Monday, July 28, 2008

Chapter 19a: A Walk Down the Corridor

“…and the chosen crept into the darkness, not knowing the way. There they did abide, by the Lord’s will and did discard their riches, giving up their worldly selves as commanded by the Lord.”

~Secret Holy Scriptures of the Waken Book

The wall torches formed shadows that danced and leapt as Piet Lithor crept along the silent corridor, his sword held before him in trembling hands. Calm yourself Piet. Have faith in Lord Vaspar. He didn't get you this far just to have to be eaten alive here in this dark passageway.

He wished he hadn't thought about being eaten alive.

His thoughts turned to Bos Spielter. The man had certainly been an arrogant bastard, but he didn't deserve to die in the way he had, his neck ripped open and his blood staining the chapel floor. I wonder if Lord Vaspar took his soul, or if it remained trapped within his body. If it stayed within his body then where did it go when his flesh disintegrated? A shiver ran down his spine as he thought about that.

There you go working yourself up again, priest. Think about something else, something pleasant.

Nothing came to mind.

A figure moved in the corridor far behind him. The sound of metal sliding against stone ripped through the darkness. In the silent passageway it echoed with the sound of torn fabric. His imagination created a lumbering monster dragging a leg behind it as the creature advanced upon him one sliding step at a time. He turned around with the holy sword held high, vibrating with his fear, and walked backwards, glancing over his shoulder every couple of seconds to make sure he didn't run into anything - or anyone.

Another scrape, flesh slapped stone.

The Piet turned and ran down the corridor. His breath wheezed through terrified lungs, heart beating with a dangerously rapid rhythm.

Footsteps before him, dozens of footsteps.

Oh Lord Vaspar, is this the end of me? An undead monster behind me and a horde in front of me...

He slowed to a stop and dropped to his knees in prayer, grasping the hilt of the sword until his knuckles turned white. Please Lord Vaspar, spare my life and if not that then don't let them turn me into an abomination. Take my soul. I've changed, Lord. I'm a different man. I...

"Piet Lithor?"

He looked up and saw figured approaching through eyes filmed with tears.

Duke Renier walked toward him from the shadows with Stiles close behind. Another soldier stood back with a group of twenty or so civilians.

Thank you, Lord Vaspar!

The Duke held out a hand and helped the Piet to his feet. "You need to come with us, Piet Lithor. The palace is no longer safe."

Piet Lithor nodded then pointed back behind him. "Something is in the passageway. I think it is stalking me."

The Duke squinted in concentration as he looked down the dark corridor. "I don't see anything, but we will deal with it if it gets between us and the escape tunnel."

The Piet’s heart filled with hope, as if the weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders. They are going to the escape tunnel. Again, thank you Lord Vaspar.

He suddenly remembered his small congregation at the Chapel. "We need to return to the Chapel, Duke Renier. There are almost fifteen souls waiting for me to return and bring them to safety."

The Duke grasped the Piet's shoulder. "We will, my friend. We'll make that our last stop on the way to the tunnel. It's not far out of our way."

The soldier who had been standing with the group of civilians marched up to the Duke and whispered. "My Lord, we need to get you to safety. We shouldn't be taking on another rescue miss..."

"No, General. Did you hear him? There are fifteen more men and women, residents of Renier that we can save. We will make this detour and then be on our way."

"My Lord, we need to get you..."

"I said 'no', General. We will rescue these people first."

With that he walked past the Piet and into the darkened corridor.

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