Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Dahlia Lakewood opened the door, and my knees collapsed beneath me like jell-O. Dahlia Lakewood. Dahlia Lakewood. How on earth did I end up standing at the front steps of Dahlia Lakewood?
Dahlia Lakewood. Remember that goddamn name, because she is your complete fantasy. Well…she’s mine anyway. Platinum blonde hair with grown out dark roots, straight but soft like silk threads. Long black eyelashes melting into a crisp cat eye. Smooth dimpled cheeks, with those big round lips painted a rich shade of burgundy, grinning with teeth showing at me.
God damn! And her body? Her boobs! Not so large that they sagged down over her stomach like mine, but large enough that she could get that wisp of cleavage at the cut of her lacy 1950’s dress. Underneath the skirt were a pair of knee high cat socks and a pair of scratched up boots. Around her shoulders a beat up denim jacket covered in so many embroidered patches that they had begun to layer over each other.
Take notes my lovely lesbian ladies following along, because even in the most feminine of dresses, in the doorway of one of the most fancy houses I had ever seen, this girl radiated queer. If I could bottle that shit and wear it as a cologne, I’d be swimming in ladies right now. They’d flock to me like feral cats to a can of tuna…or like me to Dahlia Lakewood.
“Oh you must be Sammie’s friend,” she moved back in the doorway into a marble hallway. “Come on in, the dungeon awaits. I’m Dahlia, by the way.” She offered her hand to shake, her nails clipped down to the skin and painted a glossy black.
“Uh…Lou.” I took her hand, just barely registering the warmth of her skin on my ice-cold fingers. Damn this cold! It made my hands numb!
“God damn, your hands are cold!” she laughed. “Has it reached absolute freezing out there yet? I swear it’s not the solstice that makes it the longest night, its time freezing over. Seriously, get in here already.”
“Oh, yeah.” I scuffed the slush off my boots and stepped inside, shoving my fingers into the pockets of my hoodie.
The house only got fancier from there. Right at the marble entry way was a grand wooden staircase carpeted with deep red and gold bars holding it in place like this was some sort of opera theater. The walls were painted a warm cream color with gold detailing in the shapes of flowers and various french looking designs that I didn’t know the name of. It smelled nice, like some sort of European potpurri that the Queen might use in her drawing room.
“Everyone’s downstairs except Sam—because of course they’re late it’s the finale of the arc I’ve been drooling over for only eight weeks! Go make yourself at home, I just have to get the tea kettle.” She threw open a cream colored door near the entry way and leaned in, balanced precariously at the edge on just one boot as she yelled “Y’all, Sam’s friend Lou’s here, make them feel welcome! No dick jokes, I swear to god!” She spun around, walking backward into a room lit by a crystal chandelier, “Please don’t judge me based on my friends, they’re like the nicest people—JUST ASSHATS SOMETIMES!”
“WE PREFER THE TERM BUTTHEADS!” someone screamed up.”
She rolled her eyes like “see what I mean?” and disappeared into the kitchen.
The basement was a stark change in atmosphere from the rest of the house. The stair case was rickety, made out of some light wood with thick iron nails keeping it together, and it led down into an unfinished cement basement lit by the odd hanging lightbulb. Which swayed with Dahlia’s footsteps upstairs, making the shadows grow and sway around them. It smelt like dust after rain, something gritty hitting me right at the bridge of my nose and I didn’t know if I’d get used to it. The others were sitting around two plastic folding tables covered in papers, pencils, polyhedral dice, and an elaborate system of taped up folders that blocked the view of the head of the table.
“And I thought by ‘dungeon’ she just meant the D and D kind.”
“I know right?” the dickish looking guy sitting next to me said. “Her house is, like, basically a mansion and her mom insists we play in the unfinished basement. OOOOO!” he wiggled his fingers at me like a ghost. “There’s free access to chips though, so that’s lit.”
“Lit…” I agreed ironically. Who says “lit” anymore?
