Chrono Shift Chapter 3
Augur opened his eyes. The last thing that he remembered was falling, and now he was surprised to see that some kind of dirt surrounding imprisoned him. His mind ran wild trying to figure out what had happened. Slowly he thought over the past few days of his life. He remembered that he had left Enhasa. He remembered being in the snowstorm. He remembered fighting, and draining his energy. He didnt remember blacking out, or how he got here. But when he saw the old man sitting in the corner, the painful realization sank in like a bag of iron in the ocean.
The man dressed in rags, his white hair uncombed and his pale skin turned a brownish color from dirt. He looked in no way presentable. The combination of the appearance of the old man, and the dirt surroundings of his quarters allowed him to discover where he was. Augur had been told numerous stories about the Earthbound Caves, but a story never prepares you for when you truly experience something for the first time.
Good, I see that youre up. I was becoming worried. The troops left you here while they went out on some reckless exploration. There seems to be a young girl and a pretty woman here that are concerned about you.
Augur was still adjusting to his surroundings. He was taken back, partially because of the foul smell, partially because of the dirty room, and partially because an Earthbound man was actually giving him hospitality. In the midst of all this, Augur stretched his arms and asked, How long have I been out?
The man spoke without apprehension. Nearly three days, he said. And thats just from when we received you. You were probably out for longer.
Augur still remained in shock. The Earthbound were supposed to be mindless savages. This man treated him with dignity and respect, even though the Earthbounds had been discriminated against for countless millennia. Maybe he was having one of those freaky dreams again. He expected to hear strange voices at any time, but none came.
Youre probably hungry. Ill go get you something to eat. We dont have a whole lot of variety here in these caves, but I hope that you enjoy it.
Augur knew that this wasnt right. How could it be? Could more than ninety nine percent of Zeal be wrong about the Earthbounds? Was it possible that he wasnt dreaming? Augur could not believe it, but in case he was wrong, these people would be holding him here for a few days, so he decided he had better treat them well. As the man left the room, Augur spoke the first words that he had ever spoken to an Earthbound without bias. Hey, he paused for a second, and when he had the elders attention, said Can you get those two girls in here for me? Id like to see them.
Sure, that wont be a problem, the elder said.
And by the way, Augur found it difficult to force the words out of his mouth, but he did it anyway, Thanks for your help.
The old man smiled. No problem. I guess we hit a lucky streak these past few days. We found three Enlightened ones that dont hate us. If only the rest of your kind could be so accepting. I believe they would be more accommodating if they would just realize that were made of the same blood that they are.
The old man left the room. Augur, still puzzled, tried to figure out the situation. If only the old man knew what I really thought of the Earthbound. But when Im done here, will I still have the same opinion? Augur laid down to think about it, but ended up dozing off again.
The voices returned in his sleep, but Augur had become accommodated to them, and he knew they were only part of a dream. It seemed as if the voices had stopped trying to convince him that they were real. He didnt even notice much of the conversation, until one of them caught his attention.
The hour is fast approaching. Should we interfere with the fight?
We dont even know who we want to win the fight. There is no way that we should interfere.
I have my money on the kid. You all saw what he did in that battle.
Yes, but he is weak right now. He can be defeated.
Augur? The last voice was not cold and raspy like the other ones in his dreams. This one was sweet and soft. He knew instantly that it belonged to Candor, and opened his eyes. He saw her sitting on his crude bed, and standing near the door were Seraph and the elderly man.
I just left you a minute ago, and again you fell asleep? Oh, well. Here is your food. You can eat it while you catch up with your friends. Im sorry if it isnt to your liking, but as I mentioned, we dont have a lot of selection here. The elder put the bowl in Augurs hands, and then placed a crude wooden spoon on the bed. As he left, Augur again thanked the man.
Before he left, Candor asked, Sir, you have been so kind to us, and yet we dont even know your name. Can you tell us what it is?
The elder looked back. I am the leader of the Earthbounds. You may call me what you wish, but I was born with the name Ishmael.
Augur looked down at his soup. It was a strange brown mixture of a thin broth and a thicker sludge. It did not seem appetizing, but he had not eaten in nearly three days, and whether or not he was unconscious at that time, his body still used energy. Augur sipped a little. It tasted surprisingly good, it had a unique yet effective blend of whatever spices could be found in the cave. He ate slowly as he talked with the girls.
