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Old 07-22-2018, 12:08 PM   #1
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Been thinking about the game, my old settings, and things, and I was inspired to write a short piece of fiction, please forgive this little distraction from all the "game design" talk going on

"In The Labyrinth"
a short story inspired by The Fantasy Trip
(C) D.H. Austin 2018

It was late, the night was clear but the light of the moons and stars was faint. He still could not read the clues on the map, but he knew he was close.

He held the folded, heavy parchment at an awkward angle, his face close to the musty sheet of paper, but the symbols, lines, and runes made no sense now. The sea wall had been slowly curving to the southeast. The moons overhead in conjunction of the threen days gave only scant light and the sound of the gentle waves to his right came like a lullaby carried by the voices of sea nymphs calling his name.

He walked slowly along the ancient sea wall near the lower coast road, where the city ended and the wild places began, alone and cold, all that he owned on his back, and only a promise of a reward keeping him going.

Zing

The sound was unmistakable. He’d heard it a few times in the chambers of the Thorz’s Death Tests. A light, cheap crossbow favored by hooligans and thieves.

But damned if he could tell what direction it had come from. He threw himself against the sea wall to his left and held his breath. Dropping the map, he swiftly curled his fingers around the hilt of the short sword hanging at his side. He glanced left and right along the length of the wall, and that is when he noticed something that he had missed.

It was a crack in the wall, barely a few feet wide, irregular, and angled just so that it created its own shadows, concealing the gap from anyone coming upon it from the direction he had been walking, but now that he was well past it, he could see it. The assassin must have stepped out, fired and disappeared back into the space.

He thought for a moment to himself, “Brendun, you should run away. Standing here isn’t doing you any favors.”

Naturally he decided that running away wasn’t the sort of thing he wanted to do at the moment.

Taking his hand off the hilt of the sword, he crouched, turned, and sprinted back the way he came, turned at the crack in the wall and flung himself into the dark crevices.

He would surprise the assassin. It always worked in the past. Their kind never expected their target to turn and face them.

His groin was then introduced to a knee.

The pain was sharp, but not debilitating, and in the darkness he threw his hands forward, fingers catching hold of the sleeves of a loose fitting garment. He took hold of the attacker’s wrists and forced himself forward into the confined space.

Brendun Mark felt his nose touch a soft, furry cheek. He could smell brandy and coconut, two smells he knew well, and two smells that made him sick.

In the confined space of the broken gap in the wall Brendun and the Assassin twisted left and right, each trying to gain the upper hand. Brendun had a tight grip on the assassin’s wrists, but the assassin’s legs were agile, and strong. Their grunts and short breaths were punctuated by the sounds of their bodies scrapping against the stones on each side as they both struggled. When it seemed that neither of them would get the advantage, Brendun finally spoke.

“Why are you trying to kill me?”

The assassin answered. He knew her voice as soon as he heard the first word.

“Stop searching for the Cryssalium.”

“How do you know I’m searching for the Cryssalium,” he grunted, not giving into his desire to say her name out loud.

“Everyone knows you are searching for it. Everyone knows you’re the only one stupid enough to search for it. Everyone knows you might actually find it, and that can’t happen.”

“The Thorz would disagree with you,” he said as he put all his weight forward and pinned her against the back of the niche in the wall. He turned his hip, and drove the flat of his sword, still in its scabbard, against her left arm until he knew her hand was held against the rock. He let go of her wrist, drew a small knife from his vest, and brought it up to her breast. He knew her size. He knew exactly where her heart would be.

“Tabitha,” Brendun said, “We promised we wouldn’t fight anymore. I don’t believe you broke your promise carelessly. Who hired you? Why are you trying to stop me?”

‘Do noth harmm her,” a cold alien sounding voice behind him spoke softly and Brendun felt the points of two slender blades against his back.

A tentacle moved slowly across his right shoulder, extended a few inches and turned to come within inches of his face.

“I wouldh move a slow, or you couldh die.”

It had been a trap, a good one. Tabitha was always good at setting traps.

Tabitha leaned her head close to his. Her lips brushed against his as she spoke. Her words were light, almost laughing.

“Brendun, I’d like you to meet my employer. Her name is Alowthnas Gwynemidd, but she can be called Alo. She has a good reason to want you to stop looking for the Cryssalium. I’ll let her explain, if you put down the knife, or I’ll let her kill you.”

