Journal Entry 2: The Queue of the Pilgrims

The midnight stone has disintegrated! Without the teleportation device functional, it will take me years to get back home. Where in the name of Calaval am I going to find a midnight stone to get this thing working again? I’m going to have to find a way into Cheloh…

The failure of the great distance teleportation device has resulted in me getting stuck in Lostrei, the Spiritlands. It was foolhardy for me to simply trust the device would flawlessly function as it was designed to. I threw caution to the wind like an excited seminarian. I should have known better.

Now that I’m aware that I’m in potentially hostile territory I’ve been keeping a low profile, doing my best to not interact with the Gaians. My attire makes my position as an Aeon Priest a bit conspicuous, but there’s no need for me to draw further attention to myself than necessary. I’ve taken it upon myself to surreptitiously listen in on conversations around me to see if I can pick up any information that might be helpful in navigating this situation.

My best chance of returning home is predicated on finding a midnight stone for this teleportation device, but to be honest I’m not optimistic about accomplishing that. Out here amongst the campers are the occasional hawkers of basic survival needs, none selling anything more elaborate than portable cooking devices. I may increase my odds of finding one if I can get into the city. Unfortunately that won’t be happening any time soon as the throngs of pilgrims have formed a line half a kilometer long waiting to pass through the gate. In the Steadfast I can often use my position in the Order to gain favors but in this strange land it would not be prudent for me to attempt to make any such overtures.

As this thought passes through my mind a disheveled and ripe middle aged man with exceedingly long hair leads me to the end of the line. I begin to protest but I’m being urged forward by the unkempt stranger. As he pushes me up to the tail of the line the person before me steps aside and offers me her place. The next person turns to me and does the same, and this continues with each person before me. I couldn’t believe it…  every pilgrim waiting in the queue has gestured me forward. Even the elderly and the injured, one after another. Was there some glimmer in the Datasphere, a memo I didn’t receive regarding the Gaians? Every single one of them urged me and sometimes even pushed me to the front of the line.

Believe me, I tried to inquire as to the reason, the meaning behind their insistence. “The spirit-winds say you are to be next, outlander,” was all they would say as each one nod-bowed at me and gestured me forward, one by one. As much as I felt I needed to get into the city, it was a bit unsettling to say the least.

Nonplussed, I find myself inside the walls of the city of Cheloh in relatively short order. I am met by a white robed religious figure receiving each pilgrim as they enter the city. Where this receiver inquired with each pilgrim as to what brings them to Cheloh she has simply directed me toward the absurdly large and somewhat egg shaped structure further toward the center of the city.

Two more white robed figures greet me at the humongous building, which they refer to as the Kileti-fior, or the Temple of the Wellspring. They tell me they’ve been expecting me, that the spirit-winds have made way for me. I am then escorted into the Temple, which seems impossibly larger on the inside. The interior surface of the structure shimmers with iridescent shifting colors, many of which I have never seen in my life. The figures lead me to the center of the structure where several more of these robed attendants (Veilwardens, as I was to learn they are called) stood along the edge of a vast opening, the depths of which my eyes could not begin to penetrate. I could feel intense… energy, I suppose I would say, radiating from the depths of the pit before me.

The Veilwardens welcome me to the Temple of the Wellspring and acknowledge I am a long way from home. I concur and show them the great distance teleportation device. I explain that this is the device that brought me here, the midnight stone that provides its functionality has disintegrated, and I ask if they have a means of repairing it. They reply that they will call up the spirits of the wellspring from the depths of the earth and once I receive the blessing from the spirits I will travel once again.

Relieved, I extend the device to one of the Veilwardens. They don’t seem to regard the device; instead they produce a white robe for me to don. They then escort me onto a narrow catwalk that extends over the pit and urge me to step out onto it. They assure me that no harm will come to me. Of course, I’m a bit dubious about this, especially as I look up to see a large biomechanical entity of some sort floating directly above the pit. It is a strange blue-gray thing resembling nothing I have ever witnessed, difficult to describe and equally difficult to determine whether or not it is benign. They explain that the Ustiliator, as the Veilwardens refer to it, is to facilitate the ritual they are about to perform. The entity merely floats there, and with no discernible sensory features I can’t tell if it even regards me.

Slowly, I approach the Ustiliator and I lift the teleportation device above my head, displaying it for the entity. It doesn’t seem to respond in any way. I’m about to speak out to it and state my request to have it fix the teleporter, but before I’m able to the robed priests surrounding the gargantuan pit begin singing in varying tones. The words are in a tongue completely foreign to me, the vibrations and modulations of their voices reverberate off the walls of the enormous structure, and the Ustiliator begins to blur, like it is out of phase. I can feel ancient and powerful energies welling up from the pit before me, and they engulf my body as I am gradually lifted into the air. Where I should have been completely terrified I am instead overwhelmed with an ease, a calmness, as I’m raised to the level of the large biomechanical being. The energies are moving throughout me, penetrating every fiber of my being. It is too intense… I don’t know that I can bear much more… my very life essence feels like it is ablaze… I’m seeing whiteness all around me… I… I can’t… I’m losing consciousness… I must…