Sunday, 14 September 2014

Ben al Ya'mir and the Search for the Codex Apocrypha

The wind howled across the desolate plains and towards the pinnacle of rock that dominated the area. A circle of black rock a mile high, carved and smoothed by hand, its countless steps worn away by the passing of devout disciples. For at the top of the black column is the Temple of the Worms. A fortress monastery that has stood for decades, a bastion of the Brotherhood from a bygone age. Now the fortress is in ruins, its noble structure which had stood unmolested for centuries was crumbling, decaying and waiting for the right time to offer up its secrets. Few had found the monastery, even fewer had left.

And thus it was that a lone ship discovered the planet and found the towering pinnacle with its ageless ruin. The vessel was the renowned "Realms of the Faithless", the Templar of the zealot Ben al Ya'mir. On the plain before the monastery lay the ships of three and ten crews who had happened upon the planet by accident, or by fate. As he walked among the ships he could see that while many had been there for many years, some were more recent. It was at the base of the carved stairs leading to the monastery that he grasped the cross around his neck as he beheld what had become of those who had come before him. A pile of skulls, some complete and grinning back, others broken into fragments.

At the top of the stairs Ben al Ya'mir beheld the fortress monastery and fell to his knees. The vast walls, battlements and towers stood proud, the gate far too vast for one man to open. He touched the baroque carvings on the door and felt the cold stone. The entire fortress, it seemed, was made of the same stone, carved out of the living rock, including the gate. There was no way in. It was exactly as he had beheld in the vision that had sent him to this moon.

He looked up and saw the brown and grey disk of the planet that filled the sky and began his prayer as the sun lowered over the horizon. All through the night he intoned incantations and prayers, seemingly in a trance. In the darkness outside the fires warming light strange creatures lurched, shadows crawled and animals howled. A strange glow enveloped him as he slipped deep into the Trance of Faith, as he had been taught by the Masters when just an Acolyte. When morning came and he awoke the fire had burnt through and the great gate of the fortress had opened for the first time in a thousand years. He had passed the test for which the key had been the Trance of Faith. The spirits of the monastery had sensed that the Brotherhood had returned and opened the gate once more.

He passed through the main gate and walked through a corridor towards a large open area. Over the millennia nothing had grown, leaving the ground as bare as the day the monastery was abandoned. Massive doors made completely of gold, silver and precious stones led to sights unseen and treasures untold, but Ben al Ya'mir looked around until he found a door he had seen in his vision and walked towards it. As he approached the doors he could see that around several were skeletons, some twisted, come crushed, others burnt. The penalty for choosing the wrong door had its price, those who lusted after the wealth that was offered behind the doors paid the price for their lack of faith. The door he stopped at was plain and made of wood, despite the years it had not aged, decayed or warped. The door opened when he turned the handle and led to an antechamber and another door. Above the door was a simple legend. The Temple of the Worm. The doorway to all he had dreamed of. The Temple where the tools of his serviture to the One True God would be found.

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