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Last updated 
June 19, 2000

Realm Fantastica
Bain's Lair
by Toolkit Sparkfire

Desdemona opened a pouch and pulled out a small glowing orb. The orb lit the darkness inside of the cave with a soft, pale light. After traveling through several miles of subterranean highway, Desdemona found herself in an incredibly large cavern.

The cavern had torches along the walls and two large bonfires in the center. Between the bonfires, there was a huge pile of gold and jewels. The cavern's ceiling stretched so high it was unable to be seen.

Desdemona cautiously approached the treasure. Although nothing appeared wrong, if the hoard was this easy to find, something or someone had to be guarding it.

Then, suddenly, a strong blast of wind swirled the air in the stagnant cave. The bonfires flickered and half the torches extinguished. Desdemona quickly turned and saw the guardian of the lair. 

Hovering in midair, with wings beating ferociously, a gigantic black dragon stared down at his unwelcome guest. The light glistened off its scales. The dragon snapped its jaws and bared its strong claws.

Desdemona tried not to look intimidated, but it's hard when the opponent was ten times her size.

The dragon spoke, "I am Bain. Why do you enter my cave?" The dragon's words seemed to be sent telepathically, as it's mouth never moved. 

"I think you know, Bain," Desdemona answered. "I have come for Dirge's treasure."

The dragon snorted and a trickle of acid dripped from its jaw. "You have just sealed your doom."

Bain flicked his tail and struck a large boulder, causing it to block the entrance. Now it would be a fight to the death.

The dragon swooped down towards Desdemona. Desdemona waited until the last possible instant, then threw herself prone. As Bain blew past, Des flipped into a couch and fired a blast of lightning from the tip of her sword. The bolt struck the dragon squarely between the wings. It screeched in pain. Bain set himself down on the ground. It opened its mouth and spewed a mouthful of acid towards Desdemona. She dove out the immediate range, but when the acid hit, it splashed her along her left side. The searing pain caused Des to scream and to momentarily forget the spell she was going to cast.

Bain stared at Desdemona. Then a slab of stone from the cavern's floor tore free. It lifted into the air and then released, falling over Des. She rolled over near to a stalagmite. The slab struck the stalagmite, shattering it into thousands of pieces. Bain roared, angry that his spell had failed.

Desdemona crawled behind the stalagmite, out of the dragon's view. She fumbled around in her pouches until she found what she was looking for. She dropped her sword and pulled out her crossbow. She then tied the small, glass snake sculpture she found to one of the bolts. The stalagmite melted as Bain hit it with his acid. Des ran around it and saw Bain approaching.

"You cannot hide forever," Bain taunted. "Eventually you will run out of room." Saying nothing in reply, Desdemona sighted the monster with the crossbow. And fired.

The bolt struck the dragon in the chest, shattering the glass serpent. As it shattered, Des cast her spell. Beginning where the bolt hit, a small area of the dragon's skin hardened. Soon this spread, creating a stone exoskeleton. Once the outside was completely hardened, it traveled down through every orifice in Bain's body, transforming that as well. 

Desdemona collapsed from exertion.

When she awoke, an unknown amount of time had passed. The rest of the torches had burned out and the bonfires were left with burning embers.

Des stood and looked about. Her sword lay on the ground near the destroyed stalagmite. The treasure remained between the bonfires. Finally, she noticed the giant statue of Bain.

The dragon's mouth was open wide, it's claws outstretched, it's tail raised to strike. Desdemona remembered one final spell for the day and cast it on the statue, causing it to begin decreasing in size.

As the spell continued working, Desdemona picked up her crossbow and sword. She put them away and walked over to the treasure, her treasure now, for she had earned every coin. Des opened her pack and took out a pair of large canvas bags.

After filling them to the brim with treasure, she waved a ruby disk over them. They vanished, teleporting themselves to a location known only to her. She turned to leave and then stopped. Des bent over and picked up a miniature dragon statue.

"To the victor go the spoils, Bain."

© Toolkit Sparkfire. All rights reserved. 
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