The following story is provided under Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike license vs 3.0 because it uses material created by Fenoxo and his team members ( ) for the Corruption of Champions text adventure.

The Corruption Pump

By Thornbrier

Elder Nomur's eyes were deep as he silently looked me over, my armor strong, my swords covered in black icher, and my book bag slung at my side protected by my small wooden buckler. Unlike so many others he did not look at me simply as a woman, but he contemplated my readiness as he had the champions of years past.

"Depart from my path guardian," I yelled at him with all the fury and fire in my heart. "They took my mother, my father, and now they took my brother and my betrothed! I shall slip into their realm and pay them my vengeance! Twixt the nether realms I shall beat them till they intimately comprehend my anguish!"

"Well spoken child." Even in his condescension his voice admitted his deep and abiding respect for me. "Calm yourself, and I shall take you to the portal."

After a moment of contemplation I sheathed my blades and proceeded down the Path of Champions in his wake. "Years ago, when your mother was taken, the Champion selections stopped. The Elders decided, despite our traditions, that if the demons were going to attack whether we sent a champion or not it was a waste to keep sending our best off to fight for nothing. Some even speculate that the portal is no portal at all. If you listen to them, as soon as you step into it you will die, or worse, become a demon yourself. I tell you this not to discourage you, but to ensure you know as best as we can what lies ahead. I trust that you have weighed all you know in this decision."

"Yes Elder, I have prepared my mind and my body to fight the demons all my life. I have studied the legends of the portal since my father went in to rescue my mother. The chance he might already be dead has kept me from following him till now. However, the two people I had left in the world have been taken from me and this is the last chance I have to make my life mean anything."

"Very well, rather than remind you how useful you would be to our community I will simply ask that you take a moment before you go to cater to an old man's superstitions. The traditions of the Champion Selection, if you would? Your name?"

"I am Koramonan."

"Are you a man or a woman?"

"I am a Woman of Clan Krimoshi, raised in the Ancient Traditions of our people. I place my slender frame and dark skin to stand between my people and damnation. My firey hair shall be like unto a torch to shine and guide the way of all that is right."

He nodded as he walked. "Every person is born with a gift. What's yours to be selected Champion of Ingnam?"

"I am blessed by the gods with the invocation of Smarts. My sharp intellect and quick learning shall place every demons throat at my blade."

The tradition was satisfied just as we approached the black rock of Mount Ilgast; its form looming above us as the temperature quickly dropped. I could not keep my body from shivering. Glancing at the Elder, I noticed he didn't betray any sign of the cold. Despite his age of nearly 80, he maintained the vigor of a man half his age. I was glad for his strength, as assisting him across this distance would be draining, and I had to save my energy for the trials ahead. The entrance of the cave gaped open, sharp stalactites hanging over the entrance, giving it the appearance of a monstrous mouth. Elder Nomur stopped and nodded to me, gesturing for me to proceed alone.

The cave was unusually warm and damp, and my body seemed to feel the same way, flushing as I felt the moist seepage between my thighs. My studies had warned of this and I pressed forward, ignoring my body's growing needs. A glowing purple-pink portal swirled and flared with demonic light along the back wall. Cringing, I pressed forward, keenly aware that my body seemed to be anticipating coming in contact with the tainted magical construct.

Closing my eyes, I gathered my resolve and leapt forward. Vertigo overwhelmed me and I blacked out...