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 Post subject: Of Man and Dragon, by Shadowdancer
PostPosted: December 20th, 2014, 7:48 pm 
Sorceror of Saradomin
Sorceror of Saradomin
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Joined: August 27th, 2003, 10:08 pm
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Of Man and Dragon
by Shadowdancer (2004)


Drain you of your sanity;
face the thing that should not be!
- Metallica, The Thing That Should Not Be


It seemed to be such an unlikely day for adventure.

Indeed; the skies above Asgarnia were a treacherous grey, the winds were gusting from erratic directions, and the air was dry and arid. Had I been of poorer vision, I might have thought myself in the south Kharid desertlands.

Nevertheless, I had risen at dawn an hour previously to make the journey to Varrock to sell my wares. You see, I am a craftsman, and I ply my trade as a maker of Dragonstone Amulets. True, I am not the only such craftsman in the land, but I am of rare enough caliber to be able to make a decent living off of my toils. The furnace keepers in Falador know me by name - my true name, that is - and my familiarity is such that people whom I have never heard of come from the land over to seek my services.

No, I seek glory not. If you think me to be arrogant and haughty, please forgive me, for my tale is one of humility.

Looking back over my shoulder, I saw the path behind me disappearing in a storm of windswept dust. To my left - which is north - the ridge towered some thirty five feet over me; the gigantic multi-cannons looming as ominous sentinels against the coming storm. The Dwarf engineers who built those two artifacts were never to be seen in the flesh; they existed as mere legend. To most, at least.

I head east, passing through the gateless fence that marks the Barbarian settlements. Pesky Peksa, the ever-enthusiastic "Helmet Merchant", is inside his hut; a large wooden board tied to his door with the word "CLOESD" scrawled on it in charcoal. And for good reason, I muse, looking up at the sky and glancing around the encampment - there is virtually nobody around; the doors to the Barbarian Hall are closed up as well and no light appears to be emanating from the windows. Of course, it is scarcely two hours past daybreak at this time, and even the party-hearty Barbarians sleep, albeit mostly during the day. Then again, one could mistake the morningtime for dusk; given the dual suns' lack of ability to penetrate this foul cloud cover. By Saradomin's cape, how I hate the rain.

One man, I see, is at the small outcropping of rocks here, off to the left of the path. The area is scattered with coal debris; a telltale sign of the type of ore that this particular vein of rocks yields. The man sees me.

"G'day to you, Shadowdancer" he calls out to me. Curses, how does everyone know my name?

"And to you, miner," I respond. He is dressed in simple clothing, his backpack at his side, bulging with coal no doubt. "You've picked a rather perilous day for mining, sir. Perhaps you ought to head elsewhere to mine, lest your load of ores become a sodden bulk of black ash?"

The man halts in mid-swing and turns to me. "Aye, perhaps ye are able to superheat my ores into bars for me at this very instance?" I can see the mocking smile on his face. Out of sheer impulse; I have the urge to pull my black throwing knives from under my cloak and pin his dimples to his skull. I manage to resist, however.

"Nay, I left my Nature Runes in my other sack this day. I am simply heading to Varrock, hopefully before the rain strikes."

"Then perhaps ye best shut yer mouth and let me be," the man's tone becomes impolite with these words. His pickaxe strikes the rock with a loud CLINK, as a small cloud of dust explodes from the rock.

The lightning bolt catches me off guard, even though it was cloud-to-cloud. I turn towards the east, and see the very distant city of Varrock briefly illuminated. The thunderclap follows a few seconds later, and sure enough I feel the hood of my cloak begin to get wet. Turning back to face the idiot miner, I see that he has disappeared, his pack gone as well.

Perhaps he has gone to seek refuge with the helmet merchant? No matter. I despise the rain, and continue my trek east.

Shivering, I come to the Asgarnian river. I can see fish jumping out of the water, as they always seem to do whenever it rains. The wooden bridge here is old, and every time I walk across it I get the impression that it might give way under my weight.

I step onto the wooden planks that form the bridge, and begin to walk across. Suddenly another lightning flash, and I feel myself blinded. I also feel my foot slip from under me, and my head strike the wood as I fall unceremoniously onto my back.

"Zaros be cursed!" I yell out. I feel the hilt of one of my throwing knives pressing into my kidney painfully, so I roll onto my side to relieve that pressure while my head smarts. I must have looked quite the fool, a man of my age being unable to cross a simple wooden bridge. My vision comes back to me as my eyes recover from the shock of being flash-blinded, and I see my pouch of amulets is on the deck with me, having spilt some of its cargo.

