Part 98: Sirocco: Update 32
Sirocco's Year: Part Thirty-Two
Meanwhile, far across the ice field...
'... eight, nine, and TEN!' Firos crowed triumphantly bringing her hammer down with a vicious thud into the Spawn's head. Spinning round she felled another with one brutal blow.
'Eleven! Twelve, thirteen, fourteen...'
Bobbin Threadbare wrote :-
Another dwarf, Robert Deadford, died soon after I delivered my message, confirming to me my worries. Whatever it was I was searching for, I would have to find it soon. But it would not be until well into autumn that my opportunity would arrive.
By now, the darkness which had kept me on edge those many seasons ago had come to represent a great comfort. The shadows were my friends, sheltering me from the harm the inhabitants of the hidden paths would do to me if I were caught. And besides this, I understood that within these walls, the light showed far more evils than the darkest of nights could hide. Into one such room I crept that fateful day, ignorant of the events that were soon to follow. The darkened hall was no less poorly lit, its recesses no less easy to withdraw into, but on this particular evening the silence was broken, not by the lesser kobolds whose constant presence I was familiar with, but by the master of the chambers himself, Mr. Boborachi.
The Weskerdwarf was not alone. A kobold, shrinking back from his superior, unwillingly followed Boborachi into the room as the latter ranted continuously about the former's shortcomings. There was an accident. The kobold had tripped and set off a device by falling upon it. Could it be--? Was this the answer? Boborachi continued.
"Seventeen times we have conducted this experiment! Seventeen times you have brought the Time Reversal Mechanism to me without failure, but this--do you realize what sort of damage you could have done?! If it had broken, what might have...even now, the others upstairs are asking around about a so-called "Event," making it very difficult for myself and my coworkers to keep them pacified. Go turn on the Signaling Device. We're ending this iteration early."
Cowed by his words, the kobold let out a squeak of relief to hear it dismissed. After it departed, Boborachi made to leave, but suddenly changed his mind. Afraid that he might have spotted me, I froze completely still in the darkened corner I occupied. But instead of glancing over at me, he simply went to a hook on the wall and deposited his coat. "Can't wear that to the foundry, after all," he chuckled to himself, exiting the room. "I wonder if Nemo will get himself killed before even getting to the mountain again."
Ice ran through my veins. Nemo was one of the Founders of SyrupLeaf, dying almost immediately to a batman as the entrance was being scouted out. If the Event could occur on such a large scale...more, if it had occured seventeen times before, as the Weskerdwarf said, what did it mean for our colony? How many times have I journied to SyrupLeaf to only encounter despair? How often had I dreamt of the next day's activities, feeling that odd sensation of déjà vu? How many horrible dreams have I had about dying to the Spawn, only to awaken relieved that my dreams had not come true? I knew now that these were artifacts of countless restarts, slowly driving each of us deeper into the insanity of repeated actions, of pointless death and life unending. And there was the answer, hidden in an overcoat draped casually in one corner of an empty room. There was only one action I could take.