Desolation. The scenery, a snowy tundra, begins blurring into an expansive desert. I begin to feel the change in temperature. I look around for any landmarks or signs of life. Nothing. The barren land is just that. Barren. I attempt taking a step forward but nothing. I try harder. A staggering headache stifles me.
Something burrows out of the sand. An old elf wearing sand covered rags climbs up with metal trinkets. He waves for me to come help him. Before I could even react I start rushing over towards the hole. Two patchwork bags rest at the bottom. I grab them and hurry to the elf.
“The ancient tower still holds many secrets. But I couldn’t get further. Its ancient guards are too much for anyone. I found these while they chased some other robbers. Those old constructs keep modifying themselves. Technology we can’t even imagine. At least with the scraps I grabbed we can trade for some rations. By the way, did you see any military caravans passing by?” He asks as if we knew each other.
“No. Only wind and more sand.” I answer without a thought. The experience gets weirder and weirder. Neither can I move nor can I speak. Something else controls me. Is this a memory? Or something else?
“I see. In that case we better go to the fence to trade in the scraps. These lands have become a lot more hostile than in decades past. I remember when I first came here. The military never came here, the Unbounded didn’t exist, and the other exiles weren’t so animalistic. It’s a scary place. And the tower had far less security measures.”
“I still have never seen the tower. Is it really that bad?”
“Let’s just say I hope you never do. Most people can’t survive even a few seconds down there. They, the guardians, run on some infinite source of energy from centuries past. And they continue the orders they were given. Excavate, learn, evolve, protect. They repeat those words endlessly. I wonder why such machines exist at all. Why is the tower so important?”
“Maybe the humans back discovered a way to tap into the world tree?”
“Well, if they did that explains why their civilization fell. That tree, although called holy by the rest of the elves, only brings the end. I was exiled for trying to burn the tree down. And why were you?”
“I saw something that the others were afraid of while I was a Priestess of Time.”
“huh? Something bad enough to make you join up with a terrorist like me? Interesting. I won’t ask you anymore until you’re ready.”
“I might never be. . .”