The Abandoned Shrine

Before you is a building–once grand; long fallen into disrepair. The building, all stone and spires and crumbling dark brick, teeters here at the edge of everything.

Ghosts swarm around the building, faces unrecognisable, speaking nonsense words. Perhaps you are one of them.

Then: the great wooden doors groan as they open. Wood splinters and dust kicks up from the ground. Somewhere you can here the sound of a great metal chain unspooling.

“Hello?” says a voice from out of the darkness. A light blooms–flickering torch light–and the interior of the building becomes visible. Thick red carpet lines the halls, paintings hang askew on the walls. Stone corridors lead off in all directions.

He moves towards you and speaks again: “I don’t get many visitors,”

The man is wearing a grey hoodie, tracksuit pants and sneakers. But he does not seem out of place here; in fact, it seems as though this is exactly where he belongs. He smiles and his eyes twinkle, although you also sense great sadness in them.

“Come with me,” he says. “I’ve got something to show you.”

He leads you down stone corridors, past paintings that show a variety of landscapes and faces. Some of the pictures only show splashes of colour. Others are blank.

He leads you through a junk room, piled high with weapons and armour. He leads you through a basement that hums with electricity, past switchboards covered in blinking lights and television screens showing static.

He leads you outside, across a helicopter landing pad and up a set of narrow stone stairs that wind around a tower.

“Not far now,” he says as you follow up the stairs.

At the top you find yourself in a small room. One of the walls has crumbled away, granting you a view of the uncanny, churning sky that surrounds this place.

That is the Neverous Ether,” he says. “You’re not supposed to be able to see that.”

You open your mouth to ask a question but you have so many.

“There,” he points.

A tiny speck of light has appeared on the horizon. The moment you set eyes upon it, it seems to grow brighter. It pulses, each time growing larger, every second growing drifting higher in the sky.

The ball of light pierces through the clouds and shines down on your face. Behind it, the sky is blue. It is a sky that you recognise.

“There,” he says, smiling a satisfied smile. “That’s what I brought you here to see.”

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