Game Designer | Writer



About Me



Bio

Hi, I'm a Narrative & UI/UX Designer working on my own self-published indie games.

I've been in the game development industry since 2016 where I first began my studies at SAE Qantm, where I majored in game design. Since then I've worked on a variety of projects, from 'Serious Games' during my employment as an app designer at 89 Friends PTY LTD, to smaller, indie, studio-based projects where I worked in my fields. All of these games can be found here, on my portfolio.

As a Narrative Designer, I take great pride in telling deep and fantastic tales. Whether subtle or obvious, I take care to ensure that the user is delivered a vividly detailed experience aligned with my creative style, which is to use rich, descriptive elements. I'm also always seeking to expand my vocabulary and understanding of all forms of creative writing, such as poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting, as my first few works displayed jarring and unnatural narratives. So to hone my skills you'll always find me reading different forms of literature and playing a variety of narrative-driven games to grasp a better understanding of ways to tell a story properly.


More About Me

For as long as I have been playing games I have always been fascinated by the way the world can inform the beholder, the way it can tell stories through so many different ways: narrative, environmental, and dialogue. I'm extremely passionate about creating an emotionally evocative experience, something that will make them laugh and cry, hate and love.

My dream is to spend my life making the world a better place through games. I have taken an enormous amount of inspiration from media like Dmitry Glukhovsky's 'Metro Series' and Andrzej Sapkowski's 'The Witcher Series' which entirely explore the themes of moral and ethical problems drawn from the modern day.


Strengths

Level
Design

Creative
Writing

UI/UX
Design

Quest
Design


Technical Skills

Unity
3D/2D

C#

Source-
Tree

Git-
Kraken

OBS


Contact Me


Want to get in touch? You can contact me from these!


0497-478-793

levistenton@gmail.com


My Media


Send me an email!


Nostalgic Paradigm



Nostalgic Paradigm is a game that represents the fear of growing up; specifically targeted towards those who spend their childhood with video-games. I worked on this as the sole developer in my spare time where I wrote the content based on how I feel about my own childhood and developed a short narrative experience for others like me to play. I tried to evoke a feeling of appreciation for the memories we have of our younger days, knowing that we will never be there again. While I do have a target audience, I have written everything in a way as to include all types of people.

Project Timeframe


1 Months in total. This originally started a concept piece I had worked on for about a week a few years ago. Only just recently in the past three weeks did I dedicate myself to designing and developing the project.

My Responsibilities


- Designing the atmosphere to make the user feel alone and afraid.
- Writing the dialogue and quotes that are encountered via the computer and throughout the levels.
- Scripting the stages and scenes and how they interact with each other.
- Implementing PlayerPrefs to maintain player settings and an end-game secret between sessions.
- Implementing controller support for more expansive accessibility.

Tools Used


- Unity Engine 2018.2.0b1
- Visual Studio 2017
- GitKraken/SourceTree
- C#
- Google Docs

Download it here!




Good Morning



Good Morning is a feeling-based game centred around the idea of home. On the original project, I worked as the vision holder and one of the level designers for my Studio 2 module during my studies. But recently I have revisited this project and completely re-designed the core systems and overall user experience from the ground up using my more recent set of skills, resulting in a much smoother and stable experience as opposed to the previous student project where I had far less experience as a designer and programmer.

The core idea of the narrative (carrying out your morning routine) was entirely my responsibility, along with designing and creating the world around it. These features have still persisted to the latest re-visiting of the game.

Project Timeframe


5 Weeks for the original project.
An additional month to re-design the systems alone in the update.

My Responsibilities


- Maintaining the project's vision.
- Designing the house and the world around it.
- Designing the narrative of the morning routine.
- Designing the user experience/interface to suit the unique visual style.
- Designing the mechanics and how the user interacted with the world.
- Designing and programming the updated systems behind all interactions.

Tools Used


- Unity Engine 2018.3.5f1
- Visual Studio 2017
- GitKraken/SourceTree
- C#
- Google Docs

Blogs and Writing


Post Mortem


Download it here!




