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Everything seems to have settled into a routine. Everyone was keeping busy with a lot of different things, moving on and preparing for the war they knew was coming. With Nefisat's help, the construction of the city was almost completed, there were no more shakes, and whatever was left was Malek putting on a few finishing touches.
I was left with no other choice but to focus on breaking the seals on Castle Sarang, and so far with both me and my now solid clone working together, we had broken at least sixty five percent of the entire seals.
The speed was unprecedented, I really didn't expect we could go that far in such a short time, but it was obvious that I had gotten better at breaking seals. There was nothing much to do in the pit anyway. Today was just like any other day, so when Malek burst into my office waving a piece of paper and yelling at the top of his voice, I was startled.
"I found it! I found it! I found the...…" THUD!
I couldn't help but shake my head: this vampire was a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather, and maybe another great or two added behind it. And he was also the leader of a bloodline coven. Yet he was so childish it was hard to believe he had all these titles to his name.
I waited from him to pick himself up from the ground, he was a little too excited for me to happy about. Usually when Malek is happy or excited, things tend to get extremely dangerous, especially for the people around him. So I hoped beyond measure that he's not gone and built something volatile again!
"Sorry for barging in like this my lord, but I found it!" he said to me as he quickly took a seat, and almost immediately stood up again as he was talking.
"Found what?" I asked in a tired voice.
"I found the records, or you could say a paper trail almost two thousand years old that could lead us to the exact location of the sealing array!" he said to me as he sat back down.
"Seriously? Where is it?"
" There's an obscure tunnel in the hub, just right beside the tunnel that leads to the mines. It's hidden by an enchantment, though I'm not sure what kind, the documents I found were extremely vague about it. But I believe that tunnel would lead us straight to the sealing array."
This was good news, apart from the fact that it meant that the vampires would be totally free from the seals, it meant that there was actually something for me to do, rather than repeatedly breaking seals and having awkward conversations with Xaseah and Asha. (I can't tell what's wrong with those two.)
"Well then go ahead and make preparations, let's go destroy the damn thing!" I said to him as I also got up in excitement.
"But there's something you should know my lord."
Here we go. Of course it wouldn't be that easy, there always has to be something that stands in the way. I've been lucky so far, but I know how hard I've had to work for everything I've gained, how close to a knife's edge I've had to walk. Sometimes I just wish good news would fall on my lap without me having to bleed for it.

"What is it now."
"The documents I found are really old, and almost destroyed, especially after we razed the guard tower to the ground. It took a while for me to restore it, but not everything was able to be saved.
The person who wrote the documents left quite a severe warning behind, and he had written it in ancient Gondi...…..Giant language."
"That's impossible Malek, the giants are extinct, and they've been extinct for a lot longer than two thousand years. The humans made sure of that when they went to war against them." I said to him, confused about this new development.
"I understand that my lord, but that's what I found. The document, the whole of it was written in ancient Gondi, a really old and archaic version of the language. Almost as if the person didn't want to make it easy for whoever finds it: or to make it short and simple, the document was encoded. The fact that it was written in a dead language is all the proof we need." Malek explained.
"And how the hell do you even know this dead language?" I asked him.
"The Ausolon coven are keepers of historical records. Yes many of them has been lost due to our long years of captivity, but knowledge such as the spoken and written languages of different civilizations are taught and passed on to every Ausolon youngling from the moment they can talk, write and read. I can speak and read all 477 indigenous languages on Shearath, and four hundred of those languages are dead languages. Civilizations fall and rise, and many are annexed during wars and takeovers, over time as they become part of a new people, their language disappears. But Vampires just like elves have long memories, its easy for us to remember and record things like this."
"Okay I get it. You're the leader of a coven of vampire nerds, now what is this warning you're talking about."
"The documents: apart from giving directions, also spoke of guardians. Or to be more precise three layers of guardians, before we can reach the array, and some other big secret that's been sleeping here a lot longer than we vampires have been prisoners. He called the first layer guardians the íkú-démī. That was written in the Vampire's old tongue, and it means 'Death Is Here'. The vampires name for the living dead, and the unskinned undead. Monsters born from one of the vilest magic to exist in this universe...…"
He didn't need to complete his words, I knew exactly what he was talking about and even as I called it out, I felt a shiver run down my spine.
"My lord the documents say there are millions of them in there, a legion of undead being led by a lich. To be honest killing undead wouldn't be a problem for us, even if they're that much. But should they escape their confinement when we're not ready, they kill us all. And every vampire that falls becomes another undead within their ranks, and full dead vampires as the living dead, as zombies! That would be a total nightmare!"
"Calm down Malek, you say they're three layers. What's the second and the third?"
"It gets worse my lord. The second are not as much the legion of undead, but I'm afraid they're just as dangerous if not more....the second layer of defense are demons! And to make matters worse, they're pit demons. Primal, powerful, ancient, and completely unintelligent. True monsters!"
This was getting completely out of hand, all this layer of protection for an array? Sure the array in charge of the seals was valuable. If we break it, we become free, and we can rain fire and brimstone on the surface and all of Shearath in vengeance for everything that's happened to us over the years. But this level of security was insane! Should we get free, the council of light was more than capable of fighting back and even winning against us without spending too much effort. So I refuse to believe they were so afraid that they put living skeletons and zombies, and then demons before us an the array. Something was up.
"What's the third layer of guardians?" I asked Malek.
"I don't really know my lord. When I read through the document, the only thing it said about the third layer, was that its guardians were called the 'Old Ones'. I have no idea what it means, since there's no record about any old ones in the Ausolon archives. We would be going in blind in regards to that."
"There's something else hidden within that tunnel isn't there? It was just a convenient place to put the array, but all those layers of protection are not for it."
"I've come to the same conclusion my lord. Maybe we should take some time and investigate, just to be safe." Malek said to me.
"You know we don't have that much time on our hands, the seals could be triggered at any moment, and you of all people know what happens when such a thing is done. If that array is there, we can't seat still and twiddle our thumbs. We have to get in there."
"I understand my lord, what would you have me do?"
"Call a council, and tell them we're meeting at castle Sarang. Also tell Asare to gather every able bodied fighter we have, from every division and prepare them for war. Call Kodak and Teluna back from the black district, and Gus back from the green. Have Farina organize a supply chain, because we really have no idea how long we're going to be fighting, and the living dead don't get tired. Also you have to do everything in your power to make sure we're geared up and strong enough to win this fight. You can go."
Malek bowed and left my office to carry out his tasks. I felt my heart beat inside my chest as worry began to seep into my mind. This was going to be a war, just as we've all expected and are preparing for. The only problem I had right now, was the fact that it wasn't against the enemy I expected, but there was no problem, no fuss. Because whether it's humans, elves, undead or demons, we'll fight as hard as we can for one reason and one reason alone...….we could not afford to lose.

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