Fortress of WISHES

Beate walked up the long, sloping hill that led to the fortress entrance. She lived in the vicinity and had visited the huge maze more times than she could count. Other explorers, adventurers and scientists were standing at various stalls, gearing up and buying supplies for their own expedition into the ancient city. 
Beate had heard stories about the fortress from the time she was born. People claimed the place had belonged to a race of superbeings who'd lived on the planet before humans had even been around. Others claimed it was the work of mages or demons. Some even whispered about people coming from the stars. Whatever the truth was, no-one had ever been able to map the entirety of the complex. Supposedly a scientist had gotten far but she'd vanished a few months ago. Beate remembered her parents talking about it. Unlike her parents, Beate wasn't afraid. There were bad people around but hardly any gave her a second look. After all, she had no valuables and what she knew of the labyrinth was stored in her head and not on paper. 
She was small and looked younger than her years. But she could go places others could not and she had a few hiding places that were hers exclusively. Soon she would find one of the secret entrances and she would find the treasures hidden deep within the fortified ruins. Beate grinned as she speculated about what the treasure could be; Scholars usually believed it to be a library or lost knowledge. Thieves wanted money and adventurers hoped for a legendary weapon. Beate had no clue, she just wanted to find... something. Anything, really. 
The scrawny girl turned a corner and landed herself squarely into trouble. A trio of unsavoury characters stood on the other side and she'd just become a witness to something she shouldn't have seen. Backtracking, Beate dashed around the corner and ran as fast as her small legs could carry her.
The others chased after her, gaining as they had a larger gait. But Beate hadn't survived without learning a few tricks herself. She hadn't gotten far into the maze yet and knew where to run. Dodging others who luckily slowed down the bad guys on her tail, she made a quick retreat to one of her small hiding places. She shimmied through a narrow space and crawled inside a semi-circular hole that more than likely was a cellar vent. 
Sadly though, one of the thugs had seen where she'd gone and by the way they set up camp outside of her hidey-hole, they weren't about to leave. Beate sighed, but resigned herself to her fate as she rolled away one of the rocks inside. She'd been meaning to explore the tunnel there but the spider webs and creepy crawlies had kept her from entering. Until now. She just hoped the tunnel would lead her somewhere, preferably with an exit so she could go home. 


Using a little light as guidance, Beate emerged into another cellar. She'd been crawling for the better part of an hour but had made quite a few turns. She had no clue where she was but would easily find her way once she got back out in the open. Her light didn't illuminate the entirety of the space so Beate carefully ventured along the side of the room, hoping to find a door or window. When that didn't happen, she started to walk back and forth to look for a hatch in the ceiling. When that search proved futile, she did her sweep again, this time looking at the floor though going down even more would probably not lead her outside. 
She didn't know how she'd missed it the first time, but after a few traverses of the large cavernous room, she nearly stumbled upon a pedestal. Eyes turning big, Beate held her little light closer to the reflective surface of the ancient lamp. Curved and shaped unusually the piece was however easily recognised for it's use. 
"Treasure." she smiled and then proceeded to light the lamp, hoping that would give her a better view of the place. 
A puff of dusty smoke made her cough and suddenly...
"Ooof, I was in there for way too long." Umbra groaned.
Beate blinked her eyes and as the dust settled she saw an older woman, with black skin and long white hair. Oddly though, she didn't feel afraid, not even when the woman swung her mace around for good measure.
"It feels wonderful to be able to move." Umbra sighed as she stretched.
Umbra looked around and then fixed her eyes curiously upon the small human female in front of her. Apparently her new master was someone young. Umbra quite liked that. Old and stuffy gentlemen seemed too preoccupied with world dominance to actually have fun. 
"What might be your name, dear?" Umbra asked, "I am Umbra, Warden of the Shadow."
"Beate." the young woman replied, and then: "of Lidavil." since Umbra seemed to expect a title and that was the only one she managed to come up with. Beate had heard that people oftentimes referred to themselves by where they were born. 
"Well Beate of Lidavil, tell me your desires."
"Do you know a way out of here?" Beate asked.
Umbra faltered for a moment. Usually people came right out with their wishes. But a heartfelt request such as this was something they just couldn't forego. Of course they knew a way out of here. In fact they knew several. But which one did the girl want?
"We are now on the all but highest floors of the fortress. There are several rooms, corridors and alleys that lead to a multitude of places inside the fortress...." Umbra launched into a monologue about what they knew of the building. Even they hadn't been around when the fortress had been built. They were a magic being and not a technological one. Umbra had been brought in well after the fortress had been abandoned by it's original owners but had lived there for countless of years under the reign of one of the magician kings that had come after. The magic of course hadn't been his but theirs but that had been a well-guarded secret. Umbra knew of plenty more but her new owner wasn't asking about those. 
By the time Umbra told Beate of the staircase hidden in one of the pillars, a great deal of time had gone by. Beate had listened dutifully but had gotten drowsy. She'd nearly missed the important speck of information but luckily she'd been awake enough to understand it's significance.
"Let's take that way out!" she called and Umbra stopped talking. 
Their master had given a command after all. Although, she hadn't told them to shut up. It was quite unusual to have a young maiden crawl through cellars. So Umbra spoke up one more:
"Maybe I can help you find some more fun things to do? Or help you woo a nice young man? Surely you like someone...."
But Beate wasn't listening, instead she carefully tapped and prodded all sides of the indicated column. After a couple of minutes, the diminutive woman really got into the puzzle at hand and she quite enjoyed the search, hardly listening to what Umbra was saying. Looking for the mechanism herself was far more interesting after all. 
A long time passed but then suddenly Beate heard a click and a breeze, smelling of dust and decay, wafted toward them. More spider webs and a dubiously icky substance on the walls made Beate stand back a bit. This hidden staircase didn't look all that inviting.
'Ack, I just wish I could get on with my destiny." Beate sighed.
Umbra's eyes flashed a brighter red as she said: "Understood master" and teleported them far far away to her new master's destiny....

[STORY]   +   [BEATE] - [UMBRA]   +   [XANADU WEYR]

Lantessama Isle
Background found with google search long ago.
Picture was taken in Blackness (Scotland)