for my shadow, I braved the shattered
coasts til at long last I had found
fabled Mu, the Dreaming Isle.
A fortnight in those lost jungles
brought me at last to the destination
I had sought for my entire life, a place
I had searched out in tattered parchments and fading scrolls for countless
years and then by dreadful sea wanderings with murderous buccaneers and
fearsome beasts...the lost temple of Shynn-Ahbra.
The thousand deaths of the forest had consumed every member of my crew
save Ziglym, my loyal and faithful servant; we alone had survived by my magic.
I leave you who know of my fame to judge whether this was by my design or
that of a Will far greater, but the world will not miss a single soul of those
dealers of knives in darkness...
I paused beneath a canopy of emerald shadows and I, yes, even I, Ferulius
whom some men name The Immortal, I who have delved the very deepest
catacombs of the Jennerak, gave gasp at what I saw...
A calm river of incandescent water, lit by some strange manner of stone
scattered everywhere upon its bottom, wound towards a vast stone portal whose
crumbling and ancient face was bathed in magic mist. The water skirted a foot
of the Temple door and meandered off into the limitless jungle. At a glance I
could see the stonework was not of Jennerak artifice, though obviously much
older, and my mind reeled with the revelation of the certainty of a fact I had
long merely guessed at...that the Old Ones were not the Oldest Ones.
They had in truth come after a much more ancient civilization, a culture which
had begun here upon this lost Isle of Mu when it had not been lost, and which
had flowered here far from the environs of Rysanthis...only to fade and then
wither and finally from it's vine like the husk of hemer'u gourd rotting in some
garden of the dead.
These rumours I had heard, as well as whispers of a magic even greater than
the highest priests of the Jennerak had possessed. Hither I had come on these
desperate hopes, and now, that magic, I, Ferulius, would possess.
I was astonished by the magic glow of the river stones. Yet I feared that
influence--the forest grew unhindered here, but this did not set me at ease. For
here I heard no sound of bird or monkey, as I had for my entire journey after
leaving Ziglym with the ship and a hastily conjured Shadow Gaurdian to keep
him safe in my absence. Aside from the rugged jungle that had toppled those
ruins, there was no sign of life...
I whispered a spell of protection and made signs to the spirits, feeling the
mystic power bathe my limbs and head in its prickling energy, as I passed on
towards the Temple portal.
at the evident age of those stones.
Creeper vines and small yellow flowers
cascaded over the massive supports, an
eerily beautiful threshold to the black
abyss that stretched before my eyes when
I peered within. All was deathly still in
that pit. The Jennerak had favoured
ornately carved reliefs and gargantuan
statues of themselves as adornments for
their Old Places...these builders, none.
What I would face within Shynn-Ahbra I could only guess. The parchments
which had led me to Mu had contained cryptic riddles and warnings of magicks
left to guard the Temple secrets, magicks wrought by demons. I sensed the truth
of those warnings now--the ground here throbbed with an ancient power
altogether unwholesome. And there had also been a single line, barely legible,
in the dusty scrolls which had hinted at some horror forgotten by the world of
men...a creature of a sort whose like was in the world above no more but
whose nature I had been unable to discern from the fragments of the book.
the simple oaken wand that hung at my side,
crowned with a single glittering ruby. I did not fear.
The magicof Ferulius had not failed him before, and
it would not fail him now.
I spoke the spell of darkseeing and my eyes clouded with a red light that
unveiled the shadows like robes shorn from a naked body. The gloom became
as light to me, and I started down the yawning passage which in ancient days
must have been a street in a Temple that had been a holy city...or an unholy one,
Here in this vast hall began my descent into Shynn-Ahbra, Temple of the Elder
Lords, and what I found there, I shall not spare to tell you of, O traveler of Old
NEXT: THE WITCH'S CHAIR