The arcane chamber, as Otoh’halla called it, looked on the surface level like a laboratory you might find in a university. Tables were covered in pages with scrawled notes, as well as beakers filled with coloured liquids. Scattered around were weird globes with metal appendages pointing at different points. A few posters with unreadable text were on the walls, with lines and angles drawn over them. A large bookshelf stood on the other side of the wall, notably missing one sizable book. I wondered if it was the book Agnes was still holding with her.
“This place feels so unsettling,” Minh said after we entered.
“Jenny,” Zoey said. “Tell us what’s going on. We need to know.”
“Okay, I’ll make it quick,” I said. “You know the byakhee invasion that is coming to Arkham? We might be able to redirect it to another realm. Carcosa. If we do that, we’ll have saved our world.”
“Car… Carcosa?” Minh asked, her body trembling.
“You know about that place?” I asked.
“It’s in a book I read once. A play called The King in Yellow. I didn’t believe it was a real place, but people who read the play would go insane talking about someone named Hastur,” Minh said.
“That’s the exact name Otoh’halla mentioned to us,” I said.
Minh froze. “Well, we don’t have much hope if we are fighting Hastur.”
“Wait,” Zoey said. “Jenny didn’t say we are fighting Hastur. We just have to redirect the byakhee to Hastur instead of Arkham, right?”
“So we might be able to do that,” Zoey said. “If this really is an “arcane chamber” of sorts, the tools to do it might even be in here. But why did we get sent here in the first place?”
“I honestly don’t know,” I said. “But while we are here, let’s look around.”
The five of us began looking around the room. Minh and Agnes examined the bookshelf. Minh speculated that The King in Yellow might be on the shelves and if so, she wanted to find it. Zoey and I looked at the posters on the wall, while Wendy chose to take a closer look at the metal globes.
“Look at this,” Wendy said, her voice peaking with excitement. I went over to check it out and Agnes joined me. “This one arrow is pointing to a pyramid shape. Is that where we are?”
“Possibly,” Agnes said. “Do you see anything else of interest?”
“No,” Wendy said, suddenly disappointed. “I don’t know how to read this thing.”
“It’s okay,” Agnes said with a gentle smile. “We can come back to it later.”
An unearthly noise rang out behind us. It sounded like a shrieking wind layered with the noise of shattering glass. But it also sounded weirdly like a human voice.
“Wendy, stay with me,” I whispered before turning around. Wendy hid behind me.
A new figure stood in the middle of the room, clad in red robes. Nobody spoke as we tried to wrap our minds around what we were seeing.
“Diana?” Minh asked.
The figure shook her head. “My name is Arianna. High Wizard of Otoh’halla. I have been released from my stone prison and found a new vessel for my mind to inhabit. Otoh’halla has restored my true mind to me and to Ambrose. Now our mission to begin the war on Carcosa can begin. By Otoh’halla’s command, you shall aid us.”
“Didn’t need your life story, but thanks for that,” I muttered.
Arianna looked my direction, but didn’t seem to notice I had said anything. Instead, her eyes locked onto Agnes.
“You. You’re a powerful woman. I can sense it.”
Agnes blinked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You cannot deny it. Immense magical power radiates around you. I can see it like a deep crimson aura around you. How did you end up here with these inferiors?”
“They are not my inferiors. They are my friends!” Agnes said.
Arianna threw her head back and laughed. “Like a lioness being friends with a roach,” she spat.
“How do you know what lions are?” Minh asked. “Or roaches for that matter?”
Arianna turned her head to Minh and glared at her. “Pieces of my host’s mind and intelligence remain within me. I know lots of things about your realm. Your host had a trifling understanding of the arcane, which I have absorbed with ease. Nothing compared to this woman here. This…” Arianna focused for a second, as if she were reading from a book. “Agnes Baker.”
“Join me, Agnes,” Arianna said. “A woman of your power may have a place in the court of Otoh’halla.”
Arianna frowned and shook her head. “Well, then. I can’t leave such power alone. I’ll just have to take your power anyway.” Arianna extended her hand outward and focused on Agnes. A beam shot out of her hand and engulfed Agnes in dark crimson light. Seconds later, Agnes was erased.
Arianna shook her head and blinked, as if overwhelmed by new knowledge. One by one, she looked at us.
“Jenny. Wendy. Minh. Zoey.”
A chill ran down my spine as she spoke.
“You intend to escape.”
June 22nd: AGNES, merged with High Wizard Arianna in the Arcane Chamber
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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