The darkness was thick and close in the grotto’s confined interior. Ellyn felt her way forwards, groping along the cavern’s sides. Sunlight entered in a sluggish haze, falling on something which stood at the far end.
She reached the chipped statue and began to brush the dust and cobwebs from its ancient surface. Letters appeared through the grime at its base.
SATVRNVS REX – Saturn is King
Ellyn blew a heavy breath on the bearded stone face. Its eyes cracked open and the god shifted in his seat. He opened his mouth to speak and coughed a billowing cloud of dust, spitting chips of granite.
“It’s a long while since any mortal sought me out in this place.” he wheezed, flexing the powerful muscles of his stone arms.
“I ask for your aid, Saturn. All the gods we have worshiped since have abandoned us. Famine spreads through my uncle’s kingdom.”
A horrible chuckle rang through the narrow cavern, a sound like two stones being ground together. Ellyn knelt and felt fear running hot through her tightening gut.
“I will help you.” Saturn said. “But I will take your wings in return, my little cherub.”
Beyond the cave’s entrance, at the foot of the craggy cliff, the shieldmen waited in silence. Dark noises rattled down from the ledge above. They were sounds from another world, a Hellish place.
They leaped back and cried out in horror as a pair of long, pale arms dropped into their midst in a shower of blood. Looking up, they saw the writhing figure of Ellyn held in the arm of an old stone man. He waved his short, rusted sword at them and bellowed out across the valley.
“Famine, begone! Saturnus Rex has returned to the realm of men!”