He’d traveled far from the land of his fathers, and though loath to admit it by voice, he had not witnessed much by deed or rumor to bear up the notion that men were made better in their rule or treatment of other men by the sight of beautiful lands and skies– But then he could say little for their improvement close crowded withdrawal of all comforts and tender human graces within the walls of the mountain castle where the walls seemed to sweat the congealed tears of every miserable end they’d borne mute witness to in the days of the lotus.
He was roused from this meditation by the shout of a Wazri, quickly stifled by his compatriot with a swift slashing gesture of his thick muffled hand. Hark– the passage above, one of the doors is undone, if my ears do not lie…ah what is that? Xotl placed his ear to the marble floor, and though he struggled to hear it, with ears used to the free motion of horses and whirling prairie devils, he felt the bounding tread of some immense animal, carrying all the hooves and snorting fire of hell with it. Form a stout line with your backs to the pillar men, and don’t waver with those lances no matter what comes down that hall he shouted, rising to a flat platform the slightly overlooked the hall where they’d been sitting moments before.
The Seer’s fastness shut its shining doors on Xotl’s attack, blocking them within its square warrens. The three Wazri bounders held their stout claw braided pikes in a ready crouch, but they shook in their padded armor like with an ague of ancient plagues released from long sealed bottles. Xotl pried at the edges of the doors, he threw his granite trained muscles into the quartz barriers, hammering with the strength of a maddened crew at a sealed bulkhead.
Finally sinking to the floor , he found the last fight left was keep his head and eyeline from sinking to his bosom . he’d seen men allow their nerve to leak from their navels long before any enemy with sword or bow claimed them. He composed himself as he rested, counting the strange goldwork and gilt whorls that traced the remnants of a strange and ascetic kingdom that the Silver Seers transposed for their own obscure uses .
The devotion of the former inhabitants and presumed builders of the Seer’s fortress were seeming devotees of both refined reposes amid gardens and the most barbaric torments inflicted on a captured nobles of another tribe or band of tribes that the absconded builders once warred against.
These halls were built over something much older, crooned the Seer’s disembodied voice. The curtains pulsed in glowing colors, he and the Wazri felt less as a band of desperadoes in a trap than defenders on a lone redoubt, with howling peaks on one side and plummets to the far rocks below to the other. Over it all brooded the strange and evil stones from which the curtains, the narrow shelves and the grisly bowls and candleholders ran with a light that belonged in skies reddened like blood mad eyes.