A/N: You know, this story started exactly one year ago. Now, one year later, it finishes.
Once again, adding my own speculations here. NOT ACTUAL FACTS FOR DOEMIN'S SEGMENT, JUST SPECULATIONS AND MY OWN INTERPRETATIONS.
Atop the Shrine, at the Temple's entrance, Emon and his men had readied their horses and were now riding their steeds away from the Shrine of worship, across the bridge. As they rode, a pillar of support stones beneath them suddenly glowed. It emitted a bright light, then vanished; not implode like the idols, or crumble, but simply…disappear.
Having no support, the stones above crumbled, falling to the ground below. This continued for each segment of the Bridge, figuratively chasing Emon and his men as they rode to the safety of the cliffs on the other side.
Back in the Shrine, all was silent; the winds of Emon's whirlpool spell had dissipated, and a solemn stillness fell over the Temple's interior. Not even the lizards, who frequently used the Shrine as a humongous jungle-gym, were present.
All was silent. All was still.
Then, a lone figure stirred to life.
Mono's eyes fluttered slightly as she awoke, seemingly from a long slumber. Her eyes squinted as they got used to the light, and then she turned her head, looking around; an unfamiliar setting met her eyes. The events from before were hazy, and she was unable to recall how she came here, or how long she had been 'asleep'.
Slowly, she found the strength to sit up, and get a better view of her surroundings; she was in a temple of sorts, on an altar in a long chamber. The walls were lined with slots filled with nothing but piles of rubble of what appeared to be old statues of sorts. The temple itself was warm, but a cool breeze trickled in through a wide opening behind her.
She stepped down from the altar carefully, for she had no shoes; the stone floor beneath her was warm and smooth, with just a bit of dust and debris. She looked around, curious as to where to go, or what to do.
Then, a soft whinny reached her ears.
Turning to her right, she spotted a black horse come slowly into the temple. Upon closer inspection, Mono realized the poor beast was limping. Quickly, she walked over to the horse, approaching it carefully and stroking the side of its head; the horse did not turn her away, and allowed her to pet it.
Mono was glad for the company of the horse, for its presence made her feel less alone in this unfamiliar temple. As she petted it, she took in the creature's characteristics; its charcoal-black fur, chestnut eyes, the soft patch of white in a diamond-shape on its head, and…riding gear?
Yes…though damaged, there was evidence of a saddle, and reigns, attached to the horse. Was there someone else here? Or maybe did she herself ride this horse to this place? No…she didn't recognize the horse. It belonged to someone else.
Emon and his men reached the end of the Bridge just as the last few segments crumbled and fell to the lands below. Emon rounded his horse around, looking back at the Shrine of Worship.
"Poor ungodly soul…" he said, speaking softly and with a tone of sorrow. He looked down at the broken Bridge, and continued. "Now, no man shall ever trespass upon this place again." He paused, then looked up. "Should you be alive…if it's even possible to continue to exist in these sealed lands…one day, perhaps you will atone for what you've done."
After this declaration, he turned his steed around, and kicked into its sides, riding off with his men in tow.
The Horse began to walk into the temple, deeper inside it. Mono followed the creature, stroking its neck. As they neared the back, a soft cry sounded from what appeared to be a small, empty pool. Mono stepped forward, and let out a small gasp.
At the bottom of the pool was a small infant child, crying. The baby lacked any clothes, and had a small mop of light red hair. Extending from the sides of his head was two small horns.
Mono hesitated; she had been taught, back in her village, that horns were a sign of demons or the work of a demon, and for a moment was hesitant to go near the child. But, her natural, motherly instincts kicked in, and she approached the child, picking it up.
"Shh…don't cry…" she crooned softly, stroking the baby's face. The baby's skin was cold, and she hugged him close to her to share her body heat with the child.
Mono turned back to the horse, but was surprised to find the horse was not there. Instead, the creature was slowly making its way up a spiral staircase. She hesitated, then followed it.
After a moment's climb, Mono found herself at the entrance to a large balcony-like structure. She gasped as she saw the vast expenses of fields below, and what appeared to be the runs of an old…she ventured a guess for a bridge. Seeing the horse begin to ascend a set of stairs to her right, and seeing there was nowhere else to go, Mono followed the horse.
The staircase led to a magnificent garden of sorts, with lush grass, small flowers, and big, looming trees. Mono gaped at the garden, surprised that sigh a cold-looking building could house something so magnificent; even the young child stopped his crying, seemingly shocked at the garden. Small birds chirped as the girl and the horse walked through and towards the center of the garden, and even caught a glimpse of a squirrel scurry by.
Off in the distance a bit, a young deer noticed the two. It paused, its ears flicking a bit, then walked cautiously over to them. Carefully, Mono extended a hand out to the deer, who gingerly sniffed it.
Far 'below' the temple, as that was the view They perceived, Dormin watched the scenes unfold within Their Shrine. It turned out the old Shaman's spell was a minor binding spell, not unlike the one that held Them previously, but many times weaker. They had also been transported outside the realms of the Living, and could only watch, not interfere.
To be perfectly honest, Dormin had been surprised when They saw that the young Wanderer's body and soul had reverted to infancy, the human's only truly pure stage. Still, the boy bore the horns that marked Dormin's power. Though the binding spell upon Their being was temporary, it held fast; this boy would no doubt be the link to it's gradual release.
But for now, the disembodied god was content with watching, and waiting.
This would be interesting.
I want to formally thank each and every one of my readers and reviewers for making this story such a success. Thank you all for reading this, and allowing me the ability to continue it to its finale.
I may or may not write another SotC fic, but feel free to look at my profile for any story updates.
Until next time, people!