Choices...for an adventure story

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Choices...for an adventure story

Postby FluffyMao » October 1st, 2021, 8:20 pm

Hi there! I come to ask you to help me with a specific scene for my adventure story, Dungeons of Danrya. Specifically, it'll be towards the end of chapter 7. :chat:

I have a scene where the main character opens a chest and looks into it. What's in it? Below are two VERY different answers to that question. Please tell me which one you prefer and why. Or if you didn't like either, why? And if you have any other ideas for what could be in the chest, leave them below!

For some context:

In the room directly before Rin was a stone chest. Nothing else. Just a chest. But the layer of dust coating it said it was old.

He gingerly brushed some of that dust away. There were etchings of some kind chiseled deep into the lid. His fingers traced over the unfamiliar blocky script, so unlike anything he’d ever seen.

Rin circled the chest and braced his hands against the side of the lid. He shoved at the lid, trying to apply force from below as well as from the side to get the lid out of its settled position.

The first shove just shook the chest. But the second was accompanied by the scraping of stone across stone, and Rin shoved again quickly. The dust cementing the lid to the chest finally cracked with surprising force and crumbled away with a startling hiss of escaping air. Another hard shove, and the lid slid across the chest and down the other side, slamming down onto the floor in a cloud of dust.

Rin took a few hurried steps back, waving away the horrendous amount of dust that had plumed up. He coughed a few times, inhaling the sweet scent of dried flowers. Flowers? Still trying to clear his throat in the quietest manner he could, Rin peered into the chest.

Choice 1: Empty

The chest was empty.

Disappointment flooded Rin, and he slapped a palm down on the rim of the chest. He’d been so sure that his luck was finally turning around.

Wait a second. He looked again into the chest. Then at the outside of the chest. Then back inside. That’s definitely not as deep as it should be. The chest’s base sat directly on the floor and measured up to Rin’s hip. But the bottom of the inside of the chest only hit around his knees.

Hesitantly, Rin reached into the chest, prepared to yank back and run if anything happened.

Nothing did.

Fingers brushed the stone interior and slid from the center over to one side. Rin felt along the inner corner formed between the floor of the chest and its walls. There was an obvious seam there, jutting into the side of the chest. And it was just wide enough to fit a child’s fingers.

Rin held his breath and slid his fingers down the seam.

Along the front-facing side, his nails caught on something.

With a click, part of the wall behind the chest slid away, revealing an achingly familiar rough-hewn stone corridor.

Frozen, Rin stared into the corridor. Excitement from having just solved a puzzle warred with the fear of what stalked those rough-hewn halls.

But this time, came the thought, I have a weapon. A grin slid across Rin’s face.

Still, it wouldn’t be good if he left the wall open like that and the nekhesa found its way in before he was ready.

Rin slid his fingers along the seam, feeling around for the switch and hoping the wall would slide back into place.

The catch hit his fingers, and he heard a soft click.

The bottom of the chest abruptly popped up.

Rin jolted back from the chest and ducked. When he didn’t hear anything else, he poked his eyes up over the rim of the chest and peered in.

Nestled in a pile of ratty silks and dried orchids was a single, golden key.

A key? Rin cocked his head as he straightened up. He leaned down into the chest to get a better look.

It was, in fact, a key. About the length of Rin’s index finger and nearly as thick around, it was worked in gold and featured a large, ornate orchid as the handle. A tiny diamond was set into the center of the orchid.

Tentatively, sparing a moment to check that the still open wall was clear, Rin scooped up the key. It was heavy. Flipping it over revealed a large amethyst set into the back of the orchid and surrounded by silver filigree.

Where do you go? The key, of course, couldn’t reply, so Rin tied it in his sash for later.

Choice 2: Fabric

A bundle of fabric sat in the chest, nearly filling the stone interior. It was surprisingly vibrant, with a pretty yellow and green swirling design, for having been sitting in a stone chest for as long as it looked like it had.

Rin gingerly reached out and flicked open the fabric. The earthy smell of ancient dust mingled with the heady aroma of flowers. The fabric was a silky soft gauze that caught on the rough edges of Rin’s fingers. A single dried, purple petal drifted from the scrap of fabric Rin held aloft back into the bundle.

Working carefully, Rin unwrapped the bundle. Inside was a collection of dried flowers. Violet orchids and white lilies, as well as several unknown blue and pink flowers. It was a small bundle for such a deep chest. Rin gingerly removed the ancient wrapped bouquet from the box and found two more fabric bundles beneath it, these pink and pale blue. They sat atop a slab of white wood.

