Chapter 1.3: The Darkness
He went for a closer look at some of the bodies. It was odd – there were no actual bodies. No remains, just empty pieces of armor. Every body he approached appeared that way. There was evidence of a great struggle, yes. The armor was just as ragged as his was, and they were considerably damaged. There were weapons strewn around, edges were chipped, shields were pierced, pounded or scratched. The armor all looked the same, exactly like the one he was wearing. Chain-mail covered various places of his body, but in very carefully placed areas. The scaly metal he felt earlier was an iron breastplate. The rest of his armor was made of durable leather and cloth. It allowed him to move very quickly without being weighed down, but protected his vital organs.
He scanned the rest of the area quickly. He appeared to be in a circular chamber of some sort. The ceilings were high, though he could make more details out in the light. The room itself was about 300 feet in diameter. Braziers for the torches lined the walls of the chamber. He went around and lit the some of the torches so he could see better. The light danced around the room illuminating the scene of a great battle. There was a sense of desolation about the place, a melancholy death that hung around the chamber. A great battle was waged, but for all apparent purposes, all existence of life had been wiped out. It was as if the darkness had consumed all life, and left in its wake a grim reminder of what had been. All traces of living beings had been wiped out. In its place, dark matter, steel and blade all that had been left of what had otherwise been a battlefield alive and ringing with the sound of conflict, a conflict that had left none the victor but had conquered the souls of those who had fought long and hard.
Despair took him as he realized he was the sole survivor of a conflict whose aim he knew not and that not a single soul had survived. In the face of such genocide, thoughts overtake a man. There is a certain loneliness from being separated from one’s family. But there is an entirely different loneliness that takes hold when one realizes that one knows no one. That the possibility exists that there may not be another living being with whom to interact with. In this place of death, of emptiness and lifelessness, how does one go about making sense of it all?
There were traces of life everywhere and yet there was such a sense of nonexistence. He was reminded that he himself had been a denizen of this lifeless tomb just a few short moments ago, every bit as dead as the rest of them, and yet here he was, flesh and blood a symbol of life, drawing a stark contrast his surrounding. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king, he reminded himself. Life was indeed a blessing, but was it short-lived?
It felt forbidden, like trodding on the graves of the dead. There was a sudden sense that he was trespassing, that he didn’t belong in this sea of nonexistent bodies, that he was disrupting the natural harmony of things. The fire from the torches danced some more, bringing rise to more nightmares.
A sudden terror took hold of him. While it was indeed a frightening prospect to be alone, an even scarier thought would be that he wasn’t. What great threat had eradicated the life that very obviously populated this chamber? What mysterious force had snuffed the life that been here and replaced it with the nothingness that now pervaded the place? Whatever it was, now was the time nor the place for contemplation. He needed to find a way out of here.