I quickly gather up the few amulets that spill out and reach into the pouch to count them. There ought to be eleven...two, three...eight, nine...ten. I count again.

Sure enough, I left Falador with eleven Dragonstone Amulets and I now have ten. And I didn't sell any, which means...

I look over the side of the bridge at the river below. I must have lost one over the side, I reason. I feel myself swelling up with anger. Such a benighted day, and it's barely begun! No, I reason, I have no-one to blame for my misfortunes but myself. I chose to travel this day; I will prevail.

Do I continue on to Varrock, or attempt to recover my lost amulet? If it were any other type - Sapphire, Opal, Emerald, Ruby, Topaz, or even Diamond - I would not bother; those are little more than cosmetic jewelry items. But Dragonstone Amulets were a prized commodity, particularly to those who were granted the title of Hero...

And plus, that's a good 100,000 coins of gold sitting in the river. I can't simply leave it there for some low-level fisherman to pull up in a week from now, can I? This last thought brings a smirk to my face, despite my shivering cold and wet condition.

I move down to the riverbank and drop my pack, pouch and cloak. I remove my tunic and pants and wade into the water - it's ridiculously warm - and tread water. It's deeper than I thought, and I stand six solid feet tall.

With a few deep breaths first, I draw in a breath of air and hold it and go under the water. A few feet down I feel the muddy riverbed. I am barely able to see anything at all, so I feel around with my hand...a few lures, some string - but no amulet attached - a coin, a boot...ah! Something round and metallic. I pick it up and hold it to my face. Yes, this is my lost amulet. Good.

I return to the surface. The rain is still persisting. I climb out of the river to my belongings and don my clothing and cloak and grab my gear. I replace the amulet into the pouch with the other ten and attempt to cross the bridge again.

This time I'll use the railing.

I manage to make it to Varrock a few hours later. The rain has abated, but only slightly. The guards on duty see me approaching and stop me at the gate.

"Halt!"

I halt. I am unable to prevent myself from being amused at their iron chain mail armor and bronze medium helmets. Like seriously, when is the King himself going to issue better gear for the so-called defenders of civilization?

"What brings you to Varrock on this dark and dreary afternoon, traveler?" The guard is miserable looking, and is asking his question out of rote rather than being actually interested in my business.

I reply curtly, "I have come to merchant my wares in the town square, and retain lodging for one week." I make certain to avoid eye contact.

"Where do you hail from?"

"Falador."

The guard looks me up and down. "Weapons?"

I nod, and remove my cloak to reveal my twin knives tucked into my pants. "I am armed only with these, sir."

"Runes?"

"None."

"Your name?"

"Shadowdancer." I sigh heavily, but the sound of this is masked by the rumbling skies overhead.

"Proceed. Enjoy your stay."

"Thank you."

I don't bother to put my cloak back on - I'm drenched to the bone - and head into the nearby storage bank. The guards there nod once at me and allow me to pass, and I am grateful for the brief respite from the downpour.

A banker behind the counter sees me enter. "Good day to you ma'am," he calls out. A few others in the bank look at me. I look back at them, then approach the banker. "Good day," I say in my quite-obviously masculine voice.

The man - whose gray hair is like my own, only cropped close to his head, has a look of mild shock, which is immediately replaced by an expression of sympathy: "My apologies, sir. Your hair-"

"I'd like to access my bank account, please." I am in no mood.

"Of course sir, right away. Your name please?"

"Shadowdancer."

The man casts the identification spell on me, and again I am blinded briefly. I blink involuntarily.

"Your identity has been confirmed. Do you wish to withdraw, deposit, or both?"

"Both please."

I exchange my wet clothing for dry, and put my weapons away, while withdrawing 200 coins. After concluding my business, I exit the bank - noting with a distant humor the sign that says "No Loitering or Magic!" - and turn east towards the town square, walking quickly before my clothes become wet again from the relentless rain.

I pass the staff shop, glancing inside of it, and enter the town square. It is nearly deserted, and the market stalls are closed, with only a half dozen or so guardsmen patrolling to make sure nobody of an unscrupulous nature attempts to steal from them. Varrock is a relatively crime free city, unlike Ardougne, which is plagued with pickpockets and all manner of rogues.

