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The Black Catacomb Part II: The Man in the Pit (eBook)

The Black Catacomb Part II: The Man in the Pit (eBook)

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The Black Catacomb is a series of stories about Maze Rats written by a young writer Thanos Filanis. We are giving you the second story from The Black Catacomb series The Man in the Pit.

Length: 41 pages

After you make a purchase and the payment is confirmed by our website, you will receive an email with a link to download the EPUB file. Enter the email with an order status update, click Order details and then click Link to the purchased files.

Read the fragment:

     In years to come, many from the tribes of the Dirandis would come to know some version of the story of the man in the pit. The old folk would narrate it around the fire, a cautionary tale for the youngest of the tribe, especially those careless enough to go wandering far from the village on their own. Many of them would grow up to tell the story to their own children, assuming it to be a fabricated legend, something their grandparents’ generation came up with and which they, in turn, passed on to the next. The more widely known the story became, the more people were becoming convinced that the darkness it referred to, the old evil that had made their land and people bleed was, in fact, a fairy tale. They were, as it often happens with these kinds of stories, completely wrong.  
     The story starts with three children. They were not related, but they had grown up together and knew each other so well that they might have been mistaken for siblings. They were walking along a path, leading away from the plains, where they had spent their entire lives up to that point, and into an old pine forest. It was the final days of winter. The heavy coat of snow which had sat over the landscape for months, was now slowly succumbing to the new sun, and its melting formed tiny streams which flowed around the first flowers of spring. As the morning light crept through the forest’s canopy, the children spent some time walking in silence, listening only to the chattering of the birds, taking in the otherworldly beauty of nature being reborn.
     The oldest of the children was Maira. It was her idea to make this trip. She had a tendency to disappear from the village, to take long walks that terrified her parents and which often resulted in punishments. The more they would punish her, the more Maira would feel inclined to pick longer and more dangerous routes, whenever she found a chance to get out again. Sometimes she would drag the two boys with her. This morning, it had been particularly easy, since she had come to them with a proposition they could have never said no to.
     “So how do you think it arrived here?” asked the boy walking right behind her.
     Maira might be the one with all the exciting ideas, but it was him that the other two always waited for to confirm their plans. His name was Aeskild. He had dark hair tightly tied in a knot at the back of his head. He was carrying a large stick that he had found at the side of the road, not so much to assist him in hiking, but rather because he enjoyed pretending it was a spear. This departing winter was the tenth of his life.
     “I don’t know,” said Maira. “Maybe they sleep, like bears do. And now that it woke up, they probably came to catch it.”
     She was only a year older than Aeskild, but she was already much taller, almost having reached her mother in height. Aeskild was annoyed by that fact. 
     “That sounds like a load of bullshit,” said Aeskild.
     “I saw it, I tell you,” the girl insisted. “There were men, Vaendral men, trying to catch it. With chains. But it got away.”
     “Why would they want that thing with them?” Tobar asked . He was the youngest of the three, and the most easily scared, a small boy of five, his face half-hidden behind blonde hair, falling over his forehead.
     “Why wouldn’t they?” said Aeskild. “I’d sure like a voutar of my own. I could train it to be my personal guard or something. But my father says they only live in the Vaendral country.”
     “Voutars are cunning, people say,” said Tobar. “It will probably attack you when you’re not looking or something.”
     “I said I’ll train it first, didn’t I?” Aeskild replied with certainty. “Don’t make stupid questions.”
     They weren’t strangers to the wilderness. Children of semi-nomadic hunters, they knew how to navigate by using the stars, how to cover their footprints and how to find their way in the forest, by locating the moss that only grows on the northern side of the trees. And yet, this was not their land. Ancient feuds and memories of bloodshed stained the relations of their tribe with the denizens of the forest. The three of them had grown up hearing stories of savage berserkers, who surrendered themselves to a mindless rage, transforming themselves into things that weren’t people anymore. To the children, the forest was a dark well for their imagination to draw monsters from. In their minds, the tribes of the Vaendral, responsible for so many deaths among their own, took on a shape equally wild and inhuman to the creature they had come here to find. 
     It didn’t take them long to finally locate it. Its heavy steps could be heard from afar and it didn’t make any attempt to hide. They took cover behind a convenient spot, a mass of protruding roots and small bushes that made up most of the floor of the forest and looked in awe at the hulking creature making its way through the trees.
     Apish and hairy, it was as tall as two grown men and even more broad. It walked on two legs, but, from time to time, used its long arms to get better footing. Strangest among all of its features was the creature’s head. No resemblance to the humanoid creatures of the world could be seen on that hard ball-shaped forehead on which dozens of red eyes were arrayed asymmetrically, giving the creature an impossible peripheral vision. It was the dreaded voutar, a strange cousin of trollkind, whom the Vaendral would capture to use in battle against their own people, the noble Dirandis.
     The creature seemed to be dragging a heavy chain behind it. Aeskild saw a large harpoon protruding from the troll’s back. Maira had been right. The Vaendral had indeed been hunting the monster. As it was walking in slow and stumbling steps, clearly distracted from the pain, the voutar made several attempts to catch the harpoon, and draw it out. They all failed. The harpoon seemed to be lodged into the one part of its back that the creature's long hands couldn’t reach. To Aeskild, raised in a world where violent death was a matter of everyday life, there was  some vicious humour to be found in this situation.
     He decided he wanted a closer look. Aeskild was prone to sudden spurts of reckless initiative like that. He crept out of hiding and began taking slow steps towards the monster.
     “Aeskild… let’s go back,” Tobar said.
     “He’s right,” Maira muttered, suddenly looking alarmed. The sight of the monster seemed to have intimidated the two children. “We found the voutar, let's not stay here any longer.”
     But Aeskild was too drunk with excitement to listen.
     “I want to take a closer look.” 
     People who knew him agreed that he could be like that, from time to time. A bit too stubborn to listen, a bit too preoccupied with his own plan to even consider the possibility of it failing. A bit too careless in his own confidence to notice the small but firm root protruding from the ground that made him trip and fall face-down on the ground, becoming dangerously visible and audible to anyone around him.
     The voutar turned towards the boy, with a look of puzzled stupidity painted on its many-eyed face. It gave off a deafening roar, which made birds fly away scared and launched large drops of saliva into the air, which landed on and around Aeskild.
     Realising he had made a really bad decision, Aeskild started to run.

Purchase The Black Catacomb Part II: The Man in the Pit eBook to read the full story!

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