What took you so long, sleepyhead? We were both up in a few hours. Seraph stated. Ive never seen anyone sleep like you do.
I assume that we won the fight? Augur inquired. Candor nodded, and then told the story of how Seraph had downed the giant, how the men helped carry them to the cave after the battle, and how Dalton ordered the Earthbounds around as if they were his own men. Candor said that she woke up first in the cave, although Seraph did not take much longer. When Candor awoke, Dalton was debating whether to gravely misuse his hands or not, and Candor had knocked him senseless. Dalton and his men stayed the night in the cave, and seemed to enslave the Earthbound men for the time, and then they left bright and early the next morning on their mission.
Augur listened to the story as he continued to eat. He finished the entire bowl, which happened to be one of the largest soup bowls Augur had ever consumed. I suppose we should probably walk around for awhile. Theres no use in staying here for the duration of our visit. Candor and Seraph agreed. The three left the soil that made up the room. When Augur saw the outside, he was stunned. The Earthbound Caves were the most intricate underground structure anyone could have ever dreamed of. There were layers upon layers of dirt and mud both above and below him. Homes and businesses were contained within these walls, and they were quite like the room that he had slept in. A massive ravine separated the village into two sections, and on the far side there were more homes. They all had their own primitive doors installed, and some had windows carved into the muddy soil. Ropes and wooden beams and ladders stretched from one side to the other, to allow faster transportation, although it appeared to be rather dangerous. Ladders and ropes also allowed people to travel up and down the giant underground city. The population would have seemed rather large, but all of the houses were dug out early in the history of the Earthbound, and the number of inhabitants since then has declined dramatically.
Also along certain walls were series of tunnels. These could have been used for a number of different purposes. Augur supposed they could hold food or water reserves, although by the looks of it, if there was ever a surplus, the Earthbound had used it up long ago. Plants were growing out of the walls and the ground. Many were very small, although there were some larger ones in the distance. These, and the rodents that crawled the floors, would be the predominant food source. Augur had seen plants growing naturally on the floating island of Zeal, but none were really impressive. The green innates that were left were usually gardeners or nature caretakers of some sort. Some of the plants in the caves were giants, but like the rest of the things in the Earthbound Cave, many of them were nearly deceased. The smell of death hung all around them.
Get away from me!!! The statement startled the group, and they turned to see a young girl with a dirty blondish hair color. She appeared to be older than Seraph, but not by much, and she huddled on the ground, as if to protect herself. The look on her stomach showed that she was severely starved, and Augur now felt guilty about selfishly devouring his food. He looked into the eyes of the little girl. He saw a great sadness behind overwhelming fear. Tears were now streaming down her face. Again she shouted, Leave, I dont want to be around you, you, monsters! Augur was again stunned. Could the Earthbound think of the Enlightened as savages, just as the Enlightened believed that the cave dwellers were unreasonable beasts? Looking at himself now, he realized that Candor was right about them. Just because they were not born with magic, they had been forced to live in this unbearable hell. They were beaten and oppressed for their entire lives, and forced to do the lowest jobs that the Enlightened would not dare do. Augur now knew who the true animals were, and he had been part of the bigotry. Disgusted by his own prejudice, and he looked away in pain and remorse, unable to comfort the little girl.
As they continued around the cave, they saw many similar sights, and each time they hurt a little more. Groups of them were swearing at him, hiding when they saw his clothes, and shivering with fear. This was the most terrible and hideous place he had ever seen. The Enlightened ones had bred the Earthbounds to live without hope, down in this godforsaken world.
Eventually they came to a large passage that turned out to be one of the tunnels Augur had seen from the other side. He walked down through it, and after about fifty feet, he saw that the tunnel had contained not food or water, but bones. Dead bodies of the Earthbound were being laid here, and many still had clothes and skin on the carcasses. A skull stuck out from under layers of skin over the corpse. The hollow eye sockets seemed to be staring at him, asking for pity. From within the pit came the scent of rotting flesh, and flies buzzed uncontrollably around the dead bodies. Augur turned to leave, and he saw an old man carrying a girl. She couldnt make it was all that he said. When Augur looked at the dirty blonde hair, he recognized the girl as the one who had screamed at him outside of his room no more than fifteen minutes ago.
