The screams, the madness lingers at the fringes of my mind. I may have broken free, but I do not know for how long. Those monsters have corrupted my entire force; each of my soldiers overtaken by the chaos. I cannot blame them. When it invades your mind it is as if every possible emotion pours through you at once at a level more extreme than ever felt before.
It started nights ago. One soldier raged against everyone he saw. It took several of us to restrain him and lock him away. Our healer had no diagnosis so we watched, waited for it to pass. But then there was another, followed by dozens. The invisible enemy spread through our ranks with efficiency and ease. Those affected seemed to know one another. They fought together against the rest. I was the last to fall; a simultaneous freedom from the beatings of my brethren and enslavement to my burning, chaotic mind.
I do not know how I broke free from their grasp - although just barely - or even how long it has been. It’s as if they claw at the edges of my soul, trying to pull themselves back in. There is nothing I can do for my troops; every ounce of my energy is being used to resist.
I should escape to the surface, but they flood the plains. There is no way I could fight through that horde in my current state. More so, I do not think it wise to put others at risk. It would be tough to live with the shame and failure of hurting an innocent being if the corruption regains its hold on me.
So I stay. I stay and listen to the shouts of madness beyond my doors. I hold out, hoping my soldiers will break free, allowing us to take the fight back to the evil Rynthid plague that pours into this world. That faint and ignorant hope may be all that keeps the singularity out of my mind. But they can sense I don’t believe it myself and it only makes them push harder into my consciousness.
The troubles with Linvak seem like such a distant memory, the reasons for our fights unclear. It all seems so foolish now to not have our brothers by our side. Yet at the time it seemed so important; our virtue and principles so strong and our convictions so true that the only right answer was to go out on our own. Those very virtues may have led us right to our own destruction.
For any who stumble into this place, I am sorry; if I am the one who delivers the final blow, even sorrier still. I wish I could bury this place with us inside it, stopping us from doing any damage to this great land. However, if you do find us and manage to escape with your life, tell my brothers we are sorry.
I must end this here for the tentacles reach deeper into my mind as my strength fades. Good luck to whoever reads this and I apologize once again for the monster I may become.
The old soldier moved carefully down the tunnel, listening to the rumbling sounds from the passage ahead of him. “Doesn’t sound very stable in this direction. How’s that tunnel look?”
The young adventurer looked dubiously down the side tunnel. “I hear some movement, and a lot of rumbling in the distance. Do you think it’s a mine?”
“Could be. They’re still basically Lugians, after all. Wouldn’t be surprised if they were actively tunneling.”
“Let’s go this way,” the young adventurer gestured down the side tunnel he had been listening to. “There’s less rumbling, and the movement could be the Lugian we’re looking for.”
The old soldier nodded, “Could also be a fight, but that’s pretty much the way of things when it comes to anything the Rynthid touch.”
“I dunno, this mask turned out pretty good.” The young adventurer said, reaching up to touch the mask affectionately.
“It talks in your head, tries to kill you if you take it off, and you still like it? Doesn’t sound like it ‘turned out pretty good’ to me.”
“Bah, you’re just upset because I found one and you didn’t. They’re all the rage in the adventurer circles these days.”
“I’ll keep my heaume, thank you very much. Much better protection than some silly mask with glowing tentacles on it.” The old soldier cut off his next comment as the movement they had heard turned out to be a pair of corrupted Lugians who didn’t look too pleased to have visitors. “Here we go again…”
“Hey!” called the young adventurer, “We’re looking for your boss, we want to talk!”
The Lugians replied by throwing large rocks at his head. As he ducked the boulders, the old soldier said, “I don’t think they’re partial to visitors here.”
The battle dragged on for a few minutes before the pair finally defeated the Lugians. After the battle, the two stayed quiet as they travelled deeper into the tunnels, the rumbling sounds getting louder all the while.
“Well, would you look at that,” said the old soldier, staring from the tunnel opening into the large chamber it opened up into. He then looked at the young adventurer, bowed mockingly and said with a flourish, “You always complain that I don’t let you go first, so… after you.”
The young adventurer raised an eyebrow, sighed and walked up to the doorway, bracing himself for what was to come. He finally grumbled, “Thanks, thanks a lot…”