“Michael, can you help me with my hit points?” a mousy looking kid said sliding a paper to a tall guy with retro looking clear glasses. “Do they heal when we level up, or do I stay at the same hit points now that I have more?”
He set down a set of color coded flash cards, “You stay at your current hit points. So you have 40 now.”
She nodded, frantically erasing the numbers out of one of the boxes.
Dungeons and Dragons. I can’t believe they talked me into Dungeons and Dragons. No, I can’t believe Dahlia Lakewood is into Dungeons and Dragons. How is someone that fucking gorgeous into Dungeons and fucking Dragons… Wait, scratch that. That sounded weird. But Dungeons and Dragons, with those dice. I always wanted to roll one of those billions sided dies.
I reached into the pool of dice in the center and grabbed the most ridiculously sided die I could find, it was black with red streaks in it. I rolled the die around in my hand, finding a maximum of 20 and rolled it gently across the table. 18.
“What you gotta do,” the guy next to me pushed the dice in the pool closer to him and began moving them around in his hand one by one, “is put them all on 20 for good luck.” He gently kissed the top of a metal die and placed it 20 side up on the table in front of him. “May the late Gary Gygax bless us with only the most natural of nat twenties.”
“Dan, stop kissing the dice!” Michael said.
“Don’t knock the ritual! It saved your ass from that giant spider.”
He rolled his eyes and picked out a set of lavender clear dice from the pile.
After a few seconds the door creaked open upstairs and Sam danced in with Dahlia behind him lugging a tea kettle and a few mugs.
“Lou! My dude!” Sam pulled up another fold up chair to Dahlia’s sketchy cultish basement table they set down their phone to hold the seat next to me and reached over the long side of the table over the visor set in front of Dahlia. “Wasn’t sure you’d show up, I see you’ve met the rest of the party. Rest of the party this is Lou, she/hers pronouns. Lia, you still got those premades?”
Dahlia was hidden behind the visor except for the top of her head, but I could tell the sass she oozed even from just the dark roots of her blonde dyed hair. Sam continued to sift through her papers though as her dark roots glared at him. “Eep!” She suddenly yelped, “Don’t look at those.”
“Don’t worry,” Sam slipped back into their seat with a few sheets of paper, “I didn’t see anything about the flaming beavers.”
“Flaming beavers!” Dan hissed, covering his mouth so that none of the cool ranch Doritos he was slamming would come out. He rubbed crud into his jeans before flipping through a stack of index cards in front of him. “Don’t worry, I never put Prestidigitation down on my spell list.”
Dahlia slammed her hands on the table and whipped up, tossing her chair behind her, “YOU ARE A DRUID, DAN!”
Dan snorted which sounded more like a sneeze than the laugh that it was. A twisted grin curled on his face, “I know how to play the lute and I have an entertainer background.”
“That doesn’t make you a bard!”
“I’m multi-classing.” He wheezed, and his knees caught on the table saving him from teetering backward onto the floor.
“It’s too fucking late, DAN! I’m starting the campaign!” She picked up the binder in front of her and ripped the first page out of the prongs.
“Eh-hem,” Dan managed a straight face, “Then it’s Balthazar.” She whipped a ball at his head and he crashed to the ground in a fit of laughter as a stress ball bounced down into the dark basement.
Dahlia regained her composure, and perched herself on the back of her chair, peering down at the four of us and Dan who was wheezing as he pulled his seat back up. “Alright, so, who remembers where we were?”
The mousy looking kid whose gender I was too afraid to speculate on raised their hand.
Dahlia put her head in her hands, “Helen—” she whipped her head up to glare at Dan who’s mouth popped as he opened it to argue again, “Helgar, you don’t have to raise your hand.”
Helgar—I guess?—nodded, “after defeating the infernal who was trying to break the spell on the vault we entered the tomb of…uh, that guy—”
“Galen the Gay,” the guy next to them said flipping through a notebook, glasses sliding to the bridge of their nose, “he’s the guy who enslaved the frog people and notably—and I quote Ashgor here—‘fucked his way to the throne.’” He slid a glance at Dahlia whose grin was raising her rosy cheeks to her innocent pale eyes.
