Morland: Blood and Sweat

Discussion, The Greyheart\'s 108th Dungeon

”Luca? Is that you? ” Darrel exclaimed. ”Oh am I glad to see you. ”

Darrel clutched Lucas hand in a brotherly embrace, even though they had barely met a couple of days ago Darrel felt a connection with Luca and was pleased to see a more familiar face. After the sudden greeting, Darrel pulled the note from his ragged pockets and when Luca saw it he quickly pushed it back into Darrels pocket.

”Hold on, ” Luca whispered. ”There is a time and place for everything. ”

”Okay, alright. ”

”Remind me about it tomorrow. ”

– ORIS PRISON CELL –

The cell was quiet throughout the night, but Darrel was still unable to get a good nights sleep. Whether this was a fault of his anxiety after Luca promised to explain more about the note the next day or the fact that he was trying to sleep in a room while surrounded by criminals.

A magic-user without any spells. Darrel recalled how he had been stomped earlier. The sacred knights huh?

Darrel chuckled at the thought, to think that he had managed to survive this long out of mere bluff, nothing he had done was real, he had brandished his false intent and events had occurred out of mere coincidence. His lips curled in the low light, only someone with excellent night vision could see his weird grin, and this made his grin even wider.

Its about time.

Luca seemed like the only decent person around, however, at times his mood would suddenly change as though someone had flipped a switch in his head and a whole new personality would take complete control of his body.

Could he have a split personality disorder? Darrel thought.

Even if this was the case Darrel was starting to get used to Lucas behavior, his mind then recalled a statement that one of the guards had said, about how strange each prisoner was in Oris.

Well, I was from another freaking world after all. Darrel smirked at the mutual thought. Nothing could be stranger than that…

That morning Luca woke up early and walked toward the cell door in a drowsy state. He stood there and stared outside through the spaces in the cell door. Darrel jumped down from the bunk bed and walked towards him.

Unlike his previous cell, here Darrel had more room to stretch his legs and swing his arms leisurely.

”What are you looking at? ”

”Oh, nothing… ”

Darrel could see that Luca was focused on something that lingered outside the cell door, but he appeared uninterested in talking about it.

”So about my magic? ” Darrel queried suddenly while leaning his back on the cell door and looking back into his new home.

”What you need to learn first is how to draw out your mana. ” He explained without turning away from the cell door.

Darrel remained silent for a moment pondering on how he would make go about the task, it was easier back in his former world when all you needed to do was press a button.

”And… how do I do that? ”

”Huh? Didn you summon an exuberant amount of mana during your tussle with the knights? ” Luca queried.

Like everyone in Oris, Luca knew about what Darrel had done during his tussle with the knights. However, unlike the rest of them, he had witnessed the strange phenomenon that had occurred.

Darrel wondered why Luca had suddenly brought it up again.

”As I said earlier, it was unintentional, ” Darrel whispered into Lucas ear.

Luca shot a glance at him, thats when Darrel noticed the red hue in his eyes and realized Luca had slipped into his darkened state again. It was rare for him to speak to anyone while he was like this, and the fact that he was able to give him any advice might have just been fortunate.

Luca then inhaled deeply and as Darrel waited for a similar-sized exhale, he was baffled to see him slowly release a dark mist from his mouth. Even though Darrel could not see it clearly, however, the mist gave off an eerie atmosphere, at first, he wanted to jump back, however, he reaffirmed his resolve and stood steadily by as the mist slowly dissipated.

”Looks like the holy runes are still functional. ” Luca looked disappointed, he seemed as though he had been expecting something big to happen.

Darrel understood Lucas feelings, after all, he too had expected more from himself, but in the end, all he got was lousy magic control and zero knowledge of spells to boot. His current situation continued to breed more confusion as he uncovered more knowledge of this world.

”So what was that dark mist just now? A spell? ”

”A unique skill, I was using it to check the integrity of the barriers around here, ” Luca responded casually.

”So the barrier extends to here too huh? ”

”The whole mountain is covered in several runic barriers, some protect us while others protect them, ” Luca explained.

Spells and skills were a necessity in this world, even the average person possessed a few basic skills, and individuals with higher potential had a wider array of skills while some were able to master spells as well.

