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The Tale of Thunder - Chapter Three (Uprising of the Shadows - Part Six: Relics)

Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)
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The inside of the inn was dark, the overcast sky outside offering little light. Kessa pulled out her sun rod which still glowed bright red from when they'd used it in the caves before they'd come upon the ruins. The inn room lit up, taking on a red tint as the rod's light spread throughout it.

The end of the inn had collapsed entirely, leaving a good-sized section buried in piles of wood. Several wooden tables were spread about the remainder of the room, some tables with broken legs, others tipped or turned over entirely. Kessa lead the way across the remnant of the commons room, stepping around behind the counter. There Thunder saw a doorway, the door itself in pieces beyond it.

Kessa stepped through the doorway into a wine room. At the end of the wine room was a small set of cramped stairs that ended I another doorway, everything beyond it cloaked in darkness. The two of them headed down the stairs.

Light from the sun rod flooded into the room they had now entered. The room was circular, the walls and floor bare of any objects. At the center of the room though, Thunder's eye was caught. A large pile of gems, gold, and other treasures were heaped into a pile upon the floor. It was definitely the illusion Kessa had spoken of. A poor illusion at that, for none of the treasure glinted or shone in the light.

Thunder stepped up cautiously, wondering where the hole was covered in the illusion. He quickly found out when Kessa startled him by shoving him into the treasure from behind. Thunder could feel the ground beneath him suddenly disappear.

He was suddenly falling down a chute. It gave a metallic glint as he fell faster and faster. The chute suddenly took a slant, slamming Thunder into the side of it, hurling him out of control. Once Thunder had managed to get his hurling form under control, all he saw was blackness. Everything took on a dulled red tint, the only sign Kessa was close behind.

Thunder could suddenly hear a low buzzing. The glint of spinning metal in the light gave Thunder a fraction of a second to react. Yanking up his feet, a jagged-edged spinning blade shot up from one side of the chute. Thunder vainly tried to dodge each blade, but that was near impossible on his back jetting down a chute.

"You never said anything about this!" Thunder shouted over the buzzing.

"Sorry!" was the only reply Kessa shouted back.

The chute abruptly ended, dropping Thunder straight onto a hard, gravel-covered ground. He hit the ground with a grunt, pain shooting up from his buttocks from where he'd landed. Kessa suddenly flew out of the chute, crashing right into him. Thunder felt sore now when Kessa got off him with a mumbled apology and he had stood as well.

They were in a dark hallway, large stone walls on either sides of them. The ground was gravel and the ceiling of a coarse stone ten feet from the ground.

"And now for the hard part," Kessa muttered as she bent over to retrieve the sun rod.

Kessa then cautiously lead the way down the hallway. The ground looked to have been disturbed recently, faint traces of footprints on the ground. The only sounds Thunder could hear were the ones they were making.

"We need to move fast," Kessa whispered. "The creatures will attack either whoever is farthest from the light r both of us when the sun rod dies."

Thunder moved closer to her, looking over his shoulder down the dark hallway they had just been down.


The sun rod suddenly faded. Kessa gasped and Thunder stopped breathing. He had heard muffled snarls and the faint scraping of feet farther down the hallway for the last few minutes. Darkness now had covered everything, the afterimage of the sun rod still flashing across his vision.

Thunder suddenly heard the faint scraping noise moving quickly towards them. He could also hear Kessa's cursing as she fumbled about in one of her pouches. Thunder focused quickly on his sword, drawing from the Weave. In response to his mind, his sword flared brightly, lighting up the area they were in.

A dark shadowy figure that was several yards away let out a beastial snarl, shielding its face with what appeared to be an arm. It quickly hurried back into the darkness.

"Good job," Kessa said, finally locating a sun rod in the light and pulled it out, cracking it sharply against the wall, lighting it up. "The same thing happened to my group. The sun rods went out and everyone got killed. A few well-placed blind attacks were the only things that saved me long enough to pull out another sun rod. All of my companions were gone when I got the sun rod lit back up. How long until the sword goes out?"

"About an hour or so," Thunder replied.

The dark pulsing feeling had come back inside the sword. Thunder was getting a bad feeling about wielding this sword. Evil was still inside it even after two Purges. Thunder did another Purge on the sword as both he and Kessa continued into the catacombs.

Luckily, the rest of their trip through the catacombs was uneventful. Kessa seemed to find the way through the catacombs easily though. They suddenly reached a hallway lit up with torchlight. A large set of steel double doors sat along one of the walls, one torch flanking each side.

Thunder stepped in front of the door and examined it. It was built in the shape of an archway, two large knockers the only handles on them. The steel was dark red in color, a strange color for steel to be. He tapped the door experimentally with his sword. Nothing happened. He then grabbed a hold of the knocker and pulled. It barely budged. Kessa stepped up to his side and grabbed a hold of the knocker as well.

"On three," Thunder instructed. "One... two... three!"

