Scene XVII: World So Cold
Mount Getrennt, Void of Chaos. 2021, (Rewind) September
Crying out helped no-one and Kaze still fell. The darkness swallowed him whole, along with the portal and the tablet to get out of this damned place! The earth was quick to close up with a dreary groan and Juden crashed to her knees, desperately pressing her palms against the shaking ground beneath her as if she could tear apart the mountain and find her friend.
“We have to move from here, Furu!” Taiyo’s voice sounded over the grumbling sounds of the mountain. “The Void is shattering!”
Much like the last time Juden suffered this idiotic mishap; there was no time for mourning. Once again the world was falling around them and she had to move in order to save herself just so she could repent later by saving everyone else.
“Yeah… Yeah. Okay.” She sniffled and pushed up from the ground, ignoring the pain in her shoulder and head. It was sad to think her pain would be the last memory she would ever have of Kaze. She almost didn’t want the ache to go away. “We have to evacuate the mountain-”
The ground erupted, cutting Juden short as a gap opened between her and Taiyo. The split of rock caused her to fall backwards and roll against the nearest wall with a sharp slap, bringing her to a stop in an awkward pile of her own arms coiled around her head. Taiyo remained steeled against the ground, maintaining his balance save for a wobble in his shins.
“Juden! Are you alright?!”
“I’m fine!” Hacking a cough, Juden untangled herself and rocked back, raising an arm for confirmation. She stood, supporting her back against the wall whilst her eyes analysed the floor. “There’s no way we can get over this gap!”
“Agreed!” Taiyo called back. His eyes wandered to where Chikyu stood, watching as the woman raised her head to the crumbling ceiling as if she had never seen the Void shatter in front of her before. Scoffing, Taiyo turned back and raised his arms. “I’ll work on getting the people out of the mountain from this side. You do the same on your side. We’ll rendezvous at the mouth of the mountain!”
Juden turned on her heel, hurriedly missing the boulder which fell from above. She tucked her knees to her chest and rolled to safety, knocking against the side of the nearest wall with a grunt of frustration. Her navigation was hazy and unbalanced. She gripped the side of the wall as she moved, slipping through the narrow doorway at her side and began to pace the small space of the dark hallway leading her further from the centre of utter chaos.
Just as her feet brushed along unshaken ground, the hairs on the back of her neck stood and she followed her gut instinct to duck; narrowly avoiding the abrupt attack of a staff. The end of said staff split against the hallway’s wall, snapping the rickety wood from the base, and rendering it useless; much to the attacker’s annoyance.
Juden huffed and rolled onto her back to kick her leg out. She sent her attacker crashing to the ground and wasted no time in climbing on their back and yanked their hood down to reveal a course of red hair pulled into a combed ponytail. Regardless of whether she had the opportunity to see the man without his hood until now, she could recognise him from his ruby eyes and scarred cheek alone.
With a shove of her hands, Juden pushed up from the man’s back and began to make her way towards the next arched doorway and begin the evacuation. If she had time to spare, she may have kissed her knuckles before socking the man in the jaw, or maybe taken a less violent approach by offering a course of sagely wisdom? No. The former sounded more like her.
“You’re still fixated on getting people out of the mountain despite Milord sending your friend to the depths of the Abyss?” Ato spoke up, dusting down his clothes from beneath his cloak.
Juden rolled her eyes, pausing to peer down the hallway. It was already long lost to the Void’s destruction and she wished she had her anti-radiation suit right about now. They were way too close to exposure like this.
“Yes.” Her reply came through clenched teeth and she turned back, taking the opposite path which looked just as wrecked. Her shoulders slumped. “It’s my duty to save others, even if their leader can be a bad influence upon their people.”
Ato’s eyes coiled with a darkness that led his expression to become unreadable. No doubt taking her words way too personally on Chikyu’s behalf. He peered down to the broken staff at his feet and a hefty breath slipped through his lips. When he closed his eyes and cleared the darkness from his scowl, he kicked away the staff and walked to Juden’s side.
“Follow me.” He gestured, the ends of his cloak kicking up his speed as he moved. “The mountain will not last long.”
Juden was sceptical and raised a brow. She had every right to be suspicious. She also had every right to follow him through this endless maze of rocks and death. It didn’t take a whole lot to swallow her pride and run after the man just as the Void swallowed the corridor whole.
