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Mirrored Sands, Part 7

The rulers of the ancient Empire of the Cultivators
Were powerful beings.
And decadent.

The Bright Soul Order’s primary purpose
Was to prevent
And destroy
Any technology that could result in their return.

They call them the Corruptors.
They say their power was great enough to
Warp space and bend time.
They say that when they were overthrown,
They uploaded their
Minds
Directly into the energy field of space-time.

They say if we are not vigilant, they will return.
And this time, We
Will not
Be able
To
Stop
Them.

This level of technology is
Precisely why
Their ruins are so formidable.
If one could get past sealed entries
Internal security defenses would almost certainly stop you.

Kamuel Martek knew this.
He knew the tales and legends
Better than almost anyone.
He knew that only a few individuals
In the past millennia
Have managed to breach a ruin
And come out
And their names are legends for it.
Only a few survived, out of millions who
Must have tried.

Raim and his squad lead the way
As Martek considered all this.

They stood under the shadow
And saw
That the massive doors of the ruins, sealed permanently for the past thousand years,
Were open.

A deep blue glow pulsed from inside the ruins.
No silver dust
Touched the floors inside
In sharp contrast to the way
It coated everything else.

The first member of the squad of Stellars
Died
When a grid of lasers suddenly flared to life
And diced him in a slice of a second.
The second died soon after
As they tried to discover the trigger.
The third collapsed when trying a door
Life and thought gone
From his eyes.
An automaton
With saw blades for hands
Took three more
Before it was disabled.

Martek was not unfamiliar with violence
Even as a priest.
Though the violence of war was unappealing
And he was practiced in non-lethal techniques
He has been among soldiers and police
Doing their best
In hard situations.

But this.
This was too much.
They were down to three.
The puzzle of the open doors aside
Even if Jrak made it this far
He must certainly be dead.
It would be better to wait outside.
Damn Raim and his kill shot.

Martek was about to give the order to pull back.
However, they turned a corner and saw
Prichard Jrak.

He was wearing the same business suit he was wearing in the tape.
But his skin was glowing radiantly.
His eyes burned like stars.
He had stopped and turned his head
To look right at them.
“I didn’t do anything!”
He called to them.

“Then let’s talk.
I’m here to help,” Martek said.
But it’s not what he thought.
The legends said the Corruptors
Had bodies
Composed of plasma and flame.

“Don’t come any closer,”
Jrak said. Fear filled his voice.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Then don’t.”
Martek said as Jrak turned and
Held his hand up to a panel in the wall.
A faint glow of energy flowed between his hand and the wall, and
Doors opened in front of him.

Raim and the last soldier ran after him.
Martek chased after them.
The soldiers dropped into a firing position and opened fire.
“No wait!” Martek said.
Too late.

Blisters of energy fire from their rifles hit Jrak
In the head, body, legs.
He flinched and grimaced.
But where huge chunks of flesh should have been burned away
And left gaping black holes
Jrak had only red welts.

He turned around and walked to Raim and his last man
Still under fire.
He grabbed the soldier’s rifled who let go of it, as it started to turn red and bend from heat.
He swung the rifle into Raim’s helmet, which cracked and fused with melted parts of the rifle.
Raim bounced off the wall and collapsed.
Jrak turned back to the soldier just in time to see him draw his service pistol,
But Jrak was still faster, grabbing the soldier by the throat and tossing him
down the hall.
The man landed with a crack. His neck laid at a disturbing angle.

Jrak stared down Martek, breathing heavy and tense.
“Walk away while you can, holy man. I just want to be left alone.”

Martek did not walk away.

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