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Crux, Cordis
Beyond the Veil Guild Seal
Series Beyond the Veil by Enodoc
Chapter Five
Writer Enodoc(Talk)
Chapter Chronology
Previous Mixed Signals
Next Interlude – Meanwhile, at the Camp
Mixed Signals Chapter Chronology Interlude – Meanwhile, at the Camp

Crux, Cordis is the fifth chapter of Beyond the Veil by Enodoc.

Crux, CordisEdit

Wooo-oooo! The flit switch reappeared above their heads. It was red again, and the King noticed the circular aura around it was almost complete.
"This should do it!" he said, excitedly. He zapped the switch with another bolt of lightning. It flew down between them, bowled Sam over, and disappeared into a small hole above a door in the cliff face. There was a rumbling, and sand and bits of muck fell out of the cliff. The door slowly slid open.

The King and Melisi exchanged glances, and made their way inside.
"The Crux..." commented the King.
"Sorry? What?" asked Melisi.
"The Crux. It appears to be the name of this cave. You know, like the one further up the gorge is called The Enigma."
"Is it? Oh, okay."
The King didn't mind her dismissiveness. He didn't want to have to try to explain to her how the names of places just seemed to come to him, as though a label appeared before his very eyes.
"We should be wary. A passage like this is bound to contain puzzles and challenges to test our resolve."
The passage curved away from them, the light within dwindling with every step they took. Melisi found an old torch bracket hanging on the wall, but its contents had long since rotted away.
"I don't mind the dark, but perhaps a bit of light might make it easier going. Do you have any suggestions, Sire?" she said, as she inspected the bracket for any remnants of a torch.
"Well, I haven't done it before, but we could try this..." answered the King, uncertainly. He held out his hand, palm up, and focused on light.
"Oooh!" squealed Melisi, as a small fireball appeared. "I thought you could just do lightning!"
"This one does lightning," said the King, waving his other hand, "And this one does fireballs." He carefully tossed the small ball of fire in the air, and caught it again. "I've got a few more, as well."

They continued onwards through the tunnel, until they came to a circular room.
"It doesn't look like anyone's been here for centuries," marvelled Melisi.
The wall was cracked in places, and a large stone door stood resolutely in the way of progress. Sam pottered around the room, sniffing at the door and the unlit braziers that surrounded it. Deciding there was nothing more useful he could do, he made his way to the middle of the room and sat on a small, round platform. One of the braziers suddenly burst to life.
Woof! he said.
The King looked over and saw the lit brazier. Sam moved off the platform and the fire went out.
"Is this one of those puzzles?" asked Melisi.
"It does appear to be," replied the King, as he jumped on and off the platform, watching the same brazier light up and go out each time. Satisfied that he knew what was needed, the King jumped off the platform and threw a fireball at the brazier. This time, the container remained alight.

The King stood on the platform again, and another brazier burst to life, shortly followed by another. He stepped off, and both were extinguished. The King fired flames at the left-hand of the two braziers, and suddenly everything went dark.
"Oh. That can't be right," he said to himself. He lit the first brazier again, and stepped on the platform. The two braziers lit up again; first one on the right, then one on the left. He stepped off, and both went out.
"Perhaps the order is important," suggested Melisi.
"Good idea." The King fired at the right-hand brazier, which sprung instantly to life.
"That seemed to work," she said. "Now try the other one."
The King fired at the left-hand brazier again, and was pleased to see it stay lit.
"Well done," he commended. "It appears we've got the hang of this one."
He jumped on the platform again, and paid close attention to the order in which the next three braziers lit up, before relighting them in the same order.

After successfully lighting the last four braziers, the three heard a low rumbling sound. The ancient door at the end of the room slid slowly open, revealing another long, dark passage. At the same time, bits of sand and grit started to fall out of the ceiling.

CRASH!

A bit of the ceiling also decided to fall out of the ceiling. A cloud of dust spiralled up into the air.

"Is everyone alright?" shouted the King, into the gloom.
"I... I think so..." Melisi stammered.
Ruff! barked Sam.

