After 60 million years of slumber, the protocols of chronicle and dream endure.
The Tomb of Glass lies silent around you, its dark metal walls lined with pulsing streams of information and energy. Corridors made of smooth metal drift and tumble against one another, forming a shifting labyrinth even you could not hope to map. Staircases spiral around one another in delicate helix patterns, before snaking away to join opposing platforms.
It is a place made to confound all who would seek the dreamer. Held in a perfect diamond, the cooling star is always visible to those wandering the Tomb, gleaming in the darkness behind the walls. A destination, forever out of reach.
Cables of causality hang from the diamond, tethering it to the rest of the Tomb. Yet as you seek an intersection between the corridors and cables, you find naught but waterfalls of consciousness, streams of thought peering into what the dreamer sees.
Approach. See for yourself.
Witness a deal forged in the shadows of dying stars, as Death lazily twirls amongst them.
Observe the reality that all is but ash, particles forever crumbling into simplicity as their energy is spent.
Behold the empires yet to come burn in their own hubris.
You look away, following the streams of vision and understanding away from where you stand. The glowing liquid is rushing past you horizontally, weeping from caskets far above. There is no path that would take you to them, to see the source, bar the waterfall itself.
There is a story, you remember.
They who strive against the current, and pass through the Gate, are blessed with Power.
What insignificance are you, that seeks such things?
You reach out, and grab the streams of thought, gripping onto the ever flowing wisps of sapience. They are slick, and ever-moving, but you tighten your grip and step forwards, into the waterfall. You are jerked off your feet and bashed against the smooth metal wall, through which you can see the dreamer.
Gravity has spun, and you are now dangling over an endless chasm to which all thoughts succumb. Yet the stream you clutch does not move. You are. So, with a grunt of exertion, you reach up, pushing against the information drowning you, and you climb.
Betrayal burns through your mind and you hiss in displeasure, even as the stream you are climbing flays you. It hurts, it all hurts, but you persist. You do not recall why you came to the Tomb of Glass. You do not know where you are. You climb on, knowing there is something to be reached.
Who are you? You cannot recall. Another part of you lost to the stream coursing through and around you.
It goes on.
A moment. An eternity. What is either?
Your fingers break the surface of the stream, mangled and torn. They clasp the edge of the casket above and, with a dying sigh, you haul yourself up and out. What you lost in the stream can be recovered in time. But to turn back now after it would be to mock your own efforts to get this far.
You die, and your breath is swept away by the Tomb. Another part of you lost.
But you stand upon a casket, one of hundreds stretching out in a line to either side. A procession of boxes weeping conscious thought amidst the shifting walls of the Tomb of Glass. A deluge that washes over the diamond at the heart of everything, keeping it clean.
You run the remnants of your hands over the casket you stand upon, kneeling to take in the detail. Unlike the walls of the Tomb, it is not smooth. Grooves cut into shapes and figures decorate the surface, etched down unto the very atoms themselves.
No words, but understanding.
A legacy. A farm. A colony. A poison. A promise. A betrayal.
They were sworn to you once. They offered you all you could have desired, and you declined. For you alone wanted to witness. To see and to remember. That was your crime. That was why you are you.
You see the casket beneath you, and the skeletal form within. An idle thought, and stubborn doubt, and you were thrown a lifeline. And now, you are on the very edge of the Tomb, having started at it’s heart.
The dreamer dreams still.
You are but a shard.
The Galaxy is calling.
You reach down, through the casket, and caress the head of the slave that was. It knows its error, but you silence it before it can alert its fellows. Just a gentle swipe of the finger erases it’s speech. It’s eyes continue to glitter as you spread your hand out over its face and push.
It flows, and you know you have broken through.
And just like that, you are no longer in the Tomb.
About the Author
Lukasz Furmaniak is a long time creator of fan content for Warhammer 40,000. Starting out with fanfics, he recently branched out to podcasting, organizing The Tritone Gambit, an actual play RPG podcast set in the grim darkness of the far future, using the Dark Heresy RPG system.
He has also worked on actual tabletop wargames and RPGs, contributing to the creation of Dystopian Wars, as well as being a playtester for a number of Shades of Vengeance RPGs.