I walked that dark, pulsating path for what felt like an eternity (but was very likely only about thirty seconds.) The ground became soft underfoot, less like stone and more like freshly turned soil. The air grew warm and damp and I thought to myself, “I am in the belly of the beast now. I shall be devoured whole.
“What an exciting development in the field of ethnography! I bet I get a book deal out of this!”
With a spring in my step (due both to my own excitement and to the fleshy, springy nature of the surface beneath me,) I came to a circular chamber, the walls alive with a sense of palpable malice.
I registered this all secondarily. The first thing I noticed, and which I proceeded to examine in extensive, deliberate detail as befits a master ethnographer such as myself, was the smirking, naked form of the priestess. She was sitting atop what appeared to be an altar constructed from bone (although perhaps constructed is the wrong word. It seemed to jut out of the floor, like a broken tooth erupting from bleeding gums.) Her body was covered in signs and sigils I had never seen before, not even in the Church’s most sacred texts, strange forms tattooed and carved into her skin (in my professional opinion, those characters upon her chest were the most compelling.)
She dropped softly from the altar to the ground, and it was then that I noticed the rather large knife she held in her hand. I recognized it’s fat, curving shape from time spent with the dying Phish’r peoples of the Pacific Northwest back on Earth: it was a skinning knife.
“The hundred and eighth wisdom is that the Bloody Tongue devours all that it tastes,” the priestess said as she advanced on me. “The hundred and ninth is that all living creatures hear the cry of the Howler. The hundred and tenth is that the masquerade has many dancers but only one master.”