He lowered the knife and backed away from Tabitha. The points of the blades in his back stayed solidly pressed against him as he moved. It was a sign that the thing behind him had excellent tactile awareness.

The three of them emerged from the crack in the sea wall one at a time until they were standing on the street, the quiet roll of the waves against the beach making the only sounds.

When the blades relaxed a bit, Brendun slowly turned to face the assailant behind him.

“You’re a…”

“I amh Mauli A’Anawa. Thisth is where Ih was bornn,” she spoke.

Though Brendun could see no mouth, he knew the thing was talking to him in a way that it was best he didn’t dwell on. All he could see where her large bluish-black eyes when they reflected a bit of the star and faint moon light around them. A dark hood was pulled over her head, her body draped in the folds of a green cloak.

She seemed to float where she was standing. Her cloaked form drifted a few inches to the left and then to the right, and she went on, saying, “Ifth you sayh I am thatd nameh. Ih will kill youh.”

“Agreed,” Brendun said, letting out a long breath, “No reason to insult someone paying Tabitha’s bills, or you know, holding her leash.”

His backside was then given the same introduction to the same knee his groin met earlier.

“Don’t be smart,” Tabitha hissed.

“Alright,” he laughed. “You aren’t going to kill me immediately, so tell me why? Why aren’t you killing me now? Why do you want me to stop looking for the Cryssalium? I mean, if you killed me, it’d be very hard for me to find it, wouldn’t it. This all seems strange. I don’t like strange. This is an unusual job for someone like you Tabitha, and you, Alo, is it, well, I promise no insults, I see you are sensitive about the things your kind are called, but you know there is a price on your head, right? Everyone of your kind is wanted. If the Thorz’s guards knew you were here, you’d be dead. The more I think about it, the more I am beginning to think I really don’t want to know what is going on here at all. Why don’t we call it a night? We’ll go our separate ways. I’ll drop my interest in the Cryssalium, and the two of you can disappear in the night. I’ll forget about the both of you. Hell, it was easy to forget about one of you already, after you left me in Dainsport,” Brendun said turning his head to the left and bringing Tabitha into view.

Tabitha's golden brown eyes sparkled in the faint light. He expected to see her full lips in that wide, digrit eating grin she always gave him, but instead her expression was grim, even a bit nervous.

It was her expression that did it. Whatever was going on here, if it took the fiendish childishness out of Tabitha’s sails, it was something beyond serious.

“Or, maybe not,” he said. “Okay, I changed my mind. Tell me why I’m not dead and why you think if I stay alive I won’t keep looking for the Cryssalium.”

The walking octopus lifted two of her tentacles in a way Brendun knew as a sign of surrender.

“Ith musth not be foundh,” she said. Her cold alien voice now took on a more desperate tone. “Theh Thorz musth noth haven it. Ith isa noth whath hee thinksh ith isss.” As she spoke her words came quicker, and it became almost impossible for Brendun to understand her.

Tabitha moved toward the octopus and placed one of her own hands on the alien creature’s head.

“Shhh, it’ll be fine. We stopped him. I know him. He won’t keep the job. Besides He was never going to find it. The map he bought was a fake.”

The octopus seemed to relax a bit when Tabitha comforted her.

“Yes, it was a fake. I knew that,” Brendun said, reaching down to pick up the map off the ground. “But, the person who faked it made a few mistakes, and the fake has clues. Clues that reveal the forger knew what she was trying to hide better than she realized. An entrance to the Labyrinth is near. The Cryssalium is hidden In The Labyrinth. If I find the entrance, I can find the Cryssalium.”

Tabitha turned her head slowly, dropping it to the side.

“You’re joking,” she said.

The octopus rose up on her legs, the slim blades appeared, her voice was loud.

“Ifn you canh findh ith, takeah mee to ith. Weh musth destroya ith thish time.”

She moved close to him, and lowered her voice, calming herself some, and spoke as slowly as she could, revealing that if she tried she could be understood perfectly.

“Take. Me. In. The. Labyrinth.”

Last edited by Terquem; 08-12-2018 at 02:33 PM. Reason: stoopid auto correct errors I missed
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:31 PM   #2
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

I'm ready for more! I'm waiting to find out what race Tabitha is.
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Old 07-23-2018, 12:01 PM   #3
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

I've already got about 5,000 more words typed up

Thanks!
But I feel it isn't a good idea to clog up the forum with fiction like this

but again, Thank you!

