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Sun 16th Jan 2022 11:01

5. Of Crystals and Titans

by Nox Ferrul

Escaping the murderous servitors of their hometown, Cerelon, our party and a few refugees have found respite in the shadow of two ruined towers. Having explored the towers the group set its curious sights on the pit and what treasures from the past it contained.
Now with the giant servitors of the Crawls Passage out to find them: fifteen people, two-pack animals and their meagre possessions ride a mechanical platform deeper into the installation.


The aneen moaned their dislike as the platform slowly lowered the caravan of refugees. The humans were silent, their faces turned to the stone ceiling, listening to the regular booming of massive feet. Maybe an hour away and coming closer, a titan-sized caravan carrier was hunting them.
The platform slowed to a halt and Nox lightly stepped off and found the controls for double doors. Sunlight momentarily blinded the group as the door slid open to reveal an open-plan space filled with devices. Directly opposite the platform, two sets of pipes descended from above and turned out towards the pit through a shallow v-shaped trough. It looked like the pipes at one time used to run all the way out into the pit and through to a similar v-shaped room to the left. Now the pipes were smashed, and a dark stain pitted the ground at the breakage. The rock, seemingly so dense everywhere else was honeycombed and brittle wherever the liquid stained.
Endoval Tower Pit - Crystal Cultivation

As the caravan slowly unpacked the platform, Nox investigated the room to the right of the pipes. Down a small flight of stairs, a construction of six poles holding six sheets of mesh slotted between. Scanning the mesh, Nox discovered it was a very fine matrix of a crystal found growing on the Spectral Plateau high above Cerelon. The crystals were thought to be worthless, often a by-product of scavenging for iotum on the Spectral Plateau. She showed it to Fureva-Yung who confirmed that she often picked up the crystal for the iotum that sometimes grew inside.
It is very hard to eat and not very nutritious, Fureva-Yung added.
Across the lab, Marius was investigating a similar workstation that was empty of the crystal sheets. Behind, a bin with a five-sided lid facing the grid. A hose reel and fittings faced racks of tiny shelving with an even larger box dominating the end of the space. Marius checked the shelving and found them to be racks of crystal mesh. Sliding the crystal sheets between the poles he and Nox waited to see if something would happen. When nothing did, Marius opened the bin and a scintillating fog of energy flowed out and onto the ground. Nox did the same and watched the energy flow up and out of the box. It filled the room up to the top of the stairs but went no further. She noted that the energy had no mass, though she felt a tingling sensation wherever it touched. At the crystal lattices, the fog gathered at the base of the crystal mesh and started forming larger crystal clumps.
The energy makes crystals on the mesh, Nox mused to the connected group, But if it needs contact, Why are the crystal sheets so big? Most of the device sticks up out of the energy.
Both Nox and Marius left the crystals to form and investigated the rest of the facility. Now the caravaners had finished unpacking the platform, they watched the investigations uncomfortably. Their desperate stares made Nox nervous. Instead of trying another workstation, she went to the back of the room she was in and studied a device on the wall. It looked like a spout, and below it, an almost empty barrel. Right at the bottom of the barrel was a fine powder that glittered like the scintillating energy of the growing crystals. It seemed to be a ground version of the crystals and had once flowed from the spout from somewhere else. Beside the spout a recess in the wall lined with what looked like triangular metal teeth. Maybe they grew the crystals then put them through a grinder to make a power that was finally stored in barrels?
Across the way, Marius and Fureva-Yung were making their own discoveries. Marius had moved back to the hose reel and pipe fittings. The hose fittings went through a five-sided board set up so a person could easily pick it up and holding it like a double-handed shield. Fureva-Yung unrolled the hose pipe from its reel and looked at the fittings. They matched the fittings on the boards, but also in the big machine near the stored crystal sheets. She plugged one end of the hose into the larger machines, the other end into a hose fitting and realised it was the same shape as the lids on the energy pits. With the hose attached she placed the fitting board over the pit. The large machine started humming. Inside, the energy followed the lines and contours of a mould, the exact shape of the crystal panels.
