The boards beneath Myranda's feet gave way just as the remaining ceiling over her head did the same. She dropped down into some sort of recess into the floor. Scrambling backward away from the very fort that was coming down on top of her, Myranda’s desperate hands found their way to a metal handle. It was attached to a low door, seemingly carved into the stone of the ground. With only moments to spare, she pulled it open and dragged herself into the blackness beyond. The roar of the structure collapsing on itself rumbled all around her, as she clawed her way down the pitch-black tunnel. As she did, the rumble became more muffled, debris settling in above her. She pushed aside the thought that it was burying her alive. So too she ignored the concerns of what this place was and what she might find here.
The only thought on her mind was survival--get away from the fire, from the collapse. The rest could wait.
The fire had taken a greater toll on her legs than she had realized, as several attempts to stand failed. The sound of buckling stone behind her convinced her that it was better to crawl now than to die trying to walk. The smoke from the smoldering debris that had tumbled in behind her continued to burn at her lungs. She crept every inch of distance her body could offer before collapsing. The rumble and roar drifted away as Myranda's body finally reached its limit.
Perhaps hours, perhaps days later, Myranda's eyes opened to the blackness. The smoke no longer stung at her, but the air was stifling and stale. She coughed and sputtered as she rolled to her back. A sharp pain prompted her to pull something free that was jabbing her in the shoulder blade. As wakefulness fully returned to her, the stillness permitted the concerns she’d brushed away to rush back in. What was this place? If the monstrous creations she'd seen inside the fort were any indication, she shuddered to think of what kind of beasts might be kept in the catacombs beneath. In darkness such as this, her eyes may as well have been closed. Desperate for some form of information, she listened. Nothing. The silence was eerie, oppressive, and complete. Her nose and tongue told only of the acrid residue left from the burning wood, so she was left with touch alone. What it told her confused her.