To the north of here is Varrock Castle, where the King himself rules over Asgarnia, Misthalin and the surrounding cities. I have had the distinct privilege of being granted access to the interior of the castle on more than a few occasions, as I served His Majesty personally on a quest to rid the land of an evil demon named Delrith...I miss those days.

East of here is the Museum of Varrock, which has on display many things of the Old Age, none the least of which is the Shield of Arrav. The curator is a grumpy old man who seems to have been there longer than the Barbarians have been settled.

And to the south, is the Inn where I am currently headed to. Across from here is Varrock Swords, a sword shop (no kidding) where you can get pretty near any type of sword in the land.

"Excuse me, sir?"

I pause, and look towards the direction of the voice. Is he STILL here?

A man in ragged brown clothes approaches me. "Shadow?"

"Hello Riley. I see that while this foul weather discourages the heart of even the bravest demonslayer, you are persistent in making a living off of the pity of other fools."

"Me? Prey off the pity of others?" the man puts his hand over his chest in mock indignation. "...That's not such a bad idea, Shadow." He puts his finger to the corner of his mouth and pretends to ponder. "Do you have a few coins for the poor?"

I like Riley, I really do. "Sure thing. Just show me where the poor are and I'd be happy to help." A small smile makes it across my face.

"You're a heartless dredge, Shadowdancer. I'm here shivering in the rain and you won't help me with a few coins?"

"Riley, every time I come to Varrock you are always begging off people passing by. Surely you could save some of those coins that you've panhandled and run into the sword shop and get a dagger and perhaps make yourself, oh I don't know, useful to others? I hear there's a Goblin infestation in Lumbridge..."

"You see, Shadow, I'm a pacifist and I don't like all that icky blood-and-guts stuff."

"Well, why not find a mage to become an apprentice to?"

"Magic gives me a migraine."

"Pick up a hammer and become a smith."

"I can't stand that loud clanging!" He really did know how to whine like a 5 year old.

"I hear Catherby pays well for loads of fish."

"I'd fall in and drown."

"Really, Riley, you make up so many excuses to not do anything with yourself. You disgust me."

"Money for the poor, sir?"

Sigh. I reach in, finger 5 coins and drop them into his upturned hand. "Fine, you win. I've already had my bath for the day twice, mind if I go in and get myself some lodging?"

Riley looks at the five coins and pretends to count them with his other finger. "Wow, I do believe I will be able to eat for a whole month off this! You're the best."

"Goodbye, Riley," I turn and enter the Blue Moon Inn.

It was little surprise that the place was packed, even at mid-afternoon. The tables were packed, and the barstools all were seated. I made my way to the barkeep and managed to get his attention long enough to secure a small room with a reasonably clean bed. I made my way past the announcements board and up the steps to the rooms above. I opened the door and stowed my gear away, making sure to place my amulets in a safe place - under the bed, tucked into the boards. Nobody would find them unless they knew to look there. I closed and locked the door, then pulled my lockpick from my boot and attempted to pick the lock. I gave up after ten failed attempts, confident that the lock would hold against any typical thug looking to gain unauthorized entry.

I came back downstairs, my long hair tied back so as to look a bit more dignified and approached the barkeep again, asking for a small piece of parchment and a quill. I paid him three coins and penned:

DRAGONSTONE AMULETS FOR SALE OR TRADE
100,000 COINS OF GOLD OR EQ.
ROOM 7, "SHADOWDANCER"
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE
**NO CREDIT**

I then tacked my advert to the corkboard, and paused to skim through the others. Most were mundane, such as looking for trout fishermen, Goblin slaying, escort services - both literal and personal - and so forth.

One, however, caught my eye:

BRAVE ADVENTURER SOUGHT FOR HIGH-RISK JOURNEY
MUST BE PROFICIENT IN MAGIC, CLOSE TO SARADOMIN
AND AN ABLE COMBATANT
EXTENSIVE HERBLORE KNOWLEDGE AN ASSET
COWARDS NEED NOT RESPOND
FIND "CAPONE SABRE" FOR MORE DETAILS
IF YOU DARE

I blinked, and looked over my shoulder. Most of the men in here were busy bantering about the weather and such, but I saw one man staring at me, from across the room. No, I didn't see him...I felt him...

There. In the far booth in the southeast corner, by the range. He's looking at me. Perhaps this is his advert?