She probably is not what you think she is...
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Old 07-23-2018, 12:04 PM   #4
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
I've already got about 5,000 more words typed up

Thanks!
But I feel it isn't a good idea to clog up the forum with fiction like this

but again, Thank you!

She probably is not what you think she is...
I have no idea. My initial impression was something lupine, like a kitsune.
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Old 07-24-2018, 11:35 AM   #5
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Part 2, maybe a question or two answered.

Of the things that he had not seen coming, recently, agreeing to help a Kao’La’a woman who had betrayed him not just one year ago and a walking octopus, among the most evil beings known on this planet, had to take the top spot on Brendun’s list.

And yet, here he was, leading the two women along the sea wall, in the dead of the night, looking for a hidden entrance into the mysterious underground realm known as The Labyrinth.

He would say, “Brendun Mark, you’re getting too old for this,” if it weren’t for the fact that he was only twenty seven, and hoped he had many, many more years ahead of him. In fact, he often wondered, if he didn’t change his ways, soon, if he would actually live long enough to ever be able to say that with any truth.

Brendun lead them on. Tabitha was right behind him, her hand on his belt, not tightly, but there. He could feel it. He remembered her touch. The other one, the one she, Tabatha, had called Alo, was behind Tabitha, and Brendun did not particularly care if that one was keeping up at all. He’d had his share of encounters with others of her kind. The ones he’d met in the past had tried to kill him, every time. They never spoke, but he had heard they were capable of speaking the common tongue, and they fought with a savage grace he knew must be treated with a healthy respect. How or why he so willingly allowed this one to talk him into joining forces he couldn’t quite figure out at the moment. Maybe it was magic. A spell, probably, meant to cloud his mind, and make him ignore his own good judgment. Or maybe it was Tabitha. She had a similar, if somewhat more potent effect on him.

“Hold on,” Brendun said in a whisper, and the two women behind him stopped. “This is it. I think, the wall stones here are definitely not right. See, they are larger, older, and probably no one notices the pattern, unless you are clued in to look for it.”

“Can you open the door?” Tabitha asked as her hand tightened on his belt.

“I’m not sure. It’s not common for any gate key to work on more than one gate. I know a few, and I have an unused universal key stone, but I don’t know if it will work. I guess all I can do is try, right. Wish me…”

Brendun’s words were cut off by the swift and sharp grinding sound of the stones in front of him swinging up and away, while the ground beneath his feet dropped to a steep angle. He tried to spin, swung his arms for balance, but Tabitha’s hold on his belt got in the way. He felt himself pitching forward unable to stop.

Brendun was not a light fellow. His weight pulled Tabitha forward suddenly, and she screamed.

Alo threw two of her tentacles out and wrapped them around Tabitha’s waist.

Brendun was not a light fellow, and the three of them fell onto a slick, wet stone surface.

They raced at a breakneck speed along the stone slide, curving for a while to the right, then going up a bit, back down sharply, to the left, and then in a spiral which made their sense of all direction leave them. They tumbled over each other, rolled on their sides, threw their arms up and back for stability, and collided with each other over and over again until finally they came to a slow stop in a dark chamber well below the surface.

Brendun decided that the top of his “things not expected” list needed revision.

It was Alo who got upright fastest, getting to five of her legs in a swift motion.

Her cloak had gotten spun around, so that the hood was tangled in front of her among her belts and pouches.

“Myh swordhs!” She cried out. “I’hhvve droppedeh my swordhs.”

“Well, I think I found one of them,” Brendun hissed as he rolled off his stomach onto his backside and brought his left leg up in his hands. The slim, long blade of one of Alo’s swords had pierced his thick calf, buried to a good four or five inches.

Tabitha got to her knees and raised a light above her head. It was a Brand, a magical device which shed a good amount of light without creating any smoke.

“That looks bad,” Tabitha said, moving on her knees around Brendun until she was on the opposite side of him.

“Yes, thath is oneh of mineh. Thankh youh,” Alo said and reached for the weapon with one tentacle so quickly that she could not be stopped from pulling the blade free from the wound.

“Eiychee mama,” Brendun cried.