✓Seen



Seen is a story based game centred around the idea of an emotional event in our lives: rejection. I worked on this game as it's sole developer, being responsible for everything for my Studio 2 module during my studies at SAE Qantm. As the sole developer, my priorities were to evoke an emotional response from players through an experience that they would find relatable. The rest of the game was moulded around that idea and familiar environments that could be related to it, i.e Facebook's browser messenger, a likely ground for communication.

Project Timeframe


2 Weeks to bring the project to be published.

My Responsibilities


- Maintaining the project's vision.
- Designing the narrative of being rejected through social media.
- Designing the user interface/experience to mimic that of real social media in an abstract way.
- Designing the mechanics of the chat interactions.
- Writing the scripts for the character's dialogue.
- Programming the systems behind the menus.
- Designing the chat messengers using the Fungus Unity Plugin.

Tools Used


- Unity Engine 2017.1.0f3
- Visual Studio 2017
- GitKraken/SourceTree
- C#
- Google Docs
- Fungus Unity Plugin

Blogs and Writing


How I Made The Chat Messenger
An Analysis of 'Emily is Away'


Download it here!




Tempus



Tempus is a story-based walking sim based on the idea of making a game entirely set within one location without any bipedal characters. I worked on this game as rhe vision holder and the lead level designer for my Studio 1 module during my studies at SAE Qantm. I designed the narrative progression along with writing and directing the script, while also, as vision holder, being entirely responsible for the idea of the core loop and the intended experience.

Project Timeframe


6 Weeks for our ever team project to be published.

My Responsibilities


- Maintaining the project's vision
- Assisting in designing the layout of the level..
- Designing the narrative to suit the constrictions we faced.
- Writing the dialogue scripts for the voice actors.
- Assisting in the way the users interact and progress in the world.
- Directing the voice actors to ensure they meet the project's vision.

Tools Used


- Unity Engine 5.6.3f1
- Visual Studio 2015
- GitKraken/SourceTree
- C#
- Google Docs

Blogs and Writing


Voice Acting Insight


Download it here!




Arena of the Bored Kings



Arena of the Bored Kings is a fantasy, competitive, split-screen arena game where both players face each other in a duel to sate the boredom of two kings. I worked on this game as the only and lead designer for my capstone project during my studies. My responsibilities were to concept, design, and implement the writing, UI, level, and menus in a captivating, thematic, and intuitive way.

Project Timeframe


6 Months in total. 3 Months for prototyping and documentation, 3 Months for development, polishing, and publishing.

My Responsibilities


- Designing the arena's layout.
- Designing the underlying narrative and game context.
- Writing the scripts of the quips, barks, and dialogue for voice actors.
- Designing the main menu to employ an intuitive user interface and experience while also houseing all the written lore.

Tools Used


- Unity Engine 2018.2.0b1
- Visual Studio 2017
- GitKraken/SourceTree
- C#
- Google Docs

Blogs and Writing


UI/UX Design for the Main Menu


Download it here!



Close

Falling



Falling is a surreal soundscape game where the user drifts gracefully to their death while amidst a peaceful storm. I worked on this game as a designer where I helped conceptualize, implement, and test various ways to create and enhance an audio-visual experience from the ambient music delivered to us by James Reynolds. I also primarily worked on designing the main menu and menu animations to deliver a smooth menu-to-game transition so that the game remains one smooth journey, while simultaneously keeping the UI intuitive and clean.

Project Timeframe


1 Month in total to publish the project via WebGL.

My Responsibilities


- Designing the journey down and events that transpire on the way.
- Conceptualizing the world and storm.
- Designing and modelling the terrain.
- Designing and implementing the main menu and menu animations.

Tools Used


- Unity Engine 2018.2.0b1
- Visual Studio 2017
- WebGL
- GitKraken/SourceTree
- C#
- Google Docs

Download it here!



Ardent Garden



Narration by project lead, Jacob Duniam.

Ardent Garden is a prototype AR 'Serious Game' I helped develop for client 89Friends PTY LTD focusing on spreading environmental awareness throughout the New South Whales school curriculum by providing students and educational experience, while simutaneously balancing it out with interesting and entertaining content. My priorities were to design prototype potential minigames that would educate and remind the students how to prune young plants, plant seeds in the approprate soil/locations, exterminate pests safely, and remove weeds without harming the garden.

