The vaulted ceiling lay hidden in deep shadows high above professor Alimov's head. So high in fact that the light from his many torches could not reach it. He only knew the ceiling to be vaulted because he was intimately familiar with the architecture of this place. He had read accounts of it in history books long forgotten by society at large. He had found the building plans for it in the grand library in St. Marensburg. All of these texts he had studied closely, hoping against hope that one day he would find it and see it for himself. After years of searching, his hard work had finally paid off. He had found it, despite the fact that no one had believed he would succeed where so many others had failed. He had told no one of his discovery so far, not even his own assistants. He wanted to savor the discovery for himself for a while. Eventually he would need some help with the cataloguing of artifacts and further excavations, but for now he could manage on his own. The place did have an odd atmosphere about it though, one that he disliked a great deal. Considering the amount of air and space that rested between the good professor and the ceiling, the grand chamber should feel rather spacious. However, it did not. It felt as if all the air and stone above was pushing down upon him. It made him feel like he was sitting in a catacomb, and not a grand cathedral. It sometimes also felt like the darkness, the stones, the glass windows, were all holding their breath in anticipation or fear. He could never decide which seemed more likely. Professor Alimov was not a superstitious man though, and brushed it of quite easily. Chalking it down to the fact that no one had set foot in this structure for hundreds of years. It was bound to feel a little closed in and intense. Had he not believed the remains of arch emperor Glavodlin to be buried beneath the altar, he would not have stayed by himself for long though. If he could only find the old tyrants final resting place, if he could only bring back as little as a fingerbone he would count himself successful in his enterprise.
He had set up a ring of light around an elevated platform where the ancient altar had once stood. The altar itself had been made from wood and had most likely rotted away ages ago. The stone tiles on the floor however, were pristine. He had swept away layers of dust, and had found the floor underneath to be covered in painted markings. He had taken some time to sketch the markings and the patterns they formed in his journal, preserving them for future historians and archeologists. The markings were jagged, ugly things, and did not seem to resonate with the rest of the architecture. He had not encountered any descriptions of such markings in any of the texts he had studied about this structure. He would have to make some enquiries when he got back to St. Marensburg, but right now he had more important things to do. He rolled out his tool kit and selected a chisel and a small hammer. Sitting on his knees he carefully placed the chisel in the mortar between two stone tiles. He then expertly brought the hammer down on the chisel and it sunk into the old porous mortar. He did this a few times, cutting straight through some of the jagged symbols in the process. Suddenly a wave of energy seemed to ripple through the chamber, through professor Alimov. It was so strong it knocked him backwards, on his behind. The floor shook, and Alimov feared it might be an earthquake. If it was indeed an earthquake, it was the smalles earthquake he had ever heard of. It was centered around the platform he was sitting on. The stone tiles began to crack. The jagged runes seemed to contract and expand, as if they had a pulse. The floor bulged and then suddenly erupted in a shower of broken stone and dust. Something rose from beneath the floor. Professor Alimov sat petrified on the the icy cold floor. He looked at the horror ascending from below, saw a glint of a crown resting atop a withered and twisted countenance, and all he could think was «Oh, bother».
Skrevet av: Anita K. Olsen Støbakk