When I was young I was always on the run. Always running. You don't get time to stop and enjoy the world. Not now. This is bigger than all of us. I know that now.
When I was younger my dad used to tell me: "History is merely a series of patterns and whether we have uncovered them or not they will always repeat themselves." He was the one with the plan. He was dead-set on his theory. A way to live in this hell that we call life now. He was the smart one, but he… he's gone now. He's been gone for a while now. Now it's just me.
All these theories just spiraling around in an endless void.
Before all this he was a historian and an archaeologist working at Consilio University. I never knew that man. The man I knew was a hardened, immovable person.
This all happened long before me but that didn't stop him from trying to teach me everything he knew. Including his theories. He always had these crazy ideas.
This was actually caused by this, not that. That used to have water but then this god did this.
And you would have no idea what he was even talking about.
Now, life wasn't all honeysuckles and naps for me. It couldn't be. We were always hopping from one place to the next. You'd have thought that 25 years into this mess people would be scarce. But you'd be wrong. Straight wrong. Let me take you back to when it all started.
Dad and I were digging in the desert. Now, if you've explored as much as I have you'll know there are actually 3 deserts. One by the coast, one by the river, and one way off across the ocean.
We set up camp a little way away from Bazel, just in view of the river. Now, Bazel lies on a desert hill a ways away from the road. Once, these sandstone walls kept many out, but now they've crumbled and only small chunks of its battlements remain. Of the four beacons that once lit the edges of the walls, only three remain. But it's still more than enough to attract wanderers and survivors to these decrepit ruins. There are four main structures inside the walls and on supply runs you can still find reasonably well-preserved items and clothing among the rubble. Behind the town are the remains of a survivors' tent city.
Apparently some people thought it'd be a good idea to relocate to a desert of all places during the initial outbreak. But to be optimistic it's fared better than the town. That's partially due to the town shielding it from the elements.
A small grave-site is dug right next to this tent city and behind the town. There's not really anything too special about this, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
A bit south and due west of this pit stop of a town lies our dig-site. Apparently we weren't the first to dig here, which only made our job easier with a soft foundation and all that.
We'd found explosives, some supplies, and even shovels.
We'd probably been at it for the better part of a week trying to find... something. And Dad never really talked about what we were looking for when I was growing up. Just that he'd explain all of this eventually.
Thing is, he... He never got the chance.
And anyway, as I said, we were digging. By close to the week's end we'd dug a sizable burrow into the earth. As our tunnel grew deeper and the light transformed and played shadows we began to develop a sense of dread. With each click of our pickaxe we knew that something was getting close. Until we broke through!
At first it was small. A loud CRACK signaled we'd broken through into a larger area. A MUCH larger area. A few more swift cracks with our pickaxes and we were through.
It was dark and a gentle drip.. drip.. of something echoed through this newly discovered cave. Every sound echoed into distortion.
We moved slowly, lighting the cave as best we could. There were several large earthen pillars that supported this end of the room which made it easier to setup torches. As we lit more of the surrounding area we quickly realized that no one had been here for quite a long time.
Collapsed facades of dirt, sand, and stone filled in large areas making it hard to continue forward. The floor was a mixture of stone, dirt, and sand except at the very far end of our lit portion which appeared to be a pathway of mangled stone bricks leading off in one direction.
Following this path of cracked stone didn't prove to be too helpful. Very little progress was going to be made unless we dug into that wall. So we continued digging, trying to clear the stone, dirt, and sand just enough to figure out what we were looking at.
As we cleared more and more we uncovered large panels of stone and it became widely apparent that we were standing on what was left of a bridge. It seemed to be pretty large and at one point it had had a large gatehouse.
Eventually we cleared enough to reach the remains of the gatehouse. Large stone panels came into view on the walls of this tunnel we had dug. With a little more excavation we had a sizable area uncovered. This area seemed to be preserved pretty well. Whoever had built it meant business, and I'm sure they'd be proud to know that this bridge really held up.
On the floor of our gatehouse lied the remains of what appeared to be a human.
Now we had to use our imagination, but it was definitely a skeleton. We didn't get too close to it, but from a semi-close observation we could tell that something had gnawed on it. Bite marks covering the skeleton's collarbone and femur. Something had tried to make this a tasty treat.
We passed the skeleton and examined the rest of the excavated area. A few scratches were imprinted on the wall.
It took us a while to notice - but those weren't scratches. It was a word.
Right next to it was a simple sketch of what looked like fire. Suddenly the awe of this discovery was lost. This place had been the spot of a terrible disaster. But what? We tried to keep our minds off that.
The stone path continued off into the dark, and with more digging there would be more answers. By this point, the rhythmic click of pickaxes faded from my hearing. I was listening for something else. There was the drip of water, the gentle scream of the wind at the end of the tunnel, small shifts in the sand and gravel, and our breathing.
I was so focused on the sounds of the cave I didn't even notice when we stumbled upon it. A small opening we'd created by digging. Wind flowed through our small crack in the wall into what appeared to be another cave. There was a small glow coming from the opening. A crackle of a fire echoed from the cave - another sound.
Once we'd cleared away the wall of stone and dirt, I understood where we were. This wasn't a cave. Well, I mean, what we were standing in. Of course it was buried. But this thing.. this structure.. it had to be something big. We were standing in the gates of something. Rusted iron bars greeted us from the portcullis. A large stone arch arched over our heads. The stone around us was scattered with faded red splotches? Red splotches? This was blood! It had to be!
This macabre scene came into view as we surveyed our surroundings. Multiple words were scratched into the wall.
More skeletons lined the walls. On the far left wall was a sign. Setting the torch down, we approached the sign. Letters were missing, and some had faded but after much interpreting we had a name. Then we heard it. The tapping of bones on stone slowly approaching.
Welcome to Asindia