Spellborn: Down the Mountain

Back when I was content lead at Spellborn Works, I created multiple ‘mood pieces’ to reflect upon the universe of “The Chronicles of Spellborn”. These texts were written at a conceptual level, to provide artists and fellow designers with an idea of how the game world behaved on its own. It's a bit raw and rough around the edges though. Enjoy.

The glow was weakening. Ankhcandles weren’t supposed to do that. Richan Druyk did not know a lot about ankhstones and how they worked, but he did know an ankhcandle made of the stuff wasn’t supposed to lose it glow until after 50 years at least. This one he bought three weeks ago at that stupid merchant with his stupid speech impediment in stupid Pit District. Last time he ever went there.

Then again the pits wouldn’t be that much different from where he was now. He had been trawling through the mines of Mount of Heroes for days. He fell down some bridge in the western parts of the mines where a bunch of tugging Arionites ambushed him. He remembered hitting the water, but the next thing was waking up on some underground shore. Following the tunnels and corridors from there, made him realize the various crevasses here weren’t opened by the Enclave. He was somewhere deep in the mines, so deep within the shard that the magic of the Deadspell Storm could hardly reach them. It was dark down here. Very dark.

The ankhcandle flickered.

Whatever that bastard Basouw was thinking, it hadn’t been worth it. Richan kept saying this to himself, despite knowing he volunteered to take the job. What in bleedin’ Storms Basouw needed mining-master Fracktures keyring for, wasn’t his question to ask. But Basouw would be paying handsomely for it and that was all that mattered. A faint smile appeared on his face as he touched the Shroud emblem on his chest. Not all greedy bastards joined House Silver. Miners, Houses, the Forge… It didn’t matter, in the end your allegiance was to yourself. The tunnel seemed endless but had slowly been growing wider. A slight ease came over him, maybe there was going to be a cavern. Maybe there would be light.

Richan’s memory crystal had given the ghost. Hardly satisfying given the circumstances. He consoled himself with the fact that even if the damned thing had worked, he probably wouldn’t have been able to make it send out a distress call to his party, let alone keep a record. Anything running on DEW, ankhstones, levium, or just plain MAGIC was useless to him. It just crumbled in his hands. His way was that of the Adept. Sure, he wasn’t a Master of his Discipline, but he always got his Revenge… Magic had a habit of just working around him when it didn’t involve fiddling with items and just hinged on swinging a blade or moving your body. The Storms had given him his strength that way.

He had been walking for a good ten minutes since his ankhcandle started flickering and only now did Richan discover the ground had become not unpleasantly soft. He stopped and crouched to get a better look at the ground.

“What in boulder-tugging Storms…!?”

The ground was no longer ground. At least, not entirely. The ground had turned a deeper shade of red and was lightly giving way when stressed. It felt moist, yet it wasn’t wet. Richan couldn’t dig in with his fingers, it was too leathery for that. Unsheathing his Eelgutter from his back, he prepared to use the dagger as a makeshift shovel. But right before entering the soil he stopped.

A dark-red blotch was appearing on the ground right in front of him. A small trembling scurried underneath him and somewhere in the distance a high pitched shriek faintly echoed. “By the Light…!” There was a hint of panic in Richan’s voice.

Wasting no time, he dashed off further into the tunnel. Running with knives wasn’t a good idea, but in this case Richan wouldn’t want to be caught dead without his blade. Unfortunately, being caught alive was a far more likely option. As to startle him, the walls suddenly gave way and he was running off into pitch black darkness. The floor was still the same shade of red, though something ran through them which could only be described as an assortment of veins. Heavily breathing, Richan collapsed his hands onto his knees. Another high pitched shriek echoed in the distance, followed by a slightly lower pitched howl nearer by.

The eponymous howl that every living soul on Mount of Heroes dreaded. “Howlers,” he softly spoke. As if robbed of its last hope, the ankhcandle started flickering one last time as the glow faded out of existence. Richan felt alone, despite feeling dozens of tremors scurrying underneath him.

“Eyes into the distance, back straight, arms wide, standing firm…” Dance of Reavers was an easy enough Stance to adopt, but somehow it was harder now. Much harder. All around him, he heard the moist crumbling sound of this Demon soil being thrown about by lashing limbs of non-human origin. Whether he had a penchant for magic or not, he could feel multiple entities closing in.

“Ancestors be damned!”

Richan wasn’t so sure he would be getting his Revenge this time…