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Half-Truths and Deception continued

After Kalishan was seated and it was clear that he was uncomfortable, much to Thornstaffs enjoyment. Ryjah used what shape-shifting ability she had, to become a bird and they set off. The journey took several hours but they made it without incident, and there was indeed an old white temple in the Valley of Garredhen. Though it looked like it had been there for years, at Kalishans insistence that it was the right one, they entered it.
It was a grand building made of marbled white and grey stone. Many murals were depicting the Goddess Adara. Ryjah found herself uneasy in the dead silence and walked closer to Thornstaff. There were many life-size glass statues so intricately carved that they could have been real people if they had had color. There were statues of every race in random places around the temple, each of them doing something different, which was strange enough in itself.
Ryjah all but screamed when one of them moved and approached them, beckoning for them to follow. Kalishan shrugged wordlessly and followed the statue, Ryjah and Thornstaff followed him. Ryjahs unease continued to grow, even though the statue made no move against them. It stopped at one of the murals and placed a hand on it. The figure of the Lady Adara in the picture moved aside to reveal a map showing the pipe to be at the center of the temple. Then She showed them a hall with walls that glowed with light, a woman walked into the hall and became a glass statue.
The statue took its hand from the mural and the Goddess went back to her former position. The statue then pointed down the hall but didn’t move further. Slowly, the trio walked through the temple. Any statues that they met pointed them towards the center with emotionless faces, till they reached the hall of light.
“Now what?” Ryjah whispered. “We can’t go in without being turned into a statue.”
“This is pointless,” Thornstaff growled. “We aren't going to risk our lives for a magic pipe.”
“Wrong.” Kalishan corrected him. “You are or your apprentice dies.” In a single swift motion, he pulled Ryjah towards him and held a knife to her throat. “Use your magic, get the pipe and she lives.”
Thornstaffs snarl was feral as he took a step forward. Kalishan dug the blade into her throat, drawing blood. Thornstaff froze upon seeing the blood and immediately stepped back, setting his things on the ground.
He turned to face the hall and plants burst from the floor, covering the hall and blocking the light. Then Thornstaff ran as only an Elf could. Plants were continually growing to replace the ones that turned to glass and shattering them in sprays of broken glass. Ryjah attempted to add vines of her own to help but Kalishans dagger was swift to dissuade her from it.
Thornstaff reached the enchanted glass pipe and grabbed it then called up even more plants as he ran back. Some of the un-shattered glass vines tried to wrap around his legs but he broke through them before they had a chance to fully take hold. He transformed into a cheetah carrying the pipe in his mouth and ran. He returned to them, transforming back into himself, alive, though staggering and bloodied by the shattering glass.
He gave the glass pipe to Kalishan who shoved Ryjah away from them both. “Thank you. However as I can’t let you live-” he shoved Thornstaff into the light. Ryjah screamed as the Elf Druid fell backward and shattered on the floor.


“And that is how I single-handedly defeated the Cult of Blackest Night and retrieved the Pipe of the Lost Temple of Adara.” Kalishan ended his tale to his amazed audience at the tavern without the tiniest shred of remorse for what he had done to Thornstaff and his apprentice.

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Author
Hir i-Chorvath
Read time
3 min read
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622
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