If there's a better way I could be setting the scene, please let me know and I'll give it a shot
Written By: tiredwriter
July 12, 2015
After stumbling through the dense forests, losing your footing as you cross countless rivers, and fumbling with your courage to press on in your journey to wherever it is supposed to lead you, look to the mountains; then look higher. Crane your neck to the point you feel your head attempt to detach, for only then will you notice that there, nestled among the towering mountains, rests a city that glows with such intensity that for a moment you forget about the fatigue creeping up your legs.
The aching returns as you find yourself ambling towards the brightness.
There's a pulse that pounds underneath the dirt. You wait for the city to become louder as you approach, but no increase in sound ever reaches your ears, only a distinct feeling that there is life up ahead.
You pull yourself up by the elbows and rise to your feet. The sun is beginning to sink towards the ground behind you now; you can feel its warmth on your back, but that doesn't really hit you in the moment, because in this moment, you are staring at a city sculpted from amber.
There is no other explanation. Every building, every house, every shack, as far as you can tell, was painstakingly constructed from the resin of the forests down below. You had seen the holes neatly decorating the trunks, and now, staring at the city before you, you can see that the drained golden syrup was put to good use. The smoothness of every wall reinforces your use of the word "painstakingly;" not a single flaw draws attention to itself. Someone not only poured their time into the crafting of this city, they also poured into it their devotion.
No one walks along the dirt paths that you can see spread themselves through the city. It appears that every citizen has resigned to their home. The main dirt path, the one you stand at the very end of, rolls out far beyond your ability to see- even holding your hand out, you cannot "touch" the other end.
And while you can't see people, you can see their bodies through the amber walls.
Everywhere you look, there is an undeniable presence of people. People dance together, twirling around the room slowly; people who must be children, with their fluid motion and short statures, run across the room and fling their entire being at a crouching figure; two figures stand on opposite sides of a door, one fidgeting with their hands, one drawing their shoulders back, both showing signs of wanting.
All around you, there is life. All around you, there is no sound.
That is what drives you to head back down the mountain and be embraced by the forests that witnessed your feat. You know that beyond those walls, you would be able to hear many things: laughter, talk, gentle sighs. But you tear yourself away from staring at this magnificant place, because you need to know that this is not a dream you have happily stumbled upon.
You walk away, but turn around in time to note that when the sun sets, the entire city looks set ablaze.
And thus the image of Elaria remains burned in your mind.