The Crash Term

I'm a passionate somebody who enjoys every walk of life and music. I'm an artist/photographer/writer/teacher.

*Note: All photo quotes were designed and built by my own hand; the photos have their proper credits given to the proper photographer but the words are mine :).

"You can't have too many things when the job of 'things' is so that they're had"

The Girl With the Dragon…

To my honey bee ;)…this is for you…”to whom that has asked, to this person it shall be done”…I write it for you and there’s still so much more.

Chapter 19: Graduation Day (part 2)

Silence left between spaces can be as dangerous as a blind man walking through a swamp…where there is nothing to hold reference; no sight of danger, no sound of snarling teeth, no feeling of talons digging into your skin…there is no chance. The implausibility that one could lose all 5 senses in what seemed a matter of moments was a roll of the dice that would never land on the lucky number. To behold such an event in which your vision, sense of smell, touch, taste, and auditory sense would all vanish with just a sweep of the hand…was impossible frankly. Not but a day that would be swindled without having another sense compensate for one that is lost. Certain disaster awaits he who becomes divorced from the sense of everything that makes him human. This was the case for a particular individual, a certain someone who added nothing to his own protection but rather dove in head first to a sea of blackness waded only by the evil ones who have wings that can fly over said sea of oil and murr. This specific person paid no mind to the inscriptions scrawled into the door on their way in, such a rushed attitude that they missed the warning signs printed blatantly along the sill of the door, written in a foreign language but no less obvious to those who have a knack for reading pictures. 

The beast depicted all around the entranceway slithering like a snake on one side then having turned into a half bull, half human form on the other; standing 50 feet tall with flames for eyes and sandstone for a body. This is what they were up against.

"Silas…", he whispered.

And the torch blew out.

Standing within that darkness, both men stood their ground back to back. One holding a soul-less knife and the other with nothing but his own giant bare hands to wrestle down whatever evil headed their way. Silas dropped the torch and simply looked forth into the oncoming danger, hearing a loud slithering across the sandstone floor…backing them toward a hard object one could only assume was a dark wall. Both men separated and now stood side by side looking straight ahead as a huge figure was buildling. Like the crescendo of an orchestra it stood growing foot by foot, orange-red eyes glowing and fire billowing loudly from its sockets. Its teeth grew an enormous size and glared like volcanic rock pouring from its mouth, falling to the ground in a huge pile of charred Earth and fire. It took in a gargantuan breath, almost bringing both mens’ bodies from the wall with such an inhale, dragging their feet a few inches forward as they both fought back to the wall, Augustus turning his head and closing his eyes for this is what his mission had led to…the end of it all…to be consumed by this huge fiery beast in all of its glory and all of his demise. 

{How could it have come to this?} he thought.

{I slaved all this way and stood in the face of death several times throughout…how the hell could it have come to this end?? I didn’t run a thousand miles just to turn around at the last 10 feet, there has to be a way…for Delilah, there has to be a way!!}

His eyes opened just as suddenly and he looked upon the foul beast with his enormous mouth open, a split second away from letting out a titanic cry, a roar, a shriek if you will, that shook the temple walls and made the ground quake to the point where both men fell onto their posteriors…both still looking for the second in which their world would grow completely dark.

Augustus covered his ears and found blood leaking from them; he heard nothing for some time other than his own heartbeat and the sound of a whistle growing louder and louder; the steps this beast took shook the ground uncontrollably, not allowing the two men to stand on their feet as the quaking Earth simply knocked them back down. Augustus chose to stay on the ground, gaining whatever footing he could on all fours…for this would be the only way to move. He crawled toward the beast and felt an intense heat blast blow his hair back like a rough sandstorm without the sand…he clawed his way forward to a particular tile that was in the floor.

"Augustus!! Come back, what are you doing!!" Silas screams from the wall, covering his own ears but Augutus was deaf, if he were to turn to Silas a simple muted sound would be all that was emanated from that direction; his lips moving quickly and the vein in his throat growing as he expelled breath…but nothing would be heard. His ear drums blown out therefore rendering him at a loss when it came to words. He moaned softly and opened his mouth wide, trying to pop the air bubbles in his ears…but there were none. 

He now lacked his ear drums…he went deaf. 

