(Warning: contains some spoilers)
Memory sphere 1
So it turns out that the information spread about in Mor Dhora was partially correct. Though to be precise rather than someone opened the tower, someone utterly vanished from sight while at the towers base. Search efforts to discover where and how were already ongoing by the time I arrived.
Following instinct and aether, I traced to a site at the base that was very dense. No one was around. I opened up my own aether to establish a link with what I was sensing. It was a rift of sorts. I've found one at the Broken Tail a few months back and it and led to another world. The international rift still seems not to have fully closed, and another gap has decided to form here. Being driven by curiosity, I tap into it and form a bridge between this world and… wherever this leads to. Staff at the ready, I pass through.
Every time I take a jaunt through time and space it's always different. This time, though, I think it's within this star. There are globes of floating memory swirling by me. Happy times. Sad times. Times of triumph. Times of personal sorrow.
Eventually I came out of this passage and I'm shocked by my surroundings. Trees in a color I didn't think possible were all around me. The grass was yellow, but rather than showing signs of failing life, it was thriving. But most of all was the sky. Or what passed for it. Imagine a massive cloud coverage that's lit up by a noon sun. And it was all pervasive, extending in all directions without cease.
That's when I felt it. A very strong sense of aether. It was all over; I couldn't identify the source of where it was coming from. It was so palpable I could nearly taste it without thinking. For a moment it robbed me of my senses until I could filter it out and think straight.
Shaking off the elusive feeling I got my bearings which have been honed over many years of exploration. The ground cast shadows though the sun was not present and I oriented myself in a generally south by east direction. I broke out of the treeline and I saw a familiar sight. The crystal tower loomed in the distance like a beacon. Going on a hunch, I made my way to it.
The gate captain at first gave me a sideways glance and a baleful stare. I smiled and introduced myself. "Pah. Another stray. They seem to be showing up in droves of late. " She spat on the ground then shrugged in resignment. "Well, don't just stand there. Come in before a sin eater tries to make a meal of you."
It was at this time that I was brought into the city known as the Crystalarium. It was vast. About as big as a city state capital and as busy. I was given a small tour and a warning to stay out of trouble.
The races here are very similar to those of home. More stunning is the fact that those considered beast tribes work in harmony with the locals. It still means that there's hope one day that beast tribes can live in harmony.
While I was browsing in their marketplace, I came to the attention of something called a 'pixie'. Seemed a bit flighty, but it could sense that I was a world traveler; someone who could traverse the rift. Delighted, it told me that it too had that power though in a much simpler fashion and wanted to make a pact with me. I asked it why and it replied to see the sights of my homeland and to do my bidding while there. I admit, I was a bit hesitant, but I agreed. I felt a light pressure against my mental barriers and then it was gone. The pixie, who wanted to remain nameless, said that the pact was formed and did that any summons bell of this world would pierce the rift and it would fly back to me. Then it left in a puff of aether.
I decided to make myself useful by registering as a miner and part time botanist. These are both familiar jobs to me and they gladly welcomed me into their ranks. They also wanted to know if I could hold my own in combat and, with some modesty, replied that I was capable. I got a friendly slap to the shoulder then told to get to surveying the southern desert for new ore veins. I was granted passage there and began plying my trade.
The desert was hot, naturally. Ruins of a great kingdom spread out here and there. The foreman wanted us to get to know the people of a nearby city and spend some money there. The wares were, shall we say, less than fulfilling, and the food was just this side of edible, but it seemed to open up the lips of the townsfolk. I picked up a lot of good information from them about the local history.
During a break, I asked someone about that massive white wall off in the distance. Accepting that I was an outsider, they explained to me that it was the remnant of the Flood, or the Flood of Light, that happened nearly a century back. It raced at all life like a living wave and consumed everything in its path. By some miracle or other it was halted and hasn't advanced. But the threat of sin eaters, some sort of super monster, still had many folks wound up tighter than a compressed spring.
At any rate, no ore was found and we went back to the city. The next day we surveyed around the cliffs to the west. When we arrived, we saw a few people march rather dejectedly to a large settlement just off the coast line. I asked what that was all about. One of the prospectors sneered. "That over there is known as the city of last pleasures. Terrible lot. People who would rather look for a hand out rather than work an honest job."
Another chimed in. "Yeah. They've got some sort of backwards lottery going on, accepting a single person while everyone else lives with a mix of fear, desperation, and hope. What was his name again? The man who runs the joint?"
"Vauth or Vathy; some strange name that I can't remember," someone put in, then the foreman told us that the break was over. I got the feeling that I wouldn't want to find myself in that sort of situation.
By this morning, I was getting used to the trip out, prospect a new area, and return home with information. In between times, I would act as sentry to beat off any stray monsters. Fortunately, no sin eater decided to hunt us.
Before we packed up to call it a day, I felt a very sudden blast of aether back in the direction of the Crystalium. Rushing to my mount I headed off in a hurry, curiosity blazing once more. The closer I got-- to my surprise-- the more of the oppressive sky cleared away. I set down on a ridge a few malms out and took in the sight. The night air is clear. The stars radiate their light fiercely. A few of the crew found perch and stared up in wonder. I caught on someone's lips the phrase "the Warrior of Darkness… at long last, he's returned to save this world. "
I decided to research the title come the first actual dawn of the city. I hope my family is well. I should send my pixie companion with a letter or something saying that all is well where I'm at. It assures me that each day that passes here is an equal day that passes there.
Really? Wow. That's highly surprising.