Chapter 12

You sprint through the stone halls and up a flight of stairs towards the Master’s quarters, a steady stream of panicked thoughts flickering through your mind all the while.

Who could have done this?

Why would they?

And just where in the hells was Naema?!

This last thought comes just before you crest the top of the staircase and catch your first glimpse of the large double-doors that lead to the Master’s quarters.

Doors that currently stand ajar.

You stop dead in your tracks at the top of the staircase as your confused thoughts finally click into place. Knowledge comes rapidly, but acceptance does not.

“No,” you say softly to yourself in a shaky voice. The word becomes louder, firmer, and more terrible with each repeated utterance until it is an awful keening pouring forth from your lips.

“No! No! Noooo!”

You rush into the sparsely furnished room, to find the Master lying on the floor, curled up into a ball and clutching at her stomach. Kneeling by her side you check her pulse, but it only confirms what her pale, cold skin and blank, staring eyes have already told you.

She is dead.

Next to her lifeless form lies a smashed porcelain teacup. The remnants of the spilled tea have spread across the stone floor and seem to be slowly eating into the hard surface. You manage to tear your gaze from her corpse to look at the bookshelf you know from past experience that houses the Master’s private collection of personal research.

You are only slightly surprised to find it empty…


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