Adventure...I've had enough adventure for one day. Zamorak-induced weather, a long trek, a rude coal miner, falling and hitting my head, going for a swim to get my amulet back...I shake myself. Sure, I've had plenty of adventures myself, having defeated all sorts of undead, demons, even Elvarg the Mighty Dragon fell before me, so long ago.

I walk away from the corkboard, and feel myself drawn to the figure in the far booth.

"...Saradomin is nothing, I tell you! Zamorak will save us, he will save us all, just as his son Iban rescued us so long ago!..."

"...I tell you, the Ogre was as big as the mountain is tall! And I felled it with me bronze hatchet, I did! Nary a scratch on me!..."

"...That's ridiculous. I won't pay 200 million coins for a Runite Ore, you ripoff artist!..."

I get to the table, and sit down opposite the man. He watches me approach and seat myself, his face a blank expression, except for perhaps a hint of amusement.

He is dressed in dark clothing, perhaps ten years younger than myself. He has a drink of clear liquid that I assume is water in a mug in front of himself, but he appears to not have touched it for quite some time.

I open my mouth but he speaks first.

"Shadowdancer," he says slowly. My eyes open wide, but I recover quickly.

"You know me?" I ask cautiously. For me to be cautious of a stranger is rare; I am pretty confident most of the time.

"No. I know of you, but not you personally. You're something of a minor legend around the land."

"Is that so?" I meet his gaze levelly.

"Yes. Although you wouldn't know that, because you've become too self-absorbed these days. You've become obsessed with crafting those amulets of yours. Doric is quite displeased, you know. He talks of giving up the amulet trade altogether and taking up Fletching."

I offer no response but continue to stare at him. I feel the hairs on my legs shrinking backwards in dismay. Who was this guy?

He finally breaks the gaze, as though coming to from a trance and seems to suddenly realize he has a mug of water - or whatever fluid it is - in front of him, and picks it up and drinks from it.

Finally I speak. "How do you know of me?"

The man gulps greedily from his mug, and puts it down empty. "I've watched you. Tracked you. Asked about you. Danced in your shadow, if you will."

"You mock me?"

"Absolutely not. I simply find that an amusing analogy."

I allow my frustration to show. "So who are you who follows me?"

"Your partner, Shadow."

"My wha?" I am astonished at his audacity. Surely he's drunk.

"I am your partner. Your shadow, if you will pardon this analogy as well. You have read my advert," he nods towards the corkboard, "have you not?"

"Yes, and it is quite the interesting article. I am here, however, to simply sell a few amulets in the town square, then I'm leaving."

"To return to Falador and craft some more?"

I so want to disembowel him at this point. "Yes."

"How boring."

I slam my hand down hard on the table, causing the mug to tip over on its side. I stand up. "How DARE you? I don't know who you are, but I would advise you steer clear of me, lest you find yourself on the wrong end of my Dragon Axe!"

The smug look on his face has disappeared. He is still looking at me.

"Where do you think your Dragon Axe came from?" He asks me in a still voice.

I stare. What was he talking about?

"What...are you talking about?" I ask him.

The man slowly stands up, picking up his mug. "I ask you again. Where do you think your Dragon Axe came from, Shadowdancer? Perhaps someone found a rock with Dragon Ore in it, and decided to mine it, and smelted a few bars, and forged it?"

"Of course not, I purchased it from Helemos."

"Ah. And where did Helemos get it from? It had to come from somewhere. Sit back down, and listen to what I have to say. Give me but 5 minutes of your time, and if you still think me to be mad then I will bother you never again. You can return to your retired lifestyle of selling amulets. Deal?"

Slowly, very slowly, I sit back down at the table. Inwardly, I vow to kill this man if he proves to be yet another of the mass of con artists that plague the cities of Asgarnia.

He breathes very heavily, then begins. "My name is Capone Sabre. Long ago I was a member of the Sabre clan, as my name implies. Since that dark age has passed, I have gone into solitary work. Adventuring, demon slaying, the usual bit. But then, I got bored. I ventured into that no-man's-land that is the Wilderness. And I found something. Something really, truly spectacular. I nearly paid for it with my life, but I lived to escape and sit here to tell you about it today."

The Wilderness. Zamorak's playground, an area of perpetual mist where no man dares wander for long, lest he fall prey to madness. Or other people's madness, for that matter. I say nothing, but nod for him to go on.

"What if I told you that I found the source of all Dragon metal? THE source?"

"I might consider you mad, and carry out my vow I made to myself not a moment ago."

