The Haunting of St.Belen
2001 Scott McCarty

Private Texts of Lucas Wells
Second Chronicle of the Criminal Masterminds

The Lady of the Shadows

Natalie was breathless as the idea of the Mechanist right beneath them suddenly stirred in her gut. She had no time to act when suddenly there was a yell outside, and an odd tapping/clicking noise. Mace raised high, the Mechanist quickly departed the Chapel. And only the sound of their breath could be heard along with the chirping of the crickets.

"Damnit" whispered Garrett. Natalie jumped down and stood waiting for Garrett, at the entrance. Garrett jumped down without any type of hassle and slipped into the shadows before the Mechanist could return. Natalie sat down in a nearby seat, to catch her breath. Her heart was pounding. Garrett walked up to the alter to see if there was anything valuable on the alter, Garrett looked at the stone alter. It was large, shaped with Hammer's marked with decades of abuse. Then he noticed something odd. One of the small hammer's stood out from the rest. It looked like stone; odd he thought, but he looked closer. The stone was lose, and he pressed it. He heard something open from across the room, he turned and saw that a small hatch had opened. He walked over to the hatch which was in a small pillar. The hatch contained the key. Garrett pocketed the object, and gestured for Natalie to follow. They trotted over to the wooden wall of the Fox and the Hammer, scaled it and slipped into their bedroom window. Lucas sat there grinning, Natalie just wanted to smack him across the face.

"Saw that you two were in a little bit of a bind! Shot a noisemaker arrow towards the Trickster's Claw, and saw those ass's scurry off!" he chimed. Natalie recalled the odd noise.

"We have to leave now, most likely; the Hammers and Mechanist will be preparing for an assault on the Cathedral tomorrow morning. If we have any chance of stealing the Amulet, the texts and this fabled sword, then we do the job now, and abandon this place from a safe distance!" declared Garrett.

Natalie and Lucas both nodded, and began to pack up their gear. Sleeping mats, holy water, water, fire, vine and noisemaker arrows would be essential for the task at hand. Along with swords. Even though not much could be done against Haunts, one powerful downward sword thrust could take the creature out of commission and release it's cursed soul. Natalie packed her equipment, also adding one gas arrow, just to be careful if they ran into anything living.

Finally, everything had been packed. Lucas had the map, Garrett had the information on a few passage-ways including knowledge on some kind of abandoned winter tunnel used for movement during the winter times. Natalie had the information on the vault, secure records area and armory. Lucas was not sure about the location of the Amulet nor the Sword. Once they found them though, they would make quick work; then leave. Most likely, the Amulet and Sword would be on heavy guard by zombies, apparitions and haunts, just like the Eye was. The notes said that the Sword would most likely be in the location of one of the house's known as St. Jerak. Once an old Chapel and Seminary place. The Amulet would most likely be in one of the central meeting halls in St. Uril, in the northern part of the Cathedral. St. Uril was the location of meeting halls and places for diplomatic functions, this would be one of the most logical places for it to be.

With the light dimmed, the trio set off. They slipped out the window, and down the side of the building. Standing on the dead grass, Lucas led the way, toward the cathedral; and its treasure.

The Cathedral of St. Belen was perched upon a slopping hill that over-looked everything in it's area. The once mighty cathedral still held firm, seeming to be mantained with magic. It's perch was in the center of the hill, and encircling it; was an old wall. The wall was wide, tall and not easy to climb, but since it had been built more then 100 years from then, and that no one would come anywhere near the Cathedral or its grounds; the wall had fallen into deep dis-repair. The motor crumbling, and a section big enough for them to squeez through on the western slope.

As they stepped on to the grounds, Natalie felt instantly cold. Even though she was dressed warmly for the job, she felt cold. Not just on her skin, but in her soul. She knew that they had entered a place no longer fit for men. The moon came out from behind a giant cloud and in a short distance was St. Belen Cathedral, the dark fortress of the un-dead stood in the silent, cold night. The only sound was the trio of thieves own breath, and the wind rustling their cloaks and robes.