Roiyaru turned a sharp corner and ducked under a small arch into the library. He draped his cloaks higher to avoid dragging them across the dusty ground and he paused, noting the way his feet were vibrating from something unknown to him. His balance swayed and he would have questioned it internally if his attention did not avert to the woman sitting in the room upon a stool.
“Kumo!” Roiyaru called out. “Have you seen Fea come this way at all?”
Kumo closed up the book she had been reading and moved. Her curly streaks of silver hair reached the small of her back; even in the French braid she had tied it into. Her attire was all black and robe-like; a jumpsuit style she had designed herself to combine the differing outfits among the mountains. Roiyaru often went to her in need of sewing and stitching. Today was not one of those days.
“No. I have not seen sight or sound of her all day.” Lacing her pale fingers together, Kumo nodded to the Lord’s son. “Why?”
Roiyaru would have moved on to speak if not for the rumble above. The books lined along the rock shelves surrounding the room began tumbling off their perches and landed in piles. The candles on the walls swayed; some going out while others flickered with the intent of setting the dry books alight.
“What is this damned rumbling?!” Roiyaru grit his teeth and dug his heels against the ground. “A damned earthquake?!”
“No. Not an earthquake.” Kumo hopped of her stool before the seat could betray her. She discarded her book when she reached for Roiyaru’s elbow and yanked. Hard. “Come on! This way!”
“Wait! Why must we-!” Roiyaru shrieked when the ground they had been standing on was split apart. His feet carried him with adrenaline, and he watched the room collapse on itself before being swallowed into the Void’s darkness.
A cloud of dust followed them, blinding them as they tumbled down a flight of stairs and onto the next floor where they recuperated themselves, climbing to their feet with straggled breaths. Roiyaru was panicking, all wide eyes and rosy cheeks. He slapped his hand against the wall, shrieking when his lips parted.
“What on earth is happening?!”
“The Void.” Kumo replied coolly. She turned on her heel, but not before grasping Roiyaru’s robes to lead him along. “We need to get out of here. The mountain will collapse whether we stay or leave, and I would prefer to see it fall from the outside.”
“Wait! We must find Fea! And the others! Gado, Sa, Shio, Kosho and Seji!” Roiyaru protested yet again, yanking his arm free. “I refuse to leave until we have found them all!”
Kumo blinked at the enthusiasm and found herself smile. Among all the things she could have done. “Ahh, very well. In that case, I suppose we ought to find Hari, too.” She hummed, turning back to the narrow hallways.
The mountain continued to crumble and shake as they moved, making the journey to the base of the mountain a tricky one to manage without the odd one or two slip-ups along the way. Roiyaru tensed against the rubble crashing down around him and pulled his robes close, fearful that they might snag against a rock and slow him down.
“We must hurry to the vault.” He breathed. “Mother always said there was something in there to assist the mountain should the worst happen.”
Kumo nodded, hurrying forward. The vault and its chambers were not far from where they stood, and the mountain was on the brink of collapse. She was faster than the Lord’s son and she moved to the next floor, leaving Roiyaru in the dust as she paced herself down the winding staircase where she crashed straight into an oncoming passerby.
Roiyaru swung around the corner just in time to watch Kumo roll down the rest of the stairs and he raised a brow, hopping down the stairs to cock his head, inspecting Kumo’s passerby. The shaking of the ground came to a slow stop just in time for everyone to catch their breath and Roiyaru cleared his throat.
“Greetings. The man made of flesh and china was looking for you, small one.”
Mada shuffled, sitting up from the ground away from Kumo. “Meka? Where is he now?”
“I prefer to be addressed with more care and less rush than that, thank you.” Roiyaru huffed.
Mada turned to Kumo, dismissing Roiyaru with a roll of his eyes. “You? Have you seen Meka? Or Juden? The Captain? What about Kaze?” His raspy voice escaped in short whispers and panted breaths.
“Sorry. I saw no-one.” Kumo replied, getting to her feet. Her silver hair whipped through the air when she turned to look back at Roiyaru. “We should hurry.”
“Agreed.” Stepping forward, he pushed past Mada, only to have his sleeve grasped by small hands. “What the – unhand me!”
“I need to show you something.” Mada tutted. He turned on his heel, redirecting Roiyaru down the opposite end of the hall. “Come with me.”
