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." "Do you speak to her?""Oh, no-not while I'm awake.But often she comes to me in my dreams, and regarding you she was quite specific.I am to train you in the highest calling of the priesthood, though I am assured that as a warrior you are already eminently capable.""I am a warrior!" Ariakas growled."I never gave any thought to becoming a priest, and I don't plan to now!"Wryllish Parkane looked at him in some surprise."Indeed? But thaf s not what I… well, no matter.Come along down here, won't you?"The priest's assumptions, if anything, made Ariakas even more curious, so he continued to follow him down the straight, seemingly interminable stairway.The torches in the wall were very far apart, and darkness filled the gaps between them.Ariakas was about to sug shy;gest they take one of the brands with them when the priest astonished him by muttering a few indistinguish shy;able words, causing a bright light to flare into life atop his short scepter.The metal star glowed with a cool but surprisingly extensive illumination."The power of our mistress is a wondrous thing," noted the long-haired priest.His strides increased in tempo as the long subterranean corridor continued.Ariakas kept pace easily, trying to take note of their surroundings as they advanced.He saw several yawn shy;ing cave-mouths branching to the right and left from the main passage, all of them utterly dark and lifeless.In several cases he felt certain-based on dust and spider-webs-that the passages led to completely unvisited regions below the temple.Still, perhaps it was only the priest's light that made their current path seem different.Ariakas noticed several chambers outlined in stalactites and stalagmites-nat shy;ural caves in the ancient limestone bed of the Khalkists.The newer lava and basalt of the Lords of Doom fre shy;quently overlapped and buried the bedrock, but in places the two surfaces met.The temple of Luerkhisis was obviously one such juncture."Tell me," inquired the high priest conversationally."What do you know of dragons?""Dragons?" Ariakas pondered the surprising ques shy;tion."As much as anyone else, I suppose.They were the scourge of Krynn in the Age of Might, until they were bested by humans and the knights in the great dragon war.That was some thirteen centuries ago, and they've been gone from Krynn ever since.""That is the common perception," noted Wryllish vaguely."You, of course, have never seen one?""As I said," Ariakas retorted, somewhat sharply, "there have been no dragons for more than a thousand years-how could I have seen one?""Quite.As a matter of fact, I haven't seen one either." The priest stopped suddenly, and turned to face Ariakas.Wryllish scrutinized the warrior, an expression of reflec shy;tive curiosity on his face."Tell me, Lord Ariakas-have you ever seen the birth of rain in the clouds overhead?""Of course not!" snapped the warrior, irritated with the ludicrous question."Ah!" declared Wryllish, ignoring his companion's agitation."But that does not mean such a birth does not take place, does it?""How should I know? The rain falls on the ground- that's good enough for me!""Of course … of course.But my point is this: does the fact of your not having seen something constitute evi shy;dence that that thing does not exist?""In that case, no.If you're speaking about dragons, however, I would say that the combined experience of the population of Krynn would give some basis for mak shy;ing the assumption that they don't exist." In spite of him shy;self, Ariakas found himself enjoying the verbal sparring.The priest, he noted, reflected on his response seriously before beginning his reply."Even in that case, dispute is possible," Wryllish ven shy;tured."For in our discussion thus far we have neglected the matter of faith.""Faith? In dragons?" Ariakas countered."Faith in our goddess," the priest corrected gently."And if it is the will of Takhisis that we believe in drag shy;ons, then how can one who has faith in the goddess not believe, implicitly, in dragons?""Has the goddess made this claim-that dragons exist?" demanded Ariakas."No-not in so many words," replied the serene cleric."Yet, I suspect that soon she will.""You suspect?" Ariakas was unable to keep the scorn from his voice."But you don't know-have not been told this?""I leave it at this," said Wryllish, enjoying the sight of the warrior's agitation."I believe this is the will of our mistress: Before many more years have passed, dragons will once again be known and feared upon Krynn.And when they return, they will do so not as a scourge, nor a menace… they will come as our allies!""Some would call you mad," the warrior said bluntly."Is that the way of this temple-the insistence that some extinct lizards are going to return and bring us to glory?"Despite Ariakas's hostile tone, Wryllish Parkane refused to be riled.He merely smiled smugly, and indi shy;cated the corridor before them."Pray, continue," he said with elaborate politeness, "I wonder if you'll think the same in a few moments."Chapter 11Deep TreasureThe Sanctified Catacombs twisted, mazelike, through the past darkness below the temple of Luerkhisis.Several times the passage branched into smaller routes, and Wryllish unhesitatingly made his choice, leading Ariakas what seemed like miles under the ground.For a while after their discussion of dragons, the priest remained silent, and the warrior walked beside him, intrigued."Are all these tunnels the province of the temple?" Ariakas asked abruptly."Yes-each temple, actually.It is rumored that these passages run underneath Sanction and connect all the temples secretly.""All three temples are dedicated to Takhisis?""Now, finally, they are.Her presence has ruled in Luerkhisis for many decades, but the Temples of Duer-ghast and Huerzyd across the valley had been dedicated to false gods of the post-Cataclysm.""The tunnels are reached only through the temples?""As far as we know," the priest admitted."Though there are passages that have never been explored.It's true there are rumors.tales of some mysterious tunnel-dwellers, the 'shadowpeople/ and so forth…." Wryllish's tone made it clear he put no stock in such stories."Where are we going?" inquired Ariakas after several minutes of silent, fast-paced walking [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]