My mother and father, as perfect together as I remember them, where two very different people. The things they accomplished as Thieves of Vana’diel, the infamy that followed them around the nations, they both had different outlooks on everything they did. For my father, it was a career, it was how he provided for his family. It was a choice he made that affected how and where my brother and I grew up, and of course, because of this it was the reason he didn’t want me or Akeem following in his steps. It’s also the main reason he never understood why I made the choice I did.
Like my mother, it wasn’t a career choice for me. It was a calling. It’s true, a lot of what I do is criminal, it’s frowned upon, a lot of people suffer. But the means justify the end, or at least that’s what we hope for. Sometimes, this back fires horribly and it only proves to propel our reputation further into notoriety. However, the few, perhaps even single time that a Thieves ill deeds provide the less fortunate and innocent a better opportunity, it makes all the bounties on your head worth it. All the jail time, perhaps even executions worth it. Stealing from the rich might not be the result every time, and giving to the poor may not happen as much as it should, but it comes with the territory. The fact of the matter is, there will always, always be something willing to do the dirty work across Vana’diel. If you put a man or woman whose intentions are completely selfish and evil, then suffering is the only reward you’ll find.
I don’t condone a lot of what I’ve done in the past, but I figure that if it wasn’t me who took on a lot of the jobs I have, the pain and suffering caused could have been a lot greater. I wouldn’t classify myself, my mother or my father – or anyone of our profession a hero by any means. However, there is a form of self-awareness that exists and in the end what I think we try to accomplish is to be the lesser of two evils. Sometimes we achieve that goal with flying colors, and other times, we forget that creed and we fail, becoming exactly what it is we’re trying to save the world from.
The final door snapped down behind myself, and my father on his side. The last room was entirely too close for my taste. I actually felt the rush of air on the back of my neck as the room echoed with the single thud of stone connecting with the floor. My father smiled across the two thick panes of glass and we both approached the devices that were in front of us. I put my hand on the fist-sized dial in front of me and after my father gave me an affirmative nod, I turned it. The entire corridor became alive with the grinding and awakening of age-old gears and cogs as a small door slid open beside the dial, allowing me access to the main corridor. As I stepped out I watched as a series of portcullis’ began to open connecting the inside of the Alzadaal Depths to the outside were the rest of our company was awaiting us.
Gideon and Faction 5, as well as Tarawath approached us. Katurian was semi-concealed in his shadow-form. Like a roving mist across the steely surface of an ice-slick glacier, it revealed his Elvaan form in portions for only very brief moments. It seemed the depths had a very adverse affect on his abilities.
“I have to say…” Gideon smiled, “You two had me worried for a second there.”
Tara joined my side and put her arms around me, “I’ll second that.”
“Oh, come now. There’s plenty of stupid things I’ve dove head first into and I always come out the other side.” I grinned.
My dad gave a half-hearted smile, “It only takes one though.”
All our attention was quickly drawn to the inside of the depths by loud gasp from Stitch, she stood past the final door at the edge of a balcony which gazed out across a very large cavern of mechanical make.
“Ooooh, by the Goddess I’ve never seen…anything so huge!” she rose to the tips of her toes as she gazed out across the expansive darkness of the room before us.
As we came closer to see the spectacle ourselves, it was very apparent why these were named the Alzadaal Depths. Stairs to the sides of the balcony went around the outside of the wall and traveled down, until there was only darkness. In front of us just a few feet under the balcony were several platforms, glowing and surrounded by archaic machinery buzzing with the slightest glow of life. Several hundred yards across the great gap, the dark chasm was replaced by a large field of land surrounded by water, which poured down into the chasm. On that raised area was what, I believe, was the most impressive of the entire ordeal.
“…Beastmen?” Tarawath asked as we all stood bewildered at what we saw.
“An entire subterranean settlement of them.” Vael pondered, “The ruins have been here for so long…it’s entirely possible, that even just a few emigrated down here in some fashion and flourished away from the prying hands of war and famine.”
Among them were Trolls, Mamool Ja and Goblins – but more then all three of those combined, the predominant tribe was Qiqirn.
“We’d better get started before attention is somehow drawn to us, yes?” Gideon said and she took begin to head for the stairs.
“Whoa!” My father moved to stop her, putting an arm around her stomach just before she touched down on the first step, “Watch yourself now…”
“What?” Gideon asked a bit irritated at the sudden intrusion as she stepped back and pushed my father off.
