Sunday, August 21, 2016

"You're too late, Investigator."

"You're too late, Investigator."

Soot and embers whirled in a lazy vortex around the cave opening. The voice bounced off the walls in a gravelly tone akin to basalt grinding against itself. The accused slipped off his grey woolen cowl, peering deeper into the gloom in hopes of spying the speaker without having to step into the smoky tunnel.

"How have you activated the volcano?" Tenet wondered aloud.

The smoke puffed and carried the creature's mocking laughter. "I wasn't speaking to you, Betrayer."

Tenet became aware of another shadow against a towering boulder. A roughly man-shaped form leaned against the stone with a wide-brim cover blocking its face. The shadow shifted to glance at the cave mouth and gave an emotionless response, "You have broken the conditions of your parole, leaving Seram."

"Do you think you can stop me? I have become King of Krakatau, House of Fire and Peril. You cannot hold back the death due your pets."

A rumble vibrated from the mountain below them. Tenet gawked as the shadow answered in his deadpan manner, "I am not charged with stopping the mess you've made, Orang-bati, whatever trumped up titles you give yourself."

"You can't leave these people to perish!" Tenet protested.

"It is not for me to question the charges from the Courts," the Investigator replied.

Laughter like the first tremors of an eruption spewed from the tunnel. "Don't you see, Betrayer? They have abandoned man into our hands."

"Now," the voice menaced as something leathery flapped and stirred the smoke into a gyre. "Join them in their fates."

Twin coals lit by an infernal flame glared from the back of the tunnel. The ground split beneath Tenet's and the Investigator's feet. Tenet instinctively snatched hold of the crumbling lip as he tumbled and swung himself back onto a standing column of stone. He looked to where the Investigator had been and saw a great chasm of darkness and leaping tongues of lava. Tenet drew his sword Sicol and looked for a path into the cavern that didn't lead into a lava bath.

Drawing on the Power within, Tenet cried out, "You widen a place beneath me for my steps, and my ankles do not give way."

Then he ran as fast as he could, trusting each stride to bring him into the mountain of terror alive. A glance above showed vents brimming with fire, lava, and black smog. He had moments before the whole volcano blew. How he was going to face an engorged Fallen, the Investigator, and a volcano, he didn't know.

Tenet almost prayed that a miracle would find its way into this earthly mouth of hell. If not, he knew that he would demand answers from the Judge Himself this day.

Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, Tenet (c) Brannon Hollingsworth


Post a Comment