Frey woke up in a crumbling hall of stone and dust, a splitting ache in his head. A dozen set of eyes were on him, eyes that quickly lost interest in him as he stood up, and he was standing among a crowd of a hundred people--maybe more--and all the faces he saw were nothing alike each other: there were men and women, boys and girls, and they all must've aged no less than thirteen and no more than twenty-five. Some were Caucasian-white, some African-dark, while others were copper-skinned and others still were yellow, and they all looked as confused and thrown out of place as him.
A vast ceiling hung far above their heads, golden daylight streaming in through the thousand arch windows lining the chamber's walls that circled them. Frey heard whispers, cries of 'where are we' and 'what happened', and those who weren't darting their eyes across the hall nervously were pinching themselves back to reality.
"Excuse me, Mister." he felt a tug at his left sleeve. Frey turned around to see a short girl (she might've been close to his age, but she looked much, much younger) in a black minidress with a pleated skirt that stretched until above her knees.
"Yes?" he replied. She had silk-white skin, with flowing jet hair and bangs as flat as a plateau. Her eyes were no less black than her hair, and they were narrow at the corners, which might've told him all about her ethnicity.
"Do you know where this is?" she asked with a smile, like a lost tourist asking for directions, although she was too collected herself that he could've been the one asking her. He shook his head. "No, I'm afraid we're all on the same boat here."
"I see." the girl sighed. "Thanks anyway, Mister...?"
"Frey. Frey Alcott." he replied.
"Mister Alcott. The name's Airi Ohara. Please remember it." the girl said.
"I'll try. Nice meeting you." he replied, and the girl's face went dubious, almost cynical. "Is it? Is it nice meeting me? I think you are speaking too soon." She walked away and disappeared into the crowd, and Frey didn't know what she meant then.
In front of them was a circular stage of some sort, elevated good four feet from where they stood. There was a huge stone archway at the center of the stage, with runic characters carved along its craggy surface, and the first time he ever really noticed it was when the people around him clamored and pointed at the arch, as the runes on its edges were slowly filling up with blue light that danced and swirled like smoke, and when all the runes were filled, a screen of blue swirling light covered the insides of the archway. Everyone held their breath as they watched impossible happen, and when a figure stepped out of the typhoon of blue luminance beneath the archway, Frey swore they could have picked their jaw off the floor.
"Greetings, Players." the figure was a woman in a pitch-black ball gown accented by blood-red frills on the sleeves and bodice and skirt. She had flowing long platinum-gray hair, and was the prettiest woman Frey had seen, no matter how badly he didn't want to admit. But, as far as women's wiles go, it didn't distract him enough to miss what she just said.
"I am Victorina, and welcome to the Hall of the Lost. I guess this is what you call Purgatory back on Earth, though I assure you it doesn't work quite the way you think." Another round of whispers and exclaims swept the crowd, only to be extinguished when the woman, Victorina, laid down her next words.
"Before I explain to you this... unlikely predicament you are in, I feel it is my obligation to tell you all first one, most important truth." people held their breaths.
"All of you, are already dead."
The hall was grave-silent. Frey couldn't move. It was as if his body was an intricate sculpture of ice--static and cold. The woman in the black-red gown glanced at him, and in the golden sea of her eyes he saw his life flashing before his eyes. He saw stars and skies and soul and death. He saw everything, and nothing, then his vision went black, and he remembered.