The faces of the statues were so life-like that I knew they had been real people, turned to stone in an instant. As the wind continued to howl about the bones of this ruined city under the darkening sky, the feeling of foreboding I had grew inside of me, gnawing at my gut like a parasite.
“What happened to them?” asked Rootbagger, sensing my unease, “A basilisk maybe?”
“Perhaps, but I think that whatever happened to them, to this city, was much bigger than that.”
He shot a glance over to me. “War?”
I looked up at him, nodded. “Yup; all-out thaumaturgical fucking warfare. These folks never stood a chance.”
Suddenly Rootbagger snapped his head round and stared up in the direction of the main doors atop the staircase across the courtyard from the ones we had come through. I followed his line of sight and was surprised to discover a young woman stood there, clad in flowing robes and shawls, her face partially hidden.
Her eyes were bright and alert, darting about the courtyard before looking over our every aspect, sizing us up. Without a word, she gazed into my eyes for a full two seconds before she turned and walked slowly away, passing through the doors and melting into the darkness.
Rootbagger and I looked at each other. I raised an eyebrow. “Shall we?” I asked. Rootbagger looked uncertain, but said nothing. “Grab our things; I’m going to take a look.”
He frowned but did not protest. While he went to retrieve our possessions, I cautiously made my way to the marble steps and began to ascend.
Upon reaching the doors, I discovered that they led to a large dimly lit circular chamber, its walls adorned with mirrors, behind which shadowy forms writhed and hammered upon the glass.