Kyris Balbozar had been digging for days. Thankfully, the mechanical suit had been holding up well, requiring minimal repairs as he dug through the earth using its enhanced strength. He knew that the Heart was in the dungeon under this very barrow, and that entering away from the main passageway would reduce unexpected encounters with its guardians and residents. As tempting as it had been to just jump down into the open, overgrown atrium closer to the gate, his geological survey indicated that the main treasure dungeon was right below this particular hill.
The dirt was full of stones. He knew he was getting closer. Switching bits, he began to cut into the actual stone wall surrounding the dungeon. He burst out onto the main dungeon, almost running smack dab into a statue.
Gaining his bearings, he checked his weapon loadout. Rifle, sword, blunderbuss; check, check, check. Equipment and tools, check. He walked into the first adjoining room.
The room contained nothing but an abandoned altar. Pulling out his instruments, he scanned the edifice. Magical residual energy popped up on his screen, indicating that a portal had been opened to another dimension on the smooth stone counter. He wasn’t able to determine exactly which other world had been accessed, or what properties it had, but a gateway had definitely been opened here. Unusual.
Continuing to investigate, he entered the next room. Catching his foot, he felt a trip-wire. A trap! Twisting his armored body, he narrowly avoided the jet of flames which shot from the jamb. Patting himself down, he was assessing the damage when he saw, lit by the flames of the trap, a group of four small lizard-men. They looked like tiny, flightless dragons, except dressed like little humaniods and armed with spears. Shrieking, they charged him. Taking a jab to the arm, he drew his sawtooth blade. The swarming lizards stabbed at him with their weapons, but his armor kept him all but untouchable to their stone spearheads. After only five swings, he had dropped each of them.
This dungeon was obviously not unoccupied, and certainly more than just magical portals lived here.
Clanking along, he approached the next room. Walking in, he saw a giant insect with huge mandibles! It was the size of a merchant’s cart. It was looking around to see where that infernal racket was coming from, but it hadn’t spotted him yet. He sheathed his sword, and pulled out his long rifle. Just as it caught sight of him, he fired, the shot ringing off of the creature’s armored exoskelton. He ran.
Charging down the hallway, the beast caught up to him, attempting to grapple him in his enormous horizontal jaws. The toothy spikes on the mandibles were sharp, and inflicted grievous damage on him despite his suit. However, it could not keep its grasp, and he wormed free. The pain was extreme, but he had the wherewithal to activate the hydraulic force manipulators attached to his leg-pieces. Moving at enhanced speed, knees moving like pistons, he shot out of the room and back out towards his tunnel.
The monstrosity pursued, but could not keep pace. He could hear it skittering through the rooms, clacking on the stonework and narrowly passing through the wide doorways. Entering the tunnel, he crouched, waiting. The bug slammed into the wall, but could not push past the very statue which Kyris has almost run into on the way in. It strained desperately in its hunger, pushing its head towards the tunnel entrance and cracking its jaws menacingly. Kyris reached into his pack, searching with his fingers. He found it. Crouching down, he activated the explosive he’d been saving. Setting the timer for 24 seconds, he shot back up the shallow gradient he’d dug into the hillside.
Kyris shuffled forwards cautiously. The mouth of the tunnel had been partially caved in, and the statue blocking the entrance destroyed entirely. Drawing his rifle, he waited. Suddenly, a ravaged and slightly melted insect head reared from the rubble, charging the opening. He aimed and fired, blowing out its eye and causing its massive bulk to drop unceremoniously back into the pile of stone debris.
Pushing with all the enhanced might of his strength-enhancing armor and the considerable bulk of his own generous frame, he pushed the massive insect corpse aside. It must have weighted about four hundred pounds.
Securing his escape route, should anything go wrong like that again, Kyris moved back into the dungeon where he met the bug. From where he was, he could see a glowing red altar in one direction, a clearly magical circle emanating green light in the opposite direction, and an area of pitch dark between them. Sending his mechanical dragonfly to investigate the altar, he took a look at the green circle. The circle radiated combat magic- this was a training or proving ground of some sort. Meanwhile, his robotic scout finished its investigation, finding nothing of interest. He walked over to the edge of the room, and with a sharp tug he snapped one of the magically-lit stone torches off of the wall.
It was time to enter the darkness.