“It’s a bad wound,” Tabitha said. She placed a leather kit on the floor beside him, and unrolled it. The kit was small, but packed with rolls of linen, needles, thread, and small tins of medicinal herbs. Placed on the very end of the roll were two small silver vials. “Here,” she said taking out one of the vials and pulling the stopper, “this is nacromoid oil, it will stop the bleeding.” She emptied the contents, a thick bluish liquid, directly onto the wound. Where some of the liquid contacted the fabric of his pants it turned into a hard crystal like patch, but when it touched Brendun’s flesh it flowed into the wound seeking the source of the bleeding and sealing around the damaged vessels.

“Where did you get that kit from?” Brendon asked. He knew she was not wearing a back pack, like his.

“It was in my pouch. I thought I might need it if I accidentally hit you with the crossbow bolt earlier.”

“Your pouch?” Brendon’s face scrunched up, “ewwww, that’s gross.”

“What,” Tabitha said calmly. “It’s clean and dry. Why, what do you think is in there?”

“I don’t know. Isn’t that where you…”

“Where I what, Brendun, Where I what? You think I have a joey in there. You? You think I have a joey, you?” Tabitha’s words came in short bursts, her anger growing.

“No, no, I just wasn’t, ahhh, sheesh, please Tabitha don’t make this awkward. I’m sorry,” Brendun said scratching at the back of his neck.

“Ifh youh twoh areh finishededh, weh areh noth aloneh,” Alo said leaning toward Brendun and Tabitha.

Last edited by Terquem; 07-24-2018 at 12:55 PM. Reason: you, your, you're, why don't you just kill me now
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Old 07-24-2018, 01:01 PM   #6
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Not exactly lupine...
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Old 07-27-2018, 09:05 AM   #7
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Thanks, everyone, for letting me share this and not being too hard on me.
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Old 07-27-2018, 09:37 AM   #8
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
Thanks, everyone, for letting me share this and not being too hard on me.
I'm enjoying it so far, I hope there's more...
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:36 PM   #9
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

The three of them were in a large underground cavern. The light from Tabitha’s Brand illuminated an area around them out to several yards, and in the shadows just beyond the reach of the light they all could make out the glistening walls of this chamber, giving them at least some idea of the size of their surroundings.

Near them there were natural columns made from the constant migration of limestone by the dripping water seeping in from the nearby sea. Each of the strange shaped columns spun their own peculiar shadows.

The floor was uneven. Here and there they could see small puddles. Scurrying little crabs and other crustaceans were all about the place giving it a feeling of life and activity.

Brendun peered around Alo to see three short humanoid figures no more than a dozen yards away. They appeared to be a kind of goblin, but he could not be certain. He only knew that they were too short to be humans, and they were not children, though he knew that finding lost and abandoned children in the Labyrinth was not uncommon. The figures were wearing armor made from large pieces of shells, from turtles and other large sea creatures, and carrying long weapons that looked like the bones of saw toothed fish.

The figures were hovering about, just beyond the light, and were probable trying to measure the group’s strengths and weakness before committing to an attack. This gave them a moment to come up with a plan. Coming up with a plan might not be easy, as even though Brendun knew Tabitha’s style and habits well, he knew nothing of the Mauli woman Alo. She carried a pair of slim bladed swords, that was all he knew, and right now she only had one of them.
What Brendun did know about the Octopus-folk was this – they were dangerous. In every sense of the word, cunning, diabolical, relentless in combat, often learned in many skills and spells, and always on the attack. He had never known any of her kind to back down in a fight. He had run into a pair of them, once, in the Death Test. How the octopuses got there, well, no one could ever say for certain how they got there, exactly, but those that were in the maze were about the mostly deadly thing a person could run up against when taking their chances in the Death Test.

“They’re measuring us up,” Brendun whispered. “Probably trying to decide if they are hungry enough to risk a three on three fight. I can probably get to…”

“Thereh areh sevenah of them,” Alo whispered interrupting Brendun. She adjusted one of her tentacles around the smooth hilt of her sword.

Brendun noticed that two other tentacles of Alo’s were moving back and forth nervously. He recognized the behavior.

“You’re afraid,” Brendun said, and felt Tabitha move closer to his back and put her arms under his.

“Let me help you up, quick on three,” Tabitha whispered.

“No, wait,” Brendon said.
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:30 PM   #10
CardDiceian
 
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Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

I like it.

Maybe if there is anew forum for battle reports, it could also be for ITL fiction too? - As essentially they are very similar. (dependent on how the reports are written up of course)

I'd be happy to write up a couple of recent Fantasy Trip tales. (Both quite short as my boy and nephew made a couple of fatal mistakes early on. )
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