They picked their way over to the hole that had been made in the top of the wall, and were surprised to see what appeared to be a staircase circling around the outside of the room. The King peered through the newly-opened door, but there was no sign of the staircase beyond it.
"That appears to be a separate section of the cave," said Melisi, in wonderment. "I wonder where that goes."
"I don't think we'll be able to find out, though," the King told her. "I can't fit through that hole." He moved towards the door.
Melisi turned to follow, then hesitated.
"Um, Your Majesty," she started, uncertainly, "Um, I think... I think I may be able to fit through there."
"Oh no, I couldn't allow you to go off through there by yourself."
"But there may be something important in there, Sire."
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"Please, Your Majesty. I'm sure I can do this."
"Well..." The King didn't want to damage her self-confidence, after having helped to build it up in the first place. But he didn't want to send her off into a potentially dangerous dungeon where he had no way of helping her if something went wrong.
"Alright then," he said, finally. "But you must take Sam with you."
"Thank you, Your Majesty," she beamed. "I won't let you down."

The King helped the young Auroran woman up into the hole in the wall.
"What can you see?" he asked.
"Not a lot," she called back to him. "The passage downwards is blocked off by rubble, while upwards, it's too dark to see."
The King looked around. "Hold on," he shouted. He rummaged through his supplies and withdrew a fresh torch. Lighting it with his gauntlet, he handed it through the hole in the wall. "How's that?"
"Much better, thank you," she replied.
"Right then. Good luck, and see you soon!" the King said, then passed his trusted companion up to her.
"Keep her safe, boy," he whispered into the dog's ear.
Sam licked his master's face, showing he understood.

A Split in the Tale Edit

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"Good luck, and see you soon." I hoped that wasn't the last thing I ever said to her. I was none too happy about the idea of losing sight of her into some Skorm-forsaken passageway. But I didn't want her to feel like she was being towed along for the ride, without any say in the matter. I couldn't deny she was right about there possibly being something important in there. And this would maybe give her the opportunity to try out what she'd learned so far, with Sam to protect her if things got too hairy. She definitely projected an air of confidence in everything she set out to do, but there was still that hesitation over commitment that concerned me. Hoping that the two corridors came together again not far away, I hurried on through the door.

The King hurried through the door, conjuring another fireball in his palm as the light of the circular chamber disappeared behind him. The resolutely flat and linear path ahead made it clear that the two corridors would not be coming together again any time soon.
He thought he heard the sound of gunshots somewhere above him, but the stone was too thick for anything to be easily distinguished.
"I hope she's alright up there," he said to himself.
"Don't worry, Sir. I'm sure she will be," came a comforting voice from nowhere.
The King jumped so high he almost hit his head on the ceiling.
"Skorm's teeth, Jasper," swore the King.
"Sorry, Sir!" exclaimed the valet, cheerily.

"Now this looks more interesting," commented the King, a bit further down the passageway. The area was dimly lit by a shaft of light coming in through a hole high up in the side wall.
"What do you see, Sir?" asked Jasper.
"The way is blocked by a cascade of sand," replied the King, as he removed his Shock Gauntlet. "Jasper, Force Gauntlet, please."
"Right away, Sir."
The King placed his gauntlet on the Guild Seal. It had changed considerably since he had first received it over a year ago. Then, it was merely a brown glove with a simple motif of the Guild Seal on the back. Now, it was much more intricate, with an electric blue design and a silver coil adorning the arm. There was a flash of light, and the gauntlet was replaced by another, the electric blue and silver giving way to a metallic green and bronze. The gauntlet hummed with a mystical force as the King slipped it on his wrist.

I wasn't entirely sure what would happen if I tried to Force Push sand. Luckily, it did pretty much what I hoped. The cascade of sand that was in front of me parted around the pulse created by the gauntlet, and I was able to see through it to the other side. Unfortunately, all that was there was a pair of solid sandstone blocks which filled the corridor. They wouldn't be shifted by a Force Push. I decided to investigate the area further.

The sand itself was pouring in through a small slot in the ceiling, and disappearing through a much larger hole in the floor.
"It's no good, Jasper. The way ahead is blocked, and even without that I'd likely end up being caught by the cascade and disappearing into the bowels of the earth." He looked around a bit more, and headed towards the shaft of light. He studied the hole high up in the wall.
"Wait..."
"Sir?"

I had assumed that the hole and the resulting shaft of light were due to the deterioration of the cave over time, but on closer inspection, the hole was too round to have formed naturally. I ran over to the point where the light hit the wall. Sure enough, it also appeared too measured to be natural. Sand filled a groove located within a small recess sculpted into the rock. I wondered if that, too, was perhaps more than just a result of the rocks eroding.

