The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market

Darragh, non-lucid

3rd of Ashan 721

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The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market




3rd of Ashan 721

The Swine King was comfortable in his throne behind a stone lectern, looking down on his very special and magical map. The map showed the entrance to his very large dungeon that lay somewhere in the Isle of Scalvoris, the meats of which he was well familiar with. He hummed to himself, remembering their finest delicacies. From fire clams to Temple Monkey brains. There was much to admire about the Isle of Scalvoris. But here, his map didn't necessarily show itself on the Isle of Scalvoris. No, it existed somewhere apart from it. Almost like a personal domain of the Swine King himself, no unlike that which the Immortals possess! Somewhere in Emea, let's say.

And the map didn't just show where things were in the dungeon. They showed people, and creatures, and little bits of treasure here or there. Further, they showed intruding adventurers who thought to disturb the Swine King's realm in an effort to plunder his treasures. And it showed all of it in real time! Very handy. And also very entertaining for the Swine King, who spent much of his time trying to lure errant people into his dungeon through many manners of artifice and trickery.

Here, he set up a false painting, that showed a portion of his dungeon. However, it was very poorly painted. It showed a version of himself. Only he was a... stick figure with a round, circular body, a straight arm, two straight legs, and one arm that was squiggly and malformed. His face was easily draw as a child might a pig, with black brush. All the lines of the figure were in fact drawn with a black brush. There was a sun overhead, with a smiley face, and the Swine King's likeness stood on a green field.

Now, the Swine King only needed to wait, and see if any would take the bait, and enter his little dungeon lair, where he might unleash all kinds of mischief, traps, and minions upon them. He snorted and squealed in anticipation in his seat, just waiting to see who would come.






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Re: The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market

In her dreams, she was Traveler.

Under the waves, at the edge of the sea, Traveler swam down to the old city. She darted through empty doorways and white stone walls, not minding the other swimmer-explorers in the waters. Often, she was drawn back to the largest building. This was a massive stone rectangle half-buried in the pale green sand, a former indoor market whose bone-white stalls carved with symbols of vegetables, which she revealed as her fingers and toes brushed over them. No one knew exactly why the old city had sunk. An Immortal hadn’t liked tomatoes, maybe. It was all left to explorers and historians now.

There was a limited time she could stay underwater. So she pushed herself back up, as the last motes of air burned in her lungs. At the bottom of the sea the water was still, but here, the surface was broken by waves that pushed her around like a marionette. When she finally broke through the surface, she breathed in. Most often than not, it wasn’t air she was inhaling. The true surface would be a few more arm strokes away. There, she breathed in again.

Like a pellicle of oil, darkwater lingered over the sea. You could breathe darkwater, though people said you shouldn’t. They said that if you spent too much time in it, it changed you in strange and unsettling ways. It glistened softly.

Up and down, up and down went Traveler, as graceful in the water as a manatee. In front of her, on the seafloor, was the old city. Behind her, outside, was a very specific cliff off the north-eastern side of Scalvoris Town. She didn’t know what she was looking for, or, rather, there was no space in her mind for the ‘for’, only for the ‘looking’. So when she found the old pirate map, under a pile of fossilized cabbage leaves and volcanic ash, it was just one of the many wonders she’d encountered. Evidently it had belonged to pirates, because it was in the sea, and it was clearly a map, despite being sealed in a featureless scroll tube. There was enough physics left in Traveler for her not to open it underwater. She fought her way back to the surface, lulled up and down by the giant waves of darkwater, and grew to realize that she was getting tired. She turned to the shore.

There was a ladder there, which was the only way out. Traveler made her way past other explorers, as they too went up for air. It was too short to go all the way up, but used a pulley system to harness the force of the waves. The ladder went up, down, up, down…If she grasped the rungs of the ladder too late, she didn’t have time to climb all the way up until the force of the breaking wave tore her away from it. If she grasped it too early, then there wouldn’t be enough momentum from the wave to power the mechanism. In addition, the pulley had rusted, so now Traveler wasn’t even sure it could move all the way to the top. But after a few attempts she got it, clung onto the ladder, climbed and stepped sideways into a cave in the cliff just before a great rolling wave broke behind her.

There, she opened the tube and unrolled the treasure map. Cold spray splashed the nape of her neck. She saw the paint and drew her fingers over it. She liked paint. She smiled at the little piggy. And, as she thought of adventure, she stepped into the map. The cave shifted imperceptibly to a manmade tunnel, connecting her to a dream not fully of her own making. Water still dripped down her neck.

Traveler walked on.
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Re: The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market




The Swine King laughed as he'd snared another mortal into his maze of wonders, and his mirth carried through the galleries that the Traveler now trod through. He looked at the Traveler, and their surroundings. When he realized where the Traveler had landed, he brought a cloven forehoof to his mouth in delight. She'd landed in one of his most favoritest of places. The Fartlord's galleries. This was where the Fartlord dwelt, the butcher of dreams and nightmares, who'd once held the Fleshbound Tome hostage from the Swine King, before he'd cast him down into that hellish tunnel, to serve out his existence as a guardian of his higher realms.

