Continued from 18/366 – A Mother’s Love (Cont.)
After a few minutes, Master Scaine arrived with a bag slung over his shoulder.
“Sorry for the wait,” Master Scaine said as he opened the gate, “Please be mindful of things on your way down. Outsiders are not usually permitted inside.”
“Why do you bring Morn in then?” Celeste asked.
“I was hoping to bring him into the monastery to begin studying our teachings,” Master Scaine replied as they began the descent down the first flight of stairs.
“You were going to have me come here,” Morn asked, thinking about the anxiety he had been feeling after his father’s death.
“Yes. Once I came to understand you a little better, I decided that you would fit within our tradition. There are many places for you within our ranks that could take you all over the world,” Master Scaine replied.
“I’m not sure I want to travel all over the world,” Morn replied.
“With current events the way they are, I’m not sure you’ll join the monastery,” Master Scaine said as they entered the second door leading further down.
“This place is crazy,” Celeste said as they crossed the reflecting surfaces of the third floor.
“Don’t look around too much,” Morn warned, “the initiates have warned me about it.”
“With good reason,” Master Scaine said, “follow me quickly, please.”
Master Scaine stepped through the door on the opposite side and led the group down the hall to the lift. With everyone in, Master Scaine pushed the lever, and the lift began its slow descent down to the Gallery.
“How is she?” Morn asked.
“She’s a bit confused at times, but still focused at others. I’m hoping we can find a quick solution so that your mother can be with you again,” Master Scaine replied. “I don’t know by what magic this has all been possible, but we have to try to finish whatever process has started.”
“You think this is magic?” Jaque asked, pulling his gaze from the shaft below them to Master Scaine.
“You don’t?” Master Scaine said. “I’ve heard stories of great clerics of the gods bringing people back from the dead. Why would this be any different?”
“Was a cleric involved?” Jaque asked.
“Not that I’m aware of, the Gallery is a unique space within the monastery. Through various sources, I’ve determined that a powerful wizard is buried down here,” Master Scaine said.
“A powerful wizard? That seems a bit vague,” Jaque said.
“I’ve searched for his name, but with the age of this structure, I haven’t managed to find any identifying information,” Master Scaine said.
“Have you consulted any other wizards about this?” Jaque asked.
“No, I’ve been conducting the research myself over the last few hundred years. It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle that I’ve been working on,” Master Scaine said.
“How old are you?” Celeste asked.
Morn watched Master Scaine tense up and chose to answer first, “he’s older than the town. He came here with his master, and has been here since.”
“That’s correct,” Master Scaine said. “I’ve been here for a long time.”
“How is that possible?” Jaque asked, “I’ve never heard of any human living that long.”
“I think, at this point, it’s more important to focus on helping Morn’s mother,” Master Scaine replied. “We can talk more about me after the fact.”
“Of course,” Jaque said.
“Have you ever seen a wizard tower?” Master Scaine asked.
“No,” Jaque replied.
“What makes you think that a wizard would be able to identify who is buried here? I’ve checked countless libraries at this point,” Master Scaine said.
“Wizards have a way of putting a bit of themselves in everything they do. If this is indeed a wizard tomb that he built himself, he likely put his name somewhere in here. The question is whether we will be able to decode his cipher and learn any of his secrets,” Jaque said. “I learned all about this in my classes.”
The lift reached the bottom of the shaft, stopping gently at the faintly lit hall. Morn could hear humming again, but this time it was melodic, and he knew the tune. It was the song his mother once sang to him to put him to bed. He peeled out of the lift at a full sprint toward the end of the tunnel.
“Morn!” Master Scaine called after him as he, Celeste, and Jaque all began running behind him. “You can’t just run ahead of us!”
The long walk became a ten-minute run as he emerged into the sphere-shaped room.
“Morn!” Morn’s mother cried as her eyes found him.
Morn ran to her, his arms outstretched. The purple runes on the floor flaring to life with every step. His mother was as beautiful as he remembered. Her long hair framing her worried face with her intense green eyes.
“Stop!” Master Scaine said as Morn passed straight through her.
Morn slammed into the coffin at the end of the platform, barely catching himself. The coffin exploded with purple light as soon as his hands touched it. A grinding sound followed by a loud bang turned everyone’s attention back to the passage behind them that was now sealed with a slab of stone glowing in the same purple runes.
“What have you done?” Master Scaine said, looking to Morn.
“We’re trapped,” Celeste said.
Morn turned to see the slab blocking the door and the pained expressions on everyone’s faces. He had just opened his mouth to apologize when the white runes around the room began all turning to the same purple color one by one.
“What’s happening?” Morn’s mother asked.
“I don’t know,” Master Scaine said. “I’ve been down here many times and never seen the runes behave like this until the last time Morn was here. That’s what I think brought you back.”
The runes surrounding them completed their transition from white to purple before beams of purple energy extended from each one and connected with Morn’s mother. She cried out as hundreds of them created this matrix around her.
“What is this?” she called.
“I-I don’t know,” Jaque replied, pulling a book from his bag. “There might be something I can do, hold on.”
“I don’t think we have that kind of time,” Celeste said as she pointed, “look!”
The matrix of purple converged to cover every inch of Morn’s mother, and the room suddenly went dark. A sudden flash of white light from the coffin illuminated the room. From where Morn stood, he could see his mother covering her face as well as Master Scaine, Celeste, and Jaque standing on the door side of the platform.
Morn’s mother turned to look at him, “Are you okay?”
“I think so,” Morn said as he cautiously walked forward.
His mother extended her hand to touch his cheek. Instead of passing through him, it was warm and soft. Morn threw his arms around her and cried into her shoulder as she held him tight.
continued 20/366 – The Gallery