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Old 07-22-2018, 12:08 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Into 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

6/4/2021 - the story is back. Part 1 is here. the rest follows the last post I made on page 4

Into The Labyrinth – an episodic story for the Steve Jackson Games forums
D. H. Austin 2018
Chapter 1
Part 1
It was late, the night was clear, and the light of the moons and stars was faint. He 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 wall he was following had been slowly curving to the southeast away from the city. The moons overhead in the 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 had been walking, slowly, near the ancient sea wall by the coast road, where the city ended and the wild places began, alone and cold, with all that he owned on his back and only a promise of a reward keeping him going.


The sound was unmistakable. He had first heard it a few times in the chambers of Queen Korr’s Death Tests, the one that was designed after that one in the deserts far to the east. It was a type of light, probably cheap, crossbow favored by hooligans and thieves. But he was damned if he could tell what direction it had come from.

Brendun Mark 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 that 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 of 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 had 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. In the darkness, he threw his hands forward. His fingers caught 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 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 that 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 Queen 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 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 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? Every single one of your kind is wanted. If the Queen’s Darrls 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 finished, and turned his head to the left bringing Tabitha into view.

Her 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 had taken 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 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 AhQueen of Kithhzjta musth noth haven ith. Ith isa noth whath sshhee 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. “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 wanted me to believe. An entrance to the Labyrinth is near. The Cryssalium is hidden in the Labyrinth. If I can find an entrance, I can find the Cryssalium.”

Tabitha tipped her head to the side. “You’re joking,” she said.

The octopus rose up on her legs, and the slim rapiers she held came up. She spoke and her voice was loud.

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

Alo moved close to him and lowered her voice. She was obviously trying to present a sort of calm that was eluding her. She took in a breath, the sound was a low whistle, and spoke as slowly as she could, revealing that if she tried she could be understood perfectly.

“Take. Me. Into. The. Labyrinth.”

Last edited by Terquem; 06-04-2021 at 06:01 PM. Reason: The story returns - 6/4/2021
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:31 PM   #2
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, 12:04 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

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

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, 01:01 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Not exactly lupine...
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Old 07-27-2018, 09:37 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: In The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

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, 05:30 PM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Berkshire - UK
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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