2nd chapter of an adventure story

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2nd chapter of an adventure story

Postby FluffyMao » July 18th, 2021, 4:23 pm

Uh, hi! Here's the second chapter (pretty sure it makes sense as one chapter, but let me know what you think!) of that adventure story I was talking about earlier, Dungeons of Danrya.

In this chapter we get a bit more into the "adventure" part. So, dramatic and a bit scary are what I'm going for. For context, this is where I introduce this arc's main monster and set some expectations for the rest of the associated chapters.

I'd appreciate any feedback, but particularly about tone, monster intro, and the lack of proper dialogue (story reasons: bad things happen if you speak in the dungeons). I try to make do with the main character's thoughts, but I'm not sure if I succeeded. Let me know what you think!

Chapter Two (word count: 1650)
Spoiler:
One step into the Pyramid took Rin into the heart of darkness. No light. No wind. Even the smell of the jungle had vanished, replaced with a scent of must and still air. A glance over his shoulder revealed empty blackness. Tentatively, Rin stretched his hand back to where the light had just been. The tips of his fingers brushed rough-hewn stone.

“It’s never the same,” his mother had warned him. “But stay out of the open hallways as much as you can.”

Rin sucked in a shaky breath, and trailed his fingers across the wall behind him until he found the corner. Then, hugging the wall he’d just found, he set off down the corridor as quick as he dared.

Walking in the dark was difficult. Even with the wall directly to his left, Rin constantly stumbled over loose flagstones and sent pebbles skittering noisily ahead of him. Every sound echoed terribly in the otherwise desolate hallway.

“Remember, not a word inside. Understand?”

He’d never thought it would be so dark. Terrifying, yes, it was supposed to be. Monsters and traps, that’s what filled the Pyramid. But the darkness made it so much worse. His arms weren’t long enough to reach the other wall while keeping contact with his wall. If the other wall even existed. It was entirely possible he was walking along the edge of a chasm.

Rin froze at that thought, staring hard towards the right. Was it darker than the surroundings, hinting at some unfathomable depth just beyond? He slowly stooped down, never dropping contact with the left (possibly only) wall, and fumbled for any small, loose stone on the ground.

A suitable rock found, very angular, the boy threw it rightwards. A heartbeat later, it hit something hard, and the resulting sharp crack echoed repeatedly up and down the corridor. Rin breathed again once the sound finally faded. Let’s not do that again. Feeling foolish, he continued walking.

It was difficult to tell time in the Dungeons, but Rin couldn’t even look back to see how much distance he’d covered. If I spark at all, now is the time, he told himself. Light would be nice. It was a common enough mana in the Pyramid. So was darkness, now that he thought about it. And that was a very unpleasant thought. Was the darkness around him natural? Or magical? He had no way of knowing.

Even knowing that a wall was there, just on the other side of the hall, Rin couldn’t tell if he’d passed any turns or doorways on the right side. He could only feel one wall.
Speaking of wall, his abruptly ended.

A door?!

He felt along it a moment before determining that it was just a corner. A harsh right-angle turn in the hallway to the left. Is it a turn? Or an intersection?

Curiosity beating out his better judgment, Rin released his wall to lean gingerly across the corridor. He didn’t immediately feel anything. Then, abruptly, his hand met another rough-hewn wall. Another corner, actually. The hall he’d been traversing continued apparently, with part of it branching to the left. Some more very tentative investigation revealed another path towards the right as well.

On the inner corner of the right side, between the right and central paths, Rin found a smooth flat surface with three etched lines of some kind of inscription he couldn’t make out. The top line was short, only a few characters. The second was the longest, nearly spanning the entire surface, and broken into three distinct sections. The third had two sections to it, with an awkwardly large, smooth space between them.

Which way? One hand on a wall, Rin considered his options. Left, right, or straight?

If he took the top inscription to relate to the left path (reading left to right, top to bottom)…maybe that pointed to the exit? Surely any other place that would be marked would need a longer description then just exit. Idly he wondered who had placed a sign in the depths of the Pyramid.

Rin abruptly became aware of a breeze, carrying a foul smell towards him from the left. A low rumbling sound accompanied it. Then faint hissing and the sound of something hard tapping against the stone floor rhythmically. It was coming closer.

Rin shot down the right path. Behind him something big collided with the corner he’d just been standing at. Teeth snapped at empty air, and an angry snarl cut the air. The boy ran.

While Rin’s body took care of running full-tilt down the hallway, the rest of his brain struggled to piece together a picture of whatever in the six hells was chasing him.

Teeth. Claws. Big! Hissing? Nekhesa, his panicked mind came up with.

A nekhesa was a large, spotted, feline creature with anywhere between 2 to 6 snakes sprouting from the back of its neck and shoulders. It was a natural predator in the jungles of Izzia. Not very common in civilized areas, but a definite threat in less populated places. Izzia had long prized and feared the nekhesa for it’s dignified appearance and lethal efficiency. It was dangerous.

The ground shook under Rin’s feet with every bound the nekhesa made. Snarling and hissing was rapidly gaining on him.

It’s right behind me! Rin screamed internally.

Then the clawed feet struck the ground and didn’t land again!

Acting more on instinct then anything else, Rin darted to the right. He felt movement beside him as the creature pounced at where he’d just been, jaws snapping as it crashed into the stone wall. It took it a moment to rearrange it’s four legs. Rin took the moment and shoved himself back up into a dead run. A second later, he slammed into a wall. He’d lost all sense of direction. Guessing, he frantically dashed to the left and thanked the stars when he didn’t meet another wall.

