Chapter 13

Promise Me This

I had already started to snake my way through the citadel's dark halls. My progress was discouraging. I didn't get any further then when I had started, and I quickly found out that this place was a maze, I just couldn't believe it. Could my life get any easier? It must have been for keeping petty adventures out of the vampires' true place of sanctuary. The base of this building is probably all maze, while the second and third possibly consisting of other challenges. I hoped deeply that I was wrong...but I knew I was only fooling myself. The walls were a deep gray-blue and the roof to this floor was not visible...

-

The maze was foggy, and humid beyond belief. The moisture had to be coming from some place. The building was neighboured to the lake though, which made a sense of fogginess. I was hoping to find some kind of exit, but with every turn and twist I lost hope. Hours dragged by slowly, making it seem as though I was wandering these damp halls for days. Sometimes I would wonder if I was going in circles, all the halls looked the same. It was a possible part of the design; thoroughly designed to drive even the calmest and most intelligent minds insane. I found myself going insane as I rounded corner after corner, building up more disappointment.

After some time of walking through the same halls relentlessly and looking at the same walls, I began to notice inscriptions, probably in the ancient vampire language. There were even murals on the walls as I progressed. Perhaps I could use them as a marker, to mark where I have already been. Unfortunately, these vampires where smart to use the same few pictures throughout, probably in an affect to drive you even more mad.

I got out a piece of paper and carefully wrote down the murals depiction, colour, the wall it resided on, and even small chips in the paint. I made a note of the side the mural would be on if I where coming at the other direction. It was a long shot, but I had to do something to help myself. The writing on the walls were most likely descriptions of how to get out from where you where. It must have taken them a long time to construct. Then again, they had forever. The pictures however had nothing descriptive about them, just a winged being standing upright and holding a wavy blade, tip pointed towards the ground and hands rested on the hilt. Their colours varied from a light brown to a gray-blue, there was even the odd red hue every now and then.

I walked on constantly checking my scribbles to make sure I wasn't going in circles. It was getting harder however, for there where more and more pictures on the walls. I sat down in defeat; there was no way I was getting out of here. Skeletons rested along corners and walls. More and more appeared as I went, further and further. At least I was making some progress. As I sat here in a slump I heard a gigantic roar ripple across the maze like a foghorn. I felt an unwary feeling wash over me, like something terrible lurked in this maze to protect its carefully guarded secrets. The torches that lined the maze's walls blow out as a powerful wind swept through the maze almost knocking me onto my feet. A chill rippled down my spine as I thought about what was going to happen to me down here. I never wanted Raziel here more then I ever did before.

It went deafeningly quiet in the maze as I sat here on the floor, alert and ready for anything. There were no more loud screams or any sounds for that matter. I got up slowly from the floor and progressed in the direction I was heading before. I had to feel along the wall, for I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face. Terrified to make any sudden movements I carefully found my way around the corner. There was still no sign of another presence in this maze, other then my sixth sense telling me that I had better move my butt or I could kiss it good bye.

-

I scuffled ahead trying not to think about the noise I had heard earlier or about never making it out of here alive.. I already new the answer. As I crept along the wall I came to a large opening. The walls seemed to circle around something, I looked all around me and I noticed two torches at the top of what appeared to be a very large staircase that circled around a pillar. This was it, the way out of this death pit. As I tried pitifully to find my way to the staircase, I could feel hot moist air creeping down my back. I froze, too scared to turn around and face the danger behind me. I tried to take a step forward only to be halted by the monster itself. Two powerful jaws came crashing down in front of me and I fell back onto the ground. The creature repositioned its self above me, probably getting ready for another lunge. I couldn't see exactly what it looked like, but I figured it to be a snake-like creature, a serpent of some kind that made its home in here for years.

I got to my feet as quickly as possible and high tailed it as fast as I could to the staircase situated 40 feet away. The serpent didn't hesitate, after all I was quite possibly its only meal for several months...or years. While I was running to the stairs, I couldn't help but notice that the serpent had a hard time locating me. It was probably just as blind as I was. The torches going out seemed to make us equal. I wondered if the vampires carefully orchestrated this. If it were a snake like creature it probably relied on smell and sound, so I tried as hard as I could to stay quiet; there was nothing I could do about the smell though.