Capone smiled wanly. "I am not insane, nor am I a liar. But I need someone to go with me, someone I can trust."

"Go? Go where? Into the Wilderness to this...source?"

"Yes. Think of it, being able to make anything out of Dragon - why, I bet you would have a lifetime supply of Dragonstones even!" He was clearly beginning to get excited, and I found myself enticed by what he was saying...IF any of it were true.

I thought for a long moment, my fingers steepled together. The last time I was in the Wilderness, I too barely escaped with my life. That was long ago, however, and I had grown more powerful since that time.

"Do you even know where this source is?" I asked.

Capone reached into a pocket and pulled out a piece of gray cloth. He unfolded it, and showed me it. It was a map, which had what appeared to be some sort of river drawn on it, and some kind of sealed-off area with a big black "X" in the middle of it.

"I have to say that I do not recognize this area. Care to elaborate?"

Turning the cloth-map back so he could read it, he explained to me that the river was in fact a river of lava, and that the area had a mystical gate guarding it. "Demons bar the way to the underground cavern. You do have Silverlight in your possession after all these months and years, do you not?"

I paused before responding. "Yes." I kept my eyes on the map.

"Excellent. We also will need potions. Anti-poison ones, to be exact."

I looked up at him. "Oh?"

"Poison-bearing spiders also guard the area, Shadowdancer. You do have extensive Herblore knowledge, do you not?"

"What else do we need?"

"Armor, weaponry, lamps, portable tents in case we need to camp out. Magic runes, perhaps. And your wits of course." Capone looked up. "So are you game?"

"Very well, I will accept this...adventure. When were you planning on heading out?"

"Sundown tonight."

"The rain..."

"...has stopped. Meet me down here at sundown, Shadowdancer, with everything we'll need. Rest assured I will be similarly equipped."

"Very well. It will be just you and I on this expedition?"

"Yes. I trust you to keep this to yourself."

"Of course."

And so, I was committed. My amulet sales would have to wait. I returned to my room and prayed to Saradomin that I was doing the right thing and not committing myself to madness. Would this Capone Sabre turn his blade on me, once we were in the Wilderness? That place was a cursed land, touched by Zamorak himself. I looked out the window upon Varrock, to the north, where the Wilderness waited. The suns were setting now, and the rain had passed. Children could be seen playing in the puddles, people were milling about, the guards were breaking up a streetfight that had broken out.

I felt a sense of sadness overtake me. I had never settled down to find true love, or become "normal". I had lived as some kind of legend supposedly, and then settled into the crafting trade.

Closing my eyes, I smiled to myself as I imagined Doric hammering on his anvils, cursing my name.

I opened them, and saw that the suns had set. It was time. I gathered up my pack, and headed down the stairs.

Capone Sabre was there, removing his advert from the corkboard. He greeted me with a strange sort of grin, and said to me, "Ready?"

"We need to stop at the storage bank to retrieve my armor and weaponry," I replied.

"As do I. Lead on."

We walked to the bank, and for the third time that day my eyes were exposed to an unnatural flash as the Banker cast the arcane ID spell on me and allowed me to access the extra-dimensional space that was my bank account. I withdrew my Runite gear: Kite Shield, Leggings, Plate Mail, Large face helmet, my own personal Dragonstone Amulet, the Cape of Legends and finally my Dragon Axe. I also grabbed four vials of poison antidote, a lamp, some flasks of oil and a bedroll. And, as an extra caution, I also retrieved a Law Rune and five Air Runes, just in case...

Our gear made us look like we were preparing for a camping trip, which in truth was a way of looking at it. However, we would be soon in Zamorak's land, and I had braced my mind the best I could for this event.

From here, we trekked east through the square, then turned north past the museum, the Castle to our left, and finally to the edge of civilization itself; the Wilderness.

Signs were posted everywhere telling us to turn back; do not attempt to hunt in here, madness lay ahead and so forth. Several of these signs had been defaced with charcoal and some were even burnt. A skull lay half buried near one.

After igniting the lamp, I looked at Capone, and we donned our armor and got our axes ready. "Since you're the one with the map, I suggest you lead the way.

"Very well. Keep a sharp eye out. I estimate that we are six hours' walk from our destination. Let's go."

We walked forth, through different forests and jungle, dips and valleys. Evidence of death lay strewn about us, as though no life could possibly exist for long here. No crickets, no sound of birds, just the sound of branches snapping under our Rune leggings from time to time, and the creaking of the lamp in my gauntleted hand. Capone would hold up his hand from time to time, as though he had seen or heard something, then motion to follow.

