by M.D Schultz
A brief overview of the investigation team sent to explore the parallel realm Niflheim.
|Case Study 365010 Niflheim
Not long after the first Prism Gate was opened "Case Study 365000 The Glutton" , smaller rifts to the parallel realms started appearing all over our world. These rogue gates were unstable and many didn’t last more than a few seconds. As such, the appearance of a rift often went unnoticed but could bring calamity. Previous case studies had demonstrated the dangers lurking within the parallel realms and, up until five years after the prism gate incident, no expeditions into the parallel realms had been successful. Given the dangers that the gates posed, the first missions led by the Fifth Chapter were done using unmanned units and drones. These instruments were designed to scout and gather data and to help us learn more about our neighboring worlds. However, these expeditions all ended in failure. Communication was, at the time, impossible between earth and whatever realm the rifts were connected to. As a result, we lost contact with every machine and such expeditions were deemed too dangerous for humankind. Instead of wasting resources on missions beyond the rifts, the fifth chapter instead devoted its time and money to bolster our defenses against whatever came to us. The early years of our young organization were the most difficult. Rifts appeared without warning and danger came without fail. If we were lucky, these phenomena were contained without incident. However, this was rarely the case. Too many lives were lost and there appeared to be no stopping these tears in space and time. Many began to hypothesize that the only way to stop the rift activity was from the other side. Of course, there was no evidence to substantiate this but in hours of desperation people often grasp the most unlikely explanations. Needless to say, something had to be done and it had to be done soon.
Eventually, the unstable energy that rippled across the globe led to the opening of a rift unlike any we had seen before. One of the largest prism gates ever recorded opened in the heart of London. Over a mile wide, the Prism Gate consumed the city and left it in chaos. This was easily one of the greatest disasters since the foundation of the Fifth Chapter due to the number of people exposed to the rippling energies of the gate. Mop up operations estimated over a million and a half people involved in the incident. Maintaining confidentiality after the London crisis took a great deal of time, money, and effort. However, there was a silver lining amidst this mess. A few civilians had crossed through the gate and back unharmed. These individuals were the first rift walkers, my predecessors. At the time, they had no understanding of the feat they had performed. Instead, they were confused and described a bizarre city coated in mist with a faint blue light. These reports were fascinating and prompted immediate investigation as to the stability of the rift. To our surprise, unlike so many others, the London gate produced a stable signature like the bunker gate. This one was likely not going anywhere anytime soon, or so we thought. This early investigation led to the foundation of the order of which I am now the sole member. This order was that of the rift walkers. We were tasked with exploring the other realms in hopes of finding a way to end the rift crisis. This was the most dangerous position any member of the chapter could hold. Despite this, finding volunteers was simple. Men and women like myself who believed that there was much to learn from the other realms eagerly signed on. How different life would have been had we simply turned away. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t wish I had made a different decision.
Including myself, our team consisted of only four members. The first was Dr. Phillipa Osmond who was the youngest among us but her age was a poor indication of capability. She was handpicked by the order due to her uncanny grasp of physics and, soon after, interdimensional study. Her work, though finished by the Cathedral, ultimately led to the development of the Orsinium rods. A tool that would later become instrumental in stabilizing rogue gates and without which my job would be impossible. Needless to say, she was a genius in her respective field but that doesn’t mean she lived without flaws. Dr. Osmond was a hothead who handled criticism about as well as a five-year-old and had issues with authority figures. I had worked with her in the past and could attest to the extent of her God complex. Regardless, her expertise on rift stability made her a shoe-in for the first-ever exploration of the parallel realms.
The second member was Dr. Isaac Stevens who was a well-renowned engineer. He was one of the many scientists who was known for developing immortality tech and he specialized in instruments that could replicate human thought and brainwave patterns. Ironically, agreeing to join the Niflheim expedition spared him the fate of his fellow scientists whose lives were lost at the completion of their ambition, the Cathedral "Case Study 365082 The Cathedral " . Dr. Stevens was our tech expert and he, along with Dr. Osmond, was tasked with gathering data from the parallel realm. It was thought that this data may be used to end the rift crisis or, at the very least, give us a better way of predicting the appearance of Prism Gates. Of all the rift walkers, I liked him the most. He was an older man and a bit eccentric but he had a way of speaking that made even the most difficult topic seem simple and he never looked down on anyone.
