Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Through Faerie and into Underdark....
I am a knight of the Seelie Court, and I've served on the Unformed Plane. Underdark holds no surprises for me that that duty didn't prepare me for. Underdark is cold and damp and nasty, with a clinging miasma over all, and there are plenty of living things that lurk in the perpetual darkness, most of them capable of taking your life.
Compared to the Unformed Plane, it's a cakewalk.
Ky scouts ahead, then waves me forward. It's the kind of duty she was used to when she lived in the Unformed Plane, and she quickly falls back into familiar patterns. The denizens of the dark bother her not at all. How can you be afraid of a few predictable predators when you're used to creatures that never were erupting to life from your own imagination?
We're both wearing an unguent Ky provided. Slathering it on head to foot was fun while it lasted, more fun than removing it will be; but it will keep the nasties off us, and that's all that matters.
We pass a line of what appear to be lampposts, spaced twenty or thirty feet apart; but it soon becomes apparent that they're more than that, for each post bears a viciously barbed spike, and on most of these hang body parts - heads, arms, legs, genitals - in varying and colorful degrees of decomposition, or festooned with maggots and blowflies. We look somberly at each other and press onward.
So now we slither through the dark and the wet and the cold clammy mist that wraps around us like a filmy shroud.... The worst of it are the spiders. The size of your hand, the little bastards are everywhere. But Ky's concoction - the composition of which I don't even want to think about - scrambles their senses like a mild dose of LSD; and should one of them get a taste of it, they're instantly dead.
K'thyri doesn't play around....
It takes us the better part of a day to work our way within sight of the temple. It's an open-air structure, its outline defined by structures that are neither columns nor standing stones, but partake of a bit of both. Ky goes ahead to get a closer look while I unwrap my weapons and lay them ready to hand.
It seems to take long time for her to return; my senses reach out like radar, pinpointing and locking on every tree, every rock, every noxious puddle so that I can navigate even in the omnipresent gloom.
After an eternity of waiting, Ky returns. "Tori's not there," she whispers, her lips close to my ear. "No guards, no priests, no nothing. The place is empty, but there are signs that it'll be used soon - supplies laid out ready for use." She draws in a breath. "You know the WyldFae don't rely on magic like you Court boys do?" I nod. "I got near that altar... Gareth, there are no words. 'Evil' doesn't even scratch the surface of it. I've seen some major shit back home, and nothing prepared me for what I felt coming off that slab of stone." She shakes her head. "Time was when death was as bad as it got, but this... this is worse." Her eyes lock with mine. "I won't leave Tori here for that. If we can't save her, I'll kill her, quick and clean, and deal with Tannr later."