Forums

Post has published by Bosst
Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Keymaster
    Member since: August 13, 2020

    This is one of the articles that was submitted to the contest It was written by Dean Marley

    ***A price to pay***

    – Mom, are we really going to see grandpa?

    – Yes, it’s not far now, darling.

    – But you said he died! How is this possible?

    – Remember the bedtime stories we told you?

    – Yes mom, but I thought they were just stories!

    She looked down at me and smiled.

    – We’re almost there.

    ***

    – This is the place.

    – What?! I knew you just wanted to trick me! There’s nothing here! If it wasn’t for this flame it would be completely dark!

    – Be a little patient my dear. Take this and step into the flame.

    – What?! It will burn me alive!

    – Take a look at this flame – mom said. – Do you see anything strange?

    I took a quick look. After my initial anger went away I began to notice something peculiar. – The flame is blue – I answered.

    – That’s right, it’s blue. You know why? Because it is not the fire that you know, it is a magical flame. It will take you to grandpa.

    – Really?

    – Really.

    – But I’m scared.

    – Be brave, my love. If you really believe in magic, trust it and step into the flame. Then, and only then, throw this into the basin in front of you. – She said as she put a little gold coin in my hand. – Leave your fear behind and walk in, it won’t hurt. Wait for me on the other side.

    ***

    – Grandpa! – I screamed in joy. – I can’t believe it is you!

    – Ahaha, my little Arkhothep, come here!

    I started running with tears of joy pouring down my face. – I missed you so much! How is any of this possible? Am I dreaming?

    – No, silly! You’re not dreaming. Grandpa did die, but remember when we said that death is not the end, and you should not fear it? Our spirit carries on. This is why you can still communicate with me.

    – I can’t believe any of this. So are all the stories true?

    – Just like me, your father Ashmunrah, and your great-grandfather Arakrah, you will find out in due time. Do you remember the old saying about scarabs we used to say?

    “If you know how to listen to them, they will reveal ancient secrets to you”.

    – That’s right. Always keep that in mind. And whenever you come visit me, or anyone else in a place like this, always look around. – He said as he pointed his finger at the nearest wall and continued. – Do you know what it is?

    I looked up. On the wall there were a bunch of scarab-like decorations. – No, I do not, it looks like a golden scarab. – I answered.

    – And do you know what it was that your mother gave you before you entered the mystic flame?

    – It was a golden coin.

    – Listen carefully now, young boy. It was a scarab coin. And these on the walls are called scarab ornaments. The scarabs are sacred creatures and keepers of ancient secrets. This place is full of magic and mysteries. When you entered this tomb you underwent the Ritual of Sealing. We do not know who built the tombs, could be Banor himself, or something before humans even arrived here. But when you’re older and think about it – you might guess it, or even uncover some of its mysteries.

    – But grandpa, scarabs do not make any noises, how can you listen to them?

    He looked at me and smiled. – That’s enough for today, it’s getting late, you better go back with your mother. And remember what I said.

    – Will I see you again? – I asked.

    – Let me rest for now, lil’ one. Come see me when you learn the way of the scarabs and the sand.

    – And you will wait for me here?

    – I will always be here. – He chuckled. – Go now, your mother is waiting.

    ***

    ***

    – Have you ever been in one of the ancient tombs before? – Vashresamun asked me. – I heard they are mystical places, you can almost feel the magic in the air.

    – You will never forget the experience. Not only can you feel the magic, you can also see it, there are sacred ornaments on the walls all over. And yes, I have been there once before, Vash. The circumstances were different though.

    – How come? – She asked.

    – Back then my mother took me into the tomb to see my grandpa. Now I’m going inside another one to bid her farewell.

    – This time you’re going with me.

    – Yes, and thank you for coming along. Forgive me if I seem sad, it’s silly, we should celebrate. After all, death is not the end. I promise you, once we are there, when you soak in the atmosphere, when you experience this magic – it will change you. As it has changed me.

    – I can’t wait.

    – We’re almost there. – I said, remembering the exact same words my mother said to me all those years ago. – Will the others come?

    – Of course. They wouldn’t want to bring the wrath of our Pharaoh upon them. – She said with a smile.

    ***

    – It was a beautiful ceremony, Arkh.

    – Thank you. How do you feel, Vash?

    – Enlightened! It was a remarkable experience. I cannot even find the right words to describe how magical this place was. Truly unique, and I’m glad I will have a reason to visit it more now.

    – I’m relieved that you’re not disappointed. Some people think that others exaggerate when describing the tombs. They think they are just sand and stone, a place to bury the ones who departed the world of living.

    – I’m not! If anything, I’d like to stay there longer and try to learn about this place. I have a question though. You said you were inside the tombs before, correct?

    – Yes, but not this one. There are many, you know. Why the question?

