152/366 – The Monolith in the Mountain

Day 10 of 100 Word Prompts: Rich

“Let’s go, Flint!” Johannes called down the mountain behind him. His voice was raspy from thin air high up in the Aldonleaia Mountains, and his breath deep and frequent. “We’re almost there.”

“Coming,” Flint replied as he grasped the edge of the ledge and pulled himself up.

The mouth of the cavern faced North by North West. Flint felt the tingling sense of familiarity in the back of his mind as he absentmindedly rubbed the tattoo on his left forearm.

“Come on, man. It’s just inside,” Johannes said, beckoning Flint inside as he led the way. “I’m telling you, it looks just like your tattoo!”

“Wait, Johannes, we have to get the rest of them up here first,” Flint called after him as he turned and began pulling the thick rope they had climbed.

Arm over arm, Flint lifted Greg, Hugo, and Lucas over the edge of setting them on their feet. Each of them thanked him in turn.

“I don’t know about this, Buddy,” Lucas said as the other two sped into the cave. “I’m not getting a good feeling about it. I think maybe we should turn back.”

“Why would we turn back?” Flint asked. “Ludwig already paid the contract in full. All we have to do now is get this thing and bring them back safely. It’s easy money from a rich guy that wants to throw his money away.”

“But your tattoo, Flint. It matches the symbol on the monolith. Don’t you think that there is a reason that they put it so far up here, hiding it in a cave that no one has found before?” Lucas asked.

“I get paid to guard, Lucas. Not think. I think we can both agree that’s for the best,” Flint said, rubbing the mop of brown hair on Lucas’ head.

“Ow!” Lucas said, flinching out of the goliath’s grasp.

“Sorry,” Flint said, pulling his hand away with a sad look. “I forget sometimes.”

“You’re okay, Buddy. Let’s get in here and get this over with, and with any luck from Tymora, things will go smoothly, and we can move on to better things,” Lucas said, rubbing the top of his head.

Flint followed Lucas into the cave, lighting a torch as it grew dark. Outside, the mouth had looked entirely natural, but just inside, the ceiling went up nearly forty-five feet, and carvings blanketed the walls.

“Can you read this?” Lucas asked as they progressed down.

Flint shook his head as he ran his hands across the divots. The tattoo on his arm tingled as he continued.

“Come on, guys! Hurry up!” Johannes called from a few hundred feet away. It’s right here.”

Flint had to pick up the pace as Lucas began jogging ahead. The hall ended at a massive cavern with even higher ceilings that vanished outside the light of the torch.

As Flint looked around, Johannes, Greg, and Hugo ran their hands over the surface of the obsidian monolith in the center of the room.

“Whoa,” Lucas said under his breath.

“What the-” Flint muttered as the surface of the monument seemed to move, yet remain completely still.

Flint’s vision blacked out, and an instant later, the room was different. Seven cloaked figures, all larger than him, stood around a blank space in the room, chanting with their arms out. A rhythmic vibration rumbled seemingly from everywhere as the chants grew louder.

Flint’s vision snapped from there to another place, and then another. One by one, until he was simultaneously aware of seven different places at once. Each site containing the same number of figures, but the shapes, sizes, and colors of the cloaked ones changed. Across all the locations, the chanting remained the same until it reached a crescendo and identical, glowing hot monoliths erupted from the stone floor. All the sound and vibration stopped instantly.

Flint opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. As he walked forward to one of the figures, he watched as they turned to dust and swirled around the monolith until they became a white sigil in the face of it.

A sharp pain made Flint reach to his tattoo and grip it as he screamed, feeling his blood boiling beneath the skin.

“Flint?” Lucas asked.

Flint blinked a few times. He was still standing in the room with the monolith. It no longer glowed from the heat, and the sigil looked slightly faded.

“I saw something,” Flint said.

“Hugo, take a closer look at the thing,” Johannes said, ignoring Flint’s comment.

“You got it, Boss,” Hugo replied, twisting his hands as he muttered an incantation, making his eyes take on a purple glow. “Holy shit, Johannes. This thing is practically dripping with magic.”

“What do you mean?” Johannes asked.

Hugo blinked, returning his eyes to normal. “I can’t look at it for too long, Boss. It’s blinding. That’s some powerful magic. It’s enchanted right into the core of it,” Hugo said.

“Johannes-” Flint tried, stepping forward.

“Greg, do you think your pick can break it?” Johannes asked, ignoring the goliath once again.

“I got this from the Dwarves, Johannes. This thing can mine Mythril. This thing doesn’t stand a chance,” Greg replied, pulling a glowing blue pickaxe from his bag.

“Guys, I don’t think-” Lucas stepped forward

“Do it,” Johannes said.

Flint saw everything around him slow. He saw Lucas walking forward with his arm out. Johannes looked as though he had just found a gold mine. Hugo’s face was somewhere between awe and fear as he stared at the monolith. Greg brought the pick around his head and swung down as hard as he could.

The pick sank eight inches into the side of the monolith as a smile spread on Greg’s face. Flint watched the sigil on the front of it flash a bright red and erupt in a massive explosion, blowing him back up the hall and clear off the ledge.

It was cold when Flint woke to the sound of a mountain buzzard squawked above him.

“Lucas!” Flint said as he tried to roll over, pain exploding from his arm. He looked down to see part of his tattoo searing off of him, leaving only a faint scar where the dark black had once been.

Flint scrambled back up the mountain to the mouth of the cavern. He ran inside, shouting the names of the other men, but found only the head of the pick, and a single page from Johannes journal depicting the sigil on the monolith.



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