“These stairs aren’t in the proper position.” He pointed to the wall that the stairs would normally be built against, except they weren’t. The was a slight crease between the wall and the stairs. Because the doors had opened it loosened the grim and dirt enough that it began to slowly seep down. “My guess would be that just in some over-eager trespasser did managed to get by all that we just put behind us – they wouldn’t suspect the stairs to be rigged as well, and would take an very long, unfortunate fall to the bottom of wherever these lead…”
Gideon smirked a bit, “You know Long Ears…maybe we’re paying the wrong Landis to guide us through this maze.”
“I’m not arguing there…” I muttered as I looked over the entire situation. “We need to find a way down fast, though. There is a chance that if those Beastmen spot us – it won’t be a welcome party they send.”
“There.” Katurian pointed down to the platforms, “Those are the way.”
“And how could you possibly know that?” I inquired.
“…these ruins all made possible by the very enigma that seems to cloud my access to the powers of darkness. I can sense it. To the side of me I left years ago, it’s welcoming. The stairs were, to what I am now, very inviting…and would’ve been the end of me. The powers behind this place seek to enlighten, or if one isn’t interested in such betterment…destroy. It’s like these depths have a mind of their own…or so it would seem to me.”
“Well, let’s not waste any more time then.” I said as I looked over the edge towards the platforms, “…what we jump down onto the them?”
Stitch clenched her teeth together in a bit of anxiety, “Uh, that seems super safe, yea…”
Vael began to check around the edge of the balcony, “I would assume there is some sort of device which would function to raise the platforms.” He ran his hands along the edge until he stopped at a small square which was slightly ill-colored compared to the rest. He pressed down and there was a slight buzzing. The stairs suddenly collapses out of view and the gears under the platforms whirred to life and brought each of them to either side of the balcony.
Faction 5 stepped onto one and Tarawath and I took the other, my father turned back toward the exit, “Well, Kal…” he said, “This is where I turn back. I helped you gain access – If I came with you all the way, you wouldn’t really be able to call it your accomplishment now would you?”
I grinned, “I understand…years are starting to take their toll on you.”
“That may be, but it never stopped be from completing a job. Good luck to all of you, and may the Goddess be with you.” He said as he walked away, and the platforms lit up before whizzing quickly down beside the spiraled staircase towards the bottom.
As we traveled down further into the Alzaadal Depths, we were privy to the near bottomless oceans that surrounded the ruins. The thick, clear walls gave us a mirky, dark view of the oceanic life around us. Thinking back on it, it was about right here that things probably changed for the worse. I’ve always been a bit more like my mother, even my old man thought so, the way I operated, the way things turned out most of the time – I even fell in love with someone who shared my passion for changing the world for the better, even if it meant doing something to condemn yourself. Those last words my father spoke to me, changed something, only ever so briefly, but it changed it long enough to matter. You see, doing things that most people frown upon your entire life, just to help one innocent individual makes all the hate and punishment worth it. It works the same way though, just as one good deed can help you forgive a lifetime of crime; one misstep in judgment can condemn all the good you’ve ever done.
“Gideon! Vael! This is it!” Stitch exclaimed as she hopped off the platform before it stopped moving, “Kat c’mon! The Lieutenant is this way!” she started making her way down a single walkway in the center of what seemed like an endless pool of water.
“You’ve been to this chamber before?” I asked.
“It seems so. We were in a large chamber like this which seemed to be flooded, with only a single path in the center, but we came in at a crossroad, rather then just this one solitary path.” Vael informed me. “…Gideon?”
She frowned and let out a heavy sigh, “Yea…tell them.”
“Tell us what?” Tara asked stepping forward.
“Kat!! Come on!” Stitch yelled from a few yards ahead.
“I’ll take the little one scouting ahead.” He said as his shadows crept across his Elvaan body like ink blots.
“The artifact we came across that imprisoned our Lieutenant, it’s very reminiscent of the Astral Candescence.” Vael explained, “Except, instead of the light, comforting, almost tranquil feeling the Astral Candescence instills upon those who gaze up it – this one fills you with a void. A void that is dark, foreboding and chaotic. When we first stumbled upon it…Katurian’s powers, seem to respond to it. Like the small orbs here diminish it, this one amplifies him. Overcome with such greed, he attempted to make contact with it, that’s when our Lieutenant intervened and was ensnared by the artifact and trapped.”