“Right,” Helgar continued, “Bad dude about to be robbed by other bad dude? Did we establish that he was bad?”
“Galen?” Dan snorted. “Def bad.”
“I meant the infernal,” they corrected.
“We killed them,” Sam reached over me to grab out of the chip bowl, “so they’re bad.”
“Got it,” Helgar nodded, “Now we’re in the tomb.”
“Yes,” Dahlia looked down at her sheet, “The vault door creaks as you enter, you barely move the massive gold wall a few degrees from it’s hinge, but it is enough for you to walk through—”
“Single file, or all of us?” Michael—D&D name unknown—asked.
Dahlia muddled it over and said “single file, the door is really heavy. The light—”
“Hey what about the noob?” Dan asked jabbing towards me with his thumb.”
“Uhhh…” Dahlia stared at me, “Right.” She flipped through her papers on the table for a moment and then stood up and reached across the table, balancing herself with one arm on Helgar’s Character sheet. She grabbed the paper Sam gave me and scans it over before scrambling back to her side of the table, “Alright, so as you creak the door open you hear footsteps from behind you descending from the crystal staircase where the ashy pile formerly known as Infernal Trice lies…” when no one said anything she continued “The footsteps are coming rapidly towards your room in the labyrinth and the light of a torch is bouncing off of the curve in the cavern walls dripping with moisture—”
“Uh,” Micheal said, “I ready my axe, preparing to defend my team from the figure approaching.”
“You’re readying an attack,” Dahlia confirmed.
“Ready to strike in the event that we’re threatened.”
She looked at the rest of the group who shrugged and she continued, “Gunther you move to the back of the squad and ready your axe, Stormbreaker, in a defensive position, but as the figure comes around the corner you are greeted by the bearded face of Lady Dungatar, Dwarvin Priestess dressed in immaculate violet robes with the gold embroidery of her patron god…”
After a pause Sam filled in the blank, their face illuminated by the light of their phone screen, “Abbathor?” They shrugged.
“Her patron god Abbathor…Abbathor?” Our DM frowned at them and they tossed their phone haphazardly across the table into her hands. She paused to read through the wiki page and smiled, “Oh this will be fun.” She tossed the phone back and I looked at Sam.
“It was the first one on the wiki,” they admitted then handed the phone to me.
“Abbathor the Dwarvin god of greed,” it read.
“So you see this Dwarvin Priestess descending towards you, what do you do?”
“I call out to her,” Sam said. “Halt,” they continued in a high pitched nasally voice, that I couldn’t help but to laugh at, “I am Epsilon, what is your business—?”
Dan leaned over to me, “They’re like two feet tall, by the way, and a Gnome drowning in like three magical cloaks.”
“Lady Dungatar,” Dahlia prompted, “You walk into this cavern and find yourself at the point of an axe held by a dark elvin man and being threatened by a tiny Gnome, what do you do?”
I glanced down at my character sheet but I had no idea what any of the words meant (Armor Class, really?) and then I looked to Sam who is nodding encouragingly to me. Did they expect me to role-play? I’d sound like an idiot. “Uh, I say: ‘Sorry wrong demon cavern.’”
“Helgar giggles.” The mousy kid said.
“Uh,” I nodded, “Is this your demon cavern? I was looking for the tomb of lord fucks a lot, Galen the Gray—”
“Gay,” Dahlia corrected.
“Or whatever. Sorry to interrupt.”
Michael/Gunther smiled, “I ask: ‘What do you want with the tomb?’”
“Uh…” I glanced at my character sheet which had a box for personality traits, “uh, it says here that I’m like true neutral or whatever, so I guess I’m here to like sit in the vault and contemplate the moral implications of stealing.”
“I lower my axe,” Gunther said, “And I offer my hand to her, ‘I’m Gunther and this is Stormbreaker.’”
“Are you introducing her to your fucking axe?” Dan laughed. “I’m Balthazar.”
