BLACK HOLLOW 7.3 A Fate Worse Than Death

The Lord Haryk leaned against the cloaked statue, the statue of the fated figure from legend.  A series of concussive strikes from the dragons outside, sent parts of the mortar down around him.  He didn’t bat an eyelash, partly because his eyes were closed at the moment.  He was done, tired of all the magic, and the puzzles, symbolism and legends written on walls from people long dead .

Fate he thought grumpily.  Fate is dying here without anything to shoot.  Mostly for his own amusement, he took just a quick moment to peek over at Tahg and Andril. Both of them were still trying to make out what to do. As if all this were just some thought experiment and not a temple being torn apart by bloodthirsty dragons.

He watched them talking, thinking, figuring, when they glanced over at him and froze. He thought it was rather like watching them turn into statues too.  Their eyes went wide, and they just seemed to freeze in place.

Mouths hanging open stupidly, Andril and Tahg didn’t say a word, but Haryk’s skin tingled. There’s that feeling again, he moaned inwardly.  What could it possibly be now? Their eyes stayed wide and became fixated on him. The answer was no where on their faces.

Haryk was just about to crack up over their anxiety over dying–he himself had accepted death many times, he just never figured he would be so hungry when it came–when he saw that they weren’t anxious. They looked scared.

They both simultaneously backed up as though they had each been bitten by a snake. His reflexes kicked in and he looked to the statue to his left, then to his right, and then back and forth quickly.  Their blank eyes stared out into the dark chamber. He saw nothing there, so he looked back at the cloaked statue behind him and saw that it’s eyes were now glowing deep and dark green. This really pissed him off because if he was going out, he wanted it to be by dragon breath, not some evil-ass creepy statue!

Quickly, he sprang from his posture and pointed his weapons at the figure behind him. It’s stone mouth opened with a creak. It’s ancient voice spoke clear and somber.

The first fate’s coming seals the path.

In crown and shadow bearing Wrath.

The first fate’s coming begins it all.

And mankinds’ time will surely fall.

“What in the dragon scales is that supposed to mean, you mother fucking ancient shit talking statue? I mean,” but Haryk stopped cold.  Something was happening to this statue, and something was happening to the other three as well. He wasn’t sure exactly what his eyes were seeing, but he knew that they were changing.

He thought of snow melting from the mountain peaks on the taller isles of dread, only faster he thought. Each of the statues, like snow or maybe mud, were melting not into a puddle, but into some new shape. For Haryk, he knew what the statue in front of him was turning into, he just couldn’t bring himself to think it. It unsettled him. This was unnatural. A soldier wasn’t supposed to be dealt these types of blows. He stood there, screaming, shouting, pointing his pistol and the longer weapon he had found. His fingers quivered on the triggers.  “Who the fuck are you?!! What the fuck do you want with me??!!”

Outside, the temple quaked and another massive section of stone fell behind them. The temple wasn’t going to hold much longer. Behind him stood Andril and Tahg.  He couldn’t see what either was doing, and he knew that they were on their own now, just as he was.  This one, this one is mine!

Because it was.  For the statue had transformed itself, right before his eyes into an exact duplicate of him, and not just a little bit.  The figure before him now was his exact likeness. His hair, his beard. His weapons, the blood splattered stains on his armor.  It was him. “Get the fuck away from me you bastard!” He screamed.

“Get the fuck away from me you bastard!” It screamed too.

Haryk sweated and so did his twin. My twin he thought wildly. Fuck that! He’s going to be a dead twin.

Around and around the two paced. And then they fired, simultaneously.


Andril watched Haryk’s battle  and realized the significance of this chamber in that instant.  It’s an entry puzzle! It’s a blasted entry puzzle. Defeat the darker parts of yourself, and you may enter. Fail to do so and you may not. 

“What is this place?”

His logical mind was running rampart. He tried to take all this in, knowing it was essential that someone would. Whatever is going on here, this is deep magic. Ancient magic. This is what he felt in Abraxas’ study, in his laboratory. This had to be thought about. This had to be thought about carefully…. 

Then the statue nearest to him began to look as though it too were melting.  A voice from it’s rocky lips spoke.

The second fate will follow then

Bearing pain from hurt renewed again.

What was can now not ever be

Time will seal all of destiny.

As the figure became his twin also, Andril lost sight of Haryk and Tahg. In mere seconds, his robed dobbleganger stood before him. Dressed and equipped in exactly every detail, the two were identical in all respects.  His face was blank, as he imagined his own face was too. He’s even got my face.

“You’re an old bastard, you know that?” Said the first Andril.

“Haryk’s right old boy, you’ve got knobbly legs.” Said the second, laughing delightedly.

Somewhere from aside him Andril heard a third somber voice. But he couldn’t tell what it said. He was eyeing his enemy carefully. Waiting with a counter spell. It became obvious quickly that the other Andril was too.

“Who is the darker of us?” Asked the Second Andril in a hoarse voice.

“You are!” shouted the first.

“No, it’s you!” shouted the second.

“Then, I cast fire shield!” shouted the first.

“I cast magic missile up your old ass, Bookworm!” shouted the second.



One thought on “BLACK HOLLOW 7.3 A Fate Worse Than Death

  1. This is of course all for drama! The party made swift work of their opposites. I gave them the exact same stats with only 10 hp less. It didn’t matter, Chris, Andrew and Tavish took them out in less than 2 rounds! Who won? The darker or the lighter? Well, I can’t say!


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