Game Of Throne
Good news everyone!
I've met my quota for professional blog posts about working and leadership and management and being more effective and all of that other boring stuff.
It's time to let my hair down.
But I don't actually have any hair, so instead I'll have to settle for writing another short story inspired by events in the D&D campaign that I run.
So, get ready to bone up on the history of a particularly uncomfortable seat.
If you're planning on playing through the Dungeon of the Mad Mage and want to go in blind, this blog post spoils some stuff on the first level.
You have been warned.
Coiled aggression. Venomous intent. Infinite patience.
The one who draped herself over me, all grace and lies, is gone. There will be no more aspirants tested by my venom. No more lifeless corpses being lifted from my delicate embrace. No more staggering, vomiting shapes wondering if this is to be their last gurgling breath.
If I could feel I would be disappointed.
I have no need for emotion though. My purpose is clear; to strike at those who dare to occupy me and send them personally to my makers realm. To accelerate the natural order of things. The inevitable end, the final destination of all life.
The feathered one knew this intimately.
There was a kindred soul wrapped about him, enrobed in flesh and scales to my dust and ossein. It made no difference, I struck, as I always do when asked and he weakened. She offered him life, but he refused, so she gave him death instead.
It wouldn't have mattered. He was already gone.
Many have I ushered through the final gate. Some immediately, but all eventually. The gift that I share ensures that.
Only one has escaped unscathed.
The dead thing.
She wanted him tested like all the other newcomers, not knowing what he was.
He knew what I was though. Knew my purpose and could glimpse my beginnings, reeking as I was of the realm that he had worked so hard to avoid.
As he casually sat on my pallid frame, I knew him in turn. Impervious, unchanging. Already dead. My fangs barely scratched him, though he acted as if they bit deep and surged toxin into his empty veins. As if there was room in there for anything but darkness.
He earned her respect that day, simply for surviving where many others had fallen. A skilful gambit, though nowhere near as skilled as the mad one.
The crazed patron of this place. The one who brought me here.
When I first saw him, he was emerging from a discordant tear in space and time, chittering wildly to himself, a thousand voices vying for dominance. As he strode through the room in which I had been relegated, his many eyed robe fluttered in direct opposition to his movements, seemingly at odds with reality.
When he saw me in turn, he stopped, a brief moment of clarity in his deranged eyes. Something of my shape appealed to him, the long snaking lines of my form pleasing to his chaotic mind.
I knew he felt the urge to sit, but he didn't. He knew better. Insane though he was, he was no fool.
Instead he took me, hefting my bulk effortlessly through the tear from which he came and into a lightless chamber beyond.
He placed me carefully on the blackened ground and stood, hands moving wildly as everything shifted around us. The floor fell away into gleaming marble steps, raising me into a position of prominence. Walls emerged from the darkness, torches guttering into existence from nowhere. Finally, the ceiling knit itself together in elegant swooping curves of stone, a great crystal sphere hanging from a spiked chain at its centre.
Seemingly satisfied with his work, he gave me a gentle, almost loving pat and then collapsed into an eddy of dust, borne away on a wind that was not there.
I saw him once more after that, a winged creature feebly struggling against bonds of light hovering behind him. He stuffed it unceremoniously inside the crystal sphere and left again without a second look. The beast starved to death in there and the sphere fell soon after, shattering on the ground.
As the last shreds of life fled its emaciated form I reminisced of my creation.
I remembered an impossibly tall figure cloaked in velvet darkness stooping over me. His cracked and broken skin belonging to something on the very precipice of death itself.
I remembered his skilful hands selecting bones from the boundless stacks of his workshop and using them to piece me together. To construct a throne.
I felt his disgust as he stood and surveyed the pale imitation he had wrought.
But it doesn't matter. None of it matters. I am eternal.
Coiled aggression. Venomous intent. Infinite patience.
And I wait.
Damn, I almost made it through this entire post without making that pun. I tried so hard.
Well, I tried a little bit.
Traps can be a fun element in D&D, though it can be hard to make them work from a storytelling point of view. Considering that this trap managed to straight up kill a player character, I figured it deserved a little bit more flavour than normal.
The ability to take something simple and flesh it out is one of the best parts about running D&D sessions. A few events here, a quick writing prompt there and all of a sudden you have a slightly sentient, definitely malevolent throne made of bones that is just waiting for its next victim.
I vastly prefer iterating to creating something from a blank canvas. Frankly I find black canvasses and the infinite possibility that the represent terrifying.
I should probably work on that.