Nox, Fureva-Yung thought, Can you make things explode?
No, I’ve never tried, I wouldn’t know how, Nox replied trying to think of any time she’d made something explode. Maybe, Mr Marius? She directed the thought and Marius looked seriously at the big woman.
What did you have in mind, Furry?
The crystal is hard. If we could explode it, maybe we can use it against the servitors.
That’s a thought, Marius went to one of several barrels up against the wall and stacked on a trolley. Opening the barrel he found it full of crystal dust as expected. He took a good pinch of the stuff and tried to strike his flint and steel against it. Nothing happened.
There’s a lot of energy locked up in this stuff. If we can find a way of releasing it.
Nox looked at the powder. Father often worked with such powders whose energy was trapped inside. Some worked with fire, some with other chemicals and others still worked by hitting them. Following Marius’ example, she took a good pinch of the dust from the near-empty barrel and placed it in a pile on the dense stone floor. She then pulled out her dagger and raised the butt up to strike.
I don’t think that’s a great idea… Marius went to say as the dagger pommel came down on the powder.
A blue shockwave swept through the lab and the whole caravan were suddenly somewhere else. It was a large space lined with five portals and raised areas above. Under their feet the ground was a luminescent gridwork, filling the space with light. Around them, five of the blue figures seemed to be fighting animated red shapes. It seemed the refugees had landed in the middle of a battle.
From behind, Nox was struck, sending her senses reeling. When her vision cleared again, she saw a blue figure move past her to fire again. It seemed she’d inadvertently got in the way of their first shot. Another red shape moved up and attacked Marius. “Ladies, gentlemen, please there’s no need to fight. We can settle things peacefully!” He yelled above the noise of battle, but none of the combatants seemed to be paying much attention, though some of the blue figures seemed bemused by his attempts.
“I’ve seen them before!” Nox struggled through the group to find Jaden, “The blue people, I’ve seen them.”
“Where? When?”
“Since we left Cerelon, in the forest...up in the second the control room for the lifting platform.”
Fureva-Yung did not hang around chatting. She let her chain slither to the floor, wrapping one end around her meaty fist. She whipped out the other end, smashing into a red shape. Two blue figures joined Fureva-Yung attacking the shape and soon had it down. Nox and Jaden stepped behind Fureva-Yung as both she and Marius were bombarded by more red adversaries. Marius stepped out of the range of his attacker, dodging the blow. Fureva-Yung blocked the attack with her chain. She was about the bring it up again for a second attack when the lights dimmed and the whole caravan was back in the abandoned lab.
“We have to go back! We have to help!” Marius pushed his way through the stunned villagers to the stacks of barrels, opening the nearest one up.
Looking around, Nox spied the grinding machine she’d been studying before, “Maybe Jaden and I can make that machine hit the dust hard.”
Outside the pit, the thudding of the titan servitor ceased. Fureva-Yung looked out and up the pit. At the moment, the clear blue of the sky was all she could see, but something ahead made her believe the titan had stopped near the larger of the two towers, only tens of metres away from the lip of the hole.
Not knowing what to do, Marius closed the lid on the energy pit and the fog of scintillating soon dissipated. Nox scanned the crystals once more. The crystals had grown significantly in the time they’d been there, but only where the fog had touched. They didn’t give a clue as to what the group should do next.
Help blue people? Fureva-Yung asked as she headed back to the cluster of scared villagers.
We don’t even know where or even when they are, Lamented Nox, who unconsciously looked up to the stone ceiling and the servitors beyond.
At the other side of the lab, Marius was thinking about the energy, crystal powder and its nature.
“This place grows crystals and process them from a raw energy source. That energy is cross-dimensional in nature. The raw source is maybe only here, but processed and put into could go anywhere...maybe back across dimensions! Yes, it’s fuel for travel across dimensions!”
As he talked out his ideas he connected up a hose to the energy pit nearest him. The energy flowed out like water from the hose, concentrated by the fitting. He now pointed it at the crystal panels. Crystals grew right before their eyes, maybe ten times faster than in the low lying fog. On top of that, he could direct the flow at all parts of the crystal panels, growing crystals from the bottom all the way to the top.