The two grunted as they pulled. The door refused to budge any further for a few moments before grudgingly moving. It moved a little bit at first, but then slowly swung open. The hinges to the door shrieked loudly with the rust that covered them. A loud whirring sound started up.

Thunder backed away from the door, wondering what trap they had activated. Kessa peered through the door before cursing and beckoning to him. Thunder stepped up to her side and peered over her shoulder. His heart sank at what he saw.

The next room looked to extend for hundreds of feet. Strange holes in the ceiling let light flood in, illuminating the large room dully. Several dozen paces from the door along the walls to the left and right were two statues. They both looked to be statues of sphinxes sitting back on their haunches, eyes closed, yet they both faced each other. After the statues, the ground disappeared into an enormous pit. At the pit's edge was a rope tied to a stake, the rope's end attached to the ceiling halfway across the pit. The walls on either sides of the pit were covered in thousands of small holes.

The pit eventually ended, the ground on the other side of it easily a near hundred paces off. At the other end of the pit, flames shot forth from the ground. Past the flames, horizontal columns of stone shot forth from opposing walls, crashing into each other with resounding smashes, forming a sort of masher, each column moving with astounding speed. Thunder turned to Kessa and handed her his sword. "I'm going to go this alone. It would be better if only one of us went."

Kessa was silent, studying his eyes intently. After a moment, she dropped her gaze and nodded.

Thunder took a deep breath and entered the room. As he began approaching the rope tied to the stake, he suddenly noticed the sphinxes' eyes were opening now to reveal glowing red eyes. Thunder cursed and sprinted for the rope. He leapt onto it. Luckily the rope was not tied tightly and it gave loose to his weight. Thunder could suddenly feel air zipping past him, unseen darts just barely grazing his skin. Thunder attempted to spin and move himself about to avoid the thousands of darts shooting at him, but all he mainly succeeded to do was disorient himself.

The shooting flamed just barley missing him was the only thing to alert him that he should let go of the rope. He flew free of the rope, crashing into the ground and rolled to a stop. Thunder got up into a crouch and looked back. He'd cleared a line of firespouts that had been placed precariously along the pit's edge, the rope slowly swinging back across the pit.

The pounding of stone against stone drowned out all of his thoughts. Thunder got up and examined the next obstacle. The two horizontal stone columns would crash against each other before jetting back into the wall where they would remain stationary for a second or so before crashing back out into each other. The columns lined the walls, rows of them extending to the ceiling forming an ocean of mashers, making it look impossible for anyone to get through. This wouldn't be easy.

Thunder watched the mashers for several minutes, picking and choosing which mashers he would head through and when, seeing as how they were all out of sync with each other, some smashing into each other near a faction of a second before another.

Thunder, having his whole plan set and strategized, readied himself. The mashers closest to the ground both slammed into each other, a fraction of a second before the ones above them retreated to the opposing walls. Thunder was already sprinting for the mashers before they hit. The top of the masher was a good four feet up from the ground, so Thunder was going to need some luck on making the jump.

Leaping hard, Thunder landed crouched down on his hands and feet. As soon as he landed, he pushed off, making another leap forward to the next masher that one on the same level as him. As soon as he stepped onto it, it jetted out from under his feet, sending him flying forward, landing on the top of the masher on level of mashers down.

Scrambling on his hands and feet, he leaped for the next masher which ad just hit. Unfortunately, he had only been able to plan three mashers into this mess, so he was going to have to improvise the rest of the way through.

As soon as he landed, he felt the masher begin to move and caught sight of the masher next level up jetting towards him. Thunder leapt to the ground where the next masher had opened, the other masher clanging together where he had been moments before. Thunder could see the end of the mashers now; it was three more rows away! Thunder hurried to the next open spot in front of him, the masher closing behind him. Te masher was closing also where he'd stepped, so he leapt atop the next masher as it swung shut.

Regaining his balance quickly, Thunder did another jump, placing him atop the one another level up ahead of him. Thunder then leapt to the ground in satisfaction, sweat beading down his face, his heart rushing. He made it!

Past the mashers was a small flight of a dozen or so stairs, strange suits of armor on every other step next to either of the walls. After the stairs was a small building, four intricately fashioned stone columns holding up a mall slab of rock, making up a shelter of sorts. Under the shelter stood a single suit of armor which seemed to gleam unnaturally. The relic!

Thunder approached the flight of stairs cautiously. He was pretty sure these suits of armor were enchanted to attack him as soon as he stepped on a stair. He was going to have to fight them any way he looked at it.

Keeping back from the steps, Thunder examined the closest suit of armor. It was full plate, made of a dark-colored steel, large ridges all along it. Its shield went along its forearm length-wise, each ends of the shield ending in spikes, long ridges extending the length of the shield. The sword this suit was armed with extended out a foot before curving somewhat like a sickle. Thunder had seen a sword like that long ago, used by what he had later learned to have been dragonkin.

