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The Eleventh Sanctum

by Lizzy Rose 5 months ago in Young Adult · updated 5 months ago
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A mystical, ancient tale of a war-torn world.

Just 50 years after the discovery of the Inaculae, the world had fallen into ruin.

In the beginning, they were renowned across the globe, those with the ability to peer into the strange hell dimensions plaguing the world, bringing horrid creatures along with them. They used their gift to map out the demonic realities, describe and study their beings, and learn their enemies' weaknesses. Until one learned that their sight came with the ability to bend the power of the void to their will. That one set hordes of demons upon a plane of reality not equipped to handle it, and so reality fell to the Inaculae.

The Inaculae, however, fell into disarray itself. Torn between the desire to destroy and rebuild the world and protect it, a race once praised for its power became the victim of a world that turned its back, even to those who chose to protect it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hello? Please, I need your help."

It had been the same cry for help for 6 months, every night. He had begun to hear it in his every day life, the feeling of something lingering just behind his shoulders a constant as he moved throughout the world. On this particular morning, his movements had him taking a trip to Calustelle, a good day's journey from his home in Azugorn.

His horse saddled into the South Calustelle marketplace, a bustling crowd of individuals filled with the long drawl of meaningless conversations about the weather and the goings on of the city. Faces that would not stick to memory as he passed them by, knowing his destination lay just beyond the gates on the other side of the market.

4 knocks, separated by two, followed by a single rap, all in a rhythmic pattern. A slot in the door slid open and Alister muttered a single word under his breath before the clicking of locks sounded and the door swung open. Without exchanging any pleasantries, Alister made his way inside, his acquaintance redoing the locks before turning to him.

"Alister, my boy! It has been too long. What brings you to Calustelle?" Aldwin piped up, pulling him into a haughty embrace before moving to the kitchen and grabbing a bottle of ale.

"I'm afraid it's not a social visit, 'win." he explained, taking a seat at the kitchen table.

"Well, my friend, good or bad, all news are better with a drink in ye," he replied with a more comforting grin, handing Alister a mug. He took a sip, a refreshing sigh passing his lips before he spoke again.

"I need you to walk, alongside me, as I'm dreaming."

Aldwin set his own mug down on the table, meeting his friend's eye. "Now, we both know you know how dangerous that can be. Walking during sleep is a higher chance of getting stuck, you have less control. Bringing somebody else with you can keep you on track-"

"-but you could just as easily get them stuck with you, I am aware, Aldwin."

"This must be serious, then. Has something happened, Alister? We can alert the local Inavis and-"

"No," Alister interrupted, "The Inavis cannot know, at least not for now. I do not know what is going on the other side, and I do not want to alert them if it is nothing. This is simply a exploratory walk, but I did not wish to go alone..."

"...and you concluded that I would be more willing to aid you," he guessed with a warm smile.

"Aldwin, you are my closest friend. There is not anyone I trust more with not only this matter, but with my life. Someone has been...calling out to me, from one of those worlds, but only when I sleep. I need to go and find them."

"You are aware that the Inamanus as well as the Inavis can sense void-magic, Walking included. We may very well be putting ourselves in danger. The Calustelle Guard has our own people under it's authority, to alert them to the presence of void-magic."

"I know. We cannot do it here. I simply wished to ask your assistance."

"And if I refused? You would go and walk on your own, would you not?"

"I'm afraid you know me too well, as always, my friend. I would not make you leave your home and risk yourself. The choice is yours."

Aldwin sat for a moment, gazing into his half-empty mug with a tormented expression. "What can you tell me of this voice that calls out to you? Have you seen into the world from which it calls?" he asked, rising from the table and moving to a carpet in his hallway, beckoning Alister to follow. Pushing back the carpet, he revealed a door hidden away in the floorboards. He pulled it towards him to reveal a passageway, into which the two descended. Aldwin struck a match and lit an oil lamp at the bottom of the stairs, revealing a stone room lined with shelves of books and one with square shelves containing rolled up parchments. A long table took up the center of the room.

"I see no details of the world the voice comes from. It sounds like a child's voice, a young boy. When my eyes close, I see red, like blood dripping from a wound, swirled with the darkest black. Then I hear the voice, calling out for help. The same cries, every night."

"There are a number of sub-dimensions colored black and red. Has the voice said anything else? Anything that could indicate it's location, or perhaps you've seen something else amongst the colors?"

