Here are a few quick excerpts from Tired of Death – Dungeon. Just to get a feel for the thing!
“The imp’s stopped moving.” Cuthbert’s voice came from just ahead of Dreth.
“Give the rope a tug,” said Dreth.
There was a distant yell. “Still alive then. Go on. Percy, lead the way.”
“Don’t see why it has to be me up front all the time,” grumbled Percy. “Let’s send the kid first.”
“Hey! That’s my son you’re talking about!”
“It’s not your real son. You just put him together from spare parts. He has one of my old hands even. You never did it with anyone.”
“Ha! Shows how much you know,” Cuthbert’s voice oozed smugness as they felt their way along a narrow passage.
“Did so! Remember Emmy?”
“Her??? Didn’t that ranger bash her skull in?”
“Yes, thank you for reminding me about that. Anyway, we did ‘the dance’ in the lower tomb.”
“Are they talking about what I think they’re talking about?” asked Redthorne of Dreth.
“Who knows?” said Dreth. “However, I don’t recommend trying to find out.”
“The social life of zombies seems to be more complex than I realized,” mulled the wizard. “Not that I’d thought about the subject much. At all in fact.”
Percy and Cuthbert were still talking, their voices echoing through the dark corridor.
“That bitch! She told me she was frigid!”
“What can I say, some zombies…” Cuthbert was cut off from a voice ahead.
“Finally you get here.”
“Is that you Ichabod?” asked Percy, bumping into Cuthbert, who had stopped abruptly.
“No, I’m the tooth fairy with a back-payment.”
“What are you waiting for imp?” Dreth asked.
“Do they give back payment?”
“I banged my head on something on the wall. I thought I would wait until you kind gentlemen came along to investigate, as my hands are currently tied behind my back for some reason.”
The beholder came closer carefully, hovering a short distance from them, over the canyon. His main eye glowed a dull white. “Zombies!” he said. “Long time since I saw any of you lot here. What do you want?”
“We’re heading towards the center of the dungeon,” replied Cuthbert helpfully, earning a Look from Dreth.
“Really? How exciting!” The beholder flew closer. “I always wanted to know what was in the Middle.” He waved some of his eyestalks. “Names’ Robert,” he said. “Bob for short.”
Dreth introduced himself and the others. “This mage is with us.” He pointing to the wizard, who was crouching behind a rock.
“Well, not sure about an adventurer, but if you vouch for him…” Bob was cut off from above.
“Robert! What are you doing there? Are you speaking to someone? If it’s that floozy from down the way you are going to be in trouble…” The voice was high pitched and grating.
Bob sighed. “The Ball and Chain,” he explained as another beholder, slightly smaller, came into view.
“Well, the ball anyway,” whispered Cuthbert to Percy, nudging the other zombie and winking. Percy sniggered.
“Who’s this? What are you doing speaking to intruders?” The second beholder floated next to Robert, waggling her eyestalks angrily.
“They aren’t intruders. They’re guardians, same as us!” protested Bob, rolling his major eye at Dreth.
“Guardians they maybe, but not like us, oh no! We do our job Robert Beholder! You may not care, but I don’t want one of those letters thank you very much.” She floated down a little. “Remember what happened when that giant slug refused to slime? Warning letter one day, shriveled piece of skin in a pile of salt the next. Now, you use your ray on these creatures or there will be no you-know-what for you tonight.”
She bobbed next to Bob, crossed metaphysical arms and tapped a metaphysical foot.
Her husband heaved a deep sigh. “But honey…”
“Don’t you honey me! You do what I say! Now, is it going to be little piles of intruder dust, or are you going to be sleeping in the hatching chamber on your own again?”
“Careful now,” said Gerald. “Follow me and be quiet. Walk where I walk.”
“What is it?” asked Dreth.
“Scorpions. Big ones. Giant even. If you’re quiet, and you follow me exactly, we’ll be alright.”
“I don’t see any scorpions,” said Percy.
“Go on then. You walk over there a bit. We’ll wait here.”
Percy looked at the goblin, then at the black sand. “Er. Maybe not. After you.”
“Right then. Remember, follow my path exactly. And be quiet!” Gerald walked off; following a winding path only he seemed to be able to see.
Dreth followed, with M, Sprat, who was playing with his tube, and then the zombies escorting Redthorne and the baby bringing up the rear.
The goblin moved steadily, and Dreth wondered if he was playing some kind of joke. Still, he had been okay so far. Better safe than sorry.
“Half way,” mouthed Gerald after a few more minutes.
Dreth nodded and kept walking.
They almost made it.
Sprat, picking at his tube, suddenly saw a dark spot. He touched it. The end of the tube exploded, throwing the small zombie onto his rump.
The others stopped and watched as a bright light sailed slowly through the air like some sort of errant firework. It swung about and Dreth waved at it as it circled his head. The light dodged easily, and moved onto M before stopping suddenly, like a dog scenting a bone. It hung still for a second before heading straight for the Wizard, who moved too slowly. He put his hand out and started to speak, but the light exploded.
In its place, hovering in the air next to Redthorne, was a figure about as big as Dreth’s hand, garbed all in red with a pointed beard and long forked tail, waving a tiny pitchfork.
“Aha!” it said, and stuck the minute weapon into the baby.
The baby did what all babies do. It howled.
“Oh, shit! That’s torn it!” said Gerald. “Run!” He followed his own advice.
There was a shifting in the sand around them, and large pincers began to emerge.
“Scorpions!” shouted Cuthbert, “Giant scorpions!” He shambled forward at top speed.
They ran, Redthorne trying to hush the baby, the small red figure hovering over him all the while, cackling.
Gerald waved madly. “Over here! They won’t follow here!” He climbed onto an area of rocky ground.
Everyone headed for him, but Percy was too slow. A monstrous claw reached out and grabbed him, pulling him back.
“Help! Help! I’m caught!” he cried as the scorpion dragged him backwards. A pincer closed, snipping his left leg off. “My leg! My good leg! EEEEeeeehh!” The zombie screamed as he was flipped onto his back and caught sight of the beast’s giant sting flying down towards him.
There was a blur in the air, and the tail erupted in green goo. Another movement and the claw met with a similar fate. “Come on!” said Dreth, Darkblood in hand.
He grabbed the zombie by his remaining leg and pulled him after him, swinging the blade at another of the creatures.
“My leg! You have to get my leg!” cried Percy.
“We’ll get you another leg! I have one in my bag,” said Dreth, dodging a stinger and lashing out with the sword.
“But that was a good one! I got it from a barbarian,” Percy lamented his loss loudly as Dreth darted around the giant creatures, dragging the zombie behind.
“Shut up!” Dreth, moving with speed, managed to dodge, evade and hack his way back to the rocky ground, where the others were waiting. The scorpions retreated reluctantly as he did so, returning to feed upon their dead and wounded. One of them took the leg, to the renewed complaints of Percy.
“That’s alright, no need to thank me,” said Dreth, wiping gunk of Darkblood.