Diaries of a Dungeon Delver #2 – Ruins Expedition

This is a series of “articles” dedicated to Darkest Dungeon. They will be written in a pseudo diary-esque format from the perspective of Reynauld. Until his inevitable demise, at which point his diary could be continued by a fitting replacement. All characters outside of Reynauld and Dismas will be named by you, so leave a comment, hop onto my Social Media (links at the bottom) and get involved! If you want more information on Darkest Dungeon, I have done a “Quickie Review” here for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, December 4th, 18XX

It took us a full day to reach town. This was mostly due to a our “generous” benefactor being more injured than we initially thought – damn aristocracy. Regardless of the delay, when we finally did reach the hamlet, we were met by a disgusting shell of a man. His teeth were rotten, his hair patchy and wirey and the smell – I cannot even describe. Our patron introduced himself before leaving us with this cretinous creature.

Despite my initial impressions, the “Caretaker”, as he likes to be called, is a simple yet resourceful fellow. He showed around the hamlet – or what’s left of it anyway. Boarded up establishments, abandoned houses and a distinct lack of life disturbed me to my core. Why would anyone want to come to this derelict backwater?

As we returned to the Caretaker’s hut, a coach rolled into town, accompanied by one of those accursed travelling caravans. I could not help but notice their carriages were unmolested. I suspect we may have had something to do with that. Dismas and I approached the coach, however before we could even greet the driver, he had set off. As the dust settled, a monk and a strange, robed figure came into view.

We conversed briefly with the new arrivals. Aria was a Vestel from the west. She was pretty, in a plain sort of way. By the looks of her armaments she appeared to have been newly anointed. Possibly untested in the fields of battle. Her knowledge of the holy arts may still prove useful should more brigands decide to show up however. Dismas informed me later that the unusual looking figure was Victoria – a Plague Doctor from the Capital. I had my doubts as to what benefit her science would provide should we be attacked. I kept those thoughts to myself when I noticed a wickedly sharp knife at her waist.

I was rather suddenly pulled away by our employer. He had a stern look on his face, his wounds no longer showing any sign of hindrance, for reasons I cannot discern. He handed me a backpack filled with torches, food and a shovel. We were instructed to scout the nearby ruins. He warned not to venture too deep and only report on what creatures lurk in the dark. I returned to my companions and we hastily set off.

The ruins were a desolate place. The walls were falling apart, corridors had collapsed leaving nought but rubble and the remains of the poor servants and courtiers who could not escape in time. As we travelled the dark halls I noticed an abundance of old tomes, maps and scientific instruments scattered amongst the dusty slabs. Disturbing scrawlings littered what few walls remained intact. What horrors could have befallen the residents of this place?

Hours had passed, and we had not encountered any “creatures”. No pests, no scavengers, only the dead and the stone that buried them. I was about to call the expedition off when a clattering could be heard from a nearby storeroom. At first I thought we had stumbled upon some homeless villagers, squatting in the dark. How wrong I was. Upon opening the door, two unholy abominations stood before me. Shambling horrors made of animated bone and sinew armed with rusted, disease covered swords. I am ashamed to write this, but these creatures filled me with a terrorI had never experienced before. My limbs went stiff, I was paralysed with fear.

I recall Dismas being the first to react to these…things. His pistol reverberated throughout the ruins, threatening to shatter ear drums. His aim was true, splintering the ribcage of one of the skeletons. This did not deter their slow advance. From the corner of my eye, I saw Victoria unhook a vial of green liquid. The mysterious concoction shattered upon the ground, noxious fumes filling the air. The stench was like a salt, and woke me from my terror. To my surprise, the liquid itself had begun to corrode the bones of the approaching skeletons, with one of them collapsing into nothing but ash. As a drew my sword a bolt of lightning erupted from seemingly nowhere and struck the remaining skeleton in the chest. It’s body was hurtled across the room, shattering into fragments of bone, never to reform again. Clearly my new companions were capable combatants. I had misjudged them.

As we continued down the winding corridors, I approached Victoria and asked about her mysterious potions. She had very little to say, but when I discussed how rancid the smell of her concoction was, she stopped in her tracks. Her hand moved towards her dagger. With great shame, I immediately reached for my sword. A fool I was, as she was merely reaching into her satchel. She produced 3 lavander flowers, and handed them to the party. I placed mine in my helmet, whilst Dismas and Aria wove it into their collars. Apparently the lavander helps with the smell and can deter the plague.

After a brief halt for lunch, we neared the end of our route. We had been exploring for what felt like days, although I was informed it had been closer to six hours. As we were packing our packs and preparing to leave, a hideous, guteral chanting echoed through the hall. A flicker of light could be seen through the cracks in a nearby wall. The chanting could not have come from a skeleton, and our duty was to report on whatever manner of creature made this hell it’s home.

Dismas slowly opened the door and informed us that, to my surprise, humans were inside, performing rituals to raise the dead. I said a silent prayer, clutching my seal tightly. I drew my sword and kicked the door off it’s hinges. The quiet Victoria screamed at us to cover our eyes mere seconds before a flash enveloped the room. Our enemies had been dazed by our sudden appearance and the startling bright flash from the vial. To the left was a large man, his hands covered by a gauntlet of spikes. A vile apostle, clearly the one reanimating the deceased, was situated at the back of the room. Two skeletons rose beside her as she began to rub her eyes.

Dismas hopped over a table and dug his dagger deep into brutes leg before retreating, blood gushing from the open wound. Victoria lobbed one of her noxious vials, turning bloody laceration into a festering lesion as Aria conjured a bolt of lightning that brough the man to his knees. His breath was clearly shallow and laboured. I charged past him and struck the nearest skeleton. To my surprise, the dark magic holding the creature together was unmade upon contact with my sword resulting in bone flying everywhere.

I glanced behind me to ensure the wounded brawler had not regained his footing. He was infact convulsing violently on the floor, puss and bile pouring out of his skin. Not even the lavander helped cover the stench. This moment of distraction was all it took for a rusty blade to pierce my gut. Before I had the chance to retaliate an ethereal tendril lashed out from across the room a struck me in the chest. I was flung back, narrowly avoiding my companions. My vision began to fail me when Aria placed her palm on my wound. I felt a wave of warmth and a sense of reinvigorated conviction. I stumbled to my feet just in time to parry the advancing skeleton and crush its skull with the pomel of my sword. With a flash of a blade, Dismas had reached the accolyte and pierced her heart with his dagger. His speed and precision was terrifying to behold. I am glad he is on our side.

As Victoria and Aria were bandaging me up, Dismas brought over a curious set of busts and a stack of what appeared to be deeds. We were not instructed to collect any treasures, but these seemed important. Dismas packed them into his satchel and we made our way back to the Hamlet. I cannot speak for my companions, but I feel changed. This place is not natural. I regret accepting this contract.

Special thanks to: Sandman758 and Lexcah-Agaetra for providing the character names for this part.

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