The God-Queen’s Altar (Hollow Earth Expedition Ssn1 ep.24e)

This is an ongoing story about a lost world of hungry dinosaurs, sinister villains, and non-stop action. If you’re new to Hollow Earth Expedition, I suggest starting at the beginning.

 

She didn’t go far into the narrow, dusty hallway before halting. The squad leader protested, but she hunkered down and inspected the floor by the red light. She could just make out the mismatched lines of the floor-stones.

Pressure plates, she thought. The ancient builders lined the floor like the ribs of a skeleton, and one misstep would trigger something unpleasant. A trap door? Crushing walls? Poison darts? She saw no need to find out.

“Step only where I step,” she said, and led them along a circuitous route down the hall. They traced her path with great precision and never bothered to ask why. Nazis, she decided, had plenty of practice playing “follow the leader.”

The passage opened up into a bowl-shaped room that burned with the force of hatred itself. Beneath the edge of the threshold, the floor dropped away into a bubbling pit of magma. Maia kicked a few pebbles from the passage into the molten rock below, where they hissed and disappeared beneath the surface. So that’s where the red glow comes from, she thought. It was also the source of the putrid air.

As intimidating as it may have been, the churning magma seemed upstaged by the central feature of the room: a gargantuan skull in the center of the room that seemed to rise up out of the lake of fire like the face of terror itself. This was the image of the god-queen, and it had been hewed from some monolithic black slab of rock large enough to allow a grown man to walk upright between her gaping jaws. Her skeletal face had been stylistically rendered, with a snarl evident in the bony cheeks and a furrowed brow, and cascades of blazing red magma spilling from its crown backwards like flowing sheets of hair. A long, curving tongue projected from her mouth to form a bridge, beckoning them to enter.

Maia felt a surge of awe for this monument, and something more—a kind of kinship with the woman who fought so savagely to keep what had belonged to her people. She inhaled deeply, allowing the heated air to blaze into her lungs and warm her from within. She felt energized, purified, ready to lay claim to the lost treasure. Above all, she felt alive.

She stepped onto the tongue-shaped bridge, heedless of the seething red pool below here.

“Halt!” the squad leader called from behind her. “There may be danger!”

She had forgotten about her guards, and now she turned to see them huddled at the threshold, acting as fearfully as cattle in a thunderstorm. They wrinkled their noses at the room’s scent and held out their palms to block the heat and the glare from their faces.

“Danger,” she said, rolling the word around on her tongue. In every language she had studied, she enjoyed the sound of that particular word. “We wouldn’t want a little danger to hold us back, now would we?”

With that, she proceeded into the dark maw of the god-queen’s skull.

 

 

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Hollow Earth Expedition was created by Jeff Combos and is property of Exile Game Studio. For more Hollow Earth Expedition action, check out ExileGames.com

About Sechin Tower

Sechin Tower is a teacher, game developer, and author of MAD SCIENCE INSTITUTE, a novel of creatures, calamities, and college matriculation. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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