Legends of Cobalt

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https://dreamforgeproductions.com/2019/03/21/desperate-times/

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Blazing Path

We crept through the shadowed abyss of tunnels below Vercingetorix. A small collection of dancing lights and the point of Wyanet’s spear illuminated our path.

“I had no idea these tunnels even existed.” Olivia ran her hands over the cold wet stones. “And they all lead back to the main temple?”

“The Conclave doesn’t like people knowing our secrets.” Bucephalus’s horns scraped against the ceiling.

“Do these,” Olivia paused to think, “priest tunnels exist below every shrine? What is their purpose?”

Fredrick walked hunched beside Bucephalus. “Why no light?”

Wyanet whispered to me. “That symbol is a dark sign amongst my people, but none of our medicine-men or dream-keepers knows what it is. Do you know anything about it?”

“Sweeney raised me outside of the church. If it had to do with the Fae courts, I might, but I’m clueless about it.’

A voice outside our lights gurgled. “Who… trespasses… here?”

“I am Father Bucephalus, Lieutenant of the Inquisition.” Bucephalus hailed from the back of our party. “My companions and I are here to aid you. Let us pass, Brother.”

“Bucephalus…inquisition…?” The voice gurgled.

“Something is not right.” Wyanet lowered her shield and braced her spear against it.

I loosened my sword in its sheath.

“None… may pass… here.”

Two points of blue light glittered in the shadows. The clatter of bones and shuffle of feet moved toward us.

“You will… serve… the… Whispered One.” An undead wight with a bloody handprint on its breastplate stepped into the light. Two skeletons with short bows flanked the wight. A mob of zombies shuffled up behind them. 

A skeleton loosed an arrow at me. I caught the shaft and threw it back. The arrow passed through the skeleton’s ribs.

“Destroy… all…life!” The commander waved its sword at us. The zombies staggered forward.

A bead of orange light zipped between Wyanet and I. Wyanet spun her shield behind her. She grabbed me and held me against her chest. The orange bead connected with the commander’s forehead. Fires exploded in the tunnel. A shock wave tossed Wyanet and I off our feet. The heat and the light faded as fast as they appeared. Fredrick vaulted over us, swords in hand. Wyanet and I scrambled back to our feet.

The wight, blackened from the explosion, blocked Fredrick’s first assault. Fredrick brought his second sword around and pierced the wight’s abdomen. The wight snarled back at him. Fredrick slashed his first sword in an upward arch, slicing his opponent’s arm off at the elbow. The wight swiped at Fredrick with his other hand. Fredrick jumped back, pulling his second sword with him. Fredrick brought both swords together and sheared through the wight’s neck. The blue glow in its eyes faded as the head thunked on the ground.

Fredrick wiped the ichor from his blades and returned them to their scabbards. “Clear, lady.”

“No point wasting time on trivial things.” Olivia tucked her wand back into its sling. She walked past us and took Fredrick’s arm. She waved her hand and the floating orbs of light drifted down the tunnel. “Are these things common in your tunnels?” 

“Why would we keep a perversion of the gift of life for security?” Sweat matted Bucephalus’s fur.

Jacqueline shook, her eyes as wide as saucers. “That’s why we’re not supposed to be down here.”

Wyanet put a hand on Jacqueline’s shoulder. “Is everyone all right?”

“I think I lost my eyebrows.” Phebes rubbed her forehead. 

“That was reckless. You could have killed one of us.” I sheathed my sword.

“I took a calculated risk, and it paid off.” Olivia moved the head of the wight with her toe. “There was no way the two of you could have held them back.” Olivia started down the tunnel. “The way is clear for now, we should continue onward.”

Wyanet sighed and kept her arm around Jacqueline. I hung back with Phebes and Bucephalus.

“Are you okay?”

Bucephalus leaned against the wall and tugged at his breastplate. “I will be. This reminded me of some bad memories.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Phebes asked.

Bucephalus straightened. “I want a drink and to be rid of this cursed land. But I can’t do anything I want until we finish this job.” He pushed after the others.

We walked for another half hour until a wall of wooden boards blocked the tunnel.

“The cultists must have sealed it in case their guards failed.” Olivia ran her fingers across the rough wood. “Easy enough.” She flicked her wand into her hand.

“Before you go blasting.” I forced Olivia’s hand down. “Let’s try a more mundane approach.” I pulled the hand axe from my belt. “Ceph, Fredrick, let’s tear it down.”

The three of us hacked through the wall in minutes. Stairs on the opposite side ascended into more darkness. We climbed the stairs and emerged in an alcove behind the statue of a dragon. 

“Where are we?” Phebes flicked the nose of the dragon statue.

“It appears to be an antechamber of some sort.” Olivia inspected a statue of a woman clothed in vines.

“This leads to the main sanctuary.” Jacqueline pointed to two twin sets of polished wooden doors banded in bronze.

“We will start there.” Wyanet grabbed the handle of a door and threw it open.

The seven of us slipped into the sanctuary. A dim light in a myriad of colours fell from stained glass windows overhead. Eight columns carved in the visages of the gods supported the high ceiling. The thunk of the closing door echoed throughout the massive room.

“Nice of you to join us,” A man called from the altar. The glow of candles framed his body. “We needed more sacrifices.” He stepped down from the altar. Blood stained his body and dripped from the curved dagger in his hand.

A dozen more cultists appeared around the altar.

“We wanted more offerings than the bishop.” The leader walked closer. “And you have answered our prayers. Like lambs to the slaughter.” The cultist smiled. “Grab them.”

The story will continue, May 7th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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