Calvin Wright (Jenny/Rex/Roland)
I can’t believe we’re exploring this temple further. It’s clear to me that this whole place is nothing more than a series of death traps laid out next to each other. Whoever made this place doesn’t want us either. But, the way out is sealed to us now, and there’s other way to go than through these doors.
The four of us passed through the hallway to what had been marked out as the North Room. No idea what that could mean. There was a very tall and wide staircase as soon as we arrived, with walls on either side of it. At the top was a door with symbols carved all around it.
“I guess there’s no way to go but up,” Jenny said. She began walking up the steps. She turned to see that none of us were following her. “COME!” she ordered. “Stop being such cowards.”
“People are dying, Jenny,” I retorted. “If we are less than eager to follow along, it’s not cowardice as much as we’re trying not to do anything stupid.”
“What, do you think the stairs are just going to disappear and you’re going to slide down to your doom?” Jenny said. She shook her head. “Well, I’m going up here if none of you are.”
Without any other real choices, we all followed her.
There were a lot of steps, but at last, we made it. Now all we had was the doorway in front of us, which was still sealed.
“I wonder how you get this thing to open,” Rex said. He looked closer at some the symbols. “If Agnes was here, I bet she could read this. Should I go get her?”
Jenny shook her head. “She and the others are doing important work with the book. I wouldn’t bother her. We can deal with this one.”
“But we don’t know what any of these symbols mean,” I pointed out. “How can we possibly hope to open this door?”
“It seems that this temple has many secret buttons and switches in it,” Roland said. “There might be one of those around here.” He began feeling the side of the wall with his hands, which, after everything I had seen, was the very last thing I would have wanted to be doing.
After about five minutes of struggling with no clues, Rex let out a groan. “Open up, door!” Rex shouted.
The symbols around the doorframe flashed green and the door began to slide upwards.
“Why did that work?” I asked, panicked. “That wasn’t good. That’s really not good that that worked.”
“The door’s open, Calvin,” Jenny said. “That’s what we want!”
I shook my head profusely. “Opening after Rex asked the door to open? Someone or something is listening to us out here! Why would that be okay with you?”
Jenny sighed. “Have you seen any other people in this temple? There’s no one else here. Come on, let’s figure out what’s up ahead.”
Jenny walked into the next chamber, followed by Rex and Roland. I didn’t want to follow but I also didn’t want to end up stuck on the other side.
I realized immediately after walking in that I shouldn’t have followed.
The door slammed shut behind us once I got in. So, again, just like with the stairs to the second stage of the temple, some intelligence in here knew how many of us were exploring this area and was able to seal it off when the last person entered.
And we were about to come face to face with it for the first time.
We were in a throne room. Piles upon piles of golden coins glittered all around of us – a treasure that far surpassed anything in the Greed Room. On the other side of us was a golden throne, with the same alien symbols carved into its sides. On top of it, sat the intelligence I knew must exist in this temple – a dark-skinned humanoid figure with a twisted crown upon his head. He appeared to be wearing a toga encrusted with jewels, and held a scepter in his right hand. The scepter reminded me of the one Preston had been carrying earlier, only much, much larger. I wondered if maybe this scepter was another key like his. He looked very human to me, but, I reasoned, he can’t be human. There was no way. There’s no food in this temple. No water. Probably no fresh air either. He couldn’t survive in here if he was a normal being. Could he?
“Why are you here? I did not invite you,” he asked. He stood up, revealing his true height. He was massive. I guessed he must be nine feet tall. “Speak.”
No one said anything. I figured though that if this monstrosity was asking us to speak, we had better speak or else suffer the consequences of displeasing him. “We came seeking answers,” I said.
“Answers?” he said, glaring at us. “You will find none here. Leave us in peace.”
“Yes,” I said, bowing. “Forgive us for our intrusion.”
“What are you doing, Calvin?” Jenny said sharply.
“Trying not to get us all killed, obviously.”
Out of the corner of my eye, in the darkness, I thought I saw… no, it couldn’t be. I pushed the thought out of my mind. The us had to be some other thing. They couldn’t be in here. With us. Right now.
“This one has good sense!” the being said, pointing his scepter right at me. “You would all do well to listen to him.”
I definitely did not want to be singled out by this thing and I regretted immediately drawing so much attention to myself. To my surprise, Jenny and Roland started bowing next to me. The being narrowed his eyes at me, then let out a hearty laugh. I turned my head slightly. The Us… it couldn’t be retreating back if it wasn’t here in the first place, right? So then that must mean…
“I am the King of the Temple,” the being said, crossing his arms. “You may know me as Otoh’halla. You will serve me now.”
“And… and what would that entail?” I asked.
“A grand plan is in motion,” Otoh’halla said. “It will require sacrifice. But in the end, it will save the human race. I can see it in your heart. That’s what you came here for, is it not? Salvation for humanity? For your…” Otoh’halla gazed deep into my soul. “For your beloved Arkham.”
“NO!” Rex yelled.
“Rex, don’t,” I whispered. “Don’t resist this.”
“My friends have died in this temple! I watched Norman turn to ash! I won’t submit to you,” Rex shouted. He turned to the three of us. “You can’t really be considering this.”
We said nothing.
Otoh’halla glared at Rex. “A bold display, but a foolish one. I will show you what happens to those who say no to Otoh’halla.”
Immediately, out of the darkness flew what have been a dozen or so byakhee. Jenny, Roland and I stayed completely still, bowing to the floor, not making a sound, as Rex’s entire body was torn limb from limb, consumed by the swarm of byakhee.
It was over so fast.
I turned my head to look at what had happened. There was blood where he once was. But there was no body. No clothes. No evidence he had ever been there next to us, resisting Otoh’halla. Just blood.
“Only the wise deserve to live in my temple,” Otoh’halla said. “You would do well to remember this. Now. Rise, my servants.”
June 11th: REX, torn apart by byakhee in the North Room
June 10th: MARIE, fell into the chasm in the South Room
June 9th: CAROLYN, head smashed by Lola in the Button Room
June 8th: JOE, shot himself in the Lust Room
June 7th: SKIDS, dismembered in the Greed Room
June 6th: JIM, possessed by Ambrose in the Lust Room
June 5th: DIANA, possessed in the Lust Room
June 4th: MATEO, drowned in the Sloth Room
June 3rd: DAISY, shot dead by Roland in the Gluttony Room
June 2nd: NORMAN, disintegrated in the Envy Room
June 1st: LOLA, abandoned in the Button Room
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