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Of Madness and Treasure

December 29, 2012

A tattered scroll was unearthed in the bowels of a local museum today. It looks to be a report:

“My name is Xanthe of what is known to outsiders as the Amazon Nation. Nothing is dearer to me than my sisters. I would fight to the death for anyone of them but I hold [illegible] dearer than all the rest. Only she could have convinced me to go so far from camp without my weapons and armor. She wanted to show me something…

[missing section]

…with my back to a cliff wall that rose steeply above me with only a narrow hole that led to Gods know where made by Gods know what, a chunk of drift wood in my hand and my shieldmate dead at my feet. The numbers in front of me were overwhelming. Better to chance the hole and live to avenge her than die a pointless death now. My only hesitation was having to leave her still warm body. A noise off to the left gave me my chance and I took it. I dive into the hole having to kick and squirm to get my hips past the entrance, kicking at least one pursuer in the face as I squirm. Once the hips make it through, I fall head long into darkness. [illegible] can’t get through but I’m not waiting around to see what they plan to do next.

I hate tight spaces. Especially tight places that smell of musk, dirt and are too dark to see anything. Damn them and damn my fearful heart. Pounding away from fear of what was ahead, from anguish and self recrimination at leaving her behind. I’ll go mad I thought, only to hear my sword instructor’s platitude dance through my head “Madness always plays a role in any undertaking. It is the amount that leads to success or failure…minor-success, major-failure.” Here’s hoping for a minor amount and a way out without encountering whatever made these narrow tunnels, I thought.

Moving forward I scrape my knee on something sharp. Well isn’t that precious, I mutter. “Everything is a treasure depending on your point of view.” Says a feminine, raspy voice floating through the darkness. I lunge at the voice in hopes of taking the owner by surprise.

[missing section]

Pinned by the creature’s scaled body, I asked for death, heart pounding and longing to join her who I had lost. There was no movement for the longest time.  Long enough for my heart to resume a more normal pace. “I’m sorry for your loss. She was with honor.” Slowly the body slides off of my own and I realize that I have only minor injuries.

[missing section]

…to not bring you with your weapons as I knew that I could defeat you if necessary without them.” It was a hard thing to realize that the only enemy in the tunnels was my pride and fear.

[missing section]

By this time night had fallen, so while I waited at her back door, she quickly went and retrieve my shieldmate’s body [illegible]

[missing section]

So I keep her secret allowing her to live in harmony with [illegible]

Recorded [illegible] by Keke Thothis [illegible]

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