Prologue > Chapter 1
In the middle of a nice, sunny day, on the edge of a vast forest, birds and animals are enjoying their everyday life. Although, today that peacefulness is disturbed by sounds of rushed steps and heavy panting, which are rare in this region, and thereby attract some attention from the native wild-life. Curious looks of birds and rabbits follow a small group of three breathless people that run inside the wrecked remains of a small, ruined watch-tower.
After making sure that they are not followed, they drop to the stony floor, totally exhausted. Their dark, bluish, almost black skin is covered in dirt, sweat and bruises, revealing that they had a rough time. Their clothes and armor has also seen better days.
After taking a moment to catch their breath, the only female among them speaks first:
Dark Elf 1: "They will catch up to us for sure, we have to do something!"
The one with the fittest body gives her a skeptical look:
Dark Elf 2: "Like what?"
Dark Elf 1: "We stole all that stuff from them, there must be something useful in there."
Dark Elf 2: "Yea, like there is something to get rid of a full regiment of guards! I doubt it."
The third one, who seems to be the oldest and most experiencedamong them, joins the conversation:
Dark Elf 3: "We need to catch our breath anyway, let's see what we got while we rest."
They take off their overstuffed backpacks, open them and start cramming through the insides. Everything that looks promising is laid out on the floor.
Dark Elf 2: "I wish we had more time to identify these artifacts before we took them, just what is all of that stuff?"
Strange items are gingerly placed on the ground one after another. Among them a heavy book with a thick cover.
Dark Elf 3: "Wait, let me see that ..."
He takes the book and starts flipping its pages. The others continue to look through their stolen treasure. A fter a few moments the older elf speaks again:
Dark Elf 3: "It's a summoning book, I think ..."
Dark Elf 2: "Summoning? ... Summoning what?"
Dark Elf 3: "I'm not sure ..."
He flips a few more pages.
Dark Elf 3: "... Some kind of "helper", I think. This is a really old dialect. It's hard to understand, even for me."
Dark Elf 1: "That's it!"
Dark Elf 2: "Are you nuts? We don't know what will happen! For all we know, it could be the summoning of a demon, or something! Moreover, Feraldis here can't even read it properly."
Dark Elf 3/Feraldis: "No, the actual Spell is written in the Naphram language, I can read that quite clearly. And the Naphram never summoned any demons. At least as far as we know."
Dark Elf 1: "There, see!? It's practically safe, let's do it! Who knows how much time we have until their war-dogs catch our trail?!"
Feraldis: "The formula does not seem very complicated, but it requires a lot of mana, more than I can provide. Ramora, didn't you grab some mana-crystals back there?"
Dark Elf 1/Ramora: "I did?"
Dark Elf 2: "You guys are serious about that, aren't you? We don't even know if it will be a useful helper. That's just foolish!"
Ramora: "Come on, Gremon, have some faith, right now we need any help we can get ... Here, I found them!"
She takes a few blue crystals out of her backpack.
Dark Elf 2/ Gremon: "Well, what could possibly go wrong?!"
After that, Feraldis quickly draws the necessary magical circles on the dusty floor. Meanwhile, Ramora arranges the things that will be needed for the ritual, and Gremon carefully watches the surrounding through the entrance.
Feraldis's quick movements show that he must be familiar with this kind of procedure, it doesn't take long for him to finish. He holds the book in one hand and the mana crystals in the other and positions himself in front of the circle.
Feraldis: "We can begin."
Ramora: "Great! Let's hope, that this will turn the tide in our favour!"
Gremon: "Oh, boy ..."
As Feraldis starts reciting the strange cryptic spell from the book, the ritual begins. Shortly after, the magical circles on the floor begin to glow in a shimmering yellow color.
Ramora: "It's working!"
Gremon: "... Oh, boy! ..."
They had stolen the mysterious book and the rest of the loot from a sealed and heavily guarded treasury. Months of scouting, planning and preparation were needed to get inside that place and steal some of the highly valued Items of some very influential people. If they got caught now, everything would have been in vain.
Feraldis starts feeding the mana from the crystals to the circle, while continuing to recite the formula. The others can't do much. They just keep their distance and watch. The air slowly becomes tense as raw magical essence accumulates in the room, which then again gets absorbed in enormous amounts by the magic circle.
It's then that Feraldis’ expression changes.
Ramora: "What's the matter?"
Feraldis: "... The Circle ... It’s draining mana on its own, I can't control the flow!"
The glowing intensifies significantly, and in the middle of the small room, just above the circle, a small ball of yellow light starts forming.
Feraldis: "It's not just draining from the crystals, but from me too ... You should get out of here!"
Ramora: "No, we will not leave you behind!"
Gremon: "OH, BOY!!!"
Ramora tries to get to Feraldis, but drops to the floor, due to sudden fatigue striking her whole body. At the same time, Gremon is racing to get to the exit, but is almost slowed to a stop and after a short while he also falls to his knees.
Gremon: "What have you done, you idiots?!"
Ramora turns her face back to him. Her expression is saying "I'm sorry." but she doesn't have the strength left to spell it out loud, as small particles are starting to emerge from her body. The same thing starts happening with Feraldis.
Feraldis: "...Ghaaaahhh ..."
Their bodies are beginning to fade away as the particles of light are absorbed in the ever growing sphere above the circle. Gremon watches his friends disappear, as his own body and consciousness are starting to fade.
Ramora: "Yaaghh ..."
Gremon: "How could it ... end ... like this ... ?"
As the glowing sphere absorbs the magic crystals, the bodies of the Dark Elves, all of the magical Items they brought with them and even the mana in the air from the surrounding area, things finally begin to calm down.
... ... ...
[... What just happened? Where am I?]
A silent voice echoes through the small room.
[No, actually - WHERE am I? Where is my body? What is this? Am I dead? Am I a ghost?]
As the voice is getting desperate, a new, more intriguing question arises:
[Wait ... WHO am I?]
And as if to answer that, a transparant, bluish screen popps up out of nowhere:
[What the ... ?]
The freshly awakened consciousness inspects the screen.
[Dungeon? I'm in a Dungeon? ... How? ... Why? ...]