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The crypt II

As we materialized in the crypt, a bone-chilling cold enveloped me, as if warning of ancient evil lurking within. A stale, oppressive atmosphere clung to this dark place, heavy with the musty scent of aged parchment, causing my nose to wrinkle and my throat to constrict. The faint aroma of crumbled dried herbs, once meant to soothe weary travelers, now only added to the unsettling feeling of decay.

Rohan stumbled beside me, his grip on my hand trembling violently. He had pushed himself too far. The toll of our journey was evident in the deep creases furrowed into his handsome face.

His gravelly and strained voice betrayed the exhaustion gnawing at him. “Just give me a moment, Freckles,” he gasped, struggling to catch his breath. “I need to regain my strength.” The distant look in his eyes sent a fresh wave of concern crashing over me.

I nodded in understanding. The oppressive silence of the crypt squeezed the air from my lungs, the stench of death clinging to my throat like a spectral hand. The fey fire torches cast an eerie blue glow, revealing only glimpses of this dark place’s haunting and mysterious past.

With cautious steps, I surveyed our surroundings, my gaze drawn to a secluded alcove hidden in the shadows. Its intricate carvings seemed to writhe in the dim light, like living creatures beckoning me closer. For someone as incurably curious as myself, it was impossible to resist.

As I navigated through the cold, damp stones, an earthy scent, like that of a hidden cave, filled my nostrils. Beneath the familiar scent, there was a hint of something darker and more disturbing: a putrid stench that reminded me of decaying wood and ancient bones. As I ventured deeper, delicate spider webs adorned the corners like ethereal lace. In the torchlight, they shimmered and glinted, adding to the eerie atmosphere. My skin crawled at the sight of scattered bones strewn across the floor.

A low growl rumbled behind me. “Aerin, watch where you touch,” Rohan’s voice echoed in the corridor. His eyes blazed like molten silver in the darkness. “This crypt holds secrets that bite. And some teeth are sharper than time.”

I met his gaze, a slow smile spreading across my face. “Maybe that’s exactly what I need,” I purred, the thrill of the unknown dancing in my eyes. “A little bite to keep things interesting.”

Ignoring Rohan’s scowl, I ran my fingers along the faded symbols carved into the ancient stone walls, each one speaking of a time long forgotten.

An irresistible pull drew me towards the skeletons, each one seemed to tell a story of lives long past. The bones were weathered and worn, evidence of the passage of time that had taken its toll. Some were adorned with remnants of tattered clothing, while others clutched ancient artifacts tightly in their bony fingers. A rusted sword lay beside one skeleton, its blade dull and tarnished with age.

My fingers, drawn by a morbid fascination, reached out to touch the nearest skull. The cold bone sent a shiver through me, a reminder of the fragility of life in a world consumed by darkness.

Among the skeletal remains, one particularly caught my eye – the remnants of a noble fey female. Tattered shreds of an elaborate gown clung desperately to her remains, scraps of a life now reduced to fragments.

A noble, I believe.

The intricate design woven into the silk of the garment spoke of a life immersed in privilege and courtly grace.

In the hollow grip of her bony fingers, there rested a once-beautiful circlet adorned with intricate fey symbols. Time had dimmed its luster. It told a story of a noble lineage, now eternally silenced.

Beside her, a jeweled dagger lay forgotten, its blade holding the echoes of a bygone era. I couldn’t help but marvel at the intricacy of the craftsmanship.

A deep, rumbling voice murmured behind me, “Aerin, we don’t have time for this. We need to keep moving.”

I spun around to find Rohan leaning against a pillar, his usual stoic demeanor replaced with a hint of enigmatic amusement sparkling in his eyes. His exhaustion was obvious, but his charm still seeped from every pore. “Exploring the mysteries of the crypt will have to wait, princess.” He said with a cocky grin. “We need to continue. And we’ll have to walk, because I have to save energy.”