Helen raised her hand, “Helgar the Lovely.”
“And I’m still Elpsion.” Sam added.
“We all introduced?” Dahlia looked at us and we nodded, “So you open the door, single file, the light glints off of a thousand gold pieces and much more lie still shrouded in darkness. There’s a pathway through the piles of gold, everyone roll a perception check.”
“Fuck!” Helgar squeaked and everyone reached for the dice pile next to the bowl of chips. Sam handed me a die with way to many sides and the clack of dice hit the table in waves. When we announced our rolls plus some numbers, Dahlia pointed to Sam, “Epsilon you notice it first, the room is humming with mysterious energy and with an eighteen you see the light glinting off of a green orb on top of the centermost pile.”
“Can I roll Arcana. And shit, that’s a 1. Good news guys, there’s no magic. Ever, magic is fake and I’ve wasted my life.”
“Do I notice anything?” Helgar asked.
“You’re using danger sense,” Dahlia confirmed, “Yeah, there’s a trap and I’ll tell you about it soon.”
“Well I start walking,” Dan said. “I see Epsilon looking at that green orb and you know I love green.”
“Sooner than I thought, Helgar you jump over a massive tendril of gold coins as your party is swept into one of the piles knocking them prone and—” she paused to roll, “Everyone below—phew—18 AC mark down 4 points of damage and roll initiative.”
We all rolled again and Dahlia announced an order, I’m last. “From the green orb a kraken of gold coins towers over you all its head hitting the ceiling which knocks free a shower of gold coins and jewels from its body. It raises its golden tentacles each of which are thicker than your bodies.”
Helgar went first and rushed toward the green orb which marked the creature’s eye. They flung themselves off of one of the raising tentacles and barely managed to sink the blade of their sword into the jewel eye. Then it was Gunther’s turn and he paused to look over his character sheet and before stopping to ask: “Is this one of those giant monsters that we’re not supposed to fight cause it’ll kill us?”
“No and yes,” said Dahlia.
He broke out Stormbreaker and struck straight through the nearest tentacle, severing the gold coins from it’s body and raining them down on the rest of us. I took one point of gold damage. “Sorry guys.”
“No,” Dahlia assured him, “That is good because the kraken was up next and he now spends his turn regenerating the lost limb, and he looks slightly less weary now.”
“We can tell that?” Sam asked.
She sighed, “The gold gleams bright as he pulls the gold back into two more tentacles and the pile of gold looks happier for it. Next is Balthazar.”
“I cast Otto’s Irresistible Dance—“
“No you fucking don’t!” Dahlia yelled.
“I rolled a nineteen.”
She madly flipped through a handbook, “That is a level six Bard Spell! And you don’t roll to cast it!”
“Cool,” Dan leaned back in his chair, “Start dancing.”
“Fine,” Dahlia slammed the book down, “You concentrate really hard and you madly wail on the strings of your lute, but nothing happens and it’s Epsilon’s turn—”
“Hey!” Dan slammed his chair back on four legs.
“You waste my time, I waste your turn. The kraken looks at you for exactly six seconds and then it’s Epsilon’s turn.”
“I cast Suggestion,” Sam said.
“Cool,” Dahlia rolled, “I failed, what am I doing?”
“Uh… so, ooc, this thing is using some sort of magic to hold the gold and use that as its body? It’s not literally the gold, right?”
She smiled, “Seems that way.”
They grinned back, “It should really dispel the gold into my bag of holding.”
“God fucking—” Dahlia smacked the table, sending two of my dice toppling into my lap. She lept off the chair and walked away briefly then re-perched on her chair, “Alright, you cast this spell and his mind just synchs up to yours—I guess—and you barely have time to open your bag of holding before this tsunami of gold coins flies in between your hands, and its not all of the gold because not all of it was part of the kraken, but you will never want for anything ever again you fucking asshole. Oh! And you know what? The green crystal flies into the bag first so this kraken is in your bag of holding with its gold. Have fun with that!”
Sam laughed, “Guys, I won DnD!”
