The Deeper Dungeon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story based on the Classic computer game, Dungeon Keeper. This is a game where you get to play the evil dungeon keeper, and defeat heroes. I've often wondered about the motivation of some
of the creatures that dwell in dark dungeons and this is the story of one of them.

I am new to Booksie, so I would be grateful for any comments on my writing. Thank you.

Submitted: May 05, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 05, 2018



The attack had been a success. The caravan was in ruins. Goblins were searching through the wagons for valuables. Bile demons were dragging bodies off into the hills. These would be taken back to the dungeon and fed to some of the darker creatures.

Bits of the wagons would be taken back to the lair and used for firewood. Weapons would be salvaged and reused.

Imps slipped in amongst the trees that lined the narrow road, carrying bits of the booty. This had been a perfect spot for the ambush. The wagons had to stretch out into single file in order to pass down the narrow road. Trees and large boulders lined the road and gave many places to hide. This was the most frequently used road through mountains. Spies had found that the caravan master decided to push on through the night instead of making camp in order to quickly make it through the mountain pass. The full moon gave enough light. It was a perfect opportunity for a raid.

It had proved to be rich pickings. The dungeon master would be pleased. Elin licked her lips. There would be a feast later. She moved closer to the site of the raid. Now the fight was over and all of the creatures were moving back to lair, she should continue to do her part as well. There was a body close to her feet, so she grabbed the collar of the garment he was wearing and started to drag it uphill to the entrance of the caves. The dungeon master had set up a lair deep within the mountains. It would be a long walk home, but worth it. The heart of the dungeon was hard to find and guarded well. Traps lined the way. Lookouts and guards were posted along the route. No one would find them.

Undergrowth whipped her legs as she made her way to the entrance to the cave. The way out of the lair had been long and arduous. She had followed the rest of the company. Imps had led the way. Small, grey, hunched creatures, they made up the main workforce of the dungeon. Their speed and strength led them to carrying out the manual jobs. They were unintelligent and blindly followed the will of the Dungeon Master.

Looking down at her long legs, she became aware that her thigh had been stabbed during the fighting. She drew the symbol for healing above the wound and it started to close. Some immunity to pain as well as increased strength and speed were part of her powers but she had only begun learning magic a few short weeks ago. Her knowledge was limited to a few of the most basic and useful spells, such as healing. She was hoping that she would be taught more as she continued in her service to the dungeon master.

She shifted the body to her other hand. She paused as they came to a break in trees. Silhouetted against the sky, she looked like any other human female. Long black hair, tied in a pony tail that reached her waist. She was dressed in soft black leather trousers and tunic with black boots. Practical for fighting. It would only be as you came closer that you would notice the blood red pupils of the eyes and the fingers that ended in short sharp claws.

Following some scurrying Imps carrying different bits of booty, she pressed on into the caves. It would be a long walk back to the dungeon heart, but the satisfaction of victory kept feelings of tiredness from from slowing her down.

Reaching the dungeon heart, she sighed and swung the body off her shoulders. She had carried it most of the way because the dragging sound it had made on the cave floors had annoyed her.

Imps had created an impressive pile of bounty from the raid. After the dungeon master had taken all that was useful for running the dungeon, the rest would be shared out amongst the lairs' inhabitants.

The lair relied on raids like this for its survival.

Elin eyed the pile enviously. There were a few things that had caught her eye. The quartermaster was there, sorting through the pile and supervising the imps. Short and squat, he had the impressive girth that was typical of a bile demon. Two sharp horns protruded from his forehead. His red, leathery skin was beaded with perspiration.

He looked up as Elin approached. He lifted up the corners of his mouth in the approximation of smile. He liked Elin but the tusks and uneven row of sharp teeth that protruded from his mouth prevented a full smile.

"Ah, I see you have brought me a present." He said looking down at the cargo she had carried. "A hostage I see."

Elin looked down in surprise. For the first time she noticed that what she had thought had been a body, was still breathing. She nudged the body over with her foot. It was an adult human male, dressed in a good quality, dark tunic. It had become bloodied and dirty with the fighting. But it was still alive.

"I thought it was dead." she replied.

"Ah, well, good job you picked it up. If any of the others had got it, they would have torn it to pieces by now. Stick him in a cell until the Master decides what to do with him. There's soup in the hall." With that the quartermaster belched and returned to his sorting.

