Five thousand years.
Five thousand years he had watched this city grow. Watched as the humans pinned all their hopes on it. They had fled Belos after its fall, making the voyage across the Great Sea and up the Astia, until they could sail no further. Meriden was born of necessity. It could not fail, else the humans were doomed, and so it prospered.
And now it stood as a monument to their ingenuity. To their perseverance. Perhaps the greatest on the continent. Neither dwarf, nor elf, nor Oselan, nor Scalar could point to any work of their people that held a candle to the City of Dreams. And so they treated the humans with care. A wary distrust. Wise, he thought. If they could make this, what else were they capable of in desperation?
He remembered it in all its incarnations. He remembered the sprawling camp of the first years. The first walls, long fallen to sieges and attacks. He remembered the Spire’s construction. He was perhaps the only one alive that still could. He remembered the fractious wars of the baronies that turned the city into a warzone for centuries, and the unification of them that returned peace and prosperity to Meriden. He remembered the city’s fall. It’s return. He remembered the Great War.
He did not know why he stayed. Why he concerned himself with the business of ants like these. Except he did, he just wouldn’t admit it. He saw his people in them. For he remembered long before Meriden, also, when the lands were wracked during the Godswar, and earlier still, before even this iteration of the Mortal Realm. He remembered the golden age of his people. He remembered the great cities they had constructed throughout the Starscape, now lost to time and dust. He remembered their vast empires, their wondrous creations. He remembered what they were before the corruption took hold. And he remembered how they had grown desperate when it began, just as the humans did.
And he remembered what great and terrible things their desperation fuelled.