Diaries of a Dungeon Delver #4 – Righteous Zeal

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.

Sunday, 16th December 18XX

An entire week has gone by since I last delved into the dark depths. The horrors of that place will never leave me I fear. The scars, physical, mental, and spiritual can be seen clearly on my comrades. It is like every step in that place carves a wound into each of us, taking a piece away and leaving nought but rot in its place. I loathe to admit that I have been turning evermore towards the sinful vices of the hamlet. Alcohol, gambling and even the tender embrace of whores have become a salve that I must administer daily.

We received a letter from our benefactor this morning. He has requested we scout a different area of his estate – the Weald. I know not what lies in that place, however I am not eager to explore. I gather my troupe and discuss our next course of action. It became clear that indecision was running amok, with nobody wanting to make a decision. I suspect they want to delay as long as possible. I cannot blame them.

Dismas and Euan, arrived late to the meeting, with Dismas taking control almost immediately. Despite his swollen, battered face, he spoke with an uncanny clarity that demanded attention. He tossed a silver coin, proclaiming the party would venture towards whichever side it landed on. Ruins. Once again, we would be descending into the ruins.

I gathered my armaments, and realised Dismas was not armed. A rare, and unusual sight to be sure. He merely laughed, left the room with Euan, and made his way to the pub. I respect the man, however he remains a lawless ruffian. I will have to have words with him when I return. I call upon Victoria and Aria to aid me in the expedition. Neither wanted to participate at first, they were clearly in need of recuperation. In the end, I shamefully resorted to manipulation. Their holy and alchemical talents were too valuable to leave behind. In the end, they bent to my will.

As we were about to depart, a stage coach rolled in. Mud and sludge caking its wheels. A mysterious woman disembarked, her skin dark, her dress unusual. I know not where she heralds from, however she is clearly from lands beyond our borders. In her hands, a wicked spear and a sturdy shield. She said nothing but her name, Zuleyma. Her body language indicated she was coming with us. I respect her eagerness. I wonder how long it will last.

Monday, 17th December 18XX

On the path to the ruins, rumours of a Necromancer began to flow from the lips of travellers and merchants. Once, I would have scoffed at such a thing. We would one day need to face this ‘creature’, but in order to do so, we must locate his lair. We packed heavy. Food, torches, shovels and camping supplies. This would be a long trip, and I would not be left wanting.

The ruins were as disturbing as I remember. Dark corridors, ruins masonry, dusty tomes and endless whispers bouncing from the cobbled ground. A haze befell our party almost immediately, disorientating and clouding our vision. The ear piercing sound of rusty metal echoed through the entry hall. A sharp scream followed. I looked back, and Zuleyma had stumbled upon a trap. The spikes had pierced her wrist, severing her hand in a most unnerving manner. She fell to the floor, blood pouring from her wound, her breathe quick and heavy. Victoria pushed her way to her side, vial and bandage in hand. Blood curdling screams soon followed as the liquid seared Zuleyma’s flesh, leaving bulbous blisters. She applied a bandage to her stump, and Aria cleansed the wound with holy light. Zuleyma strapped her shield to her stump, nodded, and began to march forward.

We scouted an untold number of rooms, all empty. Devoid of life, or unlife. The suffocating darkness and fear was beginning to have an effect on us. Shadows darting just outside our vision, cries of agony slowly rising to a deafening cacophony before being quelled with a startling suddenness. As delusion wracked our minds, we were suddenly assailed.

Before we could unsheathe our weapons, a red, viscous liquid drenched both Aria and Victoria. Their clothes soaked through, their skin stained. Despite their whimpers, they held firm. Aria, still dripping, swung her mace at the nearest skeleton, knocking it back, but failing to fell it. Vengeance in her eyes, Victoria unleashed a disorientating flash, causing one of the Courtiers to stumble forward in a daze. In the act of doing so, a monstrous undead hacked at her shoulder, bringing her to her knees, her blood mixing with the stagnant secretion.

Zuleyma, seemingly unhindered by her disfigurement pierced the chest of a cowering Courtier, flung him over her shoulder and slammed him to the ground. Aria drove her mace down, into its skull, leaving nothing but dust. As she looked up, another spray of liquid hit her face. Her eyes were red, puss running down her cheeks. Zuleyma nimbly navigated the chaos, and pinned the remaining Courtier to the wall, a sinister cackle left what was left of his decayed throat.

Seeing an opening, I decapitated the smaller skeleton before being slammed into the wall as the larger foe drove his axe into Zuleyma’s back. A sickening squelch and thud, followed by air being forced from her throat brought caught everyone’s attention. Lifeless, Zuleyma fell to the floor, blood pooling around her motionless body. Aria held the beast in place with holy magic, as I cut him down with one swing of my blade.

Aria rushed to Zuleyma’s body, quickly informing us she was alive, if only barely. She began chanting as a light knitted her wounds back together. Zuleyma jolted back into consciousness, her headdress hiding whatever emotion she was feeling. She used her spear as a crutch to get to her feet, swaying in an attempt to regain her balance. Victoria tried to administer a disinfectant of sorts, but Zuleyma shook her head. I imagine the trauma of her hand was enough to put her off Victoria’s “medicine”.

The battle was brutal, but short lived. The sickly stillness returned, and we began the long march. Though we encountered no foes for a time, we came across many curios and ancient artifacts. Most interestingly, a shrine. I doused it with holy water, and felt a surge of power. My muscles invigorated with what I can only describe as divine purpose. I reassure the party that the Gods are with us, and that we cannot fail our quest now.

Shortly after, we encountered numerous scouting parties of skeletons and even bandits. They were no match for us, now that we were blessed. My blade severed limbs, heads and entire torsos with little effort. My comrades were positively glowing, indestructible, radiating an infallible aura. No foe could stand in our way, we were unstoppable.

Disgust. I am filled with disgust. Aria and Victoria approached me, demanding we make camp to rest. The Gods do not allow idleness, it is a sickness of the soul. They claim they are falling deeper into despair and need to recuperate. I can see the lies on their faces. The light of the divine surrounds us all. If we stop, we will lose our purpose. We will lose our guide.

I planted my boot firmly into a door, leading to what seemed to be a vault. The enemies inside were unaware of our approach, and taken by complete surprise. A grenade filled with noxious gas flew over my shoulder, slowly eating away at the undead cowering at the back of the room. Zuleyma cracks one of the Courtiers with the shaft of her spear, sending him flying to the frontlines, his goblet spilling dark liquid over Victoria. Her resolve broke, a deep fear shattered her will and left her cowering on the floor. Clearly she had angered the Gods by suggesting we rest. Aria rushed to her side, futilely trying to heal her. She could only heal the body, the mind was beyond her skills. I held my hand aloft, muttered a prayer and the skeletons who stood before me were turned to ash. The remaining foe, succumbed to the bottled plague Victoria had dispensed earlier.

Aria dared to question my leadership. She claimed that I was blinded with power, and that Victoria needed immediate aid. I scoffed at her, and informed her we had completed our task. We could leave, and receive our reward. Victoria was punished sufficiently for her blasphemy, there was no reason to linger.

Saturday 22nd December 18XX

I am disgusted with my behaviour in the ruins. What madness overtook me? I read my journal and I am sick to my stomach. I hear the screams of Victoria in the chapel. I can only pray that she finds comfort within its walls. That accursed place brings nothing but madness. Even the blessings toy with your mind, leave you raving. I must be more vigilant. I must flagellate to atone.

Special thanks to: Sandman758, TGRBriefs, Izel98, Joa Memola and Lexcah-Agaetra for providing the character names for this part.

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