You will not see it marked on any map, nor will you find anyone willing to take you there should they happen to know its location, for though the promise of untold riches features within the many stories associated with this most mythical of places, so to do those of Abarath, the terrible creature said to stand guard over the subterranean labyrinth that goes by the name of Filey’s Motte.
During my travels I had heard countless stories of careless souls who in their earnest to find their fortune enter the Motte never to be heard from again. No doubt you grow weary of hearing such a tale rehashed and repeated ad infinitum, so allow me to present a different version of this popular yarn, one that I can recount with a degree of clarity untouched by the ravages of time.
It was 1964. I was twenty one, foolish and headstrong. My friend Albert and I had taken to the roads that summer, driving across the country in a bid to leave the pressures of university life far behind us. Albert was a bookish sort and he had taken it upon himself to mark out a series of places that he thought would be interesting to visit. We saw historic monuments, quaint English villages and countless other remnants of our country’s rich heritage. It was Filey’s Motte that was to be our last stop.
Albert explained how he had stumbled across an interesting legend whilst researching one of his more arcane texts earlier that term. It told of a subterranean labyrinth which at its heart contained wealth beyond all measure. Worryingly, the text also spoke of an unholy guardian that keeps a constant vigil over the labyrinth. Further research yielded several possible locations of the Motte but little more in the way of insight as to its content.
It was the final location on our list of places to visit that proved to be the most telling, for the villagers of (name omitted) came forth with an abundance of information regarding the Motte. The tongues in the village tavern once suitably loosened with ale began to wag and warn of the folly of our plan. Though none could point to the exact origin of the Motte, all in attendance agreed that it predated local records and several argued that the Saxons and the Celts were aware of the Motte. One gentleman who wished to remain anonymous said that the site was once used for Pagan worship and the beast that was contained within was imprisoned by a brotherhood of Warlocks whose lineage had long since faded to dust. With our interests piqued, we decided to head to the site come sunrise.
We searched the area which we believed contained Filey’s Motte for many hours before finally locating the hole in the ground which would grant us access. A quick inspection under torchlight revealed a narrow slipway which angled steeply downwards before disappearing into the gloom. It was clear that we would need to leave our bags behind and that this was not to be our exit point. Though I would not admit to it at the time I felt a choking sense of dread as I positioned myself above the entrance. Not wishing Albert to sense my unease I ushered him to follow before disappearing below ground.
The slipway was smooth and my descent rapid. I have no idea just how far the shaft burrowed beneath the surface but it took nearly a full minute for the passageway to level itself out. It was cold this far below ground, a cold that I have never felt before nor since. A quick recce of the area whilst I awaited Albert’s arrival revealed that I was stood in a small antechamber. The beginning of the labyrinth lay before me. Once Albert had acquainted himself with his surroundings (alas, his torch did not survive the descent intact,) we began our exploration.
Labyrinth fails to describe the splendid complexity of what lay within Filey’s Motte. I had often wondered why there was no map in existence that detailed the layout of the Motte, but upon seeing the maze for myself, with its countless passageways which were situated at various heights and seemed to twist and turn upon themselves in the most unnatural fashion, I began to understand why. To plot every possible route would take several lifetimes alone and with the beastly Abarath upon your trail, the inconceivable quickly becomes the impossible.
Yet the further we travelled the more curious our surroundings became. The tunnels which we navigated began to take on an organic look and at times I saw the walls begin to pulse. The air grew thick the deeper we ventured and a heavy odour that I can only describe as rotted meat hung all around. Little did we know that we were not only deep within the bowels of Filey’s Motte.
After countless hours of backtracking and dead ends it was with a heavy heart that I admitted our misfortune. We were lost. All sense of direction had long since been swallowed by the darkness and the disorientation provided by the Motte. Albert (God rest his soul,) took this admission badly and began to kick up an awful fuss and nothing I could say would placate him. Our surroundings seemed to react to his outburst and though I pleaded with him to cease he continued unabated, much to his misfortune.
I remarked earlier how organic our environment appeared and the reason for this was soon apparent. Albert and his outbreak had disturbed Abarath, and though all who enter the Motte hope not to encounter him, this is an impossibility. For Abarath is Filey’s Motte. Albert and I, like countless explorers before were crawling through the very innards of a monster. Our chamber rapidly began to fill with a noxious fluid that immediately proceeded to dissolve our shoes. Albert, oblivious to the peril that he was now in disappeared deeper into the darkness, alas before I could continue after him a large fleshy barrier sealed itself between us. That was the last that I heard of him, save for his hellish screams.
Realising the danger that I was now in I somehow plucked up the will to retrace my steps. I lost my flashlight at one point and fumbled in the dark for an ungodly amount of time. My palms were reduced to bone as were the soles of my feet due to the liquids that poured from the walls and ceiling, yet still I drove forwards. A fervour gripped me the likes of which I have never encountered since, simply put, it was the will to live that kept me moving.
Hours later, weary and bloodied I emerged from the Motte to find myself amongst the ruins of burial mound. It was here that I slept until I fortune granted that I be found.
I never did find the treasure of Filey’s Motte but I do believe I know what it entails. I have embraced every day of my life anew since my ill-fated journey to that place and though I lost a dear friend that day, I for one feel like the richest man on Earth.
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