I am reminded of Damin as I climb, seeing the tower stairs in Normur under my feet. We tried to warn people about the mud and water rising from below … and I found out about Alyssa.
My thoughts shy away … to Horin.
Always so understanding, dear Horin. Ever in the background, and yet he was our mother’s reason for going on after our father died. He was my reason for leaving Grenmassin in search of Damin; I desired to gift my baby brother a full life.
I will see him soon.
Employing that meeting as my inspiration, I continue upward. The lantern alone now lights my way. There are no random sources of illumination upon these otherworldly stairs.
Shadowy doorways appear as I go on, but I ignore all. Now is not the time for sight-seeing; I wish to reach the top as soon as possible.
Time passes I am unaware of. All I know is the agony in my legs. I do not stop, though, for I doubt I will be capable of renewed movement if I do. As my legs take fire, my mind numbs.
Finally, finally, another set of doors is before me. I stand heaving on a landing, clutching the rail, afraid I will fall backwards. Never have I been this depleted of everything.
Here there is dust. On the ancient stone underfoot, on the door knobs, even in the grooves of the carved wood before me. Why? Is this the wrong destination?
Shaking my head to dislodge uncomfortable thoughts, I grip the knobs. At first I do so merely for support. Inhaling deeply to slow my pounding heart, I stand as if otherwise frozen.
Then I turn the mechanisms under my fingers and shove the doors inward.
By the stars!
We have our tales of fictional scientific marvels, and I now thank them for gifting me something to compare what I see arrayed before me to.
This is the command centre of a spaceship.