A surprise, he told us.

We waited in a darkened room, eyes fixed upon the wall.

Now it begins.

The screen flickered to life, and we were there...

dear gods, Catherine, we were there. Did it look like this when you walked its stones? Did Atrus ever stand upon these aged flagstones? Toss a coin in this little fountain that sings like a ghost in this dead city?

Our guide led us forward, past broken paving stones, sealed doors, yawning windows, paths blocked off by rubble or warning signs: so much lies in ruins, so much is unsafe now.

There were moths dancing over the firemarble lamps in the gloom.

We crossed a cracked bridge, looked down...
Colored lights glinted upon water in a strange garden.

We stood upon a balcony and looked out across the dim lake, miles wide, barely tinged with an orange glow. There were lights on the father shore, remote, enticing: The City. We must be on the island, then. The cavern wall was too far to make out. Miles. And miles of stone above us.

We returned to the square and the fountain...

Do you know who was waiting for us?

This is not fiction. I tell you what I saw.

"Would you like to see an Age?" he asked us.

Would we like to fly?

A small room. Glimpses of books on pedestals, as we've only seen before in dreams. He went first. His hand brushed the page. He vanished before our eyes. We followed. Darkness filled our vision...

And we stood in a place where curved stone walls cupped the sky, clouds scudded overhead, and now and then the rain sluiced down. There were trees. There were flowers. They moved. Some sang. I glimpsed a creature that slid through the waters of a black pool crossed by stepping stones. I saw strange signs on the walls.

Our guides answered our questions, or toyed with half-answers.

Lightning flashed.

Illumination. Revelation.

All summer in a day-- and then--

We went home.

I hold these memories now. I have seen D'ni. And soon, friends, if you search, if you are lucky...

You'll see it too.