As this realization slowly sank in, all that could be felt was his heartbeat quicken and the loud whistling in his ears get louder. The tinnitus becoming unbearable as he winces a little and continues crawling; the beast dropping to all fours itself and roaring even louder, its hot breath coming out as lava, drooling along the temple floors as it banged and hissed at Augustus whom didn’t seem to understand the threatening gesture the beast was making. He continued on, trudging on all fours as if the only thing left was hope…and he was looking for it. As the beast roared and roared again, it never took a step toward the men but rather seemed fearful of them, roaring nothing threatening but gesturing as if attempting to protect a particular part of the temple. This seemed strange to Augustus but there was no time to lose…he crawled a little faster and gained some strength now knowing that the beast perhaps wouldn’t attack them as first thought. The light glowing from its eyes lit up the temple fully now, showing the ruined walls and sand that trembled from them, the vaulted ceilings that God Himself would apparently not reach, the mammoth bricks which appeared to be laid by giants of long ago…this temple seemed built for this beast judging simply by its size and gerth. 

He spotted a tile with a hole in it, remembering what Silas said about the traps laid by the witches that inhabited (apparently now with a pet) this temple. He threw himself onto the tile as Silas caught a glimpse, aside from the sheer terror of being killed, and suddenly leapt up, jumping onto an Eagle’s head statue that was sticking out of the wall like a stepping stone. He wrapped his arms and hands around the neck and crawled on quickly as Augustus took a second to look back and make sure Silas had somehow taken precautions…and without further a due he stuck his hand down the hole that was wide enough for a viking’s leg to fit in. His fingers grasping at whatever was down there as he gripped a thickly twined rope, pulling it with all his might as the beast grew suddenly quiet and retreated back against a wall, its weight almost throwing down the entire temple as it seemed to fall against the stone. This too seemed awkward and peculiar to both men as they continued to look in worry, astonishment, amazement…and fear. 

The ground shook with a huge bass sound, cracking all in one as the sand poured like a rainfall into cracks that widened slowly…suddenly…Augustus keeping to his tile and holding onto the rope as if that were all which was going to be left when all the shifting stopped. He curled into a ball and closed his eyes, still not being able to hear a thing but feeling everything around move and shift. Silas, on the other hand, held on tightly to his Eagle statue feeling it shake violently but his thick, wide arms keeping a tight grip for dear life. 

The beast…got the worst of it.

The entire temple shifted like a Rubik’s cube, some tiles elevating and others lowering to form several floors with stairs and several deep edges. Certainly a labyrinth this had become and the beast was on the steep end. It cried out loudly, shrieking endlessly as it lost its footing and its enormous body and horned head slipped off the edge, banging against the wall several times as a gap that seemed perfectly fitted for its death opened up and caused its demise. 

It fell.

It fell long and hard to a floor that couldn’t be seen unless one was to follow it down the dark chasm…an obliteration it was, a cave that led to perhaps the other side of the world, no one would really know but as the beast fell, Silas could hear its call all the way down. No thud was heard, no loud groundshaking, no splattering of limbs that would’ve definitely confirmed the death of said beasty. 

Nothing.

Its voice simply faded out into the darkness.

This too was a relief, such a depth would not be climbable even if attempted in this century…even for a monster that big…for the time being, the men were safe and it was time to reassess.

"Augustus!!", Silas called out loudly to his compatriot still laying curled into a ball on his island, his small tile with the hole in it, holding on to the thickly threaded rope that started this whole puzzle. He opened his eyes and lifted his head a little, shaking the dirt that had come off from the walls and rained down on everything, covering the entire temple in a light brown soot looking manner. Needless to say, he was caked in it as was Silas still ironically perched onto the bird jutted out from one of the walls. Augustus sat up slowly and still couldn’t hear…shaking his head and looking around with a daft look on his face, noticing that all four sides of his tile descended like a stairway and he was on the highest step. 

"It must be some kind of…altar…", Silas called out loudly, hoping Augustus would catch wind of it…he didn’t.

"I think that hole you put your arm in is used for something…maybe a pedestal or some kind of slab with a support beam that goes in there.", Silas knew Augustus was deaf and sighed at the fact. He lifted himself and dusted himself off as Augustus did the same thing, his back turned toward Silas. Both appeared as mini dust storms as they cleaned off and their vision, as well as their skin color, returned…their sanity was an entirely different thing. Silas stood on the statue’s neck, luckily just wide enough for his large base as he peered over carefully and checked to see how far he was from the puzzled floor. 

