It happened as it had two times before, while he looked over the City from his viewing platform and contemplated the politics of the hierotimates. After the last visitation, he had made it his business to be present in this location every evening he was able. The hallowgeons did not conform to any schedule but their own, their ways mysterious and strange. They often did things that did not seem to serve any rational purpose, yet claimed it was their task to impart wisdom to the human race. They claimed to be guardians of some sort. How was it the one known as Cadoc had described it? “...to preserve universal balance and aesthetics…” Whatever that was supposed to mean.
The first time he’d seen their ship, an irrational horror had filled him. Not because he felt his life was in danger, but because he was before something that every fiber of his being felt should not exist, something not of this world. It had been hovering silently in the air next to the ziggurat, several feet above his balcony. It was an incomprehensibly intricate design, with details that somehow eluded his examination, giving it a hazy and gray quality, as if his human eyes did not have the proper faculties to process all that was before him. It was a ship very different from the aerials, even Marrow’s, the largest and most renowned of the airships, capable of elevations far higher, far above the clouds, travelling into regions not understood by humanity, where the hallowgeons must live. Above the clouds there was said to be a place referenced only as “the void” in the text Lemmenkainen had given him, an ancient tome without a title, the personal understandings and scientific observations of an Arkaine from the first age of the world who had perished long ago.
“Good evening, Trevor,” a strange voice spoke from behind him, and when he turned, his heart immediately began to beat furiously in his chest.
Three hallowgeons were standing behind him. Gray robes draped their bodies, as if to conceal anatomies his eyes might find twisted and displeasing to gaze upon, hoods up over their heads so that only their pale faces were visible. They were very tall, the shortest at perhaps a little over nine feet, the tallest closer to ten.
“We are well met,” Cadoc said, in a voice Trevor knew as the most normal of the three, yet that seemed to possess an echo of sorts, each cadence reverberating in his skull and lingering, fading only reluctantly.
“Welcome,” Trevor managed, swallowing, doing his best to collect himself and hide his discomfort. Even with the masks the hallowgeons wore, their presence was still disconcerting. The identically blank and pale visages the three wore could not conceal their eyes, that peered from slits, larger than human eyes, Cadoc’s shot with veins so yellow they seemed to glow, the one known as Mithra (who had spoken initially) almost white and filled with milky wriggling movement, and the one known as Siriac (the tallest of the three) so black it were as if he possessed no eyes at all.
“We have come to impart upon you certain information so that you might act in a way we find pleasing,” Siriac said, in a voice so deep and hollow that one felt rather than heard it.
“I…” Trevor took a deep breath. “I have been waiting.”