The Swine King reached over for a speaking horn, and began to talk into it. Remarkably, his voice carried to where the Traveler now trod:

"Traveler, you have landed upon the galleries of the Fartlord. Pray that he rests, but mind his lesser kin, who wield the butchers' implements with less skill than the Fartlord, but with no less prejudice for those who trespass on his galleries!"

The Swine King oinked in pleasure as he relinquished the speaking horn, and watched with rapt attention as the Traveler walked on into the tunnels.

Already, he could scout several dozen of the little things, marching and rushing for where the Traveler now stood. They bore little knives and forks and other tools of a meat man's trade. However, they were weak next to the Fartlord himself. And beyond the reckoning of the Swine King, who had magical powers beyond the physical.

The Swine King oinked, watching as he shoved a few chips into his mouth, waiting for the encounter to commence.




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Re: The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market

Words were strange in the world of dreams.

Freed from the constraints of the day, they connected in experimental ways, as the mind was reshaping itself. ‘Mind the lesser kin’ became ‘kin of lesser mind’. That brought a note of pity in the Traveler’s mind, because it sure must be difficult for the Fartlord to care for all his relatives! And even though it was but a minor thought, it inextricably colored the strength and superiority she would later assume.

Traveler walked on. Although she still carried a whiff of the sea breeze with her, she started to notice the stench of decay growing stronger. The corridor was just bright enough to see the darkness corroding it at the seams, the grime of unspecified origin, the clawing marks left by nails against the walls. She passed several cross-roads, but continued along the main path. At first she sensed the change through her heel-bones, strange reverberations in the floor. As they got closer, she caught the clatter of small hooves coming from multiple directions, the hsssshhht-tchhhh, the swishing of blade over blade, the squealing chatter and a skittering, sputtering song.

‘…the heart, still beating, ripped out of the chest
‘tis kept for our leader that we love the best
One rule for up, ‘nother for below
Gristle for the weak, marrow for the soul
Ah, I’ll have a kidney still dripping, with glee,
Blood’s the finest spice to spinal fluid’s tea!’


The verses went on and on, mentioning all the entrails in a body and some that Traveler hadn’t heard about, looping around in a cacophony of tempos and pitches that made it sound as if many of the participants didn’t have the, or even a standard mouth. She went quiet, more out of wishing to hear the song, and that bought her some time. Then she saw them, figures about waist-high, jumping out from behind a corner. They looked somewhat like pigs walking on hind legs, and somewhat like the goblins. Traveler’s voice trembled:

“But the liver’s still the most distinguished, you see,
For a livery-clad valet guards the livrary.”

Three charged at her, while two were left behind, both presumably due to the pain caused by Traveler’s verses. A knife, a fork and a meat skewer dug in her calves.

“Excuse me.” Traveler stomped her feet. The force of it was enough to propel the short pig-goblins far enough for her to pick them up and throw them away one by one. They floated like balloons, with one landing between a newly-arriving group and scattering them.

“Didn’t you hear the narrator? You’re supposed to wield those against trespassers.” She wagged her finger. “I am supposed to be here.”

Her certainty made the dream-minions hesitate. She sure looked weirdly elongated, but radiated a sense of belonging.

“I’d be a trespasser if I entered the galleries without paying the entrance fee, but there are no paintings, therefore you need an artist.” She glanced at the grimy walls with a critical eye. Not a single painting!

A paintbrush materialized in her hand and she reached down to her injured leg.

Using her blood for paint, she sketched her way deeper into the dungeon. She started with a wave, like the wave that brought her here, but as it advanced, it turned into tendrils, and the salt spray turned into seeds, which sprouted three-sided leaves with each side shaped like a heart. There were flowers, too, swaying in a gentle breeze, and pods that just started to crack, and even though she couldn’t grasp at the moment that these were bean plants, and that ‘gentle breeze’ was also a fart joke in Rakihi, the girl would probably find it hilarious when she woke up. Every now and then, one of the pig-goblins charged at her still, and she just picked them up and threw them back. They were somewhat helpful, because otherwise she forgot to bleed unless she paid attention, and it was frustrating to run out of paint. Still, she got rather annoyed when a large cleaver got her just behind the knee, and used the large splash of blood to draw a line cordoning off their area of the corridor. ‘You’re supposed to wait behind the red cordon before a gallery properly opens’, she explained.

There was chatter as she painted, including a lecture about how they should stop waving sharp implements around all the time or they might get repetitive strain injuries. Those knifes should really be re-sized for your short stubby fingers, you know, don’t just loot adventurers and call it a day! Evil minions deserve a union too! She drew on and on, until she couldn’t see them anymore, then hear them, but soon enough after that she felt another rumble. This one was regular. Traveler strained her hearing.

A snore?

