Wait a minnow- I'm feeling DTF! "The Fire Witch"

in Scholar and Scribe3 months ago

I woke up today feeling A-OK! In a time when so many Cryptocurrencies are tanking, we are weathering the storm in a boat made from the boards of community!

Did you see the difference in HBD in the last 24 hours? WOW! That bounce back puts me in a MOOD 😋 feeling sassy and ready to roll...

The resilience of our community is really making me feel DTF as I start my day...

Dungeon Tale Friday

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Photo by carufrannco

"Stop!" Maglio screams, but it is too late. The stout dwarf beside him nods his agreement to the crimson king, who sits in the shadows of the high ceiling. His throne is made from the bones of an assortment of races, its seat several lengths above their heads.

The cackling of the fire witch that accompanies this agreement sends chills up the gunslinger's spine, Maglio knows this is very bad indeed. He's not the only one feeling this way, evidenced by the way the pyromancer shifts his feet nervously. Ivan had only joined the party a few weeks ago, under the assumption that the group was united in their fight for Law.

The fire witch turns to Ivan, the sickening miasma of chaos surrounding her leads Maglio to turn away in disgust, as she approaches the young wizard. "You could do much better here, you know..." she runs her fingertips though Ivan's hair, causing him to shudder.

She turns towards the dwarf, "and you... Our paths were already tied, Tsubaki." she grins, bringing to mind the sand worms of the dungeon they had just left. Uther... what other choice did they have? Tsubaki does not waver as she continues. "I've never been directly denied by a man so many times. Make no mistake, I will have my piece of you yet." she leans in to kiss his bushy cheek.

Tsubaki's knuckles are white on the hilt of his sword, which gleams with an unusual light in this den of Choas and mayhem. He does not dare draw it against the witch, who mocks him for the dozenth time however, he knows it is certain death. The laughter of neophytes surrounds them.

"Do not vex me, witch. Our agreement is made, yet my friend still lays on the floor." Tsubaki grunts, speaking directly to the man who sits above, half hidden in the shadows.

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Photo by darksouls1

"Proceed, Agatha." the voice that drifts down is devoid of humanity. It crawls along the bones, to rattle in their ears, as the witch shares another terrible smile. The Crimson King has spoken.

Kneeling next to Uther, a perversion of nature that should never have come to pass took form in front of them. As she placed her hands on the body of the paladin, a sizzle of her skin could be smelt in the air. A darkness overcomes the whites of her eyes, as her body is yanked into improbable shapes by the force she channels, surging in her voice as she chants.

A soldier of Good, enforcer of Law, is pulled from the afterlife by evils incarnate. Gasping as he rejoins the world of the living, he recoils in horror at where he finds himself. Scrambling backward from the witches touch, he looks wildly between his party mates, finding no meaning in the madness. "No..." he grips his hair within clenched fists in despair.

"Off with you now. We will talk soon." the dismissive tone of the deity whose court they sit in is the last thing they hear, as all fades to black...



Hitting the ground outside the nameless town they always seemed to come back to, the group landed in their usual spot. About a hundred yards away, an odd metal disk filled a hole in the ground, engraved in strange script. Cast by Ivan, the spell read languages had informed them that it said "LA sewer district", not that the information imparted any insight into the meaning.

What they did know, was that it was a gate. To where? Anywhere. You never knew where you would find yourself when you entered the channel below the cap, yet they kept doing it.

Tsubaki is still catching his breath, when a sudden force meets his eyesocket. Maglio's fist connects, as he screeches out. "You son of a harlot! Ingrate!" Maglio hits him again and again, doing almost no damage to the dwarf, who watches on with amusement.

The blows push his body a bit, but his footing is secure as he addresses the gunslinger. "Maglio, you know as well as I do that we need Uther." he looks over to their shining friend, still struggling to grasp what had just happened to him. Dying is weird, Tsubaki knew how that was...

"We owe the CRIMSON KING a bloody FAVOR! Is it a favor with parameters set to ensure it isn't CRAZY, Tsubaki?" his hands fall limp, steam vented away to make room for despair to take hold. "No. We're doomed. Years of fighting just to end up the puppet of some Chaotic fiend..." he hangs his head in the realization. Tsubaki does not match him in worry, he rarely does.

