Damp. The cave was lit with an increasingly intense glow; orange light dragged itself into every crevice it could grapple at. Gradually, the floor and walls became more uniform before disappearing all together revealing a city most ancient. A short trip over the well maintained yet centuries old wooden bridge granted them entrance to the city. They were attracted to it like a moth to a flame, unsure of the why but still they continued. The cities centre gently swayed on its anchors, suspended over a seemingly bottomless pit; they were overwhelmed by the sounds and smells, assaulting them from every angle. The market square was completely alien to them but still comfortingly familiar, despite the intolerable sound, they felt comforted by signage in their language, by the knowledge they would be understood. Before approaching a small stall overseen by a younger gentleman, they checked themselves for currency. Running their hands up and down their clothing yielded nothing but strange looks from the locals; the only things in their possession would be of no use here. Alas, they approached the stall regardless in the hopes that the shop-keep would be generous enough to assist them without incentive. They were wrong. Before they could even open their mouth the gentleman tapped a sign marking that the shop only served locals, evidently, the shop-keep didn’t recognise them which, in part, answered their question. Weaving through the crowds and supressing their impulse to run out of the city as fast as their legs could carry them, they pressed on deeper into town. Many of the shops displayed similar signs to the one highlighted by the stall owner, and those that didn’t seemed empty and destitute. Stopping to re-orient themselves, they caught something unexpected out of the corner of their eye. Reflecting in the storefront before them, their reflection; they looked themselves up and down, stopping shy of their face. Their body was dressed in a very utilitarian manner with space to store anything they may need in a variety of situations. Eventually, they met their own gaze; they couldn’t hold eye contact for long but upon inspection of their face they found further distress. They knew that the reflection was theirs but it seemed off… as if distorted or altered. The only comforting feature was their eyes, their eyes looked the same.
Still they had to continue on. They travelled deeper into the city glancing at their wrist every so often to gauge how far they were from the exit. Eventually, they found a tavern without restrictions. The thin crowds indicated that it was probably time to end the day and from what little they remembered, taverns were a good place for asking questions. The door screamed on its hinges causing their head to jolt to one side. The bar’s patrons stared at the newcomer before returning to their drinks in silence. Whatever charm had once occupied this once homely pub had long since died. They approached the bar slowly, walking on the balls of their feet. They gave the other patrons a nod before sitting with them. The silence unnerved them, their neck jolted their head once more. The barkeep simply pointed towards a booth in the corner of the room. As if there was a mutual understanding, they stood and made their way to their assigned seating. They weren’t alone.
“Lore!” The cloaked figure exclaimed. “How’ve you been?”
although shadows cloaked most of the figures face, they could see a white grin that smiled and spoke as if they knew each-other well. They considered playing along but their need for information was too pressing.
“What? Wh-Who are you?” They asked.
“Funny… Really funny.” The figure responded. They paused noting the genuine confusion on their partners face. “It’s me, Crait. We’ve worked together on and off for the best part of a century.” Crait noted no changes in Lore’s face. They were still just as confused.
“I’m sorry, I honestly can’t remember.” Lore responded, their voice quivered.
“Hey mate, it’s alright. Memory issues are a common enough side effect. When did you get here?”
“I followed a light through a cave, that led to a bridge which brought me to a market and locals only signs drove me here.”
“Right, what sort of time frame are we talking?”
“I got here about three hours ago.” They said revealing their watch. Crait immediately slapped their hand below the table
“What do you think you’re doing getting that out here?” Crait was beginning to become seriously concerned for their comrade. “These people won’t invent the wrist watch for another forty or so years let alone Breachers.”
“What’s a Breacher?” They looked at the device on their wrist. It was a simple, flexible band attached to the wrist with a discrete metal clasp.
“Ok. We are members of the Temporal Sciences Guild of The United Earth Protectorate. We were tasked with cataloguing this planets development throughout its history to see if it was safe to make contact with and how our contact would effect this species development.” Crait paused. “None of this familiar?”
“You are but.” Lore paused. “I couldn’t even remember my own name.”
“Well, the only thing that matters is that you and your Breacher are together and in one piece. Lets get you home and checked out hey.”
Together they retreated from the tavern to a dimly lit alley. Crait smiled placing their arm around Lore. Their warmth was comforting before a flash of intense light blinded them. They saw flashes of the city they were leaving behind. As suddenly as it began, it was over.