Lucas had brought out his map, and a few notes. The Society Burglar was well-prepared for the job. Natalie armed a flare, and brought it in front of the map. The bright green light illuminated around them, making them look like a large beacon. Lucas Wells had been a professional at his craft for more then five years. Using a type of sleep like state called hypnotism, he was able to hypnotize his victims, then get the information von where valuable pieces of jewelry were being hidden. His art of thieving was very different then any other in the criminal world. Instead of searching for the item of his desire, Lucas would go straight for it, and steal it with no re-collection. He was quick, silent and no maids or guards would ever hear a thing until it was too late. He chose victims of his own class who knew of their comings and goings, and who's homes he visited often. He was legendary in the paper, known only as the 'Society Burglar' making him a popular criminal and wanted man. Even though many didn't know what he looked like. Along with the 'Master Thief' also known as Garrett; he was one of the most wanted men in the City.

"The Cathedral seems to be in pretty good condition only the entrance seems to be in bad condition. When we enter, then we have to find a way down into the basement. Parts of the basement are flooded from rain so we may have to swim a little. The entrance of the basement complex comes right out into a small courtyard, that will most possibly be guarded by undead. Our first target will be the sword, once we get the sword then combine them together, we will have a good defense against those damned creatures" explained Natalie.

The trio began the ascent to the cathedral. As they neared the main entrance which was in pretty depressing condition, they could see the holes for the keys. Quickly they inserted the hammer shaped keys into the holes. They heard a sharp click, and a gust of wind blew them back. Natalie flew to the ground, as the wind was so forceful that it seemed to want to blow them into the air and away from Kirtish. But the wind died down quickly, and Natalie got up. Lucas was against the wall, and Garrett was holding on to the large iron door. Natalie brushed herself off, and the three stepped into the cathedral. The doors slammed the minuet they set foot inside, and Lucas took the center.

The room was small, three doors leading in different directions most likely to different parts of the main chapel. But what their main focus was the basement. The doors leading to the entrance of the cathedral were all but blocked or destroyed by metal or stone beams. Lucas motioned for the hole in the floor, which was engulfed with complete darkness. Garrett crossed his arms over his chest and shot down in a pencil dive, followed by Natalie and then Lucas.

At first, Garrett saw only blackness then he felt his boots hit the flooded basement floor. His boots held firm against the water, and he heard the splashes of to the right. It was cold, bitter cold. No warmth at all in the darkness. Then he heard a hiss as a flare was lighted and the green faces of Lucas and Natalie came into view. Natalie led the way with the torch held up like a lantern as they splashed through the water. They did appear to be in basement of one of the buildings; large stone pillars supported the ceiling above them. They heard nothing but their own breath, the beatings of they're hearts and the splashes of the water. Suddenly, Lucas grabbed Natalie and pulled her into the shadows just as the flare shut off. She was about to protest but then Garrett heard the sound. He had not heard it since he had broken into Lord Gervasius's Estate last year. But he knew what it was, it was an Apparition. Garrett quickly joined them in the shadows just as the shimmering red figure came around the corner pillar a little ways away from them. Natalie couldn't see a thing until she heard Lucas whisper to turn her head. She heard a clunk, a series of voices, then a flash of white light.

Garrett had re-activated a flare, and all that remained of the apparition was a puff of mist. Natalie knew that Garrett had used a powerful flash-mine. They made their way to the exit, and started the ascent to the next floor.

You must understand that the trio really had not been very comfortable dealing with the undead as much as Garrett was. He was a professional who's extensive knowledge of the undead made him a walking book of information. Also because of his Keeper training that made him well educated about such matters. Garrett still hated the damn things, as much as the other two did.

They emerged from the basement into the heart of St. Uguart, one of the old buildings that made up the Cathedral. Garrett merged from the old door, which was covered with ash, rotten wood, and metal. St. Uguat was a forging facility, and workshop. This was also where Hammerite Workers used as their work areas. These workers were the center of development, and most likely the area held some pricey objects that the City's wardens would want to get their hands on.

