Havering and the Temple of Horrors: Part One
The Darigan Buzz stood alone, shrouded in mists, wondering
how he had come to this place. He hadn't believed the tales true. He had followed
the instructions of his faceless informant of his own free will, not concerned
with the outcome, simply bored with the monotony of his existence. And so it was
that Havering found himself on a small isle a dozen miles southwest of the coast
of Meridell. The island was nameless, floating amidst the endless blue expanse
of the Neopian Oceans, a seemingly empty expanse of swamps and rotted woodlands.
But he came to understand that it was not so empty as it first appeared.
He had come across a small village, desolate
and lifeless, but proof enough that there had, at some point, been life on the
nameless isle. The mist had closed in not long after he had discovered the uninhabited
settlement and he had been forced to stumble on blindly through the impenetrable
gloom. He didn't mind. He could feel his spirits rise as the gloom enveloped
him; limp and lifeless it clung to him like an insubstantial web, sending him
blindly this way and that, but never halting his steady progress towards the
center of the isle. It was here, he had been told, he would find the temple
and, he had been promised, a treasure of immeasurable worth.
Truly, he cared little for the value of the treasure,
or the wealth it might, or might not bring him. His only reason for venturing
to the nameless isle was to rid himself of the emptiness of his life, the daily
routine that left him feeling lifeless and subdued. His blood pumped furiously
through his veins as he pressed on, his excitement growing palpable, his insect
eyes slowly becoming accustomed to the mists.
At his side hung his only companion, a weapon
he had possessed since before he could remember. When he tried to think of life
before the weapon, he saw nothing but a black abyss, as if his memories had
been torn from him by some power beyond his reckoning. As with most other things,
he didn't care that he couldn't remember. His life had probably been even more
monotonous and grossly uninteresting before he had come into possession of the
sword. The crystal blade and intricately designed handle felt warm through the
scabbard as it brushed against his thick abdomen, a constant reminder of its
presence. Not that any physical reminder was truly necessary. The sword spoke
to him. Not spoke, exactly, but communicated telepathically, a sentient weapon
whose magic Havering could not even begin to fathom. He didn't care that he
didn't understand the sword, or how it had come into his possession. He only
cared that while it was hanging close at hand, he felt untouchable.
He had been lost in his thoughts for some time,
pressing forward through the murky depths of the nameless isle without paying
much attention to his surroundings, and so it was that he did not even notice
the presence of another until his sword screamed a warning in his mind. Within
a split second the sword was pulled free of its scabbard, a different sort of
scream issuing forth as the blade scraped against its casing.
A figure rushed forward from the mists brandishing
a strange hook blade, body riddled with scars, eyes burning with a hatred Havering
could not understand. How had he angered this creature so? He brought his sword
up effortlessly turning aside an arcing strike and spun on his heels to meet
the second attack. Though his agile assailant appeared badly wounded and was
covered in strange shredded rags, there was no mistaking it for a Techo. The
movements were fluid to a fault, the attacks made with unerring precision. Havering
met each attack with a perfectly placed parry, his own blade weaving an intricate
dance with his opponents. There was no doubt that they were evenly matched;
the battle could have worn on for hours had neither he nor the Techo grown tired.
But suddenly, without warning, the Techo stopped his furious assault, head tilting
peculiarly as if trying to listen to something beyond its normal range of hearing.
And then, as quickly as it had appeared, the Techo was gone, rushing off into
the gloom without ever looking back.
Havering straightened, sheathing his blade once
more. The crystal hissed -- and it seemed to Havering that the sound was one
of disappointment -- as he slid the blade back into its scabbard.
When he turned back toward the direction he had
been travelling, he could see a square of blackness deep within the gloom. It
took him only a few moments to realize that what he was seeing was an entrance
of some sort. A portal, perhaps leading into the very temple he had been sent
to find. Steeling himself he moved forward, thoughts of the journey that had
lead him to this point flashing through his mind.
He had begun his search in distant Brightvale,
where a faceless stranger had come to him, pleading with Havering to seek of
the nameless island and, more specifically, the temple hidden at the very center
of the isle. He had told the stranger that he didn't care about a stupid island
in the middle of nowhere and that he would not waste his time seeking out something
that probably didn't exist. The stranger had pleaded with him, begged in fact,
but Havering had steadfastly refused the undertaking.
And now, he stood at the center of the island
he had sworn he would never visit before a gaping portal that would lead into
a tomb he said he cared nothing about. He didn't know why he had come; he was
bored with his existence, that much was true, but something was compelling him
onward, something beyond his control. For but a brief moment, Havering was frightened.
Not for any danger he might be in, but for the lack of understanding he truly
had of his life. He had forgotten his childhood, he cared for nothing, his heart
was an empty place, black and cold, his eyes were lifeless, and his only friend
was a sword which might or might not have been a living creature of some sort.
He snapped himself for his thoughts angrily,
berating himself for reflection so much on things that did not matter. Steeling
himself, he moved towards the oppressive blackness that hovered just within
the gloom. As he neared the opening the rest of the structure began to take
form around him. Ancient pillars rose up from the swamp, crumbling and ravaged
by the harsh conditions on the isle, but impressive nonetheless. The pillars
themselves did not support any of the main structure, which was no more opening
into the earth. It appeared as if the main bulk of the temple was below the
island. An ancient subterranean fortress! Havering could feel his own excitement
welling from deep within, as well as the excitement of his sentient blade. The
sword seemingly understood the dangers of this haunting place and revelled in
He suppressed the sword's excitement, sickened
by its implications. The sword wanted to be used, wanted to destroy life; it
longed to be in his hands and made that fact known again and again. With the
sentient blade's thoughts pushed from his mind, Havering took a single hesitant
step into the tomb and then another and another until the murky gloom of the
outside world was replaced by the impenetrable darkness of the world within.
Havering continued forward, his feet seeming
to propel him of their own accord. His orb-like eyes scanned the encroaching
gloom, searching for side passageways or, more important and far more dangerous,
traps. He saw neither for a long while; the tunnel seemed to go on endlessly
in but one direction. Dust and spyder's webs were thick and stifling in the
passage, sticking irritably to his body, getting in his eyes and coating his
wings. And so he continued onward, travelling for what seemed like days but
could not have been more than a few hours, never turning, hoping against hope
for any change of scenery, wishing to be free of this place and yet not wanting
to go back after coming so far.
Then he heard the faint sound of footsteps far
ahead and, he noted to his surprise, around a corner! From the rapidity of the
footfalls Havering could tell that whatever lurked ahead was moving quickly,
most likely running. Then he saw the light, dancing along the hallway before
him. Whatever was approaching was carrying a torch. He moved forward hurriedly
toward the light then halted suddenly, noticing an irregularity in the floor
only a few paces down the hall. Had it not been for the torch light Havering
realized he would have fallen victim to the spike trap. He would have perished
in the middle of nowhere and not a single person in all of Neopia would have
He was torn once more from his thoughts as the
torchbearer rounded the corner in the tunnel and began running quickly towards
him. It was a young Kacheek, tiny and bedraggled looking, horror etched clearly
upon its countenance. The Kacheek rushed blindly along the tunnel, seemingly
unaware of the spike trap only a short distance ahead. Havering cried out a
warning but the Kacheek continued on, the horror on its childlike face twisting
its features peculiarly. There was a click as the trap was engaged, but Havering
was already moving, head down, racing towards the Kacheek. Three quick strides
and then he leapt into the air, pumping his wings fiercely, propelled forward
like a rocket. He saw the spikes rushing from the wall, heard the Kacheek's
whimpers of panic turn to a scream as the tiny Neopian realized too late what
To be continued...
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