About two hours after entering this vile place, we found a clearing to set up a temporary camp. We removed our helmets and he consulted his cloth-map by the light cast by our lamp. He seemed to find that we were off course by a bit, seeing as how we passed a ridge to the southwest that he didn't recall seeing before.

Meanwhile, I sensed eyes on us. I looked up and into the darkness. There, for just a second, I saw a pair of eyes looking at me. I tapped Capone on the shoulder of his plate mail and pointed.

"We are not alone," I spoke in a low voice, gripping my axe. I shifted from foot to foot, and Capone sensed it too, for he grabbed his own Rune Battleaxe and we both picked up our Kite Shields and stood back-to-back.

"Chaos Dwarves," he murmured. "We've entered a very bad area, Shadow."

I peer into the woods. I see movement, then I hear something running at me. My eyes widen in disbelief. A 4' tall bearded guy with a big 2-handed axe is bearing down on me, wearing some kind of miniature chain mail. I actually laugh out loud and put my foot up and connect with the dwarf's chest. He falls onto his back with a kind of snarl, and the force knocks me backwards a half step.

"Hey Capone, check this o--", I look over my shoulder, and there's 3 Chaos Dwarves on top of Capone Sable, who is on his back holding his Kite Shield over his head while they try to murder him.

I bury my axe into the back of one of the Dwarves, while kicking another off of him. The third one is still trying to hack Capone to pieces, and I give him a nice sideways thrust with my axe, ending its life. The next thing I know, I have a Chaos Dwarf on my back - probably the one who charged at me a moment ago.

Capone struggles to his feet and pulls him off me and decapitates the poor fool with his Rune Battleaxe.
I stop and look around for a moment, and seeing that we are not in instant danger, I recommend that we move on.

"We need to continue north by northwest from this point I believe," is Capone's response, as we replace our Rune Large helmets onto our heads and move away from the recently-deceased Chaos Dwarves.

As time went on, I noticed a distinct change in humidity. We were approaching the lava river, and the heat was beginning to get to me. I took off my helmet and put it in my pack, and Capone did the same. Eventually we came to within visual range of the gated area, and we took up positions behind a grove of petrified trees. We could make out in the distance big, red moving shapes, and our ears were assailed with the very disconcerting snarls and growls that they made.

"Well, Demonslayer," Capone said to me, "you did remember to bring the good sword Silverlight, did you not?"

"Yes. Looks like four demons. Lessers, I think."

"They're all big and ugly to me."

"Uh huh."

"Got a plan?"

"Yep. We kill them and go down that ladder."

Capone squints. Aha, so there is a ladder. How convenient.

I paused for a moment. "I'll fling open the gate, then strike each one of them once with Silverlight, weakening them. I expect you to be on my heels, taking down the first one I strike. Got it?"

Capone nodded, looking at the demons. "Pray to Saradomin for favor, I would say."

Withdrawing Silverlight, I got up from my crouching position. I uttered a prayer to Saradomin for divine intervention, then rushed headlong to the gate. Amazingly, it flung itself open before I touched it, but I refused to allow myself to be startled by this, and instead raised Silverlight into position to slash the first demon across the leg. I called out "Carlem Aber Camerinthum Purchai Gabindo", then struck the foul beast. It let out a loud hiss, and I heard it say to me:

"Shadowdancer, Zamorak longs for your soul!" It clawed at me, but my agility allowed me to evade long enough to strike a 2nd demon with Silverlight before being forced to engage it in melee combat.

Capone was true to his word, already slashing at the first Demon who had spoken to me. The gate, I could see, had closed itself shut. Somehow, this failed to shock me.

I felt my armor bend as the Demon's claw scraped across it. Silverlight struck home again and again, until finally it screamed and collapsed into a pile of ash, as did all demons who were stripped of their carnal form on this plane.

Capone faired about as well as I did, dispatching his foe about the same time. Two down, two to go.

I won't bore ye with the remaining details; as no doubt you estimated that we survived this encounter. After the demons were destroyed, we paused to tend our minor wounds, and Capone consulted the cloth map again (after re-lighting the lamp that we left outside the gate). He confirmed that we would be facing poisonous spiders, and so I gave him two of my four poison antidote vials. We each drank from one, then climbed down the ladder.

