"The Builder's Guide"
The electric lights hummed as I looked around the tile hall. The soles of my boots clicked as I walked, echoing down the corridor. Quietly to myself I wished I was wearing different shoes. Every few steps I would have to stop and listen to make sure no one else was around. After a few minutes of this I became more relaxed and walked faster.
The building was a simple structure, recently built gathering from the electric lights and new tile. I had the feeling that there were no guards but I still kept as silent as possible. Upon every door I came across I would peek inside, seeing if there was anything of worth. So far each room lay bare except for the occasional chair and empty desk.
After about the sixth room I started to get frustrated.
Why did Rakool have to make me go and get the damn Sun Burst Device? He could've gotten earlier and things would have been so much simpler.
In my anger I turned a carpeted corner, nearly running into the back of a guard. I immediately halted in my steps, holding my breath as to not make a sound. For several seconds I stood behind the oblivious guard. The guard didn’t seem to notice I was there. He just picked his nose and hummed a few tunes.
Quietly I backed up from the guard, readying my blackjack. Taking an extra second to make sure he wasn't wearing a helmet I brought down my blackjack hard across his head.
He fell to the floor, landing on the carpet without a sound. I bent down and picked up the guard, slinging him over my shoulder. Turning around to put the body in a dark room I passed earlier, my boot snagged on the rug. I tripped, felling flat on my face. The unconscious guard fell off my shoulder and hit the tile just beyond the carpet. His sword and scabbard clattered loudly.
I winced, expecting to hear another guard down the hall to shout. But there was nothing. For a few moments I laid there, my ears pricked for any sounds. Still nothing. Figuring everything was clear I stood up and dusted myself off. I walked over and picked up the guard. Walking a ways back down the hall I came from I opened a door and deposited the guard in the dark room.
Walking to the carpeted corner again I spotted the fold I tripped over. Part of the fold made the carpet stand up, like a tent over the tile.
Well that’s odd…
Underneath that part of the carpet was a thin seam in the tile. Bending down I grabbed a corner of the rug and flipped it back. The seam in the floor went around the shaped of a rectangle. Spotting a small handle I pulled it up. The rectangular slab lifted from the floor. I slid it off to the side and peered inside. The secret door in the floor revealed a small hole about a foot deep. Inside lay the sun burst devise. I quickly snatched the sun burst devise and stuck it in my bag. It was a little heavy, but nothing I couldn’t handle.Sliding the tile slab back into place I laid the rung down, smoothing out the edges. I walked back down the tile hall and exited the way I came.
Back outside I saw Penelope talking with the guard. From what I over heard it sounded like the guard was telling her of how he wrestled the burrick to the ground and was about to finish it off when the City Watch came in and took the burrick away.
Penelope was hanging on his every word saying “Oh!” and “Dear me, how frightful!” at all the right times. She stopped however when she saw me. I waked away from the building which I had emerged and leaned against the building near the well casually. I heard Penelope ask the guard to the time and answered.
“Ahh…It’s about a quarter after one. You know if ya want I could accompany you ho-“
“A quarter after one? Oh dear, I’m late!” Penelope gave the guard a pat on his shoulder and ran towards me. The guard had a rather perplexed look on his face. He simply shook his head and walked back to the door.
I smiled, “Every thing go smooth on your side?”
“Yes. Though that guard is totally full of himself. Kept going on and on….”
“Hey,” I looked around, “where’s Rakool?”
“He went home.”
“Something about finishing a letter.” Pen sighed and shook her head, “Honestly I wish I knew what he was up to.”
I walked along side Penelope. She didn’t question me about the sun burst device; we didn’t really talk at all. Yet the silence wasn’t unbearable, nor awkward. The direction we were walking was to my place. I’m not sure why she was walking with me, her apartment was down another street, but I didn’t mind the company.
As my apartment building came into view I could hear Cessiterick talking.
“What about Dirk?”
“We would like to know if this is where he resides.”
“Oh.” Cessiterick snorted and spat on the street, “Dirk lives here. Can be late on the rent there at times but ‘e's a good boy otherwise.”
