The approaching thunder warned us of the coming apocalypse.
Long shadows cast across the mountains of a rugged range. Peaks worn and weathered by the stains of time. Echoes of past memories, imprinted through the ever-changing landscape. Tents of our forefathers, falling down around our ears. Hunting no longer brought the plenty we were used to. Lean times had come to the people. Starved and desperate we dared places long abandoned, caves and crags our grandfathers warned us away from.
We found things around the mouths of the caves. Bones, scraps, bits of refuse, tiny treasures of those that came before. Signs, metal plates, stone altars inscribed with writings we could not decipher. Warnings, prayers, we did not care. Deeper and further down we quested, taking with us our totems and protections from the village witch, though she warned they would not keep us safe for long. Down and inward, bringing tools, to dig, for the ways were blocked. Still, we found nothing.
Steev was the first to waste away, from the hunger, or our questing we did not know. Pustules broke open on his skin, we sent him away, so he would not spread his affliction. Mariblee was next, eaten and rotting from the inside. She was the first to find the shrine, ancient and worn, deep down the path we had worn on the cave floor. She had prayed to it, begging ancestors for protection and assistance. Kneeling, bowing and touching her head to the crumbling stone. It's sacred circle, divided with triangles; a logo of the old ones power. More and more of the symbols were found, the deeper we dug.
We must be getting closer, the very air began to warm. Winter was coming, if the people sheltered in this cave, if we found food, we would be warm no matter how deep the snow outside fell. We sent runners back to the village, sharing the news of good fortune. Why would our forefathers abandon this warm shelter?
Mariblee died by the next moon.