Faith and Betrayal
Air of Closure (Part One)
Location: Tunnels beneath Feldon Kise
Rylak ran as fast as his aching feet could carrying him, his hand firmly enclosed upon that of the woman he was half-dragging behind him. The footsteps of the two runners echoed down the chiseled tunnels sounding a warning of their rapid approach, and their staggard breath reverberated around that, giving heed of their panic.
As the two rounded a corner, Rylak felt the woman’s grip slip from his fingers and he came to a rapid stop a few feet away. Turning back, he was her standing still, looking down at the tunnel floor with tears streaming down her face.
“Lotus, we have to keep moving!” Rylak went to approach her but stopped in his tracks as the woman let out a devilish grin. Her head lifted allowing her to gaze upon her companion, and Rylak suddenly felt a wave of panic at the fiery glow emanating from within her eyes.
“You can’t escape death…” As the woman’s words echoed through the empty catacombs, Rylak felt the air around him grow suddenly hot. In a near deafened silence, a sudden wave of intense pressure blew past the two assassins carrying with it fragments of metal and rock. Rylak watched in horror at the building fireball rushing through the tunnel behind them, the orange glow outlining the figure of the woman who stood there laughing. As the fire consumed the two assassins, Rylak let out a terrified scream of agony which was immediately silenced within the roaring inferno.*
The male assassin woke from the horrific dream with a gasp. Around him, water lapped noisily against the inside of the boat and Rylak couldn’t hope to silence the ringing it caused in his ears. Rylak felt his body begin to slip beneath the super-heated water and quickly adjusted himself within the boat to stay afloat.
Lying on top of him was the body of the woman, her ragged breath barely audible in the roar of the waves. As Rylak checked her pause, he felt his own breath lodge in this throat and realized the pocket of air had run its course. Rylak lay still for a few moments longer, praying that the burning numbness running across his body would subside long enough for him to risk what came next. However, Lotus’ unconscious gasps for breath forced the male assassin into immediate action.
Without hesitation, Rylak pushed himself under the water and immediately felt the skin on his face begin to blister from the heat. Thinking not of himself, but of the woman he carried under his arm, Rylak began to swim downwards until feeling his fingers clawing at the moist rocky surface of the cliff. Quickly readjusting, the assassin kicked off the cliff and soared upwards toward the surface of the water. As his face broke the surface, he inhaled with a loud audible gasp and quickly regretted it.
The air at the surface of the lake was stale and nearly as hot as the water itself. The rush of the toxic atmosphere hit his lungs like fire and Rylak nearly devolved into a fit of exasperated coughs. For the sake of the woman in his arms, Rylak was able to hold it together long enough to claw his way onto the shore before collapsing in a fit of choking spasms.
As Rylak’s body adapted to the new environment, he turned his attention to the woman lying next to him. Her body was still and her jagged breaths had stopped. The trip through the water had not been as kind to her, and in her weakened state her lungs hadn’t accepted the toxic air so easily. Rylak sat silently, pulling the woman’s body close and holding her in his arms.
His grief was momentary as a shuffeling sound behind him caused Rylak to turn around in alarm. His eyes were not yet adjusted and all he saw in the darkness were a few shadows. As he peered around him, a whisper cut through the air.
“You cant…” Rylak’s eyes widened in alarm as he spun back around, looking into the face of the woman in his arms. She lay still, her eyes open and staring up at the face of the male assassin. Her skin was pale like a corpse and her arm hung limply at her side.
“Lotus!” Rylak cried in alarm, shaking the woman in his arms. He saw her mouth twitch and for a brief second felt excitement at the possibility that she remained alive. His excitement was short lived as he saw the fiery glow slowly growing beneath her eyes. In one rapid movement, the woman’s arm shot forward and sank into Rylak’s side, holding him firmly.
“You can’t escape death…” Rylak watched in horror as the fire in the woman’s eyes slowly began to consume her. Her body erupted into flame and a long chilly laugh began emanated from within her throat. Rylak’s screams where quickly drowned out as the roaring inferno consumed him and heat of the fire began to melt his skin.*
Rylak awoke yet again gasping from breath, only this time his lungs where met with the blistering heat of the water. The male assassin felt himself being pulled down, deep beneath the water’s surface. As his arms reached upward, he felt the floor of the capsized boat above him and his fingers clawed its surface in panic. As his body was forced deeper beneath the waves, the hard surface of the boat disappeared and his fingers found only water.
As he sank, Rylak struggled against the weight pulling him down. Risking a look, he opened his eyes and saw the woman he had tried so hard to save staring back at him. She hugged his body with her one good arm and Rylak was horrified to see the same fiery gleam in her eyes piercing through the dark waters.
Rylak’s eyes burned from the water’s heat, but he kept them open to watch the horror before him. The woman’s mouth opened and a fountain of air bubbles escaped her silent lips. Deep within his mind, the male assassin could hear her words echoing over and over.
“You can’t escape death…” As the two bodies collapsed into the rocky sand of the lake’s bottom, Rylak’s screams evaporated silently into the water around him. Flames once again erupted from the woman’s body, and despite being surrounded by water burned as hot as ever. As the fiery blaze consumed him, Rylak’s mind began to go black a searing pain began to run through his body. It wasn’t long before he found himself once again waking to the never ending torment of death he was unable to escape.
Location: Tunnels beneath Feldon Kise
A lone figure walked the empty catacombs beneath feldon kise. On the surface, workers both Inquisition and civilian attempted to make sense of the devastation within the city. But this man’s intentions lay elsewhere, and he expected to find what he was looking for deep beneath the city.
Turning a corner, the man stopped and stared at the carnage before him. Large metal fragments protruded from the wall, buried impossibly deep into the hard rocky surface. Across from the remnants of the metal door was the opening to a large cavern. The man peered inside and was met with silence from within.
Stepping into the room, the man studied the rock walls around him. There was evidence of a large blast which decimated the interior of the cave and was almost certainly the cause behind the metal fragments he had passed in the hall. Looking up, he noticed a long rip through the ceiling leading to a passageway heading straight up.
Backing up for a better view, the man’s foot brushed against a small object and he stopped. Kneeling down, his fingers searched through the blackened soot littering the floor until his fingers uncovered a single item buried beneath the ash. Holding it up, the man removed the mask covering his face and stared at the item in silence.
He was an aging man, well past his sixties with whitening hair and thin lines already forming on his face. Although his face betrayed his age, the man’s body did not. Thick muscles rippled beneath the black bodysuit covering them, and his fingers turned the object over with surprising grace and flexibility. With a sigh, the man stood and took one final look at the room before him.
The aged Vindiacre stood alone in the room for almost a full minute. In his mind he was reciting a prayer for those who had died here, and his face struggled to hide his grief. As he struggled to put his mask back on with one hand, he allowed the other to hang listlessly at his side. Intertwined through his fingers, the medallion he had recovered from the ground swung gently through the air. Without a word, the man faded from view as his stealth suit activated, leaving the chamber deadly quiet.
As a final calm washed through the tunnels, the air over the underground lake began to stir. A rumbling could be felt emanating from under the water’s surface for a fraction of a second, but quickly subsided into nothingness. The water was calm and still, the only movement coming from the three air bubbles breaking the surface without a sound.