...In a place beyond their perception, a stronghold beyond words sits, hanging over the edge of the planes. Upon the steps to the black gates, a woman clad in black runs to greet them. She reaches the summit, and after catching her breath, she wills the doors open. The hall extends before her as she walks, growing ever more distant is the end, where another gate lies. She walks forward, playing the scenario out in her mind. Trying to comprehend just what she's about to do. How does one speak to it? How does one even see it? Can it be seen or spoken to? Does it even truly exist? Or is it, like he, a being whose existence is an afterthought? Questions do not lead to an answer, at this moment. Only more questions. Breaking from her trance of thought, she finds herself at the entrance of the hall, once more. She looks about, thinking of a way to reach the end. Realizing there is no way for her to achieve this, she turns about, disheartened. As she walks through the opened gate, she sees herself, at the end of the corridor, walking down a flight of stairs. She looks back, and sees herself standing in a gateway at the end of the corridor. Thoroughly confused, she turns back, and ascends the staircase. The windows to the sides of the staircase display a strange world. The grass is bright green, the trees pink, with mythical creatures bounding about. She decides to ignore it, as by looking, she's confused herself, even more. She continues upwards, eventually finding another gate. Beyond it, three things were apparent. Yet another gate sat directly across a small room. To its left and right, two beings sat. One, a small, frail humanoid, clutching a staff to hold itself up. The other, a massive, majestic, eyeless, white beast, with a blood-stained mouth.

The humanoid speaks to her, "Step forward, child. We are what you seek."

Woman - "Are you the being known as The One?"

Humanoid - "We are what The One is, when The One is not."

Woman - "I seek an audience with The One."

Humanoid - "Are you worthy?"

Woman - "How do I find out?"

Humanoid - "If your intentions are truly non-hostile, you may speak with The One. If your intentions are, indeed, hostile, you will be devoured, like the millions before you."

Woman - "How do you judge that...?"

Humanoid - "By speaking with us, you have displayed a fair deal of agreeableness. But, this has, many times, proven to be a ruse. What do you seek in speaking with The One?"

Woman - "At first, I thought I could convince The One not to fight with Amndra, the Twisted Child. But, I have since learned that convincing these two not to fight is a futile endeavor. Now, I only seek to understand The One's intentions, for myself. I want to understand who they are, and why things have become what they have, in this, our age of strife."

Humanoid - "You have broad sight, for a being so young. I find it pleasing."

Woman - "I have found that many people hate Amndra. I find his actions quite deplorable. However... Having grown up with him, I find it hard to believe that he's truly so vile. My thoughts would be that The One may be able to help me find the truth among the murky waters."

Humanoid - "While I can see in your eyes that you, once, too, were full of hate, as Amndra, you have grown tremendously. These truly are uncertain times. Even The One has contemplated many questions you ask. The One is not infallible. The One was once mortal, and like many beings who've ascended to their power, they often hold many biases. If you still wish to seek an audience with The One... You have gained our approval. You may proceed."

She bowed, and the feeble humanoid bowed back. As they both stood upright, a black light burst from the gate, enveloping the woman. The light felt cold and unyielding. From the blinding darkness, she could feel a presence. The presence, unlike the light, was warm and inviting. She stepped nearer, and the light faded away, revealing a large, sparse bedroom. Upon first glance, one could see nothing but a messy bed, a desk covered and surrounded by papers and books, a single hanging lamp and a window displaying the same mythical setting as the others. However, upon closer inspection, the woman noticed yet another feeble human form, in the corner. The form of a child.