(A Collaboration with SeeJayStarkDotCom)
I… do not… have… dark vision.
After following Luda in a few steps I hear the heavy door of the dungeon slam closed behind us and I am swallowed by the inky black void. My eyes are wide as I search the room in a panic but every direction offers me the same view; nothing.
“Why did you close the door?” I yell as I spin around and start stepping toward the door with my hands stretched out in front of me.
“It closed by itself,” I hear Luda say somewhere behind me.
I step forward blindly and after a few steps I panic even further. I only took a few steps in, the door shouldn’t be this far away from where I was… but, then I had spun around; did I disorient myself? Am I moving away from the door and not closer to it?
My hand finds something leathery and firm and I freeze, standing still as a statue. Something at the other end of my hand is breathing, I can feel the rise and fall of its flesh under my hand and hear its exhalations. My mind begins to run through all the creatures I know the Author had created; how many of them were tough and leathery?
Goblins traditionally have leathery skin, but they’re much shorter; also, the Author has a fondness for goblins and tends to make them more adorable than fearsome. For his Lochinvar series the Author had created an undead rat-human hybrid that had leathery skin and mottled patches of fur. It had become known as Ratticus, and was befriended by Luda. I highly doubt that this is Ratticus, but the Author could have created some similarly ungodly monstrosity to-
A light suddenly sparks into existence just a foot or so to my side and I come face to face with… Bastian… I… I have been groping Bastian’s leather clad chest.
Bastian’s very firm, leather clad chest.
“You seem to be lacking a common trait of dungeon delvers,” Bastian says in a tone completely unfazed by my handsy-ness. “I had judged by your ears that you were of Elven descent, but perhaps I was mistaken?”
It takes a few seconds for his words to settle in my brain as my focus remains upon the contents of my hand. I’m poking absent mindedly at his perfectly toned chest. Somehow, he is firm, but soft. I can’t feel the flesh directly but judging by what I can feel I’m betting his skin is perfectly smooth and soft like a baby’s belly. I’ve never felt a baby’s belly, but I’ve described them a lot and this is what I would imagine a baby’s belly wrapped in leather armor might feel like; if that baby did, like, 100 situps a day or something.
Then his words reach the center point of my brain and I look up at him quizzically.
“My ears?” My hand leaves his chest and is joined by my other hand as I fondle my own ears. I have to find them under long locks of hair, which as it turns out are blonde, and I find that they come to a point at the top. “I’m an elf?” I wonder out loud. Naturally, me questioning my own race causes Bastian some confusion. I check on Luda and sure enough he’s staring at me like I just licked a doorknob.
“I mean, of course I’m an elf. Sorry if that came out like a question, I am very nervous and uncomfortable right now given the fact that it is completely pitch black in here.” I begin to ramble but my voice fades away as I mumble quietly and then fall silent.
“You are certainly not the first elf with a degenerative sight condition,” Bastian says. “Though most do not join the ranks of adventurer for this exact reason. No matter; I have a supply of torches that may light our way-“
“No good,” Luda interrupts and moves himself between me and Bastian. He digs through his bag for a moment before producing a pair of goggles that he promptly holds up to me. “We must travel in the dark; it’s sneakier.”
I take the goggles and examine them. They seem like perfectly normal goggles to me, like the sort worn by mad scientists. There is no elastic, just a leather strap with an adjustable clasp by the left side of the lenses. I shrug and work them over my head and settle them over my eyes. I blink a few times and look around; everything looks perfectly normal.
“Are these supposed to do someth- oh.” The torch extinguishes half way through my sentence, but instead of being plunged into darkness my vision switches to black, white, and about 50 or so shades of gray. I can finally get a good look at the room we’re in; it’s just a big square of flat rock walls with a door at the far end.
Bastian pats my back as he passes by and follows Luda to the far door, leaving me to spin about in place as I explore what my new Elven eyes can see.
I… have… dark vision!