As I entered the room, I felt an eerie presence. The hairs on the back of my neck went up on end, and I felt as if I was being watched. I closed the door behind me, and slowly walked on into the darkness. The passage was pitch black, and I couldn’t even see my own hand in front of my eyes. I walked like a blind man, slowly, cautiously, and with one hand on the wall to give me a sense of direction.
I walked straight ahead for a few minutes in complete darkness and silence, until I saw a light up ahead, it was flickering and weak, so I presumed it was a candle. I again walked slowly and cautiously towards it, hoping that I wasn’t in danger. As the light started to get stronger, I could hear a faint noise. My body was on alert, and I now walked even slower. As the sound got louder, I realized that it sounded like water dripping onto the ground, so I halted, and just listened for a moment.
All I heard was the same noise, repeated over and over again. It didn’t sound dangerous, but I knew that I’d have to remain weary. As I was about to walk forward, a deep, dark voice spoke to me.
“Identify yourself immediately.” Said the voice.
“Um.... My name is Danny.”
“Who sent you?”
“Albert, the Guardian of the Hall of Souls.” I replied
“Your accent gives away that you are not of this world. Did he tell you your Atedian name?” Said the voice once more.
I thought back to what Albert had called me, it was a weird name, unlike anything I had heard before. I knew most of the name, I just couldn’t quite remember all of it, I think it started with an N, and it went something like...That’s it! I remember now!
“Yes. I am Nise’evuv.”
“Nise’evuv? It can’t be! You’re dead!” Said the voice in utter shock.
“That’s what he told me. I don’t know how to make you believe it, but it is so.”
“I never thought I would live to see this day, your arrival was foretold, but no one knew when it would happen, or if the prophecy was even true. If you are who you say you are, we will not harm you. Enter now, or forever rest in peace.”
The voice sounded powerful, despite the fact that he was in shock, and he didn’t seem like the joking type. So I walked towards the light once more.
I could see that there was a sharp curve in the tunnel, so I turned to accommodate it, and was met by a bright, flashing light. It was glaring, and I was forced to close my eyes. I had become accustomed to the dark, so the light really hurt me. I shielded my eyes, and slowly opened them, at first all I saw was white, but then it started to fade, and I could see the light was yellow. I was looking down at the floor, and I noticed that it was covered in mud and dirt. There were little pebbles spread around some of the ground. I looked up at the walls, and noticed that they looked like the inside of a cave, the roof was rock, and surprisingly clean.
My eyes were now used to the light, which wasn’t actually that bright at all. I looked towards the end of the once again straight passageway, and I saw the figure that had presumably spoken to me. He bowed down, and out his out stretched arm out as a welcome gesture.
“Right this way.” He said.
The candlelight was coming from behind him, so I couldn’t make out his features, but he looked tall, and relatively well built. I walked towards him, but his cloak was hanging over his face, so I couldn’t see his facial features. His cloak also covered his hands, and shoes covered his feet. Everything about him was vague, and he didn’t seem like the kind of guy you should trust, but I had no choice.
As I started to near him, he signaled for me to stop. He turned around, and placed his hand on a chandelier full of candles, what looked like his hand, passed through the flames. He didn’t even so much as flinch, the flames had to be real, because they were illuminating the passage, yet he wasn’t fazed by them. The reached through the flames, and pushed a switch on the wall, it clicked loudly, and then the whole wall slid up to reveal another passageway behind it.
He beckoned for me to follow, and then turned around, and walked down the passage. I followed him silently, and as I got to the end of the first passageway, I saw what had been making the dropping sound. On the walls of each side of the passage, there were dead bodies. They were suspended on the walls, they had metal chords around the necks, wrists, and ankles. The chords were cutting into them, and this was making them bleed. Their faces were blue, and their eyes were blood shot and bulging. The dripping sound had come from blood from the cut veins in their arms. The blood from their cut necks was staining their torn clothes, but it wasn’t dripping. The blood from their ankles formed a pool on the floor.
Both these candidates had been killed in exactly the same way. It looked like there was some sort of system of murder in place. So that if people broke the rules, they are killed like these men were. I would have thought that I’d be squeamish, but I wasn’t, I didn’t care what happened to some arbitrary people. I didn’t know them, why should I give a shit?
So I just carried on walking, down the passage, to where ever this mysterious character was going. I took a moment to reflect on my surroundings, candles on the roof lighted the passage, and it looked more like the inside of a building than the last one passage, but it still wasn’t normal. The walls were brick, yet the floor was still rustic. As we started to near the end of the passage, the mystery man stopped, but waved both his hand towards a door, he was showing me to carry on, and open the door.
The handle was shiny, it looked like gold, but that wasn’t of concern to me, my only concern was the size of the door. It was easily four metres high, and two metres wide. I hoped I would be able to open, other wise I would look like a complete asshole. So I turned the handle, and pushed the door ajar. It creaked but opened surprisingly easily. The door itself didn’t touch the ground, and I suddenly noticed it didn’t touch anything else either. It was suspended in mid air, but it still opened as if it had joints.