"Shit…" he muttered to himself, "…this is way too far for me." His voice echoed as it traveled down the full 100 feet he was from the floor; its new sandstone shape was that of a pyramid with the highest point being where Augustus was now standing and deescending as it reached the wall, extending to the full 100 ft. depth right below the Eagle statue where Silas was standing. This wasn’t the only statue, however, as Silas noted 3 others in addition to the one that served as his perch. One on each wall with a torch sitting in their mouths. Augustus finally turned around and noticed Silas standing on one of the Eagles…he called out to him but his words were jumbled. He couldn’t hear himself to even create a full sentence and cried frustratedly. Taking his time, he breathed and realized that if they were to get out of here alive, he needs to be patient with himself. He thought of a way to communicate with Silas but all the equipment that could’ve been used was now locked outside the temple with the horses. He looked down along the descending stairways on all four sides of his tile and found standing torches at every level, on every corner…an idea brewed to him as he slowly climbed down each 8 foot drop and found a torch with burned charcoal in it…luckily enough it still had useable stones in it. 

Augustus took off his shirt which was miraculously still white and put it on the floor, drawing on it with a piece of charcoal the words he wished to say. Throughout all the shifting, it was a fortune to the men that the top of the temple opened up and let a solitary beam strike through to the top tile lighting up the space between the 4 temple walls. Augustus climbed back to the top where this light resided and held up his shirt, reflecting it brightly with black strokes of charcoal clearly marking words along its material…Silas looked over and noticed its message.

"YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE", it read.

Silas smiled at the fact that Augustus may have lost his hearing but he certainly didn’t lose his sense of humor. Augustus promptly brought the shirt back down to the floor and brushed off the charcoal to write another message. He held it up again for Silas to see.

"Reach for vines", it now read.

Silas seemed puzzled for this temple was made of simple stone…though maybe Augustus could see something more from his perspective. Silas reached both hands out on either side of the statue and ran the palms of his hands against its smooth surface, seeking out any unusual bumps along the bricks. 

He found what felt like a leaf and continued running his hand along the stem, reaching the eventual vine that was relayed over a t-shirt. Silas used his bear claws for hands and gripped the thick vine as it squiggled down the wall. He jumped on and played spiderman as his fingers wouldn’t give out on him…having made it this far it would be a slight embarassment to die right about now. He made his slow descent down the vine and followed the squiggly trail, Augustus taking the time to climb down from his little island on top of the pyramid just as well. 

They both made it to the bottom and looked up at the enormous structure that had built itself inside the temple, a labyrinth of stairs that even stretched to the roof and appeared to be upside down…what a terrible player this temple was in this game. After their moment of gawking, they looked at each other…appreciatively…Augustus muttered something incoherent and Silas simply smiled and nodded, patting him on the shoulder. Both men grateful that they still have each other and a hell of a good chance to make it out alive.

They both turned toward the straight path that lined along this pyramid and began their walk in search of a doorway or another passageway which would be productive because things are looking rather bleak right now.

***

He stood there and argued endlessly with the hags who had imprisoned him, rejecting their offer of freedom in exchange of a small favor that would pit him against the intruders that had made it past Rimulan’s men and through the market, now riding hard toward the temple.

"You must do this!", cried one shrill voice whose name he remembered as being Lonna.

"If you want your freedom, weakling, step in and defend the shield…", cried the other shrill voice he remembers as Honna.

The choice was his and, really, this was the rare moment of power afforded to him, the moment that he had both hags under his thumb and could wield it with all the time in the world. Though he must tread carefully…wield it too long and he will end up dead, not wielding it enough would provide him no leverage and thus this moment of power would be quite a waste. He thought of his next move as his shackled hands gripped the rusted bars in front of him, imprisoned all around by sandstone walls 3 feet thick and only a view out front through his prison bars that was given to him. The view, however, was only that of a long, wide hallway…a large chamber with a broad red carpet and golden edges spread out starting from the bars themselves and stretching toward a doorway opposite the prison cell. Torches lined the walls and flickered brightly, providing enough light to see the dimensions of the room and give an indication as to how large it actually was. 

