It was a long walk to say the least...
Starhorn and his army had just recently reached Akram Desert after leaving Emberhorn Stronghold a few days earlier. It would still take 2 more days to reach the Ruins but Starhorn was patient.
"The key to everything is patience. You get the young Silithar by hatching the egg, not by smashing it." said Starhorn.
"Uauhhauhh" replied the Makantor Warbeast next to him.
"Hmm, what a great answer! Well, I assume you are right about that." sighed Starhorn.
Starhorn had lived too long, too many lifetimes, yet was always surprised by the simplest of things, things he mostly didn't know or understand. He realized that it would be impossible to learn everything about the world, all its secrets, its mysteries... Nevertheless, he always sought to find the truth, the answer to his question, the solution to his problem... At the time, the problem was the ruins and the factions trying to claim it and the solution was none other than himself.
Starhorn finally arrived at his destination only to see chaos, destruction and death. Starhorn quickly gave orders to each of the three division leaders. The Moloki huntress was to guide her squadron composed of Grows, Rexes and 2 Kolossus around the Ruins and eliminate any threats they might find. The leader of the 2nd division was a Magma named "Huge" and he was tasked to protect Starhorn while half of his squadron composed of Magma were to assist Earthsister Taygete and follow her commands. As for Earthsister herself she along with the rest of the Magmar forces were now the main battling force.
"Taygete get ready your troops and prepare to charge! Huge you and your men follow me inside the ruins!" shouted Starhorn but before he could finish, a silhouette of a young woman appeared in front of them.
"Well hello Cassy, aren't you a bit too young to play with the big boys?" smiled Starhorn
"SILENCE old lizard, I will have your head by the end of the day!" said Cassyva with an angry look on her face.
"Yes, yes, that's lovely but if you could excuse me, I have work to do. Enjoy your youth while you still can" said Starhorn while passing right next to her totally ignoring the fact that Cassyva was one of the strongest Abbysian leaders.
"HOW DARE YOU!" shouted Cassyva and tried to attack Starhorn. Although she may look young she is indeed over 400 years old and VERY powerful able to summon a demon guardian to protect her at all times. However, that never stopped Starhorn from humiliating her especially in public.
"Hush now!" uttered Starhorn as he hit her with a dampening wave immediately followed by a tremor. Cassyva stood paralyzed and unable to move... a mysterious figure appeared behind Starhorn's back. It quickly tried to hit him but instead missed. As retaliation Starhorn pierced the creature's chest with his Twin Fang before realizing his mistake..."A Reaper of the nine moons" he muttered as he moved back preparing for another attack knowing that another monster would show up. The Reaper laughed as he slowly disintegrated into ashes and shadow from which another figure became visible. The Arrow Whistler! Though he had the same form his soul, consciousness and free will had been possessed by the Reaper. He was nothing but a slave obeying his master's commands..."Poor thing...the suffering you must endure...I shall free you!" and with those words Starhorn kills him.
"You are creatures of the night, creatures that feed on pain, misery and hatred. You lack a heart and death is your only companion...You respect NOTHING and therefore I SHALL END YOU ALL!!!" growled Starhorn while baring his teeth.
"Down Master calm!" said Huge and continued, "Lose Yourself must not!
"Forgive me Huge but STEP BACK!!!" replied Starhorn and hit the gound with his mighty weapon while chanting in an ancient yet forgotten by most language. Suddenly, the earth shook and from underneath ginormous tectonic spikes penetrated the rock. The spikes killed everything in their path- be it Abbysian, Vetruvian or even Lyonar forces or whatever remained.
After the attack had ended, a person's bodily shape came into sight. It was The Grand Magus. Albeit injured he could still fight and was certainly a dangerous opponent.
"Hello Starhorn my old friend. What brings you to this foul place?", said the Owlbeast.
"Hello Magus. I'm here to secure the ruins, stop the fighting and bring Vaath back home. He unexpectedly left without even informing me. Can you believe it? Anyway, I hope that answers your question. Now... will you be kind enough to let me pass?" spoke Starhorn as he secretly prepared his weapon already knowing the answer to his question.
"I am afraid I cannot do so. You see I have been instructed by King Argeon himself to retrieve whatever is in these ruins and of course ...-Kill everything in your way- ...yes, I believe these are the exact words he used," said the Owlbeast while trying to hold back his laughter.
"Very well, I see you have an Aegis Barrier in your possession. That will certainly make this more difficult for me. How about we call it a day, no?" said Starhorn meanwhile communicating using sign language with a Magma behind his back.
"AHAHAHA!!! EVEN STARHORN THE SEEKER FEARS ME I AM UNSTOPPABLE KNEEL BEFORE ME WORM !!!" and so The Grand Magus laughed not noticing the small magma next to him slowly transforming into his biggest fear... an EPHEMERAL SHROUD!!! All of the Owlbeast's magical power were nullified by a tiny creature thus leaving him venerable to Starhorn's magical attacks.
