Tomb of the Originals
Five people had been killed instantly. With a single swipe their bodies were torn apart and rendered ash. For the humans in company, the one that was caught first...his screams can still be heard in their ears though he died ten minutes prior. Another was grabbed by the shadows in place of the woman vampire he pushed out of reach. The caves were endless, they had not realized how long they went until they became eager to get out. The walls grew closer, shadows chased close behind and covered them as they passed. Lizzy and Jake were not the only ones, Adam’s team was fleeing from the same mass.
The remaining humans either died or were carried by their faster comrades. Either way everyone was running. The shadows had no form to them, no sense of ‘heart’ and thus was an abyss of nothingness. Adam did not know what terrified him more: not being able to see a ‘heart’ or the fact this was a ‘heart’. He did not think, he did not reason, his only instinct was to run. Getting away from the shadows, escaping this cave that was sure to become their tomb. He found a a small crack in the path and slipped in, finding his instinct for self-preservation was more prominent than concern for his comrades. The shadow passed him, either not noticing or not caring, their darkness covered over the opening like a blanket and canceled out all light for which his vampire eyes could no longer help him.
Lizzy and Jake found a divide, left or right it did not matter--Jake grabbed her hand and pulled her left, commanding for the four behind them to take her and continue on. Lizzy protested, she moved from the others’ front and told them to continue with the human. The next minute they heard screams and knew it was too late. Jake snatches Lizzy’s hand, threw up an ice wall between their turn and their first exist, and ran again. The walls shattered like glass flying debris toward them, but never reaching.
Shadows continued to reach their hands out to ensnare, but they were not fast enough.
An abrupt decision to run left in a tri-path sent them somewhere none had gone before. Ridged walls gradually smoothed and formed perfect corners, the cave became a hall and the hall was engraved with carvings and decorated with paintings; untouched by time they seemed as fresh as yesterday. The hall went on and on and on with only a single way until Lizzy made a sudden turn that Jake would have otherwise missed. The shadows passed the hallways at first, then themselves noticed the opening and followed. They grew slower, like there were stretching near their limit. Jake created walls one after the next, further slowing the shadows until they ceased breaking them. Neither ceased running, rather they sped up at the sight of a bright light. Jake was faster, he managed to grab Lizzy and stop her before she ran off the edge. It was massive, a crystal cavern where the source of light were the rocks themselves.
Inside these walls were buildings tall and short, barren, without life and yet there were no signs of occupation at any point. A waterfall poured from the far left, dropping into a pool where a massive collection of crystals sat on a small island in its center. For a time Jake stared at the pitch-black they had emerged from and heard nothing, saw nothing, but knew ‘something’ was there. Their radios were useless this far below ground. They did not know if anyone from the other teams had experienced the same or if they were just unlucky. The two pushed on nonetheless.
There was never a record for there to be ruins within the Himalayas nonetheless of an underground ‘civilization’ that existed and vanished without a trace. Who were these people and why had they never been known? Vampires? Without blood? Without language? History predating the First Reign? Lizzy wondered off. In fear of their separation and a reunion with the shadows alone Jake followed and refused to leave her side. The girl gazed at the walls, painted with images and depictions of different meaning. These were how these people recorded their history. Painting was the first language and could Lizzy read it. She placed her hand on the wall, feeling the colors tell the story of the time before history; the originals’ history.
Adam did not move for an unknown amount of time. He was too afraid, of the shadow, of the abyss, of death. That fear caused him to place his own life above others, saving himself and allowing them to die in his place. There was no regret. Such selfishness had been done before, that was no different. As his slowing mind collected its bearing he wondered as to why the shadow simply passed him.
They were gone now. He knew because there was a distinct difference between their darkness and the normal one of the cave. They may have been trying to protect something, an ancient alarm system; perhaps ‘someone’ was here and did not want them to be. For the memory of those he abandoned Adam returned to the same path the shadows chased them from. There was no sound other than the scrapping of his feet against the ground. He kicked a fallen flashlight and found it still worked.
Further and further into the tunnel until a light of its own shinned at its end. Caution was taken, not to be fooled by what could be false light, or a trap by whatever was down here. At the tunnel’s end he found a path down the wall of an enormous cavern, enlightened by crystals and a large mass in the center of the ceiling. There was water here, plants, animals--life flourished under the mountain.
With the light restored Adam was able to see to the far end of the cavern and found that which seemed one with the cave and yet its edges were unnatural. Buildings? Here? His life-long eagerness for knowledge and reasoning was restrained for once. With carefulness and caution he tip-toed thru the cavern, taking awareness to where he stepped so not to disrupted the cycle of life. There were animals he had never seen...alive. Saber-tooths, mammoths, all animals that were known extinct since the Ice Age were very much alive and very much used to the visitor’s aura. They have always known this presence, this protection passed onto them from their parents and their parent’s parents, all the way to the beginning of their home.
Their ignoring of his presence brought Adam some peace, but the fact they were used to ‘vampires’ was unsettling. Obviously whatever attacked them was no animal because it attacked human and vampire indifferently. Was that the presence these animals knew? Are they a protector? An ancient biologist; preserver of life long since disappeared from the surface? This place felt no concept of time, like it was without time and laws of the same nature of measure. Untouched, unsoiled by humans and vampires; this place was paradise, a preservation of what the world once was. Adam could stay here forever, unlocking the secrets that this place remembered.
The vampire had no sense of time, but his watch did and by its count he carefulness caused an hour to pass before making it halfway thru the cavern. He knew he must speed up, that there was precious time and it must be spent searching for others. Arriving at the ‘buildings’ Adam found he was correct in his assumption. These were single-carved buildings, homes; empty. These homes were made by people, but who? Human or vampire? When did they live? How did they live here? Questions flooded his mind and then he noticed another peculiar thing: the homes had no markings on them.
