Caverns of Blood Part 1 *Authors note - this version contains lost pages, not previously told in this story Since the dawn of men, blood has been spilt upon the soil all over the earth; sometimes the blood is pure â€“ poured in pursuit of a just cause or purified by saints. Yet what most people do not realize, or rather choose not to question is, â€œwhere does the impure blood go?â€ What happens to the blood that is spilt out of rage, jealousy, or corruption? All sins find a way to reveal themselves, and that blood which is defiled by sin seeps deep into the earthâ€™s soil; where many men hope their vile deeds will rest and be forgotten. Overtime, this sea of blood has saturated our mother beyond that which she could bear. After only a few short ages, she was no longer able to act as a spleen to sieve out menâ€™s sins. This river of blood hollowed out the caverns of what is now known as SHAME. The dungeon carved out of our mother by all our foul deeds. What better place for darkness to hide; waiting to recuperate from an ancient woundâ€¦ ============================================= The dank caverns reverberated with the slightest clank of their blades or their deliberate and shortened steps; to conceal the sounds of a hundred footmen was a feat nigh impossible. â€œCome on men, just a bit further!,â€ the man in the lead called out with a hushed yell; trying to encourage the men further he reasoned, â€œthere are no more elements that can dwell this far beneath the earth, weâ€™ve just got to light the sacred flame then we can turn our backs to this foul crag mire.â€ Obadiah looked up to his high masterâ€™s vain attempts to conceal the truth. There was some truth in his words; there were no more elements that could dwell here. What then could have extinguished the ancient flame? That element was the sole reason for this trek of desperation. Their torches did little to fend off the darkness that lived in here. Several times Obadiah felt the distinct notion that the darkness itself was trying to extinguish their flames. When he had become an acolyte to the order of Entbane druids, he had scarce imagined that his first ordeal would have him as a disciple to Raoule Entbane, the head of their order and one of the oldest living men in this age. â€œMaster Raoule, please sir, forgive my profound ignorance, but tâ€™aint nothinâ€™ natural about this place. How do you know where it is we supposed to light the flame?â€ Raoule looked to Obadiah, with a sigh he confessed a bit of the truth, â€œmy young sprout, would that I had not been called to this dreadful place. The flame that was lit here by the original Entbane has been doused. You know as well as I, what that means. So, I must agree with you, there is nothing natural about this place. There is nothing in nature that is powerful enough to douse one of the original flames.â€ Raoule was silent for a bit as he studied the map in stride, â€œtruth be told, the flame has actually been doused for quite some time; this is what concerns me most â€“ how could the squelching of this flame have been concealed this from our order for so long?â€ He continued after a short pause â€œEver since the beginning of our order, our guards have kept an ever watchful eye on the entrance to this damnable place; there have been no reports of any evil that is bound by the flame entering or leaving this place. This can only mean that the name of whatever evil has swallowed our flame existed since before Elder Omniâ€™s great nomenclature.â€ They continued on a few more steps when suddenly the narrow passages they had been traveling opened into an expansive cavern. Obadiah sensed the danger before his master called the warriors to alarm, â€œThis is it! Ye warriors of The Treant Order, for this one purpose have your ancestors of old lived out their lives in devotion. This is your time to repay our Mother, with your blade or your blood, it shall serve the same purpose â€“ for each drop of your sacred blood that should fall here, will cleanse this dreadful cavern. Trust in the Life Bringer and you shall conquer this day! Suflare Vitale!â€ â€œSUFLARE VITALE!â€ the men resounded in unison as they rushed forward. As the vague outline of the bridge emerged, Obadiah allowed hope to develop within his heart for a brief moment, but it was then that the final ordeal presented itself. What followed Obadiah could not recollect; all he could see was a crimson canvass. â€œYou mustâ€¦ live on!â€ the hollow words echoed in his head as he recognized the blurred outline of Raoule. â€œYou must.. live on! And return here my son! I have done all I can, but the fire is not lit. You must return and light it before the Lord of this cavern is able to break free. Live on and return!â€ Then there was nothing. Not even silence followed as Obadiah slipped again into unconsciousness. ======================================================================= Raoule faced down the darkness. This dark being was indeed older than Omni, and it harnessed incredible power. Without knowing its true name, he could not visibly perceive its form, but he knew it was there and he knew they had just interrupted it. He dripped the last bit of juices from the mandrake root upon Obadiah's forehead, and let out a deliberate sigh. His breathe, now visible from the cold that the darkness harbored, began to spread over Obadiah's entire body. The darkness lunged at them with incredible speed, but before it reached out for them Obadiah vanished to wherever Raoule's final Ort Portation had sent him.