She took the steps one by one, her pace unfaltering, giving no evidence of the uncertainty of her heart. Deeper and deeper she descended into the darkness that was the underground. Her footsteps echoed through the tunnel, the only things to break the cold silence. Her hand founds its way to her pocket checking for the hundredth time that the now crumpled slip of parchment was still contained within. It was the reason she was here, under the city in the dark. It was the reason she fled what remained of her friends, and family and life; what little life she had. No one had anything close to resembling a life since the world had ended in iron and blood. Not when so many lives were lost and so many of her people still missing, never to return.
Her shirt clung to her back,sticky with her sweat and she wiped her brow preventing the salty trickles from falling into her eyes. The further down she went the hotter it grew becoming almost unbearable. She had never experienced heat like this before, a scorching dangerous heat that wanted to melt the flesh of her bones. She wondered if her destination was not heaven as she hoped, but hell. Time seemed to cease it’s existence in this place ever since she walked through the door. She did not know how long she walked nor how far she had gone but she did not let herself rest for even a moment.
So silent she crept, growing ever closer to the fabled underground city. The city where the remaining fey had locked themselves away, forced to trade the sky and remaining bits of nature for darkness and safety. A city lit by a thousand lanterns guiding more than one weary traveler to safety. A harder decision had never been made. Her heart beat erratically, a tribal sound that spurred her forward. Down the steps that finally ended, and onto the packed earth. On she went, even as her joints locked together and her feet crunched upon shapes that were most certainly not rocks.
At first, the light was a gray smudge against the inky blackness and if she were human she would not have noticed the subtle difference of color. But she was not human, not one of the mortals who had destroyed the planet with their greed and corruption, so she continued on to the light. Her shoulders that had begun to droop with fatigue straightened, her body flowing with new energy. The blood in her veins was replaced with adrenaline and her steps became lighter, more excited. At last, she stood before the city gates to the underground city of lights. With the now bright light signaling a new hope for her people she uncurled the damp paper and read the words within that had stirred the flame inside her. “we found a way out.”