Everything that he saw was hard to tolerate. Seraph or Candor would talk to him from time to time, but Augur had sunken himself so deep in his own thoughts that he did not even pay attention to them. He was too compelled by the constant spitting and profanities directed at him. The chief offered him more food, but instead of accepting it, he made sure that some young and sick child would receive it. Augur had lost his appetite, and he wished to leave the Earthbound Village. He could not envision a more desolate, hopeless, godless place.
Because the cave lay deep underground, the only light came from fires, and they, too, had to struggle to stay alive. Augur found it impossible to distinguish between day and night. Wind did not enter the cave, but the bitterly cold air still flowed freely inside. Augurs spirit had basically broken since he began his adventure around the vast caverns. He wandered aimlessly through the passageways, until at some point he discovered that he had lost Candor and Seraph, but that did not matter. He searched for some sign of hope for these people.
While wandering, he came into another passage, which came across as different, but he could not detect the reason. A faded sign pointing in, and a small boy that he did not see sat up and looked at him, who did not seem to care that Augur had on Enlightened clothes. He just spoke softly, Beyond this cave lies the Mountain of Woe. No one has ever returned that has climbed the Mountain of Woe. Id be real careful, Mr. Augur thanked him for the advice, but entered anyway.
Augur had heard of the Mountain of Woe, but he thought that it was only a myth. The Mountain of Woe had been the first attempt to build a city in the sky, but it failed miserably. Everyone on it died for some reason, likely a crucial oversight or blunder by the pioneers. Rumor says that it still floated, but the young boy said that he could climb it. Augur kept walking, but he never made it to the mountain. A voice sounded from the shadows that hid in the cave to break the long silence of his thoughts, So, this is the mighty Augur. I was expecting a little more from the destroyer of the world.
The room brightened as flames shot out of the corners of the room. A combustible had been light, and after a few moments, the fires lit the room like the sun did to the Kingdom of Zeal. Both Augur and the figure that the voice had come from cast long shadows across the distance of the cavern. Augur stared at the figure, which was obviously male. The man had several mechanisms on his body, including over an eye and on areas of the legs and torso. One of these mechanisms completely replaced his right arm, and a tube structure came out of where the hand should have been. Augur had seen these metallic type structures in Zeal. They were called machines, but the ones in Enhasa were quite a bit more primitive than the one this man revealed on his body. Besides the machines, the man had several other distinguishing features. He had medium length brown hair, and stood quite a bit taller than Auger. This man also outweighed him by a good hundred pounds, and not because of fat, but because this was one of the strongest men that he had ever seen. He looked as if he could bend hard steel with his naked hands. The man had a long black scar that ran from his cheek to the bottom of his neck, and stood with a stern and fierce glare on his face, highlighted by the blemish. The mans sudden appearance in the cave confused Augur, and he did not know why this man seemed so interested in him. ! How do you know who I am? he questioned.
I suppose at this stage in your life you have absolutely no idea what Im talking about, and for that reason I am sorry for what will occur here today. But first, let me tell you my story. Will you listen to me? Augur nodded at his request. Thank you, the man responded. My name is he trailed off. Call me Gunner. I come from a distant future. I was severely injured in a powerful explosion in my time, which would explain my mechanical arm and other parts of my body. I still wished to continue my work with the military, so I participated in an experiment to make myself a living weapon. Where my hand should be I had this large gun installed.
This gun thing puzzled Augur. He did not understand it or how it functioned. Gunner saw this and gave him a demonstrated. A mysterious green-yellow stream shot out of the barrel at a high speed, and dug a smoking crater into the wall behind him. The power impressed Augur; he had never seen anything like that performed with a green magic before. He didnt think that green energy could cause an effect similar to the one he had just seen.
Anyway, Gunner continued, One day I was on a ship that was ready to leave for the ocean, and I saw a radiant white illumination miles off the coast. I used my mechanical eye to zoom in on the phenomenon, and what I saw both terrified and fascinated me. The light grew bigger, and it seemed to be swallowing up the water at an incredible rate. I informed the captains, and none of them could figure out the anything about the glimmering object. We only knew that if the explosion continued to engulf everything in its path, we had little time before we would be swallowed up as well. We called base and asked them to identify the occurrence, and they told us that they would notify us when they had information. Being of typical military intelligence, we never heard from the base again, because less than a minute later, the surge hit us.
