Undying One going to help us get out of here? From everything you’ve said, he’s evil. I doubt he’s going to show us the door.”

“He won’t,” Coy replied. “But his magic could get us out of here. The teleporters scattered throughout these dungeons – like the one that your mage friend passed through – are efforts by the Undying One trying to create a portal that would lead outside of the mountain. The first mages cast a spell around Grimrock that should prevent the Undying One from doing that… but it’s been a long time, their spell is weakening, while the Undying One is growing stronger. It’s only a matter of time before he gets a portal open and out of here. If we can destroy him, and if your mage friend isn’t turned, he could channel the magic released by the Undying One and create a portal out of here.”

“So, we just need to beat some ancient being who, according to stories told, nearly destroyed the world? That’s it? We do that and we’re free?” Silvertan spat the words, chuckling sarcastically.

“Exactly,” Coy replied, “doesn’t seem so hard, right?” He returned Silvertan’s sarcasm with his own.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:03 pm

“So when you say you’ve been down here a long time,” Tawmis began. “Just how long is ‘a long time.’”

They continued moving through the darkened hallways of Grimrock. “By human years, I have been down here twenty years,” Coy replied.

“Twenty years?” Silvertan turned around. “You have managed to survive down here for that long?”

“Like I said,” Coy replied, “you’d be amazed where a rat can get to, when it needs to. Ratlings, like myself, are no different. We adapt to survive.”

“Let me guess,” Tawmis shrugged, “you were once a normal rat that the magic of Grimrock changed into what you are now?” He raised an eyebrow sarcastically.

“It’s funny you say that,” Coy began.

“No. No.” Tawmis shook his head. “If you’re about to tell me I’m right, I am going to stop believing anything else that comes from your mouth.”

“I was not changed by the magic of Grimrock,” Coy replied, “though, having been down here as long as I have, I do feel it in my veins. However, among my people it is said that we did indeed come from the magic of Grimrock. When the First Mages first imprisoned the Undying One at the bottom of Grimrock and cast the spell over the mountain that should have kept him there; it is said that several rats, trapped there, also changed, along with everything else. The first Ratlings, they say, came from Grimrock itself. They escaped by going through the grates, further down the mountain, because it eventually leads into the Great Lake just south of Grimrock.”

Coy continued his tale after everyone stopped to listen. “It is said that those who escaped through the grate; those that survived anyway, ended up surfacing in the middle of the Great Lake. Most, as you can imagine, drowned before ever reaching the surface.”

Coy was silent for a moment. “But even those that did survive to the surface, not many survived beyond that. The terror of the deep, as they are called, had also been changed by the magic of Grimrock, just through proximity. You see, the spell cast by the First Mages, as I said, is growing weaker, while the Undying One is growing stronger, the more mages they throw down there, accused of various crimes. The Undying One’s foul magic is corrupting everything around it. Soon he will need to wait for those thrown into Grimrock. He will be able to absorb the magic from those within close proximity.”

Coy continued, “Those that were able to make it to shore followed the river south to Nothampton. There they found people reacted in terror and fear, and sought to destroy them, so they quickly stowed away on a ship Ormond, up north. However, as the ship passed through the Sunken Strait, it struck rocks and was run around. Several of the Ratlings managed to survive, along with some of the magic of the First Mages by making it to the Isle of Nex. The home of my people now.”

“This terror of the deep you speak of,” Taren said. “What is it?”

“Squid,” Coy shrugged. “Or that’s what it used to be. The Great Lake was full of small squid at one time; many fisherman made their home around its shores long, long ago. But several of the squid made their way into the very grates that the Ratlings escaped from, and found themselves being changed, growing larger within the mountain prison. Eventually they became so large, that they could not escape back through the same grates they had come in. So now, they lay in waiting for unsuspecting prisoners to pass over the grates that they lurk beneath – then with lightning quick reflexes, enhanced by the horrid magic of the Undying One – they snap prisoners in half and pull them through the grates and devour them whole.”

Taren nodded his massive minotaur head. “Then the terror of the deep you speak of is similar to the ones my people know. My people are the best sailors of this world – and there is a beast that we call ‘Krakoun’ – giant squid, so large that their tentacles can wrap around the hull of a ship and snap it in half, and like the ones of Grimrock, they too, have the need to feast on flesh.”

