Howl of the Carrion King – Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty
The Breath of Nethys

Fudin crept down a curving hallway cautiously, with the others a few paces behind. It was lined with life-size statues of ancient mages and seers. As he passed by them their mouths spouted a pearlescent vapour. Words flitted about the passage in both ancient Osirian, and Draconic, issuing forth from the statues.

‘Who are you?’ they asked. ‘What is your task?’

‘What is your power?’

Fudin ignored the voices and continued down the hallway which had slowly begun to tilt to the side. He reached out to steady himself against the statues.

“What is it, my brother?” Nes asked him. He seemed to tilt with the room.

Only Fudin was out of touch with it.

And then, it wasn’t tilting anymore, it was spinning. The faces of his brother and his friends swirled around him in a vortex, blurring with those of the statues.

His head pounded. His nose burned.

The statues came to life. Their eyes glowed with a brilliant white light. They opened their stone jaws and their white vapours poured over him. Bathing them in their power.

Fudin felt it overwhelming him. He was drifting. Lost.

A familiar voice cut through his mind. Tezzen. “Unlock,” the dragon said.

The rest of his words tumbled through Fudin’s mind, incomprehensible over the screaming statues. Fudin felt himself being overwhelmed by the dragon, but it did not feel as it usually did. Something other than Tezzen had triggered this surge of power. The vapour.

No! He couldn’t lose himself to the dragon’s gifts now! He was needed. Nes needed him. He had to protect his brother.

Fudin raised a hand to his aching head, trying to keep himself despite the storm of power that funneled its way into him.

He tried, and failed.

Fudin’s entire body shook as the powers of Tezzen coursed through him, electrifying every vessel and muscle within him. His body spasmed. His eyes flared once, in a blinding, blue flash of light, and then went completely empty. Black, bottomless pits.

Fudin fell to the ground, unconscious.

Around him the statues spoke.

‘What is your power?’ they asked. ‘What is your task?’

I am needed.

‘Yes,’ the statues replied, ‘Yes, you are.’

‘You are too late.’

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