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Ground Zero - Chapter Fifteen; Down. Dig.
Topic Started: 18th November 2004 - 01:51 PM (853 Views)
Rattsu
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Is writing Dragon Age fanfiction

Prologue, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six, Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine, Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve, Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen


[This is my current NaNoWriMo project. 50 000 words from Nov 1st to Nov 30th. It is not proofread or grammar checked, so please be gentle. I'm writing during my lunch hour at work, where the computers are too old to have the english spellchecker for word installed. Long live wordpad! I will edit, proofread and streamline it once I am done. Wordcount so far: 26 809 (deadline minimum 26 000)]


~Chapter Fifteen~

Skwee's chambers.

The Seer had not had a single good night's sleep since he returned to the Ulricsberg. There was something about the very walls which seemed intent on leeching him of any sanity that had remained after years of warpstone abuse. It lurked in he glittering eyes of the vermin that scurried towards the corners when larger rats approached. It clung to everything down here, to the air that they breathed, to the stones that they walked. It was present in the gossip of the clanrats and in the way the streams of water dribbled down the walls, and most of all in the ways the tunnels twisted and bent. Had he not know better he would have sworn that the Ulricsberg was alive. That it was breathing.

Slowly.

They were mites on the back of a great beast, and what would their final destination be? Skwee did not know, but the bones had started to tell him strange things, all of them falling in the same pattern, repeated as if something sought to guide them. Was it the paw of the horned rat that he felt? He did not think so. The blackness had a strange and eerie feel to it, not at all the crushing power and paternal care of the Horned One.

Even Rattsu could feel it.

That had scared the seer more than anything else. The short tempered warlord had actually met with him, and asked questions of shadows and of entities, of the things which could not be seen, only sensed. Rattsu the black was suddenly interested in the afterlife. That must surely be one of the signs of the apocalypse. But the warlord had started to SEE things, things which he kept secret from everyone, but the seer could hazard a guess they were similar to the things that he saw for himself.

Skwee wished he didn't have to see. Since he got here, he had been afraid to use any warpstone at all, fearing what the twisted visions would show him. There were things here, sliding between the rats, brushing against them, touching, leeching... he knew that. You are not paranoid if you are right. What was this place? It felt as if it lay closer to the realms of the not-here these days, as if the walls of reality was starting to crumble like rocks gone bad.

Rocks could rot, he had seen it before.He had just never seen them rot in spirit first.

Swishing his tail back and forth, the seer fingered the bones in his hand. Smooth. Worn. Some painted in chipped colours, and others carved in odd shapes. The mouse bone was missing he noticed, the bone of escape, of running away to fight another day. When had it gone missing? Was it the same force that had drawn him here that were making sure that he would not run away? Or had the bone simply followed its instincts and literally crawled out of the bag and run off? Once even he would have laughed at that, but now he was not so sure.

Rattsu had always scoffed at the omens he saw, and now that he was here it was all that he could see.

So he didn't mention them anymore.

What use would it be? To try to do anything at all in this swirling stream of fate? They were here, they were pebbles and twigs on the surface. Even mighty trees had been uprooted and sent swirling down the raging rivers, what choice did he have but to be swept along?

The flood would come and they would sink or swim.

Skwee shook his head, wondering what this sudden occupation with water was. Every twist and turn of his thoughts seemed to revolve around it, the flowing stream, the island... the... what? h would almost see it.

Blackness.

With a jerk the seer woke from his brief slumber, to find out that he had squirted the musk of fear without even thinking about it.

It was the blackness. The hole that he did not dare to look into.

Shaking his head, the seer threw the bones at the wall, watching them clatter down in the same pattern that had haunted him for the last week.

'Down,' the bones said. 'Down and dig.'

Skwee shivered, throwing one of the beastman furs over the bones, refusing to look at them. He did not want to go down. He did not want to dig. He knew that what they found would be terrible beyond imagination. And since he had a rather vivid imagination he planned to remain here. Yes. Not moving. Just eating, breeding, studying and... sleeping.

He needed sleep. He had been awake for a long enough time that he was starting to see spots now. Black flecks danced before his eyes. Like flakes of ash raining down from the sky. It made him remember when he had been but a young rat, the burning village he had been taken to as a part of his teachings into the Art of the seers. It had been a man-thing village, but it was burning now, raided of all valuables. The air smelled of scorched meat, of ashes and of blood. The ashes had rained down from the heavens like snow, and he remembered catching some on his tongue, surprised that they tasted like flesh.

Ashes.

Skwee lit one of the many candles stolen from the city above, running his paw over it.

Light.

