Maral walked aimlessly, the memory of the old Dwarf was chained to her. Her mind required her to drag the heavy burden along. This was partially because his death was so graphic but mostly because of the slime. When she had touched him, the slime that had covered his body clung to her hands. She had tried to remove it but nothing worked.
Reasonable or not, she blamed herself for the Dwarf’s death. Had she tried harder, been stronger, and wiser- she believed she could have gotten through to him.
All thoughts about finding Wisdom and the ultimate goal of the city were lost and forgotten. She didn’t eat or rest. The hunger burning in her stomach gave her mind something to process that wasn’t the memory or the guilt. It became a welcomed distraction.
On her hands the slime began to thicken and became pungent. The slime was calling to a new Despair. A small, red snake responded to the call buy cautiously approaching. It was known that this, seemingly powerless, Gnomish girl had somehow destroyed a fully-grown Despair.
Though she saw it, Maral neither paused her progress nor quickened her step. Her small Despair breathed a sigh of relief and followed. It began what it was trained to do, commiserate. When she heard the voice of Despair in her own ear, it woke her from her daze. In a moment, the fog in her mind cleared, strength and alertness returned. As with the Dwarf’s Despair she unleashed a powerful stream of flame upon this small one. It was instantly consumed.
The strange fire continued to burn. She missed the fire-dwelling days of her past. Dropping her pack, she stepped into the blaze. It welcomed and comforted her. Wearily she lay down in this safe, warm place and fell asleep. She dreamed many dreams.
The first was of a tiny seed being planted by the Unseen hand. As time never obeys the laws of logic in dreams, this seed quickly grew and spread into a massive forest. She recognized it as her homeland. It continued to grow beyond what she recognized. It grew wild and beautiful.
The next dream was Ambiguberg. It started as a small village but grew into the major metropolis from which she had just escaped. Then it began to deteriorate and crumble into an ancient ruin.
The next dream was of a newly born baby. He grew swiftly into childhood, then adulthood, followed by old age. After a satisfying life, finally he laid down and turned into dust.
Then last dream was of the unknown city which she had been hunting. This city did not have a beginning. Unlike everything else it was unchanging, consistent. It had been and always would be just what it was, marvelous. As you do in dreams, Maral understood a truth, by just knowing it. The unknown city is the Everlasting City.
She awoke refreshed, with an untroubled heart. The mental and emotional burden was gone. The slime had melted in the heat. Her focus and passion returned. It was to the Everlasting City for her and for all who would join in the hunt. It was calling; she could hear it.