Upon the polished tiles of alabaster marble glided a figure gaunt and garbed quaintly. The bleak hallway of opaque white lingered into a coiling miasma of black –- infinitely cold and eddying in its pitchy depths. The odd décor of arabesque patterns upon the papered walls gleamed whitewashed beneath the moonlight, which spilled forth from casements draped in blood red. Through these windows, dusty parapets rose ominously against the pink sky, their blackened faces looming over vacant battlements in silent vigil. Hills blanketed in dense wood rolled beyond a stone bulwark, and at their edge sat a small town glowing dimly in the growing light.
Augustine’s passage through the ghastly corridor produced upon the cold marble floor an unnerving serpentine slithering. The starkness of his black robe hypnotically coalesced into the shadows. He passed tall portals of dark wood lacquered unsparingly with mephitic oils, and stone daises whose glassy surfaces reflected the sputtering sconces, dim flames tossing luridly in the musty darkness. Upon each dais sat an odd figurine or statuette; artifacts carved intricately of ivory or pristine obsidian, resembling those things which the mind can conceive only in the darkest of nightmares. Oily portraits of noblemen grinned at his passing; their fragile vampiric countenances suggesting a time long ago. In the lofty heights of the rustic ceiling were folding stone faces and wooden girders veiled in cobwebs and the dust of time.
Augustine approached a dark portal lacquered heavily with pungent oil and ornamented by a charm of silver, encrusted with a profound ruby of sharpest red. He placed his hand upon its curved handle, pausing briefly to breathe deeply the peculiar odor. The bitterness of a half century fooled his senses as a knave of time’s breadth. He heard faintly a discordant ringing of gothic bells from another chamber and then a queer chant accompanied by an evil plucking of lute strings. His thin lips melted into a tight line and he entered the room.