“They, and the slime,” Coy nodded, “are the main reason traveling through the grates is unsafe.”

“What is the slime?” Tawmis asked.

“Everything in Grimrock gains life, eventually,” Coy shrugged. “So far as I have been able to discover, the very algae water in the grates, has also gain life. The slime that roams Grimrock is a slow moving, ball of green liquid and moss. It attempts to devour anything that it can – whether it be stone, steel or even flesh.”

“It’s alive?” Tawmis asked, appalled.

“Alive,” Coy nodded, “but not intelligent. It simply exists to consume, no other reason. It will attempt to devour anything and everything – and anything killed by the slime, will eventually become slime as well, as the flesh bubbles and burns. It’s not a pretty sight,” Coy added. “We should really begin moving if we hope to find your mage friend.”

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:03 pm

“Well, that was some good thinking,” Tawmis said looking behind him, the loud humming nearly deafening. It was suddenly silenced by clicking, then crackling. Tawmis peered around the corner again. “Okay, so what were those things?”

“Down here they’re called Shrakk Torr,” Coy explained. “They’re essentially flies that had mutated by the magic and become aggressive, and oversized.”

Tawmis looked around the corner again and watched as several Shrakk Torr struggled against the enormous webs that the giant spiders had weaved. He looked back at Coy, “It’s a good thing you knew about those giant spiders so that we could essentially lead them right into their webs.”

“Like I said,” Coy replied, his whiskers twitching, “I have been down here a long time. Many prisoners have fallen to those spiders. I survived by scavenging off the dead, using their weapons, gathering their food. The spiders in that room have been very beneficial to my survival.”

Coy heaved a deep breath and urged them on, “Come, we’re getting close.”

Silvertan trotted behind, keeping pace with Tawmis. “Have I mentioned,” Silvertan slithered the words from his reptilian lips, “that I don’t trust this Coy? He seems to know entirely too much about this dungeon. He survived down here for 20 years? Alone? Something’s strange with that one.”

Tawmis nodded, “I agree, something is strange. But we’re alive, and further than we would have probably ever got on our own. I trust him.”

Coy led them down another flight of stairs and into a large room, where there was one door caged. Magical writing was scribbling along the wall. Tawmis looked, “What does that say?”

“Thieves beware,” Coy replied. Silvertan looked at Tawmis, as if to silently question how the Ratling had been able to read the magic writing. As if to answer Silvertan’s unspoken words, Coy continued, “This is not my first time here. I was thrown down here with others. We got this far. We went inside this room and there’s a magical sword in there. One of the prisoners I was with tried to take it – it… did not end well.”

Coy pulled on the gate, and the metallic gate creaked open. Inside, as Coy had said was a blade that was humming with energy. “I would not recommend just trying to take the blade,” Coy warned. “Bad things happen.”

Tawmis stared at it for a moment. “The sign said thieves beware,” Tawmis pondered out loud. “But that blade is here for a reason.”

“To lure us to our doom,” Silvertan muttered.

Tawmis rolled his eyes at Silvertan. “No, like everything else in this crazy dungeon – it’s a puzzle. We just need to figure it out.”

“They key has to be in the warning,” Tawmis said. “And you’re sure you read that right? The magic writing?”

“I wasn’t the one that originally translated it,” Coy assured Tawmis. “One of the prisoners thrown down here was a mage, much like your friend. He had translated it.”

“So how do we take it, without taking it,” Tawmis wondered.

“What if we put something of equal weight upon the altar?” Taren asked. “That way, the altar never believes anything is taken.”

Tawmis was about to protest how silly of an idea that had been when he paused, gave it more consideration and finally said, “Taren, my friend, I believe you may have solved this riddle.”

Tawmis pulled out his sword and placed it just inches above the glowing sword, while using his other hand to wrap it around the magical blade, without lifting it off the altar. Tawmis took a deep breath and was about to do the swap, when he paused and looked at Coy, who was standing near the entrance, as if ready to bolt. “What happens if this goes wrong?” Tawmis asked.

“It’s just better that you don’t know,” Coy seemed to smile.

