Dungeon Born

Dungeon Born

Book one of The Divine Dungeon Series

Written by Dakota Krout

Illustrations by Mikko M. L.

© 2016 Dakota Krout. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law.

Also, check out Dakota’s website for book updates and news!

Visit my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TheDivineDungeon/

or my Blog at: https://dungeonborn.wordpress.com/

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This book is rated PG-13 for literary fighting, foul language, and puns unsuitable for people of all ages. It also contains advanced mathematic concepts unsuitable for liberal arts majors.

~Acknowledgments~

There are many people who have made this book possible. Chiefly among them is my amazing wife who always encourages me to do the best at any task I set my mind to. I have a habit of getting excited about a new project and leaving the current one behind. For anyone who would like some advice, the best I can give you is this: I highly recommend marrying your best friend.

Next would be Mikko M. L., who went out of his way to make a spectacular cover for my book! Let’s be honest, against the advice of every teacher out there we all judge books by their cover. Thanks to him, the first thought will be: “Oh, that looks cool!” Thank you my friend! Hopefully you will all stay for the great story!

Finally, a great thank you to all of my friends and family who made their way through the awful early editions in order to give me advice and suggestions on storyline and descriptive writing. A special thanks to my friend Dylan S., who helped revise the first version of this book. Thanks to all of your careful reading and comments, this book should actually be readable!

~Prologue~

They laughed when they murdered me. Laughed! Their squeals of delight were sickening as they reveled in the blood pouring from the jagged knife wounds spread across my chest. These disgusting people - I use the term ‘people’ with trepidation - were obviously disdainful of all living beings. They killed me just for...! For...? Odd. This was strange - I couldn’t remember why they killed me. Who were ‘they’? Matter of fact, everything was starting to become... hard to...remember...? I...

“Oh no, you don’t!” The nasal, phlegmy voice of one of the assailants shattered the silence. He loomed over the broken, tortured body I was fleeing, “Dying won’t let you off the hook! Hee-hee-hee! Stealing from me was the worst decision you ever made! Now you will serve me, beg me,” he screamed, spittle flying. His mood shifted abruptly as madmen were prone, “to free you, because of your own stupidity! Ha-ha-ha!” A smile was back on his face, though his eyes were manic and unfocused.

With his declaration and an arcane gesture, pain shattered my confused senses - pain more traumatizing than my recent death by repeated stabbing. I found myself being forcefully drawn toward a tiny gem in his hand. I screamed as only a tortured soul is able, albeit silently to the human ear. I imploded into the small gem, which gleamed brighter by the second. The agony became more intense, interrupting all rational thought until all I knew was torment. With a final gasp of pain, I was firmly embedded in the glowing gemstone.

“Welcome to your eternity, thief.” The malicious voice spit at me. Then he coughed at me, spitting again - wait. Spit wasn’t red? With an unexpected spasm of his hand, I found myself slipping the surly bonds of earth, that is, I found myself flying. Bizarrely, I could see everything around me, three hundred sixty degrees in perfect detail. We were in a mountain range, with a beautiful and lush forest surrounding the base. The air had a stiff, crisp breeze flowing through it. The sun poured across the landscape with properties more befitting a viscous honey.

One other detail stood out as I reached the apex of my flight. A group of people in armor which blazed with the reflection of the sun were walking toward black-clad bodies now sprawled in ignoble poses.

“Filthy Necromancers!” The largest, shiniest man roared, distaste evident in every motion he made. “Make sure to burn their rotten corpses and everything they have with them, it is sure to be tainted by the infernal.” He glanced to where a - somehow familiar? - body lay broken and covered with blood and filth.

“Poor bastard, I’m sorry we weren’t fast enough... to save you.” He managed to say brokenly, keeping his voice low in an attempt to preserve morale in his followers. Mixed emotions skittered across his face before finally settling on anger. He then turned and began barking orders, the last I saw of his group before slipping over the edge of a crevasse, falling deep into the earth.

There was one final hole in the wall, where I got my last glance of the wide world for a long, long time. Gorgeous. It truly was too beautiful of a day to die.

~One~

I fell for an extremely long time, rock blurring past me as my fall increased in speed. Dropping too long really, as I was worried I would shatter when I landed. This was a serious concern for me momentarily. Then some shiny rock distracted me, light sparkling off of it as I passed. Pretty! Is my mental state deteriorating? Ooh, that sparkle was red! The fall was probably only a few hundred feet, but since I was so tiny it felt like miles, like hours to my distracted thoughts.

*Bloop*

I landed in a puddle! Rejoicing at the good fortune that had saved me from shattering when I landed, I realized that I couldn't remember why I was falling in the first place. I had fallen right? I tried to think back, but hadn't I always been in this puddle, on this stone? Rocks don’t move around, do we? Well, I was rather cozy here, nothing to worry about now at least. --Filthy Necromancers--.

Necromancers? I hated Necromancers!! Where had that thought come from? I clung to it, trying to ensure that I would remember this. The thought wrapped around me, becoming one of my mental pillars, a foundation for my thoughts. Knowing I would remember my hatred for, um? Necromancers! Right. What the heck is a Necromancer? I don’t really care, I suppose, but ohhh boy do I hate them! I finally looked around myself, trying to describe for my fleeting sanity how things looked.

I didn't really have words for things, but the names of them kept popping into my head. Rock. More rock. Water. Head? What? Where am I? What am I? Oh yeah! I’m a gem! A beautiful shining gem. Blue light appeared around me at the thought, actually, it was coming from me! Am I a light stone? The water surrounding me began to absorb the light and, over time, became brighter. This took hours. Days? The natural light that managed to filter down to me came and went many times. Does that help? Does that mean anything?

Remembering is hard. I eventually gave up trying.

Time slipped by and even the lingering remnants of memories faded, vanishing until I was near thoughtless as a babe. My mind became small and unconcerned with anything outside of my life from moment to moment. The water I was in froze and melted several times, when it froze it seemed like forever until it warmed up again! That was never fun.

One day I noticed that the puddle I was in had slowly shrunk as temperature increased, but now water was coming down from above and refilling it! This made me really happy. That is a good thing I think, having my puddle full. I like my puddle. But now it is getting too full? This had never happened before! My puddle was about to spill! Oh no, would that ruin it? *Drip* A final drop hit and the puddle spilled over its stony boundary, pouring down the sides of what turned out to be a hollow stalagmite. Water must have taken the core of this rock and hollowed it out before I got here.

Something was happening, something... odd? Not bad, I don’t think, but certainly odd. I was at the bottom of the small puddle in my rock, and whereas previously I could only see in a direct line of sight around me; I could now see everything where the water had overflowed to! Neat! More than see, actually! I could sense everything in that area perfectly - as if all of my senses were attuned to the space around me.

I tasted the salty stone, smelled the earthy fragrance, saw every flaw and nuance of the stone, and heard echoes of falling water. The perception only went as far as the water had drained, so it wasn’t true sight or hearing, or... but really it was... better! More fulfilling and satisfying somehow. For some reason, I also really began to understand the rock I was on. After all, now I knew the word “stalagmite”. I also knew it was made out of limestone, mostly calcium carbonate. Fun, new words! Even when the water that had spilled event ...

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