”Anyway, how do I get started with mana control? ”

Mana control was the basis of any magic user. Like wool spun into threads, mana control was the foundation of every spell known to mortal kind. Some individuals even used their mana to enhance their minds and bodies to protect themselves.

”The first step is to know much mana you can muster. ” Luca started. ”That will give us a basis on your current level. ”

Luca turned to face him, as the slight glow of crimson in his eyes faded away and his pupils returned to their normal shallow blue. Darrel figured it was a side effect of using such an eerie ability. He immediately recalled how some games would place penalties and major cooldowns on powerful skills back in his former world.

”Its easy buddy, just sit down and meditate on stuff and imagine yourself pulling something from your inner self. ”

”Pulling something from my what? ” The very words stated were smeared with confusion.

Unfortunately for Darrel, Luca was back to his normal self, and the best adviser was the darker personality within him. Darrel walked back to his bed and sat down crossing one of his legs over the other then began to meditate.

This was the only posture of meditation he remembered, and Darrel did not believe that anyone around here knew anything better.

”You can use magic here, ” Luca stated heedless of his earlier advice.

”I can do that, remember?! ” Darrel retorted.

This was a lousy start at best, he could barely feel anything in his current state. He recalled all the instances he had been able to use his magic, and one thing was in common in both instances, and that it was always during an intensely emotional situation where his life was under threat.

”This is going to take a while. ” Luca sighed.

Four more days passed since Darrel was brought to the Empires prison mines, the Holy Knights had called him once more after the ruckus he had caused days earlier and queried him on more personal matters such as his home of origin and date of birth.

However, his birth date did not match any of the calendars of this world in this world.

June 18, 2018, Apparently there is no such month and the year I gave was ridiculous, and I would have been well over 200 years old. Darrel mused to himself.

Darrel sat in the same meditation position he had started with, after four days of trying to gather mana, his attempts had all failed. A few times he was able to feel a slight trickling sensation but it was far from his earlier experiences.

Eventually, Darrel suggested to Luca that it was time they tried a different method to bring out his mana.

”I still can feel anything! ” Darrel uttered with dissatisfaction.

Another day went by without any results, and all that Darrel had felt was a faint electric tingle.

Evening came signaled by the low chatter of the prisoners, tired bodies perched themselves on the bunk beds while others finalized their evening workouts. After supper, Darrel resumed his training even though he knew that his progress was being thwarted by a hidden barrier, he never wished to come to this world in the first place, but the prospect of being able to use magic had consumed him for a moment until he was captured, this immediately snapped him back to reality and he knew he would have to work his behind off to even get a sliver of freedom.

”How much interference do the barriers create? ”

”As I said, they keep you from using magic, ” Luca stated. ”Gathering it up in your body should not be difficult. ”

Technically that was true, however, for an individual to amass a large amount of mana and store it up in their body without the skill to do so would be an attempt to suicide.

”You will figure it out, ” Luca assured Darrel without turning to face him, as he sat on his bed rummaging through his pile.

Darrel noted the mound of items stashed between Lucas legs, the prisoners here called them Piles, these were pieces of junk that the prisoners collected during their time in the mines, most of the objects were inspected by the guards and confiscated if deemed valuable, however, the prisoners learned to hide their treasures and sneak them into their cells to their piles without the guards noticing.

It was always risky to handle piles in the open, but Luca seemed keen on his surroundings and always knew when trouble was near.

”Surely there must be another way Luca ” Darrel rephrased.

”Definitely… ”

”Are you even listening to me? ”

[Clang! Clang! Clang!]

”Shut up! Damn prisoner! ”

One of the guards had sniffed out their late-night chatter and found it right to bang on the cell door to shut the two up. Darrel was far from his jovial self and he immediately reached through spaces between the cell door and then pulled the prison guard towards the door by the breastplate.

”Don call me that damn it! ” Darrel hissed.

”Or what? What will you do spell-ess wizard? ” The guard clutched Darrels hand and twisted it off his armor. ”You are no threat Dar-rel. ”

When Darrel looked closer he noticed that this was the same guard that had dared to oppose him during his attempted revolt a few days earlier, he recognized the mans even while it was half-covered by a helmet, even the familiar scent of alcohol still spewed from his unwashed beard.