"The light in here appears to be directed at something specific!" answered the King, excitedly. "There's a small recess in the wall," he traced out an angle with his hands, "and it's angled right above the cascade."
To get a better idea of what was in the semi-darkness, the King threw his fireball at the top of the cascade. He saw another recess in the ceiling, and noticed a small glass object, about the size and shape of a flit switch, resting inside it. The fireball hit it straight on.

The glass ball glowed, and a low rumble came from the stone blocks beyond the cascade of sand. Fire momentarily spouted from the ball, towards the hole in the wall.

Then there was silence.
"It seems that setting that glass ball up there on fire is the way to kick this whole thing off."

Keen to test his theory, he fired a second fireball. Again, the blocks rumbled and fire shot towards the hole.
"And I guess sustaining it has something to do with the beam of light and this recess in the wall."

I looked again at the sand-filled groove residing in the recess, itself angled right towards the glass ball. If there was a mirror there, the light would reflect off and hit the ball. Unfortunately, I had an abundance of sand, but a considerable lack of glass. Remembering that the ball had spouted fire, I contemplated the things I could do with my Fireball Gauntlet. Sir Walter once told me that sand was the main ingredient of glass, melted down with a bunch of other things and mixed together. Since I didn't have any of the necessary other things, I hoped that understanding the spirit of the problem would be enough to produce the solution.

The King placed his hands either side of the recess, and focused hard on what he was trying to do. A small Force bubble appeared around it, enclosing it in an airlock. Flames then spread around the bubble, heating up the sand within the groove. Unsure how long he needed, the King maintained the magical crucible for quite a while before he decided to see what had happened.

Cautiously removing his hands, he peered into the recess. The groove was now filled with a small sheet of glass.
"It worked, Jasper!" he exclaimed, excitedly.
"Good-o, Sir," said the valet. He paused. "What did?"
"I heated up the sand, and it made a pane of glass!"

The King removed the glass from the groove, and carefully laid it down in the recess. It sparkled in the light, and reflected the beam towards the ceiling. The glass ball glowed brightly, and flames shot out of it once more, straight through the hole in the wall. Behind the cascade of sand, the stone blocks rumbled to life.

The way forward was open, but I still couldn't get to it due to the torrent of sand blocking the way. Maybe it was my imagination, but It seemed to have gotten even more intense now the passage was unblocked behind it, as though to ensure I wouldn't be able to get any further. I couldn't see anything else in the room that may stop the flow, so I concluded the mechanism for stopping it must lie in a different part of the cave, although not somewhere I had already been. I hoped maybe Melisi would find it.

A little while later, as the King was deciding whether he should go to look for Melisi and Sam, he noticed the intensity of the torrent of sand drop. As he went over to investigate, the cascade reduced to a trickle, then ceased all together.
"Looks like she's done it!" he thought.

It may just have given up by itself, of course, but the way these puzzles usually work, I thought that was unlikely. Regardless, I didn't want to hang around to see if it started up again. I was able to jump across the gap the sand had been disappearing into and carry on into the cave. Further ahead, I came to a small chamber off to the side of the main corridor. I peered into the darkness, and sent a fireball in afterwards for good measure. There appeared to be nothing in there, however. Nothing dangerous, anyway. What there was, was a bunch of bookcases and a chest. I checked over the bookcases, then headed for the chest.

The King always enjoyed finding chests, and seeing what random items people from long ago had decided to put in them. He eagerly gripped the lid and threw it open.

Ah, how lovely. Something for the night-time and an Auroran chest tattoo design. He wondered whether someone was trying to insinuate something, or whether it was just innocently random. Throwing the items into his Guild Seal – it really was a rather useful delivery system – he returned to the corridor.

A red glow greeted him from in front a door. It illuminated an odd sight.

Ahead, the King could see what looked a slab of raw meat hanging from the ceiling. He cautiously removed his Force Gauntlet, and whispered into the Guild Seal.
"Jasper. Blades Gauntlet please."
A gauntlet with a bright orange design and gold coil appeared. "Thanks," he said, putting it on.

