Friday, March 17, 2023

Dark Armor: The Tomb of the Living

Pallian closed his eyes and forced himself to go through another round of clenching and unclenching his muscles. Cold stone surrounded him on all sides, not so tight that he couldn't move but tight enough to hold him in place. The sarcophagus was tilted back at a diagonal, which he supposed was marginally better than it being upright, but it was still ridiculously uncomfortable. Fortunately, his initiations kept him warm enough despite the cold stone. Tiny holes drilled through the lid allowed him enough air to breathe, but offered no way to escape. 

He wouldn't die here. This was the Tomb of the Living, used to break prisoners and punish recalcitrant princes. Bloodsteel latches held the lid closed, and Pallian lacked the strength and leverage to break them from within. If I survive this, I'll have to see if I can find an initiation that lets me turn into some sort of smoke or mist. Maybe step through shadows? It's dark enough in here.

Was his father nearby? Pallian doubted it. There might be a guard posted, to notify his father if Pallian broke and started screaming, but his father would not remain in the crypts unless he could savor the fact that his cruelty was working. As it happened, Pallian didn't mind the silence or the dark, and he was used to discomfort. So he divided his time between planning, remembering, and dozing. 

He might be able to act as soon as the sarcophagus lid was opened. He had a couple of tricks that he didn't think anybody knew about, initiations undertaken in case he ever found himself fighting without weapons or armor. If he could take the guards by surprise, he might escape. Where he would go after that, though...

The crypt was a solitary structure in the rocky plains to the north of the city of Teregor. The land around it offered little in the way of shelter, and there were no towns or cities nearby. The single road led directly to the city, and was used only for funeral processions. If Pallian was pursued, he would quickly be caught. 

The alternative was to try to hide within the crypt itself. If he could make it down past the tombs of his ancestors without arousing their wrath, he might be able to lose himself within the sprawling labyrinth of the hintertombs below. He might also be consigning himself to death by going there; strange things lurked in the depths. Still, it was a chance... if he couldn't escape unnoticed, it might be the best chance he had.

Working his muscles and joints again, he drifted off into memories...

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