His mind continued to race as the two hags bickered like they always did…one never agreeing with the other about logistics and strategy…this would’ve all been so much easier if Gilpin were around or “Gip” as the hags would refer to him occassionally. The prisoner kept mental record of all these names which could come in handy if his escape were facilitated…and right now seemed the perfect opportunity.

"I’ll do it…", he called out among their bickering silencing them suddenly,"…I’ll…do it."

His eyes averted for a moment to a huge, monstrous, hulking amount of indestructible metal piled on the side of his cell. His hand reached out and touched its form, his fingers caressing its smooth surface and glaringly bright reflection. Almost like a mirror malformed and tossed into a pile, he could see the reflection of his beaten face on it…it was saddening the point to which this prisoner had gotten. 

"Your Father would be proud of you…young Hyrulian…", one of the hags reached out and caressed his face with her boney, dried, sandy fingers almost cutting him regardless of how tender the touch she could provide. He backed away and spit in her face with anger, looking at her with such contempt.

"Don’t you talk about my Father…with any luck, if he sees me, he’ll kill me without a second to lose…I’m never going to fight him…" For indeed, his plan was revealed right that moment to sabotage the hags and their treasured shield; one rumored to be polished and manufactured by the "mysteries" of Kenno mountain, the figures only seen in the dark by their shadows cast along from the moon at the summit…traveling down to the villages that outlined the base of said geologic epics. Their secretive nature is what gave them the name…they’re simply known as the "mysteries" because they’ve never been seen cajolling with the village people down below. No one really knows if they ever do come down their summit but if they do it’s from the inside of the mountain, unseen by human eyes and unheard by the careful ear. 

As mysterious as they propose to be, however, their work is well known throughout the land. Having provided the weaponry and shielding for 100-year war that raged through generations, each generation using the weapons and mechanisms of protection that their forefathers had worn 100 years ago…and they were all still in one piece. This was a true testament to their craftsmanship, an entire century of warring among the nations and the equipment used never had to be replenished. One shipment to every nation, perfectly tailored to the people, never damaged or damaging…hence why the war took 100 years to prove a winner…every side had the greatest of weapons and the best protection. This also speaks to their allegiance which is that to themselves. They follow no nation and feel the only way in life is that of fairness…one side cannot be better than the other and thus whatever is requested of them is produced with perfect specifications for everybody. This shield that the hags sought to protect was one of the last relics of that war and with it they planned to upset the balance of nature and human law, to rage among the land again with an indestructible method of protection as well as their powers. The “mysteries” had disappeared long ago along with their creations lost in battle, to warriors’ burials, at sea, or in the volcanic pits of the South. 

This was the last article in existence to man. A beautifully reflective steel/titanium combination bordered with a rare crimson red platinum that could only be found at the base of Mt. Kenno. Its strength stood in that it could take anything from a boulder to dragon’s breath…even the ability to absorb magic. This, of course, was all speculation and the hags were in no interest to research its abilities at hand…they listened to the legends passed down from the generations and decided to protect their investment at all costs.

One of the hags rebuked the prisoner, backhanding him and sending him to the floor as his shackles rattled loudly when they hit the sandy floor. He looked up, a little bit of blood dripping from the corner of his mouth.

"You rotten bitch…", he whispered to himself, "…my Father…is going to kill you, you understand? There’s no way he’s going to fall for your trap, he’s too smart for that…"

"Your Father, young Hyrulian, is so stubborn and mule-headed…he thinks he’s after a certain weapon, one that’s going to bring his armies victory when in truth he doesn’t know that he’s led himself and his less-intelligent companion straight into my grasp."

Merius steps out from the shadows with his silver steel gloves adorned on his arms, the movements of his fingers inside of them making them creak as the metal rubs against itself. 

"Silas will never know what he’s going up against when he steps foot in here…luckily for me I get to erase two birds with one stone…I can eliminate him and his son with one fell swoop…ahhh how beautiful the ties that bind family."

He smirks and watches Silas’ son inside his cell, reaching for the bars again and pulling himself up to go toe-to-toe with Merius. His imposing figure is released as he’s every bit that his Father is in stature and brute strength. He stands taller than Merius and puts his face against the bars, trying to get as close to the man as he can…taking in a deep scent which makes Merius curious.

"Smelling the last scent of death I see…" Merius smiles.