The King extended his hand forward, slowly. Quietly, a single, magical blade whipped out from his palm and struck the flit switch. It chimed and disappeared into its receptacle. The door crunched open. A strong stench greeted the King as he edged further into the chamber. He could see them, clustered around fires that were dotted all around the cavern. Hobbes.

Disgusting creatures, they always turn up in the strangest and most unlikely of places. How in Avo's name had they got into a cave system that had been sealed for hundreds of years? The chamber they were camped in seemed to be the large central chamber of the cave system. These caves were always the same. A bunch of side passages leading to a large central chamber. A bit of a difference in this one was that half of the chamber didn't have a floor.

Beyond the hobbe camp, the chamber gave way to an abyss. However, the King had to deal with the inhabitants before he could work out how to get across it. He crept towards a group of hobbes, quietly summoning a volley of magical blades as he went. Turning his hand towards the creatures, he let the volley loose. Eight hobbes were impaled instantly. Their death cries alerted the rest of the hobbes in the chamber.

The King whipped out his rifle, took aim, and fired. The force of the shot sent the hobbe flying through the air and into the abyss. The hobbe next to it, armed with some sort of firearm, let off a shot in response. Unfortunately for the hobbe, the recoil from the gun sent him flying into the abyss as well. More hobbes were closing in from the King's other side. Drawing his sword, he rushed at the hobbes, slicing through them like butter.

He soon realised he was being surrounded. Calling on the power of his two gauntlets, the King wove their magic together to create Flaming Blades. A wall of fire erupted as he fired them off, burning the closest hobbes to cinders. All around him, hobbes were impaled by the blades, which then ignited, reducing their hosts to ash.

The good thing about burnt hobbes is that those blasted summoners with the green staffs can't resurrect them as hollow hobbes. Without one of their sources of power, it was much easier to finish off the summoners in the group. They don't much like getting impaled either, although I knew from previous experience that a concentrated volley of blades was required to defeat each one.

When the last hobbe had fallen, the King surveyed the cavern. The chasm in the back half of the chamber stretched the whole way from the left to the right wall, and was over ten metres wide. It was impossible to tell how deep it was. A narrow ledge led from where the King stood down the side of the chasm. Carefully, the King edged along it. The ledge ended at a small alcove cut into the rock wall beside it. Within sat an ornate mechanism, and a stone tablet covered in words he did not understand. There was one he recognised; Crux, the name of the cave he was in. A lot of the tablet had worn away, but he also noticed the word Cordis. He wondered whether they were important.

I was sure that the mechanism was what I was looking for. It bore a number of similarities with other Auroran constructs, like the archways and ornate gears that decorated some of the other ruins. Maybe they aren't all decorative? Regardless, aside from the stone tablet, there was nothing in the alcove that seemed to tell me how to actually use the mechanism, as it had no buttons or levers. Crux, Cordis. I thought if Melisi were there, she may be able to decipher the tablet; she always seemed to come through when something unexpected turned up, and I trusted her to make the best of it if she tried.

Then I heard a scream.

"I won't let you down." I wanted to prove to him that I could actually do something useful, that I wasn't just being a burden on this whole expedition. But I had no idea whether there actually was anything important in there or not. I'm glad he allowed me to take Sam; when he actually agreed to let me go I got very scared about going through that hole in the wall by myself. Me and the King's dog, adventuring. I never thought I'd become an adventurer, not after I arrived at the Temple. I hoped that what I had learnt so far meant that I was prepared for whatever lay further into the cave. I decided there was no point in hanging around, so we hastened up the stairs away from the circular room.

Melisi and Sam hastened up the stairs, but soon came to a halt. Another door was blocking their way. A small flit switch hummed to them from above the door.
"Oh, it's another one of those things! I hope it doesn't need Will power."
The flit switch glowed yellow, and Sam growled at it.
"Well, here goes!" she aimed her pistol at the switch, and fired. The shot hit home, and the orb flew behind them, down the stairs.
"Where did it...?" she started, as Sam dashed past her. She carefully followed, and saw Sam pointing at the switch ahead. As she took aim again, she noticed the aura around the switch shrinking, like a clock running backwards. The glow disappeared completely just before she fired. The switch clunked, and turned grey. Melisi watched, confused, as the switch returned to where it had started, and began to glow yellow again.
"What's going on here?" she wondered aloud.