She thought. The narrator had warned her against disturbing the sleeping Fartlord, but the main corridor was heading precisely that way. She scratched her head. Maybe if she brought a gift?

Picking at her scabs to get some more blood out, she drew a large rectangle, wider than her outstretched arms and almost her height, wrote “+-et” at the point her lines connected, then gently peeled it off the wall.

Words were strange. Sometimes, you added extra letters and the meaning shifted, while still being vaguely in the same field. Such as sign and signet, ball and ballet, mill and millet.

So, blank became blank-et.

Traveler walked on, arms full of an airy blanket of shifting lines.
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Re: The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market


He watched intently as she sang a quite nicely composed song. It was very good! The Swine King almost wanted her to succeed as she continued down the halls, confusing the Fartlord's minions momentarily and then tossing them aside as they were nothing. The creatures weren't made to present much of an obstacle, in truth, only to slow down the dreamer's progression through the fleshy dungeon. He almost considered sending more against her, so he could have another song. Yet, when she drew her paintbrush, he gasped audibly over the sounding horn, which carried his voice throughout the halls.

The Swine King was delighted by the cleverness of the Traveler, rewriting or rather repainting the scene to suit her own whims and designs. He looked at her paintbrush with envy, wishing he had such a toy that he could reform these halls. But no, he was bound to this realm, and couldn't very well change it without inextricably changing himself. Still, he wondered what would happen if he had the paintbrush...

Adjusting the sounding horn through which his voice traveled on the lectern, he made his next statements known. "The Traveler has a magic brush, which can remake this hall! I want that paintbrush on my lectern tonight, and whoever brings it to me, can eat all my rinds."

So saying, he dipped his hoofed hand into a bag of cheese-flavored pork rinds, took them out and shoved them into his mouth, chewing noisily into the sounding horn. His snorting and chewing could be heard throughout the halls that the Traveler was walking through. As the dreamer continued through those fleshy and fetid galleries, using her paintbrush to more or less create a way through, hands and hooves alike began protruding from the walls. They all grasped for the paintbrush, ignoring her, but all trying to grab the special instrument she'd conjured!

The Swine King guffawed as they groped for the paintbrush. It would be his, he would make it so! And what would he do with such a paintbrush? Why... he wasn't sure!

So the King leaned back in his chair, behind his lectern, and wondered just what he'd do with such a magical instrument as that! It was enough to distract him as the Traveler got closer and closer to the top of the Dungeon.




word count: 395

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Re: The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market



And just like a wisp of belly lint, the Traveller got flicked away and gone from the dungeon. The Swine King lifted a meaty hoof and gestured and a vacuum suction force plucked her from those galleries beneath the control center. The Swine King grew tired of her antics, and she was getting far too close for comfort to control central with that magic brush of hers, and that lovely singing voice. The Swine couldn't abide such brazen disregard for his personal space, not when there were minions marching about in the inner bowels of his dungeon. No Ma'am!

The Swine King got off of the chair, where the pulleys and levers that controlled the dispatching of minions and the pulling of traps were managed by the controller. Unfortunately, as he turned around, the Swine King's rump rubbed up against all of the controls. The mechanisms went whirly-gig and haywire, turning out of control as the pulley system and releases all engaged at once. He checked his crystal ball, which was used to monitor the grounds below. He saw the minions, the little piglets turning around in the galleries, and marching up toward where the Traveler was heading before.

One of them picked up the magic painting brush. And with it, began painting a doorway for the long ranks of pigs to march through. The Swine King looked up, his brow moist from sweat as he anticipated the assault that would follow. The Minions were rebelling!

He backed away from the growing entrance, that was drawn crudely against the air. He could see the other side of it from where he stood. It was like a poorly-drawn wooden gate, complete with horizontal planks and fittings and hinges. Once it was done being painted, there was a moment of pregnant silence. Then, the gate boomed open, and the piglet minions all filed in. The Swine King was seized by them, and brought before one of the scrawniest pigs he'd ever seen, carrying a crossbow and crying over it.

The Swine King tried to talk, but his own words wouldn't come out. "Do it!" But he hadn't meant to say that!

The piglet held the crossbow aloft, his arms starting to shake as he lifted its stock to his eye-level so he could aim. Then, he pulled the release and sent the bolt into the Swine King's head.



Rakvald awoke in their camp, his and Ash-Flaw's. He hadn't thought about pigs in ages, and wondered idly if his dream was a signal of a deeper psychological disturbance. Eventually, he calmed down, and it being still dark, after refreshing the coals of the fire with some more fresh fallen wood, he went back to sleep.

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Re: The Swine King: Underworld Meat Market

Woe

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Comments:
I see you knew my Dungeon Master. :P

This was an interesting thread idea, and it's too bad Darragh didn't stick around to help you finish it. I like the idea of the Swine King being a cannibal (eating pork rinds!)
Let me know if either of you have any questions/feedback. Enjoy your rewards!
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