|Chapter 20: The Unbeliever|
Straining mightily, thrusting with all the power of his legs, he launched himself at the guards before the door of the thronehall.
They ducked under the suddenness of his assault. He dove headlong over them, forearms braced, so that his entire force struck the doors.
They had not been made to withstand such an impact. With a sharp cry of splintering stone, they burst inward.
Foamfollower fell in a flurry of door shards, somersaulted, snapped to his feet in the thronehall of Ridjeck Thome.
The room was a wide round hall like the one he had just left, but it had fewer doors, and its ceiling was far higher, as if to accommodate the immense powers which occupied it. Opposite Foamfollower was the great throne itself. On a low mound against the far wall, old grisly rock had been upreared to form the Despiser's seat in the shape of jaws, raw hooked teeth bared to grip and tear. It and its base were the only things he had seen in Foul's Creche which were not perfectly carved, utterly polished. It appeared to have been irremediably crippled, grotesqued, by the age-long weight of Lord Foul's malice. It looked like a prophecy or foretaste of ultimate doom for all Ridjeck Thome's immaculate rock.
Set into the floor directly before it was the Illearth Stone.
The Stone was not as large as Foamfollower had expected it to be; it did not appear so big or heavy that he could not have lifted it in his arms. Yet its radiance staggered him like the blow of a prodigious fist. It was not extremely bright--its illumination in the thronehall was only a little stronger than the light elsewhere--but it blzaed in its setting like an incarnation of absolute cold. It pulsed like a mad heart, sent out unfetterable gouts and flares of force, radiated violently its power for corruption. Foamfollower slammed into the glare and stopped as if he could already feel the gelid emerald turning his skin to ice.
He stared at the Stone for a moment, horrified by its strength. But then his staggered senses became aware of another might in the thronehall. This power seemed oddly subdued in comparison to the Stone. But it was only subtler, more insidious--not weaker. As Foamfollower turned toward it, he knew that it was the Stone's master.