I let out an exasperated huff, my shoulders slumping in defeat. “Yeah, yeah, I know,” I grumbled, my voice thick with disappointment. He was right, of course. We couldn’t afford to lose precious time exploring the crypt, no matter how tempting it may be.

Turning on my heel, I walked out of the chamber and back into the hallway, guided by the dim light. Rohan walked beside me, the rhythmic thud of his boots the only sound against the chilling halls. The flickering light from the faerie blue fire torches cast dancing shadows on the ancient carvings that adorned the crypt walls.

As we walked in silence, I couldn’t stop sneaking glances at Rohan. The harsh shadows playing across his face accentuated the lines of fatigue, but there was an underlying power that thrummed beneath the surface, a raw masculinity that sent a delicious tremor through me. His beautiful eyes, a meld of steel and ocean blue, held the weight of countless struggles, yet they still sparkled with determination and fire. A flicker of concern for me danced within them, a spark that warmed a secret place in my heart. I couldn’t deny the magnetic pull of his presence, the way his every step seemed purposeful and sure, radiating a quiet confidence that both comforted and thrilled me.

As we stepped into the larger chamber of the crypt, the overwhelming stench of decay hit us like a physical force. It was just as repugnant as the rest of the catacomb, if not worse. The torches lining the walls emitted feeble blue faerie lights that flickered and danced, casting creepy shadows on the uneven stone floor. To our left and right, alcoves were carved into the walls, housing the remnants of the deceased. Skeletons and mummies rested in silence against the rough stone, their empty sockets seeming to stare sightlessly into the flickering light.

My eyes darted over the skeletal remains lining the alcoves. A morbid curiosity gnawed at me. “Rohan,” I whispered, “do you know anything about the people who rest here?”

His eyes roamed over the gaunt forms, each adorned with tattered remnants of regal attire. “Probable nobles from the fey royalty,” his voice echoed in the vast chamber. “This palace, once a beacon of glory for the kingdom of Velenora, was cursed centuries ago, before I was even born.”

His voice dropped low, a note of somber respect lacing his words. “This place…” he continued, his gaze becoming distant. “It speaks of tragedy. I don’t know what or how happened. I can only imagine the fate that befell those who once called this kingdom home. Their stories lost to the sands of time.”

A pang of empathy for these fey nobles echoed in my chest. Once adorned in regal splendor, they were now reduced to dust and bones.

“Velenora,” I repeated, the name carrying a haunting resonance.

We descended a rugged stone staircase, the steps seemingly endless. It felt it was leading us deeper into the depths of the earth. Each step felt heavier than the last, the air growing progressively colder. I instinctively rubbed my arms in a futile attempt to generate warmth.

We entered another chamber, the darkness broken only by the feeble blue glow of the torches. Ancient urns stood sentinel in the corners, draped in dusty cobwebs. There stood Sylvenna. By her side stood an intriguing figure – a petite male fairy with wild red hair that seemed to defy the encroaching shadows. One eye, sharp and intelligent, glinted in the torchlight. The other was obscured by a worn leather eyepatch.

A hunched goblin, no taller than a six-year-old child, shuffled nervously. Clad in tattered rags, he clutched a worn leather pouch overflowing with trinkets that clinked softly at his side. His pale green skin was webbed with a network of dirt-filled wrinkles. His bulbous nose, a shade darker than his skin, sniffed the air incessantly, while his oversized ears, pointed and tattered at the edges, twitched with every soft sound.

But my attention was snagged by the figure bound to a chair in the center of the chamber. Arms were tied tightly behind their back, a dirty sack covered their head, leaving only the desperate rise and fall of their chest visible. I couldn’t look away as fear and pity washed over me.

Who is this person?

2 Comments on “The crypt II”

  1. Very atmospheric chapter, with a sense of long gone days sliping through the crevice :> The Velenora name crept into my mind too 😉 Very melodic.

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