“I can grow crystal where I like!” He took a panel now heavy with the dense crystal and placed it in the grinding machine. Nox turned it on and danced as the dust slowly trickled out the spout and into the barrel.
“Nox, you smashed a little dust and we went to the room. How about a bigger pile?”
Nox’s eyes grew wide with the possibilities. From the collection at the bottom of the filling barrel, she started collecting a pile.
“What do you have in mine, Marius?” Jaden asked
“I was just thinking, what would happen if that titan up there stepped on a...barrel of this stuff?”
Jaden’s reply to that thought was lost as a congested puffing and wheezing erupted from the large machine Fureva-Yung had been playing with. Left to its own devices, the crystal now overflowed the chamber, making crystalline flowstone in all directions. Fureva-Yung pulled the hose from its fitting and the chamber ceased making crystal, but the damage had been done. If anyone wanted to use that machine in the future, they’d have to chip through a thick layer of iridescent crystal.
Fureva-Yung looked at the pipe in her hand. There was, maybe twenty-five metres of the hosing all up, more than enough to bridge the gap from the lab to the next room over. She started pulling the hosing to the pit, looking to see if there was something on the other side to hook onto. When nothing was in evidence, she pulled out a cypher, a cable launcher with a spiked harpoon at both ends for attaching a rope.
“Mr Marius! The crystal panes! We could make a bridge!” Nox mined placing one hand on top of another so that the second hung over the first by a little.
“Then we can weld them together with the crystal!”
Inspired, Fureva-Yung took a crystal panel, and like a child’s toy, flung it across the pit to the next room. The panel clanged against a piece of the old catwalk and fell into the pit, through one of the existing holes in the dome.
That was clumsy! Fureva-Yung said, as everywhere, people were organising. Suddenly, the group of scared individuals had a purpose. Everyone was either removing crystal panels from the storage area, passing them hand to hand all the way to the pit, holding panels in place against the current infrastructure or hosing down the panels to affix them in fast-growing crystals. With Jaden checking construction, the bridge slowly started edging out into the pit.
The first falling robot was a shock as the butler servitor tumbled past the bridge builders. The second and third were comical and followed by cheers as they realised that the robots had hit Jaden’s slippery trap above. The fourth and fifth were almost disastrous as they clipped the newly constructed bridge, so that crystal panels and shards of light rain down onto the dome with the servitors.
“Hug the wall, it will be harder for them to hit the bridge,” Jaden commanded and the Dritmen did as they were told and the crystal panels started along the wall.
It was Marius who noticed the platform rising on its own in the first room. Running in, he flicked the controls to bring the platform back down, but just as quickly it flicked back.
“They’re in the platform room, double-time it, men!” He called, as he grabbed a crystal from one of the crystal panes and placed it on the edge of the platform, jamming the machinery and hopefully buying time.
The Dritmen, use to hard work and following orders stepped up the process as the pit around them went dark. A few looked up from their work and quailed as the titan leaned out blotted out the sky. Seeing its prey just below, it slowly moved into place, readying itself for a strike.
“Furry, you still have that cable projector cypher?” Marius yelled out, fishing around in his own pack until he pulled out a cypher of his own. Fureva-Yung handed over the projector and Marius quickly bound his gravity detonator to the cable with crystals from the hose.
“Now, you shoot the harpoon at the big guy’s head. Send the gravity detonator up after it and let’s see if that can’t keep him busy for a while.”
Fureva-Yung looked at the tiny device in her hand, Fureva-Yung hit things. Fureva-Yung does not shoot things. She handed the two cyphers back to Marius who weighted it up in his hands a looked out at the titan above. Space at the pit-face was tight with everyone moving through panels and guiding the hose. Weaving through the workers, Marius walked along the newly constructed crystalline bridge to its end and judged the jump.
“Yeah, I can do it,” he said, stepping back. Sprinting off, he flew over the remaining few metres and landed safely in the next room in front of two broken pipes. Now free to move, he leaned out into the pit and lined up the shot.