Elin shrugged and dragged the figure off to cell. The cells were down a narrow tunnel that was only dimly lit with the odd smokey torch. It was relief to hand the prisoner over to the guard on duty. Locked in a cell, the prisoner would await the decision of the Dungeon Master without fear of being eaten by one of the more bestial creatures such as the demon spawn and the horned reapers. The Dungeon Master would decide whether to ransom the human if his family was rich or keep him to extract his knowledge of the overlands. The Master had enough magic to make the human a zombie, but using him as food was always an option. The Dungeon Master has recently acquired the services of a small group of vampires. Relatively powerless compared to the Master, but they would still need to be fed.

Relieved of her burden, Elin went in search of food. The great hall was in fact a giant cave, large enough to contain all of the dungeons' inhabitants. Crude tables had been constructed and tattered tapestries hung from the cave walls. The Dark Lord had once told Elin that this was the style that the Lords of the sunlit lands above the lair decorated their halls.

There was a cauldron simmering over a smokey fire at one end of the hall. Elin picked up a rough earthenware bowl and filled it to the brim with thick stew from the cauldron. She started drinking the mixture from the bowl. The hall was alive with creatures celebrating the victory. They would all eat well for a few days.

A cluster of bile demons were at one end of the tables. Snorting and laughing. There were the four dark lords talking in subdued voices at one side. These were magicians who used their magic to serve the Dungeon Master. They choose to serve the Master in return for the Master revealing secrets of magic and power. The Dungeon Master really was a powerful magician.

They also conducted lessons in basic magic in the lairs' library full of books of dark magic.

Absent from the hall were the skeletons and zombies. Created by the Dungeon Master from the bodies of fallen foes, they had no will of their own. After serving their purpose in the fight, they would have returned to their place in the lair, to await further instructions.

Scurrying around the hall were the ever present Imps. Carrying wine to the Magicians and clearing up the mess of the creatures, Imps were ever busy.

Placing her now empty bowl on the table, Elin turned and made to leave. The last group she spied were the Demon Mistresses. The five black haired females were all slim and beautiful. Their beauty belied their strong fighting skills. With some of the powers of demons and the ability to use magic, they were a formidable force.

This was the group that Elin belonged in. Though as one of the most junior members, she was required to treat the others with respect. Some of the others had served the Dungeon Master for years. She and two of the others had only come to serve the Master recently.

They chatted and laughed, discussing the finer points of the battle. Elin nodded at the group as she excited the hall. The battle and the blood loss from the wound had tired her. She returned to her quarters, which was a small cave in an area designated to the Mistresses. Curling up on the small pile of straw in the corner, she was soon asleep.

The next day she awoke and stretched her stiff limbs. All that remained of the wound in her thigh was a thin red scratch. Soon it would be completely healed. But she would need to repair or find a replacement for her torn trousers.

After eating a bowl of stew and some dark roasted meat in the main hall, she went to the quartermaster to receive her share of the raids booty.

"You should come sooner, or all the good stuff will be gone” Said the Quartermaster in his rough, frog like voice. Elin doubted that he had left his position at all. He never seemed to sleep.

“I know” She said, ducking her head. It always paid to be on the good side of the Quartermaster.

“You can take any three items from this pile, one item from this and I have a purse of coins for you” The Quartermaster nodded his horns to indicate first a large pile of assorted items, then a smaller pile and held out a small leather purse. Elin took the purse. It would be rude to count the coins in front of the Quartermaster, but she guessed that there were not many coins there. It didn't matter. The Dungeon Master provided everything she needed.

She rooted through the large pile. There were a few books, bolts of cloth, farming tools. Stuff needed by a remote community that they couldn't easily produce for themselves. She didn't need much.

She picked out a medallion, which she liked because it was shiny and a cloak that was thick and could double as a blanket. After some rooting, she found some dark leather trousers that were around her size. She then moved on to the next pile, which held fewer items. There was a good sword in amongst the pile. She drew it out and looked at the shaft. It was straight and true. She took her haul to the Quartermaster for his approval. He nodded his acceptance and made a note in his tally book.

“The sword is a good choice. The necklace is a bit gaudy though.”

Elin shrugged. It didn't matter and she had things to do. She headed into the cavern that was used as a library. Rare books of magic were kept here and studied. The Dungeon Master attracted students of dark magic, who pledged their loyalty to him in return for knowledge. Some of them researched ancient magic's, in order to increase the Dungeons' strength.

