As Gill drew close to the Sacred Temple the sense of old magic was so thickly ingrained in the grounds, he could practically taste its substance. Curiously, there also seemed to be evidence of a large scale battle from only a short while ago. Dark elf corpses littered the ground. Oddly, their defeated enemies seemed only to be large statue like constructions. A cursory examination of one of them revealed some sort of sorcery laid into them, but Gill had never seen this kind of power before.
”Any idea what this could be?” Taegrus asked, motioning to one of the statues.
”I’ll be honest. I have no idea.” Gill answered.
”There’s been some unusual creature sightings on Hoelle recently, but these are a mystery even to me.” Kirik added.
”How frightening~” Shaela said, nudging one.
”Let’s keep moving for now.” Gill urged.
From a short ways ahead, the group heard the sound of a large bell of some kind. As it rang, the ground shook with a deep rumbling sound. Earth trembled and twisted as something far off rose from the earth. A great temple gate enshrined whatever had arisen from the earth.
”Well now, isn’t this exciting~” Shaela said with some amusement. Beyond was the form of another statue construct, but much larger than the destroyed ones strewn across the ground.
”That thing’s large enough to be a mountain.” Kirik said.
On the shoulder of the golem creature sat a small girl. Gill reasoned she must be the master of the stone warriors.
”You who would trespass on sacred lands shall face the judgment of the supreme golem, Gear Atmos.” Said the girl.
The golem and the girl were still a good ten minute walk away from them, yet they had heard her voice clearly and could easily spy the size of this Gear Atmos, despite the distance.
”This is bad.”
“Can we really defeat something that large?” Pearlshine asked, but the feeling was mutual throughout the party. Accomplished though the four were, there was no doubt this was some kind of guardian of the Sacred Temple, a place of legend. Furthermore, it seems that the lesser golems of this place were an even match for a platoon of Dark Elf soldiers. Anyone could call this a fool’s errand.
”Defense comes first. We won’t make any headway if we’re flattened. Pearlshine, use your gems and give me a hand.” Gill wasn’t about to back down and spoke with great enthusiasm.
”I was thinking the same thing.” The Panda king grinned.
Gill enclosed the four of them in a defensive magical barrier. Unsure of exactly how strong Gear Atmos could be, he spared no expense weaving layer after layer of magic into the shield.
The girl riding the enormous golem cast hour a ring of light that washed over the land, seemingly eliminating all non-golem bodies as it did so.
”You’ve got to be kidding.” Kirik groaned at the sight of the spell.
As the luminous ring collided with Gill’s barrier it instantly seared off many layers of the spell, but Gill’s magic held and the four were safe. Overhead, the sky darkened and storm clouds quickly began to gather.
”Everyone alright?” Pearlshine asked.
”We’re fine.” Gill assured.
”Goodness me~” Shaela said, dusting herself off. A few meters away, several smaller golems clawed their way to the surface from some unknown place underground.
”This is a most troublesome foe. We do not know if she is merely summoning a finite number of these creatures or constructing them from the very earth below us.” Pearlshine offered. It was something Gill hadn’t considered yet himself. He was more concerned with knowing whether any of the Dark Elves had survived their initial defeat. The golems seemed to be preparing to move, as if storing energy. Perhaps they needed time to charge? Either way this was as good a chance as they might get.
“We need to move now before the enemy can strike.” Gill said, and the other three nodded.
As Gill and the others approached Gear Atmos they could see more slain Dark Elves strewn about the ground, a most horrible sight. Choosing not to engage the gigantic construct the four moved quickly past it towards the Sacred Temple.
”You would deny my trial and invade the temple?” The girl on the golem asked.
”We have no intention to invade or plunder.” Gill explained. “Only to learn what strange power you and this place have.”
”No creature may rightly set foot in this place. You have no need to know, only to leave.” The girl said.
Gill felt a strange, painful sensation shoot through his head as a strange, dreamlike memory surfaced in his mind. It was something from ten years ago, but whether it was his own memories, a dream, or the thoughts of another, he could not rightly say. Regardless it was information pertinent to the current situation, and Gill was going to use it.
“You’re a guardian right? One who protects a power of a greater creator?”
”How do you know this?”
”I’m not sure myself. I was hoping you could tell me, ‘Pandora’.”
”Then I will retract my previous statement. You may not return from where you came. Now you will die.”
A great light enveloped the girl known as Pandora and in an instant all the golems began to move to attack once again.