Whizzzz! The harpoon was away, the thin cable paying out behind. Everyone stopped to watch as the harpoon kept rising, reaching the titans head and embedding with tinking sound. Then the package with the gravity detonator zipped up the line.
Boom! The charge went off, but instead of sending pieced of flying metal and crystal everywhere, the titan seemed to shrink, its limbs dragged towards its head by the strength of the gravity. Servitors riding the titan now flew in all directions. Some disappeared over the lip of the pit, others fell down ahead of their bigger brethren into the dome. Several fell among those working in the lab as the titan itself rolled over the edge and into the pit. Falling past the bridge hugging the walls, the titan hit the dome restrained by the force of the gravity explosion and the almost indestructible dome.
Inside the lab, the servitors were causing trouble. Yitti and Fureva-Yung both suffered under the heavy blows of two lifting servitors, hardened metal blades crashing against bone. Jaden turned the hose on another servitor as it trundles across the room towards Nox, but the crystals would not form against its metal skin. Nox kept her wits and was able to move a cart of barrels between her and the oncoming servitor.
Yitti struggled to hit his servitor and failed. Fureva-Yung became restrained by the heavy claws of the robot. All the while, Marius across the way could do nothing. Stepping back a few steps he once more threw himself across the gap, pulling his sword at the same time and flying into action. Jaden could see that one of the servitors was bent on one side, having clipped the stonework of the pit before being flung into the lab. She jammed the spear in its side, finding something damaged. The servitor shut down and fell to the ground, still.
CLUNK! Nox heard something fall behind her and turned to see the chunk of crystal from the platform on the ground. The platform had made it to the floor above. She tried flicking the switch with her hedge magic to call it back, but the servitors were ready and flicked it back just as quickly. Instead, she moved the chunk of crystal against the lifting column under the platform. Turning the hose on the crystal she made that the seed for a giant crystalline growth that rose up the column and jammed the platform in place. The refugees were fast running out of time, they had to go!
Marius made short work of one servitor as a freed Fureva-Yung smashed the last to pieces. Free of servitors for the moment, the focus went back to bridge building. The titans head became part of the infrastructure making it easier to finish the bridge and everyone started moving across. The titan shifted ominously. The hoses aimed directly at the titan fixed it in place for a few moments more.
“I knew it wasn’t a hoax,” Jaden said as she started climbing up the bridge to the next room.
“What was?” Nox asked just behind her.
“The radiant healing energy of crystals.”
Though the titan seemed stuck, for now, the smaller servitors were building down from the cylinder chamber to the lab. The caravan and animals were all quickly bundled across the bridge into the new room. Here a barrel management and storage facility stood empty and unused. To the left, a room of shelving with barrels stacked neatly. One shelf had collapsed and barrels of liquid had spilt out dissolving the stone flooring. A gap the size of a large rat showed another room below, but nothing more. In the centre, a console with a claw device suited for filling and moving barrels was surrounded by more barrels and trollies, while to the right a short flight of steps heading up went to a locked door.

As the caravan moved across taking in the new space, Nox tackled the locked door, its technologies becoming familiar to her. She soon worked out the locking mechanism and the door slid open to reveal a junk room. At least that’s what it looked like at first. Piles of discarded barrels, broken trollies and things put away for a future that never arrived sat on shelves or littered the floor. Nox’s Numenera senses soon picked up the telltale spark of something special in the form of a box on eight legs. Pitted by dropped tools, stained by countless substances, the box looked more elaborate than mere storage. With a little experimentation, the box shivered and came to life. Eight legs squared up underneath the pendulous belly of the box looking as ready for orders as a box on legs could.
“Follow,” Nox said and left the room, watching behind for a response. As she’d hoped the box followed after her and she returned to the main room triumphantly, the unusual artifact tamed. She stood in front of Jaden and turned to the box, “Follow her,” she said, pointing at Jaden. Though it had no eyes or even head, the box seemed to adjust its attention and from then on followed Jaden wherever she went.
