Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tales of a Failing Empire- Interlude Part 5

The first thing Nefydd did upon arriving at The Place was vomit. Teleportation (Grijhold's word for this strange way of travel) had always unsettled him; or was it The Place? Fortunately, Nefydd's heaving only generated a small amount of bile and saliva which he wiped on his right sleeve.

Nefydd was never able to remain standing after 'phasing in' (another one of Grijhold's words). The Place was always the same, startling 'clean' white corridors and rooms. There were no edges to the design of this region (but was it?), all ceilings and floors curved downwards or upwards where they adjoined the walls. Illumination was provided by armspans of glowing tubes in transluscent panels on the ceilings. It was never dark in The Place. Outside of The Place was one big unknown. Was this a castle relic of the Ancient Tymes? Even Grijhold didn't know. He would occasionally mention 'demi-plane' during the few times he and Nefydd actually broached the topic of the nature of The Place.

Grijhold gave it the name. One of his arguments for the name was that the creators of the area were long gone and nowhere in the abode (if it were such) were any clues to their language. Grijhold's master had named the area Jadaharien Lldrean (some elvish variant that roughly meant Bleak Fortress). After Grijhold 'acquiring' the magic trinkets from his master he came up with The Place on his second visit.“Am I going to be some pretentious bastard like all the other magick-wielding ego maniacs in history by giving this place an equally pretentious name?” Grijhold would say, usually when he was drunk by the fire pit, (and it took a lot to get him drunk) then answering himself with a suprisingly unlsurred “Fuck no!”

So the nomenclature stuck. The Place was often used as a last resort when things got bad in a variety of situations. Already it saved their lives three times. For the tenth time, Nefydd wondered if the trinkets would ever 'misfire.' Grijhold told Nefydd some tales of teleports going awry when used as a spell. A few outcomes were a ghastly mess. The Place was a temporary refuge at best, for Nefydd was extremely comfortable being here. The place smelled strange, as if the land beneath was burned in a some type of acid. Even moving here was queer, you couldn't actually touch the floor as if you were walking along a well kept forest path or one of Anfekor's Imperial Roads. It was more like a slight hop and a jump to properly traverse any of the accesible areas in The Place. After the jump you would float slightly for less than half an armspan before you landed, to hop again, and again, until you reached your destination.

The Place had hallways and rooms that were sealed by heavy white doors, Nefydd guessed that the door materials were the same consistency as those in the halls. How many more rooms lay beyond the doors was another huge unknown. As if the sealed entries weren't enough, there was Sentry, a giant construct that was several armpsans tall, reaching beyond a horse's head. It's head was all metal with fiery orange eyes, visible only when it chose to open its faceplate. Sentry rarely spoke, but it told Grijhold it's name one day when the dwarf arrived alone. Grijhold never tried to probe or reconnoiter any of the sealed areas, and being frustrated that he was denied access to the other rooms in The Place, he would inevitably talk to the construct. The conversations were almost always one sided until one day, the construct turned its head and stated simply, “I am Sentry. Please refrain from calling me Robert.”

Since then one of Grijhold's rituals after arriving at The Place is to greet Sentry as warmly as he could manage. Sentry rarely speaks back. However, one day the construct said, “Grijhold dwarf, you are quite unusual in your lack of greed and avarice once arriving in QA3. Almost all others which have come that exhibit your skillset I have had to incinerate.” Since that exchange, Grijhold is very respectful around the construct, which is unusual, since the dwarf respects almost no one.