But the light only brought more shadows, stark and black against the wall. What was worse? The dark where you could not see the shadows at all, or the light where they stood out in all their horror. He could see them all. Burnt into the mountain as the Doom Hemisphere exploded, erasing them from existence, leaving shadows on the walls in its wake. He should consult with the other Seers about this, but he hesitated. Skwee knew that he was not the most devout and fervent follower of the Horned Rat. He was not the brightest of scholars, he did not plot and plan as good as the best, and the magics he wielded were volatile and imperfect. In all his days there had only been one area where he could say that he had excelled, and that was in this. In the omens and the visions. In the castings of the bones and the readings of how the stones fell.

So where should he turn when it was his strengths that failed him? Nowhere.

You did not show weakness and live a long life. That was the first rule of the warren.

What had those thrice cursed Skryre warlocks released with their mad Project Supremacy? They thought that they could control the power and the warpstone magics with technology. As if nuts and bolts could replace a mind schooled through years of hard study. How arrogant were they? They were like slaves eating poisonous things just because they were hungry and did not know better.

And what scared him even more was... what if the seers had known? Verminious Fang and the rest might have suspected. They might know more than they let on. They might be plotting at this very moment, to wrest away whatever it was down below. Down. Perhaps they should dig. Perhaps they should get to whatever it was first.

Skwee shook his head, but the black spots remained. Yes, they should dig. He had to tell Rattsu that the omens had spoken. Down, down into the heart of the mountain they would go.

Down into the unknown black depths.

Skwee chittered to himself as he looked away from the candle, realising with horror that he had almost given in. He had almost changed his mind, thinking it was a good idea to dig.

Something was influencing him. Someone was.

Sliding to his feet, the seer started pacing the small chamber, soft furs muffling his steps. He was a member of the order of the Grey Seers. He should not be so trifled with. But he could feel it eating away at his resolve, an insidious magic that seemed to speak so much sense, to offer clarity where this mountain only offered confusion. How long could he resist that maddening voice of reason?

Suddenly Skwee was covered in cold sweat. If Rattsu found out about this he would be dead. A liability. An enemy. He had nobody he could talk to, nothing he could do but to ride this out, to try to keep his essential cowardice as a guard against the mad suggestions. He didn't want to dig. He didn't want to seek out the blackness, no matter how voracious and hungry it was. It was against every instinct that he had nursed for his long life, and he shivered as he clung to that truth.

He would not Dig.

Fumbling with the small man-skin pouch in his lap, Skwee grabbed hold of the stones, letting them bite into his paw. He would not throw them, because they would only say that he bones had said, chiming in a harmony that made all his fur stand on end. Down. Dig.

He couldn't take it anymore, Skwee blew out the candle, sending the small cavern into darkness again. Darkness was safe, darkness was your friend in the night and in the warren-tunnels. But darkness and blackness were two separate things, this was the song of the chasm and the hidden depths from which nobody returned.

Nobody.

There had been a scream in the silence, that he knew. Eyes that had SEEN and Skwee did not wish to join their descent into madness. He had to get out of here, damn Rattsu and damn clan Hissvin, he'd take his chances with the Council. It would be easy, just walk out through the tunnels, then skitter-leap far from here and forget. So easy. Just one step.

Surely he could take one step?

Skwee choked in the sudden blackness, realising that he could not. He could not take that step. He could not move towards safety. He would not escape. The bone of the mouse was lost and so was all hope of ever getting out of here for him. He was needed.

NEEDED.

Skwee whimpered to himself, scratching claws over the short fur on his arms, feeling red welts form on his sensitive skin. He couldn't get out. He wanted to just crawl back into a corner and hide. Just like a small rat scared of the sky.

The sky. That thought struck a chord with him he had not expected, remembering when he was little and ventured out of the tunnels for the first time. The vast blackness there, pierced by stars. The moon hanging low, the far brilliance of it staring down at him. How he had feared the heavens then. Those unmerciful skies.

So why did he long for them now? Why did the moons call out to him? Why did they sing such a pretty deluded song that only he could hear? So long ago... when the world was whole and everything was in its proper place. Long before man-thing and rat-thing both. Long before the Otherness. Before the not-here. Before the open door invited them in, the chaotic cancer that ate at the world and would bring it down.

Whimpering, Skwee plunged his fist into a wall, trying to shake the things that he felt and saw. Moon was bad. Sky was bad. Stars were evil. Tunnels and warrens were good, company, other rats...

Yes, other rats.

Skwee released a long breath, feeling the compulsion loosen its hold as he let go of the thoughts of escape. The thoughts of warm rat fur, the scents of the others, the safe warren, the knowledge that you was not alone... that was what he needed to think about. not escape. Not dig. Just living right here, right now, with the others.

He needed company, desperately so. Something safe. Something to keep his mind from wandering down those dark tunnels where everything made sense.

Perhaps it was time for him to pay a visit to the breeders after all.

Yes, that sounded like the best idea he had come up with so far.
I am currently writing an epic Dragon Age 2 adventure that can be found HERE!! or on my deviantart.

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enginkaster


Nice pice of text, a little scarry, but very intresting
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