It’s a factor of the Dungeon that I find has been curiously understudied, the fact that the denizens of that place, the monsters in all their various forms, change over time. One hundred years ago the tower lead a detailed study into the menace of the Scorpionem genus that had been terrorising the Dungeon under Enlightened Alliance lands. And now? That particular variety of monster is gone, almost never seen.
The question that needs answering is why? Environmental pressures do no not account for such a rapid extinction of a species from the Dungeon on their own. Monster populations are incredibly adaptable, even the less intelligent species are known to adjust behaviours and select different mutations in order to adapt to the ever changing conditions around them at lightning quick speeds.
So why the dearth of Scorpionem monsters? Some of my peers have suggested that they were hunted to extinction, a prospect I find laughable. These creatures were featured in a study detailing their detrimental takeover of a large swathe of Dungeon territory, and we are to believe that they were exterminated by the surface races? Not a single documented case of a Dungeon species, let alone genus, being driven extinct by surface intervention exists.
And why? Because we cannot prevent or control Dungeon spawns. When a large population of one monster gathers together, it is known to cause a spawn point to form, but it isn’t required. Destroying all of one species at a point does not prevent them from being spawned elsewhere. It’s almost as if the Dungeon decided that it didn’t need or want to spawn Scorpionem monsters anymore, so it stopped. Had they fulfilled their purpose? Were they deemed to be unsuccessful? We are on the edge of a very important question, one that touches on the very nature and purpose of the Dungeon.
Does the Dungeon choose which monsters are spawned and where? If so, the implications are terrifying.
Excerpt from ‘Biodiversity in the Dungeon, a dissertation on its breadth and purpose’ by Xinci
Isaac Bird had seen some plops in his day. When his father had walked out his mother, little Isaac little more than a wee toddler himself, that’d been some ripe, fresh bull plops right there. His poor ma had worked herself to the bone, scrubbing pots and serving tables at the Skeevy Rat, a complete dive on the water front.
When Isaac got old enough he’d managed to ‘prentice himself out to a local guard company, finally able to bring home a bit ‘o coin to support his ma, only to have her take sick and pass away three months later.
That was plops with some serious heft. Real weight to ’em. Some men could be crushed under that kind of weight, but not Isaac Bird, no sir. He’d picked himself up and carried on. After three years of getting his head kicked in, training, levelling and carrying the plops for jeering superiors, he’d become a full guardsman.
That’d been two years ago and since then, Isaac had been knee deep in it and no mistake. Guards on the take? Plops. Merchants stepping on the citizens, above the law due to their wealth? Big bag ‘o plops right there. Poor people strugglin, starvin’, dyin’ with nobody to look after ’em, thrown on the garbage heap to rot with the off fish? That be a steaming mountain of brown right there.
But this latest one had to take the cake. Watching the merchants and nobles sailing out onto the sweet blue waters of Barka Lake, burning the fishing fleet behind them as savage Dungeon monsters swarmed over the walls, that’d been the largest, most potent serving of plops that Isaac had ever clapped eyes on. Sacrificing the people of Midum so they’d have more time to escape, those worthless sacks of trash had ground the poor under their heel all their lives and now they sought to prevent their death the same way they lived: at the detriment of a whole heap of others.
Isaac shouldn’t have felt surprised, but the callousness of it had rattled him.
“Anna! Find out what the hell is burnin’ would ya!” he hollered to his second in command as he struggled to clear the sting out of his eyes. The damned smoke was everywhere. Even as he coughed Isaac found an opening through a crack in the door and thrust his spear through with all his strength.
Well ‘aint that somethin’. If he survived he might be able to reach Spear Supremacy before he turned thirty, quite the honour for a town guard.
The fighting was thick and fierce now, had been for the whole damned week. The walls were lost so quickly, the attack coming out of nowhere. Mainly because City Lord Cranten pulled all the scouts in and chucked them inside the wall when he found out what had happened in Liria. Terrified of Monsters erupting out of the ground he’d let them walk right up the walls during the night. Flamin’ moron.
“Come on you yellow dogs!” Isaac bellowed, “what are you watin’ for? Breathable air?! Get your ass on the door!”
Beleaguered and suffering, the last able bodied survivors of Midum heeded his call and stumbled back into position, braced against the splintered doors that were the last defence against the swarming beasts outside.
Isaac tightened his grip on number five, his spear, before he stabbed once more through the crack in the door on instinct. His intuition was rewarded with a pained growl and a squelching impact as the spear tip struck home.
“What in the blinkin’ blazes was that?!” Isaac hollered as the stones beneath his feet rattled from a colossal impact.
Thinking the monsters outside the door must have staggered from that impact, Isaac leapt forward to press his face to the crack and his eyes widened at what he saw.
A sea of monsters heaved across the docks outside the warehouse, but beyond them something he couldn’t explain was took place. A giant gorilla monster was smashing smaller monsters into pieces, smashing them like twigs.
Even as he watched a, writhing mass of tentacles erupted and a hideous beast of horrifying darkness began snatching creatures up and stuffing them into its fanged maw.
“What in the name of bleedin’ bloody blood” Isaac muttered, scarcely believing what he was seeing. Why would monsters turn on each other now? It didn’t make sense! And where the heck did this lot come from?!
A flash of light caught his eye and he pulled back from the door just in time as a piercing ray of light pierced through the hulking monsters around the door, scything them down like wheat. Only when the spray blasted through the crack and into his face did Isaac realise it had been water.
What on Pangera?!