{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
cwatson would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Sanctum

By cwatson All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Fantasy

Phoenix

Three figures huddled against the greedy shadows. The rock beneath their sandals was rough, but coated in a thick layer of soot that spilled up among their toes. They drew heavy woollen robes tighter and scurried into the network of passages.

The air was hot and thick, bathed by dozens of spot fires that cast an eerie orange light. The lead man navigated according to a series of instructions he’d long-since committed to memory, while the two others hauled between them the case secreting their cargo. Avarice glimmered sinister in each man’s eyes.

They came to a larger chamber, almost the shape of a misshapen sphere. The walls were bare stone, rough-hewn, and like the rest of this underground maze it was illuminated by casual blazes flickering in nooks and crannies. A squat limestone plinth stood in the centre of the room, unremarkable in appearance save for dozens of intricate runes smothering every face of it. Raw, blistering heat poured from it, an unnatural torrent of warmth that left eyelids fluttering against dry eyeballs and skin tinged angry red.

They were not alone for long. A pyroclastic torrent of smoke and ash charged from the opening opposite to burst against the central plinth, billowing smoke writhing into rapturous forms that danced in the unsteady light. What followed this display was even more spectacular.

She stood exactly six feet tall, with delicate porcelain skin that bore the searing heat unblemished. Lightly curled locks of white-grey hair tumbled almost to her waist, framing sharp green eyes and a regal – almost angular – face. She simply exuded mastery, a supreme unadulterated confidence that commanded the chamber with ease.

Even men as unsavoury as those she greeted felt compelled to offer some half-hearted courtesy, a meagre but nonetheless deferential bow from the lead man and something altogether more awkward from the others - burdened as they were.

She nodded at the plinth, every movement subtle and refined. Tentative against the searing heat, the second and third man hauled the box between them onto the fierce stone, hurriedly setting it down. The container was carved of some inexpensive wood, taller than it was wide, almost an upright cuboid in shape. Its edges immediately began to char, blackened mahogany falling away in loose slivers.

All at once the tortured wood ignited, flames scrambling up its sides to leap proudly from atop it. They consumed the case with ravenous hunger to at last reveal the treasure secreted within.

It was an egg.

No ordinary egg, naturally. Quite how special this particular egg was did not make itself apparent, but it could certainly be identified as something extraordinary even by those who weren’t familiar with its nature. It was about the size of a human head, inky black save for a dapple of warm orange that seemed to shift across its surface like a fiery aurora.

The proceeds from a single Gryphon egg could keep the three men living raucous and comfortable for more than a month. They had been promised more than six times that for this particular specimen.

There was momentary silence, the final slivers devoured by the hungry flames. The egg sat unremarkable for some time, four pairs of eyes gazing intently at it. Then something remarkable happened.

It began to hatch.

The process started with a single crack, a zigzagging split in the shell that at once shattered its mesmerizing beauty. They four figures didn’t get a lot of time to observe the crack, however. Almost as soon as it appeared incandescent flame roared from around the egg, thunderous and infernal. It was like the shell itself had suddenly switched from an impossibly heatproof casing to the most extraordinary accelerant.

The inferno billowed and mushroomed; cataclysmic, savage. Every inch of the chamber was devoured by hungering fire, every thread of fabric destroyed in the rampaging conflagration. The three men were barbecued where they stood, with scant enough time to scream. Their charred corpses would feed the chick for weeks.

The woman fared slightly better. Porcelain skin now ashen and sooty, she strode from the chamber. If anyone had been there to witness it, the sly smile she allowed herself might have seemed malicious. As it was, she gave it only a moment. She had many other plans to attend to, and it would not do to betray the events she had set in motion.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, cwatson
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Laraine Smith: My only suggestion on the grammar is to use www.grammarcheck.net. I have it bookmarked on Google Chrome. I see myself in the determination in this beautiful story! I have Cerebral Palsy, and I have dreams that I have been working hard for, too! The humor made me laugh!

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...

Dessie Williams: loved the book. the plot the characters all just great.I think it's a must read. once you start this book it's hard to put down. hope it gets published....I think this book is a must read.great job!!!!

Jade Niday: This book has a really great plot. The author really makes you feel connected to the main character. There are twist around every corner you never see coming.. Great read for sure and I can't wait to see what happens next.

makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...

Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

More Recommendations

Krupa Kataria: the detailing is really awesome ....the characters, ur plots jst too Awsm ,m waiting for the further chapters please do complete it ...like m really craving for those ones ...great job with words too ..please complete the further parts ...

jessiehs: This was absolutely amazing. I loved how it went back and forth between perspectives. I actually cried at the end I was so happy. This was amazing. I can't even think of another word to describe it. Thank you for writing his.

daneliacapote116: This was one of my favorites! When you start reading you want to continue I can't wait for the rest of the novel!! The characters where awesome! Everything was great. I encourage you to read this novel, your going to love it it and want to read it more and more !!

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.