I could feel the creature swerving back and forth behind me, searching the area desperately. When the swerving stopped, I could hear its throat rumbling with displeasure and the air blowing out of its nostrils as it took long hard breaths...everything went deafeningly quiet. With my back to the stairs I slowly stepped backwards more and more waiting for any sound to give the creatures position away, but there was nothing...and more nothing. Did it go away? This time I waited, not moving an inch. I heard a small crack like a stone being disturbed behind me, so I carefully pulled my short sword out of its sheath, sweat poring down my face. I tried to calm myself, but it was no use. My breath quickened as each minute passed by with unspeakable torment. I closed my eyes I couldn't see anything anyways. I began to slow my breathing and clam my mind, so all I was focusing on were the sounds that echoed through the maze. Drops of perspiration hitting the floor, bats flapping above me and the sound of the wind howling through from the upper floor was gently pushing my hair around to the front of my face. With my short sword ready in my hands, and the comforting sounds echoing around me, I had to assume the creature had parted.

I was just about to put my sword back in its sheath when I hear the crackling of small stones behind me, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I swerved around only to have my view of the top floor obstructed. The glow of the light being omitted from the torches seemed to highlight the edges of the giant serpent. As I stood there in shock, I noticed that the serpent had not moved an inch since I spotted its location "Was it there this entire time? It doesn't appear to notice me." I took a few steps back with my sword ready in front of me, but as I took my last step, I stepped on an old piece of debris. I saw the creature position its self. A powerful scream came out of its mouth as its head came crashing down on top of me. "AHH!"

I could feel the sword push through the creatures skull as its continued to force its self into me. Soon the creatures' head got heavy and a worm liquid ran down my hands and down my arms. The head of the serpent came crashing down on top of me and I just managed to dodge it enough to squeeze out form underneath it.

When I got up I franticly tried to wipe the "mysterious" warm liquid off my arms. Just thinking about it gave me the heeby-jeebies. I grabbed my short sword covered in serpent blood and ran up the stairs as fast as my legs could carry me. I wasn't entirely sure if I killed the damned thing. Finally, I could continue my search for Raziel, save him, go home and sleep in 'till noon with out a care in the world.

-

The next floor was nothing but a giant staircase that I have been climbing for what seemed liked hours. The stairs where wide and sloped at a twenty degree angle. Not steep at all, but still seemed to take the breath out of me. I don't know what I preferred more the stairs or the maze.

The stairs where just a tease. They made you feel like you where making progress when really you weren't. Torches where spread 20 feet from one another, creating dark patches as you climbed. As I walked on, it felt as though the stairs were getting steeper and the turns were getting smaller. I hoped deeply that it wasn't me and it was a sure sign I was getting closer to the top.

Just as I rounded the corner, a large two-door entrance with a gargoyle mounted on top, wings coming down half way became viable. I ran up to it with extreme enthusiasm and tried to open the door. It was difficult but I got it open enough to squeeze through. I was relieved to see light spilling through each large pained window in the hallway. The hallway curved as well. I didn't waste any time and as I rounded the corner only to find, yet again, more stairs. I was hoping not to see another for a very long time. I ran up the stairs, thankful that they where short.

After thirty minutes of ruining through the same halls relentlessly, I enter a new part of the building, walls stained a dark gray. They appeared to be old living quarters. The doors lined the walls to the left, and windows lined the right, making the build inviting. The hall still had the same curve as the others, except more decorated. I entered a room to the left, where there was an old bed covered in dust and debris, from the caved in wall to the left of the bed. Bricks lay on top of the torn covers and everything was trashed, bare. I wondered if this was from bandits, tomb robbers, or what ever have you. I walked through the gaping hole in the wall to discover another room. In this room there was just an old wardrobe missing, a door that lay at its base, and a large hole that lead to the upper floor. Old poetry and worthless decor lay inside the wardrobe, toppled over by the fallen shelves. On the bottom shelf there was a beautifully designed dagger, decorated with silver vines and gold floral designs that crawled up the hilt. When I removed the dagger from its sheath the vines crawled a quarter of the way up the blade. More floral and vine designs covered the protective case, with a red band in the centre and a chain attached in a loop. I noticed words inscribed on the blade, which were written in Latin.

-

"Nos es relinquo"

-

I stared at the writing in awe and a deep sadness swallowed me up inside, making me feeling sorrow for a very miss understood race of majestic beings. I slipped the dagger in my pack and climbed the rubble up to the second floors.

The room was large and circular with broken pillars circulating the room for support and old banners torn and faded.. The centre of the room was empty and the exceptionally large windows where cracked or broken, one was completely gouged out. I slowly crossed the room, staring up at the mural the coved the ceiling with winged beings – much like angels, soared through the sky. As I stare up at the ceiling, I had almost forgotten the whole purpose I was here in Nosgoth's past. I took out my camera and snapped pictures of the painting above me and some of the room's banners. I continued my way out of the room and through a doorway that lead to some more stares, but they only took me down. I followed them until I reached another hallway that was barren of windows. There was a door situated in the center of the hall. I tried to open it, but it was no use, the door was barred shut. The only way I could go was down. I walked up to the stair way and a cold piercing breeze swept past me, giving me a chill. I reached into my bag and pulled out a fleece and descended the stairs.