Project Timeframe


6 Months in total. 3 Months for prototyping and documentation, 3 Months for development, polishing, and showcasing. The former 3 months were spent on a disclosed version of the project named 'Project Sapling', that we, the developers, took ownership of.

My Responsibilities


- Designing the educational minigames in a way that educates whilst simutaneously captivating them.
- Designing and implementing the plants and their purpose as different rarities based on how endangered they are.
- Conceptualizing how we can keep the UI/UX clean and intuitive for children while keeping it interesting for older students.
- Designing and implementing the prototype's garden and menus.

Tools Used


- Unity Engine 2018.2.0b1
- Visual Studio 2017
- GitKraken/SourceTree
- C#
- Google Docs




Hearthstone Card Designs


A collection of the cards I designed for the customhearthstone subreddit.

Check out customhearthstone!


https://www.reddit.com/r/customhearthstone/


Sylvanas, Banshee Queen


"You will learn my sacrifice!" - Intro Quip

For this design I considered that, as a banshee, she would be capable of Psychic Scream, as per the Battle for Azeroth cinematic trailer. But she is also much, much more powerful than just that alone, with this version drawing the minions to your side, but at great sacrifice, as per the Forsaken way. This could be used as her tradition effect, stealing an enemy minion at the cost of one of your cards, while also being capable of clearing the board and leaving you with a nice 5/5 at the cost of a large portion of your deck.

Millhouse, Spellstorm


"Fear the fury of the majestic Millhouse's spellstorm!" - Intro Quip

With Millhouse being the 'in-over-his-head', powerful, clumsy mage that he is, I wanted to retain most of the iconic flavour from his original card design; that of being a powerful wizard at the cost of making an utter fool of himself. So I reimagined him as a more powerful, yet also as a high-risk high-reward archetype that suits Hearthstone's whimsical and random nature.

With this iteration I made his effect more unpredictable while still making him a viable card in most situations. While his effect is entirely based on whether or not your opponent has spells in their hand, it is more than likely he will still deal plenty of damage (at the cost of his unpredictability). But as Millhouse the foolish wizard that he is, you will never truly know what he is capable of.

Cho, Lore Archivist


"Knowledge is a double-edged sword." - Intro Quip

Lorewalker Cho has always been one of the weaker cards in the game, while also remaining as one of the most interesting tech cards. His flavour suits his peaceful, neutral stance amongst both sides. But I wanted enhance that to be a somewhat-controllable ability for the player who plays this card, while still also benefitting both players at a whole.

This reimagining allows Cho to still defend himself from attackers with his defensive-like stats, while also maintaining a reasonable mana cost for a legendary minion and his reluctancy to attack. But the meat of this card lies in his flavour, his newfound title as 'Lore Archivist', as instead of giving a copy of the spell you played to your opponent, he instead shuffles a copy into both decks. This can be manipulated by a variety of other tech cards from either player, like card draw or card theft. But obviously the player using this card has the greater opportunity to utilize this ability to the fullest.

Ragnaros, Fireland's Rage


"FLEE, LITTLE INSECTS, IN THE WAKE OF MY RAGE!" - Intro Quip

It's no secret that Ragnaros, Firelord has been one of the most powerful cards in Hearthstone's history. It was so powerful that it was moved out of standard and into the Hall of Fame for wild play only. His nature as one of the most iconic and powerful foes in Warcraft's lore was his downfall, as he represented the sheer, raw, insurmountable power of the Firelands and he couldn't be anything but powerful. So I attempted to match his raid mechanics and flavour as a character to balance the Firelord as a more reasonable card that could return to the meta.

His whole 'summon me when I have built up enough strength to purge Azeroth' personality perfectly transformed into a mechanic, where he starts off weak but the longer he lives, the stronger he gets. This almost mirrors his raid mechanics as the closer to defeat he becomes, the further his rage is fueled into damage, dealing up to 13 damage minimum. This may seem overly powerful, but which hard removal at most classes' disposal, and his hefty mana cost of 10, he requires a lot of luck and setup to remain a threat.

Eildrassil, World Tree Sapling


"I am life, I am dream, and I AM NOT LITTLE." - Intro Quip

Eildrassil, one of my original card designs, is based on the concept of a 'world tree' in the Warcraft universe. A tree that will grow to be so enormous the Night Elf people called one their home. This little one, growing with ambition and courage, is trying their best to grow to the full might of a world tree, like Teldrassil, but to do that he's going to need all the nourishment it can get.