Roiyaru pursed his lips, noting the way Kumo was so quick to follow Mada’s side. They made good time through the room and across to another set of stairs and further into the heart of the mountain, coming to a wide room which appeared empty, save for the door of a large vault etched into the corner.
“You went to see Gado after all?” Roiyaru blurted, eyeballing the room.
Mada rushed forward, reaching the vault’s heavy door. It took all the force of standing on his toes and jumping to latch his fingers around the handle of the vault and yank it open, exposing the secrets of the mountain without a notice of respect.
“Gado gave you the password?!” Roiyaru barked, watching the vault creak open. Never before had he seen what lay behind its steel and part of him felt inclined to look away.
“Uh-huh.” Mada mumbled. He stepped into the vault and knelt, picking up a single piece of the mountain’s mystery. “… You get what this is, right?”
That previous temptation to turn away was long forgotten as Roiyaru stepped forward, allowing his fingers to brush along the outlines of tech he had never been exposed to. Its sleek angles and crystal screens were something foreign.
“It’s how we get out of the Void.” Mada’s scarred lips turned back into a stern face. He turned, facing the piles of sonars and frequency tablets piling the space in the vault. “Your mother had it all along.”
Meka knew the Void was swallowing the mountain with the first rumble under his feet.
He had seen parts of the Void being shredded and swallowed over the years and had become somewhat accustomed to its routine of unpredictability and savagery. That didn’t make him any less terrified, of course.
His long legs paced themselves as he ducked down and slipped though the unending hallways and rooms connected together in this maze surrounding him. His first intentions had been to find Mada, yet the possibility was becoming something of a distant hope by the time he dodged the Void’s edge; leaving him to turn back and retrace his steps. He would have to focus on saving himself; which he supposed was the trick to being a member of Captain Taiyo’s squad. Or so he told himself.
A scream sounded over the falling rubble and Meka turned his head, redirecting his attention to the shrill sound. He had impeccable hearing and was quick to carry himself over rubble and debris, ducking once under an arch and tucked himself into a ball to fall down a stairway, finding none other than Fea crouched beside a man.
The man had yet to be introduced and Meka could only assume he would never have the privilege to meet him, considering the unfortunate circumstances. He lay beneath a mound of rubble and boulders, forced to his stomach, and lay with only his arms and head visible.
“You have to help him!” Fea cried, struggling to push herself up from the grumbling earth to grab ahold of Meka’s shirt and pull him over to the sorrowful scene. “The ceiling came down and trapped him! We need to get him out!”
Meka’s eyes turned from Fea’s face and he moved, reaching china fingers towards the trapped man’s neck. Upon being touched, the man stirred and opened his eyes. Pain and frustration crossed his face, followed by a frown and he coughed, attempting wriggle without going anywhere.
“Kosho!” Fea cried, batting Meka’s hand away to kneel to the ground. “Kosho, we’re going to get you out!”
“… Fea.” The weak reply caused a bubble of blood to seep, spreading across his cracked lips. “… I can’t feel my legs.”
Meka’s face was stern. The smallest trace of sympathy could be found on his bruised, tattooed face as he watched the two in front of him. To make matters worse, the mountain began rumbling yet again and he forced himself to cut the moment short, gingerly reaching out to place a hand upon Fea’s shoulder.
“Fea-chan. We have to leave before we end up like him.”
“No!” Fea grit her teeth and shoved Meka away. Her voice was high, unable to control the octaves in her tone when she moved back to Kosho and brushed back his messy black hair. “We can’t leave anyone behind!”
Meka’s jaw stiffened. He was irritable and frustrated, torn and utterly disheartened. Perhaps he would be labelled as cruel in Fea’s books for such stern words, and perhaps he would even be rewarded if a slap if he were to wrap his arms around her waist and haul her out to safety. His shoulders clicked when he moved towards Fea when his name was called.
“Meka!” Juden appeared from around the corner, face coated with dirt and blood. But a wonderful sight, nonetheless. “We need to get out of here!”
“Believe me, I’m trying.” Meka replied, rushing to meet her side. He gestured towards Fea and Kosho, keeping his voice low. “This young man is trapped under the fallen rubble. He says he can’t feel his legs and we won’t be able to get him out without wasting more time.”
Juden’s brows narrowed and she sidestepped to see the condition herself when Ato appeared and beat her to it. He flipped his cloak back to extend his arm down to where Kosho lay beneath the shattered earth. His long fingers delicately brushing the side of his cheek.