“Alright, so you guys gaze over the mostly empty vault, and find a trap door sitting on the ground in front of the kra—where the kraken used to be. It leads to another cavern with a still lake glowing with a mysterious teal light. What do you do?”
“Is it magic light?” Dan/Balthazar asked.
“Roll Arcana, but when is it not?”
I glanced through my items and bite my lip thinking “Is this a good idea?” But I said “I have rope, so I’m going to help everyone down the trap door.”
“Okay,” Dahlia looked around at everyone, “You’re going to tie it, or…”
“I’m holding it? To make sure it stays secure?”
“Well I’m into it,” Sam tapped their dice on the table, “Epsilon goes first.”
“And I help them into the hole,” I add quickly, “but while they’re focused on climbing I steal their bag of holding.”
Dahlia blinked at me and then the table broke out into laughter, “Sleight of hand check. And meanwhile Epsilon make a perception check.”
We roll and Sam helped me add up the numbers. I won. “Thanks Lady Dungatar,” Sam clapped me on the back, hard, “You know, I think we really mesh as a team. You’re so helpful.”
“Really, my pleasure,” I grinned
“I mean it—and Epsilon gives Lady Dungatar a big hug—Team player right here!”
I laughed. “Whose next?”
We descend into the lake and Balthazar’s uses his magic to help push the water out of our way and we walk beneath the underground lake which is where we met our final chamber.
“Now this isn’t one of those ‘Oh but now there’s another trap door’ scenarios,” Dan raised at eyebrow at Dahlia.
A wicked smile curled into her rosy cheeks, “Roll a perception check.”
“Christ,” he rolled his die and shook his head. “I didn’t see shit.”
She glanced over. “Well with that roll you see a square indent in the floor that you think is a trap door.”
“I open it.”
“You try to open it, but it turns out that that’s just what the floor looks like. Meanwhile!” she turned to the rest of us, “You enter the cavern which is occupied only by a small stone coffin sitting against the back wall, and need I remind you that this cavern is under water, which is a problem since your druid just dropped his spell to look for trap doors.”
“Everyone make a constitution saving throw.”
“Dan…” Helgar put their head in their hands.
“Balthazar,” he corrected, “And its not my fault he has ADHD.”
“You literally made him,” Gunther said.
“Oh yeah,” he snorted. “I cast shape water again. And I like pull some air down to us so you can’t pull that oxgyenless void crap again.”
“Cool,” Dahlia shoved some chips in her mouth, “So, as you re-shape the water away from you and you’re in this casket chamber crypt thing. There’s a casket.”
“Can I inspect it?” Gunther said, “We need his like ring or whatever, right?”
“Yeah. So you find the inscription written in elvish, it’s worn.”
“I use my charcoal and paper to make a rubbing.”
“Cool, it’s basically a declaration of how great and powerful and that he won’t rest without his gold and whatever. Are you telling this to the others?” Her lips were pursed as she waited for the answer.
“Uh, sure. Guys he’s a huge dick still.”
The grin slid back onto her face and she stood up on her chair, “As you read, the words begin to glow and you’re pulled to the coffin as it opens and from it rises the ethereal form of Galen the Gay.”
“Yeah…” Gunther put his head on the table.
“Everything is sucked towards him into the coffin including the rubbing you just made and the water. He let’s out a horrible wail and you all roll initiative.”
We do that and I’m up third.
Cue the ten minute battle in which our weapons are sucked into this asshole’s casket, and he hits us all with a lightning blast which destroys our drenched asses, and I stood at my last hit point staring at my character sheet.
“Heals would be great,” Sam offered.
“Yeah they would…” I nodded, “He’s pulling everything in?”
“Yeah, but it won’t affect your magic, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“I open the bag of holding that I stole.”
“Oh shit!” Dahlia grabbed one of the sheets she was reading off of and chuckled. “Yeah, you open Epsilon’s bag of holding, and a kraken of gold shoots out of your bag, flinging you twenty feet back with the force and slamming him with a wave of gold coins.”