“So, what exactly is it, you’re saying?” Tara asked, “…that Katurian is a danger once we find the artifact and you Lieutenant?”
“It’s always a possibility – but more then that, we’re barely able to fend off the demon the artifact has been sending to stop us. We fear…that once we find the artifact, we won’t be able to stop it. More then that, if there is a way to stop it…Katurian meeting with the artifact, may be the only way.”
“Which could then bore an even worse monstrosity.” I filled in the final piece of the puzzle.
“Katurian is aware of all of us this.” Vael added, “I know to a lot he seems like a truly evil man. However, he has a very strong sense of self-awareness.”
“What’s the plan then?” I asked.
“We have none.” Gideon said, she was facing away toward the direction Katurian and Stitch had went. “We just wanted to let you know…” her voice trailed off.
“If you would like to return, Mr. Landis…” Vael began.
“I’m here until the job is finished.” I turned to Tara and took her hands into my own, “Tara…”
“Oh, please, Tiger…” she pulled a way and put one hand on my cheek, “I’d think you’d know better then to try and send me home, by now.” She smiled up me.
“Boooooooooss!” Stitch’s voice came echoing down the chamber, “We’ve got a problem!”
“We’re on our way!” Gideon called.
I smiled back down at the love of my life, her lips silently formed the words, I love you. I mimicked it in return, I love you too.
As we came to the end of the chamber, it opened up onto another small balcony. There wasn’t a large chasm before us here, just another chamber, once again filled with water. There wasn’t, however a path before us. This time, the stairs on either side of the balcony led down to a pier it seemed. There was then a large dial before us that Vael theorized would bring the two large platforms on either side of the chamber together giving us a bridge to walk across. The problem that Stitch had found was that the Beastmen settlement from before, seemed to somehow migrate to this location and used this room as a water source. On the opposite side of the room, was a female Qiqirn and several smaller Qiqirn children.
“It seems, that if the dial is pressed, the two platforms on the side will slide into place…forming a bridge for us to cross. However, based on the elevation of the pier below us and the exit on the other side…when we release the platforms on the walls, they’re going to allow for a very large amount of water to spill in…likely, no higher then the platforms themselves…” Vael explained.
“But high enough that those Qiqirns over there would be drowned.” Stitch frowned.
Gideon crossed her arms in contemplation, “Unfortunately this seems to be the only way across…”
“No, there has to be another way.” Tara said as she walked forward onto the balcony, surveying the room.
The first thing that entered into my mind was those words my father spoke, “…never stopped be from completing a job,” and as I walked that fine line between being a villain and doing what I knew in my heart was right – I faltered.
I reached forward and putting my hand around the dial and I turned it. The click was deafening. Following quickly was the whir and cracking of ancient gears revving up and pushing the bridge into place.
“KALLO!” Tarawath screamed my name as she turned to see what I had done, “NO! STOP IT!” She ran to the dial, but it couldn’t be stopped. She watched on in horror as the Qiqirn’s attention was drawn to the moving gears. They had no idea what was happening and as the platforms moved into placed, they vanished into the rising foam of the rushing waters.
“…I guess that solves our problem…” Gideon muttered quietly to herself.
Tara turned to face me, “What the hell is wrong with you!”
“They were just Beastm—” I was silenced by the hard sting of her hand across my cheek.
She stared at me for a moment, everyone was completely silent. Not even Katurian seemed to dare move a single muscle. I opened my mouth to speak but she cut me off.
“Don’t even…I…can’t even speak to you right now.” She turned swiftly and descended the stairs, making her way towards the bridge.
That’s all it took. One moment, one single second of misjudgment. I felt heavy, like the very center of my gut homed a ton of Darksteel. Stitch pulled away from the balcony’s edge and descended the stairs following by Vael and Gideon. Katurian was looking right through me, those dark eyes burning a hole hotter then I’ve ever felt before.
“Come on Kat…” Stitch called back and he dismissed me quickly before following down the stairs.
For the next few chambers and passageways no one said anything. I caught up to Tarawath and put my hand on her shoulder, but every time I tried to get her attention her, she’d shrug away move ahead of me a few steps. After awhile, we entered rooms that seemed to be unfinished, the mechanical walls started to slowly give away to rock and natural formations – the pathways were a mixture of the two as though this part of the ruins was destroyed, missing or under construction.
