"I'm dying," mumbled Ulrik, "not delirious."
Nariko guided Ulrik to his bed.
Ulrik grew impatient. "Where's the council?"
Nariko glanced at the vacant entrance to the life-extending chamber, Ulrik's home since the infection.
"Rest, Ulrik. They'll be here soon." White silence engulfed the chamber as the oldest known being on Atriana dropped straight to sleep.
Many are charmed by the beauty the Eshlar create even amidst death. Tapestries of warm light draped the room. Translucent stone encapsulated the chamber and sang as it grew to form. I am intimate with Eshlar architecture, more so than the Eshlar. It will be their ruin. I look forward to our meeting again, a familiar rendezvous of the idealist and the ideal.
"Why have you gathered the Council?" Sabra's words echoed through the stone of the chamber walls. Ulrik awoke to see the five council members awaiting an answer.
"I have crucial memory to impart to you," began Ulrik. "The design is complete."
"What design?" Sabra asked.
"The culmination of my life's work..."
"Your obsession with the Ancient Veil? Is that why..."
"I am the last link to the Veil. I preserve memory that has been passed down through the generations and was critical to Atriana's survival and will be again soon."
An uneasy murmur rose from the Council. "He's been sequestered too long," reasoned one member.
"My design reveals a plan to construct a Veil-caster," continued Ulrik.
"The infection must have moved to his core," Council members continued to talk amongst themselves as if Ulrik was not present.
Ulrik ignored them. "My memory will help you discover the Veil."
"Enough!" interrupted Sabra. "The Ancient Veil is a myth."
Ulrik felt the infection creep into the vesicles in his eyes. "They are sealing." A council member motioned to Nariko. "Notify his nephew." The council members withdrew to begin plans for the honored ritual.
"Sabra, wait!" Ulrik maintained his composure ignoring the pain that edged up his stiffened back. "My old friend, look at the design, and see I'm not mad.....in the chest near the door....build it....."
Last updated: December 26, 2001
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