They all got used to Roz’ new and adapted self, though she kept clicking her teeth quietly on all the dental sounds of the Truth as though something weren’t put together quite right – which certainly it wasn’t.
Out in the Pit, the machines down below were winding up or winding down, a soft glow glowing down there. Up above, there was something small across the mouth of the Pit, but it was impossible to make out from such a distance.
Roz took some time to groom herself with her knives of the remnants of the life-giving gloop – which had now laid down with its machine and died.
She wrapped herself in the now-barely-covering cerements and robes. The fingers of her hair writhed in their confinement and then stretched down her back like guardians.
They went back through the Transmat after some time.
The scene had changed. The hallways were crumbling slowly, and someone had left chunks of glowing stone down the hall and into the Transept.
Shadows moved through the walls, sometimes turning as though the person throwing the shadow was twisting to avoid one of the party members.
Powers and Perceptions showed they were real, but slightly separated. Hurried, confused, harried, emergent. They were going somewhere. Roz suggested an evacuation.
In the transept, a dark force field shielded the hallway toward what was the Mainframe and the Chapel.
Out in the Pit, they could see through a force field there brilliant lights burning beyond the force wall like arc welding.
Hasver contacted the Devotee’s mentation. When asked, she explained that the shadows were some kind of descendent-culture from the old Erulian stock who had chosen a different non-physicality. Their race had been sealed up inside some structure within the Pit and had ruptured in the explosion.
The Erulians were accepting the refugees into their ship. The Tech assured Her/It that they had more than sufficient storage for the Shadows.
Are you ready? She/It asked.
They were ready.
In a brilliant blaze of light, the Erulian ship emerged from the force screen. A multihedron pointed by fractal diadems of impossible beauty took shape within the conformities of the Pit. A gentle but insistent white light stroked out from the brilliance at the base of the Ship and took them up.
They rose within the pit, lights dancing out to show the diminishing damage to its edges as they soared.
Closer to the surface, the lights narrowed into beams pointing up and severed something hanging across the pit. Moments later, as if in slow motion, a huge sheet tethered to cables seemed to float by them. Painted on it with visible hand-marks was the word that was common to many languages constellated around the Truth. It read:
They burst into the clean blue-white air and the ship expanded and settled. There were signs of battle and destruction on the stairway leading down into the Pit.
A single tent flapped nearby in the cool wind through the ruins of the towers.
The light set them down on the sand. POP The Tech was with them, as was a small sarcophagus.
It/He wished them well, and blessed them on their journeys; thanked them for the intriguing experiences.
Inside the small sarcophagus, they found the beautiful, delicate adamantine structure of Starloscet’s crown. Examining it closely, they found nothing of the Numenera about it except perhaps in its craftsmaship.
Leaning against the central tine of its structure, they found that the Tech had left them the Impossible Blade.
Out from the tent came Frund. Seeing him was seeing their own past, knowing on a deep level that they had finally emerged from Aurturi’s Underworld.
The refugees they had found and taken with them in that darkness had been ferried here by the Erulians’ transmat, and had headed for BarrowTown.
After the multiple battles, and after even Avinda had failed to save Frund’s life, Avinda and Ariadoca had spent time together. Then Frund had come back to life. After some discussion, Ariadoca left a small message sphere with a recording of her for them… and then onto the back of the Toxodon, and off….
Ariadoca’s message was holological. It was sweet and grateful and looking toward a bright future. Ironically, for her, it was time to go back to Uxphon. She saluted them with a flip of her trimmed hair. As the image descended to immobility, a long knife was clearly visible at her hip, and a bruise on her cheek.
They spoke of their changes. Takir spoke of how little of life he had seen, but how old he felt. They set off.
Back in Barrowtown, they met with Seniya, and normalcy set as she literally jumped up and down and clapped for them in delight.
She oohed and awed at their story, gasping and holding her hands in front of her face at all the right moments to make them all feel … human again.
They had ice cream and rice, and spiced weed. They drank rice wine (except for Roz who was having problems drinking anyway).
Eventually, Seniya apologized for taking something into her own hands, and asked if they would kindly accompany her.
She led them into a long passage inside the great pyramid structure behind BarrowTown, or upon which BarrowTown was a barnacle. Eventually, inside a great room, she perched daintily on a clean bench. There were machines down below a grating. Empty space and walkways above. There was a massive structure like a vast pneumatic tube running up and down through the center of the room.
Seniya snapped open her neat purse and pulled out small wrapped packages. “Candy?” she asked, and by way of explaining, “It can take a few minutes.”
Curious, and for the first time in a long time, unafraid, they settled down beside her and rested there in that dim room with the distant sound of air moving.
Indeed after a minute, something brown and flapping sped by at hundreds of miles an hour, falling.
“Wha-!?” asked Takir, standing.
“I understand. It sometimes needs several viewings,” said Seniya, quietly bringing out another set of candies.
9 and one half minutes later, Burris Han fell by again.
“I do not know from where he gets the strength to keep screaming,” Seniya said in a quiet, happy voice.
They sat there for several more 9 and one half minutes. Roz held out the skull-imprinted message ball. She may have pressed record.