Darrel ripped his hand from the guards grip then he poised himself right in front of him behind the cell door, the guard stood fearlessly on the other side and stared with an arrogant gaze.

After mustering up all his guts Darrel spoke in a more serious tone.

”When I get out, I will drop your HP to zero. ”

The guard looked at Darrel and grinned at his forlorn statement then he began to laugh. Luca had told him about the world here and most of the people knew about the terms that defined vitality, mana, and stamina. HP was uncommonly used in the prison, but it was still known to the guards and others that it meant vitality in battle and if it dropped to nothing that meant the individual would perish.

Thats what Luca said anyway. Darrel recalled while waiting for the guard to respond.

”Keep dreaming Dar-rel! ” The guards grin turned upside down. ”How about I make your vitality drop to zero first. ”

”And how do you plan to do that? ”

”I think its time you started your Dungeon Minings the whole lot of you in here huh? ” The guard grumbled. ”Lets see how long you last, this here is Oris after all. ”

The guard left with a crooked smile imprinted on his face, Darrel knew he had enjoyed himself pulling threats over him. As Darrel turned to return to his bunk, a large hand swiftly grabbed his neck.

”You fool! What have you done? ”

The big burly cellmate that had remained silent all this time had reached out and grabbed a hold of him as he cried out threatening to choke Darrel to death. Luca quickly jumped from his bed and then lunged at the large man with a wooden spoon in his hand.

”Release him, Greyan! ” Luca pressed the spoon to Greyans throat. ”He is the key to everything. ”

Greyans hand squeezed harder around Darrels throat who winced in pain before he slowly loosened his grip and set him free. Darrel slumped to the floor as Luca slid down Greyans back and landed on his feet with a low thump.

”Thats if we survive at all. ”

The fourth person in the cell finally spoke for the first time in a while, he was the slim figure in the corner shrouded by shadows of the dimly lit cell.

Orimik was a half-goblin by race and even though he kept to himself, his tragic past was well known. Abandoned as a child he quickly strayed from the right path and became a Scout under a group of bandits, he followed in their path of marauding before his gang was hunted down by adventurers, as a lone survivor he was brought to Oris to serve his sentence.

”Not with your kind of skills we won , ” Greyan was the first to respond to Orimiks wore. ”None of you don have the skills to fight, and some of you seem to be brain dead. ”

Darrel eyed Greyan defiantly.

Greyan was the largest individual in the cell, like Orimik he too had remained silent throughout his days serving his term, but unlike the halfling Greyans past was a mystery even Luca knew very little about the large man, apart from a repeated rumor that he had been hexed by Witches, however, the rest of the story remained a mystery.

”When the monsters overwhelm you, I will make sure to use my skills for what they were intended. ” The sly Orimik stated.

”Tch. Coward. ” Greyan spat. ”When you have fought wyrms singlehandedly you don need to escape. ”

”Dragons? Aren you exaggerating a bit? ” Darrel interfered.

The legends about wyrms were exaggerated even back in his former world no one had clear information about these monstrous creatures, let alone the proof of their existence. However, if these creatures did exist in Morland, it was hard to imagine a lone man and one who had been imprisoned was capable of slaying a creature that slaughtered entire armies and burned cities to the ground for sport.

Even in this world, I do not believe there is a warrior who could claim to have fought dragons alone. Darrel was adamant about his thoughts.

”Exaggeration huh? What of you spell-less wizard, you claim to have brought down two squires without an array of spells? ” Greyan queried. ”Like thats more believable, Ha! ”

Greyan bellowed with laughter, but Orimik walked forward and looked Darrel straight in the eyes.

”So how do you plan on surviving in the dungeons? ”

Everyones gaze shifted to Darrel now, Greyan halted his laughter and even Luca had crept back to organize his pile.

After a moment of silence, Orimik sighed and then walked back to his corner to sulk.

”Well, I don know, ” Darrel started sullenly. ”I don know what I will do, but I know I will do something. ”

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