Averoigne I:36

(In the original, I misnumbered the turns, so I continue that fine tradition here.)

Nearing sundown, the sixth day of November, Anno Domini One Thousand Two Hundred and Seventy-Five, in the crypt beneath the Cathedral of Saint-Azedarac…

The workmen grunt as they heave at the planks.  “Mattocks!” one of them calls out.  “This wood might as well be stone!”

The tools are passed down, and soon the bucket relay starts up again.  Marcel reaches into one of the buckets as he passes.  The substance feels as hard as rock, but its texture displays grain like a beam.  (Note:  He can keep it if he wants.)

Julien quickly sends a messenger to the house of Madame le Mercier.  He returns to the group.  “Methinks this excavation takes longer than I find comfortable.”

“Indeed.  The very place sends shivers to me that are not due to cold,” Richard says.

A screaming erupts from the pit.  The companions rush over and peer in.  Two workmen grapple a third, who is crying out in abject terror.

“Bring him up!” shouts Thibault.  “Torches, man!”

The hysterical workman is hoisted out unceremoniously, and his friends scramble up the ropes after them.  Each companion takes a torch and (if they so desire) a star symbol.  Thibault, Julien, and Marcel lower themselves down the sides, while Richard avails himself of a rope and harness.  At his request, they lower others to allow for a rapid ascension.

The four men stand on the petrified boards and gaze down through a small aperture, only a foot on a side.  With their limited illumination, they can see that an empty space rests under this crude covering.  It is only two feet deep, the floor covered in the dirt slowly sifting down through the newly-opened cracks between the boards.  From the sounds of their feet echoing off walls, Thibault and Marcel estimate that this low chamber extends a good distance on either side.

The floor moves.

Granules of dirt are shaken aside, revealing a quivering gelatinous substance beneath.  The whole surface below is a cyan-tinged expanse that moves irregularly, like the ragged respiration of some immured Titan.

All four men quickly grab a harness, and they are pulled up with celerity.

“What shell we do?” asks Thibault.

Julien shakes his head.  “From the consistency of that bulk, I doubt that blade or bolt will have any effect.”

“Given my tests a moment ago, holy water and sacred objects seem to be ignored as well,” adds Marcel.

“Gentlemen, the sun is dropping,” says Richard.  “We must find a way to deal with this monstrosity  and soon!”

Published in: on January 13, 2008 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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