“That’s absolutely comforting,” Tawmis muttered. Tawmis took three deep breaths then swapped the blades. He kept his eyes closed for several seconds, waiting for death to come in some terrifying manner. After a few moments he opened one eye, then the other, and saw everyone standing around, also frozen in fear. Everyone was glancing around waiting for something to happen.

“You did it,” Coy finally said. “You really did it.”

Those words were exactly what Tawmis had needed to hear. He heaved a deep breath and collapsed to his knees, his entire body tingling with energy as the sword seemed to come alive in his hands. Tawmis stared at the blade, “There’s so much power in this sword.”

“From the mage that had perished in this room, he called it the Dismantler – a claymore supposedly forged deep in the underground magma furnaces. It is said to be the weapon that brought the Undying One to his knees, and that’s how they had captured him several thousand years ago.”

Coy peeked outside the room then turned to the others, “Now we’re ready to face the Undying One.”

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:04 pm

Taren Bloodhorn led the front of the party; his massive, hulking body seemed almost as wide as the very tunnels themselves. He towered over seven feet tall, his horns nearly scraping the roof of the halls, forcing Taren to bend over slightly as he walked. Behind him, Tawmis walked, the Dismantler blade in his hand, crackling with energy, forcing Tawmis’ hair to stand on end. Tawmis stood nearly six feet tall, but next to his only friend in the world, Tawmis felt like a small pebble, and Taren a mountain.

Behind Tawmis, Silvertan moved quickly, his skin sometimes allowing itself to try and blend, like a chameleon to the wall. Silvertan was nearly five feet tall, falling short behind Tawmis. Silvertan’s arms and legs were exceptionally thin, which allowed him to easily squeeze into small, and what would otherwise be, uncomfortable areas. His reptilian body, however, allowed his bends far more flexibility than a human or minotaur.

Bringing up the rear was Coy, whom Silvertan had often voiced a lack of trust. Coy stood nearly five feet tall as well, and though his arms and legs were thin, his gut seemed pudgy. But that was mostly fur, because when he needed to, Coy could almost seemingly collapse his rib cage to allow him to fit into what seemed to be, impossible places. Like at Ratlings, Coy had the ability, much like a ferret to seemingly become paper thin and squeeze into areas that one would not expect him to be able to fit into.

Together, the four of them marched in grim silence. There had been no sign of Blaz’tik lately; no foot prints, no charred remains that he might have incarnated with magic. Tawmis could not stop thinking about what Coy had said about Blaz’tik, that he Insectoid mage was somehow now ensnared by the Undying One.

Tawmis could not shake the memories that came back to him as they walked in silence through the halls. The days, weeks, months, he had spent a prisoner of the Mages, who ripped his mind apart, devoured his soul, all because they wanted to know the location of Zhandul’s Orb. And if Coy was to be believed; and there was no reason not to trust the Ratling, since he had been truthful and helpful so far; the Orb was actually brought down into Grimrock by his own parents in an attempt to finally destroy the Undying One.

If Blaz’tik was a slave of the Undying One, with his last breath, Tawmis would kill Blaz’tik if it came to it. It was better to be free in death, than live enthralled, a slave to mad mages.

As if hearing Tawmis’ thoughts, Taren turned his head slightly and said, “We will find Blaz,” his voice was gruff. “We will free him one way or another.”

Taren and Tawmis had saved one another’s lives too many times to count. There had been an unbreakable bond between them. They shared blood. Their souls. Their hearts. And without question, their minds. It was no surprise to Tawmis that Taren knew exactly what he was thinking. Without saying a word, because no words were needed to be said, Tawmis simply nodded his head, a fire burning in his eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance.   Legend of Grimrock: Destiny's Chance. EmptyMon May 11, 2015 8:04 pm

Tawmis covered his ears, “What in the gods is that humming sound?”

“We’ve nearly found him,” Coy said, his nose twitching with excitement.

“Blaz?” Tawmis asked.

“Undoubtedly him as well,” Coy nodded, scampering ahead.

“Him as well?” Tawmis looked at Taren, who in turn, shrugged.

They quickened the pace and saw Coy peering around a corner. He turned and faced them and gestured for them to be silent as they approached. “What’s going on?” Tawmis whispered.

“It’s as I feared,” Coy replied. “The Undying One has taken control of your Mage friend.”

