Deep in the glacial crypts of the Earth’s forsaken margins slithers a pilgrimage of morbid curiosity; Alas, the frayed adventurer who tires of the usual ark of entities favored by Noah’s hurried prejudice and sets out to awaken widowing forces that will in turn belie his being... Spirits that refuse the peace of a tomb and inflict themselves to wander, plaguing avenues of anguish and despair; casts of darkness, agents of night… the dextrous elements of Hades rest in recoil, waiting for the shield to lower in a fleeting moment of warrior sloth. The symbolic figures of a dark tarot, native to unholy depths unblessed by nature’s élan, line up to denounce the faiths of daylight dwellers in their eve of waxen blight.
Demons… like buzzards they are unmoved by filth and decay; grotesquely tenacious and undaunted to a vulgar degree. Stepping over gnawed bones, spear shaking in hand, our diverted hero braves their domain with reluctant fascination… carrying his feet across damp dungeon brick to reach a gaping room polluted with darkness and cold. A chalky pentagram etched across the floor, candles quivering at every angle, provides him with qualms that persist even at the strike of a match. What feeble light that survives reaches desperately into dripping corners webbed with unsettling arachnid artistry, but the effort is as much in vain as the priests that tried to expel the evil presence from this abode so long ago.
Under a drizzling skylight sleeps a cold altar seasoned with scraps of bone; ceremoniously disgraced remnants reeking of extinguished flame, aching to remind of detrimental rites once uttered to clouds that still simmer with their stormy response. The leaves of a massive book swell nakedly upon a podium like an offering, the weakened promise of its worm-holed binding allowing a trench to divide its uneven halves…. A few pages have been turned by the cavernous winds that pass through, but the hideous spell most recently summoned is not yet sufficiently cloaked from prying eyes.
Iron chains droop over steaming dungeon wells, warmed by the rising clouds that still reek from the misted sweat of those who died in shackles below. The fruitless efforts of exorcists have failed to silence those troubled spirits; ghosts still electrified with the angst of slave life, arisen as the new tenants even after their masters have long passed under more peaceful conditions. What bitter sadness that a cruel man’s death is a sated one, but hell only knows what degrees of punishment they may suffer beyond… even if the living world may never hear from them again.
Archeological clues slip through cold, gray bricks in the mouths of rats, the dissipating remnants of tombs pillaged and picked apart. White moths of unusual size cling to the walls like lifeless sentinels, imitating the gargoyles as witnesses to the unspeakable acts that echoed throughout these corridors. Only they heard the secrets that were expelled from the weakening bodies of captives charged with conspiring against the queen, and tortured souls had joined them in their dances beneath torch lights soon to be smothered.
It is a place solemnly perfumed with the lingering stench of fires now dead, save for those dwindling fires that contort atop pillars of wax. The newcomer looks around and sees nothing but grim décor tarnished by corrosive centuries… urns heavy with ancestral ash, candles crested with dampening flames. Now that there are no more prisoners to mark the walls, time is not a concern here; nor are the sun and moon, despite those miserly doses that peer through the occasional untended crevice. Strange that in this place the moon shines brighter than the sun, and it shines on the journey’s final steps like a luminescent fungus. The warrior has come this far only to regret his gluttonous curiosity, for he comes to find that the only worthy discoveries of his pilgrimage are the graves of his ancestors.