Now we were in some stone corridor. It extended south for some distance. As for the spiders, they were easy enough to see - their eyes glowed red, all eight of them. We decided that the poison antidote would not last long and, therefore, dispatched them all with fervor.

At the end of the corridor was a simple lever. An odd place for such a mechanism, I noted. Remembering the booby-trapped lever in the Temple of Ikov, I cautioned against touching it.

"Perhaps this lever opens a door to the...source..." I reasoned aloud.

Capone studied it, and compared his map yet once more. He frowned, flipped his map upside down, as though some extra information he failed to notice previously might appear there, then folded it and tucked it away.

"Now what?" I asked. I was beginning to get a little creeped out by all this. Our lamp was nearly out of oil.

"I will pull the lever and see if it opens the way for us to proceed further." He looked at me. "Agreed?"

"Be my guest." I watched him as he reached for the lever, paused, then touched it, and promptly vanished in a flash of blue expanding, yet rapidly dissipating, light.

My first reaction was that he had teleported back to Varrock, but then I realized that it would have been silly to do so. Plus, he didn't utter any words to release the magic that would have been stored in Runestones...so what just happened?

I waited. And waited. All alone. I was very tempted to cast my own Camelot Teleport spell and be done with it. I could catch the next caravan back to Varrock and resume my Dragonstone Amulet merchanting within a week, I reasoned. Tired, I sat down and leaned against the stone wall...my thoughts drifted, my head lolled to the side, and the next thing I knew...

...I snapped awake. Where was I? Dark, completely dark...and I was in armor...wait...Capone...the Dragon-source...I shook myself and realized I had fallen asleep. I got to my feet and kicked over my lamp that had extinguished itself.

"Capone?" I called out. Nothing. No sound at all. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could make out the corpses of the Spiders we had slain earlier and the shattered lamp I had accidentally knocked over. Suddenly, I became aware of something. If my hair had been short and not long, it would have been standing on end. I turned around slowly and saw the lever, glowing a soft blue hue in the darkness. I felt a very ominous sense of dread, that I shouldn't have come here, that I was not welcome, I had no business being in some underground cavern guarded by Lesser Demons and Poison Spiders in the Wilderness. Capone Sabre had been a demon himself, come to trick me and leave me here to die all alone.

I should just teleport out of here.

No, I should grab that lever and see if he was telling the truth.

I reached for the lever suddenly, terrified, feeling as though I was losing my mind. As my hand got closer, I felt myself trembling, I could hear voices in my head screaming at me not to touch it, then another demonic voice calmly telling me to embrace Zamorak, that his soul wants me...Doric...Doric wants my head on his anvil...to smash into a million pieces.

I touched the lever and felt my body implode, then explode, then I was standing somewhere else. It was dark here as well. I could hear some type of furnace roaring, except it was in pulses, like a heartbeat. I took a few steps forward - Saradomin only knows which way north lay - and then, torches all along the wall lit themselves simultaneously.

The first thing I saw when the room lit up from the ghostly torches was the bones of dead adventurers. Skeletons, dressed in Runite. Some still clenching their two-handed swords, others their axes and shields. Bones everywhere, as far as I could see. And coins, and gems, and jewels, and shattered glass - vials, they looked like - millions upon millions of coins everywhere. Some of the skeletons were charred black.

I remember kneeling down to examine one of the fallen warriors near me. At first I thought his - or her - shield was an ordinary square, made of bronze, but I noticed the symbol on it. The symbol of Lumbridge. When did I see a shield like this last?

I got up and looked around, and uttered, "May you all find peace in Saradomin's mercy." This cavern was huge. Where did all this wealth come from? And why were there so many dead warriors here? I walked over a mound of coins - slid, more like - and found a pile of uncut Dragonstones laying there. Capone Sabre was not lying - I had a theoretical lifetime supply of Dragonstone Amulets at my feet.

"Capone Sabre?" I called out. I suddenly got the urge that he could well be dead, if he teleported here. I looked around at some of the corpses, hoping to perhaps identify him. Or rather, hoping to NOT identify him. Given the fact that they were just literally bones, that didn't seem likely.

Suddenly, I froze. I dropped my Kite Shield and Axe and didn't move. Everything snapped into place all of a sudden, and I felt myself on the verge of sheer terror.

The Lumbridge Emblem on that shield was identical to the Anti-DragonFire Shield that Duke Horacio of Lumbridge had given me, back when I quested to defeat Elvarg.
The charred bones.
The source of all Dragon...
Just what exactly sort of beast hoards treasure like this?

