Chapter XXXV: Ethereal

An Excerpt from
Diary of the Ethereal
Entry 20:229
Date 73 of 7499 SC 


So much has happened and it is all such a blinding blur, I don’t know whether I am excited or terrified, or perhaps I am both? I don’t even know if I regret following this path, I could be safe back in my quarters… though from what I’ve seen, I am not sure that any of the Children are safe.

I’m not altogether sure about what is occurring, the younger ones haven’t had the opportunity to explain to me what this is all about, I’ve just caught moments of dialogue between them, discussing the cold gods, the union and missing children?

We seem safe for now, we’re resting, our bodies are tired and achy, the younger ones must be feeling the hurt too, they appear to have been pursuing this cause for much longer than I…

I’ve taken this time to update my diary, on my portable, I’ve also allowed a few of the others to access their diaries remotely on my portable, I feel it might help them take their mind off their pains, and give them a chance to straighten out what they are thinking.

We’ve been on the run for longer than I care to imagine, it must be the early hours of the 73rd cycle, I guess the cerulean orb that is our sun must be rising, yet there is no way we can tell, there appears to be no sign of daylight down here, and very little other light as it is.

The flask that I had been given by Mother had been a lifesaver, throughout all the running, it was never too long before I was parched again. Though I am beginning to wonder when it will run out, all I keep wishing is that it won’t and somehow, thus far it has remained cool and pure, never seeming to dissipate.

I think I need to explain, after trudging around the strange, cold, dark tunnels under the Worship Hall, I finally bumped into the Child I had been following, Oblique, he had found his friend Clever, who seemed quite angry and impatient with me at first, but it seems he is nice enough now we’ve had a chance to rest ourselves, hidden from any prying eyes.

Shortly after we passed through a strange metal hall, the children began briefly examining some form of what I presumed to be containers, whilst I took the opportunity to get a breath of air; now the oxygen wasn’t suffocating me.

It was blatantly apparent that the children were fitter than I; I had never been much of an athlete.

I heard one of the Children mutter “There is more than one Hierto?” his voice rang shrill at the end of the sentence, this information clearly shocked him. I was none the wiser.

“Who is Hierto?” I begun to ask, to no avail, it seemed my voice didn’t carry over to them as panic set in once more Oblique rushed us from the room.

 After this, everything was such a blur, I was so tired, so exhausted, I found it hard to understand what was happening. I know that I saw Clever run after a woman, I think? It was hard to see, so much flashing, so much darkness and water, the heat had become unbearable once more.

All I know is that I must have seemed so useless, such a liability, I didn’t seem to be able to help at all.

Once I caught up again, a woman laid unconscious on the floor, I couldn’t tell if she had been the same one as before, I couldn’t tell if she was dead or alive. Something was occurring in a room up ahead, but I couldn’t tell what… A lot of yelling, a lot of sound.

I touched the woman’s wrist, she lacked a pulse, as my hand brushed back over her head, I felt something warm and wet grace my hand, I could tell, even in the damp light that it was blood.

It all seemed like some kind of nightmare, I thought that… I thought those words, I thought it was a nightmare. Then I wished it were a dream, as if anything could happen, really, if I truly wanted it to, I controlled the dream, I controlled the fate of this dream… and I dreamt to myself that this person wasn’t dead. I didn’t know who they were, I didn’t know if they had done good or bad things with their life, all I knew is that I didn’t want this person before me to stop existing.

I don’t know what happened then… I don’t know what happened immediately after I dreamt that. All I know is that Clever was before me, holding the woman’s other wrist.

 “She’s not dead” he said, “She still has a pulse” I recall him saying… it stuck, so strange, moments before I hadn’t felt one, had I been wrong?

Now there were two more children with us, one called Tender and one I recognized, whom I was informed was recently named Capricious.
The five of us agreed unanimously that it was time to leave, though how, we weren’t entirely sure.

Mother appeared to have the answer.

 “Ask nicely” she said. Clever turned to face her looming manifestation, dark unlit in the dripping corridor.

 “So be it…” Clever stepped forward, his bravery, I thought, may have been the end of him. “Mother, as you may not restrict any further information from us, I kindly request that you guide us out of these halls and back to residence.”

 For a moment there was complete silence. I bit my tremulous lip, holding it firmly bitten down. I didn’t know what Mother may be capable of and I put a hand out on to Clever’s shoulder… and all I could think about were thousands of trees, acres and acres of green, I don’t know why this thought was implanted in my head, I just knew I wanted to think happy thoughts, I knew I didn’t want any harm to come to the children.

 “No.” A voice from behind us rose from nowhere, startling me completely.

 Then everything had gone white.

When I came around, Tender and Capricious were guiding water into my mouth, I spluttered slightly as I swallowed the last drops. My eyes darted back and forth between them for a moment, I didn’t recognize them at first.
Everything was so bright, my eyes strained as I looked around. Clever was trying to bring Oblique around, apparently he had passed out too.

 “Wh… what happened?” I asked, hazily.

“We have absolutely no idea, though we think Father may have been about to attack us!” Tender responded, his meek voice seemed patterned with concern.

“Where are we?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, you’ll have to look for yourself.” He said, his blonde hair seemed to glow.

 I sat up and peered around. I felt beneath me, grass, dark green grass, pure and fresh at the tips of my hands, I looked up and the sky was bright blue, bluer than I had ever seen it… and as I looked for the sun, I blinked and retracted my vision as I was shocked with a bright white orb, spitting it’s rays through the sky.

 “What is going on?” I stammered.

“We really don’t know” Clever looked over.

 I stood up and looked around more, there were all the trees I had imagined, all the green I had thought of… Only there was one more thing I hadn’t dreamt, one thing I hadn’t come to expect.

 Far off, beyond a tower of smoke between the trees, there was a large blue dome, within which I could faintly recognize the towers of the Core…

 “Oh my…” I had felt ready to pass out again.

 Until now, we have rested, looking after each other, sharing food, sharing water. I don’t know what we will do. I don’t know if we will stay here or walk back to The Core, it seems so far away, I have no idea how long it would take to walk such a long distance, all I can hope is that we may find resources along the way…

But for now we must sleep, Oblique has agreed to stay up and keep watch for the first shift, hopefully we can swap and all get a good amount of sleep… In the morning I plan on finding out more about what is going on.

The End

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