“… Sebastian looked at the tomb and found it to be a fine and sturdy structure, crafted in stone with a domed roof. Safaa’s family must have had better fortunes in the past, he thought, but grave robbing was beneath even him. A chill ran up his spine as Sebastian looked at the heavy wooden door that composed its entrance.
“Can you help me here Sebastian?” Kahina asked.
The old doorway had been sealed shut from time and the elements and did not budge as she tried to open it. The rogue was exhausted, tired and worn down, but he did as she asked and put his weight behind it and opened the door with a grunt. It swung open with a rasping groan, and a wave of tomb air rife with staleness and moisture struck them in the face. Kahina coughed and waved her hand in front of her face to ward off the dust and took the first step inside.
“So what are we doing here Kahina?” Sebastian asked. He found himself wishing that they had brought a lamp, or even a candle as he peeked inside the gloomy crypt.
“We are holding a séance,” she explained. “We must find her body first, then hopefully I can rouse her spirit and get it to return to her and speak with us.”
“Isn’t that just a bit… macabre?” asked the rogue, shuddering as he stepped down into the tomb.
“I do not like it any more than you do, I promise. But unless you have a better idea this is what we must do,” Kahina said. “Come, help me find which grave is hers.”
The rogue went left, and Kahina went right as they searched each sarcophagus in the round room. Sebastian squinted in the gloomy light to read the names but found Safaa’s resting place on the far-left side of the tomb.
“Kahina, I think this is it,” said Sebastian, calling over his shoulder to his companion.
The sorceress joined him beside the sarcophagus and looked for herself.
“Well, let’s open it,” she replied.
The stone lid of the funerary box must have weighed three times as much as Sebastian or more. Together Sebastian and Kahina struggled and pushed the stone off, grinding with every inch traveled and every drop of sweat from their brows. At last they created a space big enough to see the body within.
Safaa was dry—mummified even. But even so, they could see a glimpse of the beauty she had once been. Sebastian saw more than passing similarity to Kahina herself, and furrowed his brow as he thought of what might have happened if he hadn’t checked on the sorceress the night before.
The exertion had tired him even more, so the rogue sat to the side and let the magi woman work. Kahina opened a small flask at her side and placed a few drops of the oil upon Safaa’s eyes and lips and began to murmur. The magi woman took out a small tinderbox and lit it, then used it to light some incense which she placed around the body.
Sebastian listened closely to Kahina’s words, but try as he might he could not decipher a language he had ever heard before. Or if it was even a human tongue at all. In fact, he was having difficulty concentrating on much of anything for that matter. Kahina’s words droned and melded together like an endless and breathless chant. Soon Sebastian found himself developing a pounding and fierce headache; it was so piercing it began to feel as though pokers were being driven from within his skull and into his eyes. He could hear a girl’s sobbing, echoing throughout the chamber like bells in an empty temple.
“It’s coming, oh it’s coming,” said the voice, through sobbing gasps.
“Did you hear that?” Sebastian asked. Or, at least he thought he asked. If Kahina had heard him she did not acknowledge it as she continued to chant.
“Please, please don’t let it take me. It’s so cold.”
“It must be Safaa,” thought Sebastian, who else could it be? The pain in his skull was so intense it was nearly blinding, so white-hot that it was all he could manage not to cry out in pain as he clutched his head between his hands and covered his ears in an attempt to drown out the chanting and the voice of Safaa.
Through the chanting and the crying voice he lost all perception of who he was, and could no longer feel his limbs nor see any light. And then the chanting stopped.
“Safaa…?” Kahina asked questioningly. She was somewhere in front of him, but Sebastian could not see her. But then something happened which surprised them both.
“Who are you?” Safaa answered. But the voice was no longer ghostly, no longer even that of a young woman, it was his own voice.
“Am… am I alive?” Safaa asked, sounding just as perturbed by her voice as Sebastian was trapped inside.
“Are you Safaa?” Kahina asked again.
“I am—Or at least, I was,” replied the ghost.
“Oh… oh no,” Kahina said. Her heart sank to the pit of her stomach and the magi finally realized that she may have made a mistake.
The ghost looked at Kahina and suddenly a memory came flooding back to Safaa. A look of panic flashed across Sebastian’s face and the ghost possessed rogue grasped Kahina’s arms tightly and took her by surprise.
“Is it here!?” shouted the ghost as it stared into Kahina’s shocked and terrified face. “Does it know where you are!?”
“Seb—Safaa? Who? What do you mean?” the magi managed to sputter.
“The Silat! Is it here?” Said the ghost, still panicking.
“No—I do not think so! Please let me go!” Kahina cried.
Safaa released her grip, leaving white marks behind on the sorceresses wrists from her unfamiliar strength. Sebastian’s face was apologetic, but the ghost used his eyes and warily looked about for any signs of danger.
“What does it want from me?” asked Kahina as she massaged her arms. Thinking of a way she could undo this séance and return Sebastian to his body.
The ghost stopped scanning the room and looked the magi in the eyes before raising an eyebrow in a way that seemed so unfamiliar on the face Kahina had grown to know.
“Don’t you know…?” asked Safaa. “He wants your heart.”