“Listen, it is the best way to discover a lie.” (Dichos 3:3)
The room was antiseptic.
The walls glowed a faint bluish hue. They had entered one of the glass buildings. They resembled the walls of the tunnels into which Adorjan and Joæn had passed through from the floodgates when they entered Annwn. The creatures repeated the word enough. They had discovered where they were. It had a name, Annwn. Joæn knew the meaning it came from old stories. A forgotten race. A myth. A place beyond humanity. A place of peace and pleasure. Annwn. The creatures had chosen an interesting name.
Taav laid on a stainless-steel table. A thin sheet held up by a single cylindrical metal tube balancing the entire thing. Opposite to the entrance the wall was a single sheet of glass from the floor to the roof. The world outside was occasional blurred by misty clouds. Joæn peered through the glass wall and took in the magnitude of the fortress. They were high in the clouds but by no means were they in the only building that reached into the rolling masses of puffy white clouds. At a great distance and at every direction, Joæn could see there were similar monoliths rising from the beachy landscape far below.
Adorjan stood by Taav.
The door opened and Monster walked into the room. A wide gash on his shoulder revealed red blood. In his left hand, he held a metal oval like the one that they had put over Taav. As he made his way to Taav, Monster paced the oval on his wound and it spread over the wound.
“How is he?” Monster asked.
Adorjan moved to allow Monster a full view of Taav. “I don’t know. Two of your people have come and gone and said nothing.”
“Show me his vitals,” Monster said to no one in particular.
The wall behind Adorjan lit up and several markers, all doing different things, appeared.
Adorjan looked at the wall. The images appeared to float off of the wall at the waist level in holographic images that, at first, flickered lightly and then solidified into the appearance of solid three-dimensional images. Monster studied the charts and graphs. Joæn looked at the images for a moment and returned her gaze outside.
Joæn asked, “what is it? Does it say how he is doing?”
Monster shook his head unconsciously, “not well.”
“What is wrong with him specifically,” Adorjan asked.
“He suffered extreme trauma to his major organs. His kidneys and livers are being repaired. His lungs collapsed. The flow of oxygen to the brain was restricted for several minutes.”
Joæn interrupted Monster still gazing at the white cloud that was blocking her view, “will he live?”
“Done,” The images on the walls collapsed back onto the wall, “He is being kept alive artificially, currently. His heart failed during the reconstruction of his kidneys. I do not think Taav Iron will survive.”
Joæn turned away from the mist. “This place, Annwn, right?”
“What is it?”
Monster looked at the body for a moment still dressed in the muddied and tattered clothes in which he had fled from the Black Copper.
“Scalpel and cleaning kit,” Monster said aloud once more to no one in particular. From the thin bed, a drawer popped open. Monster grabbed the scalpel and began to rip Taav’s clothes from his body. The clothes came off revealing a well-toned physique covered by a light layer of patchy gray and white hair. Once the clothes were removed, Monster took the oval that had appeared in the drawer next to the scalpel and placed it on Taav’s belly. The metal oval shifted immediately and stretched over his body. It moved about it like a quicksilver gel leaving behind a clean and oiled body instead of a bloody and dirty one. When his body was completely cleaned it settled over his loins and solidified in a sort of undergarment.
Monster looked towards Joæn, “yes. Annwn. It is our sanctuary.”
Adorjan looked at Taav’s clean body and realized that his friend would not survive. He looked up at Monster and said, “it is time for Taav to rest. Let his body go to the Four in peace. Above in the Orbs, he will rest.”
Monster’s eyes gleamed for a moment, “those words used to be true a long, long, time ago but your people and our people have not had that opportunity since the Four withdrew from the Earth.”
Adorjan shook his head, “it is an expression. Let him return from where he came.”
Monster nodded in acknowledgment, “there are many things that are true and many that are not in those sacred writings of yours. However, I understand.”
“Can I be alone with him for a moment?” Adorjan asked placing his hand on Taav’s chest.
“We do not have much time before the trial. I will step outside. When we leave, the trail — ” A red light began to glow on the wall where the stats had appeared before. Monster did not finish his thought. He turned towards the door, “Joæn Parrk, will you come with me.”
Joæn nodded and followed Monster leaving Adorjan alone with Taav.
Outside room Monster led Joæn down a hallway with the same glowing bluish walls. The hallway gradually divided and spiraled downward in both directions.
Joæn asked again, “Annwn, what is it?”
Monster waved for Joæn to follow him towards the right tunnel and after a few steps, the outline of a door appeared in dark blue colors across the hallway. Monster ordered the door opened and they entered. The room was white and bathed in cold white light.
“On,” Monster said. The walls in the room flitted and the room began to glow bluish. “Show us the first inhabitants of Annwn.”
The walls flickered to life. Across the room, men and women like Joæn but taller, much taller, walked from one end to the other end of a dark cavern. They were busy in preparation for something. They hauled raw materials, ropes, cables in floating mechanism. They created light from small circular cylinders. Joæn was flabbergasted. She didn’t understand what she was seeing. The room expanded leaving Joæn and Monster floating. Joæn grabbed on to Monster.
“Steady. You are not moving.” Joæn looked around her as the people become small and the ground fell further away from her. They were near the roof of the cavern. Without warning a bright light flooded the cavern near where they floated/stood.
“This is The Lighting and those people there,” Monster waved his hand below him, “they were our ancestors. End” The room returned to its bluish hue in a fast dizzying effect.
Joæn stood still, her eyes glued to the ground. “This place, this Annwn, is full of the technologies that our people whisper about. The ones that didn’t make it to the sacred writings. The ones we rejected.”
“Yes. That is a logical conclusion.”
“Ancestors,” Joæn tasted the word in her mouth, “how could those humans be your ancestors?” She looked up suddenly at Monster studying him with her eyes, “you — the mercreatures — were human?”
Monster shook his head, “are.”
Joæn looked incredulous, “but you cannot be. Look at you.”
“We have modified our bodies. We have adapted to our environment. We have learned to live in this world of water and darkness. And, frankly, in any world. We embraced what your ancestors rejected and we have survived as you have survived — but all that matters little now. The differences matter less than our connection. Your people and my people we face destruction.”
“What kind of destruction?”
“What you call the Four, they are in the midst of making our planet uninhabitable for all life on Earth.”