(Flash fiction Friday attempt. Genre Mashing assignment via Chuck Wendig's Terribleminds blog.
Water still plonked in the distant puddles and reached her in the dimness of the great hall. Crow had pushed into the darkened cavernous room not lit like the hallways because here walls had not crumbled or buckled inwards allowing the cold moonlight inside. The doorway here had even been hung with complete tapestries with great stone figures and of the gods or heroes of the age embroidered upon them, she had stopped to feel the ancient visual texts of the Mages wondering at the meaning they may have had to them.
The shadows in the depths of the great gallery perhaps throne room if there ever was a king of such a place seemed to eat her sight; her hand reached into the pouch at her hip to stroke the Mage engine and calm her as it had the previous night when the wails from the desert winds woke her under the shattered dome. The steady thrum, the humming whispers and the vibrations from the whirling device though remote and ancient had kept her company since splitting with Rhas years back. She stopped padding and her foot fell loud enough for her to hear it as something scraped beneath her heel
It was like that moment in the forests when birds had fallen silent was they often did as she approached or when in the tavers she frequented with Rhas right before someone would throw a punch or sink a dagger into a stranger. Crow pulled it from her hip setting the bone cloak Rhas had given her that she wore as a skirt to clattering filling the space. Crow reached into the pouch grasped the engine bringing and stared at it. It did not warm her chilled hands or give off any of its regular purplish glow. She realized then that the whispers and hums had been silent as was the soft song from the rune carved blade at the small of her back. She spun facing back and wondered when everything had gone quit.
Crow stood like the statutes she had passed in the broken dome. The great faceless shapes that once might have been the great heroes of the golden age of peace worse over time by the winds themselves. In the silence she though glanced around trying to see into the depths of the dark room catching glimpses of more statues here not in pieces but whole and not the massive towering shapes but like herself and just as immobile. Her eyes adjusting to the dark in the way Rhas said he needed but she never had being made rather then born.
Spinning back the luminance came from deeper in the cavernous area casting shadows from pillars between her and the source. She padded cautiously towards it caressing the motionless engine that allowed her to cast bolts of lightning, call down falls of fire and bring statues to life. It no longer spoke to her, her hand that normally would hold or rest on she song blade stroked the inert stone concentric ringed globe feeling the ridges of the rings that grade up its body. Water plinked closer then in the distance, maybe from unseen cracks in the grand dome she could just make out above.
Crow passed statues in mid motion, one in a run towards the tapestries hanging the entrance, a trio to her right in meditative pose facing one another. The click and clack of the bone cloak rung from the depths of the room behind and around her echoing and she heard the shiver and hum of the jade dagger again...
Rhas has told her the stories of Drossal and the riches taken from it. The fallen city had been of the other side of the wailing desert calling to treasure hunters searching the wonders of the age when magic had been easy. It was the era her Mage engine had been made she thought. She had never shared it with anyone. Before getting knifed in that tavern over an insult she suffered, before bleeding out on that bare wood floor before she leveled the rotted place and everyone in it with the power in her hidden treasure there had been more then just the two of them. Chela had died to the fires of one of the other made people, the lava dweller her green body and leafy crown withering in the heat of its anger. Maxis had been devoured by the swarm of beetles, centipedes and other insects that came out of the tomb where they gathered the jade dagger from. Its song kept her company in the way his songs poems and traveling stories had.
The jade song has changed timber since it returned, it was wobbly and higher in pitch a bit as if it was unsure of the tune for once. Her shoulders tense relaxed as the companionship of her artifacts returned. The gallery must contain something of great power and antiquity to affect them so. The rings of the engine were moving in her hands as she rand her fingers along them. Crow cupped it in her palm holding her other hand over it closed her here and tried to hear its regular vibration and hum along with the blade song that was gaming strength and regularity.
She did no notice as she passed under the broken stone arch that might have been the foundation of a massive ring since she had closed her eyes trying to hear the regular hum. She maneuvered around arches of stone and metal for the clacking of the bones echoes now straining to find the power to cast a simple light spell. Plops of water told here there must actually be some great holes somewhere above was they filled the silence between strains of the warbling song.
Crow opened her eyes was the vibration returned and stared into the flat features of a tall statue, her head just at its shoulders. Its arms were outstretched to the sky as closed in as everywhere here in the dimness up there. She felt the vibration from this figure and places her hand against it seeing the separate rings and silvery core of her engine fall from her hand. This thing had stolen her engine, the power was in this thief. Its torso vibrated with the hum of her engine, her treasure, her power. The song stopped and she snatched the dagger from her back. It was still whole, feeling the runes along its blade they were still there. Had the statue, had this place taken the song too. She slammed her fist against the mans stone body now glowing a violet colour and screamed herself raw pounding against it.
Once the echo of her fury and frustration dies away she was kneeling at the feet of the statue picking up the pieces of her Mage engine, the ones she could find in the light now cast be the form at her back. She turned her hack to the statue and leaned against it. She vaguely felt the gentle hum of her companion. She dropped the blade in her lap and caressed the rings of the tiny artifact.
There was nothing to take here. There was no treasure to steal no artifacts to find and or evils to kill. Crow sat at the feet of a blank faced statue its smooth features seeming to follow her in her motions. Se settled herself against its feet hearing the clack of the bone cloak as the blade song came back again but warbling as catching was if choked by tears, along with the song there was echoes of her weeping. The last echoes of the bone cloak faded fast. The plink of the water and the hum of the song continued though coming from her.