Like a Bat Into Hell

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Like a Bat Into Hell
Like a Bat Into Hell

This is a magical portal that leads to the Underworld. It's pretty boring there, but it's useful when you need healing or want to do some shopping.

Note: If you enter the Underworld via this portal, it will cost you 1 adventure to return to the mortal realm.

Enter the Underworld.

First time entering through your tomb:

HPYou gain all hit points.

You walk through the portal, which feels a bit like walking into a vertical pool of cool water. The coolness subsides rapidly, and your vision fades to darkness, but you keep walking.

Eventually, light slowly returns, and you are walking down a richly-but-tastefully decorated hallway: the VIP entrance to the Underworld, which is also called The Duat, or Neter-kherket if you want to be fancy.

Being a VIP has its privileges -- for one, you can choose to travel here without dying, which is always inconvenient. And more importantly, you get to skip all the usual entry protocols, which involve facing a series of monstrous demon gate guards with gross insect faces and knife hands, before having your soul devoured if your heart doesn't weigh exactly the same as a feather. (As feathers go, it's a heavy one, but even so...)

You stop at a crystal fountain, and take a drink of the cool, clear, life-giving water of Neter-kherket, which heals the wounds of those who drink it. (It's a shame they can't bottle it and export it to the mortal realm, since for most people it comes rather too late.)

Continuing, you soon reach the end of the hall, and push open the door into the Underworld.

First-time entrants to Nefer-kherket (and the great majority of entrants are necessarily first-timers, by definition) are often surprised by how small it is. There is more to it than what you see here -- the various gods and demons have homes to go to when their shifts are over, and so on -- but the parts that most people get to see basically amount to a large train station or a small airport. A majestic and opulent one, certainly, but generally the people who arrive here are only passing through on their way to somewhere else.

Most travelers continue east from here, to the heavenly paradise called Aaru. You've never been there yourself, because of the whole undying thing. You hear it's nice though, at least if you like reed fields. You've always been pretty indifferent about reed fields, personally. And anyway, you have other stuff to worry about.

A couple little market stalls are nearby, mostly selling packed lunches and duty-free booze to travelers, though you also know of a shop that caters to more permanent clientele such as yourself.

The most important feature of the place is, of course, the portal back to the mortal realm. Because good grief, who would want to hang out here any longer than they had to?

Subsequent times entering through your tomb:

You walk through the portal in your tomb, down the VIP entrance hallway (pausing briefly at the crystal fountain), and into Nefer-kherket, the Underworld.

The journey is uneventful, though a stork-headed janitor pauses in his sweeping to bow as you walk past, and that's always nice when that happens. Little reminders like that are good for the ego.

The place looks the same as it did last time -- a few ghostly spirits heading toward their final rewards, and a few demons trying to sell them things for the journey. You look around at the market stalls, wondering if there's anything you should get before heading back to the mortal realm.

Enter Underworld
Nah, not just now.

Occurs at Your Tomb.

First time beaten up:

You collapse to the ground, overcome by your injuries. Your opponent decides that adding insults to those injuries wouldn't be sufficient, and adds some more injuries instead by kicking you in the ribs several times. The snapping and crunching sensations blur as everything fades into darkness, and then you are falling.

At first, everything is completely dark, and there is no sensation of momentum, no rushing of wind -- you only know that you are falling from experience. You're Ed the Undying after all, and you aren't new to this party. Soon enough though, a faint pinpoint of light becomes visible in the distance below you, and slowly grows in size and brightness as you fall toward it.

As you always do, you start counting off seconds, trying to figure out exactly how far you fall before reaching the bottom. And as you always do, you lose count after what might be several minutes, or an hour, or a week. Time is meaningless down here, which is why you try to spend as little of it here as possible. It's frustrating to try and get anything done when nobody can keep an appointment.

Eventually, you hit the bottom, remembering just in time to bend your knees and roll with the impact. It still hurts, but it's a lot better than just belly-flopping like a total newb. You take a moment to brush off the dust and catch your breath, and look around.

The Underworld -- properly known as "Neter-kherket" or more simply "The Duat" -- looks just the same as it always has. Of course it does. Contrary to what you might expect, change is still possible where time is meaningless, but it doesn't happen quickly.

You walk to Arrivals, where the newly-departed must pass through many gates guarded by monstrous demons before they reach the final test of entry -- having their heart weighed against a feather. If it does not balance exactly, the unfortunate petitioner is eaten by Ammit, the Devourer of Souls -- a fearsome demon with the front half of a lion, the back half of a hippopotamus, and the head of a crocodile.

This isn't an issue for you, of course; they know you here. (And Ammit is actually quite cool socially. She leaves her work at work.)

The locust-headed guard at the first gate nods respectfully to you, and waves you toward the VIP entrance. You walk down a short, tastefully-decorated hall (stopping to drink at a crystal fountain that refreshes and restores your body, or at least the astral version of it? Someone tried to explain it to you once, but you got bored), and soon you arrive in Neter-kerket.

Subsequent times beaten up:

Your opponent smashes you to the ground, and applies stomps (or stomp-analogues) to your spine. As before, you lose yourself to the blackness, and find yourself falling endlessly -- except not actually endlessly, because you eventually land at the entrance to Neter-kherket, the Underworld.

You wave to the gate-guard as you head back toward the VIP entrance, stop at a fountain to heal your wounds, and exit into the weird little waystation.

HPYou gain all hit points.

The place looks the same as it did last time -- a few ghostly spirits heading toward their final rewards, and a few demons trying to sell them things for the journey. You look around at the market stalls, wondering if there's anything you should get before heading back to the mortal realm.

The portal guard (a guy with a human body but a head that's sort of like a praying mantis except with the mouth of a shark) lets you know that you can head right back out, if you want.

You are momentarily disorientated -- moreso than these portals normally cause. Your spirit is naturally drawn toward your tomb, but since you entered Nefer-kherket by dying, you still have an attachment to your previous corporeal form.

To put it more simply: if you like, you could give the jerk that killed you one hell of a surprise.

Enter Underworld
Go right back to the fight!