Prologue: Golden Cap and Silver Shoes
How does it come to this, one must wonder. This moment that is inevitable and inescapable, and yet so horribly, horribly wrong. A thousand crossroads, a thousand turning points, and yet, here we are. Could any single decision made differently have prevented this from happening, or was it simply illusion all along, the façade of free will?
Around us, the chaos that unavoidably heralds change clamors against stone and out over the land. Smoke fills the air, and the acrid scent of smoldering straw merges with that of bestial sweat, stale wash water and a metallic tang that tugs at the memories. Yipping barks, gasps of horror and… cheers. They hurt more than anything else, I think.
The chiseled stone floor advances, from what seems like miles away, inching slowly into detail. It has no need to hurry. It knows that what is coming cannot be stopped now, if it ever could. Upon it, an ebon ocean of fabric sucks hungrily at the unavoidable, drawing me down. Intent upon consumption, a dark sea not content with swallowing my corporeal form, but dedicated to devour the very essence of the past, of the future, of memory and truth. The ungiving eternal stone, and the all consuming darkness. These, I know, will be the last things I see.