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The Pillar of Dominance


Chapter 4
The Stranger
Warren descended the spiraling stairs for what seemed like an
eternity, until at last steps leaved out into a path before him. Sweating
profusely under the armor and desperate for rest and fresh air, he was
nonetheless relieved to be on solid ground once more. The candle had all but
burned out. The stub that remained continually spilled hot wax on his hand,
where an angry blister had formed. There was a sudden draft, and the flame
went out altogether. Having left the matches behind, Warren cursed and
trudged on in total darkness, feeling his way along the earthy walls. His eyes
were useless in the darkness, unable to make out even the rough outlines of
the tunnel, so his other senses took over. Feeling his way with his hands and
listening to the sounds echoing through the space, he pressed forward,
intruding on the occasional rat and slipping in the unforeseeable mud
puddles. After nearly an hour's progression, he bumped into a wall directly
in front of him. His helmet announced the location of the wall with a loud
clang. Touching the wall with his fingertips, Warren realized that it was
made of wood. He felt around for a handle, and found a metallic ring similar
to the one on the trap door in his bedroom floor. Pulling on the hoop, he
cracked the door open. Warren peeked outside. It was still dark. The red
desert was desolate. Giving the ring another tug, Warren slipped out into the
fresh morning air. The door slammed closed behind him. With a start,
Warren turned to look at the place from which he had come just in time to
see the wood turning into glass and melding with the rest of the giant dome
arching up into the dark sky. A light stencil of letters remained faintly
imprinted on the glass. Seek not the un-findable, lest it findeth thee first, they
read.
Warren shivered and looked about himself. He stood outside the city's
dome where no one but Salvador had been in nearly a thousand years. The
air was fresh, but dusty. Large rusty boulders were scattered throughout the
plain. An endless desert stretched out before him, its surface scarred and dry.
Not a single plant was in sight. He wandered a ways from the entrance.
Looking down, Warren could see Salvador's large footprints leading toward
the hidden passageway. He tracked them around the dome for a short
distance. After that, the tracks led away into the desert. Warren followed
them out until they came to an abrupt halt, indicating the point at which
Salvador had dismounted from his horse. The earth was heavily trampled in
this area with the smeared prints of man, horse and something else. The
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