I wanted to theme this minion around something that 'grows' as it kills in a more interactive and powerful way compared to other minions like 'The Boogeymonster' or 'Darius Crowley'. A great tree fit this, and what tree could be more legendary than a world tree? So I tried to theme this entirely around its flavour, which is why this minion gets bigger 'vertically' (stats) and takes sustenance when defeating its enemies (Lifesteal), while also simultaneously growing 'horizontally' by summoning smaller, token minions. The threat this poses when left unchecked is immense, truly representing what a world tree is capable of.

Alexstrasza, Bloodbinder


With the increasing popularity of the new 'Dragon Warrior' archetype, I thought it fitting it only have a hero card that compliments that as well. Alexstrasza, the previously known Lifebinder, is the perfect opportunity to give warrior that tempo swing along with a strong late-game dragon synergy buff. She has always been known as the bringer of life and death, as per her board entry quote as a minion, and this card (and hero power) suitably pushes for both.

The hero card's description is fairly self-explanatory, considering that she is a dragon, which is a strong enough ability as it is, but the hero power is where her flavour really shines. Warrior has always been about damaged minion synergy, from the now foregone keyword 'Enrage' to cards like 'Rampage'. 'Sudden Genisis' and 'Blood Warriors' were my inspiration for this as given Alexstrasza's life-giving powers, she sees her bleeding allies and, instead of healing them, she uses that blood to fuel her armies, boosting her board potential.

Leyline Well


Since Hearthstone has been released, mage has had no surplus in mana recovery bar the soft solution that 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' provides (spell mana reduction). In World of Warcraft with a spell like 'Evocation' that recovers all mana, I thought it befitting that mage only receive a card in Hearthstone that is similar, yet substantially weaker, than its MMO counterpart.

Leyline Well gives the mage the opportunity to tap into a leyline to recover a bit of mana, at the cost of their own power (Spell Power -1). This alone acts as a worse version of the coin, which is understandable as mana recovery for mages can be tricky and extremely powerful. But with a 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' in play at the same time as two copies of this card, the mage can sling three 'Fireballs' and a 'Frostbolt' in one turn. The drawback to this immense burst of damage is the number of cards it costs you, which is 7 in total on one turn to only deal 18 damage. This not only costs you an immense amount of tempo but if your opponent is playing control then the damage you deal to them isn't going to count for much anyway.

Purge


Hearthstone has been supporting the word 'enchantment' more and more over the years since its release, with cards like 'Immortal Prelate' and 'Kingsbane' take advantage of it the most. Priest has had the most 'Silence' support out of all the classes and it has had its ups and downs, i.e 'Purify' (Silence a friendly minion, draw a card). This is my combination of the two, an attempt to create a playable version of Purify without as much of a drawback.

The idea is it works as a counter to debuffs any of your minions might receive as a result of soft removal. A common situation could be that you spent plenty of time buffing a minion's health only to have it drop to 1 health by 'Hunter's Mark'. While the minion might as well be dead already, you can use this to your advantage by 'Purging' it. Send its stats back to how they were originally and deal 4 mana, clearing the enemy's board. A worthy sacrifice for wasting all those 'Power Word: Shields' and 'Divine Spirits'.

Demonsoul Harbinger


Demon buffs have been around since Hearthstone's release with cards like 'Demonfire' and later released cards like 'Bloodfire Potion' and 'Demonheart'. But as more expansions are released more cards that support other warlock archetypes, like discard and handbuff.

This card combines the buffing potential of all archetypes, supporting cards like 'High Priestess Jeklik' and 'Hir'eek, the Bat'. Demonsoul Catalyst is also extremely flexible in terms of buffs as well, as 'Soul-Infusion' can set up some big buffs when combined with 'Grim Rally' which leaves the rest of your board with +1/+1 along with +2/+2 for your hand. The core purpose of this minion is to serve as the catalyst between your demon buffs and the rest of your non-demon minions, while also still serving as a risky power-boost due to removals like 'Silence'.