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Photo by Gleb Lucky

"Yeah sure Maglio, except you seem to forget that we surely would've died, had we not accepted the portal the witch offered." Tsubaki bitterly thought back on the events that had taken place just hours before. It felt like looking back on a lifetime ago, so much had changed in the blink of an eye.

Following a tight battle with an angry troll, the party began their venture into the dungeon on bad footing this morning, annoyed at the immediate encounter with trouble. It seemed it was just an unlucky day, because soon after, several goblins sprung on them out of nowhere. In the loss of initiative an unreasonable amount of damage was done.

Uther wanted to turn back then, and an hour later he was dead. Such is the way of things, he was outvoted. The party went deeper into the mysterious cavern system, where they found a red door.

Glossy with some magic none of them recognized, Ivan took a stab anyhow "I bet it's griffin's blood, I heard it hardens like lacquer." he said with absolutely no basis. "Mhm. Let us move on." Uther's voice is deep and rich like honey. The nonsensical chatter the pyromancer incessantly spouted miffed him, the paladin could not tolerate banter.

They weren't a hundred paces away, when the door swung open. A balding man in black robes shouts, "Sorry about this!" before dodging back into the doorway. In his stead appears the head of a massive cat-man, it's mane a vibrant red halo of fuzz. It places one shield sized paw through the doorway, revealing heavily muscled flanks.

It paused, seeming to struggle to pull its hindquarters through the frame. However, the crew hadn't stuck around to see this. They were gathering all the distance they could between themselves and the beast, which finally pulls through all the way into the cavern. Where a lion begins, a scorpion ends. The manticore's tail drips with venom as it pursues the party, it was clear it would catch them.

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Photo by Timothy Dykes

Running frantically away, the quintet came upon a second door. "Let's take a chance, we're dead if we stay!" Shouts Maglio, and it is clear everyone is on board. This door is tan, and blinds them with the sunlight it holds, as they throw it open. Rushing through, they close it in hopes it stays that way.

A vast desert stretches as far as the eye can see; the only landmarks are the flow of the dunes... one of which hosts the promise of a most unfavorable encounter. The fire witch, appearing alone, stands in the distance, unmoving as they trudge into the sand. "Perfect, her we can take." Tsubaki spits onto the ground, the dehydrated earth quickly absorbing it.

"Only a fool would assume the fiend does not have allies in wait." Uther states drily. Ivan nodded eagerly in agreement, "It's a trap, for sure." he squeaked, glad to be aligned in opinion with the paladin for once. Tsubaki grunts that he knows, and they carry on.

She is unmoving still, watching silently, when the first sign of danger appears. A bulge in the earth moves along like a wave, another pops up a length away. "You'll need help!" she yells, "Would you like some now?" her voice is faint in the sudden roar of the wind. Sand is flung up like mist, blinding the group. With an audible thump, Uther is swept from his feet.

"Curse you, foul witch! We would never step into debt with one such as you!" Uther yells, as Ivan pulls him to his feet. The four of them stand back-to-back, in wait for the next blow. There are 4 enchanted bullets left in Maglio's secondary gun, his primary has only two. Tsubaki draws the 3rd sword of law, which shines in the sandy gloom, as he strikes at the writhing sand.

The blade comes up black, dripping in blood which sizzles as it hits the ground. Ivan finishes a series of chants unheard in the sandstorm, producing an imp who appears quite frightened.

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Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann

"How can I serve y-" its high-pitched voice disappears along with its head, as rows of sharp teeth burst from the sand, attached to a long worm-like body. The rest of the imp stands upright in the few seconds before a second worm explodes forth, snatching it up.

"Do you want help now?" the witches voice is lost in the haze of the storm, but she definitely sounds much closer. Gritting his teeth, Uther is about to reply, when he is yanked to the ground once more. In place of words, a horrifying scream emits from his lips, as the hot gush of his blood splatters across his friend's faces. "Almost too late..." she whispers in Tsubaki's ear.

As Uther's body was split in two, Tsubaki heard himself say, "Okay!" a second before his friend's corpse was pulled under the sand. An instant later they were standing there, in the court of the crimson king. "I'll revive your friend, at a price..." he says, as Uther's blood pools.



