I picked up a metal bar from a pile of scrap I found in a storage room at the end of a dimly light hallway leading away from the area my cell was in. It was the best I could do since my weapons had been taken from me. Holding it firmly at the ready, I explored another hallway leading further down from the storage room. The air smelled musty and there was a hint of humidity that clung to my skin. Something about this place felt familiar, as if I had been there before. I stopped, looking at the details of the dirt floor, the carefully carved out walls, the root entangled overhead, and the candle-lit lamps dotting the passageway.
As I tried to figure out where I was, I continued on down the hall until it split into two. I thought about it for a moment and decided to take my chances with the left and quickly made my way along the upward sloping passageway. Light flooded the area up ahead, so I slowed, not sure who would be waiting there for me. I adjusted the grip on my makeshift weapon and readied to defend myself if the need arose.
I snuck around the corner of the entrance and ducked behind a stack of crates nearby to give myself an opportunity to examine my surroundings. From what I could tell, I had emerged into a smaller area, used mostly for storage and blocked off by a few privacy screens. I could see a little bit beyond them, and to my surprise, there wasn’t a single person around. It was oddly quiet as well. Suspicious that this might be part of Quint and Danae’s plan for me, I considered turning around and finding another way out, but I wasn’t sure where else to go. I took in a deep breath and let it out, before cautiously emerging from my hiding place.
Enormous round contraptions lined the far wall, and even though they did not appear to be functioning, I could recall the rhythmic clacking sounds of the gears and crinkling of paper as maps and missives were bring printed at the stations next to the wheels. No one manned the machines today so they just sat there like giant mechanized statues. I crooked an eyebrow as I began to piece together the mystery of my location. In the unusual quiet, I pressed on passed the empty tables and stations nearby, always keeping to the shadows.
A set of stairs spread out before me and led to an archway above. I immediately recognized the threshold. I had come this way many times with Danae and the rest of the initiates during our training and missions. There was a way out and I was close. My spirits lifted and I searched for a guard, but there were none. With a tight grip on my metal bar, I made a run for it up the stairs and out into the Chantry of Secrets antechamber.
Of the many amazing contraptions the Creators had thought up and put to use, the Order of Whisper’s globe was by far the most astonishing. Depicting the many lands of our world, it slowly rotated above the far wall, illuminated by brightly lit lamps nearby. Bright blue circles dotted the globe in various sizes, connected to each other by tendrils of the same color. What they were, I couldn’t be certain. That was a detail reserved for only the highest of ranks.
Something began to nag at me in the back of my mind. I clenched my jaw, looking around, wondering if there was something I had missed. No, it wasn’t something I had missed. It was something I was told.
“…you will find what you’re looking for housed in secrets.”
I felt my eyes widen. Grenth had told me the answers I was looking for were housed in secrets. At the time, I didn’t think he meant literally, but now I realized that’s exactly what he meant. Deep in the depths of the Chantry of Secrets, the Order had a secured storage room containing tomes, scrolls, and artifacts collected over the years. I had never seen the room myself, but I had heard it referred to on many occasions. I let out an exhausted chuckle and shook my head. I was right where I needed to be to get the information to destroy the blade. All I needed to do was find this storage room.
However, the lack of Agents and activity in the Chantry disturbed me. I don’t think I could ever recall a time where I had seen the antechamber empty like this. I wondered if this had something to do with the plan Danae and Quint and set up. Maybe they had cleared out the area in anticipation. And there was still the question of who left the key. My need for answers won out over paranoia and I slunk off into the shadows in search of the storage room.
Recalling conversations that took place decades ago was much harder said than done and my memory was a little rusty. From what I could remember, there was mention of a pathway behind the globe and a series of corridors to traverse. I decided to at least start with the finding the start of the pathway. Keeping an eye on my surroundings, I slipped behind the globe and began my search.
There wasn’t much light to work with so I used my hands along the back wall. I felt for seams or anything out of the ordinary that would indicate a doorway. About halfway along, I bumped into a stack of crates in the shadows. Their presence back here struck me as odd so I pushed them over. They all must have been empty because they toppled over with ease, revealing a dark space behind them. I reached out and my hand went right into the space. A smile tugged at my lips. I had found exactly what I was looking for. I pulled a nearby lamp off of its hook but stopped. I needed to be back at the hall to oversee the blade and to check on my people. But without the information I needed, our chances of knowing exactly how to destroy Dhuum’s scythe was minimal. Quint assured me the others were fine, and although our trust had been broken, I had to believe they were. Holding the lamp ahead of me, I entered the secret passage.
I knew traversing the corridors was going to be tricky. This area had been built like a maze to help keep unwanted individuals out. The way was not widely known amongst the initiates, but there was a sort of funny poem that went around my training group and most of it stuck with me.
Being in the right place, at the right time, left you a lucky fish.
It was a strange poem, but the key to finding your way was in those words. I held the lamp out ahead of me, looking for any turn offs ahead. I had to walk for longer than I anticipated before I reached the first one. I had my choice of going left or right, so I turned right. Being in the right place.
I didn’t have to walk far before I encountered the next fork. I turned right again and kept going. At the right time. Excitement vibrated throughout my body. If I could find anything helpful in my mission to destroy the blade, I would consider this whole situation a win. To hell with Danae, Quint, and their plan. If I managed to get out of the Chantry alive with my information, I would make a point of having a lengthy discussion with both of them. Preferably with sharp objects.
At the next split in the path, I went left this time. Left you a lucky fish. However, I slowed my speed a little, cautious of who or what I may find at the end of this corridor. While I held out the lamp, I readied my metal bar weapon, just in case. The sound of voices ahead stopped me in my tracks. I immediately pressed myself against the corridor wall and listened. The tones sounded casual, almost friendly, though I couldn’t make out what all they were saying. There was a light ahead so I sat down my lamp on the ground next to the wall and snuck a little closer.
“So, I was sitting there, literally stuck between a rock and a hard place, waiting for that charr to finish his business!”
There was a moment of shared laughter and then a nasally and much higher pitched voice replied, “eh, well at least you weren’t on city detail. It’s atrocious how wasteful city dwellers can be. They just toss anything aside that they don’t deem useful. That’s how I found parts for my new invention.”
“New invention?” the first voice asked.
“Oh yes. I call it Rover. Robotic Orator Vocalization…uh, I haven’t figured out the rest,” the second voice confessed. “But it’s pretty amazing. It walks with me and makes sounds when people get too close. Helps me keep my personal space empty of personals.”
“Why didn’t you just get a dog?”
“Because then I don’t have to feed it or clean up after it, of course!”
From what I could tell, there were only two voices. I smiled to myself. My metal bar and I could handle two.