A little more of the Start of Book 7

Here are a few more paragraphs, continuing from my last short post.

Click, click, click.

My heels tapped at the stone and the sound echoes away, making me feel mildly guilty for intruding into this long-settled silence. It was not far, I was sure. I had dreamt of where to go and I had little reason to doubt that the dream, or vision if you prefer, would hold true. It had after all told me where to find the key.

Upstairs in Angel’s Keep my wife and family, my entire household was asleep. I had seen some guards as I wandered downstairs and they had politely bowed their heads. I had gone to the special room in the basement where we had put the entrance tunnel to the Maze and then I had walked the labyrinth until I had come to the centre. The Minitour kept out of my way, though I could sense he was awake and watching me.

Of course, Angel’s Keep was not exactly ‘upstairs’ since the Maze existed in its own magical field and not strictly in the same dimensions as the physical world. We had connected tunnels to it at various strategic places, Angel’s Keep in Rome, my other homes in England and America. The important thing to note is that Daedalus had not built the maze to hold the Minitour, he had appropriated it. The maze and always been the entrance to Hades and the goblin who had once worked in the underworld for the dark god himself, and now worked for me, had been the only one to understand its secrets. He had kept the Minitour safe. And he had kept the key safe too. In the same place.

I should have been angry that he had not told me about the key. Then again, I suspect he had made an oath to Hades himself and that was not something one breaks easily. It was quite likely in fact that the oath prevented him from even remembering that he had it. Oaths to gods can be a bit like that.

Click, click, click. The darkness tried to muffle the sounds of my approach. The walls glowed with enough light to see but the darkness was still there underneath, it was built into this strange place.

Suddenly I was there, standing before iron doors five times my height. What would I find inside? Hades the god had gone quite mad more than a thousand years ago. Hades the place had been deserted by him and his servants since that time.

I considered turning around and returning to bed.

Of course, I did not. What kind of story would this be I did not open these great doors and enter inside? I turned the key and pushed open the old gates which opened smoothly and without a single creak.

Before I take this step and we enter this realm, I should warn you that this is a place of the most terrible tortures. I should warn you that you will be walking the hallways of memories in the maze of my mind, and getting out of these places will be difficult. We will dip into the past, like this moment that I opened these doors, and we will suffer in the now. But it is all necessary, both my journey and yours. I am on a path worn by the tread of the fates and someone must bear true witness. Those are our respective roles.

Angels have no doubts, I am sure I have told you that before. So let us go in now.