So here they were, no one could deny it was a tricky situation. As the four of them sat in the grassy area that surrounded the entrance to the dungeon, they licked their wounds. "I know there wasn't much time, but what are we going to do now Tsubaki?" Ivan asks, "He will ask us to repay the debt in the worst way he can think of." the young pyromancer sighs.

"I would have preferred you had left me untainted." Uther finally speaks up, "I knew when I woke up that I may die today, you did not have the right to change that." he stares at Tsubaki, his solemn tone thick with repressed anger. The dwarf nods, unfazed by the sharpness of his gaze.

"Well, next time I'll keep that in mind." he sneers, "As for now, I can answer your question easily Ivan. When he calls in the favor, we can choose to die then." a mischievous sparkle ignites in his eyes. "We were done for, no one can deny it." Tsubaki continues, "So why not just look at it like postponing the inevitable?" a childlike laugh erupts from the gunslinger.

"Yeah perfect, we saved our lives, so we can give them up later!" Maglio laughs maniacally, clearly at the end of his rope. "Why didn't anyone tell me that we were so enthusiastic about dying today?" the dwarf responds, "You guys are bumming me out, I need some ale." and with that he hops up, making his way towards the unnamed village.

Fin

Oh, and about the beginning of my title... I woke up to being a Minnow today!

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Thank you Hive 💕

I hope you have enjoyed my first DTF! Dungeons and Dragons is a game that is near and dear to me. My tales are based on a loose remembrance of my favorite campaign, which ended years ago. It was a heavily modified greyhawk, with over 30 years of history added in- Btw does anyone recognize "the court of the crimson king"? One of many fun cameos we got to fight for our lives against 😂

Did you like DTF? Should I do them every week? Let me know below!

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Quite a powerful Dragon Tale!

Surely do them as often as your heart desires. 🙂

Congrats on your newly acquired Minnowhood, I feel you will level up further in the near future.

Once upon a time there was a band called King Crimson. With an album called In the court of the Crimson King. With a song on that album called The Court of the Crimson King. That's what I recognize but maybe it has other cultural references!

Thank you so much 😁💕 I always deeply appreciate your comments!

And 100%! That's the one!

Yay I'm so glad you had that knowledge while reading my story! The dungeon is my dad's other baby !LOLZ He started it when D&D first hit the scene, and just kept expanding it! Of course King Crimson made it in, that was his favorite band as a lad 😁

The crimson king in the dungeon was my favorite (and most dreaded) character to run into. He decided to tie him in with lore from Stephen Kings dark tower series, which was quite a problem when someone decided to be a gunslinger 😂

Poor maglio, he got killed A LOT. Every time he died, my dad would play this HAHA!

As you can imagine we all found it hilarious, the guy who played Maglio not so much. We always found a way to get him resurrected... until he started going mad from it 😂 (makes sense, imagine dying and coming back like 12 times! oof.) then it was time to put him out to pasture (RIP Maglio)

hehe, always a pleasure to hear from you 😁

I'd like to start a diet.
But I've got too much on my plate right now.

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This was great 🙌

it said "LA sewer district", not that the information imparted any insight into the meaning.

I would have thought their noses might have told them what it was, even centuries later 😂

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This is a really interesting story! I love D&D tales and hate deals with nasty evil creatures. My D&D character Mary has had a few of those but she's a bit like this Tsubaki of yours - the "we'll deal with this later" type of attitude.

Is the Crimson King something from Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' books? I remember it vaguely...

THAT is it, we're obviously best friends! Tsubaki was my character! ahahahaha 🤣🙌

You are indirectly right, the Crimson King is from the band King Crimson, who wrote an album called "In the Court of the Crimson King", which has a song The Court of the Crimson King (I know, they really drove it home, eh? lol!) It's an awesome song and album though, pure magic if you like prog rock!

His motivations are 110% percent inspired from the dark tower series however, good eye! My dad's dungeon is based in the multiverse, so when a gunslinger was rolled, our party became involved in the fight to restore Gilead in a way! 😂 I really need to reread those books, it's been... so long I can't remember much of the plot!

Thank you for this awesome comment 💕🤗