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|More from Carloso||Action, Adventure||PG-13||N/A|
|A Chilling Discovery|
The cold winter wind continued to blow vigorously as the two water-tribesmen made their way across the frozen wastes. They were caught up in a huge snowstorm, they were common in this part of the world but this one seemed more intense than usual. The men could barely see two feet in front of them; their vision was just an endless sea of white. The men were shivering vigorously due the sub-zero temperatures and knew they needed to shelter themselves soon or risk death.
"I told you this was a mistake Kayak!" shouted one of the tribesmen.
"I'm telling you I saw it Takka!" replied Kayak.
"Oh sure you did, you saw a little Fire Nation ship making its way casually across the sea and Oh look, we can't even see the sea!"
"Would I have gone looking for it if I hadn't and don't blame me, how was I to know this storm was coming!?"
"I swear when we get back I'm going to throttle you!"
"Sure, anyway I think there's some sort of cave system up ahead so we can shelter in there until this thing passes."
"Oh and do you know that, or did you just 'see' it again?"
"Shut up, and if you look you'll see it too!"
Kayak raised his arm and pointed to a shadow in the distance; it stuck out largely due to it being the only solid structure for miles, and although it was still largely covered by snow Kayak and Takka could still make out an opening.
The two tribesmen picked up the pace and jogged towards the opening desperately trying to get away from the now intensifying storm. They went through the opening and now safely out of the storm the men removed their hoods. Kayak was a clean shaven man who had short brown hair while Takka was the opposite. He had long black hair going down to his shoulders and a long black beard to match. The men's attire was near-enough the same. They both wore long fur blue coats and pants coupled with black leather boots.
The two men surveyed their surrounding, it was a bland simple cave but it had one mysterious aspect.
"Is it just me or has that ice been melted?" asked Kayak as he pointed to the back end of the cave.
"Are you going absolutely ins-" Takka stopped dead his words.
He looked where Kayak was pointing and realized he wasn't lying, Takka could see parts of the ice had been melted unnaturally granting passage into the deeper passage of the cave. Both men instantly drew their weapons, a Whale's tooth scimitar, and proceeded deeper into the cave. They knew they had to investigate, what they had discovered couldn't be ignored. They stayed silent and moved slowly, their heart rates increased as they felt fearful of what could be down this passage. They continued down the unlit path and from what they could tell whoever melted the ice seemed to have known there was a cave system behind it, the melted tunnel had been perfectly carved.
The cave system itself was strange, it wasn't recently created and it seemed decades old just from the feel of the rock. As the men continued down they saw a light in the distance, marking the end of the tunnel. Kayak and Takka looked at each, they saw fear in each other's eyes. Takka gestured his head toward the light nervously and men proceeded on, they had come too far to turn back now. As the men neared the light they stopped dead, they could see what was at the end of the cave, and it wasn't good.
The men saw that there was a secret Fire Nation installation beneath the ice sheet. It was a large cave with a roof of ice hundreds of meters thick and it had a small port beneath it that looked decades old. The buildings were run-down and largely in ruins, yet Fire Nation banner still hung from them. However, there was also a fresh, largely untouched Fire Nation ship.
Kayak and Takka were frozen still, they were petrified with fear. A Fire Nation battleship here? So close to their home? The thought would terrify them but seeing it first-hand had made them feel scared of out their skins.
"We should go..." said Kayak nervously.
"I second that..." replied Takka in a similarly nervous voice.
"Why so soon?" said a mysterious voice behind them. "You only just got here."
The men turned only to have vision go black from a punch to the face. They both went unconscious as a gruff Fire Nation soldier dragged them towards the ship. Kayak slowly began to awake, his vision was blurred but he could sort of make out what was happening. He could tell that he and Takka were being dragged through some sort of cave system, it was similar to the one they had gone through previously, only this one was much better lit. Kayak's vision continued to improve as he could now make out that this cave system wasn't natural in the slightest, it had clearly been carved out by man.
They continued down the path for another five minutes until they reached a large chamber. The chamber was a fairly wide, very long room. There was a shrine at the opposite end of it. It was a grand stone structure of a pyramidal design made up of three stone floors with effigies of what appeared to be a dragon lining them. The main shrine was at the top, it had a much larger image of the effigies below carved onto the wall. Below the carving was a large stone table with a golden casket positioned than shone brightly even from a great distance. Between the shrine and Kayak was a large stone floor. It had been divided into tiles each with the symbol of the Fire Nation on them.
Kayak's attention was suddenly drawn to his left as Takka groaned as he regained consciousness. However, Kayak's attention soon returned to the shrine as he gazed at it with wonder. His thoughts were interrupted as a man wearing a long black robe with a red trim stepped out in front of him, as the man stepped forward, two Fire Nation guards forced Kayak and Takka to their feet. The man stopped just before the floor of the chamber became the stone tiles. He turned to face the two tribesmen and removed his hood. The man had a bald head and was clean shaven, he was very old and appeared to be at least 50 years old. He surveyed the two men with narrow eyes and grinned.
"Well, well, well," he said. "You two have seen a few things you shouldn't have."
He turned around and surveyed the chamber's tiled floor in a similar manner before turning back to the two men.
"However you could be useful" he continued.
"The day I help the Fire Nation is the day I die!" declared Takka as he lunged toward the man.
The man smiled and blocked Takka's lunge with ease before countering with a well placed strike to the stomach. Takka collapsed to the floor in pain before a Fire Nation soldier again dragged him to his feet.
"How... appropriate," said the man as he smiled. "Now then, let me make things clear. Me and my men here have a job to perform and you're going to help us perform it. If you object well, it doesn't matter what you think of it, you have no choice in the matter.
The Fire Nation guards pushed Kayak and Takka to the start of the stone tiles. The man stood closely next to Takka and spoke into his ear.
"You know what this is? An old Fire Nation puzzle designed to keep trespassers out and you're going to show us how to get through it."
The man picked up a small rock from the floor and threw it onto a random tile. As soon as the rock hit the tile a jet of fire shot up beneath it incinerating it. "Good luck," said the man as he gestured to the guards.
The guards pushed Kayak and Takka onto the tiles and the men instantly sprinted towards the other end of the room. They desperately tried to outrun the flames but they were growing more tired with each passing second. As they neared the end of the room Takka tripped and fell onto a group of tiles and he was instantly incinerated before he could escape.
Kayak didn't turn to watch his friend's last moments instead focusing on his goal. He neared the end and dived onto the normal part of the chamber. He fell onto the floor and lay gasping for breath. He failed to notice the man and his two guards running over the same (now used) tiles, managing to reach the other side before they had time to reset.
Kayak felt the man drag him to his feet, he was then raised right in front of the man's face.
"Well done," said the man in a sarcastic manner.
The man threw Kayak back onto the stone tiles and he was, like Takka, incinerated. The man smiled and began to climb the steps toward the shrine, the two guards following him closely. As they reached the top the man pulled a lever and a loud click was heard.
"That should disable the puzzle," he said.
The man looked at the golden casket. The front side of it had 3 symbols, a symbol of what appeared to be a dragon in the centre and two Fire Nation symbols either side of it. On top of the casket was another inscription in an unreadable language, however it also contained symbols resembling a dragon. The man put his hands on top of the casket and opened it slowly, when it was halfway open the man could see what was inside...and he smiled.
For the collective works of the author, go here.