Hilda passed through the gate and found herself in a long and moldy corridor that was littered with cans and bones. These were not the bones of long dead heroes and villains, but bones left from the meals of adventurers who expected somebody else to clean up after them.
Disgusting. Instead of a pristine dungeon to loot, Hilda was probably walking into a stinking dumpster to scavenge, because of course: if life was a soup then she was a fork. Oy… fork my life.
The corridor soon gave way to a grand hall that smelled like a latrine. The room had five doors, none of which were still lodged in their original frames. A halfling in leather armor sat near one of the doors, sorting potions he took out from a backpack larger than himself.
“Hi,” he said while subtly drawing the potions closer to himself.
“Peace,” Hilda replied, touching her purse to make sure it was still there. It was, at present, an empty purse, but she liked the embroidery.
“The first floor has been entirely cleaned,” the halfling complained. “High level adventurers are such shits. Why loot the first floor? It’s peanuts for them and they know we can’t go to the lower levels because the monsters are too strong… Fire giants, vampires, trolls… ech! Forget about it!”
While he was talking, Hilda secretly activated her detect alignment ability. He wasn’t evil, but he sure was chaotic.
“Yes, terrible…” she mumbled while wondering what door to choose. Her policy was to choose the path less traveled by, but in this dungeon she felt more inclined to choose the path less urinated in…
“You’re wasting your time,” the halfling went on, “all the rooms on this level have been looted.”
“The fact someone peed all over this level doesn’t mean he visited every room,” Hilda said with annoyance, “so shut up before I smite you.”
“You can’t smite me!” The halfling protested, “I’m an adventurer, just like you.”
Hilda turned to loom over the squatting halfling. As a dwarf, there were so very few creatures she could loom over, which made every looming a delight. “Yeah? Want a demonstration?”
The halfling hugged his potions and stared at her with puppy eyes.
“I’m a lawful paladin,” Hilda went on. “I’m not a good paladin and I’m certainly not a nice paladin. Either spare me your bullshit or lie to me a little more so you’d register as chaotic enough to loot without transgressing. I’m not usually aggressive but by the moon, bullshiters bring out the beast in me.”
The halfling opened his mouth and then closed it. He thought for a few moments. Then he opened his mouth again and closed it again.
“Literally incapable of telling the truth…” Hilda muttered. “Now, what corridor did you return from, really?”
The halfling swallowed. “I… I just arrived. I haven’t been to any rooms yet.”
“Okay…” Hilda picked the corridor that smelled the gobliniest. Supposedly goblins had more gold than rats and skeletons. At least they had a use for it. “Tell you what, you don’t come within melee range and I don’t smite you. You come close enough for me to strike and I call it self-defense. My goddess will be peeved, but it won’t be the worst thing I’ve done.”
“You must be really bored to pick on little halflings half your size…” The halfling muttered. “I’m so poor I’m rubbing two coppers together to see if they'll mate…”
“What’s that?” Hilda whirled, hammer in the air.
The little pest and his clanging potions were gone. Hm, gonna have to watch out for this one… Hilda thought as she started down the corridor.
She passed a broken door into a room with a moldy skeleton that stood dejectedly amid a pile of tattered furniture and the rotted remains of an ornate layered cake. The skeleton wore a bride’s gown and had a tiny copper ring. Just looking at it made Hilda feel sad.
Keep your ring, she thought as she stalked toward the next door. This one squeaked and squawked and clinged and clanged. It also radiated chaos like a bakery radiates empty calories.
A determined grin split the dwarf’s ordinarily dour, slightly bitchy face. She pulled out her battlehammer, raised her shield and kicked open the door with all her might. The ancient plank exploded into a shower of splinters and dust and the young dwarf charged in, ready to start her new career.