I expected to be killed without delay, but instead, what I experienced was far beyond the comprehension my intellectual capacities. I felt weightless, like I was floating, and my whole body tingled. I saw many vibrant colors swirling around one another, and it seemed to be a strange hallucination. I emerged from the bizarre tunnel, and landed on ground. What I perceived of the world around me startled me, being so unfamiliar. This foreign land was nothing but ruins. Large buildings had tumbled, rubble sat everywhere, and the sky was a dreary, dark gray. Storms swirled around my head. It was the most desolate place I could envision, even worse than this inhabitable cave these people, I believe you call them Earthbounds, are forced to live in. It was as if the whole planet had died.
As any human would do in alien territory, I searched for a way back home. I tried to see what nation this might be. Nothing in all of my life, or my teachings, or my knowledge, could have readied me for what I would discover when reading through a geography book. This land had the exact same name as the land I lived in. I was literally in the same city that I had spent the last two years of my life in, and I never knew of any districts being even remotely close to this. Reading through more books, I determined that the outlandishly remarkable passage I had traveled through was actually a time gate. I had landed in the past, at least for me. For you it was still in the distant future.
Augur continued to listen to the story. It was quite compelling, although he did not understand all of it. This last part about time travel seemed impossible, but the guru Gasper had many times attempted to explore the possibilities of time travel, with minimal success. Still, it seemed that the Guru of Time knew something about it that no one else did. Augur continued to listen to Gunners account.
I could not find anything that would tell me how this had happened, until I made my way into the dungeon of some eerie castle. There were ancient history books standing on dusty shelves covered in cobwebs. It seemed radical to check books wrote hundreds of years ago, but I had searched everywhere else. These books made many references to historical events that never took place, because they could not take place. They were simply so illogical, they were not feasible. But continuing to search them, I found that they did seem correct about many things, including what is experienced when one crosses the plain into the fourth dimension.
Huh!? Augur wondered out loud.
Sorry. Time travel. The fourth dimension involves time, or rather, is our world with the addition of time variations factored in. This was in the books as well. One book provided me with all of the information that I needed. It said that a bizarre time wave occurred in the year 12,000 BC.
Thats ten years from now.
Yes, Augur, and you were the one that caused it. The wave transcended time, and uncontrollably caused irreversible damage throughout every moment of time after that.
But what did I do?
You probably have no idea about it now, but you grew into a power-starved beast in your future. There was an overwhelmingly powerful artifact hidden in a gargantuan citadel at the bottom of the ocean. When you obtained it, you did not understand the power it held, or how to use it. You eradicated the earth with your silly quest for power.
But I am not a greedy person. I have no need or wish to have that much power.
Someday you might, Augur. No one can predict the future unless they have seen it. I have seen it, and I have taken upon myself the task of correcting it. I searched for several years trying to find another gate, and when I did I ended up in this time. I received word from a common girl of your whereabouts, and I followed you here. She told me that you would be the only male at this place that would be dressed like her.
Who was she? Augur asked.
I believe her name was Astra. She worked at an inn at a station known as Port Dalton thats used as the departure point of many of the missions in your country, or kingdom, as you call it. Im sure you know of it, since she said that you visited there.
So how do you plan to correct the future, Gunner? I dont want to see the world end.
Gunner raised his eyebrow. Does this mean you plan to sacrifice yourself?
Augur was caught off guard. What do you mean? he inquired.
It would be so much more helpful to me if you would decide to be a martyr. How would you like to save the world by forfeiting your life? You would be hailed as a hero for the rest of time. It would save us both a lot of trouble.
Augur became enraged. Are you seriously asking me to let you kill me just based on some lunatic story that you told me? Theres no way!! This is unbelievable. You have got to be the most crazy, idiotic, imbecile that I have ever met!
Gunner frowned. You just made your death much harder. Dont you see that killing you is the only way that I can resurrect the future? I am sorry, and Im not ecstatic about it either, but sometimes a man must surrender to save millions of others. This is the case here. This is your last chance, boy! Will you let me slay you mercifully, or do I have to execute you in violent combat?
Augur drew his half-swords and pointed them at Gunner, challenging him. You cant just falsely accuse someone of something as ludicrous as that and expect them to believe you. If you wish to fight me, then so be it. There is no way that I will just lay down my life to be taken! And by the way, its never a good idea to underestimate your opponent, because I am not going to die today!