I'd never seen a flit switch before that one we found outside. I decided to pay more attention to what happened when I shot it. It sparkled brightly, then flew back down the stairs. When it came to rest, I studied it, and saw the circular glow around it decrease again. When it had depleted, the switch moved back to its starting position. It was clear that it was showing some sort of countdown. I would have to keep shooting at it quickly to make sure I didn't run out of time again.

Melisi studied the switch for a few moments, then positioned herself part-way down the stairs. She started the process again, and followed the switch closely. As she had planned, it came to rest just beside her. Whipping her pistol around, she shot the switch again, and it flew further down the stairs. Prepared this time, the lithe Auroran chased it around the staircase, swiftly firing off a shot every time it came to rest. She finally chased it back to the top, where one last shot sent it into a receptacle. Sam growled.

Melisi held her pistol and torch level as the large stone door rolled open. A strange, bug-like creature, a bit bigger than Sam, scuttled out from the opening.
"Rockmite! Keep back, Sam!" warned Melisi.

I'd seen rockmites before, when I was younger. They don't hang around in the city, but there's lots in the rocky canyons and caves surrounding Shifting Sands, although you don't see them very often. They're not very harmful at a distance, but if they get too close, they'd have your face off. This one, luckily, was disoriented by having its domain disturbed for the first time in years. I was able to kill it in a couple of shots before it could do any damage.

Sam and Melisi continued down the passage. Rockmites occasionally popped out of the tunnel walls, and were swiftly dealt with by Melisi. Ahead, behind the last of the rockmites, they could see a warm glow. Once or twice, it flickered away to nothing, before reappearing just as bright as before. The final rockmite seemed to be more adept than those that came before it, and was using its front claws to block Melisi's pistol fire.
"This isn't good, Sam," she groaned, firing again.
Sam was growling at the creature, but when Melisi spoke, he noticed the fear in her voice. Remembering his promise to the King, he charged headlong down the corridor towards their assailant. Having been focused entirely on defending itself from the fury of the human that had destroyed its colony, the rockmite was caught off guard. Sam smashed straight into it, and it rolled away towards the glow.
"Well done, boy!" applauded Melisi.
Sam wagged his tail happily, and the pair raced down the corridor after the dazed rockmite.
"Oh my..." said Melisi, awestruck.

I was fully expecting to have to finish off the rockmite, but it turned out not to be necessary. The area ahead was bathed in a warm glow that was being given off by a network of fire spouts. My brilliant new friend had just propelled the rockmite right into the heart of them, and it had been reduced to ash. I stood, awestruck for a moment, looking at the fires which all seemed to originate from one glass ball embedded in the floor. Just beyond it, sand was pouring out of holes in the walls and into a crack in the floor. Then, my heart dropped, as I noticed two stone blocks, jammed into the passageway. There was no way we would be able to get past them.

Melisi stood still, then slumped to the floor. Sam came running over, concern showing on his face.
"Looks like this is it," she told him. "We can't get through that. If we even found a way to shift those blocks, those fires would have both of us, just like that rockmite, before we even reached them."

No sooner had she spoken, the glass ball from which the flames emanated began to glow. Moments later, all the fires went out.

The Auroran stared at the dog. Sam licked her face.
"Seems like someone wants us to get through after all!" she cheered, excitedly. She jumped up and looked around the room, placing the torch in a bracket on the wall for safe-keeping.
Woof! barked Sam.
"What is it boy?"
Sam was pointing towards a ledge high above the room. On it, Melisi could just make out the glow of a flit switch. It was blue.
"Well done, boy!" she commended, drawing her pistol.

Melisi aimed at the glowing orb and fired. The shot hit the top of the switch.
Wooo-oooo! it said.
"Oh," sighed Melisi, sadly. "It didn't work."
She thought hard about the flit switch they had seen earlier, outside.

I remembered that the King used his Will on the switch to start with, then kicked it, then I shot it, and he used Will again at the end. The one that I found in the stairwell though just had to be shot a few times. How did he know what to do? What was the difference between them? I thought about it for a while. When the one in the stairwell timed out, it went grey and I couldn't shoot it. This one was blue and I couldn't shoot it either...

"That's it!" she exclaimed. "I can only shoot them when they glow yellow! The colour of the glow indicates what needs to be done!"
Ruff! agreed Sam, wagging his tail.
"Blue... that means..." her face fell again. "Oh, that means I need to be standing next to it to hit it!" she cried. "However am I going to get up there?"