She quietly walked over to the magician who was responsible for instructing the novices in magic. He was deeply engrossed in a large leather bound book that smelt musty. When he looked up as Elin approached, she noticed that he looked especially tired, with large bags around his bloodshot eyes.

“Do you have a lesson for me today, Master?” asked Elin.

“Not today. Please continue to study your book” He handed her the slim volume that she had been studying on previous occasions. It contained knowledge of basic magic and she had studied it with help on several previous occasions.

She took the book to a desk in a quiet corner of the library, and opened it at the beginning. She had only just began to learn to read, so she spent time reviewing the pages they had already looked at. To perform the magic, it was necessary to draw the rune and say the word out loud. Each stroke of the rune had to be drawn in the correct order, and she spent some time practising the four runes she had been taught.

After a couple of hours, she rose stiffly and closed the book. The master magician was still hard at work studying the large tome. He looked up briefly as she approached and waved her away, saying “Keep the book for now. We can study more another time.”

Elin bowed and walked away.

Training in fighting skills was a regular part of the routine in the Dungeon. Most creatures partook, as it was necessary to have well trained fighters to protect the Dungeon and for raids to the Overworld. This being how the Dungeon gained many of it's supplies. But there would be no training today, the day after an attack. The training masters would be reviewing how the attack went, noting any weaknesses in the plan and planning improvements for the next excursion. The participants would be resting or healing any wounds.

Elin decided to retire to her quarters and get some rest. Her leg was still stiff from the wound and sitting still for so long hadn't helped. On her way back she passed the entrance to the cells. She paused. With nothing else to do, the temptation to take a look at the strange creatures held within was too much. She ducked down the long narrow corridor. The rough hewn walls were damp with condensation here. No one would bother to heat an area for captives. The area was dimly lit with a few torches held in wall brackets.

Small 'rooms' were carved into the rock off of the main corridor. Wooden gates held the occupants in,or rarer, metal bars.

The first room held a couple of ponies taken in the raid. One was looking a bit sorry for itself. Elin peaked through the heavy wooden gate and noticed that it had a few large scratches down its left flank. That one would be first into the pot. Ponies weren't needed in the Dungeon. Not with the ever present Imps to do the work.

There were a few empty pens, and a couple with sorry looking humans in. Most were breathing, but there was not a lot of movement and it was quiet apart from some shuffling sounds and the odd cough.

The final pen at the bottom of the corridor was the darkest. This one had metal bars from floor to ceiling with a heavy lock on the door.

There was a human inside who was sat in the corner, hugging his knees. He looked up when he sensed her approach.

This one was familiar, but she had trouble placing his form. She paused for a moment in thought.

While she was lost in thought, it spoke.

“Come to gloat?” He spat bitterly.

“No” She replied, with out thinking.

“Bah” he said and looked away.

This one was a male in about his early twenties, although the fight had taken it's toll. His clothes were dishevelled and grubby and he had a world weariness about his eyes.

The human sighed. “What happens to captives here?”

Elin came closer to the bars.

“All are disposed of according to the Dark Lords will”.

The human looked away. Elin felt the need to fill the silence with a longer explantation.

“Some are eaten, some are sold, some are converted to serve the Dungeons purpose.”

The human looked up. “My father is wealthy and can pay ransom.”

“It is not up to me”. Elin was starting to feel something akin to pity for this helpless, weak creature.

“I'll fetch you some water”. Captives were looked after in a haphazard fashion in the Dungeon. She went to the end of the corridor and filled a wooden bowl with water from a barrel. She brought it back to the cell and pushed it under the bars.

The human came closer and took the bowl. He took a long drink and looked at her quizzically. “Your face is familiar. I know you from somewhere.”

“I don't know you”. She had spent her existence in the Dungeon, but there was something vaguely familiar about this man.

“How did you come to be here?” He asked.

“I've always been here.” Elin replied.

“For how long?”

Elin thought. “I've always been here...” Which was true. But on reflection, she couldn't remember anything before the last year. She shook her head. “I bought a human back to this place, perhaps it was you.”

“I am Thon.” Said the man, “Second son of Algrin, Lord of the Westlands. What's your name?”


“Elin, if there is a chance that a ransom will appease your masters, my Father will pay.”

Elin shook her head. “It's not up to me and I have no influence.”

“What were you doing with the caravan?” Asked Elin. If he truly was a Lords son, then it would be unusual for him to be escorting a baggage train.

