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Writhing Dead was a virtual representation of one of Kassandra's genetic memories, relived by Layla Hassan through the Portable Animus HR-8.5.

Description

Kassandra entered the lair with Bryce to look for Ligeia.

Dialogue

Kassandra inserted the disk into the stele beside the temple entrance. The great doors parted and Bryce charged ahead into the temple, not heeding any of Kassandra's warnings.

  • Kassandra: Bryce! Wait!

Kassandra reached out for her in vain, then followed her inside as the door sealed shut behind them.

  • Bryce: Ligeia! LIGEIA!!!

Kassandra shook her head at Bryce's lack of caution.

  • Kassandra: Maláka.

Inside the temple, Bryce called out wildly for Ligeia.

  • Bryce: Ligeia! Where are you?!
  • Kassandra: Bryce! You have no idea what you're—BRYCE!

Kassandra looked around while Bryce ran off. She noticed a plethora of snakes in the deep recesses of the ruins.

  • Kassandra: Angry snakes. A bad omen.

Once Kassandra got her bearings, she determined the correct route through the temple by the arrangement of the petrified people.

  • Kassandra: This looks like the way.

Kassandra crossed the fallen column over the pit. In the distance, Bryce continued calling out carelessly.

  • Bryce: Please, say something!

Kassandra approached an overgrown threshold.

  • Bryce: Do you remember the poems we read to each other? Do you remember our promise?

She climbed a long tree limb to cross the threshold from above.

  • Bryce: I'm sorry I wasn't there that night. I'm sorry I was late.
  • Bryce: Don't forgive me, just find me.

She found the only way forward in the next hallway was through a partially-collapsed threshold, either above or below.

  • Bryce: I brought you a rose. Just—follow my voice. Find me... and I'll give it to you.

Past the second threshold, Kassandra noticed more people petrified in stone and deduced the true nature of the Writhing Dread.

  • Kassandra: Only one myth speaks of turning victims to stone.

In the central chamber, Bryce heard a noise, believing it to be Ligeia's voice.

  • Bryce: I—I hear you, my love! Look at me, Ligeia! Please, just look me in the eye...

Kassandra finally caught up with her and followed her into the central chamber.

Bryce and Kassandra stood before the Writhing Dread, yet Bryce somehow recognized it even with its back turned.

  • Bryce: ...Ligeia?

She ran forward to the creature before Kassandra could stop her. She looked at it from the side and was mortified by the truth.

  • Bryce: No!

The creature turned its head to face her and bared its teeth.

  • Bryce: Ligeia, it's me, Bryce!

The creature was not swayed. It simply blasted Bryce with a golden beam of light that seemingly came from its eyes, turning her to stone. The Writhing Dread noticed Kassandra and moved to attack her as well.

  • Kassandra: Bryce!

As the Writhing Dread attacked, it conjured a protective barrier that also emanated a shockwave that pulverized the petrified Bryce into rubble. It cast two more beams of light to awaken petrified warriors lining the upper mezzanine of the temple. Kassandra battled these warriors while evading the fatal gaze of the Writhing Dread behind the shelter of nearby pillars. When the warriors fell, the Medusa's barrier fell as well, allowing Kassandra to attack it directly. Even as its gaze caught Kassandra, the petrification did not last long and merely slowed her down for a brief period of time. As the creature suffered damage, it would conjure a new barrier and summon more stone warriors to defend it. Eventually, Kassandra defeated all of the Writhing Dread's stone warriors and delivered the fatal blow to the creature. It collapsed as orange energy dissipated from its body.

  • Kassandra: Ligeia must have picked up the artifact and transformed into that creature. I wonder how many people have become "The Writhing Dread" over the centuries...?

Of the many snakes adorning Medusa's hair and shoulders, one stood out to Kassandra. She grabbed hold of it and twisted it until it came free, and she found that it was metallic. The serpentine artifact glowed the same color as her spear and shook violently in her hands as Kassandra struggled to hold it. An image of the Writhing Dread materialized behind her with instructions, reaching its hand towards her.

  • Unknown: ...Wield fear as a weapon, may our enemies crumble...

Kassandra grit her teeth and continued to struggle against the artifact. Thanks to her willpower and the unique blood within her veins, she resisted the artifact's power. It ceased shaking and took its true shape in the form of a silver, apple-like sphere, which glowed with the same light. Kassandra exhaled and pocketed the artifact. She walked towards the center of the chamber and noticed a single red rose growing in the pulverized mound of stone that was once Bryce. She knelt down to observe it and recited the words of Sappho:

  • Kassandra: "Someone, I tell you, in another time will remember us."

Kassandra left the temple behind her.

Outcome

Kassandra defeated Ligeia, who had been transformed into the new Writhing Dread, and claimed the Prize of Medusa to prevent further victims of its horrors. Bryce was the Creature's final victim, turned to stone and pulverized by its powers.

References

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