The third member was Dr. Bradley Fillmore who, of all of us, had the most martial experience. He was part of a military faction within the fifth chapter and was trained with dispatching all manner of horrors. His experiences in that respect were more in line with my own. Where I was tasked with research, Dr. Fillmore specialized in execution and his tools were far different from mine. We had crossed paths several times as part of my work and it’s safe to say that I owe my life to him on more than one occasion. Trained as an assassin, he was cold and uncompromising in his duty which was often interpreted as uncaring and, as such, he was not a very popular man. However, few friends were almost a requirement for our line of work as the life expectancy for many of us was low.
I was the fourth and final member of our investigation team. Before my ascension as the rift walker and first member of the triumvirate, I was most famous for the role I played in the creation of the very first Prism Gate. At the time, I was the leading expert on creatures from the parallel realms having a hand in most written case studies. I had an uncanny knack for survival and was lucky in more ways than I care to admit. Now that I look back on it, I almost feel as though an invisible hand was guiding me to Niflheim. I was picked because of my knowledge surrounding the beast codex of the fifth chapter. If we ran into any creature I was the one most likely to know what it was and, more importantly, how to kill it. To this end, I was partnered with Dr. Fillmore. Altogether, we were each well-respected members of our order and it must have been difficult for the organization to even consider losing ranking members. This, at the very least, should go to show how serious they were in putting an end to the rift crisis.
Together, we arrived at a city thrown into chaos. Cars were abandoned and water spilled into the streets from broken mains and toppled buildings. the massive rift had bisected an entire portion of London. Power had been cut and many city blocks were flooded in darkness. It was the night of a full moon when we stepped before the Niflheim gate. To stand so close to a rift is a surreal experience. It’s like looking at the surface of a great body of water. If you look hard enough, you can see just past your reflection to the other side. A murky depth that tells of another world beyond our own.
“It’s quite something isn’t it?” Dr. Osmund questioned no one in particular. Her voice sounded disembodied filtered through the mask that all of us wore as an additional precaution. The yellow suits, as they were called, were the first at the site of a rift. Generally low ranking and, as harsh as it sounds, expendable members of the Fifth Chapter. They wore a type of hazmat suit designed to counter several known rift phenomena and earned their names from its design. On that day, each of us was a yellow suit again but our mission was far more than simply scouting. It took mere moments for our group to establish the stability of the Niflheim rift.
“It’s just as we thought, look at the patterns here! They are almost identical to the bunker rift!” Dr. Stevens stood with a spectacle in one hand and a long sheet of paper in his right. The man was as excited as a child on their birthday. However, his excitement was justified. We had never seen a more stable rift since the foundation of the first. The instrument we had installed was transcribing what appeared to be seismographs on long sheets of paper. The lines that shifted up and down were the exact height and width of the next. No variation in these peaks suggested a very stable signal. With our limited knowledge, we felt that this rift was going to last for a long time. We had all the information we needed and our exploration of Niflheim was set to begin that very night.
How do you prepare for such an expedition? It’s a valid question and one that we had no exact way of answering. I often wondered how Lewis and Clark felt before setting out to map the Louisiana Purchase. How did they steel themselves before exploring the unknown? At that time, nobody knew what to expect. Many felt prehistoric monsters dwelled within the forests and the rivers. Some even believed that the lands were God’s holy ground and that treading upon them would invite his wrath. To be sure they were brave and perhaps even a little foolish. However, nothing was ever achieved without risk and, more often than not, the larger the risk the greater the reward. In the case of Lewis and Clark, this was certainly the case. And so it was that we set out very brave and perhaps even a little foolish.
Passing through the rift was, at first, like stepping into an ice-cold shower. Even fully dressed the effect was jolting and could be felt right to the tip of your spine. Soon, the swirling energy blurred my vision and the sound of static noise became deafening. That’s when the torture began. I was quickly swept away in a whirlwind of chaos. The lights, sounds, and smells came to rapidly to discern and my head felt ready to split. Screaming didn't help, the sound was simply drowned out by the cacophony of noises akin to a roaring freight train. The others had vanished from my sight and I was alone on that rollercoaster ride to hell. Our time between worlds felt an eternity but we eventually emerged on the other side. I, along with everyone else, was violently tossed from the gate. I heard the others retching in the distance and it wasn’t long before I joined them. It was hard to tell exactly where we were as there was little light in Niflheim and it took a long time for my eyes to adjust. Amazingly, the light of earth never made it through the rift. Though disoriented, there were two things that became clear about this world. First, as expected, there was breathable oxygen which we quickly confirmed as some of us had lost our air reserves traveling through the rift. In that respect, we were very fortunate. Second, we discovered that the ground was made of an unnaturally smooth stone with no divots or imperfections of any kind. In addition, the floor was wet with moisture and very slippery. The realm of Niflheim earned its name for the heavy mist that blanketed the sky. The humidity of that world was intense and a strange heat radiated from the ground. As our eyes adjusted, we noticed pillar-like structures all around us. They were buildings and we were standing in the middle of what looked like a great city.
