The stiff control of the elevator engages with a clunk, sending it ascending slowly upwards into a lightless enclosed shaft. A sound, not unlike the thunder on the rolling plains of Iocanthos, becomes steadily louder until the roof above you splits open.
The elevator shaft floods with hard, brilliant daylight as the platform breaks the surface and judders to a halt. A wave of sound assaults you and the clean, sweet air is intoxicating as you stare helplessly dumbfounded for a moment at the scene that surrounds you. Cheers and laughter, screams of delight and danger, music played by instrument and vox. Overhead, a bright blue sky shimmers and sparkles like an oversized jewel, lined with dark ridges that spread out and down to the horizon from a single brass sphere high overhead like the rays of a golden star.
The platform has deposited you on a raised marble dais, one of many that grace an ornate high-sized plaza decorated in lofty and opulent fashion. Statues and billowing silk pavilions line wide paved walkways that are thronged with hundreds of people in a riot of costume and color.
The people walk and sway, rush and revel, seemingly without purpose or reason; some cheer and laugh, while others seem to cling fearfully to each other and hurry on to unguessed at destinations.
Beside your platform, an ethereal-looking noblewoman clad in a blue gown of shimmersilk and an immaculate pearl mask sweeps through the crowd, her midnight-robed attendants clearing her way with iron staves, while ivory skinned cherubim swoop about her, filling the air with narcotic vapors from their silver censers. She pauses to look up at you and says,
“I say, what fun, is it a revel you are from? What delightful costumes, so decadent, so visceral. Tell me, will there be blood, can you promise me blood?”
Before you can answer, a great bell tolls and the woman turns away, and she and her retinue are swallowed up by the thronging crowd.