Realizing that he was not referring to the dust, Zarrek shuddered and turned away. They found a doorway that looked like the cobwebs had been recently disturbed, and chose that as their route. As they passed through it. The young prince heard voices whispering whispering from the corners.
“Who’s there?” he called out, stopping in his tracks.
“What are you up to, boy?” Elezar complained. He held his torch higher and glanced around the room. “Nobody is here except you and I and that beast of yours.”
“Nobody alive, you might more rightly say,” Bazalus added as he stiff another stone coffin.
“Does that make you alive, beast?” the old man asked him.
Zarrek did not give Bazalus time to answer. “I am certain that I heard whispering from the shadows. How could you not hear it, too?”
“It must be that owl’s poising beginning to work,” Elezar told him. “Don’t give in to it; just keep moving.”
They pressed on together, although Zarrek still insisted that he had heard something. There were fewer stairs now, and instead hallway after hallway, each leading to another vast room of the deceased. It was eerie to the prince, being around so many bodies, all so meticulously prepared, their coffins carved with incredible skill for something that was destined to be hidden underground with crypt spiders crawling over it. Back home– even in Thiizav, in their modern age– death allowed for new life to spring forced, and every body was buried with either the seeds of willow tree or a sapling. The weeping willows sometimes grew in groves that blanketed the landscape, and other times they were interspersed with all the other trees of the forest.
Zarrek had lost himself so much in his thoughts of the dead that he hardly heard the scream that echoed through the hall. Elezar heard it, though, and it spurned him onward, passing through several halls at top speed and he called out his beloved’s name. Then there was a terrible hissing noise, followed by more whispering from the shadows.
“Do you hear it this time?”
“That hissing is the wraith,” Elezar told him as he strode on.
“There’s the whispering, too,” Zarrek added.
Elezar stopped and turned around, glaring down at the young prince. “Do not talk like this. The owl’s poison has a way of teasing your mind, and the more you give it cause, the more it will take hold.”