Light's Chosen


Paladin has always been the class that uses 'Divine Shield' at its core, with various examples like the plethora of 'Annoy'o'Trons' and legendaries like 'Tirion Fordring'. This also goes without mentioning the compliment of 'Taunt' to these cards, as these two keywords have been the staple for paladin's wall of defence. Paladin has always been flavoured around a divine army with an endless supply of soldiers blessed by the light.

Based on the theme that paladin portrays I thought it best they have a card that works similar to conscripting them into the aforementioned army. This card's purpose is to purify them of any past life they had and bless them with paladin's keywords of Divine Shield and Taunt, ushering in a new life of servitude while still utilizing their previous stats. This also works as a counter to debuffs like 'Hunter's Mark' and 'Equality' by not only reversing the effects but also finding the minions a new use.

Something


“Have you ever wondered why darkness is eternal? An unending void of lightless space, that’s all it really is. But have you ever actually asked yourself why it is that the dark is what always goes on, not light?” Whispered Arthur to his companion, Isabelle, as they stared up towards the sparkling sky coloured in a deep velvet black.

“A better question is: why was it that the darkness came first instead of the light.” Retorted Isabelle slyly and unmoved, confident she would outwit him at his own game. Arthur scooped her hand up into his and intertwined their fingers to form an unspoken bond that represented the beginning of a game of thought. She turned her head to meet his, their eyes locked and she gave his hand a confirming squeeze in response to say that she too was ready to let their dreams dance together.

“Well first ask yourself, why was there nothing first instead of something? Who decided that nothing came before something instead of the other way around, hmm?” Arthur finally spoke, turning his head back up to the night sky and breaking the intense silence. There was another long moment of silence before Isabelle finally turned her head back to the great slate of spotted charcoal above. Before she set loose the words caught in her throat all that could be heard was the gentle breeze brushing through the thicket of wheat that surrounded the hill they lie on and the slow rustle of the dry maple leaves that effortlessly detach themselves from their former body and gracefully glide through the air to eventually settle around the two chittering minds below.

“There’s always something, but there’s always nothing as well. They balance themselves out, wouldn’t you agree?” Isabelle finally let out, confusing Arthur with her blatant contradiction. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean, if there’s something, I’m not entirely sure nothing can exist since something must fill in the nothing’s emptiness?” Arthur responded with doubt in his voice, she had taken him by surprise. He believed his logic was sound, but Isabelle then put his doubts to rest with her next statement.
“I see where you are coming from, my dear Arthur, but this brings us back to light and dark again. Light always overwrites darkness because darkness is just the absence of light as common knowledge tells us. So then we answer that with: nothingness is the absence of something. But obviously there is always something- we are something. We take up space, no matter how little in existence. Even in death we represent something. To quote Einstein: ‘Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.’ End quote. If you think about it we are technically immortal, our matter I mean, we’re always something.” That was finally the end of Isabelle’s train of thought. Of course she had more to say, but she was more curious to see how her dearest companion would reply first.

“That makes plenty of sense, I see where you’re coming from. But no matter how you put it, nothing will always be somewhere. Not here of course, there will always be something around us at least because we are something, even beyond our passing. To use your quote that means no matter where we go in whatever form we will always mean something because we are made of something.”

“Ha! So you do agree with me. Something and nothing coincide with a special equilibrium.” Isabelle quickly retorted with a spriteful attitude.

“I think you misunderstand me, my dearest. What I’m getting at is that nothing can never truly exist to us. Something is always there. Space could be a whole lot of nothing, but not to us, literally speaking because we can’t actually see just nothing We can’t even be in nothing because, as I said, we are something” Arthur pondered for a moment realising that he still had more to say. Isabelle stayed quiet patiently and listened with intent, the way he thought captivated her.

“In a broader sense though something is currently occupying the nothingness of the universe. Think of a vacuum for example, if it’s even a quarter full it’s not empty, we don’t class it to have nothing in it. I believe the same goes for space. There’s a bunch of giant floating rocks, balls of fire, and holes that suck in something to create nothing…” Arthur let out a long sigh and threw his head back abruptly the moment he finished the word.
“What, did you realise that I’m right?” Isabelle giggled to herself.

