“Hey boss, we’ve found something. We’ve discovered a hidden cave beyond the walls of shaft B. Can you come take a look at it?”
“Why the hell not? Nothing ever goes on in these caves anymore, besides the occasional cave-ins and explosions…” The chief of Lexindon’s central mining operation rises from his seat and follows the worker.
Entering the mysterious cave, the chief marvels at what’s before him.
“Holy- we’ve hit the jackpot!” The cave’s walls are covered in gleaming emeralds and shining veins of gold.
This- this is incredible! I haven’t seen anything like this in the sixty years that I’ve been working here! What are you all waiting for? Get digging!" The impatient miners eagerly dug away at the precious ores and gems they’d stumbled upon.
“Hey,” a worker yells out, “Look at this, lads. These dark rocks here are hard as bedrock.”
“Let me see,” Upon examining the strange, durable material, he said confidently, “Well, there ain’t nothing a sturdy hit from a pick pick won’t fix!” He swung at the rock with all his strength. The explosion that followed killed nearly all the workers in the cave.
King Alexander’s eyes regained focus, and he noticed his advisor was speaking.
“Your majesty,” King Alexander III’s head advisor inquired, “Are you sure you want to our miners to keep digging in that horrible cave? Our psychics say that they’re picking evil auras from the recently-opened portal.”
“Oh, sorry, I wasn’t listening before that. Can you back up a bit?” The king said with mild interest.
The advisor sighed. “After the tragic explosion in the mine, our workers noticed a strange, misty purple fog appearing inside of the portal-shaped… thing. When one stands inside of it, they immediately begin to disintegrate. The portal itself isn’t aggressive, so as long as they don’t touch it, they seem to be able to safely extract the rare materials surrounding it.”
“Why not? Sounds good to me.” Alexander replied, interested in the idea of expanding his kingdom’s coffers.
“But here’s the thing. Our miners say they smell a strong odor of blood coming from the portal, yet the corpses from the accident have been cleaned up. What’s more, the more the miners dig, the thicker and deadlier the fog becomes. It’s as if the portal is… opening. Are you sure it’s best to not simply close off the entrance to that cave and forget about the entire ordeal?”
“No, listen.” The king started, “Half our kingdom is owned by the Merchants’ Guild. The palace is falling apart, and our economy’s not doing too well, after our Keldugnirian allies’ defeat. That cave is the answer to our problems! To hell with the portal!”
“Are you sure, your majesty? After all, we wouldn’t want to be putting our miners’ lives at risk. Besides, we could always ask the Northern Kingdom for a loan.”
“No. Our miners will keep digging, and that is final.” The king declared in a firm tone.
Very well, your majesty. I’ll send word to the new head-miner."
Little did the king know, that this decision would ultimately lead to his kingdom’s demise.
Two weeks later…
“Your majesty!!” A royal messenger barges in during the King’s fine lunch.
“What?” The king says, annoyed at the messenger for barging in so suddenly.
"There’s been a string of disasters! First, there was another, larger explosion in the mines. Some claim to have seen hellish blood creatures exiting the mines. It got worse- we’ve had reports of mass-suicides in the area. It’s spreading from the mines to the rest of the city, and we’re not sure what’s causing this suicidal epidemic. Even law enforcement and the Royal Guard can’t do anything- all of them are affected by this. We’ve got to do something!"
Baffled, the king said, “I’ve got to see this for myself.” He paced towards the large window in his throne room. Just as he was about to pull away the blinds, a look of realization crossed his head-advisor’s face. The advisor leaped towards the king, knocking him over.
“The hell’s wrong with you? You’re this to losing your job right now.”
"Your Majesty, it’s our eyes! When people set their eyes upon them, they kill themselves! I just saved you, for Crimatax’s sake!’
The king slowly got up, shocked at the thought. “So… What do we do now? Do we stay here, with all the blinds closed and the gates sealed?”
“For now, we’ll have to, yes.” His advisor said, his voice quivering slightly.