Trillium stood naked in the night fog, their amber body glowing softly through the obsidian black plates of their carapace. Before them was the temple of Manan Urrev on the world of the First Exilists, Mapmara. They’d been looking for it so long that they couldn’t remember ever doing anything else, even with their enhanced mind.
A long, wide staircase led to the temple’s entrance. The steps were so short and shallow that they effectively formed a ramp, but the distinction would have been important to their builders. Trillium didn’t have to count them; they knew there would be exactly 1,616 steps. To either side of the entrance was a seven meter statue of a humanoid; one hand holding up the roof, the other holding a lantern. The lanterns, like many of the temple’s windows, were lit. That was most unexpected. Might the First Exilists still live?
Above the temple, as if sitting on its roof in contemplation, was a statue that dwarfed even the others of another humanoid in a lotus position. Behind was an enormous galactic chronometer, clearly a product of the early Second Era. The humanoids depicted by the statues were all scions, just as Trillium was, but had much more in common with the original rootstock than they did. These depictions leaned heavily toward the masculine, probably—but not necessarily—indicating a greater retention or even exaggeration of human sexual dimorphism that had fallen out of favor megannums ago. Some allowance, however, must be made for cultural differences. But here Trillium was hypothesizing and speculating while they were standing before the steps of Manan Urrev—the first outsider to be here in perhaps a galactic year. And the lights were on, no less! All they had to do was walk in and see for themself.
Trillium took a hesitant step. Backward.
If the First Exilists had wanted visitors, they would have sent an invitation. Who was Trillium to enter unannounced?
It was funny in a way: finding the temple was all Trillium could ever remember wanting, but now that they had arrived, they didn’t know how to feel. They turned. Walked away. It was a big galaxy. Many other lost places were in want of finding.
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page. Additionally, you can view the original environmental concept art as well as other work from the same concept artist. Image by Anastazja Paskevska, used with permission.