The pink bundle was wrapped around yet more fabric. The inner fabric was white, slightly yellowed with age, and thicker and heavier than the bundle wrappings. Rin carefully lifted the cloth by its heavily embroidered collar, letting it unroll itself as he lifted. Gravity revealed a long cloak-like garment. Or maybe it was one of those Solian dresses where the whole outfit was just one long piece of cloth cleverly folded and wrapped around the body.

The blue bundle was similar, a long bolt of cloth with a neck collar wrapped in pale blue gauze. This second garment was dyed a deep red color and was a thinner, silkier cloth, finer than even the silk Aunt Kaira liked to embroider. The embroidery wasn’t as elaborate around the collar, but it draped down the sides as well. Maybe an outfit for special occasions?

A little confused, but enjoying the tranquility, Rin refolded the mystery garments and set them aside. He lifted out the slab of wood next.

The wood was smooth, polished even, with a close, even grain all across it. The slab was a little bit smaller than the chest’s interior in length and width, and it was only a few nails thick. Belying it’s size, Rin could heft the slab in one hand.

Flipping it over, Rin found more of that blocky script etched into the underside of the wood. It wasn’t as even as the script on the chest lid. The characters wobbled a bit and the whole message curved towards one corner.

The slab went next to the clothing.

Beneath the wooden board was another bundle of dried flowers, which buried another two long cloaks, each more elaborate than the last. Cushioned between the garments was a much smaller bundle wrapped in pure white silk.

As he unwrapped it, Rin discovered embroidered sections on the cloth. A lopsided diamond pattern, a misshapen flower, it appeared here and there, almost randomly on the fabric. Nothing like the artisan work on the previous garments. Finally, the white silk fell away to reveal its contents.

The tiny humanoid figure was only about a hand tall. It wasn’t of wood, but pale, pink stone, and a dark fuzz was all that was left of its hair, but Rin could recognize the shape of a child’s doll. Meggi had one. Rin had spent a lot of time picking it off the ground for her when she was still a baby.

The inks making up the doll’s delicate face were faint and scuffed in some places, but still there. Except the right eye. It had been scraped away, leaving an empty lash line behind.

Rin smoothed his thumb over that empty eye. The roughness of that specific patch was a strange contrast to the rest of the face, which was smooth and cool. What are you doing here? he wondered, staring at the painted face. A single black eye stared back at him from above a tiny, brown nose and red lips.

Rin turned his gaze to the etched slab and the old clothes. This all belonged to someone once, came the realization. He glanced at the chest. It was heavy. He glanced at the floor, where the stone tiles had been shaped around the chest, creating a stylistic depression.

Slowly, a very strange idea came over Rin, as his attention returned to the delicate doll in his hands.

Someone lived here.

Someone had all this stuff. And they lived here.

The stone doll slid from limp fingers.

Why? kept running through Rin’s mind. Why live in the Pyramid? It was a place of danger. Of monsters and traps and magic. Who in their right mind would choose to live in the Pyramid?

Was it…different…back then? The thought was utterly alien.

The Pyramid had always been there, at least, to Rin’s knowledge. He had grown up hearing stories of its history and what dwelt inside it. Stories of the mages that came out of it, and the one mage that had built it. He’d even seen the mosaic that depicted the Pyramid being built.

But it had never occurred to the boy that someone, thousands of years ago or more, might have called the Pyramid home.

Or, at the very least, a storage place. Rin considered the doll and the garment. Azti had packed away her own dolls and old clothes last year, when she’d turned thirteen years old. Dad had taken the baskets to the Chol family, who had four little girls, the eldest of which was only ten years old.

Rin wiped his thumb across the missing eye of the doll again. Packed away, he thought. Wrapped, safe and sound, and packed away.

Azti had cried that day. Not until Dad had left. And not until Grandmother was busy with Nika’s studies. But she had cried. Rin knew because he’d been her replacement doll that afternoon.

On impulse, Rin hugged the doll tight to his chest. I hope you had a brother, he whispered fiercely to that long-gone girl, who’d had to pack away her doll. I hope you had a brother and that he hugged you and let you braid his hair and cry all over him.

I hope you were loved.

For more Sims stories and some original writing, stop by my writing blog:

If the solution is not beautiful, I know it's wrong. -- David Hilbert
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