Eventually, after getting tired of the silence and Tara trying to ignore me, I put both hands on her shoulders and spun her around.
“Don’t touch me!” she spun around.
The others stopped I looked to Gideon, “Go, we’ll be there shortly.”
She nodded and motioned for the rest to follow her.
“Let me explain…” I started.
“No, Kallo. I will not let you try to justify what you did. I feel like I don’t even know who you are…”
“I’m a thief! Sometimes I have to do things I don’t agree with.”
“I know you, Kallo Landis. And no matter what the size of the check, the Kallo Landis I feel in love with would have never so easily dismissed a life like you did. Ever. So, you can say whatever you need to make it right in your own head…I can’t look at you right now…” she turned her eyes down and I found myself with nothing to say. She wait a few minutes, the silence was nearly painful. She turned slowly and when her back was to me she straightened back up and quickly followed after Faction 5. After only a few steps the silence was shattered by Vael’s thundering voice.
“Beastmen!” he shouted down the hall.
Tarawath and I quickly broke into a run as we rounded the corner we came into a large chamber filled with many boulders and crevices, it had seemed as though it was being carved out but construction was stopped. Vael and Katurian were both up front, Vael was holding into a large polearm using it to hold back several Mamool Ja and Trolls. Katurian was projecting a large dark wall of energy, though he seemed to be struggling to keep his composure. Gideon was only several feet away holding Stitch in her arms with a dead Qiqirn several feet away, a single bullet hole in its head. Tarawath and I ran down to Gideon.
“Help her!” Gideon said as Tarawath kneeled down next to Stitch before she stood, drawing her Greatsword and running into the fray.
“Stitch, honey?” Tarawath put an arm under her head and tried to talk to her.
Her entire body was convulsing as she gripped her stomach. Blood was spilling out from behind her as well, the Qiqirn mut’ve snuck up on her and put his blade right through her back.
“It…ugh…” blood slowly began to seep from her lips, “Hu-urts…she stuttered. I feel heavy…” she moved her hands and looked down at the wound, “Ooh, that’s bad, huh?” she looked up at Tarawath, her lips were colored crimson as they seemed to curl up into a small smile, “I could fix that…for you…” she whispered.
“No, no, Stitch…just stay quiet, I’m going to help you, ok?” Tarawath said as she put her hand over Stitch’s wound and a small, gentle light appeared around Stitch’s stomach.
“I’m going to help the others…just yell if you need anything…” I said kneeling next to Tarawath.
“I’m fine. Go.” She said coldly.
As I rushed in to help Faction 5, Stitch’s eyes went very calm and eyes closed a bit as she gasped under the touch of Tarawath’s healing magic. She shook her head slightly and moved to stand a bit hazy.
“Ooh…that was…mm, hurt a bit! Thanks Miss Tara!” she had her usual spunk back and joined us in the fight.
I quickly put many Beastman between myself and everything else, slashing and stabbing at any open target I could. As I did, I had this very strange sense of dread suddenly come over me. Like something was watching, the walls of the cavernous room were dark and dank and it seemed like nothing more then the Beastmen would crawl out of the woodwork. I did the best I could to put it out of my mind
Katurian had concentrated what power he could muster and collected a good amount of his shadows onto his hands where they solidified around his fingers into long, grotesque looking claws, resembling that of a Taurus. As he shredded foe after foe, I saw their skin where the claws has lacerated them, slowly beginning to decay just from the touch. Troll and Mamool Ja a like feel to their knees writing in agony before their life was cut even shorter by a decapitation or a disembowelment. The smaller Qiqirn thieves and rogues he grasped right by their tiny little heads and frames and after holding onto their squirming bodies for several seconds they went limp, as he dropped them their heads had been shrunk into nothing but a smoldering black lump of skull and flesh. Even without his full power, the dark influence he wielded was frightening deadly.
Vael, being as non-lethal as possible, served as quite the polar opposite to Katurian. He had disarmed a large halberd from a Mamool Ja, and used it skillfully to parry incoming attacks and disarm whatever weapons they had. He would then lunge around bashing his opponents in the side of the head with the flat part of the halberd rendering them unconscious. Not, that it matter too much – very often Katurian came swooping by slicing their throats open with a single claw from his monstrous gauntlets.
