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Nearby was a gate in the wall. As I opened the gate, a cold wind rushed forth. I began to shiver as I heard the sound of a voice whispering, although I could not make out what it said. In a second, it was gone and all was silent.... I realized that I had been here before, and I had a strong feeling that my companions must not follow me in.
The gate led into a long room. I had entered along one of the long sides, and the only exit was on the opposite wall. I wandered about the room, my only company a few corpses on the floor, long since rotted away to skeletons. On one wall was an inscription, which I read
At last I have you. Never again will you torment me, for no mortal man can escape these walls. Seek the keys and embrace death with each that you find. Only then shall you be free.
Apprehensive at what this could mean, I hurried back to the door I had entered by. It had closed itself and locked. When I turned around, I noticed something else. Inlaid in the floor was a symbol of torment, the same which adorned my arm. Wondering at this, I entered the only other exit from the room.
I walked forward, seeing ahead a square chamber with a sarcophagus at its center. As I made to enter the chamber, suddenly I was elsewhere. I was in a room, with its own sarcophagus. However, when I investigated, all I found in the sarcophagus was a key. The symbol of torment was inscribed on the floor of this room as well.
The only visible exit from the room led back toward the same square chamber. As I moved forward, suddenly I shifted. I was in the room I had just left. What was I to do now? As I thought I had begun to pace, and I stepped on the torment symbol. A bolt of lightning struck, and I knew no more.
I awoke from death in the room I had first entered when going into the tomb. Having no better plan, I made for the square chamber again. Once again I was transported. This time to a new room, but it still contained a sarcophagus, on the floor a symbol of torment and a passage to the central, square, chamber.
I had figured out the message in the original chamber by now, and knew these traps must be to prevent anyone apart from me learning what this tomb held. After dying two more times, I was able to finally reach the central chamber.
Around the central sarcophagus were inscriptions carved on stone panels. The panels gave slightly under my touch; for every one I pushed, a click came from the sarcophagus. The inscriptions interested me greatly, plainly messages to me. I started to read.
Fear names. Names have power in identity.
Others can use names as weapons. Names are a hook that can be
used to track you across the planes. Remain nameless, and you
shall be safe.
I am the Nameless One.
Nameless one. An appropriate name for myself. The inscription, all the inscriptions, must have been written by an earlier incarnation. I moved to the next panel.
So they said - You have been divided.
You are one of many men. You bear many names, and each has left
their scars on your flesh.
LOST ONE... IMMORTAL ONE... INCARNATION'S END... MAN OF A THOUSAND DEATHS... THE ONE DOOMED TO LIFE... RESTLESS ONE... ONE OF MANY... THE ONE WHOM LIFE HOLDS PRISONER... THE BRINGER OF SHADOWS... THE WOUNDED ONE... MISERY-BRINGER... YEMETH...
I grow weary.
The carvings on the next panel were crude, although it almost might have been the same hand which carved them.
There is nothing that can be done. Memories
are gone, perhaps never to return. With every death I lose a part
How can one be immortal and still die?
He told me that my mind is weakening with every death. I asked him how this could be, but he could not answer. He was of no use. I butchered him so that no other incarnation would ever benefit from his uselessness.
Another panel told me I had an enemy, apparently one as immortal as myself.
I have lost lifetimes because of my killer.
I cannot deceive him, so I must kill him. I tried to throw him
off the scent. I left false bodies, tailored in such a way to
placate him. I roamed the most outer planes, hoping to use distance
as a shield. I built this tomb filled with traps to try and kill
the killer. I hid.
All I bought was time. The attacks inevitably begin again, with more fury than before. Deceptions are useless. Somehow, the killer always knows that I live. And no matter where on the planes I hide, he finds me... eventually.
The speculations on the next panel before me mirrored thoughts I had considered.
I suspect that we will continue to die
and be reborn until we finally get our life *right.* I do not
know what we have to do to bring that about, though. And therein
lies the frustration.
Is it some sort of karmic cycle? As I gather, some incarnations have committed terrible crimes but also there have been a number of incarnations where we have labored to do nothing but good. Are these incarnations intended as punishment? I don't know. And that is the only real truth I can offer in these carvings: I do not know.
At what point does the *I* get separated from the *we?* At what point am I freed of the shackles of the actions of these other incarnations? At what point am I allowed to be *me,* without the weight of these past lives?
Moving on, the next panel commented on the importance of journals; the walls I was gazing upon represented a journal as well.
It is extremely important to record your journeys so that you might learn from them. The greater need, however, is that the sources of information you use to uncover this mystery need to be protected when they are found. If key figures, documents or oracles are somehow removed, either by death or destruction, then you will never know who or what you are or how you came to be this way.
The next panel looked like the directions on my back Morte read to me in the Mortuary.
I know you feel like you've been drinking
a few kegs of Styx wash, but you need to CENTER yourself. Among
your possessions is a JOURNAL that'll shed some light on the dark
of the matter. PHAROD can fill you in on the rest of the chant,
if he's not in the dead-book already.
Don't lose the journal or we'll be up the Styx again. And whatever you do, DO NOT tell anyone WHO you are or WHAT happens to you, or they'll put you on a quick pilgrimage to the crematorium. Do what I tell you: READ the journal, then FIND Pharod.
Don't trust the skull.
Morte hadn't read that last line to me. I read the last panel in the room.
What little life there is in the world is draining out this hole in my body. The world can burn, the planes can burn, just give me life! I will destroy this life so badly, break it, smash it, and stain it in blood and feces, so you cannot live it either! Let all creation burn for I cannot die!
Pushing the panels had unlocked the sarcophagus at the center of the room, which contained only another key. Having gotten four keys from the four sarcophagi I had encountered, I found myself in yet another chamber. A portal opened in one corner. Entering it, I appeared outside the tomb. I motioned Morte to one side, to talk to him. He floated over to me.
"What's eating you, chief? "
I asked him to read the inscription on my back again. He hesitated, but I insisted I wanted to hear all of it this time. He rattled off the same shortened version as in the Mortuary. I asked him to continue.
"Go on. What does it say after that?"
"What are you talking about, chief? There isn't any more."
"What about, 'Don't trust the skull?'"
"Oh... *that* bit at the end? Well, I figured it was wash, so I didn't read that line out loud."
"Oh, really? And what do you think it means? Do you think it refers to *you?*"
"I doubt it. I mean, you can trust *me,* right, chief?"
"Are you *lying* to me, Morte?"
"No! C'mon, what's your problem, chief? I haven't steered you wrong yet."
"*Yet.* I don't like the fact you didn't read me that line, and I'd like to know what *else* you've neglected to mention since we've been traveling together." Morte still maintained his usual, casual manner.
"Nothing! I've told you everything... well, ALMOST everything, but nothing, you know, *dangerous.*"
"If there's ANYTHING else, I suggest you tell me now."
"Chief, seriously, there's nothing else. I wouldn't hold out on you."
That was the last I could get him to say on the matter. I was
sure he was lying, but I wasn't sure why.
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