TRIAL BY DUNGEON

Chapter One

"This is it Cho." He said to himself as he stood outside of Grey Hall, the entrance to the academy's dungeon.

It was his final test before venturing out on his own. The five level dungeon was on Gryffon Academy's grounds and was for student use only. He never really cared about their rules and figured, if it was good enough to be Gryffon Academy's final test for graduation, it would be his as well before leaving home. Unfortunately, it seemed three students had disappeared in the dungeon in the last week.

Sneaking onto campus was the easy part. He had lived in Gryffon's Haven all his life and knew the ins and outs of the town and the Academy. Now, it was time for him to make his own destiny and that began with completing the dungeon of Grey Hall.

Cho entered the building cautiously. The place was completely empty except for a staircase leading to the depths below. Cho stood at the top of the stairs and examined himself once more before entering. He wore his usual outfit of black pants, black shirt, and brown knee-high warboots. For his jaunt into the dungeon, he wore a silver breastplate with shoulder extensions that he salvaged from a dead Piccolo soldier, a brown utility belt around his waist, which carried different potions, and a Brande made broadsword his father left to him. He ran a hand through his short brown hair and took a deep breath before entering the darkness leading to the dungeon.

Once reaching the bottom of the stairs, he was happy to see that torches already lighted the corridors. The ceiling of the corridor had to be at least fifteen feet high. The dungeon was made of stone and greened over by moss in most places. The air was dank and smelled of moss and the odor of an unwashed animal. Cho drew his sword and continued down the long corridor until he reached a left turn to run into a Scalian, a humanoid lizard squatting and gnawing on a bone and carrying a hand axe. It turned to see him and bared its teeth. It dropped the bone and pulled the axe from its crude belt.

"Huuu…mon." It hissed at him and began to approach him.

Cho gripped his sword with both hands and studied the creature as it approached him. Not wanting to waste energy, he decided to hold off on using any sword techniques. Before he died, his father, Zardin, had taught him how to manipulate the same energy used by mages. Instead of magic, which he could also use, his father taught him what he called Blade Magic. He had a feeling he would get to use them on something more than wood this time.

The green lizard-man hissed at him again before charging him with its axe held high. It brought its axe down hard in an effort to split Cho's skull, but he easily blocked with his sword and pushed the reptile back. The creature stumbled back a couple steps and tried the same attack again. Cho sidestepped and cut the monster across its midsection spilling its guts to the stone floor. The creature fell to the floor in a heap twitching as its lifeblood poured out onto the ground. Cho studied it for a moment and then took a small pouch of gold coins from its makeshift belt along with the hand axe still gripped by its hand.

It must have liked shiny things. Cho thought.

Cho slid the axe into his belt and continued on into the dungeon. He turned another left and then a right. He walked on as the corridor went straight on and off to the left into another hallway. Cho decided to go forward, but stopped when he heard something come from the adjacent corridor. He turned back and ventured down the side tunnel. At the end of the passageway he found a statue of a maiden being struck over and over by an Undead. The reanimated skeleton sensed him and turned to face him. Cho rushed in quickly and decapitated it before it had a chance to react.

The Undead's head went tumbling across the floor leaving the body to die once again. In attack the monster, Cho also hit the statue's arm, which opened a secret stairwell in the wall to his right. He decided to take his chances and entered the stairwell.