The dungeon was titled according to its famous reputation. The Asylum of Terror. A dark place deeply burrowed between the mountain peaks. One single road leads to this monstrosity, a road known only by a few people and crossed by even less. But some foolhardy adventurers remain who questions its reputation and dares to walk upon the forsaken stones of which the Asylum was built on. The terrors, as most of these foolish heroes say, are nothing to worry about.
Ironically, they are all right. The terrors are the least of concerns once they have entered the Asylum. They should be more aware of the fact that they will just die.
The latest group of adventurers knew that this misfortune could occur. In fact, they counted on it. But no one imagined that they could be the ones that would die. And no one really cared if the others would perish. More loot to go around, magical items to be distributed amongst the survivors, no problems with that right? It was a solid arrangement. No noble deeds to protect one another. Just every man on their self.
“And before we continue on this task,” Orsik mentioned, after drinking a drip of his ale, “I want you to be aware of this very fact. If one of you might die, then so be it. Your equipment will be an excellent addition to the earnings we will make in the Asylum. I even bought a bag for that special purpose. However, before we slaughter each other into oblivion, I should mention that the fortunes that we have now in our mortal hands, are nothing compared to what we will find there. We will enter the Asylum as one united force, but if you get stuck behind, then you are left behind. Agreed?”
They glanced at each other for a moment, secretly holding their weapons behind their back or gathering their magic in the palms of their hand. There was no doubt that any of them had the capabilities to finish this here and now, not to mention the urge to do so. In fact, even the chance of having such a meeting adjourned, between the deadliest and least trustworthy persons that have ever lived, would have been close to zero if there wasn’t any dungeon in the neighborhood, famous for its treasures.
“Aye,” Lee finally spoke. He stood up, showing an almost characteristic posture of an incompetent dwarf: fat, small and carrying the armory that fits his own arrogance, but his hand was clearly practiced in using the war axe he now slammed on the table, “My axe will crush the skull of my enemy. My body will withstand the puny attacks of my opponent. Show me the direction and I will lead you towards it!”
“And you Warryn?” Orsik asked, “Will you accompany us?” All looked at the wizard, who laughed and darkened the room with one gesture. And with his laughter, the darkness was replaced by a vision of the future world, where this very table was the last remainder of a planet that has now been shred into chaos. But at the sight of these horrors, the cleric didn’t twitch, he didn’t even blink with his eyes. He just repeated the question.
“Yes,” Warryn said and ended the curse he just cast, “My power is endless. My knowledge is supreme. But I know I can become stronger and more powerful than ever before. And then, when I am done, I will make this world burn before my eyes.” Orsik replied calmly:
“Interesting. What about you Elvin?” His eyes weren’t pointed to a single spot, but instead to a whole swarm of mosquitoes, hopping up and down as they were still struck by the despair of Warryn’s vision. But then they stood still, transformed, and were united to a single man, who radically nodded. The elfish druid, skilled through years of intense training and experience, would join this fellowship as well. Orsik seemed pleased.
“Now we just have to wait for Snails.”
“Who is this Snails figure?” Lee asked, “Something we can smash?”
“Something we can burn?” Warryn wondered.
“Something we can bite? Scratch? Kill? Wound? Is he a druid that shape shifts into snails? Why? Snails are icky.” Elvin thought out loud in rapid voice.
“I am Snails,” said a lonely figure in the dark that, as it seems, appeared out of nowhere. Before anyone could react to it, he stood in front of Elvin, looking him deep in the eyes and in a clear position to pierce him with his dagger. Instead of doing so, he just added calmly:
“I am a rogue. I ain’t something to smash. I ain’t something to burn and I am definitely not a druid that changes into snails. That would be in fact, I agree, kind of icky. So your right about that friend elf.” In an attempt to escape from the rogue’s gazing eyes, Elvin quickly changed back into a hundred individual bees, but it didn’t matter. All could escape but one, who Snails picked out of the air and kept trapped between his fingers.
“I am also not the ordinary rogue you see while you are crossing the street and see a couple of ruffians being executed. I actually survive. If you see me, then that is because I want you to see me. And when you are not, then you have usually a knife sticking in your back a few seconds later. I think we will all get along just fine.” Taking a good look at the group, he
squashed the bee in his fingers and then smiled.
“Yes, I think we will.”