The battle was begging to go just fine, the Beastmen were starting to clear out and suddenly a shot rang out across the cavern and the wall beside my head splintered apart! The blast was more familiar then Gideon’s dark steel revolvers though. It was the sound of a Hexagun. I spun around quickly to see Akeem, a sly grin painted across his face, an unconscious Tarawath in his arms and a defiant Stitch standing before him.
“My quarrel isn’t with you, little hume.” He sneered.
“That’s ok! I was planning on gutting you like fish, anyhow unless you let Tarawath go!” Stitch smiled sweetly, her daggers drawn.
He dismissed her threats to look straight at me, “Now it’s my turn.” He pointed his Hexagun straight up and pulled the trigger. A red orb began to grow and collect in size at the end of the barrel.
“Akeem! Stop!” I pushed past the Beastmen as I finally broke free of the state of shock seeing him here had put me in. I couldn’t seem to push through the Beastmen quick enough, they kept grabbing at me, pulling me back. The Fire Shot from his Hexagun discharged as he took several feet back the explosion sent Stitching flying backwards hitting the ground as rocks began to fall and collapse baring the way back.
“Tara!” I screamed in vain, of course.
“Get a hold of yourself Long Ears!” Gideon called over to me as she carved a wide arc into the Beastmen, “We need to deal with the problem at hand – we’ll get your girl back!”
My entire body felt sluggish, like I was wading through Pashow swamplands in Thick Gear. I didn’t want to fight Beastmen, I didn’t want to find their damn Lieutenant, I had to help Tarawath, I had to get her back! I could not…I would not, fail her twice in the same day. There was no goddamn way. The reality of the situation was quickly shattered as I failed the rest of my comrades.
“Ugh! Eeh!” there was a loud shriek from behind me that only could have came from Stitch, I whirled around and no more then three feet from me Stitch stood frozen and immobilized with a Qiqirn shank buried deep into her gut. Her hands shot out quickly around it’s throat and as it drove the dagger deeper into her she took several steps back towards the wall, her grip around it’s next tighter and tighter until it went limp and she dropped it. A few more steps and her back her back hit the wall as she slumped to the ground.
“Ooh…Gid…? Vael, Kat?” she whispered reaching out for them.
“Oh, Goddamnit…” Gideon saw the blood spewing forth from Stitchs wound once again, “Katurian! You need to save her! The Summoner is gone!”
“I’m a little pre-occupied at the moment!” he growled back as he was beginning to become overwhelmed as a new wave of Beastmen seemed to appear.
The entire situation was becoming more and more chaotic. I didn’t know what else to do, my instincts of course, drove me into battle helping to dispatch as many Trolls, Mamool Ja and Qiqirn as I could – but even doing so I felt so completely and utterly helpless. I could only watch on.
“Its…it’s, fine…I’ll be a-alight!” Stitch smiled as a deep crimson began to trickle down her lips. “I’m…” she hushed her voice to a whisper, “I’m the, the mage…” with trembling hands she placed her hand against the wound. “I…can heal me…” she held her hands there, her eyes alive and glowing with hope. “…heal me…” she whispered smiling down at her wound through blood-stained teeth and blood-soaked lips, she started to tremble more, “…Heal!” she shouted as she slowly started to push her fingers into her wound, “Aaah!” she cried out loudly in pain as dark crimson flowed forth.
“STITCH! Stop it!!” Gideon called as a Troll planted his fist into her back, grabbed her by the shoulder and threw her hard against the wall.
Katurian’s eyes were starting to glow that ominous yellow they always did when he was in full Shadowform, but he was still overwhelmed being the closest to where the new wave of Beastmen had entered. “Vael!” he shouted, “I need help getting to the little one!”
Vael’s concentration was broke as he noticed Stitch for the first time. His face went pale and flushed as white as the Beaucidine snow.
We all watched on helpless in horror as Stitch coughed up more blood, digging deeper and deeper into her stomach, her hands from the fingers to the elbow covered in blood. She wasn’t even looking at what she was doing anymore, her eyes were glazed over, her face pale, and still she smiled whispering, “I’ll heal…I’ll save us…” her voice puttered out softly as her body came to a complete stop and she stared back at us, a white angel perched on the floor – mouth and hands covered with blood and the mark of violence on her stomach.
