The last excerpt from the journal of Simon Bloom
The final room in the First Dungeon always stood out. There is no table at the back end of the room, no pillars or obelisks either. It’s design is simpler than all the other floors and often the boss monster does not change the room to suit their needs, they have no need to. In the center is the archway that would open a portal to back to the heavens if we defeated our nemesis the dungeon had chosen. The archway was a beautiful collection of rare jewels and treasures; rubies diamonds, emeralds, even magic items were held on the arch. A golden base adorned with silvered steel and platinum edges. A gorgeous piece of architecture, which only served as a testament to the beauty of the Heavens themselves.
Now the archway was shattered. Blasted apart during the War of Failed Succession, it’s wonderful riches and adornments seem to have turned to stone. The Heavens no longer touched this place and all the wonder and promise it gave has vanished. But the dungeon’s magic has not. The watchful eye of the First Dungeon has given us it’s best. Monsters meant to challenge us, strategies meant to kill us, an intent meant to intimidate us. None of it though, could beat the challenge in front of us.
Behemoth: child form sits in front of the ruined archway. In the back corner cowered the slimes he must have dragged with him into the final room. The First dungeon was all out of chances to take us down, but we weren’t in the clear yet. A beast greater than any had waited for us and maybe that was the dungeon’s hope all along. I could feel the glare of the First Dungeon behind me, in my mind I could hear it speak: “Show me the difference 3000 years can make, children of Athos. Show me a fight worth the wait.”
“We will.” I said getting caught up in the moment.
“Uhm, we will… take care of this fight, you 3 sit tight. We might need you to carry on if this fight goes south.” I said. They didn’t question me or the others. We four were caught up in the same thoughts, this was a fitting place for some pure carnage.
“Behemoth! Are you ready to fight us!” Yelled Anatolius, rage shook his words.
Behemoth turned to us, “Oh hello, do you people want to play?” He said. Anatolius drew his sword, the tip igniting into the brilliant blue light befitting of the Azure Inferno.
“I’m not in the mood, brother. Show me the beast or I’ll cut you down as you are.” An aura of fear crept off of Anatolius as he spoke. It chilled us to the bone, I can only imagine what it felt like to Behemoth. He instantaneously transformed into Behemoth beast mode. His giant and gnarled body no longer resembled our brother The Reaping Hungar, he is nothing more than a Chained Beast now. The first time we fought, we ran in fear and it cost Random his life. Revenge sat in my belly and my staff shook with rage from my tightened grip around it.
“Good, Children of Athos, very good. Blood will certainly spill on my floor today. How long has it been?” The First Dungeon rang in my imagination once again.
“Too long.” I replied as my Magical Third Eye ripped open. We rushed towards the Chained Beast intent not to hold anything back. The room shook with each of his massive steps and the air crackled around our overflowing Spirit Fuel auras. A blur of Uruhua flew around the battlefield attacking any opening she could find. Fire and lightning blasted at the Behemoth scarring everywhere but his unbreakable body. Chains sliced through the air, giant extremities jackhammered into the ground, and a bellowing roar overcame all other sounds. A calm light zipped back and forth granting us another chance to fight, and another, and another; it’s path undisturbed by the chaos which erupted underneath the watchful eye of the First Dungeon.
A break in momentum! Behemoth retreats a step. Blue fire still clinging to his form after a devastating blow. Anatolius’ eyes are locked with the Chained Beast’s; pure carnage falters for a moment.
Behemoth’s power is based on his psyche, how frightening he thinks he is. Fear glints in his eyes and suddenly he doesn’t seem so unbreakable. And just like that our strategy shifts, we heckle Behemoth. Insults and swears shoot from our voices and stab at his confidence. But if it were that easy the First Dungeon would be displeased. Uruhua drops. Crushed and limp she hits the floor. Before Behemoth can revel in his victory, I weave a magic nightmare through her corpse. Behemoth is spooked and Oberon has already granted Uruhua another chance.
I branch off and focus on the intricate web of spells I have cast. My Magical Third Eye holds their effects in place allowing me to cast without limits. I can already feel the strain that comes with it, but my body numbs and adrenalin keeps me going. I’ve lost track of the others, all I can see is the target of my spells and how they throw him off balance. Any moment I can give Anatolius or Uruhua a chance to damage his solid body is a spell well cast. A flurry of arcane force, augmented by Spirit Fuel and lightning cloud my vision of the world. The Oncoming Storm once told me I was more a force of destruction than anything else. That I was more like him than I thought. Big Stormy was a not a friend and I do not look fondly on my time possessed by him, but he knew me better than most. If I learned anything from that experience it was that I am dangerous, I am powerful, and I would never stop fighting!
Before I know it I’m grabbed. Behemoth’s massive hand tightens around me, squeezing the life out of me and I drop.
Oberon gives me another chance. I breathe in the scene around me, no time to catch my breath. Behemoth has gained his footing again. Uruhua and Anatolius are relentless, but so is the Chained beast. I can see the elaborate entangle of spells I had cast begin to unwrap. My Magical Third Eye closed while I was knocked out and I can’t focus on all of them at once.
“Yes, that’s it Simon. Falter and fall.” The whispers of the First Dungeon buzz in my imagination. It’s voice is familiar. “Let your blood spill onto my floors. Your spells have failed you, your body has fallen and soon your siblings will follow.”
“No.” I whisper back and stand on my own two feet.
“I will not fall.” I say.
“I am dangerous, I am powerful, and I WILL NEVER STOP FIGHTING!” I scream and reach into deep into my core. Attempting to rip open my Magical Third Eye again. I can feel the arcane force peel against me. A current my body cannot handle rushing through me. My lightning and Spirit Fuel are stripped away, they cannot help me here. Nothing but me and the arcane flow of the universe. I feel still and nearly falter, but then another force appear beside me. Random, I can feel him. The current is not so strong. We reach into the arcane force that has governed my life for over 3000 years, it is not as frightening as I thought. Together we pull the power that I need.
“Random!” I call out, but his presence is already gone. Tears well up for my brother and my memories of him flow through me. I can’t help but smile. “Ok then, cya brother.”
My Magical Third Eye bursts open and my spells fall in line to my command. I govern their arcane force in my hands. Behemoth starts to falter again. He can’t keep up with Uruhua or hold Anatolius back, and Oberon gives us another chance. With my magic tripping him up he loses all hope and crumbles. The Chained Beast’s fragile body is no match for us. Pure carnage is contaminated by fear. Behemoth drops. The second child of Athos, the Reaping Hungar falls to those who refused to run away from him. Underneath Anatolius’ blade his body burns to ash and flies away through the flow of time. We all catch each other’s eyes. A smile escapes our collective lips and I know we’re all thinking of Random.
“NO, you must all perish, let my floors fill with blood. DIE UNDER MY GAZE, YOU DEMIGOD SCUM!” that familiar voice rings in my imagination once more.
“Enough.” I say. “I’m tired of feeling guilty. The Oncoming Storm is dead and I am free. Voices in my head can’t scare me and the certainly can’t govern my life anymore.” Silence rings through my imagination, through my mind, through my body and a smile creeps across my face.
“Simon, what are you doing? Come over here.” Anatolius says. My siblings stand in front of me and I embrace them in the biggest, familial hug I’ve ever given.