“Oh dear, no. I’ve just realised that we’re going to have to debate whether black holes make something into nothing, or follow Einstein’s rule.” Arthur reluctantly responded with a bit of bite. Isabelle turned her head to face his, his followed shortly after. He could clearly see a grin on her face, and she could clearly see that he was growing tired. Isabelle’s hysterical laughter finally broke the silence.

“Hang on we haven’t even answered our first question! ‘Why was it that darkness came first instead of light’, remember?” Isabelle was clearly determined to outsmart him with her sound logic and sly quips. Arthur on the other hand was taking this far too seriously for his liking. His current expression almost made it seem like he was desperately scanning his mind for way to answer that, he almost felt as though his last few statements could have. Eventually he just opened his mouth and responded with whatever escaped, he was growing tired.

“Light is something, darkness is nothing. Can nothing ever overpower something? Of course not, but on the contrary something needs nothing to be something. On a slight tangent that’s why I believe good and evil shouldn’t be represented by light and dark. Evil isn’t the absence of good, well, technically it is but that’s about the same as saying an apple is the absence of an orange. It’s true, but it’s also something else entirely-” Arthur drew in a deep breath preparing to continue.

“-Evil is human nature, contorted and twisted, chaotic and malignant: it’s a disease. One that’s impossible to cure because there will always be some of it in us. Evil cannot be absent because evil is as much of something as good could ever be, easier to be fact. That’s why we find evil so enjoyable I believe, because it’s succumbing to our inner nature.” Arthur finally finished, inhaled deeply, and then let out a slight yawn. He squeezed her hand to draw her attention back in case she’d lost it to his endless flow of dark dilemmas. She quietly responded with another squeeze back to reassure him she was listening the whole time.

“Alright Mr. Morbid, that’s enough of that. How about we save that for another evening, smarty-pants. You look like you’re about to fall asleep.” Teased Isabelle, trying to contain her devilish grin, she truly loved these games of thought.
“I suppose you’re right. Do you think if we slept here we’ll be bitten by any bugs?” Arthur asked, obviously too lazy to get up. Isabelle curled her body over to his and laid her head on his heart, feeling the rhythmic beat of his life blood coagulating through his warm outer-shell.
“I think you always find something to worry about.” Whispered Isabelle soothingly into Arthur’s chest.
“There’s nothing out here but you and me.”


Water (WIP)


Brilliant red skies, the gentle breeze whistling in your ears. Your eyes flutter open, the harsh blinding light of the sun seems to penetrate into your very mind, filling it with only light. Light… You raise your hand to shield your eyes from the piercing beam, the light breeze tugs at it like a kitten to a ball of yarn. As your senses start to reawaken from your deep and empty slumber you begin to feel a comforting wave of water licking at the bottom half of your legs in the breeze. As strange as waking in this strange place may seem, it’s serene and tranquil. It is complete silence.

At last your body activates and you feel a sharp pain in your back. As you attempt to sit up to quell the ambiguous pain you realise that you are on a beach, but sand replaced with stones and the smell of salt water replaced with a refreshing crisp aroma to the air which sends shivers down your back. Your vision fixates into the distance, realising that there are tall snowy mountains far into the horizon. As your curiosity hungers to know more, you indulge it and stand. The water laps at your bare feet, and the wind whispering your thoughts into your ear.

“Where am I?”, the wind instinctively tells you subconsciously. As you pan across the horizon, you notice that the snowy mountains trap you in a stone prison, and the winds that still whisper in your ears bring you to the deduction that you are in a valley in autumn, verging on the edge to winter. After your surroundings sink in and you begin to gain your bearings you notice a small driftwood flask that’s made from three branches spiralling out and upwards spherically. The winds once again whisper in your ears.

“It is yours, your are its. Expend the liquids of nature and life with this as the catalyst to your creation.” Without thinking you pick it up. As your fingers caress its rough design it seems to resonate with your very being, as if you had picked up your own beating heart. The winds die down and the water stands still. There is silence once more.


WORK IN PROGRESS


>

The Bargain (WIP)


Aryse extended his arm across the huge tome and pulled it’s ginormous chain-bound leather cover over to a randomly chosen page. Dust kicked up into the air, creating an almost opaque, choking screen before his eyes. He quickly rubbed the blinding substance from his glasses with one swift movement with his gilded handkerchief in hand. Once the dust had finally settled, it revealed the first page of the tome. The title had almost completely faded but from what Aryse could make out it had been written as: ‘The Darkbound: Djinnis and Djinns’.

