Night cloaked the island. The distant sounds of guards trailed around the corner. The first room was simple. Stealth was the objective. Kali questioned how exactly it would be tested. Hiding was something that her kind was not prone to doing.
“There is a difference between hiding and laying in wait,” a voice beckoned through the air.
Her guide for the evening a disembodied voice that would chime in with advice. She’d not been able to pick. For the past year she’d been pushed to her limits. Conditioned to excel, this challenge would test if her training had paid off.
A series of rooms, each more deadly than the next. The punishment for failure was exile. No one who failed their Tribute would be able to remain on the island. The unworthy disappeared and were forgotten. Kali would not be one of those lost souls.
The table outside of the temple had a small satchel, a bottle of water and some bread. She could pick only two enchanted items to take with her. She’d chosen Mighty Hathor’s sacred amulet. Copper wire wrapped around a blue stone, miniature clouds freckled it’s surface. Flecks of gold webbed through each piece. It had been one of the Goddesses most prized possessions, said to bend the wills of whomever she chose. It would give its bearer untold wisdom and those in it’s presence could only speak truth.
The tribute would be plagued with challenges that would alter the truth and twists her senses. Hathor’s amulet would be a beacon in the darkness. The other artifact a staff with a hilt made of tiger’s once owned by the Goddess Sekhmet, it had the ability to shift to whichever weapon needed most at the time of battle. It had a mind of it’s own but was seldom wrong.
Items in hand she’d ventured into the waiting mouth of the temple. Once her foot crossed the threshold there would be no turning back. Her year of training would prove a success or a failure.
Though no longer in the living realm the spirits of the Tribute Temple were most certainly real within the walls. She’d need everything in her possession.
The torches lined the walls casting harrowing shadows in the background. How to remain unseen in a well-lit room had not been one of the things covered in her training sessions. Stealth was more about the appearances of not being visible. Hiding in plain sight was a skill she’d never mastered.
“You needn’t remain unseen forever, just long enough to exit this task,” the voice that hovered in the air above her managed to offer her an answer to her conundrum. She only needed to make sure she was not seen by the souls who guarded this room. Hearing the echoes of chatter in the distance she saw this as her opportunity to bolt for the door.