“I HAVE COME FOR THE LIFE OF ONE!” a strange warbling displaced voiced seemed to screech not from the head but from the hip of the rider. -“BUT I WILL TAKE ALL IF YOU DO NOT SEND OUT THE CREATOR!” The figure was tall and seemed abnormally proportioned under a set of tuathan mail. His head and neck were stiff and motionless as if carved from wood and wax to look like that of the former king of the Tuatha; Nuada Airgetlám. The waxen face glinting ominously in the light of the magical flame sword and the torches around him.
The imposter had taken Bres’s thrown and what was left of his army. Now he marched on the last living souls that knew he was not truly Nuada. Not the Nuada that had taken this isle and renamed it so but a crude copy that nevertheless shared his flesh and would seize it by force.
“YOU HAVE ONE HOUR BEFORE I BURN THIS KEEP TO ASHES!” The hideous guttural displaced voice screeched.
Bres walked for what felt like hours towards the cyclopean spire. In a trance it seemed his march in time to some tune that no human ears could hear. A steady heartbeat exuded from the tower. Before he could fully process his surroundings he was in a throng of strange creatures some not unlike those from the ship. But others far more hideous and monstrous in aspect. So much so he didn’t care to look at them at all and just pushed forward through them to the base of the spire.
As he approached it he could make out faintly, what sounded like blades clashes. Or perhaps teeth gnashing and inhuman warbling of a crowd made up of the denizens of this eldritch keep of unknown aeons.
The base of the spire consisted of a gaping oval maw that seemed much too large an entrance for the squat toad like creatures he had encountered so far. Were they perhaps not the original inhabitants he mused to himself dreamily as he approached the sounds of combat in a daze. Drawn to the dreaming spire as if the waves themselves propelled him.
He was slowly swallowed by the grand maw, inside the keep it was large and cavernous, sounds billowing off every unevenly cragged wall. The inside was half castle half cave but also seemed almost living like it was part of a reef of coral. Or perhaps the inside of some strange prehistoric beast all bones and cartilage fossilized for a thousand years or more.
Inside there were more of those toad like creatures but from then on the mass was more inconsistent. There seemed not to be one race down here but a collection of malformed denizens that seemed to ooze from the very walls. Some on two legs, some on just one, some even crawled on their bellies like vipers or eels. Every one of them was a vile experiment not of nature but of some twisted intellect beyond man’s comprehension.
Their attention was drawn to a crude yet well adorned arena. Constructed from what looked like bones and skin of some never before seen sea creature.
Inside the arena an amorphous mass of grey shapeless flesh bubbled like porridge in a pot. Something vaguely humanoid sinking into the mass as it gurgled and belched. The crowd gibbering louder as whatever it was sunk deeper into the mass until it was completely devoured.
Immediately after that the crowd swelled once more and suddenly the former king felt a sinister energy amassing around him. As if a million bulbous eyes were focused on him alone. Instantly he could feel their slimy appendages gripping him. Forcing him closer to the hideous bubbling mass of unnameable horror.
He struggled against the horde but their collective force was as crushing as the tide itself, immovable and irresistible. Before he could cry out in protest he was himself in the arena face to indescribable mass congealing in front of him.
Panicked the former king cried out “I am Bres, King of the Tuatha, I come to seek an audience with my father!” He rose his hand into the air to display the ring his mother had given him, the ring that he was meant to present to his father so he would know him. But the ring was gone. Undoubtedly snatched up by one of the many slimy sticky appendages that thrust him into the uncertain doom he now faced.
He had turned his back to the creature to display his now empty hand, he could hear it; it’s vile belching, as it shifted and changed. Bres turned, his body stiff with fear, standing before him was an exact duplicate of himself.