Tawmis peered around the corner, and in the center of a massive room was a magnificent cube made of gleaming steel and gears. Tawmis turned to Coy, “That’s the Undying One? Not exactly how I imagined him to look. I thought he’d look…”

“More human?” Coy asked.

“Less square,” Tawmis managed to joke. He peered around the corner again, “So what’s happening?”

“My guess? The Undying One is sending mental commands to your Mage friend to complete him,” Coy replied.

“Complete him? What do you mean?” Tawmis asked.

“When your parents came down here with the Orb to try and destroy the Undying One, they, as you can see did not kill him; but they did damage him. Pieces of him were scattered around the dungeon; some of the pieces flew with such force that it penetrated various levels of the dungeon, embedding themselves within the very walls.”

“So why isn’t that… statue… doing anything?” Tawmis asked, nudging towards the one massive statue.

“Those are called Wardens,” Coy explained. “They activate if they believe that there’s an attempt to free the Undying One.”

“So why aren’t they activated with Blaz in there?” Taren asked gruffly, sizing up the statue.

“The Undying One must be using his magic to ‘hide’ Blaz from their view,” Coy explained. “He can probably afford to hide one; but if we all come around that corner, the Warden is going to activate.”

“And that would be bad,” Tawmis asked, knowing the answer.

“Very,” Coy replied.

“So how do you propose we do something about this?” Silvertan asked, still not trusting Coy.

“Well, I suspect the only way out is activating the Undying One,” Coy shrugged, looking back at the others, and with a shrug of his furry shoulders, added, “but it might cost us all our lives.”

“Or just ours, as you make your escape,” Silvertan said aloud.

“I can see why you wouldn’t trust me, despite the effort I’ve made,” Coy replied. “If you know of any better ideas, I am more than happy to hear it. Going into a room with the Undying One siphoning the magic from your Mage friend and a big, stone guardian just waiting to activate as soon as we set foot in there is not exactly an ideal good time to me.”

“So how are we going to do this?” Tawmis asked.

“I take the Warden,” Taren said. Tawmis looked back into the room, gazing over the stone Warden then back to Taren.

“I can’t let you fight that thing alone,” Tawmis shook his head. “That thing has a flail in each hand. And its hide is made of stone.”

“You will need to get Blaz away from the Undying One,” Taren said. “I am the best suited to fight the Warden.”

“I will keep the Undying One occupied,” Coy said.

“I will help with the Warden,” Silvertan finally replied.

Tawmis looked at Taren, whose deep, dark eyes stared back down at Tawmis. A smile formed on the corner of Taren’s lips. “This will not be the last time we see each other, human.”

“It feels that way,” Tawmis whispered.

“There is the life after this one,” Taren said with a nod. “We will find each other again there.”

Tawmis and Taren clanked their blades together, and chanted, “In life, I lived with honor; in death, I will be remembered.”

Taren stepped into the room, holding his sword and shield. Instantly, the Warden’s eyes suddenly glowed blue.

Time seemed to suddenly move in slow motion as everyone charged into the room. There was no fear. Only a purpose to do what was expected. Death may come for them all – but there was no time to think of that now.

Taren dodged the Warden’s slow swings. Being made of pure stone, the Warden was at least slow. The Warden brought the flail downward, and though Taren was able to side step, the strength of the Warden became very apparent, as the flail crushed the stone floor that it collided with. It would only take a few hits to break through Taren’s massive muscles and shatter his bones.

Tawmis reached Blaz’tik, who seemed to be hypnotized. Tawmis was shouting at Blaz’tik, but the insectoid just seemed to stare forward at the massive, metallic box in front of him. Tawmis looked around and shouted, the words seeming to fall from his lips at a decelerated speed. “He’s not responding to me!”

As Tawmis looked around, he saw Silvertan trying desperately to pierce the Warden’s stone hide with his weapons. Tawmis looked around and could not see Coy.

“Where’s Coy?” Tawmis suddenly shouted as the room suddenly jolted into normal speed.

“I knew we couldn’t trust the damn rat!” Silvertan shouted as he barely dodged a backhanded swing from the Warden. “He set us up to die in here! Sacrifice to the Undying One! That’s how he’s lived down here so long! He’s made a damn deal with the demon!”

