After Ursula’s body was crudely disposed of by the byakhee, Otoh’halla looked at each of us one by one and nodded. “You will all do fine,” Otoh’hall said. “Calvin, take the men to the armory. Jenny, take the women to the arcane chamber.”
“I’m not leaving without Duke,” I said. I could see Preston’s eyes widen as I spoke, but if he was thinking of harming Duke in any way, then I’d much rather have him kill me here and now than make suffer through it.
“You can take the dog,” Otoh’halla said. “I certainly have no interest in it. It may be of use to me.”
I wanted to spit out that Duke would never serve a megalomaniac like him, but I figured I had already said enough.
“King Otoh’halla,” Calvin said. I immediately wanted to hurl with the way Calvin addressed him with such reverence. “What about Roland?”
Roland? What about FINN? Where the hell did Finn go?
“I will deal with stragglers in due time,” Otoh’halla said. He waved his hands at us. “Now, go. We have much to do.”
Calvin nodded and took me and Preston towards the shadows to our left. I was hesitant to enter the shadows, since we all knew the byakhee emerged from there. But at the same time, if Otoh’halla had wanted us to be consumed by byakhee, it would have happened already. I quickly glanced behind me to see that Jenny was doing the same thing with Zoey, Agnes, Minh, and Wendy. They must be headed to the arcane chamber, which seemed to be the opposite direction.
We reached a door, and Calvin opened it with the push of a button in the wall. We entered and saw a room with shelves upon shelves upon shelves of metal weapons. Spears. Swords. Javelins. Lances. All crafted with weird alien shapes, curves, and angles. It was terrifying to see the weapons all around us.
“Why does he even have all of these?” Preston suddenly mused out loud.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“He has an army of byakhee,” Preston said. “The byakhee don’t need weapons.”
“Because he didn’t always have the byakhee,” Calvin said.
“You going to tell us what’s going on?” I asked.
Calvin took a deep breath. “Listen, I know you don’t trust me. But Jenny and Roland and I… we know everything now. Arkham is in danger. But we may be able to stop it.”
“Well, you better start talking,” I said. “Because you’re right, I don’t trust you and now, I’m in a room full of weapons.”
Calvin nodded. “I’ll tell you. And don’t forget – I’m as much a prisoner here as anyone.”
Calvin began to tell us the whole story. Some byakhee, who originally came from some strange dimension called Carcosa, had apparently crossed over into Otoh’halla’s temple. Otoh’halla, being the possessive bastard he is, started to claim these byakhee as his own, using powerful magic to control them. Carcosa is ruled by some powerful godlike being known as Hastur and he did not take kindly to Otoh’halla’s actions, corrupting this dimension. Many of Otoh’halla’s subjects died or went insane, including his whole army, which I presume, were the people who would have used these weapons. The mist we saw when we entered was created to protect the temple and keep more of the entrances and exits to the dimension sealed. We stumbled across one that was mysteriously kept open. Because this one was kept open, Otoh’halla assumed it was a portal into and out of Carcosa. But it’s not.
It’s a portal into and out of Arkham.
“And that’s why the byakhee invasion is coming to Arkham,” Calvin said. “Because Otoh’halla intends to declare war on Carcosa.”
“But he’s too stupid to know that he’s targetting Arkham instead?” I asked. I shook my head. “This is insane.”
“Wait,” Preston said. “So…. so if he wants to attack Carcosa… then, all we to do is present him with a portal that goes to Carcosa instead? Then he can have his little war and leave humanity out of it.”
“Something like that is what Jenny, Roland and I were thinking,” Calvin said. “But we don’t know yet how to make it happen.”
“Can’t we just… talk to him?” Preston asked.
“Preston,” I said, “only you would be dumb enough to suggest that.” Preston frowned and shuffled away from us into the darkness, muttering something about being unappreciated. “Look, Calvin. I’m willing to trust you. But, I still have questions. Like, why did Otoh’halla have us enter this room.”
“You know how Otoh’halla is so possessive?”
“Yeah, I mean, we just saw Ursula get impaled.”
“Well,” Calvin began, “you’ve surely figured out by now that Otoh’halla believes everything that enters his temple, he thinks belongs to him. You’re not going to like the implications of that. He’s sending us to the armory because…”
“…because he thinks…. he thinks we’re…”
He thinks we’re weapons?
A gunshot penetrated Calvin right through the heart. He collapsed in front of me. I turned around. Surely, that wasn’t Preston?
My eyes widened when I saw the truth.
It was Joe. A bullet hole through his head. His body reanimated. His eyes lifeless as he pointed his gun at me. In the darkness, I saw more figures walking behind him. As they got closer, I could see who it was… Mateo, his skin inflated into a bulbous mass, and Carolyn, her face smashed into an unimaginable shape.
“General Ambrose was right. The army of Otoh’halla will be reborn.”
June 21st: CALVIN, shot dead by reanimated Joe in the Armory
June 20th: URSULA, impaled through the head by The Sullied Crown in the Throne Room
June 19th: ROLAND, shot dead by Finn in the West Room
June 18th: YORICK, transported to Carcosa
June 17th: SEFINA, transported alive via a portal to Arkham
June 16th: MARK, devoured by an abomination in the West Room
June 15th: SILAS, succumbed to earlier poisonous gas exposure while in the Book Room
June 14th: AKACHI, succumbed to poisonous gas in the East Room
June 13th: RITA, woke up alive in Arkham
June 12th: LEO, shot dead by Finn in the South Room
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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