Cloudy Steps

Litvir hesitated as he stepped out of the ship into this strange, unfamiliar terrain. He had expected his feet to fall straight through the soft, pink clouds, but no, they accepted his weight perfectly. The psionic Decay Lord should have expected that, since his much larger crew mates had stepped out onto the pink clouds with no problem what so ever.

“You coming, Litvir?” Retvik shouted, perhaps a little too loudly, as he bounced around, enjoying the oddly low gravity. It wasn’t low enough to allow flight or anything, but considering that both Galyn and Retvik were rather heavy, it did put an interesting spring in their movement. Litvir however did not like this at all, so he opted to use his psionic powers to tweak gravity just around him. He preferred walking normally. Or at least at whatever gravity level they had inside the Thantir Two.

“Yes, yes, give me a moment…” With a frown, Litvir tapped the small panel by the ship door, inputting a four-digit code. The door slid shut and sealed itself, cementing the fact that Litvir now had to go exploring with Retvik and Galyn. Speaking of whom, Galyn had already put gloves on and was silently taking samples, all the while keeping an eye on both him and Retvik. “Where are we going anyway, to the castle?”

“Where else?” Retvik retorted. “We are supposed to be exploring, not dilly-dallying. We need to find out who built that castle and who lives here! And hopefully stick it on a map so that others can see it too and avoid having a rock leave a big tear in their hull.”

Litvir huffed, then started following Retvik up the clouds. On closer inspection, some of the clouds were a slightly lighter shade of pink, marking a path of sorts that lead to a smoother path towards the castle. Caution needed to be taken though as there were a few rocks hidden among the clouds. Litvir noticed Galyn had tripped a couple of times, which was a bit odd, since Galyn normally had great balance, despite being over four meters tall – a good meter taller than Litvir himself.

“This place is… curious…” Galyn muttered as he picked himself up yet again, having tripped up enough to properly stumble this time. “Feels… odd…”

Litvir nodded in agreement. “I do not like it. Too pink.”

“Has to be Life Goddess territory though, right?” Retvik asked, picking up his pace. As they approached the castle, there was a moat around it. The moat however was filled with a strange, purple fluid that clashed with the otherwise pink terrain. Now they were nice and close, they could see curious details on the castle walls – they were made of crystal but were completely opaque. The castle itself was decidedly square and its various windows were almost randomly placed. At least the drawbridge and main entrance were centralized.

“Looks like it,” Galyn grunted, before pausing, inspecting the liquid in the moat. With a snap of his fingers, he summoned a small vine with a couple of leaves on it, and dropped it into the fluid. The three Decay Lords watched with a hint of horror as the vine completely disintegrated. “Alright, try not to fall in.”


The drawbridge, unusually, was also made of clouds, but with crystal plates embedded in it. At the end of the drawbridge was a gate and a door, that both appeared to be closed and probably locked. Everything looked well maintained, just not exactly lived in. Litvir noticed that…

“That… the… what…”

Litvir blinked. The clouds were gone. Everything was gone. Crashed ships littered the darkness. It was all…

Blinking again, everything snapped back to normal. The castle was still there, Galyn and Retvik were still there. Glancing behind him, Litvir could see the ship in the distance.

“Did you… see that?”

“See what?” Galyn had noticed that Litvir had fallen behind. He stood by Litvir’s side, giving him a quick mental check over.

“It…” Litvir stuttered, not really sure what he actually saw, aside from darkness. “I do not know.”

“You did not accidentally turn on your infrared vision, did you?” Retvik shrugged. “Whole place is invisible on the infrared spectrum.”

Litvir shrugged too, the images he saw quickly fading. “Hm… Maybe I did… Still, I would like to get a move on and get back as soon as possible.”

“Why?” Retvik retorted. “Scared of something? Unwilling to face a slight bit of discomfort?”

“No, I just… have a bad feeling about this…”

Retvik patted Litvir playfully on the back. “You always have a bad feeling about this. Come on, let us continue, I am sure everything is fine…”