photo of a road in between trees

Session 6: Divide and Conquer

Chapter II: Voices

Selene stayed against the wall for a time, regaining her strength. As her heavy breath slowed, her mind raced.

Can’t stay here. I just dashed right through them, meaning this is the way they were going before they heard me. As soon as they give up looking for me, they’ll come this way again.

I’ll need to be gone by then. Long gone.

She rose to her feet on shaky legs. She tried to take a step, but her strength gave out, causing her to fall to her knees. I feel like I just sprinted halfway round the city. Is this what happens if I push it too far?

Returning to her place against the wall, she grabbed out some rations in the hopes they might speed up her recovery.  After a quick meal of dried meat and a few more minutes rest, the fatigue began to fade. 

I wonder if this is how Jezran felt after he cast all those spells, or maybe it gets easier with practice? She thought to herself as she rose to her feet once more. A strange soreness seemed to come from within, but she was able to move this time without any difficulty. 

Quietly, Selene went down the corridor. Her movements were slow and precise, keeping the arrow in mind as she moved to ensure she did not repeat her past mistake. She also kept her ears peeled in case she heard anything else coming from either direction.

Strangely, this corridor seemed to have no end or crossroad in sight compared to the ones she had previously followed, which seemed to intersect with relative frequency.

Selene started to worry she had entered another trap, when she finally found another crossroad after a few more minutes of sneaking. Five paths opened up ahead, one continuing forward with the others to the left and right.

Selene considered her options for a moment. The easy answer was to continue with her original strategy and go left, but thanks to her curiosity, she was now forced to go the opposite direction. Considering how long it took to get here, it was hard to say whether or not she would find another crossroad leading back to the party.

Did I just screw up my chance to find everyone? Selene thought to herself, dismayed.

After a moment of self doubt and internal struggling, Selene decided it was best to return to her original plan of going leftward. 

It’s not ideal, but maybe it can still lead me back, I just need to mark the tunnel in case I find myself back here…

She quickly left a small mark near the bottom most corner of the corridor. It would probably avoid the notice of the monsters rushing by, but she would know if she passed by it again. Mark made, she went down the furthest leftward tunnel.

Before she got far, she heard something come from the crossroad.


Selene stopped, turning to look back the way she came. A moment later, she heard it again.


She didn’t recognize the voice, but the only people that knew her name would be her companions. Hope filled her chest as she took a step toward it.


Her blood ran cold. Nobody should know that name. Part of her wanted to run right then and there, but something about the voice made her feel compelled to find it.

Maybe it’s…the same voice from before…back on the rooftop.

Selene’s curiosity trumped her paranoia. Reluctantly, she turned back to the corridor. Back at the crossroads, she looked around tentatively.  The voice came from an opening she had previously missed. It was right beside the one she entered, but it appeared to be a chamber of sorts instead of another tunnel. Blue light emanated from somewhere within.


Before she realized what was happening, her body moved toward it. For a second, Selene considered resisting, but the thought slipped through her mind like water through outstretched fingers. Selene entered the strange chamber, and the voice, once soft, became a cacophony.

Except it was not a single voice, but many. And all of them were calling both her names.

Selene. Rieta.

Selene Selene.






“Wha-?” The words caught in her throat, “Who-?”

The voices resounded and echoed in her mind. She tried to block them out, but there was nothing she could do.

She circled around, finding no one. It was like the voice that came from that monster in the chamber, but it felt…clearer. As if the voices were far more lucid. 

Finally, the world fell silent. It was disturbed only when a lone voice called out in the darkness.  While it was a single voice, others seemed to echo and distort the words as they echoed in her mind. It was as if all the voices had coalesced into one.

Rieta Andolin. 

Selene Bryseis.

Many names.

A power…

Beneath the surface.

Perhaps you… 

Like us…


But the pieces…

Come together…

Selene gulped a breath of air, fear and anxiety welling up inside. Finally she whispered, “W-what? I-I don’t understand.”


We wish…to speak.

…to know.

Selene cocked her head sideways, confusion trouncing fear for a moment, “I don’t get what you’re trying to say.”



Your language…wrong.

Selene nodded, not sure what it meant, “Okay…”

We are…not accustomed to…speaking with…primitive minds.

Offence trumped confusion, Selene blurted, “Oh, I see. I know I’m not the smartest but-”



All of you. 


…simple minded…

Specks of existence.

The voice was beginning to sound more coherent, getting a grasp for this language.

Your worth only…

…slavery and…

consumption by…

…higher beings.

While the voice seemed distracted, Selene took stock of this strange chamber where she found herself. The chamber appeared to be cut from an alcove in the rock, more deliberate than the tunnels outside. The stone walls were wet, soaked by water and mists flowing from openings in the ceiling. 

