Ximond stood behind a pillar, the giant antechamber leading up the first gate was marvelous, it’s ceiling incredibly high, sparking the imagination of what lay further below, not just of architecture, but also of creature, watching the hundreds of Mindless down below them, swarming from the crashed in gate, Elder Grein marvelling below, saying in hushed whisper, “Impossible.. That gate was sealed with a level of magic far beyond even my own capabilities…,” Looking up the stairway that led to the ledge in which Ximond and Elder Grein stood upon, looking below, Ximond turned to look up them, seeing the apprentices waiting with baited breath, clearly hoping the coast was clear, ready to observe the depths of the unexplored puzzle ruins.

Ximond shifted his head towards the Elder, his green hood hiding part of his face, “I thought you said you’ve never been down here before?”

Elder Grein continued to stare down into the snow-white skinned mob below, replying “Not as an elder, but as an apprentice, my Elder at that time, far more powerful than I, today.. Even he was unable to disrupt the magic around it,” The Elder paused, clearly in deep thought, before continuing, “Back when the battle for the orbs transpired, these ruins were used and it was found that all the ruins across the world, eventually became connected to one another, once descending far enough below.. It was how the mages were able to connect, not just in using the orbs, but eventually in physical presence, as well.. These ruins just about won the mage’s the orb wars, if not for the ruins in Naator,” The Elder turned towards Ximond, “The Cult managed to make one of the mage’s orb wielders defect and tell them about the mage’s use of the ruins.. Then, the Cult set an ambush and dealt a grave blow to the Mage cause… Never, did the Mage’s back then, expect to find any of the Cult down in the depths of the ruins and most of the mage force, outside of the leadership and powerful masters, were not even allowed past the first gate.” Elder Grein breathed deep, adding, “It seems history does not spare us the irony of finding an unknown enemy below, just as my ancestors once did.”

Fascinated, Ximond had more questions about the mysterious puzzle ruins, questions about the Mindless, “Another time,” he thought, before asking the Elder, “What are we gonna do, then?”

Elder Grein responded immediately, “First, we are going to send an apprentice for the orb in the cradle.. Clearly, all the gates in these particular ruins have been dispelled, somehow.. If the other gates have not been dispelled, allowing them to potentially be open could allow these Mindless to invade those ruins, as well.”

Ximond asked, “….Are we going further down?”

Turning his head back to the mob below, Elder Grein said “If there are this many up here.. I cannot even begin to imagine how many are below.” Turning his head towards the stairs to the antechamber below, he speculated “These creatures must be more intelligent than we first thought.. They do not ascend the stairs, do not separate from each other’s company and even sent a scouting party above..”

Ximond wondered, “Do you think they are intelligent enough to set an ambush?”

Elder Grein replied “Unquestionably.. They are hunters, they will be capable of tactics that we may not even foresee,” adding, “Hunger, especially felt by one with the nature of a hunter, breeds a type of desperation that should never be underestimated.. With this many of them, they would need a very stable food source and down here, that is unlikely… This enemy is absolutely not to be underestimated.. Hasty, was the decision, it seems, to name them Mindless.”

Elder Grein turned back to Ximond, who was smiling at him, “Then, we will just need to set an ambush of our own.. Any food stores above?”

Elder Grein smiled back, “Only a little bit.”

Ximond started towards the stairs above, saying “Perfect.”





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