How could that be? This style and skill is clearly above the era that existed along side these animals therefore written language would be no feat. They had advanced intelligence and worked together, this place was home to civilization and yet it was unlike those of record. Humans were the first to ‘record’ their history by cave paintings and even created the first writings so could something other than human or vampire have lived here? What kind of beings were they? Where they a common ancestor between humans and vampires? The source of both kinds?
Adam shook his head, wishing to rid himself of these unnecessary questions. What was does not matter, what is and will be does; the present is where he is. He came here for a single reason and this place will not give him another. Following the path of light-crystals there was another tunnel leading away from this cavern. Despite the knot in his stomach Adam continued, keeping on the light side and avoiding any shadow he came near.
While practically hugging the wall the entire run Adam arrived from behind a waterfall to a large cave. The second he was free from the water’s protection the vampire froze. In the center of the pool was a small island...on the island was a large crystal...within the crystal...
Elisabeth studied each picture carefully, finding that this wall was the history of those who lived here. There was no certain way to know exactly what the pictures meant, but between her and Jake they would figure something out. For her father, Lizzy slipped out a ‘Go-Pro’ camera and began recording the wall. He is an Ancestor surely he must know something, or an idea at least.
Jake did not pay attention to the wall, he watched everything else, worrying that if he did not that shadow would return.
“Hey Jake, the Ice Age was over ten thousand years ago right? Isn’t that around the time the founders First Reign were alive?”
Jake pondered for a moment, running thousands of texts and scripts thru his mind from his family’s collection, Lady Eona’s, and Lord Alucard’s. There was only one record, a wheat production log, from the time Lady Sierra was in charge of the village--before Lord Dracula arrived. It was possible, but the amount of people who had to have lived here compared to how spread out the Ancestors were did not match up. If the Ancestors were here then ‘someone’ would have had some record--Jake moved quickly, following the painting to its center where what was believed to be the sun and the moon.
“Its red.” Lizzy thought aloud as Jake placed his hand on the mural’s surface. 'Why?'
“Perhaps your father could answer that.” The voice behind startled them both though they knew who it belonged to, to hear a voice aside from themselves was frightening.
Adam was happy to have found anyone, but these two were certainly preferred. Lizzy and Jake were relieved, but to see that he was alone...
“You two as well?” Adam frowned mourning their deceased.
“What was it?” Jake began with and what would be many more questions between he and Adam.
“Even I don’t know. Whatever it is, I think I know why it attacked us.”
The Frenchmen motioned to follow and led them to the same waterfall they had seen a distance away.
When the two looked into the crystal they were without words. The sight of the figure within would be enough to make even a stoic speak. Adam had already recovered from his shock and was able to speak and break the sound of silence.
“Lady Sierra, the Founder of the First Reign...your grandmother.”
“No.” Lizzy said shortly, moving into the water and onto the island; placing her hand on the crystal.
“This is just a body, its not her.” She listened for it, attempting to dive into the conscious and to know for sure ‘what’ her grandmother was protecting them from.
'She is not here.' The voice made Lizzy jump, she had not expected to hear her, to be able to do the same as what Kira had.
Suddenly from Lizzy’s bag the weapon within breaks into metallic vines and wraps around them, protecting them from the strikes of shadow. Adam reaches in that bag, pulls out the gun and fires above the waterfall. In turn a couple of the weapon’s vines wrap around his arm and dig into his flesh. NGH! The pain was ripping, not shocking in rejection, but taking his blood--weapons made from a vampire.
Jake created a sword and shield and kept one while giving the other to Lizzy; locking hands they both ensured not to allow the other to be swallowed by the abyss. The shadows retracted some, moving with a large central mass to beside the pool on their level. You cannot win against her, you must run. Adam too heard the voice, but was unshaken by it--he simply knew better than to not listen when strange women were talking to him.
“RUN!” He bellowed shooting and running to the crystal to grab what would be his.
The shadow was quicker--it destroyed the crystal, shattering the body within along with it and had Adam not had the weapon to protect him, they would have gotten him as well. Jake created shards and threw them at the shadow, wanting to divert its attention for Adam to make it to them.
“Hurry up old man!” They ran together and just as they made it to the entrance of Jake and Lizzy’s original path the shadows broke from them again. Adam grabbed both and threw them behind, allowing himself to be taken for an instant.
'You should be grateful to her, I would kill you otherwise.'
The shadow retracted, giving Adam the chance to be snatched by an ice claw and carried by Jake.
The young Noble yelled while making way to the waterfall again, “You’re not allowed to die dumb-ass!”
Go back under the waterfall. Adam, already weakened and without energy to fight spoke quickly the exact same. Over and over as they run thru the tunnel and cavern Adam repeated every instruction of direction. The shadows grew further and further away and by the time they thought to notice it no longer followed they had reached the surface.
'You let them go?'
The voice was deep, though casual, it held respect. They spoke in a tongue only known by these two.
The shadows collected to their master, returning to the originator of all darkness. The other stood at the island, touching the shattered crystal though knowing it now was nothing more than the body’s preserver.
The only way to save the body of an immortal is to either lock all its cells in their current state or to have the presence of ‘life’. Considering the latter was no longer, shattering the crystal meant destroying the body as well.
The other expected the previous to feel some empathy for its former host, but then again it was a prison more or less. The master of shadows crushed the fragment making it dust as it fell from their palm.
'I only wanted to play with them.'
The second sat on a bolder, awaiting another fragment as the shadow tentacle lifted and set it in their hand.
The other smiled noticing the tablet missing from the island.
'Even evading those attacks he still managed to grab the tablet.'
Adam continues to live up to expectations, however will he be able to make the right choice when the time comes? Will any of them?
'Then let the games begin.'