You awake to the sounds of the ocean waves that slowly build into a rumble that ends in crashing hiss as they break against the rocky shore. The plaintive call of the seagulls play tenor to the deep baritone of the sea, sang in accompaniment by the warble of a sandpiper.
As you take your first waking breath your nose fills with the briny scent of the ocean air and decomposing seaweed.
Your eyes open to the view of a wood-planked ceiling made of cypress and stained to a soft golden brown. As awareness slowly begins to sink in you begin to ponder where you are, but no memory is forth-coming. In fact your last memory seems distant and vague as though it had happened some time ago.
Light floods in through a row of windows placed near the high ceiling. As you sit up you notice that it is not a familiar bed that you were lying on but a hard bench painted a stark white. You see four other benches next to you arranged in a star pattern with the foot of each bench meeting in the center of the room surrounding a large pillar.
These benches are occupied by other figures dressed in simple plain white robes, the same robes that you are also wearing.
As you glance around at yourself you see a symbol of a blue phoenix etched upon your arm; its head is tilted to look up at the sky with its wings raised high. Blue flames seem to leap up from its feet and seem to merge with the feathers as they rise up from beneath.
The symbol itself does not appear to be any ordinary tattoo; it is more as if it is etched just below the surface and shines through the skin with a faint glow.
You notice the same symbol on the shoulders of the others gathered around you.
The room you are in is circular and 40 feet in diameter. There is a stairway on either end, one going up as it follows the curve of the room, and another going down then disappearing into the unseen room below. An oak banister runs the length of the descending stairs, and after that is a row of work benches that follow the edge of the wall.
You hear footsteps on the stairs from room below. As you watch you see a crocked pointy blue hat poke up above the floor rising higher with each step as the source of the footsteps ascends to your floor.
The figure is short, standing no more than 4 feet tall of you count the bright blue hat. His face from both ears down to his chin is covered in long white bushy hair. He is humming a happy tune as he walks from the landing to one of the benches and begins thumbing through a large leather bound book. After finding the correct page he picks up a quill and dips it into an ink well.
His quill hovers just over the page and suddenly stops. Slowly he returns the quill to its holder and begins to turn around as if he just became aware that he was being watched.
“Oh dear Rill Cleverthrush! You are not supposed to have awakened yet!” He exclaims in shocked surprise as he notices that you are awake and observing him.
“This is impossible! Impossible!” he squeaks in panicked excitement. “You haven’t been activated! It’s too soon, too soon I tell you!”
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