I woke in a haze. Dust and sweat stung my eyes, body frail as if an immense weight had be placed on it pulling at my every muscle. With exhaustion set in and my senses dulled, I attempted to move, only to find my legs locked in place by an unknown force. With each attempt I could feel my legs more as a sharp sense of pain shot up from my shins.
As the fog of my senses began to lighten, a soft amber glow washed before my eyes. While blinded by this soft glow I overheard the sounds of voices though the words were lost to me a certain fear came over me and I stood still. The voice first soft and unknown turned into whispers and I was able make out but a fraction of what was exchanged. At this point, the clouded picture of three forms were before me. Unable to move and still feeling the effects of this mysterious exhaustion I called out to these unknown beings.
It was at this time that I realize, I did not know where, who or what I was. As a new born from birth all that came to my mind were the essentials, breathe and keep breathing. Words came slowly and with some difficulty and I feared these unknown would be rescuers would soon turn into sure fire attackers out of fear of some rambling man. It is at this time when the words of the rather stout man rang in my ears, “lie, kill”. I panicked. With all my might I tried to free myself from what imprisoned my legs. An indescribable pain shot threw my body and as my constitution wavered I could feel myself go sick with pain. Fighting to hold back this sickness I collapsed, resulting in even more pain than before as the scent of blood began to fill my nose as my face smacked against sharp jagged rocks.
What a sight I must have been…legs locked in this crystalline structure bent over at a ninety degree angle face down in what appeared to be the shattered pieces of the same structure. With tears and cries for mercy I swore to give all I had for freedom from this cursed place.
Whether from pity or personal gain, I do not know, nor do I care, but this stout man decided to show me compassion in my time of need. A deed I do not take lightly, I was ready to give my life to the man know as Duin. But in return for my release, all he wanted of me was to carry the remains of the crystal to the surface. For me this was no where near a fair trade but he seemed quite set on getting rid of me as soon as possible and I did not press the matter.
After being propped up by a small yellow man, who’s name I would come to know as Mup, they began the task of removing me from the stone. It was at this time that I noticed Kaidree, an auburn haired female near the rear of the chamber. Though she did not say much I could tell she was given the same respect as the stout man. She was consulting with the Duin when the the two turned and left the cavern carrying what looked to be a sword.
After a few moments of gathering the crystals in a worn sack. Mup and I began our ascent out of this forsaken cavern. Travel up was slow as the exhaustion on my body had not yet left me completely, and the carrying of the crystal was both strenuous and awkward. Multiple times I was forced to rest or reapply my grip on the bag. Eventually, however, I could smell freshness in the air as a cool breeze blew in from the passages ahead and no longer suffocated by the stale air of the lower chambers my pace increased. Not long after this burst of renewed energy was given that something terrible awaited just around the bend.
Terror coursed through my bones as we made our next turn. I found myself confronted with a gruesome scene. Kaidree lying flat, gut slashed open, as blood poured, and Duin standing hand in the air to create this blue light which seemed to fight back the darkness that encroached upon them. As five ferocious beasts threatened to overrun the stout Duin, with a wave of courage Mup charged into the fray. What happened next was over in near minutes and was a blur of emotions. Soon, an old rusty sword in my hand I found myself going head long into the fight. But, for all my vigor the exhaustion my body was feeling proved too much, and I could feel myself slipping from this world into the one of dreams. As the the events of this day began to flash before my eyes thoughts of self pity and regret washed over me, and as my consciousness faded and these unstoppable beasts were nearly upon us a loud clash rang through the stony passage, but then there was only darkness…
I awoke to find Mup, Kaidree and I were lined up with our wounds quickly tended to and the stern Duin standing strong with another barrier blocking what was now the entrance to a new cavern. I did not know how long I had been out for or how the four of us were able to relocate away from the beasts but I could only assume that Duin had not rested and was nearing exhaustion himself. Though not fully trusted, I convinced him to let me take over the watch as well as assist in locating something that could help him treat his wounded allies. In what felt like hours I slipped in and out of consciousness as I kept watch on the others and though Kaidree regained consciousness the courageous Mup was not as fortunate. Duin awoke after a time and the decision to exit was made.
With the crystals lost in the fight with the dog beasts, save a small shard I carried in my pocket, I took responsibility for carrying Mup to the surface. Whether from luck or skillful stealth we finally broke free from the prison of this mountain which I began to believe was all this world had. Set before me were expansive rolling hills and grasslands. Both full of color and life, it was breathtaking and a bit overwhelming as all I had known prior to it was the dark recesses of dangerous monster filled caverns and tunnels. In the middle of the clearing, a horse and wagon stood ready awaiting its masters return. It was at this time I expected the small company to break there ties with me and part ways. Despite my reservations on what was to come Duin offered for me to join them on there journey to a Burwin stronghold to the west. Having no home or memories any kind I accepted my saviors kind offer and began my journey into the west.