Continued from 15/366 – Master Scaine (Cont.)
Morn stepped off the lift into a dimly lit hall of blue-green. The light itself emanated from runes carved into the stone itself. Around each glowing runes were others, spiraling out into fantastic patterns, nearly creating a giant mural that continued as far as the eye could see.
“What is this?” Morn asked.
“This is the future of our town and the kingdom. This is what I’ve named the Fallen Mage Gallery,” Master Scaine said as he walked forward. “Come.”
Morn followed Master Scaine down the hall for forty minutes before it opened into a massive spherical room with a platform that extended to the center where a rectangular box lay waiting. The runes changed here, turning from blue-green to white. They dotted the surface in every direction Morn looked.
“These runes reflect the stars above,” Master Scaine said, pointing to a group of them, “That’s the Omos Constellation there. These runes shift and move with the sky above. I’ve spent hours sitting down here watching them.”
“What about the box?” Morn asked.
“It’s a coffin,” Master Scaine replied, still looking around. “Go look.”
Morn stepped forward hesitantly. As he got closer, runes beneath his feet began lighting, casting a purple light up from below him. Morn could hear a gentle hum, calling him forward. The coffin seemed eerily familiar to him, as though he had seen it before a long time ago.
“Wait!” Master Scaine called, “What’d you do?”
Morn froze. “Nothing, I swear.”
“I’ve never seen the platform light up in the dozens of times I’ve inspected the coffin,” Master Scaine said, “You must have done something.”
“I just started walking,” Morn said. “What should I do?”
“My curiosity is telling me one thing, but my wisdom is saying we should leave,” Master Scaine said. “I didn’t anticipate this when I brought you down here.”
“Can you read the runes?” Morn asked, backing away slowly. “The ones on the floor?”
“No, I’ve done hundreds of hours of research and haven’t uncovered any meaning behind them. I think they are older than the libraries in the capital,” Master Scaine replied.
“Can I ask you a question?” Morn said.
“Of course,” Master Scaine replied as Morn arrived at his side.
“Did you ever find redemption?” Morn asked, looking at the still glowing purple runes.
“To be honest, no,” Master Scaine said.
“Are those runes supposed to stay lit?” Morn asked.
“I don’t know,” Master Scaine said. “We should go back up. I’m not getting a good feeling about this right now. I’m not sure I can protect you if anything bad happens. If you remember, I said there were traps down here. Some very talented monks died exploring this place a little over fifty years ago.”
Morn nodded and followed Master Scaine back up the hall to the lift in silence. Master Scaine’s brows were furrowed most of the walk, and it seemed to Morn that the monk was lost in thought. When Master Scaine pulled the lever and the lift began to rise, there was an audible sigh of relief from him.
“How have you lived so long?” Morn asked.
“I was cursed,” Master Scaine said. “I’ve watched generations of monks pass through this monastery, and generations live and work within the city.”
“But what about the other Old Ones?” Morn asked.
“They are all elderly, but they never live longer than roughly a hundred and twenty years. As they pass, another master will step up and assume the name of their predecessor,” Master Scaine replied. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Up until the runes began glowing on the floor, what did you think?” he asked.
“At first, I only thought about how much work it would have been to build someplace like this,” Morn said.
“And then I thought something was familiar about the coffin. It was like the stone was calling to me,” Morn said. “Did you hear the hum?”
Master Scaine shook his head, “there wasn’t a hum that I could hear.”
“I don’t know what it was, but it felt like it was calling me to it,” Morn said.
“I think I need to talk with the other masters and get their opinions on this. I was clearly correct in thinking there was something special about you. I just didn’t think it would have anything to do with the gallery,” Master Scaine said.
Morn thought about the runes under his feet, they seemed familiar as well, as though they were trying to tell him something. Without warning, the lift stopped, jolting both Master Scaine and Morn.
“What’s happening?” Morn asked as Master Scaine looked down.
“The runes,” Master Scaine managed before Morn couldn’t hear him anymore.
Morn’s mind filled with images taking him back down through the shaft and into the Gallery. He moved around the sphere, touching several of the white runes. The color changed from white to purple, and he returned to stand next to the coffin. The runes on the lid flashed a bright white before runes reflecting the ones on the sphere began changing to purple.
With a violent shockwave, the room went dark. In the silence, Morn could hear faint breathing. Then the hum began again. It started small and built to a cacophonous volume, shaking Morn to his core. Suddenly, a thin line of white light spread horizontally in front of him lighting the entire room and the sound of cracking stone echoed through the room.
The coffin lid flew past Morn, revealing a figure wreathed in a brilliant aura of white. The figure floated slowly up as stiff as the stone while it twisted in the air and moved toward him. Morn’s squinted eyes could make out the profile of a woman, and as the light died down, he felt a weight drop in his stomach.
The face that looked back at him was soft, caring, and more than familiar to him.
“My baby boy,” his mother said, extending her arms toward him.
His mind recoiled back down the hall, up the shaft, and into his body. The force of it threw him from his feet. He didn’t hit anything only because of the speed and reflexes of Master Scaine.
“What’s happening? What’d you see?” Master Scaine said.
“M-my mother,” Morn said, tears streaming down his face. “My mother’s down there. She’s come back.”
Continued 17/366 – A Mother’s Love