The vaulted ceilings of the grottoes, illuminated by some magical light, were left behind and Istri, a soldier of the Underwater Empire of Ulmie, ended up in a circular sanctuary. It was his first time as an honor guard. Priests scurried around the sanctuary in a silent ritual dance. He watched them for a few seconds, mesmerized by their grace, then turned away and continued on his way.
His job was to guard them from invasions from the outside. They started to happen more and more often lately. Strange bipedal terrestrials, who were sailing on the ocean surface inside huge wooden fishes with air fins, tried to disturb their peace again and again. The gates of the sanctuary closed behind the warrior of the depths. The guard, which he was supposed to change, bowed to him and turned towards the sanctuary.
“Brother Sheilesh.” Istri spoke to him.
“Are you nervous, Istri? Do you want to ask something?”
“I… I mean, why do these terrestrials want to enter our temple? Do they want the barrier containing the Horror of the Depths to be breached?”
“I doubt they even know about it. I’ve heard they’re called “pi-irra-tes”. It was difficult for the melodic, almost musical speech of Sheilesh to say the word in a rough, foreign language. “They are the greediest of terrestrials. The only thing they care about is golden decorations of the sanctuary, and they disregard the consequences.”
“I understand, brother.” Istri bowed to his comrade.
“Don’t worry if they show up. They see badly in the dark and are feeble. I saw how good you are with your trident. You can handle them easily. Just don’t let them point their metal pipes at you. These pipes are infused with some kind of explosive magic, but if water gets on them, they become useless.”
“Thank you, my brother.” Istri bowed again.
“Good luck to you now.” Sheilesh bowed to him and left.
Istri then gripped his combat trident in a more comfortable way and froze in the shadows, next to the sanctuary gates.