At first glance, the towering spires appeared to be skyscrapers and office buildings but, as we approached, this clearly wasn’t the case. These “buildings” had no windows and, like the ground was made of a smooth stone with no imperfections. A single wide opening was cut neatly into the base of each structure with no signs of a door. In addition, there wasn’t any clear pattern to the height or width of each stone pillar. Some were tall and some were short with the width of the base depending on the height. A stunning sight to be sure but, in the chaos, we couldn’t fully appreciate our surroundings. It took time for us to gather the remains of our equipment. We had lost a few of our instruments traversing the rift but still had enough provisions to continue the investigation. However, I would be lying to say that we weren’t shaken. Dr. Stevens was the most noticeably affected with a cold sweat across his brow and his hands which never stopped shaking. He assured us that he could continue and so we all decided that finding a place for shelter was in our best interest. We chose the largest building we could find to camp in. Our team swept the structure and discovered a mysterious and confusing layout. There was no furniture, no flooring, no room designations, and no signs of life. In all twelve stories, we found dead-end hallways and rooms with doorways cut into the floors and ceilings. There was no rhyme or reason to the placement of the rooms and stairwells making this structure a labyrinth that one can easily get lost in.
We set up our lab as best we could on the first floor and closed off the entrance with tent material and plastic lining. This building was to be our base of operations and was approximately 25 meters from the rift opening. Using what technology we had, Dr. Osmond discovered, to no one's surprise, a high amount of water vapor in the air which would attest to the intense humidity we were experiencing. At the time, we felt that we were in the path of a coming storm. In a sense, we weren’t too far from the truth.
We spent hours that day collecting data and finding our bearings in the realm of mist. During that time, there was no sign of a rising sun and nor had the fog decreased in intensity. Furthermore, we had discovered a faint blue light through the mist. A horizontal slit that radiated an otherworldly glow. At first, I felt that this was the light of a very dim star. However, if that was the case then this planet didn’t rotate for the light never changed position in the sky. What was also strange was that much of this worlds heat came from below and not above. Was there geothermal activity ongoing just under the surface of the land? That might of explained the water vapor but we hadn’t found any vents or geysers. We also hadn’t discovered any lifeforms within Niflheim. Despite the humidity, there wasn’t even bacteria present and the realm appeared to be completely sterile. This was certainly unusual considering much of the atmosphere could support life. Not to mention the stone structures were too clean cut and the insides, while confusing, were unquestionably designed by an intelligence. Even then, I didn’t believe that natural phenomena were capable of building staircases right side up let alone upside down. However, we were in a parallel realm and no one truly knew what these worlds were capable of.
It was around this time that Dr. Osmund took it upon herself to investigate several of the nearby structures alone. In doing so, she found the same confusing layout present within each and reported no signs of life. She did this despite the ire of myself and Dr. Filmore. I had suspected that her arrogance and refusal to listen to orders would become a problem. Before setting out on this expedition Dr. Filmore had made it clear that we would remain a team for our investigations and any lone wolf behavior was strictly prohibited. This, however, was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Dr. Osmund was going to do whatever she damn well pleased to advance the interests of the Fifth Chapter. This had served the organization well for many years but such attitude was not acceptable for field research. Perhaps I should have done more to dissuade such reckless behavior but my concern was only interpreted as jealousy. We gave up when we realized pressing harder would only encourage more of the same behavior. Besides, we had greater concerns than any individuals well being. Unfortunately, even after spending a day in Niflheim, we were still no closer to understanding anything about the rifts let alone how to close them.
