The Eight Crimes of The Iconodules

Tunnel

It took a moment for light to appear in the tunnel.

When it came, it was eerie, a glowing white mask, whose curling horns reached out and above from the tallest of the three figures gathered there in the sudden light. Three masks. Two black, one glowing white. The horns, the beak, the tusks.

“A waste to let the Hunter escape, brother.” said the tusks, the smallest of the three, its voice echoing anger and impatience.

“You saw what was coming for us. Monsters and False Idols, twisted things warped by the Cage.” spoke the beak, its voice quiet and feminine.

“They are guiltless.” offered the glowing horns, “Slaves to The City. It is a shame if they should die, like any of the innocent.”

“Certainly the Idols are not innocent?” questioned the Tusks with a hint of incredulity.

The horns did not take time to think on this. “No,” they said, “not the idols.”

Turning in place, the horns raised one hand, in it was clutched tightly a stone which vibrated at being raised. Even hidden as they were behind their masks, the figures in the tunnel nearly vibrated with their own anticipation. “Miracle” was not a word they were able to use often, but if ever a time were appropriate, the younger two would use it now.

The packed earth and stone of the tunnel wall caved inward, ripples of dirt flowing like disturbed water in a perfect circle before the funneling movement began to gave way to a tunnel, identical to the one in which they stood. At the end of the tunnel most distant, dirt still roiled in constant motion, flowing from the edges of the tunnel towards an invisible point in its center. They all followed the horns into this bubble of dirt, and the tunnel wall closed behind them, no hint of their passage remaining.

In this glowing tunnel of shifting dirt, lit by the white mask, the passage growing before them and collapsing behind them, they walked. In the mind of the tusks, thoughts were on war, righteous death brought to the slaves of the city, Hunters brought low by his blade. The mind of the beak was lost in the rippling pattern of stone, the beauty of the power their leader held in his hand. The horns thought on his Trio, on his task, and on Idols.

When they reached the basement wall that they had called home for the last twelve hours, the Aniconists stripped their cloaks, their clothing, their masks, and donned new clothing, bundling their secret costume and its secret purposes into simple packs. When they left their temporary home, they did so separately, over the course of several hours.

Nobody saw them together, so nobody knew.

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Zeral

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