“No! No! Stitch!” Gideon was nearly crying as she gripped her Greatsword with both hands and cleaved through the enemies before her. She was driven by anger and rage – but Vael, he was driven by something unknown to me even now.
He said nothing, no tears, no grunts, no howls or cries of sadness. His pale face faded back to it’s full color and as a Mamool Ja halberd struck towards his size, he snatched it out of midair and yanked it towards him pulling the Mamool Ja forward into his other waiting hand. He palmed the entire skull of the Mamool Ja and crushed it between his fingers. His fist went flying target after target, with such deadly accuracy and such brute force even amongst the rest of the violence and chaos I could hear bones snapping and breaking. Two trolls, just barely larger than Vael grappled him, both holding onto an arm as a Mamool Ja swooped in with a scimitar and lunged towards Vael – the reptilian warrior made it’s mark driving the blade deep into Vael’s stomach. The behemoth of a Monk didn’t even flinch. He thrust his arms forward with such ferocity, that he brought both trolls together like symbols in a band, crushing the Mamool Ja. Then he grabbed one Troll by the head and the wrist and pulling both ways, split it’s upper torso open with one swift tear. As the second troll stood up Vael grabbed it by it’s throat and put his fist into it’s face one time – as it dropped dead to the floor, I could see Vael’s punch had caved in the front of it’s skull. Upon killing Stitch these poor Beastmen had evoked a Galkan Retribution, not even Raogrimm himself could have ever anticipated. This was the ancient Rage of the Galka in all it’s horrible, deformed glory.
Katurian and Gideon dispatched a few more Beastmen along with myself – but none of our tallies even came close to Vael as he turned this seemingly normal cavern into his own personal blood gallery. As the last Beastmen fell breathless and limp to the floor Vael kneeled beside Stitch’s body, he gripped the scimitar still impaled inside of himself and slowly pulled the long, jagged blade out tossing it to the side. He scooped Stitch up in his arms and pulled her close to his body. Gideon walked up slowly and put her hand on his shoulder.
“Vael…” she said, awaiting a response. “…Vael…?”
Katurian approached her side, “He’s gone…”
There was a slight silence, then Gideon turned swifly, shoving Katurian away, “This is your fault!” she screamed at him.
He looked confused, but said nothing.
“Why didn’t you just heal Stitch?!” she shoved him again, “Why? You use to do that! What the hell is wrong with you that all you can do is bring more death?” She went to shove him again, but he grabbed her by the wrists.
“…my oath to that girl, was to follow her until she dismissed me. To quell my hatred for life until she decided my time with her was done…” shadows slowly started to seep across his body, “She’s gone. My oath is void.”
From all around Katurian there was a very quick explosion of dark mist – like an engine letting off steam. It propelled Gideon backwards into the rubble blocking the way we came. She writhed around gripping the side of her face as he skin seemed to bubble and burn from the heat. I started to move but she put a hand up forcing me to halt, as she stood back up there was a very apparent change in her. She was hunched lower then normal, her eyes were dark green and glowed with a feral instinct.
“You will follow her to the grave then…” Gideon growled, baring fangs I had never seen before. She pounced toward Katurian who pulsed with another burst of dark steam. This time, however, other then scalding her skin further it seemed to have no effect on Gideon. She pinned him to the ground and raised her hand high into the air, her nails were more like Gnole claws as she swiped down shredding his chest, one after another. Katurian vanished for a brief moment in a cloud of smoke, but his dampened powers wouldn’t allow him to move very far in that gaseous form. He reappeared standing, hunched over, blood running from the wound in his chest. Gideon pounced toward him again, he put up one hand and a blast of dark energy erupted propelling her into the rubble behind her with such force that she crashed through it, opening a passage just big enough to crawl through. Katurian could sense life and death – he knew she wasn’t down yet. He took a few weary steps forward and Gideon once again, teeth bared, leapt toward him pinning him to the ground against and with such speed and viciousness begin to tear the Elvaan apart limb by limb.
My attention was suddenly taken away, however, by the only thing that could pull me from such a situation. Through the hole in the rubble, hanging on a broken rock in the wall was a small ruby necklace. The path was open, I could purse Tarawath and Akeem. I didn’t even hesitate, I crawled through the rubble and made my way back into the ruins of the Alzaadal Depths, leaving the sound of animalistic slaughter behind me.