The black marble is empty, their cold surfaces fresh and clean, despite how old they are. They glitter with an unholy light, crackling with the ghost of blue fire and yet their darkness reigns unperturbed, perfectly befitting their purpose. They are sheer and flawless, just solid slabs of opaque black stone, occasionally marred by a drop of water that splashes up from the clear ring of water in the centre of the room but otherwise perfect. A statue of the same material stands in the middle of the room, sculptured in the shape of a man. A cascade of water sprays across its perfect chest, tracing lines as intimately as any woman would with her hands.
There is a small circular hole in the roof, slightly cracked and worn away by the flowing water, though it is still relatively flawless. The room has a lifeless quality to it, as if it is a shrine to the dead, or soon to be dead. There is a click, and then a low whirring sound begins to emanate from beneath the statue, like a thousand tiny motors spinning only higher in pitch. The base of the statue splits outward, the facing panels pushed out as the statue itself begins to lower itself into the ground. While the statue continues to descend another sound joins the chorus, a monotonous scraping of stone upon as one of the "walls" raise to reveal the darkness of a little-used passage.
As the statue is sealed off by another slab, an old man stumbles through the open door, his grey eyes unseeing and still, his beard mattered and blackened with dirt, gold finery covering his body. The seal of his office, a shining hawk, wings curved elegantly, hangs at his neck. The man's small leather shoes scuffle along the ground as he moves towards the centre of the room, arms outstretched. A small iron manacle around his right ankle is the only tarnished metal on him. He limps on this leg, if that can be gleamed from the micro steps he takes with each tremendous gasp.
Something dark follows him, a shadow that barely catches the eye before it splashes into the pool in the centre of the room. It swims through the water with remarkable ease, sleek and deadly, a black blur in an already black world. The man looks up, startled at the splash and begins to frantically twist his head to catch any sound of the 'beast'. It slips out of the water soundlessly, landing on the platform where the statue once stood. Its golden eyes stare at the man, with an unnervingly intelligent gaze. The beast opens its mouth, its canines glinting in the glow of the chamber, a stark white against its smooth black fur, faint darker patches barely visible as a shimmer of light plays along its wet flank.
Its teeth graze across the back of the man's neck softly, its head tilted slightly as it sweeps back and forth almost seductively, while the old man remains still, stiff as an iron rod, as he senses the beast hovering behind him. Sweat covers his brow as he reaches with a frail hand to grip at the hawk until his knuckles whiten with the effort and a trickle of blood slips out from between his fingers. The 'beast' stiffens, an agonised look coming over its face as if it realises what will happen next, what has to happen next. Closing its eyes softly for a moment it bites into the old man's neck, his hand clenching tighter about the talisman and then suddenly becoming limp as his spinal cord is severed. His eyes widen and he starts to scream as the beast drags him slowly into the shadows. An old era is past, a new one just dawning.