You spend the rest of your days in the monastery, a helpless, blind, boneless creature. Travelings ascetics pay a single coin of the lowest denomination to view your twisted body. They whisper solemn, pious things.
Other blind and broken things are here. You grasp each other, rejoicing silently.
You crawl down the mountain, blind and trembling. You live in the nearby monastery, kept as a thing of pity. The nuns show you to visitors as an object lesson in hubris.\n\nBut the warm tiles and soft grass of the monastery are a comfort to your pitiful, groping hands. For at nights, the black rock and smooth steps of that mountain still impart their curious mineral scent to you through dreams, and you wake with the electric smell of the sky on your nostrils.
"Woe! Woe!" you cry, lying broken by the wayside. Footsteps pass but none take pity. Finally, days later, a nun from the monastery below travels up the mountain, [[hearing]] of your plight.\n\nShe bathes your black, cracked lips with a sponge, feeding your murmurs with clean water. She places you on a tarp and drags you down the [[mountain]] by a length of rope.\n\n
The last steps are the steepest. They seem to rise like shelves, slanted along the natural slope of the mountain. Gravity sucks at your limbs as you crawl inch by agonizing inch [[over]] the rim.\n\n[[TURN|turn4]] in a voice like deepest chasms\n\n
This is the most beautiful [[place|end]] in the universe. Even through the ruined fabric of your body, eyelorn and bereft of bones, you feel the beauty like a great warmth.\n\nBelow you, the earth cries in anguish, gnashing its teeth in rage. Clouds and lightning grapple with the land, twisting themselves in envy. You are above them.\n
YOU ARE BROKEN\n\nYour bones crumble with a mighty ache, splintering, rotting with every [[step|step3]]. You are become old, you are become brittle, a body filled with glass.\n\n[[TURN|turn2]] rumbles the ocean
Each step is wading through broken glass, each breath flays you from the inside.\n\nYOU ARE DEAD\n\nShudder and twitch, you do a deathly, tottering dance as shit and piss slides from you, followed by blood from every orifice. Your flesh turns green, white, blue, swelling up with the gases of decay.\n\n[[TURN|turn3]]\n\n(or drag yourself up the [[steps|step4]])\n\n\n
This is the highest mountain in the galaxy, a dark rock piercing the iridescent cobalt of the sky. Magnetic lights flare across the horizon, reflecting off the clouds. [[Steps]] carved into the mountain rise toward the most beautiful [[place]] in the universe.
You slide down the steps and where you lie, limbs strewn, is where you lay preserved for centuries, for there are no beetles or flies on this glassy peak and the air is dry. The few who behold your frozen, taut face see a horrible, cowardly expression of sickening abjectivity.
The wind flares up mightily. You lean into the gale, eking your way up step by step.\n\nYOU ARE BLIND\n\nyour eyes are torn from your head and the wind sucks at the empty sockets, licking away the blood with rasping tongues.\n\n[[TURN]]\n\n(or [[stride|step]] higher)\n\n\n
This is the highest mountain in the galaxy, a dark rock piercing the iridescent cobalt of the sky. Magnetic lights flare across the horizon, reflecting off the clouds. Steps carved into the mountain rise toward the most beautiful [[place]] in the universe.
"Have I lost something? I cannot recall" you remark to the sky.\n\nYour hands drift before you, feeling the [[steps|steps2]] as you run like a gorilla. The flash of distant lightning is warm as a lover's kiss on your skin, so heightened are your senses.
You remark blithely on the ennervating properties of mountain air and continue your [[ascent]].
As you ascend the steps, you gaze wonderingly at the rim of the mountain top--radiance billows from the edge, but until the final step, nothing of the place itself will be visible.\n\na voice booms in the vastness--\n\nTURN [[BACK]]\n\n(or leap [[up]] the steps with redoubled intensity!)
You lie down like a good corpse and don't make a fuss. There are no beetles or flies on this glassy peak and the air is dry, so your body remains preserved for centuries, face still caught in that horrible, cowardly expression of sickening abjectivity.
Objectively. All who see it are overcome. Brain scanners verify that nothing else brings about such a supreme confluence of chemical joy. All living things yearn for [[it]], even plants, which turn as if to embrace the face of the sun.
(related carelessly by a hale youth, as if complaining of a neighborhood [[stray|turn2]])
Struck with fear you turn away. For the rest of your life you wonder what lay at the top of that mountain. You become less brave in every deed, more hesitant in every dealing. When you die peacefully of old age, many remark that this was your most assertive act.