Mists meant night had fallen on the surface once more, or perhaps it was still the same night.  Selene struggled to keep track of time down here.  

The source of the blue light appeared to be from the wall facing away from the entranceway. The blue light fluctuated as the voice spoke.

Do not…



The voice did not show emotion, possibly a limitation of whatever it was, but Selene could sense its annoyance.

“Sorry,” Selene said meekly.


…are strange. 

…not many…

…would act so…


With the Firstborn.

“Well, I don’t even know what that is, so that’s probably why,” Selene said, smiling awkwardly.


…allow us…

…to show you.

For a moment her mind was overwhelmed by a searing pain, she collapsed to the ground, gripping her head tightly. Suddenly, the pain lessened, and an image appeared in her mind. It was a beast, similar to the one the party encountered in that chamber.

Only this one was far, far worse.

It appeared in an endless ocean of dark waters. Across its body were thousands of mouths, hundreds of tentacles undulated around it as three burning red eyes glared down at her. Within these deep depths, size was incalculable, but Selene knew that the creature towered over the greatest tower in any city.  Such a creature would easily break any ship to pieces with the most meagre exertion of its power. 

The image faded, and Selene found herself on the ground, huddled in a corner. Selene regained some composure and rose to her feet on shaky legs.


You know.

The Firstborn seemed pleased with itself, getting a kind of sick satisfaction from her discomfort.

Selene was overwhelmed, but she had reached a kind of breaking point. Everything the last few days had been terrifying or deadly and she had barely any chance to recuperate between encounters. Frankly, she was out of the mental and emotional energy needed to cower and beg for mercy. So instead she just asked weakly, “If that’s…you. Why are you talking with me?” 

The voice did not respond, as if it were weighing her question.


You are…


You might…

Have use…

After all.

I’m really tired of these games, Selene thought, can’t we just get to the point?

Very well…

It was at this moment Selene realized the creature was reading her mind and cursed herself for talking aloud. 

All this time she could have been silent to avoid notice from passersby. She was just glad no one heard her.

You do not…need to worry…about that. We…have shut…the way.

Looking back at the end of the chamber, Selene saw the entrance was still there. Her eyebrow raised, What do you mean? I can still see the exit.


…but no one…



Before Selene could ask what the Firstborn meant, it continued.

Your kind trust…

so easily…

Do not doubt…



…easy to…


What do you mean? Selene thought back.

This time, it responded with an image in her mind. It was an arm, skewered by an arrow.

What? Selene thought, genuinely confused.


your friends…


You are…blinded.

Selene thought for a moment, trying to parse through what it said. I can’t trust my eyes or ears? So…what, I’m under some kind of spell?

The Firstborn did not respond. 

Well, it didn’t say no. She kept thinking, So if I am under some kind of spell and it’s affecting my eyes and ears. What else is it affecting?

Selene closed her eyes and focused inward, trying to parse what she was experiencing. Unfortunately the pain in her arm was making it hard to think. Annoyed, she tried to ignore it, but then a thought occurred to her.

Wait, senses…like a sense of pain?

Selene looked over at the arrow sticking from her shoulder, she lifted up her shirt slowly.  She peered beneath the fabric to look at the mess it made.  Blood continued to pool out of it.  She felt it flowing down her arm and onto the ground below.  She then looked at the ground around her. Nothing. She looked behind, there were no signs of blood anywhere on the floor she came from.

I wasn’t actually…shot?

As she came to this realization, the arrow and wound vanished, though the pain remained.


Knowing that will give you more…

…opportunities when the time is right.

The Firstborn’s voice seemed to have an approving tone. It was also growing more accustomed to translating its thoughts.

Then why does my arm still hurt if it wasn’t injured? Selene questioned.

You are injured…

…but our powers affect the mind…

…not the body. 

We have no need to harm flesh… 

…when the mind is so undefended by those…


Selene ignored the rather rude comment and turned back on a previous comment, What do you mean by opportunity? Does it have something to do with what you want from me?

The Firstborn did not respond immediately.

He…wants you.

Sees…what we see.

Selene noticed the voice of the Firstborn took on a strange anxiety when speaking of this other entity.

There is an…opportunity…to use you against Him.

How? Selene asked.

He will…find you.


Nothing can stop this. 

His plan…

…too far advanced to be evaded. 

Selene swallowed sharply. What are you going to do?

We…cannot interfere…

We can only…manipulate.

Selene’s heart sank, What about my friends?

We…do not care what befalls your ‘friends.’ 

We…have already done…

…what can be done.

The voice shared a final thought as it faded, retreating from her mind as the blue light dimmed.

We hope…you survive.For now.

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