“Ato!” Fea sniffled, grasping the man’s arm with her small hands. “We need to save him and leave the mountain! You can… You can save him, right?!”
“Go with them.” Ato motioned towards Juden and Meka. His voice was soft under the weight of the rumbling mountain and his ruby eyes swirled with a darkness only he could muster in times of hardship. “They’ll take you to safety and I will do what I can for Kosho.”
“You’ll save him?” Fea breathed, rubbing her tears.
“I’ll do what I can for him.”
Fea’s eyes twinkled with unshed tears. She offered a slow nod as she stood, reluctantly moving towards Juden and Meka. If she had thanked him, it was lost to the rumbling sounds above. She allowed Meka to lead her away with a hand against her back, keeping her from getting a second chance to look back.
As Juden led Meka and Fea through the maze of tunnels, they came to an open ledge where the view was filled with tilting mounts and people shouting, crying and panicking as their home was ripped apart beneath their feet.
The shout would have been missed if it had been screamed only seconds prior. The slope beside Juden began to slip and she raised an arm to shield her eyes from the dust and debris before facing the owner of the raspy voice. Her stomach flipped when Mada appeared and she hopped down the side of the ledge to meet him, swing her arms around him and sigh aloud – hardly expecting the same affection in return.
“Where did you go?” Juden stepped back, hands gripping his small shoulders. “You suddenly disappeared!”
“I figured we couldn’t waste time going back and forth, so I went to find Gado myself.” Mada replied. “He gave me the vault’s password and I found-”
“He gave you the password?!” Fea’s voice cut through the air as she slipped down the ledge, bumping into Juden. “He never gives the password to anyone!”
“It wasn’t hard.” Mada blinked. “When the mountain started to come down, all I did was tell him I could save you all if he opened the vault. He didn’t really have a choice.” He turned back to Juden, raising a small hand to grip her sleeve. “I found The Chairman’s equipment. Tons of sonars and frequency tablets just laying there in the vault. I think Lord Chikyu has been collecting them for years. She doesn’t want anyone to leave.”
Juden felt a surge flare in the pit of her stomach. She dropped her hands from Mada’s shoulders before her fingers could curl against his skin. “We need to find the Captain. He said to meet him at the mouth of the mountain.”
“M’kay.” Mada nodded, pivoting on his heel to follow. When Fea brushed past, followed by a winking Meka, Mada came to a stop. He peered over his shoulder, then back to Juden. “Where’s Kaze?”
“He should be around someplace, Mada-kun.” Meka replied quickly. “But where have you been?”
“I already told you.” Mada rolled his eyes, slipping under the arm Meka had been ready to swing around his shoulders. Before he could escape the total mishap, another man appeared from around the upcoming corner and stepped up to Meka, eyeballing him once before turning away. “Ah, Gado.”
Gado was tall and broad. His brass hair was styled in an odd fashion, sticking up around the frame of his face. Pink eyes flickered with interest as he paused to read the atmosphere. He could probably see the scowl on Meka’s face – it was hardly a secret. And when he turned to face the doll maker, he exposed the whole of his left face covered in an old, marred burn which ran all the way down his throat and across his left arm.
Meka raised a brow. “So you’re Gado-kun?”
Gado tilted his head. “Gado follow Mada now.” He replied mildly and walked off without giving Meka the attention or acknowledgement he had expected.
Which in turn, left Meka entirely irritable for the rest of the journey down the mountain.
As promised, Taiyo was waiting at the foot of the mountain with a crowd of people, hooded and clad in robes. They whispered and cried behind him, hugging one another, and gripping onto arms and shoulders as their tears met the grumbling floor.
“Furu!” Taiyo raised his arm when Juden appeared from the exit, leading the group of people she had secured on the way down, including Roiyaru and Kumo. “Good job.”
“Captain,” Juden raised her chin, moving quickly to meet his side with a seriousness he could not ignore. “I need to tell you something. It’s urgent.”
“Of course, go ahead-”
“How could you do this to us, mother?!” Roiyaru’s cries rattled the air, making the crumbling mountain seem as soft as a butterfly’s wing in comparison to his pitch. “How could you lie to us when you had the power to get us out of here all along?!”