Suddenly Tawmis saw, from the corner of his eye, Coy was screwing a piece of a gear unto the Undying One. “What are you doing?” Tawmis shouted.

“Believe it or not, I am getting us out of here,” Coy replied.

“By putting the Undying One back together? You said my parents came down here to destroy him! Why would you undo what they risked their lives to do?” Tawmis shouted. He shoved Blaz’tik aside and quickly strode over to Coy.

“Because,” Coy said, stopping to look Tawmis in the eye. “I know how to get us out of here. I admit, I have not been up front with all of you. Yes, I did set your Mage friend up.”

“What do you mean you set him up?” Tawmis shouted.

“I knew the Undying One syphoned off magic from Mages,” Coy replied. “I knew from the time I was thrown down here nearly twenty years ago, when the mage that was thrown down here with me was compelled by the Undying One. In his dying words, he told me about the dreams he had, how the Undying One had visited him, called to him. Since then, I have been gathering the magical components of the mages that perish down here. Hoping one day, a set of prisoners would come down here, strong enough to possibly do something against the Undying One. So yes,” Coy snapped, “I knew giving those spell components to your Mage friend would trigger the Undying One to call upon your Mage friend. I knew this. I used your Mage friend as bait. But your Mage friend is the key. And by the gods,” Coy gestured to the Taren who was fighting the Warden. “I have never seen such courage and determination in anyone else that’s been thrown down here. The bond you two shared pushed one another to keep going. And to learn that you’re the son of Contar and Yennica… I knew this was the time. I knew it was now or never.”

Taren barely had time to worry about what was going on with Tawmis and Coy; he could only see that his dearest, and truly his only friend, was flailing his arms in an angry gesture as he was speaking to the Ratling. The Warden brought his flail down, which Taren was able to deflect. The chain around the flail wrapped around Taren’s blade, and the Warden was able to yank the blade from the minotaur’s firm grip. “I don’t need swords,” Taren growled. He bowed his head down and charged. The Warden managed to bring his other flail down into Taren’s back, ripping the minotaur’s fur, splashing blood upon the ceiling as the flail left the tattered skin. But Taren did not stop, he charged, his horns slamming into the Warden’s abdomen, barely giving Silvertan enough time to slide out of the way as Taren crashed the Warden into the far wall. With no need to breathe, the Warden was not stunned for long, and brought his flail down again, striking Taren in the back once more.

Silvertan watched in horror. There was nothing he could do to even damage the Warden. He watched in sadness as the Warden raised his arm, the bloodied flail coming up. Much to his surprise, as the flail came down it did not strike the crushing blow that would have severed Taren’s spine. Instead, it struck a metallic shield. Tawmis was now standing between the Warden and his best friend. “Not today,” Tawmis growled. “Not today…”

“Silvertan!” Tawmis barked. “Go help Coy put the Undying One back together!”

“We’re putting that thing back together?” Silvertan asked.

“Just do it,” Tawmis shouted as the Warden brought down the other flail, denting the shield in Tawmis’ hand.

“I can not believe we’re doing this,” Silvertan grumbled as he ran by Tawmis and began helping Coy put the Undying One back together.

Tawmis pulled out the Dismantler, the electric humming began, electricity coursed through his body. “What are the odds that this blade can cut through you?” Tawmis sneered as he brought it down upon the Warden’s arm. Much to his surprise and disappointment, it barely nicked the stone guardian’s armored flesh. “Well,” Tawmis muttered, “that’s certainly disappointing.”

He tilted his back towards Coy and Silvertan, “If you two are going to do something, you’re going to have to do it real quick. This is not going well over here.”

The Warden had forgotten Taren and now focused on the new threat; the one still standing, the one with a weapon – Tawmis. Time after time, the Warden brought its massive flails down; Tawmis tried to deflect with his battered shield until he was sure that the very vibration of the pounding he was taking had finally broke his arm, and he could not raise his shield anymore.

“It was a good plan,” he muttered, “except for the part where we all die.”

Much to his surprise, again, he saw two large, black hands wrap around the Warden’s throat from behind. Huge, gleaming eyes of crimson burned in the shadows. Tawmis had seen it before. It was Taren, and he was in a blood rage.