The man sighed and shifted his weight. “I suppose that it doesn't matter now. My father was concerned that there have been many attacks on travellers through the pass and raids on villages in his lands. I was board in the manor, so I offered to travel with the caravan to provide protection.”

He sighed again. “My father will pay ransom, but we are not rich. The attacks that have been happening have a had a terrible effect on our people. With out the supplies bought in, many people will not be able to survive. Some villages have been wiped out by attacks. I was to go and investigate.”

“It seems that I have found the source of the trouble, and now I am unable to do anything about it!” He throw up his hands in frustration.

“Not many Lords would care about the plight of their people.” Remarked Elin. The conversation was becoming interesting to her and she had nothing else to do.

Another sigh. “Our family has always cared about the people. When we were younger, we would ride with our father around the villages, getting to know everyone and resolving local differences. We tried to keep everyone happy.”

Thon squinted at Elin. “You do look familiar. Once when we were travelling, my father, brother and I were caught in a heavy rain storm. Bragnor, the farmer, took us in and gave us shelter. I remember he had two daughters. You remind me of one. Do you know him?”

She shook her head. “No. I've been here. Why would I know him?”

“Ah, it was just a thought.” He was more animated now. “I remember the farmer kept trying to set me up with his younger daughter, a pretty one with blond hair. “A second son may sometimes marry for love” I heard him say to his wife. Ha! But it was the older one, the one with brown hair that caught my eye. She just scowled at me and went about her work. It's her you remind me of.”

Thon smiled ruefully. “It's funny what you think of when you're in a cell. That village must have been gone for at least a year. Wiped out.”

Thon hugged his knees and stared into the distance, lost in his thoughts.

Elin turned and walked away. She had already spent too much time here and she was tired. She headed back to her quarters and laid down on the bed. The bed was a shelf carved out of the rock with straw and a blanket placed on top. This was luxurious by the standards of the Dungeon and many other creatures slept in more basic arrangements. She covered herself with the new cloak and opened the book of magic. She flicked through the pages. The more advanced runes were completely beyond her. Complex strokes made up the rune, each stroke had to be made in the correct order, chanting the correct words at the same time. Each rune in the book had scores of complex notes on the correct pronunciation and use of the rune. It would take many years to master them all.

Elin dozed off while still looking through the book. She fell into an uneasy sleep, filled with dreams. She woke some hours later with a start. There had been something in her dreams, something half remembered. She tried to bring it to mind, but couldn't.

She swung her legs off of the bed and scooped up the book that had fallen on the floor. An image rose to mind unbidden. A memory of bending down in a field filled with corn, the sun on her back. She shook her head, to clear her mind. She slipped on a knapsack and placed the book inside. It would save her returning to her quarters later if she had a chance to study. She took her new cloak off of the bed and put it on, as well as the new sword. The other mistresses would tell tales about their plunder together later.

She was just leaving her quarters when Brenin, one of the other junior demon mistresses, almost ran in to her.

“Elin, we must hurry, the Master has asked us to bring the prisoners to him.” Brenin turned quickly and scurried off in the direction of the cells. Elin followed, her heart beating faster. It was a rare honour to be in the presence of the Dungeon Master, to whom they all owed their allegiance.

They found that the first cells had already been emptied, but a few cells down they each found a human male to take to the Dark Lord. The one Elin escorted was pale and sweating and did not seem to be able to support himself. She half carried, half dragged him with her. Brenins' prisoner was more able but cowered away from her, shaking.

The way to the Dungeon Masters chambers was winding and long. It was the most secure place as it also contained the Heart of the Dungeon, a large glowing stone that was the source of the Masters powers.

Elins burden was heavy and whimpering quietly. As soon as they reached the Masters study Elin and Brenin knelt, bowing their heads, but keeping a firm grip on their burdens. Elins talons draw a little blood.

They waited their turn for the Masters attention. Denzions of the dungeon with prisoners came and went.

“Brenin” He said “Take this one to the Vampires. They need fresh blood.” Brenins prisoner visibly shook but Brenin had a firm grip and dragged him away.

“Elin, the Vampires loath poisoned blood, but perhaps this one could become a useful zombie. Take him to the magicians.”

“At once, Master.” Elin made to move off but the Master, seeing that there were no more prisoners to deal with asked “Have we concluded? Were there any more to deal with?”

