Level 04 ~ Andrew

Andrew’s long blonde hair hung down around his face. As long as it stayed out of his eyes he didn’t see any reason to do anything with it. His eyes. His right eye was deep ocean-blue like his mothers’ had been. But his left eye framed by deep scars from a she-demon’s claws had been discolored to an eerie magenta that glowed faintly in the low light. He was encased in heavy platemail, battered and discolored from more battles than he saw any reason to remember. The boots had been destroyed in a lake of acid though, so he was wearing stiff leather boots instead of the steel boots that would’ve matched the rest of the armor. The helmet was long gone too, he no longer remembered from what.

Banisher—Andrew’s family’s namesake—was a blade as broad, tall, and heavy as most full grown men. He carried it in one hand as he descended the crumbling stairs into the dank crypt. Though Banisher had seen generations more battles than Andrew or his armor, the sword still appeared pristine thanks to its superior properties. In the golden hilt was an indentation sized perfectly to receive the cross-road he wore as an amulet around his neck.

Oracle, the cross-road around his neck, was a white marble symbol set with a sapphire representing direction, balance and self-determination. Oracle had been Banisher’s match from the beginning and in spite of it all also remained pristine.
His implements were so much stronger than Andrew himself, but he was learning to keep up with them one painful lesson at a time. Oracle emitted a constant soft light by which Andrew was navigating the crypt. The upper chambers had been full of mold and moss, fed by the sea air after it had left its salt deposits in the cracks and tunnels infiltrating the crypt like spider webs. But now as he looked at the walls he could see the moss was dry and blackened. Water still dripped from the ceiling and cracks in the walls, it was as if the moss had just lost the will to live.

Fishermen and their families had been disappearing from the village above for about a month now. Andrew hadn’t needed the villagers to tell him that this is where they were being taken, but it was good to know they’d been able to figure it out anyway. Of course the villagers all thought this place was haunted or maybe cursed, that ghosts or evil spirits were the cause of their troubles. Not so accurate. The signs were so clear to Andrew he would’ve known what was at work here even without Oracle.

In the dim light Andrew didn’t see the cracks in the next step down soon enough. As soon as his weight was on it the step crumbled and dropped him down a steep incline. Andrew scowled as he adjusted his stance and slid down the incline on his feet. As he reached the bottom he could hear the forced laughter of several voices who didn’t understand what they were laughing at but were too afraid not to laugh. Looking ahead he saw where the final room of the crypt had been sealed off by a door woven from the bodies of the missing villagers. The glow of the souls still trapped in the corpses emanated from their tortured eyes.

Glowering darkly, Andrew removed Oracle from around his neck and set it into Banisher’s hilt. Banisher absorbed most of the light from Oracle, but the blade provided a wider source for the remaining light. With a yell and several quick steps, Andrew closed with the profane door and cleaved it through with Banisher, freeing the souls that had been trapped in it and revealing the chamber beyond.

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