“No more,” Taren gargled, barely coherent, his words giving way to the savage beast within him. “No more.” He put all his weight into his hands and slammed the Warden down upon the ground. The surprised Warden was caught off balance and collapsed to the floor, seemingly unable to stand again.

“We’ve got it!” Coy shouted gleefully. The Undying One was now beginning to hum massively. “Now! Now!” Coy jumped up and down. “Strike it with the Dismantler.”

“Then what happens?” Tawmis asked, rushing to Coy’s side.

“We pray to the gods that your Mage friend is able to harness all the magic that’s about to come pouring out of him,” Coy shrugged.

Tawmis looked at Blaz’tik who still looked like he was in a trance. “He’s not even coherent!” Tawmis pointed to Blaz’tik with the Dismantler blade. “How is he supposed to know to channel magic?”

“The Undying One has been in touch with his mind,” Coy replied. “He will sense the release of the magic from the Undying One, and begin to absorb it into himself.”

“And then?” Tawmis asked.

“Hopefully your friend creates a portal before all of this explodes,” Coy smiled, as if he were saying, “The sun should come up tomorrow.”

“This seems like a really horrible plan,” Tawmis muttered.

The Undying One began to glow. “Horrible or not,” Coy said, “it’s the only one we’ve got and the Undying One is coming out of the magical trance. You do it now or he starts killing us.”

Tawmis thrust his blade into the Undying One – and at that moment, there was an unholy scream.

Magic suddenly poured out of the gaping hole that the Dismantler had put into the Undying One – and just as Coy had said; Blaz’tik suddenly opened his arms, closed his insect eyes, and gazed upward, pulling all the magic into himself. Though there were no doors, no windows, the wind within the entire room seemed to come alive.

The wind’s speed increased, so that it became a part of the Undying One’s screams.

A loud boom – and everyone was thrown to the floor. All except Blaz’tik who was floating in the air, arms out stretched, eyes glowing blue. “I have –tic!- found the way. We can –tic!- be free.”

“Blaz! You’re back?” Tawmis shouted with joy as he began to stand.

“I –tic!- am,” Blaz’tik replied. “I have never felt to –tic!- alive in my life. I can see the world in –tic!- ways you could not even begin to –tic!- imagine!”

He closed his eyes and a small shimmering light appeared; slowly it grew larger and larger. “We must –tic!- go quickly – tic!- for the Undying One is about to explode!”

The shimmering light grew to large square; through the lights, they could see the world outside. “A teleporter,” Blaz’tik smiled, “as I had assumed, not an incinerator.”

Tawmis smiled. He watched Coy quickly jump through. Tawmis helped Taren to his feet and allowed his friend to go through the teleporter. “What about you, Blaz?”

“I will close the door behind us,” Blaz’tik said, “so that –tic!- the explosion is hopefully contained within Grimrock.”

“Behind you!” came a shout from Silvertan who had not yet stepped through the portal. Tawmis turned in time to see Silvertan push him out of the way as the Warden’s flail came crashing down; crushing Silvertan’s fragile, reptilian spine. “Silvertan!” Tawmis screamed.

“Go!” Silvertan cursed, as the Warden moved forward. “Go, damn it! Go!”

“I can’t leave you behind!” Tawmis shouted.

“You must!” Silvertan said. “It’s already too late for me.”

Tawmis stared hopelessly. The Warden was approaching again. Tawmis cursed and stepped into the portal.

Blaz’tik looked back at Silvertan, “You found what you came –tic!- for here,” he said, nodding. Blaz’tik opened his insectoid hands and with a simple blast incinerated the Warden to rubble. He kneeled down in front of Silvertan. “You found honor –tic- and I will speak of it to all who listen.”

Silvertan gripped Blaz’tik’s hand and nodded, “Thank you.”

“I must –tic- go now,” Blaz’tik said. He turned and stepped through the Portal.

Blaz’tik emerged north end of the Great Lake, just south of the Deathfang Ridges. “We should be –tic- safe here,” Blaz’tik said.

Then the explosion came.

It was louder, stronger, more powerful than any of them could have expected. It knocked all of them into the Great Lake’s waters.

Tawmis opened his eyes, and looked around. There was a familiar sight. And for a moment, he wondered if he had dreamed the entire event of Grimrock – and wondered if he was still in the prison cell in Curvia, where this had all begun.

