Lore 2:1— The Cave
Area 2 — The Beginning
With held head high, your heart is filled with warmth to conquer the coldest wind. Even knee-high snow can’t drag you down as you make your way back to your brood cave. You need to get your weapons and food before you leave. At last, your dreams have been realized. Your Legendary quest will be written in the Secret’s annals forever.
But as you walk, a tinge of copper blood fills your nostrils. The fur on the back of your neck rises. You follow the scent, your stomach in a knot. The wind whips snow around you, faster and faster.
After a few minutes, you come to a small valley. There’s an imprint of a body fallen in the snow. Drops of blood mark its head. Piles of kicked and clawed snow, matted with fur and blood, tell the tale of what happened here.
Signs of attackers, at least two, are dug in the snow by force of the fight: footprints, half-fallen body prints and more blood. They must have subdued the victim, for there is a trail of the body being dragged towards a nearby cave.
A chill streaks through you that has nothing to do with the frenzied wind.
Ice shards begin to strike your face. You follow the trail to the cave.
This is no brood cave. There is no warmth and little light, despite the small fire burning within. Desolation and despair drip from every crevice. Rancid mold blackens its walls and stalactites. Someone has scattered meal remains upon the muddy ground.
Moans of agony and muffled cries draw you to the back of the cave. You find something that injects this gruesome scene into your nightmares for the rest of your life.
Five Yeti hang from chains bolted to the cave’s walls inside a rusty cage. The Yeti suffer from physical harm and neglect. Their fur is dulled, limp and filthy. Their torment screams through their every limb.
One Yeti hangs dead, kneeling on the ground. His maw gapes in an eternal scream of pain and reproach.
You come closer to the cage. The freshly wounded and healthiest looking one must be no younger than your brother. He’s barely of age to train in the Lair. One is an older female Yeti, thin and shivering, sobbing quietly. The other two living Yeti are a younger female with fire in her eyes and an ancient male you know to be an Elder.
A splintered hole of bone and blood dots the center of the dead one’s forehead.
You stare in shock. Then, you shake your head to clear it. You touch the lock on the cage. It sears your skin. You draw your hand back and hiss. Whatever spells you know can’t break it. It’s made from some strange metal and has its own spells cast upon it.
“Hey,” you say softly. “Hey. Who did this to you? How can I get you out?”
You hear them take a collective breath of shock, hope and renewed fear. Everyone starts talking at once.
“The Bigfoot! They’re Cryptids but not of our land!”
“They’re going to get you, too! You need to watch out! They have these strange weapons! That’s how they killed Ragna!”
“They want to destroy the Secret! They’re keeping us here until we tell them how!”
You put your hands up in protest.
“OK, OK. I need to understand. Where are they now?”
The older female yeti turns a haunted gaze at you, her eyes ice-blue and rimmed with red. “They went to hunt.”
You address the Elder, whose law-demanded luxuriant white fur has become gray with filth. “Elder, I was just to begin my quest. What is your command?”
The Elder starts to laugh. It turns into a hacking cough. He spits up blood.
“Well, young initiate. The best quest you could complete right now is to find these Bigfoot, dispose of them and get us the hell out of here.”
“Be careful,” the Elder continues, “they bear human weapons. They can kill you immediately without hope of defense.” He nods sadly at what was once Ragna.
“How many are there?” You stare at the hole in the dead Yeti’s head.
“Three. Two males, one female.”
“What are your names?” you ask.
The young male Yeti spits a fang onto the dank ground. “I’m Natan.” He lifts his head to glance at the two others.
“I am Ruti,” the younger female replies. She angles her head towards the older female. “That’s Anzollash. Ragna was her father.”
You tell them your name, and promise to free them as soon as possible.
The Elder says,“There are weapons left in the cave. They’re locked up or hidden. Maybe you can find them.”
Dear readers — the following is a quest example. Read all about how to submit quests here.
Rage and wonder sharpen your movements as you scour the cave.
“One of the Bigfoot stored weapons in that steel container,” calls Ruti. “But I think it’s locked.”
The steel container is almost hidden within the cave wall, opposite from the cage. Its lock looks pretty simple to contend with.
Strength: You try to break its lock open with a rock.
Option 1: Find a rocket launcher with several rockets.
Option 2: Hurt your hand
Dexterity: You snap a thin stalactite from the rock close to the fire.
Option 1: Open it to find a machine gun
Option 2: Your stalactite lock pick breaks inside the lock.
Wisdom: You use a freezing spell you learned in the Lair.
Option 1: The spell works to break the lock. You find a laser gun.
Option 2: The spell does not work.
Next to the steel container, you find something small. It’s made of another strange metal which somehow mixes with earth and another artificial material. Its handle fits into your palm. There is a place for your index finger to rest.
You look up towards the captured Yeti.
Anzollash begins to wail and cower.
Ruti yells, “Don’t point that thing at us! That’s what killed Ragna!”
You almost drop it.
The Elder’s gaze is filled with sorrow. “It is a human creation. I fear we should have interacted with them long before. But at least you have a defense, if the Bigfoot try to use such weapons on you.”
“How does it work?” You ask with only the slightest tremor in your voice. They won’t get the chance to put you on defense.
“You point the long part at what you want to kill, and you pull the part your finger is now touching. All of their weapons work the same way.”
“Why would they make something so terrible?” you cry. You remove your finger and hold the weapon’s handle tightly in a fist.
“Power. To take all the power for themselves. To enslave the humans and all Cryptids who defy them.” He coughs. “Please… we need water.”
You take a muddy bowl from the ground and rinse it in the snow outside. Then, you pack it full of snow. It quickly melts at the sputtering fire.
The Elder laps at the water and sighs with relief. He waits for you to finish giving everyone else a drink before he continues.
“The Bigfoot are here because they want to destroy the Secret. They don’t want to help the humans. But that is what they’re sworn to do, since the dawn of time. They go against their own nature. This distance from their essence grows. It makes them more and more evil.”
A grin of despair flits across his crinkled, dirt-smeared face.
“All humans must be the masters of their own fate. This is why we protect the Secret. No one must ever hold all the power, ever again. That is the fight between us and them.”
Natan growls at their mention. “Night is drawing close. They will have to come back soon. You best take them by surprise.”
You nod, afraid for your new friends. You do what you can to remove signs of your presence from the cave. Facing the captured Yeti as you kick dirt over your tracks, the Elder calls you once more. His voice grows ever weaker.
“Remember, brave Initiate. Those who are merciful to the cruel become cruel to the merciful.”
Though your nature is of light and peace, your fear and rage meld into a seething mass of iron resolve. If you must kill, you will.
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Read Lore — The Roar and the Lair (prelude) here!