Bit 7 Before Time

Before Age of Saviors - year unknown

The sound of her cold metal shoes echoed across the empty, stone corridor. Step by step, anyone in the area would be able to hear her. Hopefully, no one would or the consequences...She picks up her pace. Staying quiet isn't an option anymore, anyway. The long open sleeves from which you could only see the tips of her fingers floated by her sides. She still remembers when she first saw the dress finished. It was a moment of light in the otherwise dark time. It is still relatively new, perhaps a week old, yet it feels like a lifetime ago. The dress is loose yet tailored perfectly to match the curves of her body, wrapping her in a soft silk embrace. It is floor length getting thinner around the knees but being the tiniest amount looser around the feet, making it permanently retain its original shape. It was malachite in colour with light shades separated with golden thread making the most exquisite patterns across the length of the dress, focusing on the sides. There wasn't any elaborate finish around the neck or a seductive cleavage. It was simple, covering everything below the neck. The sleeves slowly got looser as you progressed from the shoulder, like a small version of a bliaut. It reminded her of her mother. She always designed the most beautiful dresses. In a way, this was her work, just very distant. It always hurt to think of her, especially since she was so happy, even in the end. She realised she was lost in thought as she reached the end of the corridor, leading to a delicately carved metal door, twice the size of a person. It opened as she approached and let out the faintest sound of a creak. One of the Maintainers should take care of it soon - if they have enough time left. The door took only a few seconds to open yet it was too much time. She's already using bought time. Blessed One - please forgive me. But it isn't her she should be apologising to. She resumed her journey as the door finished opening. It's always a spectacular view but knowing it may be the last time...It's breathtaking. The architecture of her people will most likely long outlast them. The giant stone bridges stretching for miles, connecting the separate quarters of the underground city in huge crossroads. The Malachiterite alloy - a wonder of greatest minds of her people - used everywhere sight could see. The minerals and metals used are weak alone, yet combine them and they are stronger than any other. The bridges were on different levels, rising and falling making it possible to access every single quarter, yet the four main ones led to the central support pillar, larger than a small town on the surface - that's according to maps and calculations of course. She never left Praestolaio's borders. The great pillar was decorated in statues depicting the history of their people, their greatest heroes and creatures defending their land, finished with beautiful gems of azurite, malachite and many, many more she spent years studying. It will most likely be destroyed first if their defences fail.

There is only one way to access the Central Pillar and on a good day, it might take roughly 5 hours until you complete the journey and pass all the defence protocols. Unless the person entering is the Seer, which just happens to be her. The day she was named Seer by her people, the greatest and most trusted Creators helped her attune the four Brilliants of Twilight with her soul, and attaching it to her heart. Only 5 knew the actual process of doing so and even fewer the method of constructing it. Perhaps that may sound excessive, however, the heart of Praestolaio contains knowledge that even a fraction of could destroy their world. From the very algorithm to calculate the currents of the wind, which she helped design, to the Shapers of the Earth. There are much rarer objects within and none could ever fall into the wrong hands. It was her duty to oversee and protect the Heart of Praestolaio as a Seer, but even more so as a part of the people. They chose her because they believed in her and may even the Blessed One herself try and stop her, she would not fail them. Perhaps she did already, but she would not stop fighting until her last breath. She reached the Central Pillar as the first echo of an explosion could be felt, shaking the stone. Barely a whisper but more than any could hear in million years. Every muscle of her being was screaming to turn and run towards her people, to try and save as many as she could. But she knew that none could be saved from what was coming. She could feel the Brilliants around her heart give off warm energy as it reacted to the Pillar, allowing her access. Too slowly. The two statues on each side of the pillar depicting The First as they're pouring invisible substance out of beautifully constructed malachite jugs, came to life. The azure neither liquid nor gas like substance began pouring out of the jugs travelling down the engravings until they met at the basin at the base of her feet, giving off a light glow. The unbreachable gate, which few knew even existed, started to open ever so slowly. She looked down at her richly decorated hands, as she waited, unable to stand still as time passed. Underneath the number of bracelets of copper and brass, the flowing dark blue, almost black, paint swirled and twisted to form a beautiful pattern. She remembered as Nox and Luna, twins, painted them on that very morning, their focused faces and just slightly furrowed brows rested above their awe-inspiring eyes. Many admired the eyes of the twins, so bright yet dark, seemingly hiding the entire universe. It was those very eyes that could always read people without fault. She, or anyone else, could never hide anything from the sisters. And still, they never abused that kind of power, always their kind, quiet selves. Only two people could tell them apart, herself being one of them, as there was no difference between the two. They both had the lips which always seemed to smile just slightly and lush black hair styled the same way. Right now they were most likely on the front lines, throwing themselves between the danger and her people. Giving up their lives when she should be the one doing so.

