The Chamber

This was curious. As far as Abeth knew, the ruler’s chamber was the uppermost floor of the tower. For as long as anyone could remember this floor was used as the tower’s Guiding Light’s personal chambers, her home, her sanctuary. From here she could get a rough overview of her domain. It was the highest point in the tower.

Apparently, they had all been wrong.

Behind this door blended into the wall was a staircase that curled upward into the tower. The stairs showed signs of regular use, the dust was limited to either side near the walls while the centre of each step was dust free. Torches lit the way, the smoke from their burning disappeared into cracks in the ceiling.

There was just enough space to turn around on the staircase. His sword would be useless in such tight confines. Moving into the unknown unarmed did not appeal to Captain Abeth. In his hand he held a full-bladed knife, as long as his forearm and as wide as his wrist. He normally kept it strapped on his lower leg but it felt better to have it out for this search.

He ascended the stairs, knife in hand, he tried to prepare his mind and body for anything. He would not be able to evade anyone coming down the stairs, if he tried to turn and flee he would just expose his back to danger. He could turn to face anyone approaching from behind, but he was headed up into the tower where there would be no escape. He was keenly aware of having placed himself in a potential, inescapable, trap.

The staircase opened up into a small oval room. Three lit torches were set around the room. The room was otherwise empty.

“This is a bit disappointing,” Abeth slipped his knife back into its sheath. There was only a single exit from the room but there was enough room to use his sword should the need arise.

“Who’s there?” A voice appeared out of nowhere. “What’s happening?” It was a female voice.

“Who is this?” Captain Abeth looked around the empty room. “Show yourself.”

“I know your voice,” the voice retorted. “Where are you? Who are you?”

“Your Eminence?” Abeth stammered, confused. “You’re hear?”

“Captain Abeth! What a pleasant surprise!”

“Where are you, Your Eminence?”

“Still in Norasburg,” was the response. “The towers are all linked by this forgotten chamber, it allows for instant communication between anyone within. How is everyone? How’s your host?”

“We are all good,” Abeth answered. “We have been shown a good deal of courtesy.”

“But…,” Welsley’s voice prompted.

“We are surrounded by the living dead,” Abeth answered. “The tower is in reasonably good shape, but the surrounding land is almost completely dead. What little bit of life that exists is twisted and vile. The Lady of the Tower seems little more than a well preserved corpse. She is not to be trusted.”

“How so?”

“She claimed she had killed the necromancers who were responsible for sending the ghouls our way, but there are necromancers hidden in the tower,” he explained. “She has sent a party of necromancers and zombies in your direction without telling us, quiet and secretly.”

“That’s disturbing news,” Light Koarl responded. “How many?”

“Three necromancers, double that number of zombies at last report. But the number could grow as they march.”

“Why has she allowed you to contact me?” She continued before he could reply, “She didn’t. Shan. What’s she up to?”

“She’s collecting information,” Abeth replied. “She is distrustful of our host and wishes to have a complete picture of all her options. She hopes to be able to reduce the Lady’s influence in the world. I saw the Lady leave the chamber while I was investigating the tower. Thought I’d take a look and see what was here.”

“In our discussions, this Lady has claimed to be the Goddess Herself,” Welsley shared. “Claims she was betrayed by the Falson family.”

“I don’t pretend to be a religious scholar,” Abeth offered, “but she does not seem like a caring, selfless deity.”

“No,” Welsley admitted, “I had already worked that out on my own. Rage and hate are better descriptors. The Falsons have all but taken over the tower. I am a prisoner in my own home, trapped within my chambers. I can’t get near my troops or free myself.”

“She had mentioned.”

“She could be useful to me,” Welsley stated. “The enemy of my enemy and all that.”

“Maybe,” Abeth said. “She is an ancient power. A danger but on her own useless, her power trapped in her borders. Have you tried the tunnels?”

There was a pause.

“What tunnels?”

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