"Eggmorph" he whispered into the Owlbeast ear and almost spontaneously he transformed The Grand Magus into an egg no bigger than his own head.
Huge was kinda of disappointed by the lack of action this battle had. "Master sure should so easy be?"
Starhorn then wisely answered, "I don't have time for this. Lets go!" Afterwards he signaled Taygete to clear the courtyard from any enemies remaining and departed towards the interior of the ruins.
Having evaded dozens of traps set inside the ruins he finally reached the third floor.
"You see Huge they always make the same mistake. They never go up! All of them just rush straight down the catacombs. Why do you think this is a three-story building? Did you see that tall tower outside? During a specific time of the day light hits a mirror located in its upper most floor and then travels all the way over here opening a secret door! How did you expect to open the Vault if you didn't have the key that is hidden inside that room of which I speak!" said Starhorn while trying to catch his breath.
"Confused Hugo be. How open light door? Time when right? How know you? "asked Hugo
"This here in front of us is the door. You cannot see it because it's not the right time. We have to wait a couple of hours I think... If the door opens this year I mean and I know because I've been here before!" answered Starhorn while trying to find somewhere to sit and rest.
"Break door can we not?" asked yet again Hugo
"....................yes..................that also works.............." said Starhorn after a small pause and without any more time to waste they broke the door and entered the secret room.
Once the door opened a massive razor stopped exactly in front of Starhorn's forehead, almost piercing through it and gave Starhorn quite a scare. "I'm too old for this" he thought. Thankfully, because of time, the trap malfunctioned and they were able to proceed inside the room with no casualties.
The room was quite small as it should be since there wasn't much space at the top of the ruin. Inside there were machines covered with dust. You could tell they hadn't been used in ages, maybe centuries. In the center of the room lay a small calculating device just 1,5 meters above ground. In each of the corners of the room there were more machines with a lever on top of each. Basically, the entire place was filled with cogs, pipes, machines and not a single source of light or window. The Intruders were careful not to activate any traps or damage anything. They all moved slowly near the center with Starhorn leading. He ordered 2 Magmas to keep watch over the door and told the rest to stand back and let him think. He noticed strange symbols carved on the walls and concluded that he must first decipher the code if there was any hope of getting the key.
"Interesting...It's a code..." he said while trying hard to hide the reality that he had no idea what to do. The next few minutes he tried to decide if the carvings were made 2 or 5 kalpa ago (hundred of years) which would mean that a totally different civilization created these. He knew that these ruins belonged to the ancient people of Tyvia but he could not remember who actually built them or when. Was it perhaps the Inxikrah? He had no clue.
"AHH... look what you made me do Huge! We opened the door too soon and now everything is broken! Nothing works!" shouted Starhorn not caring if he sounded irrational.
"Master but you sit there not touch thing, you know read?" said Huge feeling very insulted.
"No... I can't read these... but I could if I had time! Give me another year and I will tell you exactly what it says and who wrote it!" Starhorn was now furious "Oh why are there so many languages!"
"Master this what is?" yelled Huge full of surprise and astonishment. The small Magma was looking at the small device in the middle of the room thoroughly inspecting it. The device that was rather tiny had several digits that one could press and a glass screen. Behind the screen were more numbers. Each time a digit was pressed a different number appeared on the screen. However, even if you pressed the same one a random number would show up. The device was supported by a hollow upright pillar made out of metal. One part of it was open so you could place small items inside it. At the bottom of the pillar lay a scale. Probably something should be dropped inside.
Starhorn pushed Huge away and started examining the device. He then turned away and headed towards a corner where he looked at the lever on top of it for more that 2 minutes. Huge, on the other hand, was curious to see how the device worked so he started examining it in his own way. He placed his left hand inside the small hole barely touching the scale at the bottom and with his right hand he started pressing the digits at random. Although not tall enough to see what he was pushing he persisted and was determined to unlock its secrets.
"NOOO WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU MIGHT BRAKE IT!!! STOP AT ONCE.....oh" before The wise lizard could stop him, Huge somehow solved the puzzle. All at once the room started Moving. The machines were now awake and started working. One could see the cogs moving and they seemed to move from one wall to another. It was magnificent to see how the whole system worked. The room lit up and a cloud of dust filled the air. Soon afterwards, the air became clear again and one could see steam being pumped out of the pipes. The device in the middle slowly descended and in its place another column emerged- This time with a key right above it.
Starhorn took the key and told everyone to run out of the room. He was sure that some type of trap would be activated. To his surprise nothing happened.
As they were about to leave they saw Cassyva blocking their only exit.
Starhorn was not in the mood for more distractions "Oh please Cassy my dear why don't you leave? Isn't it bedtime already? Maybe I should call your mom, Lilithe".
Cassyva was so exhausted and vexed that she didn't see she had set off a trap. With no warning a boulder hit her leaving her unconscious on the floor.
"Isn't it just lovely when your problems disappear on their own? Now Huge, let's go find Vaath" commented Starhorn.
Please don't kill Starhorn