Elin did a quick calculation of all she had seen. “Master, I think that there is one more. Shall I check?”

“Yes. Take care of this one first.”

Elin nodded and dragged her burden off to the Magicians' quarters. Zombies were always useful, both for a fledgling wizard to practice his magic on and as an obedient servant with super strength.

The Magicians rooms were busy with men in robes coming and going. Faint screams could be heard coming from a back room. Elin had to wait until one of the Magicians was free to take her burden over. She repeated the Masters instruction and the man was taken away.

She scurried off to the cells, it was quite a way and she didn't want to keep the Master waiting.

Elin didn't recall seeing Thon amongst the chaos in the Dark Lords chambers and the cell he was in could easily have been missed It was best to be sure.

Elins hunch was correct. Thon was in the darkest corner of his cell, lying still. Elin drew back the two heavy bolts on the cell door. They were stiff with rust and both creaked. So heavy, they were on the border of what a human could handle. Neither bolt proved a problem for Elin.

Elin prodded Thon with her boot. “Come, the Dark Lord has summoned you.”

All of a sudden Thon grabbed her boot and lashed out with his feet, trying to kick her stomach. Elin easily dodged. She grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and dumped him on his feet.

“Come. You can plead your case.” And without waiting for a reply, she dragged him along to the Dungeon Masters quarters.

Once there, and seeing that the Dark Lord wasn't engaged with anything else, she threw Thon at his feet. “This one says he is Thon, second son of Algrin, Lord of the Westlands. He claims his father will pay ransom.”

The Dark Lord looked interested.

“Well done Elin.” Not knowing if she had been dismissed and unsure of what to do, Elin bowed and retreated a few paces.

The Dark Lord only had eyes for Thon. He towered over the crumpled figure sprawled on the floor.

“You pathetic creature! A Lords second son! What could your father offer that would be worth anything to me!”

“My father can offer gold for my safe return.”

“Gold! Gold is nothing!” He spat the words out.

The Dark Lord paced over to a corner and threw open a large chest. With one mighty shove he tipped it open and spilled the contents. An assortment of coins, cups, plates and jewellery clattered and rolled on the floor, glinting in the dim light.

“Can you say that your father has even half as much gold as I!”

Thon struggled to his knees. “Then what is it that you want? If it is within his power..”

“Power.” Mused the Dark Lord. “Power. I have lands. I have men at my command. I have a source of magic that the strongest mage would fear. Have you seen any Lord who lives as well as me? The Overlands will be mine. They will be crushed and the people will lay tribute at my feet.”

The Dark Lord noticed Elin was still there. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her in front of Thon. “See this one. She came before me, weak and pitiful, pleading for her life. Jealous of her sister. A farmers unloved daughter. I took that hatred and with my magic shaped it into something strong. A useful servant for my lair. She owes me everything. That is power.”

The pain of the Dark Lord pulling on her hair was nothing to Elin. A memory flashed through her mind. A picture of her afraid, kneeling in circle, chalked with occult symbols. A cup of dark, potent liquid before her. And a choice to make.

Thon looked utterly defeated. Head bowed, he clutched his side as if he had been stabbed. The Dark Lord towered over him. The Master tilted his head back and began a deep rolling laugh. Without warning, Thon leapt up. The hand that had seemingly clutched his side in pain now contained a dagger. He lunged for the Dark Lord, the knife finding a target in his side. The Dark Lord now roared in pain and threw Elin to the floor. The Dungeon Master drew his own sword and struck down towards Thon,who dodged out of the way. Blood dripped down the knife in Thon's hand. Never taking their eyes off each others blade, the pair slowly circled round the room. Elin watched the pair, forgotten in the struggle and stood near the Heart of the Dungeon. The Dark Lord again lunged at Thon, Thon dodged out of the way, the sword almost finding it's mark. Elin could see that Thon was tiring. With a shorter blade, he would have to wait for an opening. The Dungeon Master lashed out again, and again Thon dodged, but too late. The sword bit into Thons leg. He cried out in pain and the dagger dropped out of his hand. It was almost over. The Dungeon Master had driven Thon into a corner. The Dark Lord grinned and raised his sword for the kill, as Thon desperately looked for an escape.

