the sky was clear, and the sun was burning bright in the azure sky, shining its light down into the city below. The sand was hot, and the stone structures that formed the city architecture were absorbing the heat making the city like a massive oven. Baking the already sun-bleached and well-worn skeletons that decorated the city like macabre ornaments. Their final monuments are forever immortalized for all to see, the looks of tranquillity, looks of fear, looks of belligerence at their fates as they took their final breaths, reaching the end of their journey. Now joining them were fresh corpses of the treasure hunters that the youth slew, their bodies stripped of everything including dignity. Their rough bodies and grimaced features. Now covered by their own blood, guts and a thin layer of sand, covering their bodies like a blanket as if the city itself was a mother tucking in her child for the night. Reflected on them, were the virtues and vices of those forged in the fires of war, every hardship they faced carved upon their skin, as symbols of their resilience. Badges of great pride or great shame. In this, they were very much alike to the youth who killed them.
The sounds of carrion birds and other assorted vermin stripping the flesh off the bone. the smell of fresh corpses baking in the hot afternoon sun was something he could not get used to no matter how many times he experienced it. It was a sickly sweet smell that offended the noise. The smell of death. Tharos himself spent this time hiding from the sun’s rays deep inside the temple. Sitting down in an area in the main hall where the light of the could not reach him. He would drink deeply from a humble silver chalice that was filled to the brim with a dark red liquid while sorting through the gear of the people he slew. He would swill the chalice in his hand, with stray red droplets staining the sand-covered stone floors. If there was one thing about the treasure hunters that he truly enjoyed. was that without fail, they would bring such great drinks with them. That alone would have been due cause to drop his arms and welcome them with open arms. The scour taste of the wine on his tongue reminded him of simpler times in his youth, Times that he could scarcely remember at this point. Sadly, these people were of a different peoples from him, their language and customs were so alien to him that forming any kinship with them would prove a rather impossible task, there was no middle ground between him and them. If only there was a way to bridge the gap, then maybe there would be no need to spill blood. However, without common ground, there was no way people from two different worlds could come to a mutual understanding. “They probably think I am rather strange as well.” he lets out a small sombre chuckle at that thought. Even when it came to the inhuman races such as elves and dwarfs, who were more alien in both body and mind When compared to humans. However, even then some commonalities existed between his people and them that helped ease the tension. However, no such thing existed for the treasure hunters. “I wonder if they are still around.” It had been centuries since Tharos last saw an elf or a dwarf and in his current state he had more in common with elves than say, dwarfs or other humans. He gives out a rather sombre sigh as that thought sinks in
The gear he gathered would be suitable replacements for his ever-depleting sources of armour and weapons. the books and maps while helping him figure out intent, the tongue was alien to him. however, one thing did catch his attention. It was the symbol on the books & maps. It was white and in the shape of the bird, he was unfamiliar with. From the look of it. This bird was gentle, unlike the carron or birds of prey Tharos was used to. “Maybe a symbol of some new religion or the banner of some king” he thought to himself. From what he could tell these treasure hunters were well organised, and whoever was sending was looking for something, something more important than simple riches. Tharos thought to himself if more treasure hunters would be coming in greater numbers and frequency. It might be more practical to set traps, and activate the city defences, than hunt down every group that entered the city. However, a trapper he was not, and rituals required to activate the city defences were lost to him. The temple or palace archives had the knowledge he sought.
It had been several decades since Tharos had been down to the temple archive and centuries since he last entered the palace, as he walked down the stone stairs down the archives below the temple. The sight of cobwebs and dust covering the archives like a thick blanket, it had been a while since he had last cleaned this place. Going through the various selves, was a mix of decaying scrolls and books. None of them were legible, this is what Tharos hated about things made from paper, yes, they were rare & valuable, but the writings didn’t last, unlike the clay & stone tablets which contained the words and wisdom of eras past, they seems he would have to try the palace then if there still legible writings. “They might be in the palace archives.” He thought to himself, as started to exit the temple archives. At the top of the stairs, he heard a noise behind him, at the bottom of the stairs stood an old woman, she was short and was dressed in fine white robes, as Tharos focused on the woman he noticed that the temple around him started looking pristine & clean, he could hear chatter from the main hall, the sounds of scribes working away at their craft. “Tharos!” the woman called out to him in a stern voice. “You will be late. His majesty is expecting you at the palace soon for consul, you cannot keep him waiting.” Tharos was about to say something, confused by the events unfolding before him. However, before he could say something, he heard a voice, this voice was his voice, but he was not speaking, as he turned around Tharos saw himself. As Tharos tried to take in what he was witnessing. The pristine temple around him started to have sand blow in through the door until all he could see was sand and the sounds of people were drowned out by the sounds of howling wind. As he closed his eyes and opened them, he noticed he was outside the temple grounds, lying on his back as a thin layer of sand covered his face. As he got up and left the temple. The sun slowly setting over the horizon, with the corpses striped to the bone of all flesh.
“Was that real? some kind of an illusion, some spell.” Tharos after regaining his composure. ran back into the temple and searched the place from top to bottom. There was no one there, no old women, not himself or the priests and scribes that once populated this temple’s halls. The scene that played out before him worried him, who was that old woman and why did he feel he knew her. Such questions played in Tharos’ mind as he made his way to the palace. As he came to the place’s front gates and looked up to the palace, he felt something he had not felt in a long time. Fear. Tharos did not understand why he felt this, he looked around to see if there were any signs of danger or anything that would have made him feel this fear, but he couldn’t see anything. So why did he feel fear? Tharos steeled himself and walked through the front gate, the courtyard and up the massive stone stairs that lead to the main chamber and then the throne room, from there he could reach the palace, as he walked up the stairs the feeling of fear grew stronger every step, he took this feeling grew stronger, he could feel his heartbeat faster & his blood race. As he took the decisive step and made his way to the main hall.
His feeling of fear disappeared, and the feeling of shame & regret replaced it. The main hall was full of dust, sand, and cobwebs, in the room stood several well-worn statues, each dedicated to the various gods and in the centre of the statue of the god of the city. As Tharos walked toward the throne room, he felt the eyes of the various statues, watching him and following his movements. As he entered the throne room, he spotted a figure sitting on the throne dressed in faded robes laced in finery, holding a golden sceptre in its right hand, with its head split in half. Tharos stared at the figure, and as he stared at the figure, he heard a voice, this time it was a young woman. “Tharos… you’re late my husband is waiting for you.” As Tharos turned around to face this voice. The woman before him was a young woman dressed in a fine purple robe laced with finery. She gave a warm smile and replied, “I know your studies are important to you, but you must not forget your duties here.” As Tharos was about to respond, the woman disappeared and in the blink of an eye, Tharos noticed that the sunlight that illuminated the room was gone. The light in the room was now replaced by bluish dim light, as a full moon filled the night sky. It was dark out and Tharos felt a wave of exhaustion. He felt it was time to head home and rest. And to continue his research tomorrow when his mind was clearer.