We spent the night back at our encampment within one of the winding spires of Niflheim. Dr. Fillmore kept watch for none of us could shake the feeling of uneasiness. The eerie silence of that world haunts me even to this day and sleep was very hard to come by. There was something about that world that didn’t sit right with me. Was it the absence of life, the mist, or the faint blue light? The truth was there was something wrong with the way these structures were built. The baffling interior was designed almost like a maze. As if someone built this world in order to hide from something or, more disturbingly, to keep something in. My thoughts were troubling and Dr. Filmore shared in my unease. He was not one to easily express his emotions even after our tumultuous travel through the rift. If he was upset, all of us had cause to be alarmed. However, we had no way of knowing what was coming for us.
Have you ever heard of sleep paralysis? It’s a sleeping disorder in which you wake unable to move, unable to see, and unable to breathe. Fortunately, this condition isn’t fatal but can cause enormous distress for the individual. For those who have experienced it, it’s like someone smothering you and you cannot fight back nor even scream. That’s what it was like for the first night in Niflheim. When my eyes closed shut, I couldn’t open them again. I was completely paralyzed and it was then that something came. Something that traveled through the mists and brought the distorted sounds of human laughter. I cannot express the fear that I felt in words. How do you run when you cannot move and how do you fight when you cannot see? We were trapped forced to listen to a nameless fear. I could hear it creeping through the halls and whispering in our ears. We were tortured for hours before it finally left us. When the laughter was all but a distant whimper we were freed from its grasp but awoke to a nightmare. Dr. Fillmore had vanished. There was absolutely no trace of his existence save for the equipment and clothing left behind. To make matters worse, the London rift’s position had moved 48000 meters, roughly 30 miles, to the south of our resting camp. We were in chaos. Dr. Stevens had all but broken down at that point babbling about moving shadows and how he was unclean. Dr. Osmund and I did our best to calm him but, regardless, It became clear that our investigation was over and that we needed to get the hell out of Niflheim. With this thought in mind, we tore our camp apart taking with us only what was necessary. Much of the instruments and data was left behind as we were forced to shoulder Dr. Stevens and couldn’t bear the extra burden. I was impressed with Dr. Osmund. Despite her dedication to the fifth chapter, she was willing to drop everything for the sake of human life. This was certainly not a quality I had expected from her and it upset me that I had thought so little of her. We left the Niflheim spire with little but ourselves and a handheld device that tracked the location of the rift. With 30 miles between us and the prism gate, it was hard to tell how stable it was. There was a strong possibility that the gate would shut forever. Such a frightening thought forced us to move quickly in the mist that now seemed more like a prison. I swear even now that when we left that cursed building I could hear the laughter of Dr. Filmore in the distance.
We had run for nearly ten miles before we witnessed one of the most astounding and truly dangerous phenomena of Niflheim. The pale sickly light that haunted the sky above us became a brilliant flare without equal. It was as if someone had opened a floodgate. The sun of Niflheim didn’t rise or fall but opened and closed. The incandescent blue light didn’t produce heat but had an immediate effect on the environment. The water vapor in the air became ice and snow in a matter of seconds. We were witnessing deposition before our eyes.
Phase transitions are natural events that occur in nature and refer to when molecules shift from a solid, liquid, or gaseous state. As a liquid, water molecules are close together and, unlike solids, have more fluidity and movement. If energy is applied, spinning water molecules become faster and move out of an orderly position becoming a vapor or gas. This is called evaporation. Deposition is when these chaotic molecules are forced back into a rigid and orderly state moving from a gas into a solid. The light we witnessed could influence the structure of molecules forcing them into a solid state. As such, the water vapor in the air froze and trapped oxygen molecules becoming snow. Niflheim became an eerie white landscape. Without the mist, we were free to observe the entirety of the realm which was flat and covered in stone spires as far as the eye could see. Though the humidity had plummeted, heat radiated from beneath our feet and yet the warm ice didn’t melt. Within minutes, the land was covered in snow. It wasn’t long before the danger became apparent. The light of Niflheim worked on more than just water molecules. Along with the ice and snow, we noticed crystalline structures of solid oxygen. At normal atmospheric pressure, it takes temperatures as low as -219°C for oxygen to solidify and yet it was happening in the presence of that strange light. Before long, there was barely any breathable oxygen left and the liquid in our eyes began to freeze. We were becoming as lifeless as our surroundings.
