They dragged me down a maze of halls, upstairs and then more stairs and more halls until I was practically sleepwalking. I could tell we were somewhere inside Skyglass from the grainy walls, but there were still no windows to tell me what time it was. The newer soldiers seemed tired enough to suggest a later shift in the evening. I had no idea where they were taking me, but I had a hunch, as usual, and I didn’t like it. As usual.
Finally, we reached the top of a back staircase and went through a door. My jaw should’ve dropped, but it didn’t. “This is the sanctuary!” I should have blurted in astonishment, but I didn’t. They led me toward the back of the massive alter where the sparkling glass doors were, and I should’ve said, “But we can’t go back there! It’s the Hall of Silence,” but I didn’t.
The magnificent kaleidoscope-like doors swung outwards at our approach. A great shaft of light blasted us as we passed between them, and a great, cold wind bit into my bones. I could barely feel the wooden core of the tree under my boots. All natural smells vanished: no more damp leaves, no more river soil, no anything. Gone. Then I could see inside. Everything in my body told me to scream, but my throat closed tight.
It was more massive than the moons, than the mountains, than the great falls beyond the edge of the islet. It shone with a horrible hue of a nameless color, the color of death. The very lack of both scent and sound made it all the more dead. Living things are never silent, and they can never go unnoticed, for the very nature of existence implies that something is there. Seeing that thing there…it was like staring into the empty eye sockets of a skull, or looking straight through the ground into the thousands upon thousands of graves, all the ones that were filled with people and all the ones that were not. This thing was absent of everything. This thing was Death itself.
Then I saw her. The soldier. The lifeless one.
“Welcome to the Generator Room. Please take a seat.”
Sameela O’Klurn strode out of the shadows, bow strung over her shoulder, and watched as they hauled me over to the torture chamber and locked me in.
I didn’t need a room to be tortured.
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