Galthen and the City of Gold
althen put his bag on the stony ground. This cave was the ideal place to take a deep breath. A small fortress in the midst of all danger. For days, he combed through the dense jungle and, for some time now, had the feeling that he was not making any progress. He seemed to be running in circles. Something was missing. "This damn thicket fools me." the knight pondered. For so long, he was certain that he had followed the right track. And now, massive doubts.
"It's a hopeless endeavour," his guide and companion for the past days, Balthasar, had whispered to him as he recently parted. This place would not exist. It's just a legend. An invention. A pipe dream. And it was precisely these words and thoughts that drove Galthen forward from the very beginning. The mysteries. The things that others only softly scoffed at. He wanted to fathom these golden dreams himself. He wanted to bring light into the darkness. He was therefore nicknamed "torch" by many ancient tribes. Someone who is persistent in their search for the truth.
He had to think about that now, as he stared deep into the flames of the campfire – "torch". Deeper and deeper he followed his breath, as he descended into the very foundation of his vocation and finally reached a point where all thoughts ceased to exist. Slowly, the mystery of the golden city began to unfold before him. And just as he was about to open the gate, the inner voyage ended with a terrible bang. He lay covered in blood at the northern end of the hollow. Something had thrown him against the rock wall with a swish.
Galthen opened his eyes. Fire and stone. Pain and astonishment at this sheer violence. “Am I awake, or am I dreaming?”
A deafening scream rang out. A giant ape! An epic grey beast tried to drive him out of the cave with vocal violence. And with any other intruder, he would probably have succeeded. But this wasn’t just anyone…
Galthen, then, was once again the adventurer who longed for such moments. The ferocity of this mighty creature. The power, the will. And everything against him. A fitting task that required full attention.
In a dignified presence, he awaited the decisive attack of his colossal adversary. The knight’s eyes began to glow. His gaze was pure concentration; his whole body an ocean of awareness.
The ape angrily charged at him. The nobleman felt the unbridled energy, the bloodlust of the creature, as he dodged sideways like a torero, and the attacker thundered head-on against the cave wall.
Galthen moved slowly towards the crouching fur and drew his dagger from the fallen giant's hypothalamus.
"At least he had a quick and painless death."
The massive impact had torn a hole into the rock face and exposed a secret portal.
"I knew I was getting close," he resumed.