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No matter the road they tread,
at the beginning I lurk.
In darkness it is me they dread.

I stalk and plot my strike,
eager to finish my work.
It is after their long hike -

in the middle of their journey, my friend -
when I deliver my dirk.
Thus I finally bring the adventurer’s end.

Who am I?

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

    
Enjoy my first riddle on this awesome site! This is the first poem I wrote in my life. :) – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 16:31
2  
Are you the vashta nerada? :P – The Brown One Jan 13 at 17:23
    
@HeatherBrown Haha. I never watched Doctor Who, but Google.. :P – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 17:47
3  
Just from the title--- the coffee table. oh my poor shins. – Mr.Mindor Jan 13 at 23:35
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@Mr.Mindor Lego. RIP feet. – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 23:36
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Are you...

The letter R?

No matter the road they tread,

at the beginning I lurk.

first letter of road

In darkness it is me they dread.

not quite as solid, but it's in daRkness

I stalk and plot my strike,

eager to finish my work.

It is after their long hike -

the word labor, a common synonym for work, is finished with an r

in the middle of their journey, my friend -

jouRney

when I deliver my dirk.

not sure, except diRk?

Thus I finally bring the adventurer’s end.

adventureR

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1  
You got it right, well done! [WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD!] You perceived the main hints correctly - the ones about the position of the letter in the respective words. What you said about "eager to finish my work" was not intended, and I suppose I shouldn't have used the word "finish" as it can be interpreted as the rest of the main hints - as in what the letter's position is in the word. The other hints were all the words prefixed with "my" - "strike", "work", "friend", "dirk". Here "my" means that the letter belongs to those words. I did my best to lay a false trail with the "story" of the poem. – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 21:15
1  
(Continuation...) Of course the main flaw of the poem in my opinion, is the personifications of the letter that don't make sense - which are pretty much all but the statements related to the position of the letter in a word. E.g. "it is me they dread", "eager to finish my work", "I deliver my dirk". – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 21:27
    
This is so much fun.... Ah I tried hard to figure this one out, but inevitably couldn't resist reading this answer! I don't think I was going to figure it out .... I just wasn't thinking THAT way ..! – D.Tate Jan 13 at 22:02
    
Also another major flaw - though this doesn't really matter for actually solving the riddle in this case - is the fact that I didn't bother with the poem meter at all. :) – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 22:10
    
[SPOILER] Fun fact: I got the idea for this riddle poem from a sentence I made up as a sub-section for a cipher riddle I made a few years ago, which was "I am the end of every adventurer, though they can find me at the beginning of all the roads they may tread, and at the middle of every journey they may embark upon." – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 22:13

Is it

Death?

No matter the road they tread, at the beginning I lurk.

No matter the choices people make in their lives, death is with them from the moment they are born.

In darkness it is me they dread.

Many are fearful of death, as it is inevitable, full of darkness and the unknown.

I stalk and plot my strike, eager to finish my work. It is after their long hike -

Again, the fate of death stays with us throughout our whole lives, the possibility of dying is ever-present, even though we try to diminish it.

in the middle of their journey, my friend - when I deliver my dirk. Thus I finally bring the adventurer’s end.

Humans, being able to contemplate our own end, would almost never be ready to die. There is always something more we could do with our lives, something we never finished before dying. Death interrupts our journey and calls it the end.

Who am I?

Dreaded Death

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2  
Wow, very nice interpretation! However, it is not the solution I am looking for. I didn't plan for it to hint so much towards your proposed solution - it was a result of the rhyming words I ended up choosing, based on which I then wrote the rest of the poem. Unfortunately I can't accept your solution, even though you'd have convinced me that this is the answer had I not written the riddle. :P My solution is much less profound, maybe even silly. But I won't abandon my original idea! :D – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 19:42
2  
@SpiritFryer That happens with my riddles all the time. I'll get an impressive answer about the universe or something that I wish I could say I had intended, but it's not even close to my intended answer. I certainly enjoy the way this was composed, so I'll have to try coming back with fresh eyes. Nice work. – raisinghellyer Jan 13 at 19:51

Not a serious answer (unless it happens to be correct, in which case it is totally serious):

A saving throw

No matter the road they tread,
at the beginning I lurk.

The threat of the blown save can happen AT ANY TIME. Just having to make the roll means your face might be about to be melted off.

In darkness it is me they dread.

Entering that cave/dungeon, knowing there's gonna be a trap in there SOMEWHERE. Seriously, do dungeon architects take classes in this stuff?

I stalk and plot my strike, eager to finish my work.

Seriously, that d20 hates you. It's just biding its time, waiting for the right opportunity.

It is after their long hike - in the middle of their journey, my friend - when I deliver my dirk.

Bloody random encounters.

Thus I finally bring the adventurer’s end.

Ugh, a 1. The owlbear does what to my what now?

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Haha, I like the thematic answer, but nope! :) – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 20:29

Tiredness?

No matter the road they tread,

at the beginning I lurk.

In darkness it is me they dread.

You don't start tired but it eventually creeps up on them.

I stalk and plot my strike,

eager to finish my work.

It is after their long hike -

Tiredness always follows you - when I read this line I realised it had to be something abstract. It might not be tiredness but it's a good bet.

in the middle of their journey, my friend -

when I deliver my dirk.

Thus I finally bring the adventurer’s end.

Tiredness forces you to stop, which is the 'dirk'

Am I close?

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Sorry, that isn't the answer. You are right in the answer being abstract. :) – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 18:34
    
It's a nice riddle @SpiritFryer considering it's your first. Welcome to the site and what a way to enter! A riddle thus unsolved... – Beastly Gerbil Jan 13 at 18:37
    
Thank you! Do people generally add hints if a riddle remains unsolved for a while? – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 18:41
    
Generally yes. If it's so tricky that no one can get it-it's a bit pointless! :) – Beastly Gerbil Jan 13 at 18:42
    
Don't add one yet - there is a lot of interest at the moment so I would wait a few days in case someone gets it like it is now @SpiritFryer – Beastly Gerbil Jan 13 at 18:43

I think the answer is

Sun

No matter the road they tread, at the beginning I lurk.

Sun rises everyday.

In darkness it is me they dread.

Those who have lived in darkness for long time feel uncomfortable in coming to light

I stalk and plot my strike, eager to finish my work. It is after their long hike -

You might not like Sun-rays sometimes.

in the middle of their journey, my friend - when I deliver my dirk. Thus I finally bring the adventurer’s end.

Sun sets in the end and the day is over.

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Not bad, but it is not the correct solution! ;) – SpiritFryer Jan 13 at 17:44

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