The sound of footsteps that echo in the forsaken ruin, deep in the ground. Were as loud as the chilling thoughts of a group of three men, who walk on a slow pace, weary of the place who has been long forgotten in time and memory from everyone, even the gods. The ruins started to slowly change, to morph, the walls became wider than before and the ceiling looked like it reach new heights. In the deep and dark ruin, long and big columns rise from the earth. They look like towers, as they appear one after the other. The group of men started to look smaller as they get close by.
“Is this the place?” One of them asked.
“Yes, it says here in the parchment,” Another one says but no before he snaps at the one who was by his side. “Don’t get away from me, I need your torch!”
“I don’t like this place boss,” The man with long black coat holding the torch said. “I don’t feel like we should be here at all.”
“Stop crying and hold the bloody torch near me,” Their leader said growling at his companions.
“You said this job was going to be easy, look at these places, there is nothing for us,” Their boss looked annoyed at them but didn’t pay attention to their worries. He was more focused on the parchment on his hands. His determination to find lost treasures did not share with the other two. As they look at the abandoned place, with care and weariness. For the darkness of the place, hold them tightly.
“This is huge, look at the columns, they must be at least a hundred meters tall, but what are those symbols?” The younger of the three asked. While he inspected those weirds symbols on the columns. The darkness of the ruin was slowly getting away from their eyes since they were able to get used to the dark by now. Their dark clothes were perfect for this kind of job. It was a very easy profession for them, they were not thieves or raiders. Not even mercenaries. They were simple cave crawlers or better known as scavengers. But many of them choose the title of cave crawlers, It does sound a lot better than the previous one. Cave crawlers made their gold, by going and exploring ancient ruins and forgotten places. To find lost treasures or anything that can be sold to the higher bidder. And the three of this group of men seem to be on the look for the old and ancient. To find anything worth the trouble for their travel.
“I don’t know what these things are, I have never seen anything like it,” the younger of the three said, meanwhile the last two are more focus on the parchment than in him.
“You are right, I haven’t seen anything like those symbols. What are they anyway?” The oldest member of the group asked. Losing interest in whatever his leader was looking in the piece of paper. He looked old, many winters have seen his face but look tall and strong. He didn’t leave his boss's side since he knew better than the young one, what kind of men he was.
“I don’t know, but look,” He pointed to the wall. And the figure of a dwarf was visible, thanks to the light of the torch.
“Well, at least I know this is from the dwarfs, but still, that does not explain these strange symbols on the columns,” the young cave crawler said. He was the most educated of them, there was little that the youngest man of a small noble house of the kingdom of Roimas could do. No one cared for him in the big family, certainly few even knew him at all. A small noble house, with many heirs, and not too many to get familiar with ironically, not even with your brother. So he decided to leave behind his not so warming family, and look for his own fortune. He was not a warrior so he couldn't fight in a war, he could barely lift a sword. So he didn’t even bother to look for a job in one of the mercenaries companies or sellswords in the south of Atherion. Even if they were the most prolific and popular kind of job in the south of the continent, even if he was the capable swordsman didn’t mean he would live to see the gold in the long run. Thievery was also dropped, he was no fan of stealing. So he decides to take the most, “legal” job possible. Cave crawling. To look into ancient ruins, in the look for lost dreams and treasures, what’s no to like?
“Maybe is part of an ancient kingdom?” The old man asked. As he watches the kid looking more excited by the minute.
“It’s possible, but I think this is a dwarf outpost, the kingdom of Anzelatem was big in the firsts and second age of gold. Their underground cities and roads, expand from their capital of Karkaza to the city of the Kalazan in Atherion. And that's is crossing continents and seas,” the torch man thought about as well. Perhaps all their work to reach this horrible and forgotten place was not in vain. They could find something of worth is this places. If indeed was part of the ancient kingdom of the dwarfs.
“Dammit, all of it!” They heard their boss yell. In a very infuriating way. He started kicking rocks left and right, cursing in the name of the gods.
“Lost of time and gold!” He screamed. “I should have never listened to the words of a witch!” He yelled more loudly, as he voice echo to the ruin and cave. His blue eyes contain fury like no other. And his two workers walk away from his anger slowly. After he calmed, he just looks away and inspected the place one more time.
“I was taken for a fool, like a dumb person that I am, I fall for her words,” He growls like a beast. ”You will find a treasure like no other, and you will awake in a new world, she said to me the witch, lies, only lies I found in this place,” The men said again, with a furious voice.
“We should leave,” The old man said. “Let’s get back to Forteria or The big sister, we could always get our gold back if we manage to find a better quest,” He said with a disappointed voice, but secretly, he was pleased. He was never a crazy or paranoid man. He's been doing this for a very long time, and has seen any type of ruin and lost secrets in his lifetime. But these places, these ruins, frightened him to no end.
“This is over, boss, for I do not wish to linger in ruins like this,” The old man said. “For there are things that are better forgotten in the deeps of this world,” He looks at the ruin, that looks at him like silent judges to his every move.
