“So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be.”
-Alfred Lord Tennyson
“As the gods cast us from paradise, more still remain.
And when, with balanced hearts, men come forth again,
Then shall they return, eternity to claim.”
-From The Mourner’s Lament – Anonymous
Arc 1 – (Re)born In Captivity
“’The exact nature of dungeons is still unknown, though they can be defined by common shared characteristics. Various legends account for their origins in different ways. Most involve at least one of the three celestials.
One of the earliest accounts is from the Voice of Heaven an ancient text of the Treatic. The relevant text begins when mankind is evicted from paradise into a cold and desolate world by Yamash, for failing to keep the world in balance.
“For behold darkness passed over the face of Yamash at the suffering of men but he could not relent, for even as they had embraced chaos or order, thus should men suffer contrition.”
He charged his children Otga and Shurum to govern the new world. Each would have complete dominion over the world for a time, and at others, they would share it. Thus mankind would be placed in a world constantly shifting between order and chaos, and only find respite when those powers were in balance. As one of his final acts, Yamash created dungeons. In this text dungeons were described as a balancer, and man would struggle and achieve rewards or death in proportion to the risks taken.
Since other texts refer to dungeons creation and existence in different contexts, no definitive answer as to their nature can be specified. However here are a few traits of dungeons that are nearly universal:
One, dungeons are governed by a core. In the majority of dungeons, the core is black. Removing the core of a dungeon will cause the dungeon to collapse and eventually to be fully destroyed.
Two, dungeons will not allow anyone to get close to their core. Oddly, a dungeon’s core is almost always accessible. Though any intruder can and ought to expect the core to be exceptionally well defended for even an undeveloped dungeon.
Three, dungeons provide resources. The exact nature of the resources provided varies wildly from dungeon to dungeon, but in the main dungeon areas slaying beasts, avoiding traps, and solving puzzles will result in rewards from the dungeon. These rewards are colloquially known as “loot.”
Four, upon founding a dungeon a signal is produced. Human mages and scholars have attempted to understand, or even perceive, this signal for many years, but have so far had no success. However, Adar, or at least those who are sent into human society, seem to be universally capable of receiving and locating the signal. Due to the inherent nature of the connection between Adar and dungeons, they will be discussed later within chapters 4 and 5.
Five, dungeons start underground. While there are a few exceptional dungeons that eventually create a presence on the surface in some form, all dungeons start beneath the surface. Indeed, most dungeons stay beneath the surface during their entire development. Those few which are an exception, still surround their core with layers of stone.
Six, dungeons produce life which is exceptionally mana rich. Most organisms produced by a dungeon cannot be removed without the death of the organism. Occasionally, however, creatures with more stable variants escape, breed, and introduce an entirely new form of life into the world. Speculation on how this may have led to various hyper focused ecosystems is discussed later in the text, see chapter 7.”
-From the introduction of The Origin, Nature, and Habits of Dungeons