“At last I will have your heart, my dear Athessia. At last we will be together.” Aryse found himself saying. He immediately realised what words had just escaped him and quickly cleared his throat in hopes that he wouldn’t betray himself like that again. The darkness here, it listens to you. Tries to bargain with you- but it always gets the upper hand. Aryse nervously scanned his surroundings but all he saw were corroded old stone pillars and rotting oak bookshelves that held thousands of books in this enormous room.

This Library was no ordinary library. He knew the stories were true, about the dark cultists and how they would kidnap women and children from their homes and sacrifice them to this malignant artefact he so eagerly sought to find, he would never dare ask himself why they did these vile things. His fingers trembled as they slowly caressed the page, his eyes desperately scanning each word to ensure he was reading the correct incantation. What price will I pay he wondered, what will my lover’s heart cost me.

The sound of something hollow tumbled behind him, Aryse spun around without hesitation. He peered into the thick veil of darkness that smothered the aisle of bookshelves that marked the entrance to the symbolic square he stood in. To his surprise it was but a pile of dust-covered, bleached bones that became guilty of the noise. The skull that sat neatly at the top had slipped from it’s throne of bones and crashed against the cold, hard marble floor.

He turned back to his duty. This was his right, he believed. He stared back at the monstrous book before him with trembling hands and watery eyes. He was ready, his whole body ached to have this terrifying encounter over and done with. He drew in a sharp breath through his nose and exhaled it through his mouth just as swiftly with quivering lips. He drew his dagger from its sheath that rested tightly against his hip, and before beginning the ritual, found himself admiring it’s features.

A gold-plated handle that adorned rubies and sapphires throughout its grip to create a charming, but ergonomic hold. A large spherical pommel of onyx held by a snake’s jaw with emerald eyes gleamed up at him in the light of the candles that surrounded the site. A wickedly curved and serrated blade beckoned to be used with malicious intent. With the blade gripped tightly in his right hand he flipped his left to face him, and in one swift and practiced move he sliced diagonally, letting his life blood seep from the wound and drip onto the pages of the book.

As the blood connected with the pages it immediately vaporized into a small stream of red mist. Aryse took no time to waste, he immediately began reading the incantation from the pages. His voiced echoed deeply throughout the hollow library and seemed to speak back to him with a voice that was no longer his own. Word by word, syllable by syllable he spoke without doubt or hesitation. His heart was true and because of this, once he finished the incantation, the runes inscribed upon the page began to glow a bright and magnificent red.

“Speak.” A voice ordered him. It spoke with neither emotion nor intent, it simply commanded. Aryse cleared his throat and prepared to commune with a force that was unimaginably powerful and terrifying. The voice, although completely immaterial, seemed to see Aryse’s every move. He felt unseen eyes penetrating through his mind and peering into his very soul, scouring his very essence and reliving his entire life in a few brief seconds.

Aryse knew he was unfolding before the immaterial being although he hadn’t even uttered a sound yet. His legs grew weary, his eyes flittered from fatigue, his entire body felt damp with cold sweat. He began to doubt himself, he began to doubt his cause. Aryse opened his mouth to speak but all that bellowed from his quivering body was a hesitant and brief exhale. The immaterial voice waited patiently, it read him, it knew what he wanted, it only waited to hear the words emerge from his brittle, inferior being.

Aryse closed his eyes for a moment and collected his thoughts. In one brief burst of courage he spoke clearly and with a succinct goal.
“I demand my wish be granted, O’ immense and divine force beyond my inferior comprehension.” The demon heeded the small man’s demands. It spoke not for what seemed forever.
“And what would your wish be?” It finally commanded once again, yet this time with a softer voice. It felt warm and welcoming, almost friendly. Aryse thought that perhaps his flattery for the demon had won him some favour.