The ledge was more than three times as high as Melisi was tall; Melisi herself was almost as tall as the King. She looked around the room, trying to see if there was any other way to get up there. Her gaze landed on a lower ledge, on the opposite side of the chamber, which only came up to her shoulder height. With a bit of a run-up, she managed to hop nimbly to the ledge.

Sam cocked his head at her.
"Don't tell the King about this," she told him. Her expression was austere, not as fragile as it had looked earlier, when they were facing the rockmites.
Uff, he said, quietly.
Her face brightened, but still seemed firm. "There's a good boy."

Melisi sprang up to another nearby ledge, where a rope was tied to the wall. She studied the ledge. An old sword lay nearby.

A sword. I couldn't quite believe the cliche that had just presented itself before me. I'm not well versed in dungeon puzzles, but even I'd have been able to guess what to do with a tied rope. It was lucky the sword was there, however, as I didn't have one with me. It had been years since I had last held a sword. Having just bounded half way up the wall, I now had to handle a sword in front of the King's dog. He'd be able to recognise that I'd done that before as well. I knew it had to be done, though. The King was counting on me to explore the full extent of this section of the cave, and I wasn't going to let him down.

Melisi swung the sword, and cut cleanly through the rope. It whizzed upwards into the distance, and something dropped down from the other end of it.

"What, really?" said Melisi, exasperated. In front of her, hanging between her ledge and the flit switch, dangled a horizontal metal bar.
Sam looked up and wagged his tail.
She eyed him, suspiciously. "Shhh!" she protested, as she tied up her hair into a ponytail.

With a last imploring look at Sam, the flit switch, and the metal bar, Melisi jumped out over the chamber. Sam watched her glide gracefully above him, her hair trailing out behind, and barked in appreciation as she caught the metal bar. He wasn't expecting her to start swinging around and around on it.

It was an exhilarating feeling. One which I hadn't felt for years. Swinging out over the room, I felt taken away from it all, free to fly away like before. And then I got dizzy. Before I lost my grip completely, I hurled myself at the opposite ledge. Unfortunately, I misjudged the distance, but did just manage to catch the edge of it. Sam yelped below me, and rushed underneath me. If I had fallen, he would have broken my fall. He may also have broken himself. As it happened, I actually managed to scramble up to the ledge.

"This is all your fault!" she fumed at the flit switch. She drew the old sword and whacked it so hard that it may have split in two. It spun wildly around the chamber and flew into the stone blocks blocking the corridor. They shattered, sending debris into the darkness. The sand stopped flowing out of the walls.

"Well, that seems to have done it!" Melisi said to Sam cheerily, as she clambered down from the ledge. "I'm looking forward to getting out of here, though." She retrieved the torch from the bracket, and the pair continued down the corridor. More rockmites appeared as they went, but were again no match for Melisi and her pistol. Sam helped occasionally by headbutting the bug-like creatures into a confused daze, allowing Melisi to easily finish them off. They rounded the corner ahead, and were greeted by a familiar yellow glow.

Melisi readied her pistol, and shot the flit switch dead centre. A brazier flared to life beside the door, and the flit switch moved closer. Wooo-oooo! it said, turning blue. Quick as a flash, Melisi brought the old sword down on top of it. A second brazier lit up beside the door. The flit switch turned red.
"No!" Melisi cried. "I can't do Will!" She turned to Sam, her eyes welling up.
"What do we do now?" she sobbed, burying her head in his neck.
He licked her ear.
"Oh well, I guess we have to turn back," she sighed. "Thanks for coming with me, Sam."
He tilted his head at her. He didn't want her to be upset. He got up, remembering something, and grabbed the torch from Melisi.
"Hey!" she cried, "What are you doing?"
Sam jumped at the flit switch, and the flames from the torch brushed against it. It chimed, happily.

The torch. Lit by the magical flames of the King's Will. I wondered whether that was part of his intention all along, or whether it was just another coincidence. I was never sure whether to trust what he was doing, or the eventual purpose of something he did. But the door was now open, so we rushed through.