There are times in your life when you look back and wish you could’ve done things differently. We had been running to best of our abilities while shouldering a broken man and, in a moment of panic, we dropped him. The snow that blanketed the ground wasn’t soft and Dr. Stevens head split open as if it hit asphalt. When the light touched his blood he cried out before stiffening into a solid statue. The blood in his body had hardened into red stone killing him near instantly. Out of fear for our lives, we left him to be covered in snow that started to fall like hail. I could hear it break like glass upon the ground and we ducked inside one of the many spires to escape the light of Niflheim. We had to retreat to several floors above to avoid the light that spilled through the entryway. I nearly got lost in the maze that was the building we took shelter in. Fortunately, we had escaped the frying pan and there were enough pockets of oxygen hidden from the light in that spire for us to breath. One of the few comforts that remained to me was hearing the soft blip from our instrument that signified the presence of the gate some fifteen miles from our location. However, that was our only comfort. We had no way of knowing how long the light would last nor when the gate would shut. We were now prisoners and, as far as we knew, the only other inmate wanted to eat us. How Dr. Osmund and I sat there for three hours without panicking I truly do not know. For a time, we talked about research to keep up our morale. It was best not to think about the others. Instead, we discussed what we had learned. I began to wonder if the star of Niflheim was, in fact, some kind of machine that flickered between an active and inactive state. Simply put, I didn’t know of any stars that possessed such strange properties and began to question its origin. Furthermore, the properties of that unique light could change the very laws of our world. Never have we witness such a rapid alteration in the state of molecules without extreme temperature and pressure. If we could find a way to bring the light to earth in a controlled fashion, it could be used to revolutionize industry. Although, even as we spoke our thoughts allowed it was unlikely that we would ever be able to achieve this. Without knowing how to freely open gates let alone predict a rifts occurrence, we would never be able to harness the power of Niflheim. We had failed our primary objective and Niflheim was as good a punishment as any. However, the dangers of this world had far from passed. After staying put for three hours, it became clear that the light of Niflheim had gone dark once again. Without windows, we couldn’t actually see the light but the snow and ice had begun to melt. Do you know how rapidly warm ice melts? Even on the second floor, we were up to our knees in water and it was rising rapidly. Within minutes, the first, second, third, and fourth floors were completely flooded. We barely had enough time to gather our things and escape to higher ground. Unfortunately, in my haste I became separated from Dr. Osmund and the spires layout proved to be as deadly as it was confusing. I nearly lost my life when I ran into a dead-end room. The rising water was coming so fast I couldn’t get out and would’ve drowned if not for the unusual doorway above my head. I made my way up eight floors before the water finally stopped rising. I couldn’t find Dr. Osmund and could only assume the worst. The gallons of water required to cover an entire realm with a depth of near eight stories must have been staggering. I had saved my skin and managed to hold onto the gate tracker which still produced a soft blip indicating the rifts presence. However, the sight and sound of that instrument was no longer one of comfort. For the first time in my life, I had resigned myself to death. I felt that it was highly unlikely that the water would recede before the gate shut. To make matters worse, all of my provisions were gone and, even though the light was out, I hadn’t the breath to escape that building. There was too much water but a part of me felt that drowning was better fate than what was in store. I had nothing left and was completely alone in the realm of mists. To be honest, I thought that I was much stronger than I was but the fear of death clouded my judgment. However, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, there are things far worse than death and it was coming with the sounds of laughter. I could hear all three of them laughing in the distance. The sound rippled through water and slithered across the walls. It was near and coming to claim a fourth and final victim. I closed my eyes and awaited release from this world.
That’s where I awoke. I had no way of knowing how long I slept but there was nothing but silence that surrounded me. The type of silence that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Something was watching me. The light I had carried had long since faltered and gone out and so I used the soft glow of the rift tracking monitor to illuminate the room in front of me. When I switched on the tracker I came face to face with the horror of Niflheim. A creature that I now call the Basilisk stood a mere two feet from where I lay. I can only describe it as a large eyeless white cat. Its most striking features are the two bloodied sockets bordering an abyss so deep that, even now, it sends chills to my core. I sat stunned and unable to move. That’s when it began to whisper to me. The Basilisk’s mouth shot open in a jerking motion as if to hiss revealing sharp white teeth boarded by the same red stain that lined its lips and eye sockets. A language I couldn’t understand poured from its mouth even though its lips never moved. The unnatural sight was enough to get me to run from the room panicked. I had no idea where I was going to go but, in such a state, it didn’t matter. The only thought left in my mind was that I was going to swim for it. I didn’t care even if I drowned. However, I then came across a miracle. The water that had flooded seven floors of that building had long since receded to the bottom floor. I didn’t know what process occurred to cause such rapid evaporation but I didn’t care. I flung myself down the stairs floor by floor running from a hidden pursuer. Was that thing chasing me? I hadn’t the guts remaining to look behind. I didn’t stop even when I came across Dr. Osmund's body on the fourth floor. She must’ve struggled to find a way out underwater and got trapped in the maze. I can only imagine the feeling of horror of struggling to find a way out underwater.
