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[Fanfiction February] Among The Ashes


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He walks in the ashes of nine thousand years, and despairs.


What D'ni hands have wrought remains, and yet no D'ni are there to honor it. The sound of his footfalls bouncing between the buildings is louder than he's ever heard it before, magnified a thousandfold by the lack of the other sounds of inhabitation. Once, the cavern had been full of hundreds of soft noises overlapping each other - footsteps, the brush of fabric, the murmuring of voices, stone against stone as doors opened or closed - forming a continual susurrus of sound.


Now it lies silent, absent of all motion, the only sounds the ones of his making.


He stares across the lake at Kerath's Arch, still illuminated though none have been here to change the lights, and marvels at how solid D'ni engineering is. So much of the city is undamaged and operational, even after a century of abandonment. He wonders how many lifetimes it will take before lights begin to gutter, doors begin to cease to open, the stagnation complete. He fancies that the machinery continuing to operate is the city's last struggles, in the way that a dead animal may still continue to breathe and move for some time.


He wonders if his presence is the last glimmer of consciousness the city will ever know.


- - -


He finds the city at once both familiar and utterly alien. Ae'gura is as he recalls it, even with the damage wreaked by quake, the rockfalls that block stairs or the gaping chasms that force detours. And yet the emptiness of the streets renders them unrecognizable. Now, as he looks over the abandoned ferry terminal, a vast expanse of stone punctuated by spiderwebbed breaks and rubble where once there was a bustling crowd of proud men, he understands.


D'ni without its people is a skeleton without its flesh.


- - -


May we rebuild structures...


He assesses the damage with a critical eye. The bones may be broken, but they can be rebuilt. D'ni engineering has proven superior even to the seismic stresses that shook the cavern uncounted times in the last century. Even the shattered Guild Hall, that center of D'ni supremacy, can be brought back to its glory - in time. But it will require more hands than his own, more time than his life has left to give. It will require the assistance of others in order to live again. He must find others who can restore it to life. He cannot be the only one who lived, who burns with the need to bring light back to the city and rebuild the toppled structures. He merely needs to find others, and then they can begin.


- - -


She wishes him to hear of pride, of greed, of a D'ni that overreached and fell because of its ambition and blindness. She is wrong. She is of the blood that brought them low, an impure mongrel, and yet she claims to fulfil the prophecy reserved for the savior of the people! He has longed to hear words from another person for nearly two centuries now, but now that he has found one, he makes himself deaf to her. She is not the way forward, only a reminder of the mistakes that has felled them low.


She speaks of how others will come, and through them D'ni will thrive again. Grow again. Live again.


He will not hear. Acceptance of outworlders is not the answer.


We will not make the same mistake again.

Edited by Capella
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