“This is wonderful!” Jaden exclaimed, lifting the lid on the box and finding a small treasure in iotum and parts, “What are we going to call it?”
It’s a box, it doesn’t need a name, Nox replied bemused to Jaden’s whimsical question.
“Box or not, names have meaning and give importance.”
Nox left Jaden to consider names for the box as she went back to the bridge. The caravan and all its members were safely across. The bridge that had given them hope was now an asset to the enemies who were now working their way down the sheer walls of the pit. Remembering the damage the acid had done, Nox went to the centre console and the nearest orange barrels of acid. It was far too heavy for her to lift alone so she started just rolling it on its bottom edge, back towards the bridge. Marius, seeing Nox and her intent helped by picking up the barrel and placing it on the stone lip into the pit. Righting the barrel it was clear it had no easy way of opening. Nox pulled out her dagger and lined up the blade with the rim of the barrel.
“Can you hit it with something?” She asked Marius.
“Sure, but I don’t think I like the idea of trying to hit something in your tiny hand,” Marius scratched his arm distractedly, “I’ll go look for a can opener.”
“Neither do I, “ Jaden added rummaging around in her collection of spare odds and ends and pulling out a sturdy scrap of metal the shape of a wedge, “Right tool for the job. Save your dagger.” She handed the wedge to Fureva-Yung as she joined in the conversation.
I will hit, she thought, balling her massive fist into a dense ball.
So, as Jaden pulled Nox and herself away from the barrel, Fureva-Yung held the wedge between two thick fingers and drove it down into the metal of the barrel. The wedge shattered into pieces, but not before it had made a hole through the barrel’s lid. With a push, the barrel was tipped onto its side and rolled over the crystal and stone at the entrance to the room. The thick orange liquid glugged out of the container doing nothing to the crystal but it bubbled on the stone dissolving everywhere it touched. It was so effective, the stone under Fureva-Yung’s feet crumbled away and she slid down a stony slope until she hit the titan servitor’s head.
Fureva-Yung! I’m sorry! Nox cried only for Fureva-Yung to respond with a big toothy grin.
Maintenance! She said and started pulling and prying at the titan’s head.
On one side Fureva-Yung found an access hatch, and though a tight squeeze, she wriggled her way into a control room. At a panel inside she jiggled a lever and felt the titan flex its right leg in response. At the same time, the giant servitor felt its controls taken over. It started to struggle once more against the crystal growth and its folded shape.
While Fureva-Yung played with the lever to understand the mechanism behind it, Nox had broken free of Jaden and joined Fureva-Yung in the cramped control space.
This cable seem to be connected to that lever, Nox pointed out one of several thick metal cables that ran from the control panel to various parts of the titan. Grabbing the cable in both hands, Fureva-Yung placed her huge stump-like feet up on a vertical surface and pulled. Something deep down in the titan twanged and the cable gave in Fureva-Yung’s hands. She pulled the cable up into the room and found it to be a 15 metres long strong cable.
“It’s not safe, Nox. What are you doing?” Jaden called from the ledge.
I want to help Fureva-Yung kill this thing, Nox replied, scanning as far as she could for the machine’s brain. With Jaden’s know-how, they worked out the control centre of the titan was far deeper into the titan than they could reach. Jaden went back into the room to retrieve another barrel of the acid hoping to at least seize up the workings of the servitor. Nox was just about to give up when something heavy smashed into the top of her skull and she nearly passed out.
Fureva-Yung quickly moved to shelter Nox as she looked up to see servitors on the lip of the pit picking up and throwing fist-sized rocks. Jaden ran, barrel in hand back down to the servitor. As Fureva-Yung was pummelled with chunks of masonry, she took the barrel from Jaden and smashed it against the control panel. Pieces of the control surface, barrel and acid flew everywhere, breaking open the machinery. The acid stained the metal, even pitted some of the control cables, but the acid did not affect the metal as it had the stone outside.
More rocks were now pelting down, Fureva-Yung taking the brunt of some of the hits.
