September 28, 2015
“Go, go!’ Jack shouted and the six remaining members of his team hurried to reach the bottom of the wide spiral staircase before the colossal flying horror could attack them. They didn’t make it.
Jack couldn’t be sure what happened to the rest of his group. A couple of them launched flint-napped spears at the thing, but it was like throwing pine needles at a crocodile. But before most of them could do more than look on in terror, a giant toadish limb the size of a rotting tree crashed into the wall and swept them off.
Jack’s world become a tumbling vortex of falling people, stone, and shouts. He hit the floor hard, but that hadn’t hurt as much as the thigh sized stone that bounced off his lower back. He wanted to moan for about a half an hour while he caught his breath, but didn’t have the time for the supposed dead God loomed over him.
Knowing that his Earth powers were all but useless in this cursed temple, Jack hurried to his feet as his eyes attempted to pierce the dust ridden stygian pit. A single torch shouldered on the floor casting a dim light, which allowed him to see Tynilia as she struggled to push a pile a debris off her pinned legs. Jack hurried to her side as ear rending screams filled the air. He was just pushing away a large stone with the edge of his battle axe when a wave of liquid showered down over both of them. Tynilia opened her mouth to scream for they realized at once that it was blood.
Before she could empty her lungs, an ebony hand clamped over her mouth. Jack looked back just in time to see Shadowknife behind her before the Darcarre shrouded them all within his darkness Bestow. Whispers of his mental speech feathered at the front of Jack’s mind.
“Be silent, be still. The Dead God is busy devouring my apprentice. We…” but then his telepathic voice faded away for the creature had flown off.
The trio watched as the titanic flying horror returned down the tunnel it had erupted from.
As its loud buzzing faded, again Shadowknife was the first to speak. “It might be returning to insure your allies of Yig do not escape, that is, if they still live.”
Jack growled in anger and then said, “Help me get her free.” He saw that Tynilia’s bare legs had become a gruesome mess and hurried to use his Ki to heal her.
“Jack, don’t waste all your mystic strength on me.”
“With how limited I am down in this pit, there isn’t much else I can use it for.” He said, but then stood at full height and looked around the base of the pit. He located the torch and held it aloft. The fire burned brighter, but still did little to illuminate much of the vast darkness.
Of the rest of there party there remained no sign. “Did anyone see what happened?”
Tynilia didn’t say a word and just shook her head no as she hugged her arms around her narrow form.
Shadowknife took a step forward and kicked a severed hand out of a lingering pool of blood. “As I have said, Strike has fallen prey to the Mad God. I believe I may have seen Huth running into the tunnel the Mad God just entered. He might have been attempting to save your allies.”
“He was guarding the rear of the party. Of him I have seen no sign. If he was close I would sense him. Perhaps he was the first of us to fall during this most recent assault.”
“Perhaps,” Jack said. “I’m not ordering or expecting either of you to follow me, but I can’t leave here when so many of us could still be living.”
“But Jack,” Tynilia began, “How can you hope to stop that thing?”
“I don’t have to stop it to rescue my allies. We’re Yig worshippers. If we all became serpents, you two could snatch us up and could fly us out right?”
“In theory such a plan could work,” Shadowknife said, “but there is no guarantee I can fly faster than the Mad God.”
“I have to try. Tynilia if you feel this is too much for you…”
“My whole life is too much for me, but if you think I’ll be staying here alone, you are out of your mind. Let’s just get this over with. The building dread is worse than anything.”
With silent nods the remaining three warriors set off into the tunnel the beast had returned too.
To be continued next Monday
Find out how Jack’s Adventures Started Here!
September 14, 2015
The scattered warriors regained their footing and looked own into the stygian pit that loomed beneath them. Jack could still make out Vel-Lenna’s cries mixing with the insane buzzing of the horrific creature that had just flown into the deep hole with two of their party grasped within its warped hands.
“We have to rescue them,” Jack said. “Vel is still alive and Quez could be as well.”
“From that thing?” Stalker said. “I’m not one to back away from a fight, but I’m not suicidal either.”
“A minute ago, you wanted us all to head down there,” Tynilia said, with a hint of awe in her voice as she gazed in the direction of the pit.
The remaining six members of their team gathered together and tried to read each other’s expressions in the dim dancing light. The gruesome statue of the foul beast hung over them and the pit like a sick reminder of what they would face if they traveled below.
Tynilia spoke again. “We can’t just leave them, can we? I know I wouldn’t want to be abandoned down there. Besides we’re going to need every one of us to make it to the Lava Dragons.”
Jack looked at her, but spoke to everyone. “We’re going to rescue them for more reasons than we need them for our quest.”
“If we lose three more of us trying to rescue two, how will that help out cause?” Stalker asked.
“I…” Jack started and then paused.
“What is it?” Shadowknife asked in a low voice.
“I think I sensed someone casting an earth spell below.”
“That means she’s still fighting,” Tynilia said.
“I’m going to head down there right now,” Jack said. “Either way it will be one less evil beast haunting your world. Who’s with me?”
“If we are going, I think we all should go,” Shadowknife suggested. “I doubt staying up here would increase one’s safety. We already know that the creature has means of reaching the surface.”
Huth nodded without saying a word and began to descend the steps.
“Hold up Huth,” Jack said. “So I’m following him.”
Tynilia looked uneasy, but she moved behind Jack.
“I will go, as will Strike.”
“You’re all a bunch of fools,” Stalker started. “But there’s no way in hell I’m staying up here alone.”
* * *
The narrow staircase lead down into the complete darkness. They had fashioned some torches, but the Tezcatlipoca warriors as well as the Splinter Darcarre could see through the blackness or so Jack had been told.
Jack’s hand reached out to stabilize himself as he stepped over a half crumbled stair. The stone wall felt wet and he could have sworn it shifted at his touch like a lung drawing in air. Before they had lost sight of the orange halo of light above a stench had already begun to fill their nostrils. It smelled part rotting corpse with a mixture of feces and other things somehow worse. It left them gagging.
Every inch of him screamed out that this place was wrong. He knew instinctively that his powers of Yig were weakened here. He wasn’t sure what Vel-Lenna had attempted to do, but if the malign forces blocking his abilities were any indication, he doubted her attack could have been to successful.
Twenty minutes later found them still descending. Jack began to question his sanity. Could they really be going this far into the earth? How could such a long staircase have been constructed? Why would anyone make a tunnel like this to help the monster they had seen escape? Had it been worshipped like some sort of mad god?
This and other questions would have to wait for no one wanted to be the first to break the building silence.
And yet the stairs went down.
The stench grew as they pressed on. He was just wondering if he should allow the group a break when the buzzing started again. Low and dull at first, but them like an explosion he grew to horrific volumes and came right toward them. The idea of fighting the giant toadish fly from a three foot staircase filled him with dread.
Huth cried out something.
“He says he can see the bottom,” Tynilia translated.
“I can see it too,” Stalker yelled.
“Make for it!” Jack shouted. “We have to get there before the thing in the dark reaches us. Go. Go!”
To be continued next Monday