Right hand running along the wall, the next corner Rin just took. A sharp right gave him another precious second as the nekhesa, as big as it was, didn’t correct its path as quickly as its much smaller prey. Claws screeched along stone, throwing up brilliant sparks, as the creature skidded around the corner, slammed into the adjacent wall and tore after Rin.

Rin’s fingers abruptly slid off rough-hewn stone and across something smooth, almost polished. He frantically scrambled across it, feeling desperately with both hands. He found a circular recess at chest-height, with five smaller divots set at it’s edges.

A door! Finally!

He shoved his fingers into the divots, then yanked counter-clockwise. When that didn’t work, he changed hands and yanked again. The door rolled to the side, revealing light. Without another thought, besides teeth!, he threw himself inside, ducking into a roll to avoid the outstretched snakes right behind him. The door slid closed behind him with a ratcheting sound, cutting off the snarling.

Danger!

Rin was up and out of his desperate roll in a moment. Not that it helped. So long in utter darkness had left him blind against any light. He blinked rapidly, desperately trying to clear his vision. It took an agonizing moment for his eyes to adjust, but when they did, his dark gaze darted first to the door he’d come through, mercifully closed, then around the room, searching for any movement whatsoever.

He found none. Instead, he saw a perfectly square room, smooth walls a pearly white to contrast the pitch black floor. It was utterly empty except for the large ring of dark blue-gray stone rising unsupported up from the floor to just scrape the ceiling.

The ring room! Rin’s knees gave out. He sucked in big lungfuls of air, as his brain struggled to convince his heart to tone down the rapid-fire beat. Did Aapo face that thing? …was it why he never made it home? The thought of Aapo, older, wiser, gone, facing a nekhesa in the confined space of the stone corridor…bile built in the back of his throat. Head shaking, eyes squeezed shut tight, Rin forced it back down.

Eventually, he sat back on his heels to take a proper look around.

The ring occupied the center of the room completely, it’s diameter nearly the length of the room. The very top of the ring was set into the pearly ceiling, while the bottom arc was somewhere beneath the void floor. Runes etched into the dark stone glowed with a silvery light bright enough to illuminate the entire room. Three runes on both arcs, runes even Rin knew. Air, light, stasis, death, darkness, and illusion. The six most common types of mana found inside the Pyramid. The six most common types to spark during an Izzian Questing. Not the only types, but the most common.

Two sigils was what you normally got from a Questing, and that meant you could channel the two associated types of mana, weaving them into spells. One sigil was rare. It meant you were specialized, stronger in that one mana type than normal people were with two. Most sparked people settled for just the one or two sigils. But you could go back into a Dungeon. Try to get another one or two sigils, wake up more mana. Most people didn’t. Most people weren’t suicidal.

Rin traced over the air rune with a finger. He could get, probably, two of these runes, somewhere on his body as sigils. If he sparked. If he survived.

And that means going through that thing. He studied the ring properly. Other than the runes, there wasn’t anything inherently magical about it. No mist swirling about. No ominous sounds No mystical surface inside the arc. It looked more like a decoration then anything else. Just a big empty ring. Standing there.

Rin took a breath. Then another, which he held as he stepped through the ring.
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Re: 2nd chapter of an adventure story

Postby KatLovesPotatoes » July 18th, 2021, 4:28 pm

Oooo! Interesting! I like it! It’s still pretty mysterious, and has some sense of dread and fear, which is interesting. I like it a lot! :D
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Re: 2nd chapter of an adventure story

Postby miss_eulenauge » July 20th, 2021, 4:43 am

Wow :O This is so cool! I held my breath the entire time I read... (but to be fair I don't read many stories as dark as that.) I like it! Very suspenseful. We don't *really* understand the mechanics of this world but you tell us just enough to not make us confused.

I really want to read more -provided it doesn't get more graphic or horror-like in its monster & fighting descriptions... Not that there would be anything wrong with that :) But I know my limits and I do not need nightmares about this labyrinth and the monsters in it... So yeah. Great story! Right at the edge of what I can read, but awesome. :D
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Re: 2nd chapter of an adventure story

Postby FluffyMao » July 23rd, 2021, 2:15 pm

Thanks for the kind words!

KatLovesPotatoes: That's EXACTLY what I was going for, a bit of dread with a dash of fear. Nothing too extreme, but enough to get across that the Dungeons aren't nice places. And I hope you can read more, because I plan to post the next few chapters too. I feel like this first arc is really important to get other perspectives on.

miss_eulenague: I feel you. I'm not a fan of the horror or thriller genres myself usually. I don't plan on getting more graphic than this, as, again, I'm not a fan of that myself. More of what I'll be focusing on is the mental and emotional after effects rather than the "blood & gore" of the moment. There will be fighting (it's an adventure), but I don't want that to be the primary focus. I might upload a fighting scene soon and see what people think. But thank you! For describing your reading limit and how my writing fits with that. It helps me figure out if I've hit my mark or need to tone it back.
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Re: 2nd chapter of an adventure story

Postby miss_eulenauge » July 23rd, 2021, 10:35 pm

FluffyMao: That sounds good - looks like I'll be able to get a further supply of this cool story :)
On the chapter itself: I like how you made it so suspenseful without artificial "whoa - oh no. What's that". We don't *really* understand the mechanics of this world but you tell us just enough to not make us confused, and that makes it very suspenseful since we naturally have no idea what might come next. And all that intersected with the comparison and the flashbacks of the older brother who died and his time in the labyrinth... Very, very good. :)

Looking forward to more! :)
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