Gunner stared at him. Fate may be against me this day, but I will fight valiantly to the bitter end. If you truly believe what you are saying, that you are not the guilty party, then fight me with all of your strength, all of your mind, and all of your heart. That is the only way that you will emerge victorious over me, because I can guarantee that I will do the same. I wish you the best of luck, Augur, but history doesnt lie, and all the facts point to you.
So this is it, then. Augur did not like where this conversation had gone, but he saw no way to avoid conflict now. I can assure you that I am not the annihilator of this planet, and I will kill you if that is the only way that I can prove that to you.
Then it is settled. If I am not mistaken, Augur, and what I speak is true, then the winner will determine the future of this world, and the loser will die today, writhing in his own cold blood! Taking this latest exchange as a threat, Augur charged at Gunner.
Gunner was more than ready for the first attack, and he quickly jumped sideways to evade the rapiers. After rolling on the ground, he fired a shot from his gun, which missed Augur over his right shoulder. The gunfire dug another hole into the wall. Augur charged up some magic, and then pointed at Gunner. A bolt of electricity shattered its way into Gunners arm, and the wiring of the electronics in it caused a malfunction. His weapon became useless, and many of the other circuits on his body were frying. He responded by running at Augur and tackling him. Gunner punched Augur hard in the face with his metal hand, and the sickening cracking and shattering of the bones in the nose filled the room. He aimed to punch again, but Augur caught him with a burst of fire in his face, forcing him off. Augur wiped the densely flowing blood from his mouth, and then threw a sword at Gunner.
When Gunner saw the sword, he reacted and caught it in mid air. He scurried forward and slashed at his opponent. Augur blocked the swing, and then jumped to the side and swung at Gunners midsection. Gunner could not get the shortened sword over in time, but a block with his half-functional machine arm did just as well. Gunners next attack hit Augur, but with the blunt side of the rapier. He fell to the ground, and then rolled backward and immediately sprung back up to his feet. Augur released a weak ice spike at his enemy. Gunner leapt out of the way, and the spike shattered into pieces when it hit the far dirt wall. Gunner did not see the next attack coming, as Augur used what little green magic he could muster to blast him with a wind spell. The current of air knocked Gunner off his feet, and he landed hard on his back. The area of ground where he came to a stop was rather hard and rocky, and the jagged edges scraped the hell out of his backside, where red gashes were now forming. Gunner stood up, only to be hit with the hilt of a half-sword on his head, again sending him backward onto the rocks. Augur then found the second rapier, which Gunner had dropped, and he recovered possession of it without hesitation.
Gunner was on the offensive again as he picked up a rock and chucked it at Augur, who deflected it with his blades. Gunner then aimed carefully using his synthetic eye, which still worked, and shot a laser at Augur. The beam hit him square in the chest, and he fell to the soil rapidly. Augur felt like his heart was going to explode from the pain that filled him, and the sting traveled throughout his nervous system until every part of his body had suffered the tingle of the laser. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Gunner press something on a strange round ball, and he threw it at Augur. He moved, but not far enough, and the ensuing fiery discharge blew Augur forward, all the way past Gunner. The detonation made the cave rumble, but no damage had been done to the structure of it.
Augur knew that he was hurt pretty badly, but he wasnt dead yet, he wasnt even close. He laid still to make Gunner believe that he had succeeded in eliminating him, or at least rendered him temporarily immobile. A combination of the deep throbbing throughout his body and the rage that he was now feeling towards this man caused the surge of brutal energy to burn deeper into his soul. Gunner surely thought he had won the fight, and now stood over him in glorious victory, preparing to make a strike that would assure that Augur was dead.
Gunner was naturally shocked to see the force spew from the wounded Augur. A blackish pillar engulfed the larger of the men, and literally attempted to rip his soul out of his body. The gloomy vivacity caused the room to darken immensely, as a strange vortex of sounds covered up the agonizing screams. The pillar soon died down, and reshaped itself in the figure of shady black flames. Every part of Gunners body ached, but the assault was not over yet. While still being burnt by the darkness, jolts of electricity from various places around the room all collided into Gunners body. The voltage caused him to convulse viciously, and what was remaining of his circuits were now destroyed. Small electrical fires were starting in his arm and areas of his legs and chest.