Once the door was fully open, I saw what was on the other side. It was a circular room, with black walls, a black roof, black tiles on the floor, and blood stains everywhere. There were eight black pillars placed in a circular design. There were eight figures, clad in black robes, sitting in a circle, on red stools the size of child. They all remained motionless as I entered the room. The moment I was fully in the room, the door began to slowly swing closed. I stepped out of the way, and watched the door shut. As I turned back towards the room, I saw all the men looking at me.
They to had robes that covered their whole bodies, but their eyes were visible. Through the blackness that was their faces, two red lights shone. In each face they shone, and it felt as if each and every eye was piercing me. Then without a warning, and all at once, their eyes closed, and I felt my body starting to leave the ground. My feet remained relaxed, and they drooped as the rest of my body was lifted airborne. I started to levitate towards the group of men.
These men were leading me through the air, towards the center of the room. I thought I best remain calm and still, as struggling would not get me anywhere. My motionless body was taken in between two of the men and on towards a red circle in the middle of the room. All of their eyes were still closed, but their heads and bodies, followed my movements.
As I reached the inner circle, I started to lose altitude. But I was still floating an inch or two of the ground. I still couldn’t see their faces, yet their body language remained calm, and they seemed to act together. I was just starting to wonder what this was all about, when one of the men spoke.
“We, The Learned Eight, are gathered here today before thee. Our sole purpose is to channel knowledge from The Fountain of Thought. Will you, Nise’evuv, accept the terms and repercussions of the ordeal that you are about to undergo?” Said the man, I couldn’t tell which one it was.
“Well that depends...” I replied.
“Yes or No.”
“Again, it depends.”
“If you are not prepared to sacrifice, we are not prepared to help you.”
“I’ll know my answer if you tell me about these ‘sacrifices’”
“We are not permitted to speak about that.”
“Well I guess I don’t have much to lose...”
“On the contrary.” Chirped a voice.
“...So my answer is yes.” I answered.
With that, all of their eyes opened again. I remained airborne, and I think I could get to like floating.
“You have accepted our proposal, now accept our knowledge!” shouted the same voice.
All of their arms stretched out towards me, their hands clenched, and their heads raised skyward. Their faces were some how still concealed, but I was concentrating on their eyes. The red eyeballs remained the same, but the area around the actual eye was pulsating. There were purple and white sparks, jumping to and fro. Slowly at first, then gradually faster, and eventually they were moving at a great speed. All their eyes were identical, and I sensed something was about to happen.
“Knowledge is power. Now let our knowledge flow!” shouted all the men in unison.
Silver bolts raced from their out stretched arms, towards me. They all joined together, and formed a silver circle around my whole body. I was surrounded, and encased in a sphere of silver. Then suddenly the Learned Eight shouted, and the sphere collapsed in towards me. The moment it touched my skin, I felt pain like nothing I had ever felt before. I was as if I was being impaled by acid tipped pikes. I screamed out in agony, and hoped this ordeal would be over soon. But it did not cease.
Surprisingly the pain started to subside, it still hurt, but now the pikes had become mer eating utensils. The “priests” showed no signs of remorse, and they didn’t seem willing to stop. But I didn’t mind, this wasn’t that bad anymore, I was getting used to it. After a few more seconds, all pain ebbed away, and I began to feel power flowing into me. My senses were becoming toned, and I was starting to feel a lot better that I had. A few more minutes of this, and I would feel like a different man.
Just as I was starting to really enjoy the experience, the power flowing into me started to diminish. That was not acceptable, I had agreed to this, now I would get as much of it as I wanted.
“Don’t stop! I want more!” I Shouted.
I could feel the inflow starting to increase again, and damb it felt good! The feeling of joy and enlightenment was starting to dissipate, but I know realized that I was sensing diverse things around me. I could feel the strength of The Eight, and I feel which of them was more powerful.
This new sensation was amazing, I was feeling things like never before. Just then, I sensed one of the weaker powers starting to deteriorate. First it was a slow deterioration, then it sped up, and now it was more than one of the powers. Five out of The Eight were starting to weaken, and some of them were in trouble. But I wasn’t going to stop them, this was too great a feeling, to be taken away, by someone else’s weakness. So I shouted again.
They all pushed on, all except for one that is. The weakest of the lot, keeled over, and stayed motionless on the floor. And when three of his fellow “Educators”, broke the bond, and tried to help him, they to were instantly killed. This was turning out to be more fun that I had imagined. But I had had enough, it was starting to hurt again, and the power flow wasn’t that great. So I told them to stop.
They gradually lessened the power flow, but it was still too great for another of the Learned men. He fell over, and twitched a bit, before lying still. Once the power flow was nearly stopped, I felt my body start to drop out of the air. As the power stopped, I fell a few inches, and landed upright on my feet.
I looked around, and saw that there were five dead bodies on the floor, as well as two men leaning over, short of breath. The last, and most powerful of The Eight, was the only other person standing upright. I could hear him breathing deeply, but he wasn’t out of commission yet.
“What were you thinking? Doing something like that? You killed five of The Eight Learned ones! How could you?”
It was only then that it hit me...Had I gone too far?