    – The magic was truly present there, I could feel it. But I remember you also mentioned some sacred ornaments. I could not see any.

    – Really? To be honest, I was not paying attention, I was there to say goodbye. We did not venture too deep into the tomb though. Maybe one could find them deeper inside. – I answered, but that left me intrigued and puzzled at the same time.

    – I would very much like to see them. Maybe we can visit your grandpa some time?

    – Of course, I can take you there. We’re going to need some coins though, but that won’t be a problem now, that I’m the Pharaoh, will it?

    – Haha, of course not. I will keep you to your word then. Let’s celebrate now.

    ***

    ***

    – Hello, grandpa.

    – Who… Oh my, is that you, my little Arkhothep?

    – Yes. It’s me.

    – Look at you! Haha, You’ve grown so much! Last time you came here you were just a lost boy, who could not believe his eyes. Now you’re the most powerful man one can dream of becoming. A leader of our people. What brings you here?

    – Remember what you told me back then, when I was just a little boy?

    – Of course. I wanted to inspire you to reach for something more than eyes can see.

    – I’m going down.

    – Oh?… – He said in surprise. After a moment of silence he continued. – So you know.

    – Can I ask, why hasn’t anyone tried it before?

    – There is a story of one man… who went down. People believed he was chosen, there even was a prophecy. It was lost to time though, I’m afraid.

    – What happened to him?

    – When he left the city walls he never came back. It is said the sand took him. Noone ever dared to descend deep into the burrows of the scarabs. What makes you think you can go?

    – I have learned how to listen to them. I believe I can face their judgment.

    – Is that so? Is that so… This mean that the saying is actually true?

    – I’m confused, I thought you knew that, did you not?

    – My dear Arkhothep, I passed on to you what my father used to tell me. I always wondered what the importance was, but could never figure it out though. Maybe I was not to understand, maybe my part was to tell you the story. To keep it alive.

    – Are you sure no one else tried going there?

    – I suppose there were many fools who went inside. Only the mighty scarabs know. Are you having doubts?

    – No. I made up my mind.

    – So be it. I hope then unlike the others, the sand won’t claim you.

    ***

    ***

    – Oh, Mother of Scarabs, show me your secrets! – I chanted. Nothing happened at first, so I tried again. – Divulge your darkest mysteries to me!

    The earth started to tremble. Some scarabs, who were lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack, suddenly burrowed themselves, as if some force commanded them to stand down.

    The wall in the back of the cave started to fall apart, eventually exposing a new tunnel, a lot bigger than the one I was standing in. It got extremely quiet for a while.

    I started to hear noises coming from within the newly unearthed tunnel. Quiet at first, now they were more frequent and a lot louder. Eventually the source of this noise got so close, I could feel the vibrations all around the place. And then I saw it. A scarab bigger than any I have ever seen. I heard they don’t die, unless bested in a fight, and just keep on growing, but this one was truly enormous; its pincers alone were bigger than me. Its exoskeleton was pitch black dark, yet it reflected any light falling onto it, appearing almost mirror-like, if it was not for the dirt on it. Just by staring at it I grew vast respect for the creature, I even started wondering if slaying smaller scarabs, I encountered on my way here, was the right idea.

    – The everlasting sand will grant them rebirth, their spirit has forgiven you. For it was the test of strength you were supposed to partake. – I suddenly heard in my head.

    – Who are you? – I asked in my thoughts.

    – I am the oldest of my race, I am known as Morg’ath’la amongst our kind. I have been on this land long before the Gods gave life to your ancestors. It was my kind that brought you here today. It was also us who helped Banor to fortify Ank’rah’uthun, as it was known back then. For there was no way to build massive structures on such unstable ground, they would simply sink down under their own weight. We lived in peace, humans did not disturb us. For sharing our knowledge we were worshiped. But as the war broke in, and humans fled, only remnants of us being a part of your kind’s past remained. You are the first one to put those pieces back together. For that I will share with you something that has no use to us, but was a part of your ancestors’ success. If you’re ready…

    – I am ready.

    – Are you sure about that? Are you willing to sacrifice everything?

    – I will do anything.

    – Listen carefully then. First, I will tell you how to forge a piece of ancient equipment; it will surpass anything you’ve ever seen or heard of. There is one condition though, you will not keep this knowledge to yourself, you will share it with your people.

    – I agree to that.

    – Second, I will tell you about ways to imbue this artifact to make it even more powerful, if… you’re willing to die.

    – I am ready for anything. – I responded, knowing that death is not the end.

    – Follow me then.

    ***

    We were now so deep underground I had trouble breathing. The chamber we eventually reached was even more magical than the ancient tombs. I could feel some secret energy, stronger than anything I’ve ever witnessed. As if the Gods created it.

    I heard the scarab’s voice in my head again.

    – Walk over to that altar. I will instruct you how to forge the high mask of the ancients.

