It’s pitch black.
He opens his eyes and looks up to the person who brought him back from near death.
His injuries still throbbing while they were being closed, but the pain of his previous failure hit harder.
He hears the noise of fighting and what seemed like hundreds of creatures, millions of legs, crawling everywhere and doing all sorts of sounds that appear to come from every corner...and they are all utterly disturbed by something.
Slowly coming to his senses, he stands up to see chaos unfolding around him.
The faint light of a torch a small distance away is too poor to see without considerable strain to the eyes, but it’s more than enough to anger all the creatures that inhabit these caves. Their almost nonexistent eyesight being far too sensitive to light.
He remembered what they were doing, they were exploring the deepest parts of the grotto in the deepest parts of the sea, in caves where huge air pockets remain. The amount of monsters that inhabit these caves is almost endless, swarming every intruder who dares to disturb them.
The torch with the fire is required as it's enchanted by mermen to be the only light capable to pierce through the darkness, even if just barely. However, the combination of the darkness, the lack of clean oxygen and the ominous aura of this place caused many to walk erratically rather than as a unit, often going too fast or falling behind into the darkness despite having a beacon to follow.
Originally they planned to light multiple torches, but that merely increased the amount of monsters that awoke from their slumber and decreased the number of troops able to defend themselves properly, as the torch couldn’t be moved very fast.
The mermen are fully aware of the dangers, which is why they rely on outsiders to perform raids on these caves, who are rewarded accordingly. This reduces the number of Spawns of Grotto, making the surrounding waters slightly safer...temporarily.
Nevertheless, their only goal right now should be to save the torch, as they would all be completely defenseless once the flame died out. First, they had to fight through the monsters that were too close to the fire, for which they would require their casters.
Luckily the leader of the expedition within the main group was already pointing them in the right direction, also telling the archers to focus on stragglers and bigger creatures, so they would fall sooner.
Multiple spells were cast, their light being lost immediately to the looming darkness. Still, they were powerful enough to take out most of the monsters on the way to the torch, but it angered the rest even more.
Unfortunately these barely accurate spells also hit some of their scattered friends who got separated, the light of this magic momentarily lighting up their anguished faces. Already being trapped, they had little hope of survival left.
Seeing their killed brethren, the monsters switched their focus to the casters, forcing the frontline to stop what they were doing to defend them. With the healers barely able to keep up, almost no one had time to think about the torch. That’s probably the reason why it was lost in the first place.
But he knew they had to advance, retreating wasn’t an option, the corpses of lost troops attracted scavenger spiders that made it even harder than going forward. With that in mind, he found the opportunity to reach the torch and instructed a few nearby to support him.
He hacked through anything that came too near, pushed everything away, but still got injured on every step. Fortunately one of the healers decided to join their recovery efforts. With screams coming from the back, he knew he had to be fast.
Reaching the torch and raising it so he could keep the fire burning, he turns around so they could finally advance...but the human voices were fading. The few who followed him already slain, and other than the sounds of creatures only a few muffled screams could be heard further ahead.
Quickly getting surrounded, he attempts to get free and call for help...but a poisoned mushroom delays his reaction, dooming him for good. Someone ahead was screaming something about a torch during the massacre. But it’s pointless, the torch is dying, and so is its carrier.
It’s pitch black.
--- End ---
I thought about the idea of making this for a specific faction with certain classes and characters, but I also saw a certain charm in making this story to be just about a doomed party with no faces to remember. Maybe the "main character" was unnecessary.
Player : Emeny
Server : EU-Emerald