In the Coils of the Labyrinth (Arkham Horror) by Annandale David

In the Coils of the Labyrinth (Arkham Horror) by Annandale David

Author:Annandale, David [Annandale, David]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Aconyte
Published: 2022-09-06T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter Fifteen

Scotland, 1806

Partway down the shaft beneath the altar, terror almost sent Magnus rushing back up. He fought the urge. He leaned against the wall, the lantern swinging softly in his grip as he breathed in and out. He sought the excitement that had accompanied him on the first part of his journey. Why did the exhilaration abandon him? Every step of his descent made the discovery even more wondrous.

His discovery. It didn’t matter that Christina had told him about it. No one else had gone in before him. His were the first feet to walk these stairs.

First for more centuries than he could guess. There was no record of what lay beneath the abbey in any chronicle he knew of, and he had read them all, many as a youth when he visited the estate, and many more in the years afterward, when they gave him leave to dream of the land that would one day return to him.

His land. His abbey. His discovery.

The fear receded enough to let him resume his way down. New waves of it washed over him with every crash of the surf below.

“You behold the sublime,” he said to himself, speaking aloud. “Terror is meet and right.”

Sublime , said the echoes. Sublime, sublime, sssssssublime. The word spun down ahead of him into the shaft, distorting, becoming one with the next crash of the surf.

The stairs carried on before him into the dark, and into the endless turns.

Magnus examined the wall as he walked. It changed as he dropped down, becoming a greater source of wonder in its own right. At the top of the shaft, the walls had been stonework, in the same style as the abbey, and for the first twists of the staircase, Magnus had thought Christina right to think this was the crypt. Now, though, carved stones became rare objects, fading into the naked stone of the mountain. The shaft seemed neither artificial nor natural. It blended both states, an impossible construct. Magnus no longer believed it had been built with the abbey.

This is older.

Who created it? He asked himself the question with growing urgency and wonder. The Romans? The answer seemed absurd as soon as he thought it. He looked at the play of the lantern’s light over the wall, at the way it was a cavern one moment, a well shaft the next.

“Human hands did not build this,” he announced.

This, this, this, thissssssss , said the echoes, merging with the hiss-roar of the surf.

No, not the surf. He admitted that to himself. It was that knowledge, instinctive at first, that had frightened him. That knowledge now kept him going, dropping down and down to greater revelation.

He began to breathe in time with the hiss and crash. Then he imagined the sound changed, became precise, became a voice directed at him.

Mag… nussssssssss

Withdraw and crash, withdraw and crash.

Mag… nussssssssss

Destiny and revelation were one, and the one called him by name.

“I hear you,” he said. “I am coming.”

No echoes of his own words now, just the call.


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