Level 555

At the dawn of time, a sea of light spilled out onto our skies. Once the first humans were birthed and they witnessed this overwhelming sight, they named them "stars." These stars let humanity thrive, acting as lanterns in the sky, showing the mortals the path of which they were to follow. But, over the millions of years since their birth, they began to die out. Slowly at first, their luminosity fading at a rate not noticeable by the average human eye. Though, they did so exponentially, and eventually they had fully fizzled out.

Yet, this did not faze the humans; by the time the stars were gone they no longer had a use for them, instead favoring their man-made torches. They hadn't even realized they were gone—except for those in the dark. Those who lived in isolation, not embracing humanity's advances in technology or their disregard for the stars. They depended on the celestial bodies to find their way amongst the unfamiliar landscapes; but now they were left on their own, drifting in the abyss.

You were one of these individuals. You had left civilization. You were not one to betray your own kin, though their flaws were not something you wished to be associated with. So, you set off on your own, following the stars.



Allowing them to lead you into the unknown.

Allowing them to lead you into void.

Allowing them to lead you into eternal darkness.

But whilst you were following their path, they had abandoned you. Flickering out into nothingness. You weren't quite sure what to do. Were you to continue your trek or were you supposed to go back from whence you came? In your uncertainty, you chose to remain where you were. You thought of why the stars had left. Maybe it was because they had grown bored of humankind? Did they do this to the mortals as a test? And how long have you been where you were? You lost track after the first few days. For how long do you stay here, alone, surrounded by only the occasional wanderers and the few abstract beings that occasionally flicker into existence?

In your state, you paid no mind to your surroundings—even as they began to grow on you. It first started with small, feeble bits of vines making their way up your arm; they curled around your wrist with no apprehension, as if you were just another piece of nature. But as more time passed, your form was completely obscured by the vegetation and small insects began to take shelter within your body, treating it as their home. The bugs speak to you, whispering tales of the very same stars that you yearned for.


The serpent.

From the darkness came a serpent, stirred to being by the stories being told by the critters. It saw what you were reduced to—just another piece of the landscape. The snake slithered to your head and rested there for a moment, but then they uttered an offer to you…

"Ah, felled mortal, may I have a word with thou? I am Ixtal, the first of the children of SPLIT(‽)HEAD. The stars abandoned you, have they not? I wonder how long you've lingered here, reliving what the stars took away from you… However, there exists a way to retrieve them. If it is thine will, I shall steal them from the land of the SPLIT(?)HEAD and gift them back to you. However doing this will cause me to lose my life. Is your desire so strong as to cast my existence aside?"

From your coarse lips, you raspily whispered, "Yes…"

"Of course, I shouldn't have underestimated your determination. Consider it so, my beloved corpse…"

The snake slinks away from you slowly, creeping back into the darkness. A few moments pass before you see it—the stars.


The stars.

They come down, shooting through the sky down to the earth. The humans who had long since forgotten the glowing orbs welcome the stars with open arms, hoping to witness the power of celestial creation in the palms of their hands. The beautiful sight up above is mesmerizing; it allows us to forget our struggles, relinquish our fears, and let go of ourselves. How long has it been since we first identified the constellations in this landscape? Hours? Days? Years?

It's easy to wish upon a shooting star as it crashes down to the earth below and burns up in the atmosphere, leaving a trail of blinding lights behind. It's not long before the other stars follow the example, and soon, the result is an entire array of beautiful streaks of light illuminating the sky like the strokes of a paintbrush on an empty canvas.

The twilight, enhanced by its juxtaposing colors and the canopy of the trees, is truly an amazing sight to behold. As one time transitions to the next, the scenery only grows in magnificence and glory as it exhibits its hypnotic portrait with a perfect horizon. Such an ethereal ocean of twinkling stars suspended in the air, however, is only temporary. The most beautiful of creations of nature always seem to possess the shortest lifespans. They fall to the earth, striking the ground with the force of a thousand suns.

Captivated by the stars' entrancing power, you could forever idle here.


The process of Ascension, as its name suggests, involves an individual rapidly rising into the sky causing them to suffer high-altitude pulmonary edema—leading to their death. Once they have expired, their body will fall back to the ground at extreme speeds, splattering against the ground and being injury inducing for anyone close to the area of impact. However, it is believed that the individual's psyche will survive this process and float to Level 555, known as "The City of Lost." It serves as an “afterlife” of sorts…

rating: +18+x

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