Garrett tried to open the now thin metal door, but it only bent with age, and weakness. He and Lucas put their shoulder's to the door and pushed. The metal groaned and finally began to bend, and the wood, ash and other materials that blocked the door were pushed away. Garrett darted up into the dark hallway. Strangely enough, lights still illuminated the walls. And there was a gaping hole in the ceiling releasing cold gusts of air into the building. Natalie brought her cloak all the way around her, trying to stay warm.

"Where are we?" asked Garrett, as he peered down the hall. He heard footsteps but they seemed to be receding down the hall. They had some time, but not much.

Lucas looked at his map and observed the paper for a few moments:

"We're in the primary barracks in St. Uguat. The secondary workshops are down the hall, those contain molds, holy symbols, rosary's and most likely zombies or haunts. We should move upstairs first then move down through what appears to be a tear in the ceiling, we can take what is worth from there and then move around more freely" exclaimed Lucas.

"Should we split up and explore the area, we could cover more ground that way?!" asked Natalie, she brushed a strand of brown hair out of her eyes and looked at Garrett. Garrett thought for a moment, while chewing on his lower lip:

"Perhaps, but this place is too dangerous to split up in. There are too many turns, and we each have important information on the sword and amulet. We can't risk losing anyone then having to kill them if any of us turn into a zombie, or something disgusting like that" came his bitter reply. Then the three heard a sound of jingling chains, and muttering. The sound of a Hammer Haunt. Garrett grabbed Natalie, and crept up the wooden spiral staircase. Lucas followed quickly and disappeared onto the second floor just as the Haunt entered the room.

The trio spent at least fifteen minuets in the deserted upper levels of the house of St. Uguat. The secondary barracks, and a few small workshops held little on the valuable sides. Some interesting notes, maps and letters which might be valuable were quickly pocketed. Natalie found a fine hammer mold in which she made a Holy Symbol. She then drenched it in holy water to make it pure. It could be used as an offense to the undead but also commend a price to the Black Market. Lucas had found an important document about a Hammerite discovery in Jalotown, a country district apart of the City which was were many of the Cities Nobility had estates. Garrett had found some loose coins, and gems lying in a trunk, and a golden bone. He wasn't happy with the outcome of the outcome of the job as far.

Natalie snuck down the hall first on the upper level. They had cleared the workshops slowly as to not miss anything. Garrett had taken some priceless molds which could be used as a supply for the Hammer's; if they paid up, of course. Lucas was looking at his map as the three made their way to the far end of the second floor, then dropped into a sleeping room. A skeleton laid on the bed, seeming to be fused to the wall and the wood. They heard the chains outside, so Garrett slipped out the door after the Haunt; and a few moments later a moan. Lucas didn't need to look to know that Garrett had brought his sword down on the haunts head. Now with the area free of the undead, the trio split up and began to grab what was of value including supplies. They were loaded down with supplies, but Garrett had instructed them to conserve their supplies carefully; as they would deplete them quickly against the hoard of the damned. They met at the entrance of the building. Natalie had her hand on the door knob, and opened the door to peer out through the crack. What she saw, horrified her. The courtyard was littered with bodies of zombies and haunts. Apparitions and Haunts patrolled the courtyard. There were about fourteen bodies on the ground and more then six walking creatures. Garrett knew that they couldn't take down the creatures with just three flash bombs. With his experience, the act would bring them un-timely deaths and very painful ideas of them stalking the grounds in de-composing bodies. Then Garrett saw something from the corner of his eye. A small path, leading behind a crumbled building, with a dirt and leaf colored path. He motioned for the others to follow and then dashed across the path quickly and stealthily, jumping over a zombie and landing in the shadows.

He landed on dry leaves in the soothing blackness and comfort of the leaves. Garrett felt Natalie land, then fall next to him; then Lucas, who was able to keep his balance, and instead hitting his head on the low brick arch. The area in which they landed was a crawl space into a dimly lit path. It was empty, and the bitter cold air nipped at they're cheeks. Garrett led the way, as they made their way behind the wall and building, and back on to the other side of the building. Garrett sneaked around the other side of the building, and read the plaque on the door. It read: St. Jerak.

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