Every Elrichian boy and girl knows about elevation platforms. These methods of ancient ascension, created before there was a King ruling the land, have been around for generations. Whether made of twine, or wire, or even the stringed earlobe of a Suvian pack rat, they're all the the same basic idea: a platform is lifted into the air so the passengers may reach a higher locale.
But what of the other methods of going up a tall place? There have been many attempts over the years to build one which may replace the elevated platform, but all have been disasters. The uphill waterfall, the double cannon, and turkey surprise… all were considered threats to the elevated platform, but were never adopted by the Sixth Carpentry Architecture Union. However, one method did come close.
Stairs, or the miniature self-propelled elevation foot mechanism, was developed in 232 V.G.E by Derixias Natheews, who believed it would bring about a revolution in transport units. Originally constructed out of steam powered lilly pads and bamboo sticks, later models would usually be made of stacked boxes of reeds. When patented, even the King was impressed, ordering the new Parlour Castle to be built with stairs instead of elevation platforms.
Now, it must be said that this shook up the Elra Architectural Sub-Union. For if the kind King was impressed by this new method of self-elevation, it could bring great trials and tribulations to their profession. But while the castle had to be built, it would be built by the enemy of all stair-kind: The Elevated Platform Architectural Sub-Sub-Union!
So, the cornerstone was struck, and the castle was constructed into the new year. As they labored, they took careful care on the 876th step. You see, the King had a habit of pausing to gaze upon his domain every 876th step. If this were true, then slightly weaker boards unable to support the corpulant royal at this juncture would be… tragic.
After many nights of toil and sweat, the castle had been raised from humble foundations to a massive structure of grandiose proportions. There were towers jutting out of bigger towers, and masonry made of the handsomest minerals. At the center of it all was a grand, 876 step staircase, spiraling to the heavens. The King saw it, and was pleased. Pausing briefly to gaze upon his domain, he was urged by Derixias and other attendees of the opening to ascend the stairs.
Step by step, he went upwards. Every board creak and footstep signaled another uplifting step to even more dizzying heights. From the ground, spectators watched in awe. Designers of the staircase and elevated platform alike steeled their nerves, for they knew this would make or break their chosen method of transport.
Finally, the King reached the 876th step. He stood briefly, gazing down upon his domain, and smiling. Then, there was a creak, a snap, and tragedy. Slowly, the King toppled backwards, his rotund form unable to find ground upon the myriad of now descending steps. The crowd watched in horror as he was tossed and beaten by the wooden monstrosity, and cringed at his agonized cries.
When he finally reached the ground, all faces were silent and ashen. Derixias alone wept, because he knew his downfall had come. Nevermore would stairs be wrought from iron or swampland. Forever onwards, they have been outlawed and their creators hanged from the tallest root. Maybe you can spot one in an ancient crumbling ruin, and remember the hubris of its fall.
But maybe not. After all, they are only stairs.