I do not think this is working, she said
“No,” Jaden agreed.
We should leave.
With Jaden in the lead, they climbed back onto the shoulders of the shuddering titan as rubble fell pinging off its metal surface. Jaden, Nox and Furvea-Yung leap the gap still widening between the bridge and the stone floor of the room. The titan would break free eventually, they needed to find another way out and Marius had been busy.
In the storeroom with the damaged floor, Marius had been a long while. Initially, to find a tool for opening the barrels, he remembered a curious cypher he’d found and reached into his backpack for the device. The size of a small pillbox, when activated it sprouted four transparent wings like those of a dragonfly. After programming it to return he sent the device into the hole and waited. When it returned several minutes later a small display screen showed a full map of the space below.

Though the room directly below had seen signs of the stone shaping technology, the rest of the space was a natural cavern leading to a large cave with a stream of water. The path down was steep, made more difficult by two to four metres steps that would make climbing slow and dangerous.
The large cavern itself slopped away gently giving the spring the chance to make a small pool. Beside the pool, large mushrooms grew, illuminating the space.
At the far end of the cave, a crack in the wall led to more constructed rooms. Monitors smashed with crude spears could be seen through the crack, but the infiltrator had not ventured further and Marius’ vision stopped there. It looked like, no matter how dangerous, this was their next move.
By the time the others had returned from their attempted sabotage, Marius was ready to present his information. Nox looked at the image intently, especially the views of the larger room and the fungus forest. She realised the fungus was neatly planted in rows that took advantage of the closeness of the mist from the waterfall for irrigation.
“Someone lives down there,” she told the group
“Well, let’s go meet them,” Marius replied calling once more for the Dritmen’s assistance. Barrels of acid were brought from all other the room, tapped and poured onto the stone around the hole with Fureva-Yung’s help smashing at the crumbling rock. Then, maneuvering a set of metal shelving down the hole they used them as a makeshift ladder, descending into the natural caverns below.
“I thought of a name,” Jaden pronounced as she guided the box down into the hole on a pulley, “Bellyache!”. Nox shook her head at the silliness of adults.
Once everyone was in the cavern, the pulley system and shelving was dragged through and the group moved to the next drop of three metres. With the stairs, ropes and cables the caravaners and animals made it down. The caravan disc themselves were just dropped over the lip to be caught by their own dampening fields. The same was done at the next drop of a little over two metres. The groups knew what they needed to do now and made quick work of this second drop.
The Aneen had not wanted to go into the dark hole and balked at every drop. Nox had been some help keeping the Aneen calm enough that the group could lower them on ropes to the floor below, but the last drop was further than the others and the second Aneen kicked and thrashed in its rope harness. The rope snapped and the Aneen fell the last metre, hurting its leg. Their only simple way down was broken and their pack animal injured.
Lower me down, Fureva-Yung, Nox called and laying down on the ground, Fureva-Yung, stretch out her arm and lowered Nox to the Aneen. She soothed them with sounds and telepathy until the creatures were able to be led once more. Smelling water the Aneen started tugging towards the sounds of the spring further down.
I’ll take them to the water, we won’t go far, Nox said as the Aneen led the way.
The cool damp cavern was a stark change from the smooth regular lines of the room above. Nox was sure the cavern had been here almost unchanged since before even the time of the pit itself. The cave was of nature’s doing, carved out by the same water that now fell into the pool. Stalagtite and stalagmites grew in abundance, often forming columns of solid flowing stone. In the light of the mushrooms that grew along one side of the cavern, Nox started discerning more than just geological features in the cave. On a column of smooth limestone, a hexagonal shape had been painted with some black tarry substance. The shape, marked with another hexagonal through the centre and slitted black diamond looked all the world like an eye. Just past the column, Nox’s spied a movement. Focusing on the darker shadows she could see a creature about her size, hunched and thin with large ears and eyes and an oddly shaped nose. It watched her unblinking from behind the eye-marked column.
Once more telepathically projecting the calm and peaceful thoughts, Nox greeted the little one.
