B10 – NIGHT’S DARK TERROR
25 FYRMONT OF 1005 AC
THE PIT. TEMPLE OF PFLARR, THE LOST VALLEY.
“The thing passed through here.” Dan is bent a few steps ahead of me, and observe the mud up close. I hold high the torch to enlighten the area. With a piece of wood, part of the burial box that hid the entrance to the catacombs, he stirs the muddy and slimy residues left as a trail, by the kartoeba. The rest of the comrades is behind me, as if in wait for the storm that we all know will follow this apparent calm. The necropolis that extends below the temple of Pflarr, extends for kilometers under the whole Lost Vale, according to the hutaakan. Kilometers of narrow, dark tunnels that extend like a maze. Everywhere we see more or less recent signs of the passage of the thing. This one, however, seems to be a fresh track and it seems to lead right under the temple. In my right hand I wield the long curved sword right found among the remains of the hutaaka priestess who had tried to safeguard the Golden Cup and that even as a spirit had tried to defend the ancient treasure. Once again I have to thank Titus and his unwavering faith in Thor. If not for him, we will probably be both dead, Dan and I, against the woman spectre. The sword, ending in a curve like a sort of sickle, has unnatural lightness and balance. It’s definitely a magnificent weapon. “Thoragon, let’s continue this way. Led the way.” This time it is Titus showing me the way forward.
At the end of a narrow passage we reach what looks like a cave. A the top, fifteen, twenty meters above our heads, we can see the mouth of the well located in the temple. We are just below the altar. Old rusty iron bars separate us from the cave, the bottom of which seems to be completely filled with mud and ominous-looking mushrooms. A series of passages open all around the well. It is quite simple to pluck up the bars. “Which way do we go?” asks Adrik. “But above all, Marjana, what about the mud?” While I wait for the girl to finish examining the moss I am starting to study a system to cross the cavern without having to go to its center. It is only then that I realize there is a movement. I see a shadow retreating inside a passage, a long black tentacle, dripping of slimy and rotting sewage. “There!” Without waiting a moment I let the anger pervade me and take over my being. Armed with torch and sword, I make a long jump on the wall to my left, and using it as a springboard, I jump a second time, landing at the mouth of the passage in which I saw the creeping rot. “THORAGON !!” I hear my companions screaming. “The Shield, Adrik, quick!”
Their voices are lost behind me, blurred and far. I am guided only by instinct and by the gift of Shango. A movement, this time to my right. I wave the torch to light up the passage, but the light seems to find it difficult, unnaturally difficult, to spread out around me. It is as if it was sucked by something that is absorbing it. The “Thing” is absorbing the light! Another movement, this time at the top to my left. I raise the torch and see it, a rotting black heap, with long slimy tentacles, dripping fetid and stinking pus.
A repulsive and repugnant nightmare, materialized right before my eyes. It is but a brief moment, but crystallized in my mind, indissoluble and eternal that I shall never forget. Then the torch light is sucked out. I still perceive the heat coming by it but all now is dark around me. I feel blind and lost, probably, for the first time in my life. Then I feel its cold and slimy touch. Its grip tightens around my body, my throat, it blocks my limbs and viscous and repulsive slime crawl under my scales, inside your nose and mouth. I start to choke, coughing and I slowly die.
Then a flash of lightning pierces the magical darkness and I feel the thunder, deafening and reassuring at the same time. A dim light illuminates the area again. Before I completely lose my senses, while I get dragged into the soft underbelly of the thing, I see fire darts, bolts of magical energy, and the screams of my friends coming to my rescue. I’m not alone. I’m not alone anymore.
To be continued..