The Cathedral

Something a little different this time! There’s always something crafty going on in my house. If I’m not scribing something, then the other one is scribbling something. So we decided why not do something that ties together this time! Ways.Unseen on instagram offers up some fantastic maps and isometric room drawings. Always a nice little cavern or dungeon to have a looksee at. Some people have wanted some text to go with them in order to use them for DnD games. Now, this is not that, I’m not versed in the ways of DnD so I have no idea what to include but we thought it might be fun if I wrote someting and then handed it over to see if Ways.Unseen could draw it and then offer the two up as a pair. So without further ado, here’s my part. Come back soon (well soon-ish, you can’t hurry art) to see what it looks like!!!

Ventrax took care as he climbed the stone steps to the grand entrance. Night had fallen and rain has been covering the city in a fine blanket of moisture all day making the ground perilously like glass. He glanced up, the wide stairs climbed from the open square in front of the cathedral and narrowed towards the large wooden doors which were reinforced with iron in case anyone felt brave enough to attack. Sentries stood motionless as Ventrax approached. They did not move to stop or greet him. The cathedral was open to all, at all hours but it did not stop Ventrax from holding his breath as he approached. Flames hissed as the fire of the lanterns recoiled from the damp weather. The pikes, leaning forward that held the lanterns cast a glow on the sentries’ faces that obscured the red glow of their eyes. 

Refusing to look directly at them Ventrax crossed the threshold feeling a crackle of energy at the nape of his neck as he did so. This building held so much history and power it influenced magic for miles around. His pace slowed as he blinked furiously, trying to adjust to the light. The building’s true architects preferred the twilight hours so filled the whole space with light. The walls soared up to the heavens so that Ventrax could barely make out any details on the vaulted roof, other than the orbs of glowing light that seemed to hang their unaided. He lowered his head as he made his way down the central aisle. Some seats either side of him were taken by pilgrims or those seeking refuge. He could feel their eyes turn upon him as he headed straight to the altar. He supressed a growl. He kept heading straight for the orrery that sat upon the altar. Copper metal twisted in circles, tracing the paths of the realms. As he got closer, he could see them moving, the clockwork mechanism inside slowly rotating them in real time. The podium sat behind the altar, a large wooden staircase lifting h speaker off the ground to hold court over all others. Ventrax tried to look like he belonged as he skipped up the step to bypass the podium and slide in behind the podium. Rather than go up the stairs, he looked to the ground. It was bold trying to enter with people still present but the cathedral was never empty and the longer he lingered, the more chance he would be caught. With a last look up at the glass window ahead of him, he couldn’t help but let his eyes linger on the red panel in the centre depicting the last war between all the races. If he failed his mission, all would be plunged back into that darkness again. He reached down and found the iron ring that lay flush with the stone  floor. He whispered a silent prayer and pulled. The handle moved smoothly and the stone lifted with ease, the only sound being the gasp of air escaping from the rooms below.

As the stone closed behind him, he was forced to readjust again. Sconces dotted the spiral staircase as it descended but it was barely enough to see by. The usual inhabitants didn’t have too much problem seeing in the dark. Ventrax wound his way deeper below the cathedral, the occasional landing punctuated the monotony. He would pause and look through the doors but he didn’t stop. Through one he could see a hallway carved into the rock. There was even less light in there. If it weren’t for the occasional groan and the light catching the bars caging in the prisoners Ventrax would not have known what he was looking at. 

Still Ventrax descended until he reached the bottom. The stairs ended in a small circular room. No longer was the stone polished and smooth. This room was had been hacked into the rock. It seemed like a dead end. No door was visible, no window, no signs of anything. Ventrax positioned himself at the bottom of the last stair and turned ninety degrees to his right, he walked directly to the edge of the room, just as his informant had told him and he began to feel the wall. His hands screamed at the harsh edges biting into his palms but he kept searching. His hands hesitated and moved back. That spot was definitely colder. He pressed harder, allowing the stone to cut through his skin. His blood smeared against the rock. He waited, slowly counting the seconds in his head. Eventually he heard the sound of grinding. He couldn’t help but smile to himself, a brief second of victory as his blood opened the doorway. The gap that opened up was not very big, much more suited to creatures who could transform but nevertheless, Ventrax managed to squeeze his way through. The rock has been hewn with more care in the next chamber. The room stretched out more like a hallway, rectangular plaques were spaced evenly on the walls, each marking the position of a coffin vault. Ventrax shuddered as he read some of the names. The old rulers, who were nothing more than monsters to his kind. The whole cathedral that prided itself on being opening to all people of all races was literally built on the bones of those who sought to destroy all others. 

Noises up ahead, drew his from his dark thoughts. His hand went to the hilt of the knife on his belt and he marched onwards. The plain wooden door at the end of the room was almost a disappointment until he realised other defences had to be present. He sent out his senses and went about unlocking the protective wards placed on the door. Had he just stepped through, the magic there would have torn him into a thousand pieces. Only now did he see the tell-tale scratches in the frame around the door. Once the wards were down, Ventrax dispensed with all subtleties and launching his boot at the door, causing it to splinter and cave in. 

“Just one of you?” The voice drifted from the centre of the room towards Ventrax. Its source was the creature sat on the chair in the centre. It was positioned almost like a throne up on a dais. The figure was slumped into the red velvet lazily, tracing the patterns on the gold arms. Behind the chair were bookshelves, rows upon rows, all around the edges of the room. It was not quite what Ventrax had been expecting. Weapons, victims, artefacts maybe, but he did not expect the long dead king of the vampires to be sat in a library.

“I was thinking the same thing.” Ventrax drew his knife. The figure looked at him finally. He raised an eyebrow and then glanced upwards. Ventrax sighed and glanced up to see a thousand red dots, the glowing eyes of sentries in bat form hanging from the rafters way above them. 
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to let them have my fun.” He laughed as he launched from the chair, straight at Ventrax.

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