Following the harsh cries was a course of gasps and murmurs from the crowd. The mountain’s people exchanged small words and offered glances of wide eyes towards their Lord who stood before them. Fearful was not the right way to describe the atmosphere; more like shameful.
Roiyaru’s face was twisted with betrayal. An expression which didn’t suit his pretty features. He looked desperate, waiting for his mother to tell him that it was not her, but rather the people who had arrived from Shoki; that they caused them this grief. But she never spoke and Roiyaru’s remainder of hope was shattered.
“Have you nothing to say, mother? Have you no shame?!”
“There is nothing left to say.” Chikyu sighed, turning from her son to look up the mountain as it gradually fell in on itself. “It is over now.”
Taiyo stepped up, cutting the space between Roiyaru and Chikyu. His hand landed on the latter’s shoulder, squeezing enough to pry her out of her daze. “You can still save your people. You can still save everyone.”
“I know…” Chikyu whispered, folding her hands over her stomach.
Fea was the first to look up to the mouth of the mountain and her knees turned weak. “No…” She whispered, unable to keep herself upright before sliding down the weight of her brother, Seji, who was desperate to keep her on her feet.
Chikyu followed Fea’s eyes and found Ato exit the mountain with Kosho in his arms, unmoving. There was a cold tension in the air and Ato’s eyes were as dark as before; if not darker as he walked towards the crowd, holding the mangled body for everyone to see – as if they should see. As if Kosho was an example of their Lord’s poor choices.
“Brother!” A white haired man known as Shio sprang from behind Fea and Seji. Tears were streaking across his cheeks as he closed the space between him and Ato, shaking hands desperately clinging to Kosho’s corpse. “No! No!”
Chikyu could only watch with distant eyes. Guilt would have been the easiest emotion to name in the pit of her stomach, but her face refused to show it. She held no feeling. Nothing. Her people were turning on her with low whispers and unshed tears. The mountain was not the only thing crumbling. It took her pride down with it.
Roiyaru stepped into her vision. “You see mother? If you don’t do something now, then we’re already dead.”
“No.” Chikyu whispered. Her hands had began to glow and her face twisted, eyes flashing a pure white. “I will not let my son die here!”
The Lord of the Mountain cast a spell. A spell so powerful it blasted the walls of the mountain and flooded its halls and mazed tunnels with pure Magick, shattering everything in its path as it navigated with a mind of its own, swarming the vault and all its possessions. The fiery sky cracked, etching traces of glass and distortion as it began to fall; tearing multiple rips in the barrier of Concordia to swallow them whole without recognition.
“No, wait!” Taiyo cried out, feeling himself fade away from Chikyu. Fading away from the Void. “What about Tsuki?!”
Shoki, Void of Chaos. 2021, (Rewind) September
Hahen’s eye was wide with horror after the first rumble from under his feet. He turned his head to the ceiling, watching the lights sway and dust trickle down to land upon his shoulder.
He stood in the shiny corridor of Shoki’s base, rapidly tapping a scarred finger against the elevator button. The repetitive motion could hardly speed up the process, but his adrenaline was running a mile a minute and all logic tended to leave his body when he began to panic. No matter how old he got.
Giving up on the elevator, Hahen turned to head for the stairway and stepped down two steps at a time. Another unfortunate shake of the ground swayed him and he gripped the bannister before he could topple over the railings. He struggled to regain himself when his legs carried him the rest of the way and he shoved past the rattling doors and into an abandoned hallway. Almost abandoned.
“Hikari!” Hahen cried, running up to the woman standing against the wall. His hands reached her shoulders and he pulled her in close without thought, pressing his cheek against her warm neck. “Are y-y-you okay?”
“I’m fine. I’m fine.” Hikari’s daze was executed when Hahen was in her arms. She wriggled, moving her head to bump their foreheads together. “You know, you still stutter when you panic.”
Hahen smirked, drinking in the humour as if it were a lifeline and stole a quick kiss. “We need to evacuate the base. You go on ahead. I’ve got to find Tsuki.”
“Okay, boss.” Hikari smiled. It was forced. Even Hahen could see the unease in her eyes. A silent plea to stay safe. “Good luck. I’ll see you outside.”
Hahen replied with a second kiss before he ran ahead, moving to Tsuki’s lab. He bumped into retreating researchers and staff, informing them to go ahead and help Hikari evacuate. They were quick to oblige and the rooms were beginning to empty by the time Hahen ran down a flight of stairs and into Tsuki’s lab.