"No…I’m smelling your stench without your face covered in blood…because when it is, you’re going to find me standing over you, taking another deep breath and letting you know what your stink is like when you’ve been beaten by my own two hands…", the son responds.

To cut the tension, a sudden and deep bang is heard coming from the other end of the temple. All parties involved turn around, their attentions distracted as the hags suddenly change their appearance. Their old, frail bodies suddenly become nubile, young, even beautiful…running at full speed and jumping an impossible height onto a ledge up above the door, keeping surveillance as to what the sound was.

"He’s here…", a younger, more feminine Lonna was heard saying.

"You mean…they’re here…", said the now more beautiful Honna.

Both witches turning toward Merius as he smirks and his eyes glitter with opportunity.

"Release the beast…" he said, "…that’ll keep them busy for a little while."

Both witches jumped back down and faced each other at the door, closing their eyes and putting their hands on each other’s shoulders, humming in such a deep tone as they skin began to glow white and the chamber suddenly seemed so much more less ominous…now…more glorious since the statues high above the floor could now be seen. It was almost as if they were restoring the temple to its former glory, full of light and magic, mystery flowed through every wall. Silas’ son noted the presence, the pristine sunlight that seemed to develop suddenly before his very eyes as the witches both glowed to a perfect white so bright he had to cover his eyes and save his sight. Merius covered his too, taking a step back from the intensity of their power. The ground began to rumble and what was heard to be a stone door sliding out from a floor underneath their chamber was heard. This was the beast’s chambers as it could hear the voices of the witches inside of its head, commanding its presence and alarming it toward the intruders at the front of the temple.

Its orders were simple with which the beast reluctantly applied itself: kill.

Merius and the son looked down at the floor they were standing on just to make sure it wasn’t the one that was moving. It quaked violently as both held on to the bars and kept their eyes focused on the ground, relieved that it hadn’t given way. The witches’ glow slowly waned, coming down from the bright white it started out with and fading to a gentler light as their normal skin color came back and the quaking stopped. 

Then a loud roar is heard…and foot stomps that kept the walls rattling in a rhythm as the beast clambored its way toward the entrance where Augustus and Silas awaited in the darkness.

"Silas…look…" Augustus whispered.

And their torch blew out.

As the beast slowed their progress, Merius and the witches got into the positions of their own for the beast was a formidable opponent, but a reluctant one…surely to give up as soon as it saw the opportunity…it was imprisoned and therefore seeking release whether through life or death. It wasn’t going to fight the two men who had broken into the temple and the others knew this so in their wisdom they built and planted obstacles for Silas and Augustus to get through. A type of test to see how resolute their hearts really were in their mission…the prize…death at the hands of the witches who only sought to protect their possession.

Merius quickly utilized the power of his steel gloves and broke the bars off the cell, pulling up the son by his shirt and tossing him to the ground.

"Get dressed…" he said ominously, looking over at the heap of steel that laid next to his cell. 

"It’s time to greet your Father…"

***

Both men, weary from the climb and a little tired from all the action finally reached the fourth and final corner of the pyramid, having passed by the endless chasm to which the fiery beast met its end. The unfortunate thing was that there were no passages to be had anywhere around, no doors, no halls…nothing to lead them along the way anymore. They sat at the point at which they started and looked at each other; communication being impossible they had no way to express their frustration other than grabbing a standing torch and hurling it against the wall, watching it break. Every stairway attached to the ceiling led somewhere but the passages along the pyramid base led nowhere…another riddle in this physical puzzle to be solved. 

They sat and thought, Augustus sitting on the sand and tossing rocks aimlessly, the shock now sinking in as he was trying to figure out how to cope with it and keep his hopes of getting out alive. Silas, however, continued to think…a problem solver with quite the problem that needed to be solved. He thought about the inscription that matched what was told to him by the bartender in the town before this one. 

"Melrrog…" he whispered to himself and scratched his forehead.

Augustus continued to toss pebbles down the chasm, hoping to hear when they would hit rock bottom but they never did. Silas sat for a few minutes…then an hour…as both men now seemed destined to rot away in this temple puzzle. The inscription continued to weigh on his mind, however, thinking further of what was scrawled into the walls as he walked past the door. 

"Speak friend and enter…", Silas told himself and turned toward where the giant door would’ve been remembering as he passed through the entrance that there was more to the riddle which he caught a glimpse of before walking in. 

