Chapter 1 – The temple of Timal

In the vast, deep jungles of Timal, a bit south-west from a small town that’s, while friendly and close to an airport, is struggling to keep going, lies a temple hidden. It’s a sunny afternoon, even though black clouds are drawing near. Outside of the temple lies crumbled stone pillars and a brick road that has been overgrown and lost to the jungle that it was made to easily traverse. The temple itself has been built into a mountain that somehow has managed to stay fairly jungle free despite being surrounded by it.
By whom was the temple built and for what purpose? These questions did not matter to the girl who just had created a torch and entered the dark innards of the temple.

The girl loved adventures and had heard the area would be a cool place to explore. Then she had found out about the old temple and decided to check it out. Unfazed she had entered with nothing but a adventurous smile.

The girl in question’s name is Sharon, an 18 year old adventurer from America. With slightly messy, light blonde, mid-back level length hair and a pointy fringe and dressed in a red crop-top and what appears to be denim shorts she makes for one interesting looking adventurer as she heads deeper into the old temple.

Crunch! She stepped on something. She looks down and sees that she has crushed the hand of a skeleton. Apologetically she removes her foot from it.
“Oops. Sorry,” she says as she brushes off the powdered remains from her shoe. The skeleton probably wouldn’t have minded as a giant stalactite had pinned it down to the ground through the ex-person’s torso.
Smiling at her own silly conversation Sharon keeps on walking through the dark corridor with nothing but her torch to light it up.
The corridor is carved out of the solid mountain in a very simple fashion. Some indents have been made where old statues and symbols once have stood, now long gone: withered away or stolen.

Heading deeper, Sharon passes by traps. The traps have already been sprung, however, and is littered with the skeletons of unlucky adventurers. Sharon finds the situation thrilling and manages to avoid falling for the same fate as the previous visitors.

Reaching the end of the long tunnel Sharon stops. Before her is a fairly large room with big stone statues featuring some human-looking creature with a horrifying mask placed symmetrically along the walls. At the far end, lit up by a deliberate hole in the roof, is something shiny on top of a pedestal. Vines are growing through the hole and are hanging over the mysterious object.
“Oooh. That looks cool,” Sharon looks over to the thing. She can’t quite make out what it is from where she is standing, but it looks like it’s the size of a standing football.
Suddenly Sharon notices she shrinks a couple of centimetres. Confused, she looks down.
“Uh-oh.”
She sees that the stone tile she had stepped on while trying to get a closer look at the object has been pressed down like a pressure plate. A deep clicking and rumbling sound is heard as an age-old trap is about to be activated. Sharon bites herself on the lip and looks around.
“Please don’t be a giant boulder, please don’t be a giant boulder…”
Her prayers are answered as suddenly something swishes past her nose by just a few centimetres: a dart, and more follows. Within seconds, the entire room got darts flying through it, and instead of running back to the corridor, Sharon panics forward, dodging, avoiding and generally staying away from the darts by jumping, ducking, sliding and somersaulting away from them. The torch is dropped, but with the light from the roof it doesn’t matter.
A few seconds later, even though it felt like minutes, she lands on the stone platform where the pedestal and its mysterious object is located. Luckily this area is safe from the darts, but it doesn’t take long until the horizontal dart rain stops.
Sharon looks back and sighs out in relief. She then notices the side of her neck is itching. Glancing over, she notices she has been hit by a dart. It’s quickly pulled out and thrown away.
“I hope that won’t leave a mark,” Sharon says while rubbing the area the dart hit.
She then remembers the object and finally gets to properly see what it is.

On the pedestal is a golden idol depicting the same weird masked human creature, here standing on what appears to be a pile of masks, similar to the one it is wearing. It doesn’t seem to be placed on any pressure plates, which is a relief for Sharon; she has seen the films.
She takes a step forward, then stops.
“Hm… Should I really take the idol? I mean, I was only here to explore the ruin and it feels like it’s a trap anyway, especially with all these dead adventurers and the temple being ransacked except for this room…”
She shakes her head and resumes her adventurous smile from before.
“I’ll just be careful and assuming it’s not a trap I can give the idol away to the locals,” she slowly takes two steps towards the pedestal, and then flinches as a cold feeling spreads through her body.
All her muscles numb and she falls over on to the floor, unable to move. She can only move her eyes and she generally feels like she just woke up a normal morning, besides the impending feeling of doom. She’d point out that the dart was probably to blame, but she can’t move her mouth at the moment.

A couple of minutes pass, Sharon tries to move, but in vain. Suddenly she hears a noise from above. It’s the sound of something shuffling through foliage and it’s coming from the hole in the ceiling. Looking up, she sees a rope is lowered down. Sharon gets hopeful; maybe it’s a rescuer.

“Why do adventurers like you always insist on taking the hard route?”

Sharon’s eyes go wide as she recognises the taunting voice and sees a boy around her age slide down the rope. Dressed in a dark vest and brown trousers; wearing glasses, a beret and a belt pack; with short, dark, messy hair; sporting just a taunting and superior smile as his line suggested the boy lands right next to the pedestal.
“Now, if you’ll just excuse me I’m going to take this-” the boy stops when he notices who’s lying on the ground before him.
“Sharon? What a surprise,” he says quite genuinely. He clearly did not expect Sharon to be here.

At this point, Sharon would angrily call out the boy’s name, Hank deLouis, but is unable to and can do nothing but to try and glare at him. Hank walks over to her and goes down on one knee to take a closer look at her, his superiority is briefly gone and is replaced by confusion as he tries to guess how she ended up here. His smile quickly returns and he stands up.
“Oh well,” he says and makes a sweeping spin, picking up the idol and stops to face Sharon again.
“I’d love to stay, but I got a plane to catch,” he gives Sharon a belittling grin before putting the idol in his belt pack and starts climbing up the rope.
“If it makes you feel any better I’ll leave the rope here for you when the poison wears off. That is: IF it wears off. So long!”
And with that Hank disappears, leaving Sharon alone.

Next chapter

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