It’s early morning, snow blows up over the stones and sand. A young man with short tightly curled hair and a severe expression looks out a window down past the wall to a field. People are arranged in a semicircle around a rough stone statue. They kneel, palms on the cold ground, robes billowing around them.
An identical young man dressed in modest robes strides past the supplicants and heads towards the house at the top of the hill. He throws open the doors with great enthusiasm and broadly smiles at his twin, who is still staring out the window.
LAHEL: Avoiding your duties Ladis? Well I am too, let's--
He is abruptly cut off by his brother.
LADIS: They look to Ter for solace. But do they remember what their great-great-grandmothers prayed for? Their voices. (He waves at tomes of ancient books) It’s all recorded here. People long dead still taunting us from across a page. “We had it all, and we wasted it.” What was their downfall? What great transgression occurred, to condemn us all to this eternal silence?
LAHEL: Seems I’ve caught you at a bad time.
Lahel smiles but sees that Ladis doesn’t return the gesture. He sighs and shifts to look out the window as well.
LAHEL: When we were younger you used to speak of such things with awe and wonderment. It’s why I even bothered to learn about it. But you’re bitter now, what happened?
Ladis cracks a rare smile, acknowledging what his brother said is true.
LADIS: I guess you can chalk it up to envy. Those that came before us had all this power at their fingertips, and now it lays in ruin. Imagine what we could accomplish with their knowledge?
LAHEL: Ha, you think we wouldn’t end up like them?
LADIS: You’re right, maybe we wouldn’t be any better. But imagine...
Ladis gets up from his nest of books and brushes of his robes, stopping for a moment to gaze out the window into the sandy courtyard.
LAHEL: You’re thinking of the factory aren’t you?
LADIS: She used to tell us stories about it remember? With a whistle, they generated enough power to turn this wasteland into an oasis.
LAHEL: Personally I’ve always been fascinated by the Bridge
LADIS: Ah, Scholars today can’t even begin to piece together how that worked. It used to span from one continent to another, floating effortlessly above the sea. Even the poorest could travel to a new place if they desired, nothing was stopping them. And now it’s at the bottom of the ocean.
LAHEL: What was it Oma used to say? A hum and your wound stitched itself up. A whistle and the wind set your kite a float. A word and the world is alight with fire.
Lahel half-shrugs and turns to face his brother, but Ladis has stopped listening to him and is frantically leafing through a heavy book.
LAHEL: Hey, we were having a deep conver—
Lahel moves over to his brother and peers over his shoulder as the other flips rapidly through a large book. Ladis stops at a page, there is an etching of a temple, pristine, with large glass orbs floating around it.
LAHEL: It’s an old temple to the Order of Three.
LADIS: It's one of the last places Magic was observed before the Silence.
LADIS: We’re—- I'm going to make a pilgrimage there. I've been thinking about it for a while now. If Ter is genuinely a fair god then maybe they will listen. Perhaps they will open the Gate for us.
LAHEL: Don’t be foolish. What makes us so unique compared to the countless others who’ve prayed? Our whole family has tried!
LADIS: I know! (his voice softens) I know. We’ve spent our whole life praying and studying. I just thought maybe...
Lahel looks out the window again, the people outside have gotten up and are making their way back to their homes, some stop to chat with one another. He keeps looking out into the distance, there are massive fallen structures scattered on the horizon. Make-shift houses have been built into and out of the ruins.
He lets out a long sigh.
LAHEL: When would we leave?