"Speak friend and enter…but if no one’s home, come on in"

The rest of the riddle held him in suspense as he felt on the verge of figuring this out. Jumping up suddenly and running toward one of the giant sandstone blocks that formed the pyramid base, Augustus looked on confused from behind. Watching Silas run down the row of blocks and running his hand against them, looking for something. A certain distance down, Silas is seen brushing one of the bricks violently and a huge smile growing across his face. Augustus’ bloody ears, having lost their use, remained at the side of his head without sound…watching Silas wave him over quickly, the look of desperation on his face couldn’t be more obvious. Augustus ran down as quickly as he could, trying to figure out what it was that needed to be done for another step. Silas couldn’t figure out how to signal to him and instead just grabbed him by the shoulders and put his back against the block…Silas did the same.

One of them began pushing with his back as the deaf one started in on the same thing, taking note and following point, he could feel an inscription press against his back. Augustus looked at every block and found that they were all blank…except for this one which had carvings he could feel press against him as he pushed the block. Both men grunted and pushed harder, making the block slide against the sand and push in underneath the block that sat on the second level…another part of the riddle solved. Though another challenge lay in their midst…with this one block now under the other, there was nothing to be found since it’s been moved. Both men stand with their hands on their hips, investigating the smooth ground that was revealed now that the block had been pushed in and a vacant spot now exist on this part of the pyramid. Silas looks up and with a face of disgust closes his eyes.

"Ahhhhh shit…I think there’s another block around here we need to push in…I don’t know which one, it could be any one of these!!", his voice heard carrying along the pyramid walls, among the hundreds of blocks that built the structure. He looked down at Augustus who was like a child awaiting news from his Father as to whether things were going to get better or worse…Silas shook his head and looked resigned as he looked back down at the ground they stood on…once occupied by a puzzle piece. 

"We…need…to…find…another…block…" Silas spoke to Augustus knowing he couldn’t hear him, using his hands and gestures to inform as to what was to be looked for. Augustus shrugged his shoulders and looked at Silas confused, who signaled harder at Augustus:

"We…..need…..to….fin…", as sudden as he was stating these words, suddenly the ground broke below the two of them as they both fell suddenly through a descending tunnel, a rounded block or ball beneath them rolled quickly along, creating the path with which they were both sliding through. Their yells and screams could be heard as they sped faster and faster toward an end that neither of them knew would allow them to be alive or dead. The ball rolled faster in front of them, clearing the path as suddenly it broke through a thick stone wall and continued rolling. Both men reaching this hole in the wall and falling through, skidding against a red carpet with golden edges, rolling and tumbling along as Augustus skewed from the carpet, falling onto the sandstone floor and hitting his head; Silas continued his skid face down until his body weight stopped him…into a chamber with torches lining the wall and its vaulted ceiling showing just how big the place was. A door lay shattered into splinters by the stone ball which continued to roll to the opposite side of the chamber, hitting up against broken cell bars and shackles that lay strewn against the stone floor. In front of them stood a solitary figure, a giant armored figure holding an axe the size of Silas’ full height and heft. Metal gleaming and the torches’ light dancing against the perfect reflection of this armor, crafted perfectly like a malformed mirror shaped to fit the body of a human.

"That’s a creation from the mysteries…the people from Mt. Kenno…that is amazing…" Silas says to himself as he coughs loudly and tries to pick himself up after having his body frapped from the fall. Augustus faired no better, apparently having aggravated his leg, he rubs his knee softly and looks up, coughing, at the armored figure standing still and solitary in this chamber. Silas approached first, caressing the arms of this giant and noting that there was not a blemish on its surface, his face reflected perfectly off the glaring metal. Augustus slowly began to get up at this point as his limp returned, his hand remaining on his knee. He winced in pain and swallowed what he could, continuing on without paying attention to it. Silas looked up at the 10 ft. figure and noticed the tight grip it had on its humungous axe. He called Augustus over with a hand gesture, signaling to him that they needed this axe but it was stuck. Augustus reluctantly and worriedly glared up at the face of this armor and could feel something watching him as he moved in front of it. His nerves, however, only served to stop him so he decided not to pay attention, locking his hands around the huge metal barrel of the weapon and pulling with Silas in one direction. 

