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Night Out in Glantri - Part V

by Kit Navarro

Sean McAllister was in total darkness.

Moments before he and his two Krondaharan companions stepped into one of the enchanted sarcophagus portals of the Bastet. The door had not been closed, and Sean hoped the portal's magic would teleport them to the same destination of the previous users-the mysterious gentleman in the bull-mask carrying with him a magically held Patric des Ximes, Sean's friend.

Sean removed the falcon-head mask that he was still wearing, and shadow images of his location began to emerge before his eyes.

Sean was in a graveyard-or so it seemed. Marble tombstones, gothic sculptures, dead trees, iron gates on ivy-covered mausoleums surrounded him and his two companions. The earth beneath their feet was unlevelled, as if freshly dug out, and a mist was creeping in around them. High above them the full moon was shining a sick pale light.

The only sound Sean could hear was the chattering of Orkajin Virayana's teeth. And as if that was not proof enough of the Krondaharan's horror, his frightened grip on Sean's shoulder made the message all the more clearer.

"W-where are we?" whispered Goibban Virayana, Sean's other companion.

"I don't know..." Sean said calmly and suspiciously.

Sean had never seen any cemetery like this before in or around Glantri City, and not even in Klantyre. The style of the graves was, Sean recognised, Boldavian. (Could the teleportation magic from the Bastet transport them that far?)

Sean took a step forward, but not too far, for the terrified Orkajin held him back. He stepped on something that looked like a human skull. Sean reached down for it-Orkajin's grip became tighter-and on a hunch, Sean closed his eyes, before touching the skull. What he felt was not rough bone, but soft velvet; the shape was not rounded, but angular, with three points, like a snout and two dog-like ears.

"Wh-what's that, Sean? Is th-th-th-th..." said Goibban.

Orkajin merely chattered his teeth.

Sean opened his eyes and the graveyard scene seemed suddenly unreal to him. He looked towards the light streaming from the moon-The moon is never full on Nytdain!-and blinked. And blinked again.

The light was coming from a globe of continual light hanging from the ceiling of a cellar.

"I'm s-s-scared!" cried Goibban.

Sean could see the ghostly images of tombstones and mausoleums overlapping casks and columns.

"Sean! I'm s-s-so scared!" cried Goibban, more panicky this time.

Pain shot up Sean's arm as Orkajin cut of its circulation with his grip.

"It's all an illusion..." Sean whispered to himself as he lifted the object he absently held in his hand. With a clear eye, he could see the jackal-head mask that Patric had been wearing.

Goibban shouted in abject terror at the skull and ran. Orkajin ran too in a direction hidden by the illusory trees and tombs.

With the two Krondaharans gone (Shouldn't Krondaharans be able to tell an illusion a mile away?), Sean looked around the emerging images of reality around him. He was probably in the wine cellar of the Bastet. The gargoyle statue behind him turned out to be the sarcophagus he had entered from.

With the terrifying phantasms dispelled from Sean's eyes, another scene-all too real-played before him a few feet away.

The mysterious gentleman, now with his mask off, was leaning over a swooned Patric in an intimate embrace. The man, Boldavian by his striking features, was clutching the handsome youth's smooth, pale neck. With the flick of a tongue and the glint of a sharp tooth, the Boldavian had his face buried in his victim's neck in a deep and unholy kiss.

Emotions-rage, horror, jealousy, love-welled up in Sean, as he lifted an arm and began reciting some destructive incantation he was only half-consciously casting.

But something emerged from the wine barrels in front of him.

It was a small boy.

Sean stood frozen, his sorcery dissipating before he could complete it. A deep-rooted phobia flooded up in him.

The boy had a devilish grin. He took one step towards the frozen Sean.

Sean fell backwards and screamed.

He felt the boy's small body clamber up on top of him. Sean tried to resist but could not-pinned down by his own fear rather than his attacker's trifling weight.

Before the boy's face came to view, Sean shut his eyes tight. Yet in his mind's eye, another boyish face came to view, associate with memories of pain and torture and torment.

Sean screamed.

He felt two tiny pricks pierce his neck before he everything went dark.