The doors began to open.
Not inward, as Alem struggled, throwing his full weight and strength against them: but outward. Pressed back with a groan of stone that rumbled deep into Eveth’s bones. Just the noise, alone, made her tremble. Then, came the mana they had been holding back.
It crashed down, like a mighty wave. So concentrated, it seemed to swallow up her spells of [Light] in darkness, drowning them out. By the time she even thought to escape, the sight granted by [Adept] was completely overwhelmed.
Then, came the voice.
I have waited.
Eveth shuddered as the voice slammed into her mind. In front of her, she heard Alem crumple to the ground. Screaming, Dren fell, mace loudly ringing out as it hit the stone floor. Around her, beside her, in front of her: all was pure black.
Mana, so thick, so dense, she could see almost nothing, except those tiny blue scales.The Basilisk was still there, glowing among the ink as it moved forward, undeterred.
Waited, for so very long…
“Make it stop.” As Eveth fell to her knees under the force, while beside her, she heard Alem gasp as he writhed in pain. “Please, make it stop.”
Perhaps, you will have them… in time.
The serpent lifted itself, blue scales glowing.
Something beneath it, moved. Stone, Eveth realized, was rising.
Lifted like a pedestal to face the shadowed behemoth looming beyond. Submerged as densely as they were, the mana responded naturally to the commands. Along the walls, even among the ocean of mana: lights began to form. Sparks of creation, patterns spinning to life.
Eveth’s vision swam, as the mana grew thicker, still. The ambient energy creeping deeper into her bones, drowning out her other senses as the pressure built.
You have travelled far, and I have watched.
All the while, waiting for the fated decision to be made.
At last, I am not disappointed.
Eveth tried to hold her eyes open.
There, waiting like a statue carved of jade, a being sat. Eight eyes, larger than the painted windows atop the cathedrals, stared down from great height. The gaze pierced, through air, through skin, through bone: Eveth could feel it watching her very soul as it stood above them all.
There could be no denying:
Before them, sat a God.
You are not the first of your kind.
No, I have seen many, over the cycles.
So very many…
Eveth felt the stone meet her face, as she bowed over. Distantly, she still felt pain, but it was gone as soon as it arrived. The pressure was too great.
The voice spoke again.
Yet, you have chosen, as they did not…
Recognized what took me far too long:
[Enemy of The World]
She had fallen completely to the floor, Eveth realized, but everything was numbed.
For all the pain she should be feeling, there was only the presence of power.
There were times I believed myself mistaken.
That the world would crush you, like all the rest.
That I would remain here for all eternity.
A slave… servant… a fool…
Eveth saw spells morphing, shifting in the undercurrents of unimaginable depth. Casts and mysteries, explanations and impossible creations, slipping on a framework that grasped beyond her understanding.
Reaching and circling, they clung to the scales of blue, seeping in, as her consciousness began to slip away,
I have seen what lies ahead.
Peered into the future, at great cost.
What I have witnessed of the coming days…
I am sorry, little one.
Reaching and circling, the magics clung to the scales of blue, seeping in. Soaking into the tiny form of the Basilisk, like water through dry sand.
Eveth saw the earth pulsing, as those fragments still unformed, found purchase, then strength.
For all the centuries I have lived...
The evil I have brought…
I am not the one you sought.
This, I know well.
She saw the gaps filled, not with Soul, but with something else: something brighter.
Faith magic burned like a brilliant torch. Spinning and coiling, as links reformed, regrew where it had once been absent.
I grant you the gifts I have kept hidden, little one.
With help, it may be enough.
With help… only then…
Eight eyes stared down upon them, yet one by one, they began to crumble.
If there was only another way…
Yet, there is not.
The price must still be paid.
Grain by grain, fracture by fracture, the massive form and presence shattered. Dissolving in untold spirals of dust, it unleashed light and power in a storm that swept the ocean of mana into a frenzy. The current alone lifted Eveth up, pushing her aside until she rested against the wall with a weight so heavy, it held her there, pinned.
In the center of it all, the tiny Basilisk stared ahead, motionless, as the voice spoke one final time.