As suddenly as the attack had begun, it was over. Gunners body shuddered with a pain that he had never felt before, and the parts of his body that could move were moving involuntarily. How could this boy be so powerful? The ancient books that he had read made mention of magic in this faraway land, but he never truly believed in it. This kid had grown stronger ever since the battle had begun. A mere child of seventeen years had beaten him with a force that was only used in legends. Gunner was sure that the fight was over, and he had lost.
Then Gunner saw visions of his homeland. He saw his family back home, before they had all died. He saw the beauty of the rivers and lakes stretching across the horizon. He saw the flag that he had served so selflessly for, and he remembered why he was here. Gunner knew that he had to exterminate this pest, or the earth would meet its demise. With the renewed purpose in him, he forced himself to his feet.
The spell had also taken its effect on Augur. He was sure that this man would be dead, but he still moved. Augur wasted so much of his stamina on that last attack that he couldnt remove himself from the ground. He watched as Gunner carefully strode towards him, a glint of determination in his eyes. Gunner pulled out a long pocketknife, and was going to try to kill Augur in the most primitive of ways. Augur fumbled around and found the gift that his mother had once given to him. Holding the elixir in his hand, he opened the case and drank the soothing liquid.
The elixir would replenish his strength temporarily, but would wear him down even more if the battle continued for too much longer. The effect was similar to caffeine, which could keep you awake for a few more minutes, but ultimately made you sleepier than you were before. Augur used his burst in strength to stabilize himself on one knee. Gunner swiped with the pocketknife at precisely the same moment, and Augur ducked under the slash. He found one of the rapiers on the ground near him, and swiftly stabbed at Gunner.
The blade entered the leg halfway between the kneecap and the thigh, but on the outside of the appendage. It disconnected from the flesh as soon as Gunner winced. A large cut about an inch deep was created, and the blood oozed out of the crevice quickly. Rough, detached ends of tissue were sticking outward, and the tender pink skin was turning white from the rapid blood loss. Gunner collapsed on the leg, causing the blood to squirt several inches out of the abrasion onto the soil below. Augur then used a small wind spell to send Gunner to his back.
Augur rose completely and moved until he loomed over Gunner. Looking in his one good eye, Augur could detect no emotion in Gunner. There was neither fear nor acceptance. Instead he remained somber as Augur raised the blade over his head, and prepared to plunge the deadly edge deep into the fallen mans chest. He looked at Gunner and proclaimed, Its over for you, Gunner. You marched into this fight confident of victory, and I defeated you. You were a good fighter, and for that reason I am sorry that I must do this. Before I kill you, do you have any last words?
Yeah, why dont you write me a letter, so you can tell me what Hell is like! Gunner hacked upward with knife, and carved a deep ravine journeying from the lower region of the abdomen up through the stomach, continuing to the heart, and ending its trip at the top of the ribcage that he had cut between. Augur grew wide-eyed and tired, but he did not feel the pain from the blow. He tried to cast a healing spell on himself, but his powers failed him. His entire chest was now being smeared with blood, and the damaged heart managed to keep beating, which made the blood seep through the slit and form a warm pool of crimson on the dirt. Augur reached to his sternum, as if he thought he could stop the bleeding, and felt a small course rib protruding from the wound. Augur noticed that his vision blurred, but he managed to make out Gunner moving in slow motion, about to strike again. This cut ran from the side of his shoulder, up through the side of the neck, to the top of the left cheek on his face. Augur bled inward, and the warm liquid ran down his esophagus and trachea, ending up in his now exposed stomach and in the lungs. He started to choke on his own blood, and when he tried to cough, he vomited it in large quantities. Augur fell to his hands and knees, and a third knife slash created a gash all the way down his back, parallel to his spine. Whatever pieces of his clothes were still intact were a dark red by now, sopping with the thick liquid, but Augur still could not feel any pain. The last thing that he did feel was a cold prickling that covered his whole body, causing him to feel lightheaded and disconnected. Every cell in his body was separating itself from some unknown object, something that had always been a part of him, but had never been felt before. In his dying moments, Augur saw familiar images flash behind his eyes, experiencing a hallowed state of nirvana and serenity with the world around him.
Seconds later, his newfound reverie shattered, ruining his glorious visions and leaving him encased by nothingness in the unfathomable vacuums of the unknown.
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