Eft appeared at the gates of an old castle. It was midday but a gloom clung to the land around him. Half dead tree’s edged the border of the forest and grassland in front of the castle. The gloom masked everything in grays and faded blues. Even the gray stone of the castle seemed washed out and faded.

Two large metal doors opened for Eft when he took a step towards it. No guards stood behind them. A long stone walkway extended before the goblin, leading up to the keep. Slowly with his cane, Eft hobbled forward.

After a few minutes, Eft hadn’t gotten very far, the whole area seemed to drain his energy. Mentally he knew it was an effect, but with the precautions he took, he knew it wasn’t mental. Pausing to allow the pain in his leg to alleviate Eft took another approach.

“I don’t have all day. If you can help or give me a sign showing you don’t mind if I use some magic to move this along, it would be appreciated.” Eft said. He waited a minute before decided to start hobbling along again. He took three steps before a tall robed person appeared ten feet in front of him.

“While I may live forever, even I don’t have the patience for this.” The figure said. Its words were slightly high pitched on the border of a scream. “I asked for a manager to talk to, not the…”

“Ma’am, I am the current CEO of Mortis Operandi. Ventus has parted ways with the company.” Eft interrupted.

“Whatever, I don’t have time for this.” The robed figure said.

“Let’s get started,” Eft said and produced a scroll. “Our records show you purchased two OR-5651 aka Bucket Rooms and are having issues with one.”

“Yes, let me show you.” The robed figure reached out to touch Eft. The goblin tensed up but allowed the skeletal hand to touch him.

They both appeared in a classically designed bucket room. The door was thankfully raised and most of the room looked operational, except a group of skeletons in the corner.

“I have your teleporting pit trap, dropping people off in here, but instead of filling the bucket, they are just starving and dying.” The robed figure said.

“Teleporting pit trap?” Eft said, puzzled as he didn’t recognize that product.

“Pit trap, but instead of spikes at the bottom, it is a teleportation circle dropping them off in here. I paid you guys a pretty penny for it.”

“Do you have the contract or bill of sale?”

“Yes, I keep all my paperwork, the only way to keep you people honest.”

Eft bristled at the comment but was able to contain his anger. As a goblin, he had a lifetime dealing with people more powerful than him.

The robed figure disappeared, leaving Eft alone. Briefly, the goblin wondered if he should stand outside of the door, but knew he needed to show he wasn’t afraid. Eft slowly wandered around the room scanning the magic to see if it was working as intended. As he was getting ready to summon a goat the robed figure appeared.

“Here,” the figure thrust a bunch of rolled up parchments towards Eft. The older goblin walked over and took them. Slowly he unrolled each and reviewed the document.

“It's the Pits,” the contract named the teleporting pit trap. The lack of a stock code and the company logo on the bottom told Eft what he needed. “Lethal Inventions Company.”

“Does the trap teleport people one at a time?” Eft asked after reviewing the other scrolls.

“Yes, I have it transporting people across multiple rooms.” The robed figure said and Eft felt the room grow colder.

“Well, a couple of things then,” Eft said and he rolled up the scrolls together and handed them to the robed figure. Once it took them the goblin continued. “This room is built for multiple people to be trapped within it. The whole thing is about making them kill each other or draining their own blood to open the door. If you only transport one person, they won't have enough blood to unlock the door and get out.”

“Then fix it,”

“It is how the room was designed and sold to you. If it does not meet your needs, I can refer you to someone to remove it from your structure.” Eft said. The robed figure sighed and the hand clenched the scrolls tightly.

“I demand to talk to someone higher to get this fixed.” The figure said. Eft could now see his breath as the room dropped to freezing levels.

“I am Mortis Operandi, and we do not support third party modifications of our traps.”


“The teleport trap dropping people into the room isn’t part of the design. People are supposed to enter through the door as a group and then deal with the altar, as a group.”

“I don’t care, it's your damn teleport trap! FIX IT!”

“It isn’t though, you purchased the teleport trap from Lethal Inventions. I cannot provide support for their product.”

“I can never tell the difference between you people, what is the difference, just fix the damn thing.” The voice was not becoming a shriek that started to hurt Eft’s ears. Eft closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.

“I can understand your frustration and wanting this to just get fixed. The key is the room is built for conflict between the adventures who get trapped in there. If there is no conflict it doesn’t work. By having the trap drop them into it once at a time it prevents it from working.” Eft said using a soft and steady tone.

The figure’s mouth could be seen even masked in shadows. It opened then closed, then opened again but slowly closed. The figure shrank a few inches before speaking.

“How do I get this fixed,” the figure said in a normal tone.

“Did Lethal Inventions give you a way to change the teleport location?” Eft said feeling his confidence rise.

“Yes, a token I place where I want the subject to end up.”

“Does it transfer the speed and angle?”

“I don’t know, this stuff is just too complex. I just…”

“No worries, we can test it.” Eft snagged the token after the shade pointed it out. Together they walked over to the pit trap that led into it.

Eft using a bit of magic to stick the token to the ceiling, then summoned a small rabbit. Directing the rabbit into the hole, it immediately disappeared into the black. A moment later a little ball of fur flew out from the token and into the floor. A broken and wheezing rabbit form lay in front of Eft and the shade.

Removing the token, Eft placed it on the floor. He walked over to the quivering rabbit and kicked it back into the pit. It disappeared into the black before reappearing from the token, flying through the air and hitting the ceiling. Briefly, it stuck to the ceiling, bu then fell to the ground. No longer moving at all.

“I can work with this,” Eft said and the goblin smiled. “Can you shape stone?”

“Yes, but I don’t see…” the shade started.

“The bucket room won't work with this trap. It needs a group of people. I want to make sure this trap works as well, even though it isn’t from my company.”

“It isn’t your’s,” for the first time Eft could see the shade’s eyes in the hood. The glowing red orbs widened.

“Correct, but I want you to know Mortis Operandi cares about its customers. So if we can fix this to be just as effective, everyone will be happy.”

“Yes, I can shape stone a little.” The shade said.

With magic, Eft placed the token against the ceiling. He directed the shade to make a hole to fit the token in, but at an angle. Once it was in place, Eft had the shade summon some skeletons.

“So the adventures come in from that side, they don’t see the pit trap. One of the adventures falls in.” Eft directed the shade to have a skeleton fall into the hole. A second after it disappeared it reappeared near the token, but falling at an angle, right into the other skeletons.

“So they won’t go to the ‘Bucket Room’?” the shade said.

“Oh, they’ll go there, eventually. This will stall them though, buying you more time or giving your guards time to respond. We place the other tokens at different angles, like behind them, or even right over the pit so someone just falls forever.”

“Oh I like the falling forever, that way solo adventurers that fall into the trap will be waiting for lunch time.”

Eft repressed a shiver and nodded in agreement. Together they fixed the pitfall trap and the relationship between Rachel Shaddow and Mortis Operandi. When Eft left an hour later, he had an appointment in a week to review the customer's Defense Solutions.


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About the author


Bio: Life long gamer and geek, after decades of RPG's, decided to start telling his own tales. Ones where the players can't derail.

I love fantasy and sci-fi. Have for decades, from the first time I read Dragons of Autumn Twilight to Stormlight archive, the worlds created have entrapped me. Now after years of attempting to complete a story, I've finished a few and am working on a new ones.

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