I put my arm out to halt Penelope. She looked at me confused as I pressed my finger to my lips, showing her to be silent.
Three Hammerite guards were standing in front of my building. Cessiterick was leaning against the stairwell, talking to one of the Hammerites. The other two stood still, looking down the streets at anyone who walked near. Unfortunately one of the guards saw me and Pen.
“Hey!” The guard alerted. The Hammerite talking to Cessiterick stopped and looked at me.
“It’s him! Get him!”
“Pen, hurry go!” I tuned around and pushed Pen forward. She ducked into an ally on the left and stopped, waiting for me to catch up. As I was about to turn I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder, soon following was a whistle past my ear. They were firing arrows at me. I turned into the ally and grabbed Penelope by the arm, yelling at her to run and follow me.
We sprinted down the ally. Lucky for us the ally was open at the other end, turning onto other streets. I was going to run to the right when Penelope resisted.
“To the left. It’s towards my place.”
So I turned and followed her.
I sat on Penelope’s bed. My cloak was hung up on a hook and my shirt slung over the back of a chair. Some time on our way here we lost the Hammerites, but Penelope kept the curtains closed and the lights low, so it would appear no one was home.
I could hear Pen fussing about in the bathroom. Grabbing various bandages and cleaners no doubt. The wound on my shoulder was not deep. The arrow had just skinned me. An inch lower and I would have been in some serious pain.
Penelope came back with a few bandages as I had expected. Holding a cloth rag to a bottle she titled it and soaked some of the disinfectant liquid up. She sat the brown glass bottle down and held my shoulder.
“Now keep still, this’ll sting a bit.”
“Oh I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
Penelope smiled and dabbed my wound with the cloth. I winced. She giggled.
“Heh.” The stinging went away as Pen cleaned my cut. I thought about the guards at my door. How did they know my name? How did they know where I lived and what did they want? It was obvious their intention after the way the showed their affection towards me earlier.
But how did they know?
I shook my head and sighed. Penelope patted me on the arm.
“There, all done.”
“That fast? Wow.” I stood up and walked over to her mirror, examining my bandage and rotating my arm to make sure the gauze stayed in place. I nodded approvingly. “You did a great job, thank you.”
I could see Pen’s reflection in the mirror. She started blushing and mumbled something under her breath. I turned around and walked towards her, smiling and asking sarcastically, “What did you say?”
She smiled and looked slightly embarrassed, “If you like I could make up the couch with some blankets and pillows.”
I opened my arms in a friendly manner, placing them around her in a hug, “You’re too kind. Thank you for letting me stay here.”
Penelope didn’t say anything, just hugged me back. I closed my eyes, enjoying the warm touch of her hands on my bare back. Gently I pushed her back so I could look into her eyes. She smiled back at me. Without thinking, I kissed her.
I was about to pull away and apologize for my action when I felt her arms tighten around me, pulling me closer to her. We kissed more deeply, our passion rising. Penelope gave me a parting kiss as she put her attention to my belt. I could hear the clinking of the buckle as she undid my pants, tugging them off as I lifted her shirt…
Staring up at the ceiling I listened to the soft breathing coming from Penelope.
Now would be a good time to leave and go get the Builder’s Guide. Just…sneak out and head on over to the Hammer’s Cathedral. You’ve already got the sun burst device, so it shouldn’t be that hard…
I thought about going, but decided against it because of my growing tiredness.
Next to me Penelope rolled over. A few minutes later I feel asleep.
I was crouched on a tall wall outside the Hammerite Cathedral at night. The bell rang 12 times as I jumped down into the garden.
Two Hammerite guards patrolled this area. Only one was visible, and he was a ways off. Sneaking through the bushes I crossed the garden and climbed another wall, mantling onto a balcony. Turning left I opened a door which led me into a library.
Walking carefully I crossed the library's tile floor and took a right at the next doorway, into the church. From shadow to shadow I drew near to the altar. Looking up I could see a huge, round, stained glass window and within it was held a giant amber colored hammer. Beneath the window were several relief carvings, depicting various holy events in the history of the Hammerites.