As one man kept his focus on the weapon, the other kept looking up at the helmet of the armor…surely knowing that this was a trap and someone was inside watching them, waiting for the perfect opportunity…what better time than now.

Two eyes suddenly opened under the armor, the darkened corridors deep inside hid the face but surely it had come to life as Augustus backed away suddenly, alarmed at the appearance. Silas looked at him back up and wondered what was wrong when he heard a loud creaking noise coming up from the other side of the armor, slowly rising and making a deep bellowing sound as Silas turned his head toward the armor and watched it move, preparing to strike and keeping one hand up in dramatic fashion as it hadn’t moved the axe. 

Silas took a deep breath and prepared for a monster hit. 

The armor struck down with the power of a god, slapping Silas across the chest and sending him flying 5 feet into the wall behind him, his head snapping back and knocking him unconscious with his body free-falling and slamming to the ground. Augustus could just look as this seemed like deja vu; the axe rising now and wasting no time in targeting the next conscious man that was right in front of it. Augustus suddenly lost his bearings, noting his friend and the only one that could help him lay unconscious on the floor next to him. He looked up and saw the shadow of the axe as the power in his legs and arms surged with adrenaline, the energy to move became most important as the waning seconds of impact from this giant axe counted down quickly. He put his hands under him and rolled off to the side as quickly as he could, grunting loudly from the pain that shot through his leg for whatever use it had now…was of no relevance, it was important he not pay attention to the pain because it would cost him if he did. The axe fell just behind him as he finished his roll, slamming down as if Thor himself inhabited the chamber and filled it with his godly ere…his weapon a mere attachment to his limbs as he wielded it without difficulty, swinging it violently and knocking down the brick pillars that stood in his way. The armor as if it weighed nothing at all and seemed stronger with every step it took; throwing down chunks of rock and swinging its axe through the air…with all the close calls, Augustus could feel the strong gust of wind it gave as it swung past, in one instance only an inch from his face as his back was now against the wall. 

This wasn’t the end though.

The armor pursued him throughout the chamber, throwing down every pillar and making the room itself shake as it seemed to begin to come apart and collapse. Silas’ body, though unharmed by the falling debris, was still in danger of getting crushed from the epic-sized sandstone falling from above. As Augustus ducked, weaved, rolled, and skittered across the sandy floor to avoid every deathblow the armor had, he strategized a way to get to Silas without himself getting hurt. 

Then a kink was thrown into his plans to get out of there. 

In a particular pillar that was thrown down, a large platinum blade soared out from within it, spinning through the air and striking the sandstone, sticking itself in like the sword of camelot…surely a weapon in this fight would increase the chances of both men’s survival and thus…plans changed. Augustus stood clear in front of the armor as it let out another swing so hard, the ground shook. Augustus avoided by moving into the armor, getting in close so its arms couldn’t reach him as he ran right beneath and between the legs of the 10 ft. monstrosity and came out behind it. He slid toward the wall and used the time that was afforded while the armor looked for him desperately…to pull the sword out of the wall. An impressive blade it was as it stood 5 feet tall and required the use of both hands to wield it…and good legs to deal a killing blow. He succeeded in pulling it out though not before the axe suddenly swung by his ear and it too became stuck in the wall. Augustus turned around suddenly, pinned with the sword sitting by his side but no room to lift it between the armor and him…the armor leaned in and assessed the man…pulling its axe out of the wall with such ease and taking a step back, lifting its weapon high into the air…surely having saved up the energy to obliterate the man with this perfect angle and opportunity. 

Augustus closed his eyes and felt the end closer than ever, taking a quick deep breath and summoning Delilah once more in his head.

{I’m sorry my love…I’m not coming for you anymore…please forgive me…}

A tear rolled down his eyes as he opened them once more and noticed the glaring glory of his reflection against the armor’s metal. 

He gave up. Time for the end…

"Now!!", a voice come from behind the armor but Augustus unable to hear it, "Do it now!!!"

The armor froze and its arms shook, the metal of its whole body seemingly come under a spell as it never lowered its axe. Silas appeared over the shoulder, a huge gash on his head and in obvious pain…his own blade dug deep into the armor’s back which held it in place.