Just then the Heart of the Dungeon sang out in warning. The stone flashed red. Elin had been taught what this meant. It was a warning that the Dungeon was under attack. The alert would echo through out the Dungeon, and all of the inhabitants would arm themselves against the intruders. It would be carnage. Both the Dark Lord and Thon glanced over at the stone. The Dungeon Master turned his attention back to Thon and grinned. He raised his sword and started to bring it down for the final strike. Without warning and without really knowing why, Elin drew her own sword and struck the Heart of the Dungeon. The red stone shattered and the dungeon master cried out in pain. Thon used the distraction to grab his knife from the floor and drive it upwards into the Dungeon Masters heart. Thon collapsed onto the floor, exhausted. Elin sheathed her sword and tentatively approached Thon. His wound was bleeding heavily and he was losing consciousness. She knelt beside him and cradled his head in her lap. She drew the rune for healing over the deep cut. She drew it again and again. She kept drawing it until the blood stopped oozing and Thon began to come round. She put his arm around her shoulders and lifted him to his feet. She half dragged him, half carried him through the door. The Dungeon was a labyrinth of tunnels but there was a back way out that was seldom used. The passages were narrow and the way was long, but eventually Elin and her burden came to the exit. The sun was just rising over the valley as she set her passenger down and collapsed on to the rocks.

Both of them sat in silence and watched as the sun crept up into the sky. The suns golden light began to warm them.

Thon was the first to speak. “Thank you for saving me.”

Elin shook her head. “It was a stupid thing to do. I don't know why I did it.” Thon just looked at her.

“I know the dungeon was under attack, but I don't know who by. I should have stayed to fight. I can't go back now, I am forsworn” Said Elin.

Thon stared at the sky. Eventually he took a long breath and said “I was not just there to protect the caravan. I was hoping to be captured. With a Lords son, it's common. We had soldiers held back. When I reached the centre of the dungeon, I signalled the troops with this magic stone.” He brought out a large flat disc set with a red brown stone. It had been concealed in a side pocket. “They should have been able to follow my trail by magical means. If all went to plan, and nothing went wrong and they took the dungeon by surprise, we will be free of the scourge of the Dungeon Master.”

“You were almost killed!” Exclaimed Elin.

“It was risky.” Agreed Thon. “That's why they only sent the younger son. The Dark Lord has caused many problems for the land over the years and we needed rid of him. Would any one else have attacked the dungeon?”

“The Dark Lord has many enemies. Had.” She corrected herself. “Many enemies that could attack at any time.”

“Is it certain that he is gone? He cannot rise by some magical means?”

“His power was tied to the Heart of the Dungeon. The stone I shattered.” She explained. “It gave power but not without a price.”

“I see.” Nodded Thon, and then he slowly stood. “I must go and see what has happened. If my troops have prevailed or if it was the work of some other party.”

Elin stood too and looked out over the valley.

“Do not come with me. My men will kill you on sight. Beings with your visage are not loved by my people. There has been too much slaughter between us over the years. I'll use my magic to retrace my steps.” He patted the pocket containing the disc.

Elin nodded.

“Go North to the Veld. There is a monastery there, in a remote place. You might seek shelter there, or at least help.”

Elin understood the silent words. You look too alien. Too other. You might think like a person but you are not one of us. But maybe you could look human again.

“Take this. As thanks for your help.” Thon reached under his tunic and pulled out an engraved silver pendent on a chain. He slipped it over Elins' head and rested his hands on her shoulders, his hands slid down her arms. Almost imperceptibly, he leaned forward. He paused with his mouth close to hers. Then he turned away.

Elin looked away awkwardly. To break the silence, she took off her own gold pendent and slipped it over Thons head. There was no pause and no leaning forwards. “Take this to return the favour.”

Thon caressed the pendent with his hand. “My thanks.” He then stalked over to a nearby sapling and broke off a branch. It was almost spring and the tree was budding. He pulled off the twigs and tested its worth as a walking stick.

“Fare thee well.” He turned on his heel and walked back into the cave, to do his duty and to meet his uncertain fate.

Elin watched him until he was out of sight. Then she cast around for a suitable tree to equip herself with a staff.

She had been at peace in the caves, she mused as she worked, and had had a place in the world, but now was forced to move on. That seemed to be the way of the World. She tested her new staff and began to pick her way North.

Although the Dungeon in the caves had been deep, it was her own anger and jealousy that had allowed her to be transformed as she now was. It was her own pain that had kept her there, rather than any bond to the Dark Lord.

And that was the Deeper Dungeon.

© Copyright 2020 Ethelfleda. All rights reserved.

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