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Monday, October 10, 2016

The Scrolls

Bo stood to the side and indicated for the others to precede him. This was one time being Felis was a benefit. Their eyes quickly adjusted to the low light cast by the torches as they moved deeper into the underground tunnel. As they came up to forks in the tunnels, they would vote on which way to go before heading in the new direction.

The tunnel they were trudging through had water trickling down the walls. Their boots had become muddied by the various puddles of stagnant water they had stepped in, as they moved toward what they hoped was a storage room or vault. The smell of mildewed wood from the rotting support beams mixed with the putrid mud, and hung heavy in their noses.

They were a ragged looking bunch when they happened upon a small chamber littered with old whiskey barrels and casks of ancient weapons. They looked at each other noticing the clinging cobwebs, and slimy mud from where they had brushed up against the walls coating their forms. Donny had wandered over into a darkened corner, when the others heard his gasp.

Ever aware of his twin, Dom was across the room, as if by magic. “What is bro? Are you feeling all right? Did you hurt yourself? Talk to me, man.” Every time Donny tried to answer a new questions seemed to pop out of Dominic’s over reacting mouth. Donny finally just stopped trying to speak, and just gave his brother one of his most baleful glares. Dom closed his mouth when he saw his twins look. “What?”

With a long look at Dom, Donny finally got his chance to speak. “I’m fine. I just wasn’t expecting these,” here he stopped, and pointed to the rotting rack filled with old scrolls. “They don’t look to be in very good condition. Probably just old ledgers marking the supplies kept here, but maybe…”
CeCe bent and pulled one of the scrolls from the rack. The assemblage watched as it disintegrated as she tried to unroll it. She looked up, and noticing her audience reached for another. They all seemed to let out a collective breath as this one stayed in one piece during the unfurling. She stood and was trying to make out what was written, when Neko suddenly started moving around the chamber lighting the tallow candles left by long ago occupants.

CeCe glanced up and moved closer to one of the brass candelabras. The others began picking their own scrolls, and for a short time the only sound heard was the exclamations of dismay when a scroll would crumble between their claws. Bo looked around, and thought of how disheartening this whole search was becoming. “This is pointless. I vote we keep exploring the tunnels, and maybe we will have better luck somewhere else.” He exclaimed as another scroll became dust layered on the tabletop in front of him.

A round of agreeing voices circled around him, until he heard a sound from the corner where the rack was placed. Dusting the parchment dust from his hands as he walked, he made his way over to find Dominic sitting cross-legged on the stained floor. His lap was covered in the remnants of who knew how many scrolls. When he saw Bo, he handed him a scroll before climbing to his feet causing a small cloud of dust to rise around him. Both he and Bo started sneezing as the mildewed remains teased their sensitive sinus’s.

Bo know knew the sound had been a whoop of joy, because in the middle of his sneezing Dom was telling what he had found. “I think I found something important.” He paused to do a round of sneezing. “That scroll has been eaten away by mildew, but you can just make something out about something called, The Heart. And it has some kind of link to the Triad, whatever the hell that is.” This time he began to cough and wheeze a little. CeCe opened her canteen and offered him a drink. “Thanks, sis. I think we need to find this Heart before we go looking for that Triad thingy.”

Bo pulled a candle closer to him and tried to make out the words on the aged and mildewed parchment. “Hmm, from what I can make out this is describing a jewel or stone of some sort. There’s something about wielding power, but not in what way.” Bo leaned closer to the flame trying to make out a word, and then passed it towards CeCe. “Tell me what you think that says, it looks to be ancient Mithralian, but I can’t be certain.”

CeCe took the piece of paper, and did as Bo had done. She leaned closer to the light source, and studied what he had read. Soon she was completely surrounded by the ever curious boys. Her brow was knit together in concentration, as she worked to decipher the faded text. “It does appear to be an ancient dialect; unfortunately, not one I am well versed in. From what I can make out it speaks of the stones description. It says it looks like a Felis orb, or cat’s eye. It also calls it by another name, but I can’t make that out. Maybe we should keep looking just in case there is another scroll that belongs with this one.”

There was some grumbling from the bored dirty bunch, but soon they all settled back to the hunt. As they were reading A sound was becoming more noticeable, Neko lifted his head to listen to the low hum. He put aside the scroll he had been trying to read, and went towards where the sound seemed to be emanating from. He was standing with his head cock to the side, his ears twitching as they tried to identify the noise.

With each passing moment it was becoming louder. It had started as a hum, but now it was sounding more like a rumble. Neko turned back towards his friends, and was beginning to say something. A blur of brown came rushing around the corner, and knocked him off balance. “What the hell!!” He shouted. “Watch where you’re going. Wait, who are you?” By now the sound was becoming thunderous to their ears.

The brown figure pushed back the cowl of his robe. “My apologies, my name is Malakai, and if you want to live you must follow me quickly. There was a collapse in one of the tunnels that run under the river. Now the tunnels are being flooded. We must hurry! If we delay much longer we will be trapped.” Brother Malakai looked back and forth between the group, his desperation such that you could feel it. “Please, we are out of time!!!”

Neko grabbed CeCe’s hand and a torch. “Dude, don’t need to ask me twice. Let’s get out of here.” Water was starting to pour into the chamber and everyone began to follow the quickly disappearing monk. They had found their first lead; they would find more. First thing though was they needed to get above ground. Just as they all had exited the chamber a huge wall of murky river water crashed in, flooding where they had just stood. Whatever knowledge that had been kept there lost forever.

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