What seems an eternity later, the gate opened just enough for her to pass through. She set it closing before opening halfway and started her ascend. She should have been going down, to the Heart and remain there until it was safe. Hower, Praestolaio was going to fall and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Millions of years and she let it all go to waste. Another, louder this time, tremor rushed through the stone and her mind goes to her people praying for their lives and families. None of their prayers will be heard and they will die knowing who to blame. Hopefully, they won't suffer long.

Step, after step, after step, she was running up through the Pillar. The only source of light was the soft glow from the millions of gems adorning the walls. None ever went here, as it was impossible really. She, on the other hand, adored walking up here, being left with her thoughts without any interruptions. Perhaps one day, thousands of years from now, someone would find the ruins and restore it back to life. But those were hopes of a dying woman, excusing her mistakes. The tower was much more than just a staircase, however, she was now walking up a staircase she was barely able to fit in. Compared to the vast halls which have been at the beginning in the lower levels, this was only a crack in the miles of stones which protected their city. It led all the way to the peak of "ad terram occurrit caelo" or "where the sky meets the ground". Perhaps it was selfish to hope she would see the stars before the end, but she knew what she had to do, and this wish would make no difference to the outcome.

Every second felt more real and final, making her think back on her life. It was harder and harder to try and stay calm and think, but there was one thing she could remember at the moment. It was a poem, of sorts, engraved above the arch leading to the Bottomless Sea. She started to whisper it under her breath if only to calm herself. "We are one and we are many, we rise and fall as seas, we grow and die as trees, we all make up our world as waves make up the sea all separate and unique yet still one of the many". It wasn't a national anthem or anything of the sorts, but it summed up their believes quite well. She tried to find scripts to find where or who the engraving came from but she wasn't successful. It was somewhere, but the library is far too vast to read in only a hundred years, and she was far too busy with the Heart. She reached the top of the stairs where space finally opened slightly, allowing her to walk with her shoulders straight. The cold wind could be felt already and, as it hit her lungs, sent shivers of surprise down her body. She never saw the sky before or been outside. She never truly finished her journey up here but she didn't have time stand on ceremony.It would be the first and last time. She took a deep breath and prepared for what is to come. She took the final step where the thin corridor opened into nothing but endless wonder and millions of shining lights. There was no ceiling or walls. She faced the void and endless beauty. As far as eyes could see it stretched in every direction and no gems could ever equal the beauty of the stars. The forbidden stars that her people never see and only get to dream about. But even the earth is a wonder beyond wonders. The mountains covered in white snow reaching towards the sky as if hoping to reunite with an ancient lover. And she could understand why, because even she wanted to fly into the sky and explore the infinity that beckoned.

Her eyes fell on the moon and she remembered her purpose. She remembered what she came to do and no longer was the decision difficult. To give up so little to try and save her people. Now that she saw the sky she had no reason, except her want to protect her mighty kingdom, to avoid this. She took a step towards the stone carved altar. The altar appeared simple, a slab of stone with a crystal sphere reflecting the stars placed on top of it. She knew how much technology and magic lay beneath it. It was, even after all her years of study, still magnificent how looks could deny a true purpose. She studied this technology for years and built most of it herself. Only two people knew of this - Nox and Luna. She reached her hand out towards it and could feel, even from a distance, the power radiating from it. She took the last step separating her from the sphere that now seemed to twist the world around its self like looking through a drop of water. She expected death to come swiftly. That her consciousness would simply collapse under the surge of power, or she would stand next to the Blessed One - she was wrong. And as the world begun to burn, she realised that death was someone who didn't believe in being denied.

Unknown number of days left

Bit 6 Bit 8

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