We returned to that place, for the knowledge within was worth the risk. My study of the tome that we had procured was highly successful. Not only did I learn of the creatures that we faced, but had picked up some spells along the way. I often wonder if I should have the knowledge that I do, but it is too late now, and I have no intentions of stopping. One of the greatest advancements that I obtained was the power of resurrection. With it I brought my companion, banks, back from the other side. Although I use the term back loosely. He seems entirely returned in body, but not in mind.
We returned to the house under the cover of darkness. I, Banks and Tools trudged the forgotten woods once more to reach our destination. This time, however, we were prepared further, not only in equipment, but in mind. The horrors that we had faced there only a few weeks ago were still fresh on our minds. No amount of alcohol, no amount of knowledge, not even death, could soothe those scars that were now etched.
The entrance of the building was still open where we had barged down the door in our fear. The gaping void before us was silent. I surmise that the creatures within only awaken with the intrusion of the study, a kind of ancient guard mechanism. As we entered, we expected to see the aftermath of the battle the had taken place there. But there was nothing. No bullet holes in the slowly decaying walls. None of banks’ blood on the rickety floorboards. It was as though it never happened. Perhaps, it is the work of dimension travel, but unfortunately, my knowledge is currently lacking on the subject.
Us three approached the study with caution, prowling the dark corridors. The warm light of the study was a welcomed sight to our weary eyes. We knew of what would happen this time, but it was no less terrifying. We turned to see the doorway solidify into wall before our very eyes. It emanated foul magic or was perhaps even the passing of dimensions. Perhaps, I will discover the answer for sure. As the hallway, the study looked untouched from our previous visit, bar the tome that we had taken. Packing as many of the books we could into bags, we set ahead, into the trap door that previously had taken us hours to locate.
This was when I noticed something off with Banks. He had not spoken a word the entire journey, he was focused on the objective to an almost terrifying extent. Perhaps what I had brought back wasn’t entirely Banks. Maybe a part of him was left in that place beyond. Despite mine and Tools’ concern, we carried on regardless. We had no choice. Those that awaited in the dark had begun to stir.
It began with rats, as it did before. They were of no concern. Banks seemed to have a morbid fascination with crunching them underfoot. Although pleased with his intent to rid them from our path, it was no less unsettling. Then there were the ghouls. I don’t think that I could ever grow used to their grotesque features. Their wicked snarl of deadly fang. But despite my fear, we ran them through with ease. Banks and Tools executed them with expert precision.
There was something different about the final hallway this time. A blue glow emanating from a previously unseen door, between where we stood and the entrance. As we approached the door, I could see that the blue glow was in fact a ward. A barrier that blocked the door from all who wish to enter. It displayed runes of the old ones, a language that I had learned of from my research. Luckily, I knew how to remove it. Words of power was the key, I just had to recall them. We should have just walked past and left with the books that we had gathered, but intrigue got the better of me. That could have been my folly.
I scrambled for the correct words to remove the magic, but as I did, a monstrous roar came from near the entrance. The Ghoul leader was upon us. It’s red cloak hiding its bestial form. Its mask of bone partially split from the fight that had ensued before. I knew it would eventually come for us. And this time, it would be seeking revenge for the injury that we had caused it. In the panic, the words came to me. Gnarak Ak Thune, Kanas Ak Tharas. With my words, the barrier dissipated from existence and we barged through the door as one. Tools and banks immediately slammed the door behind us and began work on barricading it.
“Who the hell are you? What are you doing here? How did you get through my barrier?” A barrage of questions, from a startled woman, came from the back of the room. I hastily explained all to her as my companions set about their task. I wasn’t sure how long the makeshift barricade would last, but Tools assured us all and passed around his liquor flask. Its bitter contents was a welcome comfort. Banks looked on with a blank expression, the same one that had graced his face all night. I used what little time I had to talk to the mysterious woman. Her name was Lita. She had conjured a barrier on the door while she searched the room for objects of interest. She was much like I except her knowledge of the Old Ones was far beyond my own. She had searched places like this one before and was far more valuable than any book that we collected.
It wasn’t long after our introductions to our new ally that the Ghoul priest burst through the doors, but that was exactly what we had anticipated. Wood splintered and the room shook with the creature’s rage and monstrous strength. But we were ready. With pistols drawn we awaited in ambush, and as the very creatures that he commanded, we struck from the shadows. A storm of bullets struck the Ghoul priest as he entered. It charged forth with reckless abandon, clearly disoriented by the projectiles that struck it, it missed my companions and lunged into a wall. In its stunned state, Lita set the creature aflame with her torch. The Ghoul priest let out a piercing screech as the raging fire began to consume it whole. It flailed and danced, setting the wooden room ablaze. We knew that we only had moments to escape before our exit was lost before us.
But we did. All of us. I, Banks, Tools and our new-found ally, Lita. We stood and watched as the house burnt to nothing more than cinders, as the sun was rising beyond. I am sad to have lost the secrets that the place could have held, but I am glad of the horrors that burned with it. With its discovery, I now have more tomes on the Old Ones than I could have ever imagined. And now, I have someone that can teach me. I am sure that this is not our last adventure into the unknown. There is still much to obtain from the old Ones, and I will not relent in my search.
Thank you all for reading!