Pentus marched down a long row of bookcases far underground, flipping through the pages of his notebook as he chewed on a half eaten loaf of bread, leaving a trail of crumbs behind him as he walked. This was where he spent most of his time, in the endless, murky depths of the palace’s subterranean library. Many of these scrolls and books and tablets hadn’t been disturbed in decades, centuries, even millenia, and a rare, select few he dated back almost ten thousand years. Luckily, whoever had built this place had possessed the foresight to put a myriad of decay preventing spells on both the structures and the literature. Due to the obscurity of the section he was in no torches were set up, the only light coming from the crystal perched atop his staff. The rest of the huge cave; huge in this case meaning five hundred feet from wall to wall to wall to wall, and one hundred to the ceiling; was left in shadows. Dusty shadows.
Pen’s nose was buried in the notebook as he walked, with no particular destination in mind. He had these cavernous vaults memorized like the back of his hand, so he wasn’t at all worried about getting lost. Only a few seconds of looking around and he’d know exactly where he was. He walked and walked and walked, studying the mating habits of dragons the whole way, until he reached the end of his notes and got into the mating habits of trolls. He quickly closed the notebook and shuddered. Those notes had been hard enough to write down and he didn’t want to read them more than he had to.
Taking another sloppy bite of his loaf, sending crumbs tumbling down his plain tunic and trousers, the bard tipped the brim of his hat up with the chewed end of the loaf and looked around. He was in the middle of a four way junction of four rows of shelves, all the shelves at least seventy feet high. The tops were lost in shadows, so he focused on the ground floor as it were. Stacks of tablets like piles of bricks lay all around near the bases of the shelves. Scrolls in converted wine shelves were placed intermittently among rows of books, and the four way intersection was clear except for a large, plain stone arch in the middle of the floor.
Pen grunted and took another bite of bread, returning to his notebook as he walked away. The bubble of light from his staff slowly receded until it was nothing but a glimmer, then it stopped. The light remained dim for several long, drawn out seconds, then it rapidly increased again, accompanied by the sound of running feet. Pen came sprinting back with the loaf held in his teeth, the staff in one hand, and the notebook in the other. He skidded to a stop straight in front of the arch and quickly stuffed the notebook back in his shirt. Taking the loaf in his now empty hand, he shouted in no uncertain terms, “Where the Hell did you come from!? I mean, no offense, you have lovely stonework, but what are you doing here!? No, no, no! You can’t be here! Well, obviously you can, but you shouldn’t! Who put you here? Go on, speak up!” No joking, Pentus really did stand in front of that arch for almost fifteen seconds, fists akimbo, waiting for an answer. When he remembered that stone didn’t normally speak, excepting elementals, he cleared his throat, embarrassed, and started observing the arch, rather than interrogating it.
It was made of plain gray stone and looked like a single, round column had been bent in a U shape and planted on the ground. There were no markings on it that he could see, just seamless, smooth stone the same diameter (about a foot) along the entire thing. He stared at if for a while, then did what any self respecting man of knowledge would do. He lifted the butt of his staff and poked it with a stick.
He was not vaporized.
Somewhat of a surprise considering a lot of the things Pen usually dealt with in the course of his research.
He frowned and shoved on the arch. It remained exactly where it was, not even wobbling. He muttered to himself as he walked around it to the other side, “Of course it didn’t move, these sorts of things never move. If they did they wouldn’t be half as mysterious.” He got to the other side and immediately noticed the single word inscribed at the top of the arch: Labyrinth.
Pen stared at the inscription for a moment, then shouted, “What!?” He quickly gave the arch a once-over for any signs of magic, then stepped through it and back again repeatedly as he complained, “Labyrinth!? Are you joking? How does this thing equal a labyrinth? There isn’t even any maze, I just walk in one side and exit the other… That’s not a maze! That’s false advertising is what it is.”
Still ranting, Pen marched off into the library after passing under the arch nine time; five times in, and only four out...
Forty-eight hours later.
Pen sat on the ground in the middle of a hallway of brand new looking shelves only half filled with equally brand new looking books. He was still in the ancient part of the library, and three minutes before he’d been in the same hallway; the EXACT same hallway; and it had been nothing but moldy ruins. He threw his head back and sobbed, “Where on Earth am I!?”
(OOC: Just a little, spur of the moment thing that I thought up. Open to anyone.)