Thursday, December 24, 2009

At The Altar of Kae'Aboth

When the hanging fell, the Prince walked into total darkness.  He knew there was a small passage beyond, and felt his way along the right wall.

Presently, the passage turned right and continued for another twenty feet or so until he hit a dead end.

This can't be happening, he thought. There must be an entrance somewhere.

After groping for some five minutes, he made his way back to the wall hanging and listened for any movement beyond.  Satisfied, he slowly lifted the hanging up and looked into the room.  All was as he left it.  He grabbed a dying torch from a sconce and returned to the corridor's end.

Waving the torch a little to build it up, he scanned the end for any sign of a secret door.  After several minutes, he spotted a smaller stone that was too square for a natural cut; he pressed it, and a section of the wall on the left slid back.

Leery of hanging around here too long, the Prince dashed through the door and came into another chamber.

The area was large... maybe 100 feet or more in length and roughly 30 feet wide.  A quick scan showed no other exits to the room in his immediate area, but the far end was shrouded in shadows.  The ceiling vaulted with an apex of 40 feet; all was supported on pillars at equal points.

The Prince looked around and saw dead torches ensconced along the walls.  He grabbed one and lit it from his dying light, then moved further into the room.

The pillars were intricately carved with chaotic scenes of all sorts.  He spared them a quick glance and moved toward the other end of the chamber... halted a bit when he saw what appeared to be an altar at the other end.

Slowly, he approached within twenty feet... conscious of possible traps designed to destroy the infidel enemies of whatever god was worshipped here.  He backtracked to the end from which he came, and suddenly noticed a stairwell descending into the darkness.

So at least I can get out. He thought.

Back toward the altar, he approached from the other angle... stepping in a random pattern to increase his odds of not hitting a trapped stone.  Eventually, he got within ten feet of the structure.

It was seven feet in length or so... rising up to 3 feet and carved with symbols of a god he knew.

"Kae'Aboth." He spoke the name aloud without thinking, and the altar subtly vibrated the dank air here.

Curious, he approached the altar and begin to wipe the dust and cobwebs. "Kae'Aboth," he said again.

The air here began to lighten, and the Prince felt the nagging buzzing that had been in his head slowly fade. He cleaned it further and spoke more firmly. "Kae'Aboth, hear me.  I am allied with a priestess of yours."

He didn't expect much, but the effect was more than he bargained for.  The remaining dust swirled and reached into the air high above the altar.  A form appeared, female and powerful, but transparent.  He thought it looked almost like Qova.

"I answer the summons for Kae'Aboth... I, Elanda, his servant.  Who speaks the Great One's name and claims his cleric as friend?"

"Well, names are relative," he made a "who me?" face. "His cleric is lost... trapped somewhere down here, and I need the means to free her. I ask for your aid."

"And what aid could I give you, mortal?" the figure lectured down.

"Give me arms to destroy her captor, and I will lead her back to this altar so that she may properly re-consecrate it," the Prince replied.  Give me a weapon capable of destroying the mightiest of undead, even if for just awhile."

Elanda smiled. "You have chosen wisely, mortal, and your petition will be granted. You will do well to keep your promise or die trying." And with those last words, Elanda slowly vanished... and on the altar lay two broadswords.

The Prince unsheathed them.  Both were of fine quality with unusually sharp blades etched in northern runes.  He read them by torchlight; they said "we seek and destroy the walking dead."

The Prince grinned, strapped both scabbards to his waist, grabbed his torch and headed for the secret door.

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