The water was only knee high when I made it to the bottom and I dashed from the spire in the direction of the London rift. Just as before, there was a faint blue light that hung in the sky. It was barely enough to illuminate my way. However, the darkness was almost a blessing. I had no wish to stare upon the face of that creature again and so I ran and I ran hard. There was nothing nor anyone left to hinder me and I was going to see the light of our sun before that day was done.
I was the only survivor of the Niflheim investigation team. When I left that spire, I ran for fifteen miles in the darkness. The humidity was once again staggering and there was no knowing when the light would return. Was there a cycle that could be measured? I was only witnessed to a single rotation and learned enough to know that I wouldn’t survive another. I had left everything behind on my way back to the rift. After a time, I finally made it. There wasn’t a second of hesitation when I tossed myself through the prism gate. The horror I had experienced traveling through the rift was nothing compared to the fear I felt of the thing that spoke to me that day. I came back to Earth mere moments before the London rift snapped shut. The force of the event caused a 5.2 magnitude earthquake to shake the city. Though I had lived two days in the heart of Niflheim, only several hours had passed on Earth. A clear indication that the timelines between our world and the parallel realms weren’t synced.
Members of the Fifth Chapter, following common procedure, had me quarantined immediately after my return. Investigators were cautious of infectious agents from the parallel realms and for good reason. Thus, I was thoroughly examined for bacterial, viral, or parasitic activity. Those days are a blur to me. I remember feeling relieved at first thinking I had escaped the Basilisk. I thought having left Niflheim behind, and with the gate shut, that I was free of that creature. I was wrong. I see it in my reflection, I see it in the water, and I see it in the corner of my eyes. Nobody else seems privy to the bond we share. I believed the Basilisk was a parasite of the mind whose form was only tangible in the conscience of those it possesses. What is gained from such a relationship I couldn’t yet say and nor had I come to understand the language it spoke. Ever since my escape, I’ve been plagued with nightmares infused with the maddening laughter of my missing colleagues. The eyeless gaze of the Basilisk is never far and I can’t help but cry out at the abyss held within its skull. My visions had many concerned and, for all I knew, my final case study was to be my own.
It’s been many years since the closure of our first exploration into the parallel realms. Since then, eight additional investigations were performed and we discovered that each world was unique and without equal. Going back through my notes from the Niflheim investigation I can’t help but laugh at the irony of my position. At the time, I was held in quarantine for over a year. Science couldn’t explain my hallucinations and, in the end, it was accepted as a form of post-traumatic stress. I was eventually released and returned to active duty. There was much work to be done and the Fifth Chapter couldn’t afford to lose another senior researcher. At the time, I could control my nightmares with medication but the Basilisk has never left me. There was enough evidence to suggest that this creature was far more than just a figment of my imagination. Since my affliction, I cannot get sick, I cannot die, and age alludes me. Over time, these traits came to define my position in the Triumvirate. The gifts of the Basilisk made me one of three most elite members of the Fifth Chapter and lead investigator in all parallel realm explorations. To this day, that eyeless creature still whispers to me. I can even pick up a few words and, now that I have reviewed my notes from Niflheim, I believe that the realm of mists was a prison designed to keep the Basilisk in. It may be that our investigation unknowingly freed this creature and set earth upon a course of destruction. I had been possessed by a creature I couldn’t understand and my conscience became a conflicted duality. There were many days that I found myself simply an observer dancing to the strings of an eyeless puppet master. However, I cannot deny that the Basilisk may be the sole reason that we came to understand and learned to control and detect rifts. My investigations into the parallel realms would prove to save humanity just as our organization was founded to do. But at what cost? I would eventually learn that the consequences of the Niflheim investigation would cost the lives of billions. Lives that I took with my own hands.