The Culmination of the Pandora's Box Crisis
My Apparent Destruction in the Prison of Kronos
...thus Iodah, the Bes Hero of Kashik Oasis, and I raced through the cavern entrance downward towards the deep glow. As we travelled further below ground others of our Faction joined us from a branching cavern. When we neared our goal the cavern was filled with a bright flash of white light.
Our lost comrade Sakaris, ToTanem champion 'the Lion of Memphis,' along with a lost warrior from our newly arrived factionmates, appeared before us. Sakaris and the other warrior both sacrificed themselves to the ferryman so our warbands could cross the river to the Underworld. Both were now disembodied Ka, their will to continue to aid our cause took this quasi-physical form before us.
With our newly returned allies we entered a large cavern with several cave entrances and a large pool of roiling lava in the center. Two pillars of stone flanked a stone stairway leading up to a landing at the edge of the lava pool.
Standing on the landing with what was obviously Pandora's Box at his feet was the hulking form of the half-man half-Titan sorcerer, Xerxes. The Box lid was ajar with tentacles of some horrible monster writhing about from within. Around the cavern were numerous other entrances. Each entrance had disgorged members of either the Order Faction or the Chaos Faction (hereafter referred to as the “Minions of Xerxes”).
The fiend Xerxes addressed us all, gloating how we were too late to hinder his scheme. He had already begun the incantations which he claimed would assure him victory. His wicked laughter echoed through the chamber as members of the Order Faction, all great heroes from Hellas and Ægyptus intent on stopping whatever vile plan Xerxes had set in motion, sprung to the attack.
To my left, Sakaris blocked a Sphinx Abomination from attacking us. The ToTanem shade held his own for a moment but the undead monster swallowed him whole. Sakaris' sacrifice gave Iodah and I a moment to let loose arrows at the fiend Xerxes. Our shots had little effect because the fiend was protected by some sort of magical barrier.
Across the cavern I saw Abasi Benben, a Harbinger of Ptah, rush forward and unleash his Earthquake Ka power upon the closest pillar. Cracks appeared in the stone and dust and debris fell from the ceiling. A look of absolute terror flashed across the fiend Xerxes’ face. He screamed at Abasi Benben and aimed his staff. A burst of magical energy spewed forth and hit the ToTanem Harbinger with little effect.
Surprisingly a hand larger than a Sebeki splashed up from the pool of lava. It was then that I realized exactly where we were- this was undoubtedly the Prison of Kronos, the greatest of all the Titans. Kronos was imprisoned in ancient times by the combined might of the Olympian Gods in a secret place. Our struggle against the Minions of Xerxes immediately took on a more urgent tone. Abasi Benben‘s plan to topple the pillars was our only hope to keep Kronos safely imprisoned far from the outside world where the Titan would likely destroy all he surveyed.
Abasi Benben ran up to the pillar he had already damaged and let loose his Earthquake again. This time the pillar was destroyed and large chunks of rock fell from the ceiling as it cracked and buckled. The fiend Xerxes grew panicked and enraged, focusing a magical attack at Abasi Benben once more. I instructed Iodah to go to the aid of Abasi Benben while I would dealt with Xerxes. I called upon my Ka and flew to the landing where Xerxes stood directing his Minions against us. My struggle with the fiend was intense. I landed several wounding blows against him and managed to avoid his clumsy attacks.
Near the foot of the stairs I saw that the situation was growing dire for the Order Faction. Abasi Benben was now engaged in Provocation with a Dark Harbinger and the undead thing seemed to be getting the better of him. Nearby I saw another Tethru Harbinger engaged in Provocation with a Heru in the Aspect of the Defender whom had somehow lost his way to become a Minion of Xerxes. These sights distracted me from my struggle against the fiend. Unexpectedly Xerxes reached out with one of his massive hands and grabbed me.
By this time Kronos had emerged up to the waist in the pool of lava. Xerxes’ magics were too strong for me to overcome and I was tossed to the emerging ancient Titan.
I then found myself back in my library tent with the scroll I had immersed myself in still on the table in front of me….