Beyond the door, the corridor opened out high above a large chamber. Melisi peered over the edge. Below her was nothingness. A chasm extending deep into the ground. Beyond it, the other half of the chamber was solid, an eerie plateau, littered with the bodies of creatures Melisi didn't recognise, and a number of piles of ash. She thought she saw something moving near the edge of the chasm, but then it disappeared below the plateau.

I pulled my attention back from the chamber to the ornate mechanism I found myself standing beside. Next to it was a worn stone tablet, weathered by time so much that only four words were visible. Crux, Cordis, Fido, Ostios. I recognised the ancient language, but couldn't recall the translations of all of the words. Crux, Cordis. Crux is cross, I remembered that much. I glanced at the King's dog, thinking about how much trust I had put in him. I looked back at the stone tablet, which said Fido. I was suddenly pretty confident about what needed to be done.

Then the floor gave way.

Beyond the Veil Guild Seal
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Coming Together Edit

Melisi screamed as the floor she was standing on fell out from under her. The King rushed out of the alcove, and looked up. High above him, almost at the ceiling, he could see her, hanging out of a gap in the wall he hadn't noticed before. Sam was clinging on to her, digging his claws into the ground to try and stop them both from falling.
"Hang on!" the King shouted, scrambling back up the ramp to the safety of the cavern floor.

But he couldn't. Sam slid over the edge of the tunnel exit. The Temple apprentice and the King's trusted companion started to fall unhindered into the chasm below.

"No!" screamed the King, powerless to help. In frustration, he ripped the Guild Seal from his belt. It glowed a bright white, and flapped its new wings.

Time seemed to stand still for the King as he took in what had just happened. A piece of solid metal had just flapped its wings at him. As he stood, bewildered, he felt a power welling up inside him, intensifying as though it was going to burst out. And then it did. Bursting from his back, his own two wings unfurled. He recalled the first time that had happened, on Theresa's mystical Road to Rule on the eve of the battle against the darkness. She had said "The day has come, King. It is time for you to face the darkness. But you will do so in your true form." One year prior, she had shown him two paths of how his rule would progress. He had been shocked by how literal that representation of his 'true self' had turned out to be. Then, a few days ago, it had happened spontaneously again, when the Guild Seal received its own wings. This felt a lot like that. The power was overwhelming.

The King snapped back to the present. Suddenly, he felt able to do anything. He focused his Will on his wings, and found himself rising off the ground. He could fly!

He spun around to face his falling friends. Melisi was still screaming. Sam looked longingly at him as he fell past, trying to convey the fact that he had done all he could. The King knew he wouldn't have time to catch them both, but had an idea. Willing it to work, he flew over the chasm and threw the Guild Seal at Sam as his trusted friend disappeared from sight into the darkness. He then dove after Melisi. He caught her, just as they passed the alcove in the rock wall. She stared up at him, and flung her arms around him.
"I should have trusted you!" she cried. "I'm so sorry!"
"What do you mean?"
"The words! Cordis, Fido. I was so stupid to make the connection with Sam. Trust your heart! That's what it meant!" She kissed him. "Thank you!"
The King was bewildered. He didn't know what to say.

He carried her up to the chamber floor, and set her down gently.

Suddenly, the whole cave began to ring with a tuneful note. Slowly, out of the chasm, a giant statue arose.
"Oh my..." gasped Melisi.
"Is that...?" asked the King, squinting into the darkness, trying to distinguish a familiar shape.
"Yes! It's the Goddess!" agreed Melisi.

The statue of the Goddess completed its rise from the chasm, and spread its arms wide. The right arm attached to the side of the chasm just beside them. The left arm extended upwards, and gripped the crumbled edge of the upper tunnel.
"Sir?"
"She's made a bridge between the two sides!" exclaimed Melisi. "Oh Sam, we did it!" She looked around, confused. "Wait... Where's Sam?!"
The King shook his head. He guessed his idea hadn't worked.
"Sir??"
"Oh no!" cried Melisi, flinging her arms around the King again.
The King tried to comfort her, but it wasn't very easy.
"...Sir...?"
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" she sobbed. "He looked after me so well."
"I'm sure he did," said the King, trying not to let his voice crack.
"Sir?!"
"Where is that voice coming from?" asked Melisi.
They both looked around. Caught on the statue's robes, they saw the Guild Seal. The King ran over and picked it up.
"Jasper?"
"Sir? Sir!" came Jasper's voice. "Why has Sam just fallen out of the ceiling?"

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