This thought in combination with his burst of courage emboldened the feeble man, he spoke his demands as if he knew he would succeed. Aryse cleared his throat before he spoke.
“I have a love for a dear maiden, for she is the most fair and beautiful the world shall ever hold witness to. Her tender skin, a blessing to touch. Her sun-kissed locks, ah, smell sweeter than the golden syrup from a maple tree. And her eyes, oh her eyes… The most rich shade of amber, as if she were born a true gem.”
The formless voice waited patiently for the insignificant man to finish his meaningless ramblings, it had all the time in the world to spare.

“She has become my wo- No, she is beyond my world. She is a heavenly soul forged from the astral energies of the cosmos. Her presence begs that even the gods weep in joy as she strides by mere men.


WORK IN PROGRESS


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The Lake (WIP)



Upon the black, bubbling, dying shore of the lake stood the silhouette of a proud man. But not a man of flesh and bone like you and I, but a man of cloak and dagger, shadow and secrecy. A sneering grin fixed along his cheeks and a furrowed his brow in contentment. A brief chuckle escapes his toxic maw as he rests grevious claws upon his hips and breathes his first breath of victore. He had won.

I write to you, my sole and only ear to listen. My last, tattered paper and the only decent thing to write with as I scrambled through my pockets to find my now forever lost journal. As I am huddled in a small cove I can feel the eyes of something beyond, something truly terrifying peering through my eyes as I desperately seek a solution to my unsolvable problem. So here I sit, in a decrepit, foul smelling hole, with nothing but tattered clothes on my back and a broken will to progress. By the time this letter gets to you my fate will be beyond any mortal’s hands. Do what you must to ensure the lake’s venom never reaches beyond the valley’s mountainous bones.

I will tell you how it all began; in hopes that whatever information I provide here will be of any use to containing this nightmare, or even stopping it all together.

My name is Devin Treesight and I am, as my last name might suggest, a florist. I study the trees in this valley because they are something different. The local travellers and wayfarers nicknamed this place the ‘Eye of Ire’, taking the phrase ‘the eye of the storm’ and applying it to a static geographical position. This is due to the surrounding land outside the Eye being extremely dangerous. Most travellers that make it into the Eye (if they even do) stay for quite some time in fear that they may never make it back, or even home.

You may wonder why I, a florist and not an explorer, have found myself within the calm of the storm. The flora within this valley is the most remarkable within the entirety of the known world. My book, alas now to never be completed, was a study on the life here and how it’s remarkable properties could cure many of mankind’s diseases. But now this sacred and tranquil sanctuary is tainted with black magic and a necrotic hatred has consumed it’s waters and soon to be it’s wildlife.

I have managed to procure a variety of the wildlife. No fauna unfortunately, but that is not within my experience and I fear shoving small ‘sacred’ rodents into a bag of useful herbs and flowers will do more harm than good. If my body is never found I can only hope that this letter and my satchel are. I will be tying a few bright orange leaves when I know I am truly safe and store the satchel somewhere unwanted hands cannot reach it, but still see it. For all I know I am the only hope this land has.

But now that I have gotten that out of the way I will continue with my recollection of events leading back to when this atrocity begun. Being a florist, I was studying the flora here. At the time I was inspecting the response of the local insects to a specific medicinal plant that seems, through a trial of examination, to regenerate the lost limbs of the insects that consume it.

Remarkably I noticed the Nectum-Beetle regenerate it’s lost antenni within under the span of five minutes. This is REMARKABLE news. I hypothesise that this could be because the plant, when ingested, reignites the structural blueprints of the body and redirects all nutritional intake towards rebuilding the lost appendage. This will not only come as life-changing news to amputees, but repair their lost appendages in under a week! If only I could live to see the look on their faces when they wake up with the hands they thought they’d never have again.

Forgive me, I have side-tracked myself a second time. I am writing what comes to mind as the most important details of my expedition. But yes, there are specimens of the plant mentioned before, which I have named ‘Nectum-Nutrius Treesight’, after the beetle that assisted my discovery. After witnessing this wonderous discovery I noticed a man waking up on the beach of the lake. At first I assumed it was just a tourist celebrating the success of this journey here. But after closer inspection due to my intrigue, I noticed the man was completely naked and unconscious. My first instinct was to help the poor man, but the moment I went to stand my target had awoken.

To my surprise he looked lost. But to my greater surprise I noticed he was gripping a strange root in his right hand


WORK IN PROGRESS


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