"A DRAGON."

It wasn't a voice, but rather, a sonic shockwave. I felt the heat against my back, and turned around slowly. There, some two hundred feet distant, was this four-legged dragon staring at me. A great, big, jet-black dragon with large scales covering it head to toe. Its mouth was open just enough for me to see its huge white fangs, and when it exhaled I could see the orange flames coming out of its snout.

So much for a furnace.

It advanced on me. When it walked, it displaced coins, gems, bones, Runite armor every which way as its legs came down. I made absolutely no attempt to recover my Kite Shield or Axe, or to even breathe of my own free will.

"I KNOW EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE, SHADOWDANCER. YOU KILLED MY GRANDSON, AND FOR WHAT REASON EXCEPT SO YOU CAN WEAR YOUR PLATE MAIL ARMOR. I HOPE YOU ARE PROUD OF YOURSELF, FOR EVEN NOW YOU DEFIANTLY WEAR IT IN MY PRESENCE AFTER INVADING MY HOME. AND NOW, I HAVE CLAIMED FOR MYSELF THE WILDERNESS, WAITING FOR THE DAY YOU COME TO FULFILL YOUR OWN GREEDY DESIRES. AND LO, YOU ARE HERE. I SHALL RELISH YOUR SCREAMS, JUST AS I HAVE RELISHED THE SCREAMS OF THOSE WHO HAVE COME BEFORE YOU."

It stopped some thirty feet away, staring down at me. I could feel its breath against me, and I wished I could take off my Rune Full Helmet so I could wipe the sweat from my brow.

Just then, it raised its forward foot and kicked at me. I tried to dodge, but I was too fascinated by this beast. I remember hearing my Plate Mail buckle and crunch under the impact, and I felt myself sailing in the air and landing on top of the skeleton of the Anti-DragonFire Shield bearer. How bloody ironic.

I heard a loud roaring sound, and felt myself unable to breathe. I grabbed the shield and held it in front of me, and I felt the flames beating against it. Even so, my arm became unbearably hot and I felt my armor was going to melt. The torrent of flames stopped and the shield had holes burnt into it and was on fire. I tossed it aside and struggled to my feet. I ran, dove, slid, did anything I could to get away from this beast.

I had to teleport out of here, but would I have time to get the Runestones out? Did I even still HAVE them?

It advances on me, laying on the pile of coins, I can hear it laughing through its snout. Its eyes glowing bright yellow. It is on top of me now, and I see the flames come at me again.



That, friend, is the last I remember. They tell me I appeared outside of Camelot Castle, and flung myself into the nearby fountain where I lost consciousness. And now I am here, recovering under the care of Doctor Orbon here in Ardougne.

I must rest now.

-Shadowdancer, level 94.

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 Post subject: Re: Of Man and Dragon, by Shadowdancer
PostPosted: December 20th, 2014, 7:51 pm 
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Joined: May 13th, 2004, 6:41 pm
Posts: 18,853
Location: The Tower of Mist
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Donor: Wizard (2013)
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That was a really good read! It makes me wish I had known this guy...but it seems his last visit to RuneVillage was a few months before my first visit. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Of Man and Dragon, by Shadowdancer
PostPosted: February 25th, 2015, 2:38 am 
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Joined: August 12th, 2012, 1:07 pm
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Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
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I wrote this 11 years ago. I find it amazing that Runevillage still hosts it after all this time.

I remember composing this story on a Sunday in about 3 hours, entirely on a whim based on an actual in-game attempt to defeat the KBD with - you guessed it - a player named Capone Sabre.

Looking back, there's a few minor inconsistencies and a couple places where I could have fleshed details out a bit more.

We now know that Elvarg is female, not male (the "GRANDSON" reference), although it's not conclusive if she is related to the KBD.

100K for 11 dragonstones? That's actually scarily accurate to current GE prices, give or take 2K each.


And of course, if I had managed to "panic teleport" to Camelot how the hell did I end up in Ardougne? Oops.

The Varrock beggar, "Riley", and the rude coal miner in Barbarian Village (later called "Gunnarsground") were composites of an in-game player who, at the time, had encountered me and started to be abusive because I was "consorting" with his "girlfriend". His actual name was, apparently, "Riley".


Oh, and I really am Shadowdancer. Can't prove it, but then again I don't really need to.


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