It slowly begins with a spark of awareness. Consciousness in darkness. The beginnings of ego, of id, of self. Then the slow dawning of disorientation. An inner monologue begins to take shape, the mind voice begins to question its existence, its location, its purpose. Then the sensation of falling. The inner voice remarks “Ah this, I remember this.”
Physical awareness begins. Cold first, then as minutes pass, the knowledge that you (yes you, you are) you lay on something not only cold, but hard. Perhaps you shift as you gain knowledge of your own bodies. What muscles move what, how knees bend, awareness of breath.
You feel a sheet covers your body, from shoulders down, and it too feels cool against your skin.
You open your eyes, and for a moment the soft torchlight overwhelms you with its brightness. You blink and they start to adjust.
Then you hear it. The slow grinding of stone on stone and the sound of a single pair of feet moving quickly. You turn your head instinctively towards the noise, the sound of your own stretching tendons and almost pleasant pops covering the first words that are spoken, but not the ones that follow after.
The woman who has run in appears to be human. She has black hair with many threads of silvery gray, denoting her late middle age. Her hands are in fists and she is punching the air and dancing a circle around the torch, which appears to be in the center of the cavern you have awoken in. Her voice echoes slightly as she yells. “YES!!! Oh gods be thanked it worked! It Worked! I was right! Ha ha! Take that Panolius!” She suddenly stops her wild dance and lets her arms fall to her sides.
You can understand her words. They have meaning. While you lack context you realize that you can speak the language she spoke. However you don’t know how you know. Were you born to it? Raised in this tounge? Did you have to labor over books to learn it? You slowly come to the realization that you have no memory. When you reach for your past, and you certainly have one, you are sure of that much, there is …nothing. Even your names escape you. Why are you here? How did you get here? Should you be naked under this sheet? That probably isn’t polite.
The woman gazes around the room and you realize that around you are other stone altars, with figures gazing at the woman, at the torch, and at you. They also are sheet draped but are very different from one another. Before you can move, or speak the woman raises her hands, her voice very different now, affecting a gentle, knowledgeable tone. “Be welcome here heroes. Do not fear, I mean you no harm. I know things may be…bewildering at the moment, but I promise that will change. Please if you can, sit up, move around a bit.” Her eyes crinkle as she sweeps them around the room. “I best get you some clothes first thing. And perhaps water? Food?” She moves outside the circle of altar tables, and of torchlight to a stone door and slips out of it quickly, leaving you in the circle with 7 others.