I turned my attention back to the altar. For the first time I looked at it in detail. The altar was set on top of two marble steps and was made out of some kind of iron and steel. The altar was decorated with patterned rivets and along the base was evidence of rust. On the top surface lay a gold hammer, resting between two carved hammers that crossed each other, making an X shape.
I pocketed the gold hammer and looked around one last time.
I set the sunburst device down at the foot of the altar and ran back down the aisle to the other side of the church. Notching a fire arrow I aimed carefully, and let the arrow fly. With a whoosh the red glowing tip of the fire arrow sailed off ahead of me. A second later it hit the sun burst device, creating an explosion.
I felt the floor shake as the altar blew apart. Chunks of metal and stone fell away so all that was left standing was a pile of rubble.
I jumped to the side, hiding in a shadow waiting, expecting guards to charge in at any moment. But no one came. The alarms didn’t even sound.
Assuming that there were simply no guards around I walked up to the altar.
Scattered around were bits of dirt and ruble. From what I could see the only thing left was a metal ladder that led down into a deep hole in the ground. The sides of the hole were smooth and flawless, manmade. I judged that this must be the entrance to the underground catacombs. Securing my bag I hopped on the ladder and began my descent.
After about four meters or so the ladder ended. I tried to feel for the floor, figuring the ladder was just a few feet short. However the ladder did not rest on the ground. It just ended, hanging, leading off into space.
While feeling for the ground my leg hit a rope. Figuring this is my only way down I lowered myself to the last bar on the ladder, leaving my feet dangling. Letting go of the bar with one hand I reached down and grabbed the rope. Feeling it secure I slowly lowered myself and grabbed the rope with my other hand. I then continued my descent.
A few minutes later I felt the rope stretch.
The rope snapped.
I fell what must have been 3 stories. Landing hard on my back I felt my head hit the dirt floor, making me see stars. I lay there for a few minutes. Giving my aching body a rest and time for the colored lights and spots to clear from my vision. However, after I rubbed and blinked my eyes several times there was still a rather bright white spot of light in my site. I looked at it confused, wondering what it was as the little spot floated around, making an odd chime. Still laying down I tried to grab the flying thing. My fingers were almost around the silvery ball when it zipped away down a hall, lighting the walls as it flew around a corner. The music faded and I was in the dark again.
Sitting up a wave of dizziness hit me and I bent over, gagging. Taking a few breaths I calmed down. I was about to grab my water canteen but something oozing down the back of my neck distracted me. I felt behind my neck, under the hood of my cloak and withdrew my hand. Looking at my gloved hand I could see the dark stain of blood. Rubbing my fingers together I cursed under my breath.
You’re bleeding Dirk. Stuck in the bowels of the Hammerite Cathedral, deep down where the undead walk, and you’re bleeding…
I’ve been told tales of zombies and other undead creatures that may lurk down here. People say it's possible for zombies to sense when there is a living creature around. And with fresh blood? They would be able to sense me a mile away.
I slipped off my hood and poured some of the water from my canteen over my cut, hoping that would wash away the blood. Screwing the cap back on the canteen I threw it back into my bag and stood up. I slung the bag over my shoulder and put my hood back up. Looking around I spotted the hall where the little flying thing went. Adjusting my bag I started off in that direction.
The walls of the passage were built with a red kind of stone and the floor was of compacted dirt. The hall emptied into a large round room that was completely bare except for one part. That part of the room was directly opposite of me and had a sort of door outlined on the wall. Within that outline was a swirling mass of red and purple liquid. I guessed it was liquid. Though I wasn't really sure what to think of the reddish purple thing, so I walked up to it to get a closer look.
Music. The chiming I heard earlier came back, and it was getting louder, as if it were coming towards me. I peered at the pulsating red purple thing and heard the chiming coming through it.
What ever is making that music is on the other side of this thing.
Part 5 / Part 7
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