But when he could barely stand, and not because he was groggy from the explosion, but because the ground seemed to sway beneath his feet; he grabbed the bars for balance. Then he could smell it. The fresh ocean breeze. The sound of waves crashing against a ship.

He looked around him and saw Taren, Blaz’tik and Coy.

“Where are we?” Tawmis asked, having no memory after the explosion that shook Grimrock.

“We’re on a slave ship,” Taren muttered, recognizing the interior of the ship.

“The Elf Wind,” Coy said, “to be exact. Chances are we’re headed up Daejon for Gladiator combat slavery.”

“What happened?” Tawmis asked.

“The explosion drew a lot of attention,” Coy replied. “Mages. Warriors. Thieves. All interested in what might be within Grimrock’s remains. Apparently we were fortunate enough to be found by slavers and traders down stream from the Great Lake.”

“That’s just wonderful,” Tawmis sighed, and sunk against the bars. “What else could possibly go wrong?”

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The Elf Wind rocked back and forth, cutting quickly through the dark, blue ocean waters. Tawmis heard a familiar groan and turned to see Blaz’tik finally regaining consciousness, the last of them to do so. “Glad you could join us among the living,” Tawmis said, leaning against his bars.

“If this -tic!- is living,” Blaz’tik muttered, “I much prefer being dead. My -tic!- head is pounding viciously!”

“The explosion back there at Grimrock would be responsible for that,” Tawmis nodded. “We all got the wind knocked out of us.”

“What -tic!- happened?” Blaz’tik asked.

“Well, you merged with the Undying One, as far as any one of us can guess,” Tawmis began explaining. “He was using you, absorbing your magic, to make himself more powerful. We sort of stabbed him with something called the Dismantler – made, specifically from what Coy says,” Tawmis gestured to the Ratling in the neighboring cage who looked less than pleased to be aboard the ship, “to destroy the Undying One. The result was a malfunction – and next thing we know, you were absorbing his magic. You made some portals, teleported us out. We landed near the Great Lake, and then there was an explosion. That’s pretty much the last thing any of us really remember, until waking up on this ship.”

“Slaver ship,” Coy muttered, “by the looks of the materials down here with us.” He heaved a deep sigh. “No doubt headed for the Gladiator rings. We will be sold as ‘The Slayers of the Undying One’ or ‘The Destroyers of Grimrock.’ We’re bound to fetch a high price on the Gladiator market.”

“But,” Tawmis interrupted Coy’s pessimistic tone, “now that you’re awake, that’s not going to be a problem, right?”

If Blaz’tik could raise a questioning eye brow, such as he had seen Tawmis do in the past, he would have. “How -tic!- do you figure?”

“Blaz,” Tawmis began. “All that magic you absorbed. The spells you were casting. We have the most powerful mage in the world at our side! Let’s melt these cages, take over this ship, and sail back home!”

“I’m,” Blaz’tik stammered, “I am afraid -tic!- that will not be possible.”

“Not be possible?” Tawmis stammered. “What do you mean ‘that will not be possible’?”

“I am trying to recall my -tic!- spells… and… I can barely remember -tic!- how to cast a light spell!” Blaz’tik confessed.

“A light spell? A light spell?” Tawmis sunk down. “Yeah, that’s just what I want right now. A light spell – to show how depressing our situation really is. How could you not know your spells?”

“I am -tic!- afraid that perhaps,” Blaz’tik began to explain, “that the explosion -tic!- may have jarred my memory… or perhaps what I -tic!- learned from the Undying One was a fleeting thing… it’s magic has -tic!- burned out and run its course.”

Coy looked over at Tawmis and shrugged, “I told you it wouldn’t be this easy.”

Tawmis heaved a deep sigh. “Do you insist on reminding me when you’re right?”

“No,” Coy replied. “Because I’d be repeating myself all the time to you.”

Tawmis lunged at Coy. “If these bars weren’t here, my hands would be around your throat right now.”

“If these bars weren’t here,” Coy retorted, “you’d have no reason to be upset.”

There was a pause, and Coy finally asked, “Am I right?”

“Just shut up,” was Tawmis’ only muttered reply.

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