Into the cave, (Talia, p. 81)

The light had faded as she moved deeper into the cave.  She moved slowly, hand along the wall, guided more by the presence ahead of her than anything else.  Time passed, and the passage seemed to twist and turn, as if it was guiding her.  The presence was closer, but its direction was always clear.  The air around her began to change, warmer at first, and then a noticeable light.  She could see her hands again.  The rough cave walls changed as well, stone bricks lining the sides and an uneven cobbling marking a clear path ahead.

She quickened her pace and the light grew brighter still.  The narrow passage expanded before her into a great chamber.  Torches lined the walls, casting their light inward towards the center. A dais rose and on it, a great throne.  The figure sat there, in elegant robes of deep red, its face obscured by shadows and the distance.  She stepped forward slowly, both eager and frightened, unsure whether to approach or kneel in deference.  She stopped a few feet from the dais, her eyes dropping, taking in the seven steps that lead to the throne.  The silence grew lengthy, as she searched for words, as she searched for the courage to speak them.

“I have been searching for some time.  I have hid from you, but the longing did not diminish.  I sought others and their help, but they only added to my confusion, to my doubt.”

On the edge of her vision, she could see movement, other figures rising and circling the chamber, but her focus remained ahead.

“You sent guides to me.  You offered passage that was clear, and blocked those that may hinder me.  I have followed, and though I stumbled, I am here.”

A chill wind swept the chamber, the torches sputtered and a few were extinguished.  She shivered involuntarily, but waited for the reply.  A moment passed, a dry rustling, and a rasp, and then a voice spoke.  Not the melodious voice she expected, or even the deep rich tone of another.  What she heard was the sound of dust.  Ancient dust.

“You have returned to us, child.  We have waited an eternity for you.  But now…”

Her eyes widened and she took a step back.  The figure on the throne moved to rise.  The once rich robes tore away as he stood, their own weight too much for the rotted cloth to bear.  Beneath the red tatters, the form was bound with dry, brown, linen strips.  Leaning forward into the light she saw a face she would barely describe as human.  Where it once had eyes, the flesh was now sunken, replaced by a fierce red light.

“Now… you may take your place at my side… as my queen.”

The mummy towered above her, reaching out one hand and took the first step down the dais.  She stepped back again, unable to scream, and stumbled, falling to the cobbled floor.

“No… this isn’t right… somebody help me!”

The figures around the chamber began stepping forward.  She looked to her would-be saviors and then the scream ripped from her lips.  The walking dead surrounded her, in various states of decay.  Corpse, skeletons and shadows each moving with one shambling purpose towards her.  Frozen in fear, she was unable to move, watching as if from another body as the horrors closed in.  Ahead of her, making one slow step after another, he descended, hand outstretched, offering…


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