The creature started, and now Nox could see others were standing behind the first, hiding behind rocks and mushrooms throughout the cavern.
Fr-iend? The creature asked hopefully.
Yes, I am a friend, Nox smiled at the timid little creature.
Not servants of the All-Seer?
Nox was confused by the new term, All-Seer, No, not servant to anyone.
Praise be! Not servant to All-Seer! The creature screeched out loud and its friends joined in the general noise.
“What’s going on? Are you okay?” Jaden called from the drop. She’d been trying to rebuild their pulley rig as Fureva-Yung and Marius lowered items and people down via a sling on Fureva-Yung’s cable.
“We’re fine. I found the people that live down here,” Nox replied watching with delight as the little creatures capered and danced happily.
Jaden made sure she was next lowered down and was soon by Nox’s side.
“I see you’re making friends.”
“You always say I should,” Cheekily, Nox replied not taking her eyes off the capering creatures, I am Nox. This is Jaden. What are you called?
Yelf, it replied, We are the Unseen. The All-Seer sees all, but does not see us!
We are not of the All-Seer, Nox replied as the little people celebrated.
“What is the All-Seer?” Jaden asked and Nox pointed out the image of the eye.
He sees all, he knows all, Yelf ushered Nox and Jaden forward and pointed to another two images similar to the first. One had the eye looking to the left where tiny people stood. Obviously, the All-Seer watching Yelf and his people. The second image had the tiny people giving a sacrifice to the All-Seer, possibly one of their own? Off to the right, out of sight of the eye, a few tiny figures fled.
This is us, we are the Unseen. Ran away when All-Seer not looking.
“Interesting, “ Jaden thought, “Do you think we could become Unseen too?”
Good idea, Yelf agreed, not offering any suggestions of how that could be achieved.
“Where is the All-Seer?”
The All-Seer is everywhere. We found some All-Seer eyes and destroyed them, Yelf pointed proudly at the crack in the wall. Through the darkness, the regular rectangle shapes of monitors were visible.
“Jaden, the All-Seer! That could be why the servitors are hunting us!” Nox exclaimed, gaining for herself a stern look from Jaden.
“How far away was this?” She asked Yelf.
Long, long, long away. We ran and ran. Did not want to be found.
Another look.
“But, the servitors are coming!”
“You’re making something out of nothing. You heard Yelf, their All-Seer is a long way away from here…”
I’m sorry, I think maybe something like your All-Seer may be following us, Nox turned to Yelf who physically jumped up in fright.
“Nox! Don’t scare these poor people, can’t you see they’re terrified? Please, calm yourselves. What follows us are things of our own creation, not of the All-Seers.” Jaden moved from Nox to Yelf and his people now running around panicking.
Not from All-Seer?
“No, we made them. They’re nothing to do with the All-Seer.” Jaden repeated and Yelf calmed down a little
“What is the All-Seer?”
Not what. Is, everywhere. In all machines.
Nox gave Jaden a silent look in return.
Yelf lead Jaden and a silent Nox through the crack in the wall and what had once been a monitoring room. Beyond the broken screens, the Yelf had made a home for themselves. A room full of makeshift sleeping areas surrounded a central communal space mostly filled with a construction of junk. A shrine to an unknown god.
“We are being hunted. “ Jaden confessed, looking at the little home the Yelf and his people had made. A door across from the shrine hinted at more further one, but at that moment it looked like a dead end. “What’s through there?”
Oh, passage to the All-Seer. Yelf and his brethren quailed.
“Do you have somewhere safe to go for a little while?”
Yelf’s big eyes became even larger and Jaden was afraid he’d start panicking again.
This is our safe place.
“Okay…” Jaden smile encouragingly, trying to look more confident than she felt, “Let’s see what I can do shall we?”
Digging through her pile pocket scraps once more she found string and wedges.
“I can build a trap. We can find a place where the rock is loose and set up an avalanche,” she turned to Yelf looking confused and worried, “If anything comes down after us, I will show you how to make the rocks fall, yes?”
Y-es, Yelf did not sound sure of this plan of the strangers.
To be continued….