Sure enough, Tsuki stood at his desk, hurriedly tapping away at the transparent keyboard in front of him. His breathing was laboured and unsteady as he worked. Whether it was panic or an oncoming attack of his health, Hahen couldn’t be sure.
“I’m nearly done.” Tsuki wheezed, tapping quicker against the pressure rising in his chest. He bit back a cough and narrowed his watery eyes. “I just need to gather the information on… everything we’ve done. I have to.”
Hahen jumped down the platform into the room. “Tsuki, we can’t afford to waste anymore time!” He argued, grasping the man by the elbow to tug him away from his work.
“No!” Tsuki cried, using what little strength he had to shove Hahen away. He returned to typing again, screens lighting up with the biographies and geographical blueprints of Concordia and all its occupants. “This is our history. If we lose it, then it would be as though everything we achieved never existed!” As if he never existed.
Hahen could feel the sentiment. But he could not ignore their impending doom. “Tsuki-”
“Please, leave.” Tsuki shook his head, silver eyes glinting blue from the reflection of his screens. “I’m nearly done. I promise. I’ll follow you out the moment these files finish downloading to this drive, aright? Just concentrate on getting yourself out of here first.”
Hahen moved away with hesitance. He could no longer conjure a sentence, knowing it would land on deaf ears. Tsuki was determined and Hahen could not take his purpose away from him. So he climbed the platform and made his way to the three-stepped metal staircase that carried him back to the hall, sparing only one last glance before he left.
Tsuki continued to work, acting as though the world would not break until he finished. Thin, bony fingers moved at a high speed. He may have created a few typos towards the end of his programme, but the tech was advanced enough to rewrite his mistakes and calculate his means; keeping up with the quick pace of his fingertips.
“Come on, come on…” Tsuki whispered, watching the flashing white bar on the screen above his head light up with the text 75% Complete.
Without warning, a part of the ceiling groaned and crashed, landing on some desks a few feet away. Tsuki’s girlish shriek went unheard and he covered his face from the sparks and flares from his screens – when the commotion died, he turned to the ceiling and found a hole wide enough to show off the fiery sky. That alone should have been enough for him to move; for his lab was deep underground and to see the sky meant there was practically nothing keeping him safe.
“No!” He snapped, turning back to the screen. The commotion and tripped wires had caused everything to freeze, stuck at 99% Complete.
Shaking his head, Tsuki snagged the USB drive from the mother computer and shoved it into his pocket. It may not have been everything, but it was all he had and that was enough to fuel his legs and carry him towards the staircase. He was thrown off balance by the abrupt shake at his feet and crashed against the step’s edge, cracking a rib against the metalled panelling. He cried loudly, knocking his temple against the side of the door on the way down.
Wheezing, Tsuki crawled his way up the steps and reached out to brush his fingers against the door’s lock. It slid open, inviting him out into the hallway where he forced all his strength into his arms and pulled himself to his feet to stand, despite the ache in his chest and head. The ground continued to shake and rumble as he began to rush down the hallway and towards the stairs in the distance.
He hurled himself at the wall when the ground shook again, preventing him from meeting the floor. As if things couldn’t get any worse, his lungs betrayed him, and he began to cough. The fit was harsh against his cracked rib and he raised a hand to cover his mouth when the floor began to tear away.
“Fuck…!” Tsuki breathed. His stomach coiled at the sight of large crimson specks coating the pale traces of his palm and he shifted, slapping his bloodied hand against the wall when the ground tilted.
He never reached the end of the hall as the space in front of him was swallowed up by the crumbling Void, leaving him totally trapped. He swore again, kicking the side of the wall before crashing to his knees. He could barely breath, barely move and his face stung when the ceiling was peeled away – unveiling the fiery skies above. It was a pathetic way to die and Tsuki sobbed, having hoped to at least pass away in the comforts of his bed when his time came.
The pain in his chest and the ache in his head was like an invisible force, pushing him against the ground. He succumbed to the invitation and sprawled against the rumbling floor, staring up at the sky as it seemed to come closer and closer. He was sure there was a distortion, maybe a glimmer against the red clouds? Almost like a mirror, glinting and reflecting its body. Then he closed his eyes, accepting his fate; missing the sounds of his name being called through the distortion.