Absent Without Leave
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The three men made their way through the tunnels rapidly, anxiously paying no heed to that which was behind them. They were close to the passageway to the relic and they knew it. The man leading that trio, though he was certain his calculations had been accurate, feared they'd come too late.

Their lack of cognition was perfectly fine with the god. It worked to his advantage. The men's intense concentration on finding the gate allowed him to hurry after them with little concern about discovery. This time, he'd come prepared to follow the strange men wherever they went.

The Ruins of the Emissary, as these tunnels were know, had been, according to legend, a gathering place for a tribe long ago, who were said to have been deemed worthy of the god Hermes' grace. To show his thanks for their dedication, he was said to have given unto the tribe his blessing, a godly power which the tribe later abused, soon leading to their abolition. Because of this, the ruins were only vaguely charted and seldom used by the natives. But that is what made it ideal for the man leading the trio. He didn't want his secretive efforts to break away from the Foundation to be discovered. Not yet.

This of course hadn't fooled the god, who'd been watching the men from a distance for quite some time now. If they'd come here, it could only mean that they sought the relic which would be the key to expanding their base of power, an attempt that had to be stopped. He knew that the men were not prepared to deal with the relic and that power that it represented.

There was once a time, which the god fondly remembered, that the gods mixed freely with those on Earth. But those times were long since past, living only in the minds of few, and the hearts of many legends. Now the mortals were particularly vulnerable. They had long since progressed in a way that lead them to worship industry. Machines had become their gods, and the humans had divorced themselves from the care and ancient knowledge of Olympus. The man leading the trio seemed to understand this vulnerability, and wanted to use it to his own advantage.
The god paused and gently hugged the dirt wall of the tunnel as the men entered a round chamber. The room was dimly lit with no sign of the passageway to the relic. Perhaps the men had arrived to late, and had missed their chance yet again. How satisfying it'd be to report back to Olympus that the men, who'd already caused the gods so much trouble, had failed.

Suddenly, a harmonic ringing of chimes filled the chamber. The sound, having no specific source, seemed to come from every which way. The tunnels where thought to have been inhabited by elemental beings, whose mellifluous music was their signature. The music momentarily disoriented the god, but it didn't take long for him to understand what it all meant.

Light flooded the chamber, pouring through a bright triangular opening which had appeared within a stone shrine in the center of the chamber. Both Hermes and the men shielded their eyes as the intense light burst through the gate. The men had come prepared for change, but the intense light and change of air had been a shock nonetheless. But there was little time to adjust. The gate was a temporary, fleeting opening. Though it was forbidden that the gods have any connections with the mortal world again, the god knew he had to intervene. Squinting against the brightness, the god watched as the leader of the trio climbed through the gate, his lieutenants following close behind. He rushed across the chamber, which he recognized all too well, as soon as the men were out of sight. The chimes resonating through him, the richness of sound filling him like a vessel submerged in water. He didn't want to leave, but knew he must. He had no choice: it was law.

Pushing the thoughts of punishment aside, the god stretched a leg through the triangular opening in the wall. When he saw movement before him and a jumble of loud noises, he quickly pulled his leg back, pressing himself against the wall. Did they suspect they were being followed? If so, it was over for him. With no time to escape, the god, Hermes, would be found, be forsaken by the gods, and lose power over the relic for good.

The leader of the trio emerged from the gate into the chamber. In hand he held the relic that Hermes knew too well.

As the man raised the staff, the ground shuddered violently and a moment later, a deafening metallic screech tore throughout the network of tunnels. The man yelled for his lieutenants, but there was no answer. Hermes was frightened, scared even. It wasn't supposed to end like this.
Quickly, Haos turned and climbed to his feet, fleeing into the tunnels with the Staff of Hermes under his arm. Hermes could only watch as the man made his way out of the ruins. He sighed, flickering out of view as the chamber collapsed around him.

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