Alister closed his eyes, and for a moment, he was brought back to the voice. He had not noticed before, mind occupied with the child's cries.

"There were other voices, behind the child, whispered so I believed it to be nothing more than the spirits of the void, but one phrase stuck out once after I woke up. Portiero defernum resurgerat, L'artius Ombre regnola."

"You need to brush up on your languages, boy," Aldwin teased, grabbing a book off the shelf. "The words are an ancient demonic tongue that most void-creatures get their present-day languages from. It is called Geherno, a product of the Tenth Sanctum."

"The Tenth Sanctum is mere legend. No Walker has ever been able to gain entry to anything beyond the Nine."

"The Tenth Sanctum is a legend because supposedly, it fell to ancient armies of light," he explained, setting down the final of 9 maps pulled from the shelves onto the center of the circular table. Each of the 9 maps formed a ring around the table, the lands all connecting into one with borders drawn between them. "Each and every Walker is taught the Nine Sanctums- Careus, Callidine, Vorax, Avidia, Cruania, Fidissa, Saebris, Geminax, and Retrus. Long ago, they were connected with one surrounding ring. That surrounding ring, was Cassima."

"Cassima was nothing more than a wasteland, where the Rulers of the Nine Inner Sanctums sent those most despicable of heart. It was in this wasteland that shadows began to brew, monsters the Nine could not control. Back then, the armies of light and the Nine worked in a sort of harmony. The Nine had no interest in other worlds, merely wished to be left alone in their affairs. However, the trouble broiling in the Tenth Sanctum posed enough of a risk that the armies of light were called in."

He paused, turning to meet Alister in the eye. "It was the day the armies of Light fell. The creatures of Cassima corrupted the portals the Light used to reach the hell dimension and slaughtered the Light."

"I know of the Light's demise, Aldwin. I did not know it was fighting the Tenth Sanctum. So, the Light's soldiers were lost, but the power of the Light remained, right? So, there had to have been remaining soldiers on the other sides of the portals! Why not close them?"

"They did-"

"So, the Tenth Sanctum is still around then? The Light failed."

"If you'd listen, boy!" Alister tossed him an apologetic glance and leaned back in his seat as Aldwin continued his tale.

"The Light did not fail. Before the portals' corruption reached the Kingdom of Light, those who remained sent all the power they could into the portals. The two energies-Light and Void-battled, amplified by the magic of the portals themselves. The Rulers of the Inner Sanctums, as well as the Council of Light, had hardly the time to barricade themselves and as much of their people as they could before the portal networks exploded. The damage across both planes was cataclysmic, but the barricades protected enough to rebuild."

"So, the Tenth Sanctum was not all to fall to the armies of Light..."

"The Light fell as well. The power remains, but there are far fewer pure beings of Light in the world."

"So, what does all of that have to do with these visions? Who is calling to me in the language of a lost realm?"

"Unfortunately, it is that that I cannot answer. Geherno is not just the language of the Tenth Sanctum. It was a secret, coded language, only used by those creatures. The message itself, a grim warning. 'The Doors of Hell shall rise, the Shadow's Claw shall reign.'"

"Grim warning aside, there is a child involved, I am sure of it. A child who called out for help. I'm taking the Walk, Aldwin. The only question is if you will accompany me."

Alister hissed with a grimace as a large hand came down across the back of his head. "There's no need to be all brooding and serious like, get over yerself! Never said I was letting ya go in alone, that'd be a damn suicide mission! Gather your things, we leave for Caer Sarsol immediately."

"Caer Sarsol? We haven't visited there since I was a boy and your father guarded over it. It's still hidden?" Alister asked as Aldwin began packing maps into saddlebags, making his way towards the stairs.

"My father's protections live on even as he does not. We will not be discovered there. Sarsol remains a safe haven for the Inavis. Come, we must depart quickly."

Packing there things to the horses' sides, the two saddled up and left Calustelle behind them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aldwin and Alister reached the woods of Sarsol by dusk, as the night air began to settle between the trees. Alister remained as Aldwin dismounted, stepping toward a tree with letters carved into the bark, M. C. Any passerby would think it was nothing more than two lovestruck kids; Two letters could hold any of a dozen meanings. Alister, however, had met the man those initials belonged to. Aldwin slipped a blade from his bootstrap and pressed his finger to the tip, letting the scarlet slither to the surface before it dripped into the dirt at the base of the tree. A silver sheen flashed across the letters, and a ripple of light appeared between the trees.