    ***

    After finishing the last piece of the helmet, something strange happened. All the pieces, as if affected by some force, were pulled in together and became one. And there it was, the ancient artifact. It was beautiful, and indeed, just by holding it I could tell it was very powerful.

    – This is a mere shell now, it has to be powered to unlock its full potential. – The scarab said. – If you take one of the red gems, and place it in the mask’s socket, you will see what I mean.

    I took a little ruby from a pile of red gems that Morgathla was pointing at. As soon as I grabbed one I felt very strange; the helmet started to pull on the rubby, as if there was an invisible bond between them. Not only that – I felt as if some part of me was also being pulled by this force.

    – You felt that. – The scarab said. – You see, this artifact can be enhanced just by a regular ruby. But you can also make the ruby itself… infinitely more powerful. That is why you must make this sacrifice now. Lie over there.

    ***

    My heart was pounding like crazy. I could barely hear the scarab over the sound of my pulse.

    – (muffled sound) …I should also tell you this; your death will not be what you think of. You will not die, but you also won’t live anymore. You will be trapped forever in a soulless state of undeath. For in order to create a soul ruby, one must sacrifice not his life, but his soul.

    It is what will make the helmet of the ancients reach its full potential. When you held the helmet in your hands you could feel a part of you being torn away, the artifact wants to be complete. I am sure you know – your soul is a divine spark, living inside you. It’s the essence of the true Gods, that’s why it is so powerful. Before your soul gets ripped away from you and merged with the ruby, you will have a brief out of body experience. It will open your eyes to some things. When you wake up, everything will change.

    My heart was now racing, and then… it stopped.

    ***

    As I watched myself lying on an altar, my soul departing my being, I contemplated all the choices I made that brought me to this very moment. The first time I was told all the stories, the very moment I first visited the tombs, the trips I took with Vash to explore them. Vash…

    I wonder if I could see her one last time, before my soul is no longer mine. Could I? After all, I am not bound to my body right now. I tried moving out of this chamber, found out that nothing was stopping me. I flew towards Ankrahmun, wanting to see my people. As I got closer to the city, I realized that in this state… things seem different. I can feel the energy of human souls, I could even focus on the Magic Web flowing all around me. Has Morgathla’s ritual already changed me? I went to the Great Pyramid to see my friends, but to no avail,

    I could not find them anywhere. As I wondered where they might be, the more I focused,

    the more I had a feeling to go to the old abandoned crypt I once visited with my grandpa. As I got closer I could feel there was a collection of energy inside. I went there. I saw Vash, Rahemos, Dipthrah, Morguthis, Mahrdis, Omruc and Thalas together. I wondered what was the reason for meeting in this place? I got closer to hear what they were saying. I could not believe it… As anger and betrayal started to taint me, I felt I was being pulled back into my body. I opened my eyes.

    – FOOLS!

    ***

    ***

    ***

    It cost me… everything… and everyone. You might wonder how one can mourn over such pitiful things now, that he’s a God? You might think that friendship, love, wealth, or even your life, is a low price to pay for ascension, a price you’d be willing to pay in a blink of an eye.

    So let me ask you this – how about one’s soul? Would you give up your very source of existence? Yes? That easily? … And how do you think your peers would feel when they found out… that you’re a fraud? What if they realized… that they can be like you? I shall keep this knowledge a secret. Until someone manages to do what I did, all they should know… is that some secrets are not meant for mortals.

    *********************************************************************************************************

    ***Author’s note***

    I have been working on the serpentine tower for a few years now. I have done extensive research that is almost complete, a few more pieces of the puzzle and the tower will fall. Because serpentine tower was not one of the topics to write about (not that I would be willing to share my findings anyway), I decided to keep it completely out of the story, focusing on the soul ruby, which falls into the category of the legendary Tibia items. I created an RPG story that revolves around pharaoh Arkhothep, and how he came to possess one of the ancient secrets of the scarabs. I tried to fill in the blanks creating something that would be plausible and interesting for the reader. But do not be fooled, even though most of the story is made up, it does contain one piece of the puzzle – some tombs are decorated with scarab ornaments, some are not. That is all I will say. If you can find out the reason behind this tricky move of Knightmare’s, you will be one step closer to solving this mystery, maybe even before I do.

    You can think of this story as a series of mini chapters, separated by some amount of time.

    The more *** you see, the bigger the time jump is. The rest of this story is known, Arkhothep knows that his “allies” are acting against him, but he still keeps his word to Morgathla, revealing the secrets to the conspirators. Maybe it was not the way Morgathla wanted him to, that’s why the books say this secret was snatched away from the scarabs. He then banishes the conspirators into the ancient tombs, thus turning once magical burial grounds into places of utter doom.

    Dean Marley,

    Thyria

     

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

A password will be emailed to you.