To lay eyes on a once-inhabited metropolis of stone deep inside Eyaye, according to the Archivist indoctrination, shouldn’t ever be possible. The pressures and temperatures down this far, 1/3 the way down, should be intolerable to any living thing and artifice known to the Universe.
Yet, here we are and here lies stone-masonry so extensive it easily rivals the City-States above-ground.
A waterfall of molten rock pours down from a fissure in the ceiling of the metropolis’ cavity, and has since laid waste to a section of the construction. The lava makes the whole area warmer than usual, but still bearable. There must still be a steady, fresh supply of cool air filtering into this entire network of underground passages, dungeons, and sites constituting what was, apparently, once a subterranean civilization advanced enough to make an otherwise uninhabitable place their home.
“Well, that lava river is pretty new,” remarks Cɪrthsta as we came upon one of the entranceways into this metropolis. The glowing fluid is actually of some help here, since it’s the only form of illumination of this whole place. Still, this cavity is so vast there remain several large portions of this area cloaked in pure blackness.
She gave us a tour of the place, as best she could considering the river of yellow-hot lava cutting through 1/4 of it. She showed us to eight other entranceways cut into the host rock, explaining where each one led.
One, which was sealed shut, led to the Old Ones’ “Last Temple.” Another, which looked like it was carved upside-down, leads to a labyrinth – another dungeon that could take us to our ultimate destination. A handful of them led eventually to other, equally large, metropolitan areas like this one.
However, Cɪrthsta informs us she wanted to stop here specifically to visit the city’s central library. The library itself is a tall, cylindrical stone building near the center of the cavity. Even from afar, its exterior carvings, lit up by the lava river flowing around it, can be seen though not really intelligible. Each level of the building appears to have a particular story told on it in pictographic form. I questioned her for the reason she wanted to visit such a library, but her reply was simply that there might be something she didn’t know lying around somewhere inside its walls.
Approaching it, the scenes can be comprehended more clearly. Some of the depictions are of warfare, while others are of adventures and legends. Accompanying the carvings are segments of script in a language unlike anything residing above-ground. Cɪrthsta says the script belongs to the Young Ones, who once lived here.
15 levels make up the library, and each level has two floors. According to Cɪrthsta, there are also basement floors and levels.
Entering the library reveals rings upon rings of stone where windows and bookshelves have been cut into them. More carvings of wars, adventures, and tales can be found on the floor of each floor. A central rotunda with a large winding staircase connects the floors to one another.
“Feel free to look around,” winks Cɪrthsta, pulling ahead. “We could be here all day, I think.” She then waves and takes the stairs up to the floor right above us.
“This building is a time machine, in a way,” says Way, the first thing she’s said in a long time since meeting with her. “The script here says ascending the library is like traveling forward in time, while descending it does the opposite,” she explains, pointing to some text cut into the floor amid the scene. Looking at the scene itself, I realize that’s pretty-much what it depicts. “I’m descending into the basement,” she informs us, and then takes the stairs downwards.
“I should probably check out the upper levels, then,” I consider. Not sure why I feel I should, but intuition is something I’ve learnt to heed. “Are you able to read what’s written here, Esscie?” I ask her. If she can, then I’d like her to come with me.
“I mean…, I know what it says,” she murmurs uneasily. For her it’s a case of somehow knowing what the text says but without a clue what each glyph in the text actually means.
“That should suffice,” I smile. “Mind following me?” I ask her. She decides to accept.
We ascend to the fourth-highest level, where Esscie and I both intuit the need to browse more closely here.
Esscie reads a piece of text, telling me that it talks about nine great conflicts on Eyaye as well as the disappearance of Lady Light’s Avatar by the Forces of Darkness.
“That sounds like our present Age,” I remark and she agrees. The scene associated with it shows a dozen or so frames of important parts of the current Age. The scene begins on the first floor of this level and then ends on the second.
The eleven frames of mural on the lower of the two floors tell of the Five Waves as well as two earlier, brutal wars that virtually consumed Eyaye for years on end. This mural ends with the disappearance of the Peregrine.
The upper floor proved more interesting, being that it documents, so I figure, events that are yet to come during our current Age.
Of note was a frame showing a large beast falling towards a city, but crash-landing just outside where the city stood. This is followed by a scene displaying a time of strife and struggle by intrepid heroes against a veritable army of incredibly powerful Dark Forces.
Esscie read the available inscription, mentioning an “Ancient of Eyaye” being shot down and then a swarm of monsters leaving it upon its colliding with the surface. The text also mentioned the return of the Peregrine, and those who would turn the tide against the Dark. The heroes assured a reprieve just long enough for them all to come together in unity and in preparation for what was to come.
“Maybe this is what Cɪrthsta was looking for?” suggests Esscie upon finishing with the inscription. I remembered her reply to me outside the library, and figured this could be the kind of thing she was after. I know I’ve found this part of the library very informative. A glimpse into the future can, when done properly, be vital.
The trick is to look into future events with wisdom, instead of just trying to take everything in. Doing the latter tends only to result in bad things happening.
When given a glimpse into the future, one must be careful with what they do with that information. In attempting to change the outcome of an unwanted prophecy, one must first understand the prophecy in its entirety else it is likely one will bring the prophecy about even while working to prevent it.
But, this prophecy appears to be more amicable to us – at least for the near future. In this case, we simply do our best to fulfill the prophecy’s outcome. It requires our action, though, since everyone hoping for those heroes to arrive will assure those heroes will never come. If you want heroes to show up, then you need to become one of those heroes.
One must also be careful not to read too far into the future, especially without due diligence. Otherwise, one can easily come across a prophecy they were never meant to know about. With that in mind, I suggest to Esscie that we try finding Cɪrthsta again.
We find her on the second floor of the first level, not far from where we saw her sometime before. “Did you find what you were looking for?” I ask her.
“I found what I missed last time I was here, yes,” she replies non-straightforwardly as usual. “We can complete our quest, now, thankfully.” That’s good to hear, I guess.
“We found some important things here, too,” affirms Esscie with a smile.
“So did I,” adds Way suddenly, approaching our position.
“Sounds like we can get outta here, then,” Dass chimes in sounding like he’d like to leave immediately.
Since everyone seems to have completed their business here, it is decided that we press on towards the next portal.
Crossing the river of lava was actually straight-forward, though not the easiest undertaking. The Peregrine had to fly us over one-by-one. Way could blink herself over, but couldn’t take anyone with her.
The city turned out to be larger than we’d been expecting, which included the Peregrine who said she’d never trekked further than the library her first time here. We had to camp out at the other end of the city, in complete darkness.
We’ll have to seek out the next portal tomorrow.