"I am certain Maurin took his flair for the dramatic into the next life with him. A blood lock, that's ancient magic. Most of our people use runic locks these days," he laughed as Aldwin took up his horse and the two passed through the ripple, which promptly disappeared.

Reaching the tree line, Alister gazed out across the fields to the castle that was Caer Sarsol. He remembered Maurin's calls for him to stop running in the halls, sneaking off to the stables to brush the horses with Aldwin and Gregory when he came to visit. There were never many children in the stronghold, and even though Aldwin was nearly 5 years his senior, the two were practically twins. Aldwin was far more intelligent, however, having spent nearly his entire life in Sarsol alongside the wise mind of his father.

After settling the horses in the stable, Aldwin led the way towards the large oak doors, which unlocked themselves with a few muttered words in ancient Resqui, the Inaculae tongue. "We will perform the walk in your chambers, but I must gather a few things from my father's laboratory. I am sure you remember the way?" he asked with a warm smile. When Alister nodded, he did the same. "Good. I will be with you shortly then," he said, and the two went their own ways.

Alister made way down the hallway leading toward the Western wing, which housed his childhood bedroom. However, upon reaching the conjunction of Eastern and Western wing, something made him pause, pulling him East.

Fillio dix Innota...

He recognized the hiss of the tongue speaking in the unfamiliar language, but could not recognize the words. The language sounded nothing like any he had ever studied before.

Fillio dix Luzen...

A flash of light caught the corner of his eye, and Alister turned to face a familiar door at the end of the hallway. He and Aldwin had pestered Maurin constantly as children to know what lay beyond its threshold, but the answer remained the same.

"Perhaps when you are no longer boys."

We're no longer boys, old man, he thought sourly as he faced the door completely. However, his mind did not feel the same unquenchable curiosity he did as a boy, and so he decided to simply ask Aldwin after their task was completed...

...until his feet began to move of their own accord.

Alister opened his mouth to cry out, but found his voice escaping him. His hand brushed the door handle, and another flash of light greeted him, an odd rune etching itself into the steel of the door.

Fillio dix Innota...

He felt the door give way as it unlocked under his tough, and his arm pulled back as if by a puppet string, bringing the door creaking open with it. He gazed down into a pit of darkness with a staircase leading to Hell knew where. Nonetheless, whatever forced controlled his limbs seemed keen on bringing him there, as his feet moved to make the descent. When he reached the bottom, a small sphere appeared in front of him, a swirling mass of gold, black and red.

Fillio dix Luzen...

Suddenly, the sphere shot forward into a wall, where its color bled into another unfamiliar rune etched into the smooth stone. The liquid like material began to glow, blinding him, and Alister tried to take a step back towards the staircase, only to find himself held in place.

The light dimmed to reveal a full size, circular portal, swirling the same colors as the sphere that birthed it. The center of the swirl seemed to churn, and very slowly, a hand stretched its way out of it.

Fillio dix Innota...Fillio dix Luzen...Fillio dix-

"Alister, get back! Run!"

A hand gripped his shoulder, and finally Alister could feel his own feet, as if a weight had been put back into his body. He stumbled as he came back into awareness of himself and turned to find Aldwin, clutching a sword blazing gold and stepping out in front of him. "Are ye deaf?! Get up the stairs, go!" Alister turned tail and raced up the stairs, familiar words being whispered in his ear in a cycle. Their call went ignored as he burst through the door into the Eastern Wing, Aldwin on his tail, golden sword keeping an oily mass of black and red at bay. Once he crossed the threshold, Aldwin slammed the door shut, shouting words in the familiar Resqui tongue.

A different rune blazed gold across the door, as the mass behind it seemed to multiply in number, and the various creatures pounded on the door. A sizzling, burning sound drowned out the voices in Alister's head. Sizzling turned to hellish screams of agony before all fell silent, and the golden rune fizzled away, leaving the blank door from prior.

"-ister? Alister!" Alister blinked, eyes seeing Aldwin's face gazing frantically at his own but not registering anything except the spots in his eyes, spots of gold, black, and red. Alister opened his mouth, but not before the gold and red faded, leaving nothing but black.

Fillio dix Innota...Fillio dix Luzen.

Young Adult

About the author

Lizzy Rose

Hello! I'm Lizzy, a poet and fiction/fantasy writer from New York! I've been creating fiction since I was a child, making up and acting out stories. I started writing my stories when I was 9, and poetry when I was 11!

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