(1/7) The world was in chaos, and demons roam the lands. Humanity was scattered into tribes, living in fear and doing all they can to survive another day.
(2/7) Three months ago, one such tribe was slaughtered by the demons. There were only two survivors.
(3/7) The scavenger was resourceful and ensured their continued survival. But the bard's tales; the classics as well as the originals; provided a reason to go on.
(4/7) Saku and Emma-Lie. They were alone amongst the ruins of their once-lively home, but they were content.
(5/7) One day, a girl wandered into the ruins, injured and delirious. She claimed to be the Keystone; the one prophesied to restore peace to the world.
(6/7) Saku was skeptical, but Emma-Lie could not pass a chance to live in a world where her stories can be heard by many and bring joy to people's lives.
(7/7) Thus they agreed to escort Dolores to Andonia Mountain, where she will fulfil her destiny - if what she said was true.
(1/10) the stench of bloodwart fills the air. the trio had not eaten for days, but their appetites raise no protest.
(2/10) nonetheless, they must eat. they are losing strength, and when they were attacked by demons, they could not fend them off.
(3/10) the very next moment, their adversaries were filled with bolts and arrows. 'eurydice' and 'mercury', their saviours introduced themselves.
(4/10) the pair invited the trio into their abode, and shared a meal. in turn, emma-lie shared a story; her newest work.
(5/10) it was a tale of a lawman searching for the truth behind a string of violent murders. The culprit was a vampire.
(6/10) Caught with bloodwart in his possession, he indulged his taste for blood until bloodwart could no longer satisfy him.
(7/10) by the end, eurydice was in tears. to give her space, mercury offered to show the visitors to their basement.
(8/10) as the trio entered the basement, the door slammed behind them. before they could protest, mercury's voice addressed them from the other side of the door.
(9/10) 'my partner consumes bloodwart. she never harmed anyone, nor do her cravings grow. but you believe she is a danger, hence you are a danger to us.'
(10/10) 'the door in the far back leads to an underground cave. Leave, and never return.'
(1/13) the occasional cluster of firebugs dot the path ahead, before skittering away.
(2/13) however, the trail they followed was the hearty aroma of warm soup wafting through the air.
(3/13) it leads to a lone woman sits beside a large obsidian chest, enjoying her meal.
(4/13) she reaches for a halberd, but tension leaves her as she sees the group is in no shape to fight
(5/13) 'if you seek nourishment, consult the black box. serve it with faith and it will provide.'
(6/13) thus for the next few days, the trio followed alana's advice, living off the black box's providence, recuperating their strength.
(7/13) one day, the black box instructed saku to stomp a cake into the ground, then throw it into a nearby river
(8/13) 'what is the purpose of this?' saku frowned. such good food, better than anything the black box provided for them, only to be destroyed.
(9/13) 'we've not had cake for so long. this would give us sufficient nourishment for days. perhaps it's time for us to resume our journey.'
(10/13) and so the trio continued the journey. despite conserving their supplies, they've been eating better than they have in a long time.
(11/13) as they approached an exit, an angry voice shouted after them. alana charged in their direction with inhuman speed, halberd raised.
(12/13) 'you ... it was you! you were the ones who angered the black box. you are the reason it no longer provides!'
(13/13) her anger shook the earth. rocks tumbled down, covering the light at the end of the cave leading out into the world.
(1/9) 'welcome to heaven'. a figure reached down to them, surrounded by light. saku and emma-lie sat themselves up unsteadily.
(2/9) 'joe-seth', the figure introduced himself. he smiled warmly at dolores, prompting their gaze to shift to her tear-stained face.
(3/9) happy tears? sad tears? in either case, for just that moment, a burden seemed to have lifted from her shoulders.
(4/9) and so the blissful days of eternity began. surrounded by long lost family and new friends alike; the warmth of a community.
(5/9) it struck him as odd then, when saku saw dolores kneeling on the ground, laboriously digging down into the clouds with her bare hands
(6/9) 'i'm looking for a way out.' she uttered. 'i have a world to save.'
(7/9) joe-seth and emma-lie caught up to them. 'there is no way out,' explained emma-lie. 'we are dead.'
(8/9) 'we are not dead.' something incomprehensible was reflected in dolores' eyes. 'if i were dead, i would be in hell.'
(9/9) a sinister light shone through the opening in the clouds she had created. without hesitation, she lept.
(1/8) a sharp pain shot through saku's skull. he was covered in rudimentary bandages and ointments, same as emma-lie. dolores was nowhere to be seen.
(2/8) he check emma-lie for signs of life, which were fortunately present - specifically, the sign of speech. 'what do we do now?' she mumbled lazily.
(3/8) 'first, we rest. however ...' saku's gaze followed the trail of footsteps leading to a great volcano in the distance '... it seemes we've arrived.'
(4/8) the air thickened with dust and smog. as they ascended to the top of the mountain, a terrible sight lay in front of them.
(5/8) sticks and stones. sigils, painted in blood. in the center of it all, dolores herself, knife in hand, body marked with meaningful patterns.
(6/8) 'you made it ...!' her voice was weak, but her eyes were wild. she attempted a grandiose gesture; the result was more akin to a sad stumble.
(7/8) 'it fills my heart with joy for you to bear witness to my gift. may your lives be long and fulfilling in the world reborn ...!'
(8/8) 'stop this madness!' they rushed over to dolores as she approached the edge of the volcano, but could not stop her from leaping into the fires below.
(1/1) The world was in chaos, and demons roam the lands. Atop a great mountain, an elderly pair tended to the grave of their lost friend.