"NOW!!!" Silas emphasized the movement of his mouth so Augustus could read it…and read it he did…as Augustus lifted the enormous blade with both hands and thrust it deep into the chest of the armor causing it to bellow ever so loudly and drop its axe with an enormous thud. The hulking weight of metal slowly shifting to the side as Augustus, sweaty, tired, and beaten let it go and stood back, covering himself from any debris that may fall as Silas hopped off and rolled onto the ground, curling himself into a ball.

The armor causing such a ruckus as it fell like a meteorite speeding toward Earth. It’s tremendous crash emphasized by the falling of the rest of the pillars inside the chamber…and its collapse now imminent. Both men noticed this and quickly stood up, taking their weapons out of the armor, full of blood as they paid no mind and began to make their way toward the exit.

"Dad!!", Silas heard a voice…a familiar voice call, "…Dad!!!"

"My son…" he whispered to himself and ran straight back to the armor as Augustus, unknowing of the events made it to the exit, turning back to see Silas on the opposite side of the chamber tending to the armor and ripping the helmet off only to reveal a young man crying, bloodied…in obvious pain. Augustus didn’t know what to make of it as Silas’ attention was no longer on the falling chamber…but on that of his son who now lay close to slain in the armor that his father pierced with his own blade…and Augustus dealt quite the killing stroke with his blade as well. Augustus watched them and saw as the chamber was falling apart violently all around them…though unable to speak or hear what was being spoken between Silas and the armor. 

"Dad…Dad please don’t…don’t hate yourself for what you did…I was going to kill you…", Silas now a mess, crying for his son and caressing his bloodied face.

"I’m not going to leave you son…I’m so sorry…I’ll protect you even in death, I promise you that much, I promise…" Silas cried hard. His son taking his last breaths and with those he says…

"Dad…give this shield…", the son shows his father the shield that the witches were so fond of, "…to your partner…he’s going to need it if he’s going to succeed in continuing."

Without further thinking, Silas grabs the shield and looks up at Augustus who is still lost onto the whole situation, waving his hands to the exit for Silas to understsand that they both need to get out now…Silas tosses the shield with all his might as it flies right out the exit next to Augustus, he looks down at it in wonderment…and changes his gaze back to Silas. 

"LEAVE!! GO AWAY FROM HERE, I’M STAYING AUGUSTUS…YOU’RE A GOOD MAN AND STILL HAVE TO REACH HER…GO!!" he calls out as loudly as he can but knows Augustus can’t hear him…at this point he doesn’t care and leans down, embracing his son as the chamber falls apart. 

The son opens the center of the chest, “Dad…come in, there’s room for us, this armor is large…it’ll protect us from the falling rock and give us a chance to live…my wounds aren’t so grave…Dad, come in now!!”, the son pulls Silas into the armor and closes it, both ducking into it and using it for an indestructable shelter as Augustus…now on his own…backs away from the exit quickly and picks up the sword and shield before they too get buried…and watches the chamber collapse completely with his best friend…and the son…buried inside.

***

The long, dark trudge continues for the solitary man with the platinum shield and sword strapped to his back. His boots torn and his pants ripped all along every angle…his weariness is shown by the way he limps and drags his feet. His hands and face bloodied, his heart beating slow and weary…but his soul as bright with the thought that Delilah is yet still in his future. 

He continues on as a beautiful mess, lifting one foot in front of the other and praying to God every second to give him the strength and time to keep moving…keep continuing…the memory of his friend deep inside of him, not really all that sure if he got out or not. 

The crumbling rocks and sand beneath his feet echo against the cavernous walls that are no longer the temple…but now a sort of cave…an underground trail with sunlight peaking through crags in the walls and lighting the trail that seems to go on forever. He keeps his eyes forward, however, and his feet stepping. The sword and shield heavy but essential to his survival.

Then a voice.

Then wind.

Then light.

"What do we have here…" says Lonna.

"…a lone traveler this way comes…" says Honna.

"Lets show him the punishment for trespassing." says the both of them.

Augustus seeing both witches floating high in front of him, bigger than what a normal human would think that witches could be. Their size, however daunting, won’t stop him.

He’s going after a woman.

And no one is going to stop him.

{I’m coming for you…*smirks*…I’m still coming for you and nothing…is going to stop me}

He pulls out his sword with one hand, his arm seemingly gaining the energy to move it swiftly and strike deftly with strength. His other arm holding up the platinum shield for protection, standing in a pose that looks ready to receive the threat.

"Let’s dance…" he says.

[To be continued ;)]