“I hate when you go all superstitious on me. This is just an empty cave with nothing on it, just dust, rock, and my dead dreams,” The leader said. Looking at his surroundings for the last time.
“Called as you wish sir, but I will rather be on the surface than this place,” The torch man replied. Both of them keep talking, but it was the youngest of them, who look with interest a the small hole at one of the columns. He started to poke it, and he realizes that the stone, was falling from it. He started to dismantle the rock of the column. And small light of metal smiles him.
“Look!” He screamed.
“What?!” His boss asked. Suddenly, the rockfall completely. And the naked column was shining with glee at the men.
“By the gods!” The boss said.
The column was, in reality, a huge statue made of gold. So big and high in the ceiling of the cave, that made them gasp for some time. The figures on it, the scenes that were embedded in the statue talked of a different type of world, an old world.
“Look at the side of this, look at the amount of gold!” The old man said with the biggest smile, that had ever made it to his face. “I can’t believe it,” He said to himself.
“Well, it seems that the witch was right!” The boss let out a lousy laugh while touching the statue made of delicious dreams. The eyes grow every time he touched the gold. He could not believe his eyes, to have this luck, to find perhaps the biggest finding in his whole life. Indeed he would have to think of ways to take this gold back to the island. Perhaps he would sell his finding, he knows many people who would love to pay, a ridiculous amount of gold for this. As well he could take a little bit for himself.
“What are those things?” The young one asked, looking at the statue with keen eyes. He notices the figures on the colossal statue.
“Are those Demorgius?” He said, astonished to find something like that. The demorgius race was almost extinct. With only a few thousand at most, living in the empire of Antherion. The history books, talk about the ancient kingdom that once ruled, the south of Elseria. But after the corrupted war, three hundred years ago. Just a barren wasteland was left. The Great Isolation. They called it, a place of eternal darkness, suffering, and cities whose names have been lost in time. To say that he was anxious to leave these places would have been an understatement.
“Who cares if they are those creatures?” Said the leader. “The only thing I cared right now, it’s the gold that this,” He said pointing a the statue. “Would bring," The old man smile as well.
“Did you hear that?” The young scavenger said.
“What?” The old one asked.
“Just listen, sound like... water?” And the sound of water running through the earth grow louder in the silence. Suddenly they notice a weird green liquid, coming out of the statue.
“What in the gods is this?” El old man said. As he slowly started to touch the green substance. It was sticky and the smell of it was off. The golden statue started to look like a fountain, and it was a sudden earthquake. That was able to scare the small group of men.
“What’s going on?!” The boss asks in a panic.
“Look!” The young one said. As he was pointing to the rest of the giant columns, he started to tremble and getting rid of the rock around them. Suddenly, more statues of gold appear. They were everywhere. And waterfalls of that horrible liquid emerge from the cave.
“Let's get out of here!” The young cave crawler ran away from the statues, but the sudden scream of the pain of his older companion made him stop. The leader, who was by his side, was terrified of what was happening. The green liquid was burning him alive, and the poor men were screaming his lungs out in desperation. The young one looks in horror as the leader suddenly screams as well. And notice that the liquid of the old man seems to have jumped to him. But in reality, he was simple in the worst position, because of the leaks of the ceiling have brought more of this substance to the cave. Both men scream for life, for help.
The young noble boy could only run. But he was stopped as the sight of something brought of a nightmare.
"Who dared to walk in my castle?" The voice of the colossus made him stop.
"Who defiled my resting place?" The creature was enormous. Like a giant. His big horns without edged, his yellow teeth and his dark skin. Made him look like one of those figures on the golden statue. But he didn’t look like one of the Demorgius, that live in this age. The poor lad, with a tear in his eyes, could only fall to his knees. Weeping and praying to the gods to take him away from this hell.
"Do not pray for the betrayers, young human. For they only cared for those who blind their eyes and numb their souls,” The creature said, he gently touches the human forehead. With his long and dark nail. His eyes had the same color as the greenish liquid on the waterfalls. His long and red hair falls to the ground as he walks slowly and with care. His body seems to be deteriorated over time. He looks at the statues and saw the bodies of the two men who met their death in these places.
“You should meet your new destiny, do not fight it. Don’t run from it. Rise again, the gods would be jealous of you,” He said as the two bodies slowly stood up. They growl like a beast in rage. The young one soiled himself for what he was seeing. Another earthquake attack the cave, and this time. The walls started to crumble. The ruin started to morph on his wake, changing all around him. Like it was waiting for him, for the master or king.
“My beloved. I will search for you, I will finish what my brothers and sister started. I will search for the keys of the heavens and break the chains of the world and free you from your prison,” The creature says as his long and big hand. Slowly caresses the painting of women in front of him. Mystic green eyes with golden iris look at him. His monstrous finger, touch the face of the woman with a lover's care. His own green flaming eyes seem to be adorning the face of his past lover. But it was gone when he looks at the beast behind his love, that change his being.
“I will make you pay for what have you done, I will destroy you, and this time there won’t be a saving grace for you,”
Whatever horrors, this creature brings. The world would know that is was the gods that anger him, but perhaps it was both. Only time would tell.
Thank you for reading!