Read Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

 

“I’m trying,” he said, lifting himself weakly from the ground.  “I think there is something I can do.”  His voice trembled under the strain. 

Of course, he had no idea what he could possibly do.  Mystical forces did not just materialize out of thin air.  They had to exist already, bound within some vessel, and they needed a disciplined mind to shape them. He was certainly qualified, but he no longer had that relic, not here.  It had opened the gate, but now that portal was gone, most likely consumed in the destruction on the other side.  Maybe the amulet, he thought.  He felt for it in his waist pocket.  It was still there, along with another lump.  The chalk, he had completely forgotten about going back for the chalk.

Oetho groaned in agony as he forced himself to stand.  The creature stared at him, its lower lip curled, obviously amused.  Oetho plodded forward a step, grimacing.

“If I can just find the energy, I should be able to open another door.”  He struggled with a few more steps and then pulled the bit of binding chalk from his pocket. “There should be some echo, some residue; a few lines of force.”  He mumbled to himself out loud. “I can sense these things.”

He held his hand out with the chalk pressed against the glowing wall.  Beads of blooded sweat rolled down his face.  The Ban-Tho watched impatiently lolling its head, gesturing for him to get on with. 

The chalk traced out a dingy line, a sharp contrast to the luminous white.  For a moment Oetho feared it would not take to the surface, yet somehow it wrote beautifully.  He traced a line down the wall and on across the floor.  He had to crawl to keep from collapsing.  As he finished, Oetho sighed and fell to the ground on the side of the line away from the creature. 

“Now door”, the Ban-Tho bellowed.  “Open door!”

Oetho breathed deeply and wiped the sweat from his forehead.  “Open it yourself.”

The Ban-Tho’s eyes grew wide, its nostrils flared, a deep roar erupted from its lungs and it charged, a thundering mass of muscle bounding forward, closing the distance between them in a fury.  Yet it stopped in an instant, slamming headfirst into a wall of nothingness stretched out across the room.  Its eyes rolled back into its head and its body sloughed down onto the ground, inches from Oetho.

 

Continue to Part XII