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Thirteen hisses out a breath and walks forward to peer into the sinkhole that extends below.

alsoquin The depths of the pit appear to be the purest of blacks, and yet... far below... something seems to move.

Thirteen observes the motions of the beautiful creature.

alsoquin The creature pulls itself, painfully, across the ground, leaking unnamed akashic fluids as it does... until its head and arms hang over the edge, and it stops to rest for a moment.... and then, with a great effort, it pushes once more, and topples into the emptiness.

Thirteen hops down after it.

alsoquin The fall seems to take an age as great blackness envelops Thirteen from all sides, and nothing, nothing at all, seems to hang in that darkness.

alsoquin There is a moment, when what he thought was utter blackness somehow becomes blacker still, and he realizes that in all likelihood he has fallen beyond the bounds of the world.

alsoquin And a short while later, he lands -- a soft landing, almost without resistance -- on... something, grey and vast and undulating, and the beautiful, dying creature lies not far away.

alsoquin Without a sound, the grey shade alights next to him, and as the beautiful being crawls forward yet again, the shade points off, into the distance.

Thirteen glances over at it, then looks in the direction indicated.

alsoquin At first, the place he looks is nothing, nothing but darkness... but as he glares, something, miles upon miles upon miles in the distance, begins to move, yet again ashen and colorless, like the ground upon which he stands... it starts to grow nearer.

Thirteen approaches in his turn, warily.

alsoquin When it is still miles upon miles away -- but moving ever faster -- Thirteen is able to see enough to know what he looks upon: a vast, ancient face, with fangs so great as to dwarf cities...

alsoquin The face of Erevel, That Which is Between....

alsoquin The face of the "ground" upon which he stands, stretching out into infinity.

alsoquin The vast head turns its cold eyes upon what sits upon its own back -- and though it stares at the beautiful god-creature, Thirteen cannot escape the feeling that somehow, beyond all boundaries of time and space, it has noticed him too.

alsoquin One of the vast eyes -- Thirteen would estimate it is, perhaps, as big as the Sunlands -- gazes steadfastly at Thirteen, but the face itself draws near until it towers over the beautiful creature, who breathes harsh, staccato breaths as it lifts its head up to look.

alsoquin The great dragon opens its vast maw to speak, a sound that -- from its effect on the creature -- is probably louder than could properly be described, but Thirteen still hears only the roar of the forge. But somehow, the words of the tongue that predates Old Realm, that stands carven upon the Poles of the world, is clear to him:

alsoquin "Arise, Siram, and face me."

alsoquin Trembling, uncertain, the beautiful creature rises to its feet, and for a moment, it stands, a certain proudness in its stance despite its crippling wounds, and faces the Primordial...

alsoquin And then, with a sudden movement so great as to crack the air itself, Erevel's great jaws snap forward, close around him... and he is gone.

alsoquin The dragon pauses for a long moment, merely breathing, and then... the full force of its attention is turned to Thirteen. It speaks the silent, clear words once again: "You should not be here."

Thirteen "Neither should you. We both appear to be relatively disrespectful of the natural laws governing our existences."

alsoquin The creature snorts, and though Thirteen knows that his body is safely ensconced in the workshop in the Sunlands, he feels it -- the warm, wet breath of a fallen god -- as it blows past him.

alsoquin "Know this. Two thousand years from now, when you awake from your reverie, I will still lie here... and you will be drawn to me."

alsoquin He breathes in again.

alsoquin "And when you come, I will devour you."

alsoquin It closes its great eyes, and opens its maw wide once more... and like a beast after a great meal, it coughs something up...

alsoquin Landing with a quiet, wet splash not far from where Thirteen stands is Siram remade -- the pale green light twisted into ashen darkness, the great beauty inverted into that horrific face.

Thirteen "No."

Thirteen "I am not like the others you have met here."

Thirteen "From my rebirth, I have known how to deal with dragons."

alsoquin The creature looks upon Thirteen. "We shall see, creature; for I have devoured thousands like you, and will have devoured thousands more before you are even born." And with that, it turns its face away... and Thirteen sees that the grey shade stands next to him again, and points upwards.

Thirteen looks upwards.

alsoquin Somewhere, far, far above, Thirteen sees something... a light.

alsoquin As he gazes upon it, it begins to grow larger, brighter...

alsoquin And suddenly, he is buffeted by images -- a blue-skinned, bald man, surrounded by insects; a tiny blond woman, covered in black ribbons, looking upon much the same vista he just saw;

alsoquin Cerin -- his friend -- and Siram and a glorious green demon, and five people, colored suns blazing upon their chests, arrayed like the jagged serrations of a vicious knife...

alsoquin And then, the workshop, as empty as ever.

Thirteen sighs, and slumps into a chair,

Thirteen rubbing his eyes painfully.

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