Kraitkin #3 – Origins of Legends

Tracking the krait through the closed tunnel was frustrating for his apprentice. They were easy enough to follow; they made very little effort to conceal their tracks, confident that any local predator was either too weak to challenge the group or would be cowed by the prophet. On the other hand, they spread out more than out in the relatively open water, and since there was next to no cover in the rock tunnel, they had to stay a long way back, barely able to see the last of the rearguard. There seemed to be no other exits or entrances to the tunnel system, so while it winded its way, there was rarely any doubt as to the direction to go. As they swam painfully slowly through the tunnel, Marazan could not drag his thoughts away from the guard captain. Something about the brute disturbed him, pulled at some forgotten memory.

The tunnel terminated in a large cavernous chamber; colourful plants and fish skittered about, providing a curious lighting to the scene, with the only sunlight originating from a single hole in the very top of the chamber. The rock formations on the inside reminded Marazan of the center of a geode, but without the crystalline beauty. The chamber was easily large for the whole procession to gather in the middle, leaving the jagged edges free of guards. His protégé seemed to see none of that, and Marazan could see why; in the center of the chamber, a jet-black monolith, far bigger than any living creature in the cavern, had been erected, the trademark scraps of krait ‘architecture’ surrounding its base. Clearly, the prophets had been here before. The prophet was carefully shepherded  into the center of the chamber, next to the monolith. With their destination reached, the krait procession, even the priesthood, seemed less reverential towards the prophet. As the priests began a series of krait dances and songs, filling the chamber with the sounds of their eerie voices, the guards began their own ceremony. The captain was at the center of a ring of supplicating soldiers, as the curious blue eyes that had attracted Marazan’s attention grew even brighter, shining like beacons in the dark chamber. The largos had fared better than most oceanic races when the sea dragon awoke, an accomplishment attributed to the wariness of their people and strength of the Tethyos houses. And Marazan suspected that being in this chamber ignored both of those advantages. There was some power at work here, beyond that of the krait priests and their aging prophet. The priests, all except one, began chanting and dancing around the krait altar, the harmonics of the chanting and the serpentine quality of their movements making for an entrancing display. The largest and eldest of the priests retrieved an object from the scrap around the monolith. A trident of some woodlike material, bound by vines and thorns, untouched by time and the seawater that had ravaged the items around it. A pulsing red crystal shard sat in its crown, displaying the power of its previous owner. Marazan had seen such a shard before; a shard of the Bloodstone, an ancient container of enormous power.

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