Get to mine uneventfully. Fight Kobolds. Find elevator. Fight undead. Fight bigger undead.
After leaving the farmhouse, with kind gifts from the farmer and his wife, they had traveled back to the mine. The phantom warriors allowed them to travel back through the secret entrance to the mine tunnels, and they had been down here for two days now.
They had met with the Goblin leader again and he had his scouts show them the tunnel they had opened up.
Apparently their stories were correct. This part of the mine is filled with the minions of evil, the undead.
Some they fought, Lyra had been told about. Older members of her sect had shared stories from their youth, and had told her about skeletons, zombies and ghosts. But this place held incarnations of those creatures that she had never heard of.
Skeletons, whose bones seem engulfed in dark flames and shriveled wights, whose very gaze struck fear into the hearts of her companions and who could revive their dead minions to fight again.
I will cleanse this place of its taint. And when I am ready, I will seek out those who have desecrated the bones of the warriors above and imprisoned them in this halfway place… this purgatory.
Soreth peers down the shaft, holding the shining crystal in one hand. The pale violet-white light sways a little as the crystal hangs on the end of its silken cord, making light and shadows sweep weirdly back and forth like wine sloshing around in a flagon.
Far down the shaft, the light fades, giving way to the truth of this mine’s depths… nothing but darkness and silence.
Almost nothing, anyway.
The warlock turns and stoops, picking up half of a shattered skull, the remnants of one of the undead. The bone is smooth, cold as stone, and undamaged despite the corona of flame that it wore while animate.
Looking thoughtfully up and down the shaft and its attendant platforms and ropes, he rubs a thumb absently over the smooth bone, then holds out his hand.
The fragment of bone tumbles from his hand with hardly any sound, end-over-end, swiftly disappearing from sight as it plummets beyond the reach of his light. He tips his head, listening carefully, waiting.
Several moments pass and nothing happens. Perhaps there is the faintest of impacts, far below, but nothing significant; perhaps it is just his imagination.
Soreth allows a little smile to cross his features, wondering if, far below, some random wandering creature might stumble across the remnant… or maybe one of his peoples’ own traitor kin.
We are not headed that way, just yet. He winds the cord around his palm, gathering it up to slip the pendant around his neck again. But we will, eventually.
I wonder what else we will find in that darkness, beyond the reach of the stars?
“Patience,” he tells himself softly, and steps away from the edge of the shaft.
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