Something on the armor suddenly glinted on its chest. A dark purple jewel had been put into the armor's chest. Strange.

Thunder then had an idea. Would the suits of armor only come to life if he set foot on the stairs or if he touched them? The stairs were fairly probable, as was the touch idea. Thunder reached out slowly, his grasp eventually settling on the handle of the sword. The armor didn't move. Thunder pulled the sword free of its sword belt.

As soon as he had done so, the armor's gauntlet latched around his wrist tightly. Thunder slammed his fist into the helmet, giving out a resounding clang. Thunder's hand throbbed with pain. That wasn't very smart. The suit of armor suddenly threw him backwards, nearly into the mashers.

The suit of armor moved faster than Thunder thought it would have moved, running straight towards him. Its sword arm dropped to hack into Thunder which he easily caught. Pulling back with his arms, he placed both his feet in the armor's griever and rolled back before pushing out with his feet, sending the armor into the mashers. Keeping a tight hold of the armor's sword hand, Thunder watched the mashers several feet away pound the armor into a flat sheet, its arm the only part that survived.

Thunder grabbed the sword. The blade of the sword was heavier than normal swords he was accustomed to. Hefting the sword, Thunder turned to face the stairs. The suits of armor were still there, motionless as they had been moments before. Taking advantage of that, Thunder charged the suit of armor on the first step at the other side of the stairs. His sword tore into the armor, shattering it to pieces. The other suits of armor suddenly began to move, pulling out their swords and raising their shields.

Thunder leapt back from the nearest suit of armor, its sword swiping past his chest. Thunder blocked the next attack and swung, his sword ricocheting off its raised shield. Thunder spun and slammed his sword into its head, sending the helmet flying across the room. The suit of armor still moved, swinging its sword at him again. Thunder blocked and then suddenly remembered about the jewel on its chest. Thunder attacked high, the armor quickly moving to block. Then, suddenly in mid-swing, Thunder brought the sword around and rammed it into the armor's chest. The armor shuddered when he hit the jewel and then fell to the ground in a heap.

Thunder spun to confront the remaining five suits of armor, Thunder charged them, easily hacking into each jewel, each suit of armor shuddering before falling. Moments passed before Thunder stood at the head of the stairs, armor littering the staircase. Breathing heavily with exhaustion, Thunder turned to the small four-columned shelter.

The suit or armor looked like scale armor, except that it was smooth. The armor was silver in color and shined in the light. It seemed to beckon Thunder.

He slowly approached it, checking the floor and columns for traps. Instead of traps, he found writings carved on one column in the ancient sun elf dialect. Thunder could barely read it it was so different from the present sun elf language. He could only make out several of the last words: "sword is the... power to keep... armor tamed."

The armor's beckoning intensified suddenly. Thunder tried to ignore it as he thought how he was going to get the armor out. Thunder suddenly realized his body was acting on some unseen force, slowly putting the armor on. The armor was strange; when he was putting the armor on, it felt like clot and was baggy, but when he released his hold on the armor, it shrunk, fitting snugly against his skin. First he put on the leggings and then he gloves and sleeves. When he put on the tunic, the sleeves and pants suddenly seemed to melt it the tunic, erasing any openings under the armor. When he put on the coif, a strange helmet suddenly lowered across his head. It looked like horizontally layered plating. One plate would lower an inch and stop, another would appear from under it, lower, and stop. This kept up until it covered his entire head with the exception of two eyeholes. He could breath easily enough though despite the lack of breathing holes.

Thunder suddenly could feel magical energy building up inside of him. It built up quickly, slowly getting more and more painful to contain. The pain soon became blinding, sending Thunder staggering to his hands and knees. He needed to get rid of some of this energy if he was to survive. Thunder quickly opened his mind to the Weave and channeled the energy in him into it. The only way he could get rid of this energy would be to use it through the Weave.

The Weave suddenly went out of control as Thunder lost concentration with the blinding pain. Through the throbbing pain, Thunder could hear the walls pound as if being hammered on. He then realized energy was surging from him in short, quick bursts, forming into invisible walls which expanded until they slammed into something.

Thunder could only lift his head to see the damage. Large pieces of the walls and ceilings were crumbling to the ground, the small shelter that had covered him moments before now just a heap of stones spread across the room. The mashers were nearly all gone, snapped into pieces. One masher shot out just as another burst let loose. It was snapped off entirely, crashing to the ground and crumbling to pieces.

He had to get out of here. The ceiling would surely cave in under this punishment. The pain was slowly subsiding, enough that Thunder thought he could stand. The armor, suddenly acting on its own accord, tightened in certain spots, forcing him to his feet, another surge of energy burst into him making him scream with pain. A bright light suddenly lit up the whole room, so bright Thunder had to close his eyes and shield them


The Tale of Thunder: Chapter 3 - Uprising of the Shadows - Part 6 Relics © Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)

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