There was no light along the way, just me and my clumsy feet caring me to beyond. The light from the top floor had disappeared very quickly so I couldn't see a thing. I rounded the corner in relief to find a torch, I brought it with me as I entered the area. It appeared to be a brig and the smell was terrible, unlike anything I have ever smelt before. It was stuffy and hard to breathe. As I moved along feeling terrified, I went to open one of the cellar doors. The door I came in from slammed shut and the floor gave way, and the wall of the cell all came crashing down. I hit the floor, my head colliding with a brick. My vision went blurry and I fought to keep myself awake...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This hallway was relentless, the more ground I traveled the further everything seemed to get. My curiosity bubbled as I thought about what powerful secrets lay within this chamber and it seemed to string me along this endless corridor like a fly to a web. I only wondered what trick were they going to play on me next as I sprinted the rest of the way, but just as I neared the entrance the floor gave way and I entered a new part of the citadel. I managed to dodge the falling floor above me creating that created barricade from this floor to the top. Infuriated I scanned the floor for a way out. This floor was similar to the one I was currently occupying. The damage seemed to have affected a lot of this floor, most of it heading north. A strange feeling of familiarity washed over me as I thought of Michelle...It couldn't be...How could she have got here, she has no Idea where I am or where this is...does she?

To exit this area I had to pass through the door in font of me, bared shut. I removed the wooden barricade and bashed through to the hall on the other side, my patience was running dry. I headed for the stairs to my left the damage appeared to resonate in that direction. This building is frail, much like Nosgoth in this corruptive time. Most of the staircase was caved as I descended more and more into the dark vortex. I reach a doorway, slightly tilted from the cave in. A terrible feeling of fear hitting me as I tried to open the door, pulling and heaving until the handle pulled off in my hand, I began to kick the door franticly. Not willing to foul around any longer, I stood back and ran at the door full speed crashing through to the other sided. I hit the floor and noticed the whole cellar had caved in. I desperately started to dig through the wall of bricks in an attempt to find somebody I didn't even know was under there.

"Michelle!..."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I woke up in a daze and rolled over on to my side, forgetting where I was until the smell hit me. "Ugh...my head is killing me" I lay back down on the cold hard cement floor, slightly damp and curled up feeling defeated. I failed everybody, I came here on a mere jealous streak and now my family was going to be the ones to pay for it, I let them all down: my sister, my grandfather, my father, the team and most of all...Raziel. Everyone.

It was lonely down hear and It was dark...and not your ordinary dark ether. It was the kind of dark that never let you close your eyes because you could not tell whether they where closed to begin with. The smell was unlike anything I had ever experienced as well, kind of like a library on a rainy day making it smell of old musty books, except for one distinction. The smell of rotting flesh. It was the first time in my life I had felt truly alone. He was gone and nobody would be able to rescue me from this hell, or even new I was here for that matter. I would probably die here and nobody would give a damn. If only I could have saved him, but...I was too late, and I will never here the sound of his voice ever again. "Oh Raziel...I-I..."

"You what?" I jumped to my feet and stumbled over some bricks in the process.. I couldn't believe my eyes it was him, it was really him. He was breathing heavy and there appeared to be a slight hint of worry in his eyes. I scrambled up the slop of stone, but tripped as I reached the top. I fell into him and he caught me in his arms. I stood here in his arms hugging him as hard as my nimble body could. His hands just lingered on my forearms, probably not sure what to do in this situation again. I smiled.

" I thought you were gone..." He didn't answer "...Can you make me a promise?" I looked him in the eyes and he looked sincere.

"Anything." His voice made me melt.

"Never leave me again..."

"...Never" His response echoed in my mind as I rested my head on his chest and soaked up his warm embrace...I new his promise wasn't obsolete, but that wasn't going to ruin this moment...


AUTHORS NOTE:

- Well I hope you all liked this chapter, it had Raziel in it this time. Not allot of him, BUT he'll be back...he'll be back. That's probably why you read this story :P. Not everybody likes made up characters.

- You can send me a review of what you liked and disliked about it if you want. My ears are always open and my mine is always willing to learn of where I can improve.

RIGHTS:

- I do not own Raziel or any other LOK characters. I only own Michelle in this chapter.

HONORABLE MENTION:

- Everybody give Little Vamp a big round of applause for prof reading my story for me and getting it up here for the weekend.